THINKING ANGLICANS

CofE clergy and same-sex marriage

Updated Tuesday

There were reports this weekend of some developments in the cases of clergy entering same-sex marriages:

Mail on Sunday Jonathan Petre First clergyman who flouted the Church of England’s gay marriage ban is fired by his bishop

Guardian Andrew Brown Second priest defies Church of England to marry his same sex partner

BBC Gay wedding canon Jeremy Pemberton faces service ban

Independent Church of England tells same-sex married clergyman Canon Jeremy Pemberton to stop leading services

Telegraph First gay priest to marry banned from working as a priest in his diocese

Pink News UK: First gay clergy to marry ‘fired’ by Bishop

Blog:

Changing Attitude Bishop acts against married gay priest

Updates

Religion News Service via the Washington Post Trevor Grundy Gay Anglican priest’s license is revoked after he marries

Nottingham Post Gay priest banned from working in Nottinghamshire after marrying his long-term partner

BBC Radio Lincolnshire has an extended discussion of the matter in this programme, starting at 2 hours, 10 minutes, and running for about 12 minutes. Recommended if you have the time.

Blog:

Ekklesia Savi Hensman Punishing married gay clergy is Church of England own goal

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Phil Groom
Guest

Time for the C of E to fire a Bishop, I’d say…

Father David
Guest
Father David

Is there now any point in holding the long awaited facilitated conversations? If they are to be held at some date in the future what are they expected to achieve?

Karen MacQueen
Guest
Karen MacQueen

The other shoe has finally dropped. To put it mildly, this revocation of a priest’s license is very ill advised. Again, the bishops send the message to LGBTI young people, “There is no place for you in the Church; no place for you among the married; no place for you in God’s kingdom.” Thank God, most young people no longer listen to the Church’s leadership. Who could blame them? How cynical can the bishops be? Will the gay bishops currently serving speak out in defense of our young people? Don’t hold your breath. They long ago chose power and privilege… Read more »

Jean Mayland (Revd)
Guest
Jean Mayland (Revd)

I am very disappointed that the Bishop of Southwell has taken this action which I think is wrong and sinful. I am so glad that the NHS is more Christ like than the Bishops

Wilf
Guest
Wilf

Anyone have any further information about Andrew Brown’s claim that the Bishop of Norwich is to maintain a list of clergy who will not be eligible for further appointment? I seem to have missed this thus far.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

This is why I urged gay-affirming churches to form a coalition for collective action, several months ago. It seems invidious for individual, loving people to be picked off like this, when in fact half the church sees nothing wrong with same-sex marriage. Those PCCs, priests and local church communities who in good conscience believe in affirming gay and lesbian married couples… …should act in coalition, set a date for collective action, and from that date openly celebrate and dedicate and bless the gay and lesbian couples in their communities. Meanwhile, the ‘facilitated discussions’ feel like someone opening negotiations with a… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

Presumably NHS lawyers are, as we speak, hiding under tables in foetal positions, hoping that if they mumble about marmalade enough they could get a gig voicing Paddington Bear now that Colin Firth has said he won’t do it. Anything, indeed, rather than touching this case with a ten foot pole. In principle, if you lose your license to perform your job, that is grounds for dismissal. If a doctor, for example, if struck off by the GMC then they lose their job with the NHS, as it is no longer legal for them to practice as a doctor. However,… Read more »

Stephen Morgan
Guest
Stephen Morgan

I don’t know why anyone is surprised. Deliver a decree – weather the initial outcry – do nothing for a couple of months – then ‘quietly’ sack him – oh, sorry, withdraw his permission to officiate (same thing.) Of course, the HofB are in a bit of a bind because Jeremy Pemberton doesn’t actually work for them, being employed by the NHS, who probably don’t give a flying bishop whom he’s married to. ‘the Bishop of Norwich is to maintain a list of clergy who will not be eligible for further appointment.’ In other reports he has a ‘blacklist’ or… Read more »

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

“I am very disappointed that the Bishop of Southwell has taken this action which I think is wrong and sinful. I am so glad that the NHS is more Christ like than the Bishops Posted by: Jean Mayland (Revd) on Monday, 23 June 2014 at 11:24am BST” I am not commenting on the story nor your comment but would like to add the following fact: Richard Inwood is not the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham. He is the retired suffragan Bishop of Bedford who is acting-Bishop in Southwell & Nottingham where he undertakes this role, I am given to understand,… Read more »

Paul
Guest
Paul

How about those clergy who are angry at Jeremy being treated in this way taking some form of collective action or protest? It would send a message to the wider world that not all in the church are motivated by homophobia and it might send a message to the bishops that what is done in the dark will be brought into the light.

