Songs of Praise airs same-sex wedding for the first time

Songs of Praise, which has been on the air since 1961, has screened its first same-sex marriage in an effort to attract a broader audience.

Songs of Praise

Songs of Praise has aired its first-ever same-sex wedding as part of an effort to modernise the show and appeal to a younger audience.

The episode features the marriage of Jamie Wallace, 28, and Ian McDowell, 40, at the Rutherglen United Reformed Church in Glasgow.

Mr Wallace’s mother said her son had “always wanted to get married in a church” during the programme.

His new husband said that there would still be members of their church who oppose their union.

“Jesus preaches about love, inclusion, kindness, compassion,” Mr McDowell said.

“A good lady who comes to this church told us in one of our discussions, people will change, and don’t underestimate older people, either. They just need to think about it, and they’ll get there one day.”

In 2016, the United Reform Church (URC) voted to allow each congregation to decide if they would let same-sex couples get married in their churches.

The Rev Andy Braunston from URC said:

“In terms of same-sex marriages, it’s entirely up to local churches and local ministers: those who wish to may and those who don’t feel able to don’t have to.

“So we try and hold two different ideas in a sort of creative tension. We didn’t want to carry on arguing about it, so we decided to live with the difference.

“We’re just in a changing society. If the church could model how to disagree well, we could teach the politicians a thing or two.”

The Rev Kate Bottley, 44, who is the show’s only ordained presenter, said people had not lost their faith but were now not always willing “to go and sit in a cold building to do it anymore”.

“I don’t expect people to fall on their knees in front of Songs of Praise but we do do the big stuff,” she said.

“Life, love, death and trauma – and we are definitely not afraid of controversy.”

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