Even as many priests and laypeople of the Church of England are heading to Rome, this guy is headed in the opposite direction, according to the Shropshire Star (UK):

A former Ludlow priest today revealed he is turning his back on the Church of England so he can lead the weddings of gay and mixed-religion couples.

Mark Townsend, from Leominster, said he had grown tired of the “creakiness and backwardness” of the church so he will join the Open Episcopal Church.

He wants to be able to express his pagan-leaning beliefs in the new role and a druid chief and goddess priestess have been invited to his induction at 3pm on June 18 at the Lion Ballroom, Leominster.

Mr Townsend, 43, who preached at Ludlow’s St Laurence’s Church in the 1990s, said: “I still see myself as a progressive Christian priest but I’m aware this decision and the induction will raise a few eyebrows.

“But I’ll be able to be myself finally and do things like gay ceremonies, unusual baptisms and marriages between Christians and Buddhists. I still love the Church of England but I got tired of the creakiness and backwardness of it all.

Now, obviously this is an extraordinarily confused person engaged in do-it-yourself religionizing. But he’s not the most interesting part of the story. The really interesting part has to do with the Church of England. See, the headline indicates that he “abandoned” the church in order to join this other vaguely religious organization (which claims to be a member of the World Council of Churches, but doesn’t show up anywhere on the WCC web site). The real question, then, is this:

Why was a priest who professes to hold “pagan-leaning beliefs” not booted out of the priesthood with a swift kick to the chasuble? 

(Via MCJ.)

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