Preston: Same-sex couple among first to marry in Methodist church
A Lancashire couple have become one of the first in the country to have a same-sex wedding at a Methodist church.
Jason and Ben McMahon-Riley, formerly Jason McMahon and Ben Riley, were married last Friday (June 17) at Fulwood Methodist Church, Preston.
The Methodist Church is the largest denomination in the UK to perform same-sex marriages following a decision by the Methodist Conference last year that vote allowed ministers and churches to undertake same-sex marriages if they wanted it.
Jason, 29, and Ben, 30, tied the knot in a service led by three ministers who played a significant role in their lives at grassroots level.
Jason, who is currently training for ministry with the Methodist Church, said the day “meant so much” to him after a long journey alongside the church/
He said: “It means everything. To be able to marry Ben, the love of my life, in front of those who mean the most to me in church has been amazing.
“I truly believe that this day signifies the beginning of something new for my relationship with the whole Church – to be recognized and affirmed in my totality. Today was the best day of my life, and I can’t wait to share the rest with Ben as my husband! »
Ben said: ‘It’s a day I’ve been waiting for so long, to be able to celebrate my love for Jason and the relationship we share so publicly and to be able to show the world how important it is to love to be recognized. .
“Most importantly, I can now call Jason my husband and all that means to me.”
The Reverend Paul Davis, chairman of the Lancashire Methodist District, said: “I am delighted that Jason and Ben have finally been able to celebrate their marriage together.
“It has been a long journey for The Methodist Church and for Ben and Jason who have waited for this day. My prayers and wishes are with them for their life together.
Fulwood Methodist Church pastor, Reverend Jane Wild, said: “We are thrilled to be part of this celebration of Jason and Ben’s love for each other and this is a first for our church.
Ben proposed to Jason at Lytham St Annes in September 2019, but the couple decided to wait for the Methodist Church’s vote on same-sex marriage so they could marry in a Methodist church, having been Christians and members of the Church for many years.
Jason explained that their marriage had been a long journey for both of them. “During all the discussions and consultations, we had the stigma of being a committed same-sex couple living together.
“There were times on this journey that were upsetting and painful; but there were also moments of genuine love, compassion and grace.
“To continue to share the love we have for each other. The love God has given us to share.
“We waited over a decade to be able to get married in a Methodist church. Many years ago we made the decision to await the outcome of the discussions that were taking place in the Church.
“It was because we longed so deeply to marry in the Methodist Church that we made the painful decision to wait.
“COVID-19 added another year to the process, but last June when we watched the final vote take place live, we couldn’t hold back our emotions.
“For me, it was like a great release from all the tension, fear, pain and discrimination that I had felt and experienced.”