London Pride 2024 | A Statement from the Dean

I was brought up as a boy by my grandmother. When I was 18, I turned the TV off one evening and, slightly shaking, said I had something I wanted to tell her. She knew that I wanted to share with her that I was gay, but what she said to me has stayed with me all the years since that night when I was so afraid as to what cost honesty would have. ‘I’ve only been worried about one thing, Mark,’ she said with a big smile, ‘I’ve just worried you would never feel able to tell me.’

During my life, and in my ministry in the Church, there have been those who would have preferred if I had stayed silent or gone into hiding. There have been times when that would have been the easiest thing to do. I came to see, though, that my grandmother’s response was the response of love, and that therefore it is also the response of God. God wants us to share with him who we really are, and to know that God’s love only overflows, and never diminishes, when we dare to do this, because integrity matters on the pathway of a disciple.

Human hearts are restless. This is part of God’s call to us to find their rest in him. As part of that human journey, hearts can find harbours – people we love and share life with, people who are there to hold us and believe in us, and sometimes people we commit to growing old with together. This is one of the beautiful miracles of life, something to be celebrated and protected.

Those in London this weekend come to remind everyone that their hearts, their livelihoods, their safety, and their relationships, are as dear and as important as everyone else’s in this fragile world. I wish them a real celebration alongside the assurance that Southwark Cathedral welcomes all, and we are very happy to offer prayers with those who have made a loving commitment in life.

I am deeply saddened that our Jewish friends are not on the parade this year due to fears for their safety. This is a time to stand for the rights and safety of all people, especially victims of hate and prejudice. Likewise, we must commit to stand against the rise of Islamophobia and of all hatred that works against diversity and a peaceful common life. We must protect each other when so many are looking for enemies to blame and project onto.

So, let’s enjoy the weather and enjoy a day that celebrates love, spouses, partners, friends, and those whose bravery in the past, and in so many parts of our world today, continues to inspire. My grandmother is now 102 and has asked me to wish you a happy Pride. As do I.


Photo: Carmen Valino for the Sandfrod St Martin Trust