Alastair Newman
Guest

Removal of PTO will have no impact as regards the NHS here. The removal of PTO is for Southwell and Nottingham diocese, whereas Canon Pemberton is employed within hospitals in Lincoln diocese, where PTO has not been withdrawn.

Jean Mayland
Guest
Jean Mayland

Thanks for your correction Laurence.My point still stands though.

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

Let’s try and get this straight, once and for all. I am employed by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust full-time as Deputy Senior Chaplain and Deputy Bereavement and Voluntary Services Manager. I have a General Preacher’s Licence from the Bishop of Lincoln. I live in Southwell, where I sing professionally in the choir of the Minster as one of the lay clerks (can bass if you want to know). I preach regularly if occasionally at the Minster. And I held a Permission to Officiate from Bishop Paul Butler. It was hardly ever used, as at weekends I am singing in… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

This decision is surely not one an ‘acting’ bishop would feel was appropriately his to take in a temporary role. Bishop Inwood is presumably under orders. It may also places the incoming bishop in an awkward position if they would have acted differently.

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Canon Pemberton was fully aware of what the consequences would be of his actions, like it or no. The same is true of all commenting on this thread.The Church of England does not (yet) have a revised understanding of what marriage is. We are not at that point, so it’s no good bleating about what is an inevitable outcome of flouting doctrine in such a way!

iain mclean
Guest
iain mclean

Jeremy: If you are ever in Oxford, I hope you will ‘dep’ in the Cathedral Singers, who cover the services out of term. Best wishes, iain (Dec bass and emergency tenor).

http://cathedralsingers.org.uk/

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Glad to see Susannah and Paul suggest collective action. Strength in numbers is the only thing that’ll shift the unelected, unaccountable, and utterly discredited House of Patricians. It’s not just the bishops. Synod has appeased bigotry for decades. The one and only time it addressed the human rights of gay people, in the late eighties, it waved through homophobia by a crushing majority. The curse of the church are liberals who are privately supportive but publicly bigoted. At least you know where you stand with an honest fundamentalist. It doesn’t matter how nice a bishop is in person, if he… Read more »

Revd Laurie Roberts
Guest
Revd Laurie Roberts

I will never attend a C of E service again- unless a funeral.

As burying the dead is one the Corporal Works of Mercy.

I anticipate that, if I live long enough, I could be present at the said Church’s own last rites, and burial..

Father David
Guest
Father David

Seems to me that Bishop Richard Inwood is the Fall Guy in this whole episode and is merely acting on orders from above. In the circumstances it is a very temperate and measured response from Jeremy Pemberton. I was once interviewed for a parish in the St. Albans diocese by Bishop Inwood, he seemed to me to be quite an affable and friendly chap. I guess, as so often is the case in these short listings, the decision had already been decided as to who would be appointed and the panel was just going through the motions. I wasn’t offered… Read more »

Lorenzo
Guest

It is invidious indeed, Susannah, those PCCs, priests and local church communities who in good conscience believe in affirming gay and lesbian married couples… never seem to make much noise. We’re a tiny minority in the world at large, we can’t change things on our own, and in the church very few straight folks seem willing to stand with us. Makes me feel like such an embarrassment.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

I marvel at the commitment and courage of Jeremy and Laurence, as I pray that CoE leadership finds its moral compass. We in TEC would be happy to loan them one. (Speaking as a rank-and-file layperson).

Simon R
Guest
Simon R

Thank you for clarifying what some of us suspected, Jeremy. There is an inconsistency between the two English provinces. The Diocese of Lincoln is in the province of Canterbury. Southwell & Nottingham is in York. It looks like a quasi-papal opportunity for outside intervention was grasped during an episcopal interregnum by Bishopthorpe and its current occupant. I wonder why I have always doubted the sincerity of all the anti-homophobic grandstanding from that particular direction?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I find this whole process almost incredible in a supposedly synodically governed church. The HoB issued a statement. No-one, not even its own lawyers, is sure it can be enforced under its two possible measures for dealing with erring clergy. One of those measures would only allow it to write a stern letter to the priest in question. So when a priest gets married, they decide not even to test whether their stance is legal and under which of the 2 possible options it might be dealt with (which would affect the severity of any subsequent punishment) but just quietly… Read more »

Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente
Guest

“Will the gay bishops currently serving speak out in defense of our young people?” You’ll die of asphyxia before you can exhale, Karen, and not just the bishops. The sad truth is that most congregations are made up almost entirely of retired people who often harbour very different views from today’s youth on the matter of same-sex relationships, let alone marriage, which in turn makes it increasingly difficult for young people to see the church in a positive light. Has anyone taught a 6-form class recently? even in a CofE school?

