An openly gay Northland man has made history by becoming an Anglican priest, the first New Zealander in a homosexual relationship to do so.
Chris Swannell led his first service at Russell’s Christ Church on Sunday morning, previously serving as a church deacon in the community.
He says it’s been a long journey, after waiting to be ordained as a priest for 13 years.
“Myself and my partner are still feeling a little bit overwhelmed by it all, but it feels good,” he told RadioLIVE’s Wendyl Nissen.
A new ruling allowing same-sex relationships to be blessed by the church was passed by a general synod in May this year.
The church can’t marry same-sex couples, Mr Swannell told RadioLIVE, but being able to bless them is momentous.
“But the same-sex blessing that we can now perform in church within a service to a couple who are legally married, that’s a really big step forward for the Anglican Church.”
Mr Swannell says he became a priest because the community wanted him to.
“If it wasn’t for the community taking the exercise and doing that, I wouldn’t be a priest.”
Listen to the full interview with Chris Swannell above.
The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.