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Rev. David William Parry

Biography

Rev. David William Parry is a British religious leader, author, and theatrical. He was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, in 1958 and grew up in Fareham. Despite having an Anglican mother and a Roman Catholic stepfather, he never felt that either faith was the right path for him. As a teenager, he sensed that he was homosexual and became involved in human rights activism, including participating in protests and activities of the Gay Liberation Front and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in London.

In the early 1980s, David moved to London with his family and became more actively involved in the LGBTQIA+ community. He also started regularly worshipping at the Metropolitan Community Church in Balham. There, he served as an occasional worship leader, prison visitor, and Bible Study teacher. Later on, he went to university as a mature student and graduated from King’s College London with a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies. He then earned a master’s in Pastoral Studies from Heythrop College, University of London.

After experiencing the loss of several friends to AIDS/HIV and related illnesses over the course of a year, David felt called to pursue a lay ministry within a number of British Unitarian churches. As such, he became a regular preacher on the London and South East circuit. However, he eventually felt modern Unitarianism was avoiding the deepest theological questions. As a result, he became the caretaking pastor of the Coverdale and Ebenezer Congregational Church in Shadwell for two years in the late 1990s.

David’s spiritual journey led him to explore contemporary heathenry, before being initiated as a Gardnerian Wiccan, in his search for ancestors alongside the Divine Feminine. Ultimately, he found a religious synthesis by being ordained as a Valentinian Christian Gnostic Tau in Italy, following which he joined the Holy See of Antioch as a suffragan Bishop to London. However, he only really felt he had returned home when he was welcomed into the Old Catholic Apostolic Church UK as a Monsignor. Anyway, throughout his journey, David continually championed the cause of equal rights for LGBTQIA+ Christians and called for the established Churches to repent of their ancient prejudices against every sexual minority.

In 2020, he became the founding priest of St. Valentine’s Hall in Balham, as a revival of LGBTQIA+ religious witness in South London, whilst under his pastorship, St. Valentine’s Hall gained local and national recognition. Certainly, the church was featured on the BBC for its inclusive ministry and interfaith witness, especially with Ejel Khan and the Muslim LGBTQ+ Network, during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Furthermore, two documentaries, one of which was made by the rising filmmaker Emily McDonald, also featured the activities of St. Valentine’s Hall.

In addition to his ministry, David is a prolific author and playwright. He has written three LGBTQIA+ inspired works: two collections of poems, Caliban’s Redemption and The Grammar of Witchcraft, and a book of academic studies entitled Mount Athos Inside Me: Essays on Religion, Swedenborg, and Arts. What is more, his play, Women in Mayhem, is due to be published by Indigo Dragon by the summer of 2024. Relatedly, The Grammar of Witchcraft was adapted for the stage by Victor Sobchak and performed at the 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, whereas Women in Mayhem is set to be performed at the 2024 Camden Fringe.

Of particular note, David has written as well as edited around 60 literary items, including individual poems, prefaces in books, peer-reviewed academic articles (for example, in E-International Relations), newspapers and magazine pieces (in The Oldie, Through the Woods, OCA Magazine, TEAS Magazine, amongst others). Each publication fueling David’s work as a director, producer, and occasionally actor in more than ten theatrical productions with a metaphysical tint, ranging from Shakespeare: a comedy in ten scenes, both serious and tragic, to Citizen’s of Hell: each play penned by the former Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, Elçin Afandiyev, not to mention Shakespeare Tonight, which featured in both the Camden Fringe before transferring to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Everything considered, Rev. Parry was invited to speak at the late Lord John Laird’s discussion group on the subject of ecological links between Paganism and Christianity at the House of Lords, while eventually staging his own play, A Day in the Light, which premiered at the House in 2016.

David is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts for his work in British drama and is also an elected Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. Also, he was the first Chair of the Eurasian Creative Guild and spoke four times for TEDxLambeth regarding queer arts-based practical theology. Due to his unique involvement in the performing arts, David was interviewed by the fashion and culture magazine ODDA. David is equally the founding curator of Nephilim Anthropology Conference, a unique panel with speakers across the intellectual board attempting to unearth the truth behind one of the more haunting Biblical mysteries concerning giants and human origins.

David has a civil partner, Daniele Irandoost, who is an Iranian Muslim and published author and teacher, currently undertaking doctoral research at the University of Glasgow.  Irandoost actively campaigns for full equal marriage rights for LGBTQIA+ individuals in the UK.

(This biographical statement was written by Daniele-Hadi Irandoost and edited by David Parry.)

Biography Date: February 2024

Tags

Catholic (Old Apostolic Catholic Church UK) | WICCAN | Gay Liberation Movement | Activist (religious institutions) | Author/editor | Artist/musician/poet | London | United Kingdom

Citation

“Rev. David William Parry | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed May 30, 2024, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/david-william-parry.

Remembrances

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