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

Father David says, “Seems to me that Bishop Richard Inwood is the Fall Guy in this whole episode and is merely acting on orders from above.” I don’t understand this: if he is a diocesan bishop, and not a Roman Catholic one, then surely there is nothing “above” (juridically speaking). per Benedict’s comment, it has always struck me as a curious sort of reasoning which holds that the foreseeability of a wrong action justifies it. (The “you know you would get made fun of going out in that” school of justice). In any case, it’s far from obvious that getting… Read more »

Susan Cooper
Guest
Susan Cooper

Erica, Jeremy may be in the process of appealing. It would not be in his best interest to tell us that.

Chris S
Guest
Chris S

Benedict:

Her Majesty, “by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons,” has specifically authorized Her registrars to solemnize these marriages.

“We acknowledge that the Queen’s excellent Majesty, acting according to the laws of the realm, is the highest power under God in this kingdom,and has supreme authority over all persons in all causes, as well ecclesiastical as civil.”

How could participating in a ceremony that has been endorsed by the Queen in Parliament and is presided over by the Queen’s servants possibly be contrary to the law or doctrine of the church?

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Can anyone explain why, in the Northern Province, it ‘would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the Church’s teaching in their lives’, with the result that one’s PTO is revoked, yet get away with a Rev-style slap over the wrists and retain one’s PTO in the Southern Province? As for the farcical blacklist! The bishops can expect any action taken by them in relation to their pastoral statement to be incredibly high-profile, so there’s hardly any need for it. In any case, a… Read more »

Colin Coward
Guest

I’ve written to the Bishop of Norwich asking whether he would like to clarify the role he has taken on, given the various rumours that are circulating.

Gary Paul Gilbert
Guest
Gary Paul Gilbert

Is anyone really surprised by this latest development? Bishops in the C of E have the right to discriminate against LGBT priests because there is no churchwide policy prohibiting such discrimination. We have similar problems in the Episcopal Church, where liberal bishops but also a few conservative bishops have the right to do what they want. On paper, the Episcopal Church has opened discernment to ordained ministry to all regardless of gender and sexual orientation. But the practice is anything but open when there is a conservative diocesan bishop. Interested Observer makes a great point when he says that the… Read more »

Anne
Guest
Anne

Thank you Jeremy for explaining the situation so helpfully. My prayers are with you and your partner and wish you both every blessing from the God who made each one of us in his own image.

Peter Ould
Guest

Jeremy, does your licence in Lincoln have a renewal date on it?

John
Guest
John

Interesting times. Certain things are clear: (1) on this issue Sentamu has behaved like a slug; (2) the Bishop of Lincoln (plus maybe Welby) has behaved properly, that is, mild slap on the wrist followed by substantive (and eloquent) inaction; (3) Jeremy P comports himself with immense dignity – and with the assurance of full support from liberals – and not only liberals; for (4) Father David upholds the principle of decency, which itself transcends ideological boundaries; (5) Benedict (and others like him) aren’t motivated by vindictiveness or homophobia but regard this (that is, the ‘pastoral guidance’ of the HOB)… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

I hold more than one permissions to officiate.
Is this common within other provinces?

Turbulent Priest
Guest
Turbulent Priest

Erika: yes this is how the Church operates. That is, the authorities. For fear of whom we keep the doors shut, no doubt, but …

Father Ron Smith
Guest

As an outsider from the other side of the world, i wonder whether it is the Archbishop of York who is really responsible for this first burst of antipathy towards the idea of civil marriage status for a licensed clergy-person who happens to be gay? Perhaps the assistant bishop of any diocese that doesn’t have a diocesan might be expected to act according to the implied disciplinary measure. In this case, the active disciplinary procedure has to be the Archbishop of the Province. We can’t blame the Archbishop of Canterbury, who seems to have counselled caution on this matter. However,… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

How would Fr Pemberton be restored to good standing—via a divorce?!

