Following the example of the Government’s ‘Turing’ Law’, whereby those convicted of sexual offences now removed from the statute book are automatically pardoned, it has been announced that the Church of England is to adopt a similar policy of pardon and rehabilitation.

At a special service in Westminster Abbey clergy who were dismissed or unfrocked for what was then termed ‘gross indecency’, and their relatives, will receive formal apologies from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

The Archbishops, in specially commissioned copes of sackcloth, will symbolically empty bowls of ashes on each’s heads.

The preacher (yet to be announced) is roumoured to be a woman bishop in a committed civil partnership.

The music chosen for this unique service will include two pieces by Benjamin Britten, including a little known motet ‘Who am I to judge?’ – in what may be its first performance in this country. It will end with a rendition, by Sir Elton John, of the song ‘I am what I am’, with its poignant allusion to Genesis 3.14.

Said an official spokesperson: ‘We hope that this solemn occasion will nevertheless be an event for families of all varieties.  There will be a reception afterwards in the Methodist Central Hall attended also by the President of Conference. Music will be provided by a multi-ethnic choir of transgendered schoolchildren from Church of England schools from across the country.

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