Bendigo Cathedral Priest to enter Same-Sex Marriage

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The Bendigo Advertiser is reporting that Rev Noel Richards, a priest on the staff of St Paul’s Cathedral Bendigo, is to enter into a same-sex marriage in October.

When Drew Reid proposed to Father Noel Richards, it was an evening like any other for the Bendigo couple. 

Drew and Father Noel, who have been together for more than five years, will be the first same-sex couple to be married in a church in Bendigo. 

But while Father Noel has been an ordained priest of the Anglican Church for more than 40 years, the couple will be married at St Andrew’s Uniting Church instead of St Paul’s Cathedral

Despite that setback, Drew said the support from the people of St Paul’s was undeniable. 

“The congregation has just loved Noel and when they heard about our relationship they were just really excited for us,” Drew said.

“In terms of the wedding, there’s about 80 parishioners invited and attending. The only ones who said no are overseas or in hospital having surgery or something. Everybody else is all on board and embraced it.”

Like the now-married clergy in Wangaratta, John Davis and Robert Whalley, Reid and Richards have chosen to go to the press in order to gain maximum publicity for their wedding and related push for a change in doctrine of marriage within the Anglican Church of Australia.

Noel Richards is no stranger to attempting to enter into public debate on this topic. In 2017 he was was one of four Bendigo clergy who publicly supported same-sex marriage during the debate about legalisation in Australia.

The decision to enter into a same-sex marriage will be seen by many as a fundamental breach of Faithfulness in Service (as adopted by the Diocese of Bendigo) (“Fis”), the national church’s standard of behaviour for clergy and others.

In particular, FiS states,

7.1 The sexual conduct of clergy and church workers has a significant impact on the Church and the community.
7.2 Sexuality is a gift from God and is integral to human nature. It is appropriate for clergy and church workers to value this gift, taking responsibility for their sexual conduct by maintaining chastity in singleness and faithfulness in marriage.

Standards for clergy and church workers
These standards state the Church’s expectations for personal behaviour and the practice of pastoral ministry.
7.4 You are to be chaste and not engage in sex outside of marriage and not engage in disgraceful conduct of a sexual nature.

The Bendigo Advertiser reports on Bishop Matt Brain’s response:

Regardless of the legal outcome, Anglican Diocese of Bendigo Bishop Matt Brain indicated a similar change to allow blessings of same-sex marriages would not be happening in his diocese.

But Bishop Brain said the church would continue to support every parishioner regardless of their sexuality.

image: Bendigo Advertiser

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Andrew

    This is very confusing. In 1984, the now disgraced, defrocked and convicted child sex offender, Graeme Lawrence was appointed Dean of Newcastle. Lawrence was openly gay and was living with his partner Greg Goyette. Nothing was said, no one protested, no one mentioned Faithfulness in Service. Lawrence was lauded by all and sundry as the best thing to ever hit the town of Newcastle. Why was all this not an issue then?

    1. Ben

      Faithfulness in service wasn’t around at the time Lawerence was made Dean of Newcastle

  2. RevRon

    What options are open for the Bishop of Bendigo?

    1. Nat

      I think he is attending the wedding

  3. Robert Bruce

    Romans 1:27 states clearly that they will receive due penalty for their error. We can only pray that they may yet gain insight and return to the Way that at least one of them has professed. There is no room for self-satisfaction in this; we are all sinners and under judgement, but there is a Saviour who longs to make us right with Him if only we will repent and believe.

    As for the comment on Graeme Lawrence, there were plenty of people who protested in 1984 but they were overruled by those in power. The forebodings many expressed then are now being borne out by the courts, to the utter shame of the church and with horrendous effects on its witness.

  4. Larry

    Clearly this is not a new issue for those in the church to consider, as the news item reports that these men “have been together for more than five years”. What has the church been doing over that period? And why should it do anything now, that it may have done (or failed to do) over the past five years?

    1. Nat

      We have supported and loved Noel and Drew

      1. mayneloh

        We also love and support Noel and Drew and will be happily toasting on Saturday

  5. Nat

    The Good father is one of my priests, i will ve attending the wedding and am deeply saddened that it can not be in our Cathedral.
    Of course the local media would pick up on this the whole town is celebrating πŸ™‚
    If you have an issue with this i wouls say the love of Jesus is something you are missing but rest easy the Great Father Noel can help you find it.

    1. mayneloh

      I will be there also. A beautiful couple and a celebration of love

  6. Richard

    I happened to read Zephaniah this morning. This verse from Chapter 3 stood out:

    “Her prophets are fickle, treacherous men; her priests profane what is holy; they do violence to the law.”
    Zephaniah 3:4 ESV

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