IN A FINAL SERMON to London’s St Martin in the Fields in July 2011 Nicholas Holtam, the new Bishop of Salisbury, said

The various parts of St Martin’s are good but the mix is electrifying, as at the first Pentecost when the nations gathered in Jerusalem received the gift of the Holy Spirit and experienced communion at the deepest level. Few communities are as varied in terms of rich and poor, all ages, ethnicity, straight and gay, gender balance (do you know another church with as many men?), all making a welcoming inclusive community.

I wondered then whether the writing was on the wall. Did we have here a bishop who’d advocate in Salisbury the kind of Church the Body of Christ is called to be – truly inclusive community? Well, today The Times reports Bishop Holtam’s taking a brave and lonely stand – in favour of gay marriage. Good news then not only for the Diocese of Salisbury but also for a vastly wider constituency. May it be that some glad day the whole Church of God is able to agree, joyfully, that “the mix is electrifying”. Then, I believe, we’ll all experience communion at the deepest level.

House of Bishops and General Synod
(Allow priests in the CofE the freedom to bless civil partnerships)