[Lawrence, if you’re reading: the Episcopal Church Welcomes You (and your husband!)]

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“I marvel at the commitment and courage of Jeremy and Laurence, as I pray that CoE leadership finds its moral compass.”

Amen, amen to that fair prayer, say I.

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

these headlines keep suggesting that “The Church of England” is against marriage equality – but that doesn’t really seem to be the case: in parishes where they have out gay priests and elsewhere in the church, most people are supportive of equal rights and equal rites for their priests and for every gay person. So it sounds to me like only the leadership of the CE is opposed. And the leadership is a pretty small majority. And if I’m going to be entirely candid, I don’t for a minute believe that the majority of bishops sincerely oppose it either. Where… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Susan, if I understand correctly there is no possibility to appeal against the removal of PTO.

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

The discussion on this thread confuses licence (which is held under Common Tenure) and PTO (which is not). Jeremy’s statement makes it perfectly clear that the PTO has been withdrawn (which can be done without notice or appeal), whereas the licence under Common Tenure remains in place. That is why the situation in the two dioceses is different. It’s coincidental that they happen to be in two different provinces. It’s the legal position that determines what action can be taken.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“Bishops in the C of E have the right to discriminate against LGBT priests”

Christians might like to turn over in their minds the fact that pretty much the only organisations with exemptions from equality law (what a phrase to be proud of, “exemptions from equality law”) are religious. The rest of society say that discrimination is wrong. The Church of England is in the vanguard of demands that discrimination is good, and they demand the legal right to continue doing it.

“So it sounds to me like only the leadership of the CE is opposed…where is it coming from?”

Africa.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Geoff, Bishop Inwood is merely Acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, having retired as a Suffragan Bishop from the diocese of St. Albans (Thinks, wasn’t Bishop Inwood one of those bishops who wrote a letter opposing Jeffrey John’s aborted consecration as Bishop of Reading? If so, it must have been a very uncomfortable relationship when J J became Dean of St. Albans!). The See of Southwell and Nottingham is currently vacant as the previous bishop – Paul Butler – has been translated to Durham. So, I don’t think for a moment that Richard Inwood acted off his own bat without… Read more »

peter kettle
Guest

Martin Reynolds: I have held pto in two dioceses and still hold it in one while being licensed in the other.

Sound
Guest
Sound

I am beginning to think that the continual discussion of the situation of another priest by priests should itself be a disciplinary offence. Gossip and speculation in public is a corrosive thing. It is now very clear that the discipline to be imposed for same sex marriage is a rebuke. The removal of PtO is a cheap shot side show. Why the need for further public discussion. If some conservative clergy have a problem with it, then best to write in private to those concerned. And to keep it private.

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

“[Lawrence, if you’re reading: the Episcopal Church Welcomes You (and your husband!)]” JCF

Thank you for the offer, but I’m not a Christian 🙂

“I marvel at the commitment and courage of Jeremy and Laurence” Cynthia

That’s very kind of you to include my name alongside Jeremy’s, Cynthia, but I have done nothing courageous.

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

I hardly think. as “Sound” suggests, that discussion of a subject which has appeared in most national newspapers is gossip which should be kept private. The recent marriages should be welcomed as assisting Archbishop Welby’s never-to-end listening process. The priests and their husbands have sent a message to Justin saying “We’re now married – just like you. Is what we’re saying loud enough?”

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

I don’t think Laurence and I have been courageous. All we have done is exercise our right to marry – and that was a personal, conscientious, moral and, from my perspective, spiritual decision. It was not done with an eye to notoriety or influence

But I am grateful that some people recognise that two of us are involved in this.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Laurence, I confused your name and your husband’s (see why I refer to myself as An Ignorant Yank? :-X). I meant to say, “Jeremy, if you’re reading…”

[And Laurence, you ***need not be a Christian***, to enjoy the warmth of welcome in the Episcopal Church. This is an often an accusation used against us in TEC, to which I am happy to confess. :-)]

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

Thank you Pete for pointing out the simple facts. I’m still surprised that journalists didn’t quite get those facts, and even more surprised that some clergy didn’t get them.
Can you shed any further light on the suggestion that Graham James is the keeper of some special list? It doesn’t seem like it would be accurate.