A CHURCH in Rawtenstall has become the first in Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale to gain approval to hold same-sex weddings.

Rawtenstall Unitarian Church, Bank Street, has been given permission to hold the ceremonies and are now inviting couples to come down and visit the church.


The minister, the Rev Jim Corrigall said he was delighted the church could now offer all couples the right to marry. “We Unitarians have played a leading role in campaigns for equal marriage, alongside the Quakers and Liberal Jews,” he said.

“Unitarians have always championed tolerance and social justice. We’ve had women ministers for 100 years, and we’ve been performing blessings for same-sex couples for more than 30 years.”

Legislation to allow equal marriage came into effect last year in England, Wales and Scotland.

Since then, more than 30 Unitarian churches and chapels have been given permission to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies.

One of the popular hymns in the Unitarian organisation is All Are Welcome Here and they describe themselves as an outward-looking faith which is why they have embraced same-sex marriage.

The Rev Corrigall said he believed the location of the Rawtenstall Unitarian Church was perfect for weddings and encouraged couples to speak to him if they were interested in a service to suit them.

He said: “You do not have to be a Unitarian to be married in our churches.”

Cllr Alyson Barnes, leader of Rossendale Council, said: “This is great news, it’s good to see such progressive thinking in Rossendale.”