TV series to explore experience of gay clergy
Tonight sees the start of a television series that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Church of England, and will give an insight into the current debates about homosexual clergy.
According to the BBC, the three-part documentary aims to "explore the institution and meet the people with a stake in its future."
Covering the race to appoint the new Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as a pastor's life with the troops in Afghanistan, the most controversial apect is likely to be a homosexual vicar talking about how he has struggled within the Church.
In the second programme to be screened on Monday 7th April, the case of a gay vicar, who has been blocked by his diocesan bishop in his attempt to move jobs will be highlighted.
Mr Wardale, 57, the vicar of Holy Trinity, Darlington, has lived openly with his partner, Malcolm Macourt, an academic at Northumbria University, since he was the vicar of Boldon Colliery, near Sunderland, in the 1980s.
After 10 years Mr Wardale was was offered another post. But the Bishop of Durham, Michael Turnbull, telephoned him to say that he had intervened and the offer for the post had been withdrawn.
The Bishop will explain in the documentary, The Power and the Glory, that he was applying current guidelines, which he felt prevented him from granting Mr Wardale a licence to operate anywhere else in the diocese.
The House of Bishops 1991 document Issues in Human Sexuality said that while some active homosexual relationships could be acceptable for lay people, they could never be for clergy.
Several Evangelical groups and churches have said that they will leave the Church of England is the Arhcbishop of Canterbury softens the stance of his predecessor, Dr George Carey.