A CHURCH in Wythall has had its application approved to allow same sex marriages to take place in the church building.

Kingswood Meeting House, a Unitarian Church on Packhorse Lane in Hollywood, becomes one of the first churches in the area to have its registration approved to perform same sex weddings.

The congregation has been meeting in Wythall since 1708, with the present building dating back to 1792.

The minister of the church, Rev Anthony Howe said: “Our beautiful church has always been a popular venue for weddings, and I am absolutely delighted that we will now be able to extend a welcome to same-sex couples, and that they will be able to legally marry in our church.

"We are a Unitarian Church, and our denomination was at the forefront of the campaign both for equal marriage and the right to allow same sex weddings to be held in churches.

"We welcome all to our church. We have a long and proud history of being inclusive. Unitarians were the first church in England to have women ministers, back in 1904, and our own church in Wythall was served by a woman Minister in the early 1960s."

The application process took several months to complete and involved lengthy correspondence with the local register office.

The church, which prides itself on being inclusive and welcoming to all, was recently informed that its application has been fully approved.

Rev Howe added that in an age where church attendance generally is declining, his church continues to thrive.

“The law changed some time ago to allow same sex marriage, and we are happy to be here for any couple who wishes to consider a church wedding," he said.

"We know that some other churches are not willing to allow same sex weddings to take place; that is their right. Unitarians believe that God welcomes all, and our church is on the side of love.”