Saturday, 21 August 2010

Not a clerical error

Pictured above: Rev. Mary McKinnon Ganz and Rev. Jade "JD" Benson, new ministers at the First Parish Church in Budleigh Salterton's sister town of Brewster, Massachusetts

It seems a long time ago now that I wrote about Brewster First Parish Church's search for a new pastor at

Inspired as I was by the Church's rigorous resolve to conduct its search for a suitable candidate in a totally unprejudiced way I imagined that it would be many years before the ideal person was found.

So I'm delighted to report that not just one but two new ministers have been chosen and are taking up their duties this month.

The Rev Mary Ganz and her partner the Rev Jade Benson have been welcomed in a spirit of open-mindedness and tolerance which characterises the Brewster church, the first in its denomination 20 years ago to welcome bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender people.

I can't imagine too many churches in the UK which would be bold enough to make such an appointment. I suppose that the reaction of a couple of my churchgoing friends was pretty typical. "Oh, they're weird!" was their comment on learning that it was a Unitarian Universalist church that had caught my eye with this news. But what I'd found weird was my upbringing as a Roman Catholic, and my education at the criminal hands of some Irish Christian Brothers at their boarding school in the 1950s: I tend to be rather liberal in my views as a result.

Brewster First Parish Church's website devoted to the search for a Senior Minister can be reached at

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