Jeremy Pemberton

It is a great pleasure to introduce myself to you all, and I look forward to meeting you when I visit Rainbow Church.


I am 63 years old, and a have been a Church of England clergyman since 1981. I was born in Cambridge and raised in a teaching family, the eldest of three. I was a very musical child, and played piano and cello, eventually joining the National Youth orchestra. My teenage years were dominated by my mother’s death in a car accident. This had a devastating effect on our family – bereavement care was fairly non-existent in the 1970s, and I was very unhappy.


I had been brought up in a very conventional Church of England way going to church sometimes (when I wasn’t singing in the choir). But I came to a faith of my own when I was seventeen, and part of that was a commitment and a huge desire to give my life back to God. I studied music at University, but my assumptions about becoming a musician were fading, and I started to sense a vocation to ministry.


I was ordained young, and have worked in the North-East, in city-centre ministry in Leeds, in industrial rural areas, in central Africa, and in a large group of thirteen parishes in rural Cambridgeshire.


I came out when I was fifty. It was traumatic, because I was married with a family of five children, but it was also something that probably saved my life, as I was becoming unable to face living any longer.


Since then I have had to negotiate all kinds of complicated changes. I have worked for much of these last thirteen years as an NHS chaplain, while also working as a professional singer in the cathedral town I live in.


My talk will really be about living honestly, and what this meant in my personal relationships. My wife and I divorced, by mutual agreement, and I was then living with my male partner. As a matter of integrity we wanted to be married. And so, when the law changed, that is what we did. What happened next? Come to the talk to find out!