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Desmond Tutu’s daughter ‘barred from leading funeral by Church of England’

The Church of England reportedly would not allow her to take the wedding because she is married to a woman

Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho Tutu van Furth

/ AFP via Getty Images
23 September 2022

he daughter of the late Desmond Tutu has reportedly been banned from leading her godfather’s funeral by the Church of England because she is married to a woman.

Mpho Tutu van Furth, who is a practicing Anglican priest in the US, had been asked to officiate the funeral for Martin Kenyon on Thursday in Shropshire.

In a statement carried by the BBC, the Diocese of Hereford said: “Advice was given in line with the House of Bishops’ current guidance on same-sex marriage.”

Ms Tutu van Furth reportedly told the broadcaster the decision “seemed really churlish and hurtful”.

After Mr Kenyon’s family learned of the Church’s decision, the funeral service was moved to a marquee in the vicarage next door to St Michael and All Angels in Wentnor, near Bishops Gate, so Ms Tutu van Furth could preach, the BBC reports.

“It’s incredibly sad,” Ms Tutu van Furth told the broadcaster. “It feels like a bureaucratic response with maybe a lack of compassion.

“It seemed really churlish and hurtful. But as sad as that was, there was the joy of having a celebration of a person who could throw open the door to people who are sometimes excluded.”

The Church of England does not allow same-sex marriage in its clergy, but The Episcopal Church in the US – of which Ms Tutu van Furth is a part – does.

She had her licence rescinded in South Africa when she revealed her sexuality and married Marceline van Furth, a Dutch academic, in 2015.

Her 91-year-old London godfather Martin Kenyon became a “national treasure” overnight for a straight-talking interview he did after being among the first to receive the coronavirus vaccine in 2020.

Her father Archbishop Desmond Tutu died at the age of 90 in 2021. Tributes were lead by the Queen for the the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and veteran of South Africa’s struggle against white minority rule.

Archbishop Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his non-violent struggle against apartheid.

He was named the first black Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986 - becoming the head of the Anglican Church, South Africa’s fourth largest.

The Archbishop held the position until 1996.

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