Anglican funeral ban on Archbishop Tutu’s lesbian daughter


Mpho Tutu van Furth church of england
Mpho Tutu van Furth with the late Archbishop Tutu

The Church of England last week banned Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s lesbian daughter from officiating at the funeral of her godfather. Martin Kenyon, a close friend of Desmond Tutu, specifically requested that Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth conduct the service.

In 2003, Mpho Andrea Tutu van Furth was ordained into the US branch of the Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church. However, in 2015, she married Marceline van Furth a Dutch professor of medicine. The South African Diocese of Saldanha Bay then withdrew her license as a priest.

Both Mpho Andrea Tutu van Furth’s mother and father, the late anti-apartheid and human rights activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, attended her wedding.

Mpho Andrea Tutu van Furth said her parents believed in inclusion for all.

“I had the extreme good fortune of growing up in a household with parents who were very clear about their faith and very clear about full inclusion of all people… regardless of gender and gender identity and regardless of sexual orientation.”

In 2021, Archbishop Tutu spoke out against homophobia and transphobia.

“I have to tell you, I cannot keep quiet when people are penalised for something about which they can do nothing.

“First, gender. When women are excluded, just simply and solely because they are women.’

He said he thought it even worse when he saw news of people “penalised, killed, all sorts of ghastly things happen to them, simply, solely on the basis of their sexual orientation.

“I oppose such injustice with the same passion that I opposed apartheid.”

Desmond Tutu died later that year.

Martin Kenyon

Martin Kenyon met Desmond Tutu at college and the pair remained lifelong friends, becoming godfathers for each other’s daughters.

As one of his final requests, the 92-year-old asked for his goddaughter to conduct his funeral service.

Unfortunately, the Church of England refused Martin Kenyon’s dying wish. Unlike some other branches of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England bans clergy who marry same-sex partners.

Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, now a pastor in the Netherlands, described the refusal as unnecessary.

“The denial was hurtful because it was so unnecessary. The funeral was to be an intimate gathering of family and godchildren, celebrated in a tiny parish in what is almost the middle of nowhere. The C of E could have extended as a courtesy and a kindness the PTO to me as a visiting priest from a sister church.”

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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