The Busy Unitarian Vicar

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It seems that perhaps that Unitarian Church in the UK is more media savvy than I imagined it would be. One Unitarian minister, the Rev Dr Vernon Marshall, seems to be making the papers on all the hot-button theological issues!

First, he made the news back in December for blessing gay couples.

“The Rev Dr Vernon Marshall believes that if couples are going to spend their lives together it is only fair they can make a spiritual commitment. Dr Marshall, minister at Denton New and Dukinfield Old Chapel, has blessed several couples during the last two decades including two at the old chapel. “The civil partnerships which have just come into force allow homosexual couples to undergo a civil ceremony, but we are doing what we’ve always done – offering blessings in church. “What we have to make sure, though, is that we don’t break the law, so the ceremony is almost what would happen in a wedding, except we’re not allowed to use the word marriage,” he said.”

Then he made the news a couple days ago for being a Druid!

“The Rev Dr Vernon Marshall explores his wild side by moonlighting in his spare time as a druid. Eight times a year he dons a red robe, takes on the druid name sionnach or ‘silver fox’, and joins 12 other members of his ‘grove’ to celebrate the ancient rituals of our ancestors…Druidry is not a religious movement but involves following the year’s natural cycles and is distinct from paganism, which worships old gods. Because of this, Dr Marshall says it can go hand in hand with Christianity. “In the Unitarian faith you are encouraged to follow your own spiritual path so druidry is not so different in that regard,” he adds.”

He seems to be splitting some theological hairs with his “I practice Druidry not Paganism” bit (what he is doing doesn’t sound like the Fraternal Druid Orders that famous Englishmen like Winston Churchill and Dr. Rowan Williams were a part of), but whatever gets him through the day. I’m wondering if his media appearances have boosted attendance? If so maybe the UUA should start doing public media events where CUUPS-associated ministers marry gay couples? Considering the recent cowardly and discriminatory ruling in New York, the ideal location is all but picked for you.