THINKING ANGLICANS

Married clergyman banned in Winchester

Updated Sunday evening

Canon Jeremy Davies, the retired precentor of Salisbury Cathedral has been denied Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Winchester.

Salisbury canon banned from preaching in Winchester over gay marriage

A CLERGYMAN from Salisbury has been banned from taking services in Winchester because he married his gay partner last year.

Canon Jeremy Davies, who served as Canon Precentor at Salisbury Cathedral for more than 25 years, has been told he cannot preach in the Winchester Diocese because he married opera singer Simon McEnery.

Winchester Cathedral had recently asked Canon Davies to take a number of services in the future, which he will now not be allowed to carry out.

The Diocese of Winchester objected to the fact that a year ago, Canon Davies married his partner of nearly thirty years.

Since the wedding, Jeremy has taken more than half a dozen services in Winchester Cathedral, with no objections.

In fact, Jeremy has been much in demand since his retirement, preaching and lecturing regularly both in the UK and the United States.

A spokesman for the Winchester Diocese said: “Canon Jeremy Davies made an application earlier this year for permission to officiate in the Diocese of Winchester.

“Due to the Church of England’s position on same sex marriage, as set out in the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance, Canon Jeremy Davies has been informed that his application has been unsuccessful.”

Updates

This story has now been reported in the Telegraph, the Guardian, the Mail, the Sun, the Mirror, and on the BBC.

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Susannah Clark
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The real crux is: when will a local church defy the episcopal ‘imperium’ and have the courage to say, “Well we’re asking him to preside at our services anyway?” For example, if an open-minded parish and church like St John’s Waterloo invited Jeremy to preside at their services, on grounds of conscience, what could the Church of England hierarchy do? Close down a whole Christian community? It saddens me, that brave, honest, and decent individuals are being picked off, one by one, (as I predicted, incidentally, on this forum). It needs a PCC, and its church community, to take a… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Incidentally, the concept of ‘guided conversations’ while long-serving priests are being effectively fired for their sexual orientation and decent lives is negotiating with a gun held to your head. PCCs should become the Rosa Parkes of the Church of England at this point, and set the agenda for their own local communities, not have the agenda set for them. As a transsexual woman of faith, I haven’t a clue whether the episcopacy regards my relationship with my partner as gay, heterosexual, lesbian or what? And whether I could marry and still be a priest (not that I personally want to… Read more »

David Exham
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David Exham

Thanks to our father below that the Diocese of Winchester has acted with such commendable promptness in removing a long-serving, faithful, and committed priest’s permission to officiate because he entered into a civil marriage with his gay partner. Had it not done so the diocese would have been plunged into a sink of sinfulness, an abyss of iniquity, from which it might have taken decades, even centuries, to recover; the moral fabric of Winchester would never have been the same. When it is recalled that in civil partnership, they could with the Church’s blessing, have shared in a civil ceremony… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Agreed about local resistance, Susannah, but I’d go further: since the bishops are using coercion against LGB people, their force should be met with lawful and peaceful coercion. Every church that rejects a traditional position should withhold its parish share in full, call on its members to withhold all personal donations, and refuse to assist with any non-essential diocesan business (funerals, safeguarding etc excepted) until this discrimination stops. Further, protests at every single public appearance by bishops, and bishops confronted in private conversation whenever they initiate it. This treatment continues until the diocesan bishop states plainly that he or she… Read more »

June Butler
Guest

What a sad post to read so early in the morning – 25 years of faithful service by Jeremy Davies rewarded with denial of permission to officiate. It’s easy for church authorities to pick off “disobedient” clergy one by one, though I can’t think how they square their actions with their consciences. Susannah Clark is correct: there need to be further acts of “ecclesiastical disobedience” throughout the church to support the courageous few clergy and save the church from the authorities who seem to have missed the message of the Gospel.

Russell Dewhurst
Guest
Russell Dewhurst

Under Canon C8 (2), would Canon Davies be able to officiate “for a period of not more than seven days within three months without reference to the bishop or other Ordinary” without a PTO? Is it possible that his University (Cambridge) would give him a licence to allow him to preach throughout England (see the same canon); or do the rules of the cathedral chapter allow the Chapter, if they want to, to make him some kind of a super-numerary member of Chapter, which would also allow him to officiate under that same canon?

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

“Canon Jeremy Davies has been informed that his application has been unsuccessful.”

What a mealy-mouthed, cowardly turn of phrase. If the Diocese of Winchester wants to take this kind of action, it ought to be honest enough to say “The Diocese of Winchester has denied his application,” rather than relying on the passive voice, with its implication that this decision was made by some nameless body floating around in the ether.

Leigh Hatts
Guest
Leigh Hatts

This is very bad news for us at St Stephen’s Bournemouth where we are in our fourth year without a priest.

The congregation has greatly benefitted from Canon Jeremy Davies’s regular visits to celebrate and preach. It has been a joy to have his thoughtful sermons when we are passing through a difficult time.

By his willingness to come he has shown that we are not forgotten in this beleaguered corner of the Winchester Diocese.

Penelope
Guest
Penelope

The article quoted says that the Diocese of Winchester objected. Surely, this is untrue. Only +Tim Dakin objected.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

The key thing is to hold all English diocesan bishops to account for the actions of any one.

They choose to hide their personal opinions behind “collegiality,” well fine: they gave the Pastoral Guidance their unanimous consent, they all pay lip service to the homophobic ‘Issues …’ and in consequence, they’re all guilty. When a group gives a wrong their unanimous consent, collective guilt isn’t merely just, it’s mandatory.

Any English diocesan who doesn’t dissent or resign is culpable. They’re at the moral level of segregationists, and should be treated as such.

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

Susanah is right. Those of you who oppose this in England must stand up and DO something. Announce your resistance and act on it. Waste no more time with these conversations while lives are being destroyed and the church in England becomes a useless and unjust gaggle of bigots in robes. If you do nothing then nothing will change and YOU share responsibility for what happens. Wringing your hands and saying “What a shame” isn’t enough. Let’s see some parishes make announcements of their disobedience, see some priests and bishops speak out and promise to act with Justice. Read Dr.… Read more »

Stephen Morgan
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Stephen Morgan

Remember Jeremy Davies from way back in the late 1980’s when he was a leading light in organising an amazing day-long drama of a Way of the Cross in Salisbury, assisted by many citizens, schoolchildren and students from Salisbury & Wells Theological College, of which I was one. I’m not sure a church which treats its clergy in this way is worth saving!

Colin Coward
Guest

I note that the information in the Salisbury Journal was given by a spokesperson for the diocese and Bishop Tim’s name seems to have been carefully kept out of the report. The spokesperson said “Canon Jeremy Davies has been informed that his application has been unsuccessful.” This is a very strange way of putting it – his application has been refused is more accurate. Jeremy has a permission to officiate in the Diocese of Salisbury, given to him by the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, presumably. Jeremy was licensed in his post as Canon Theologian at the cathedral… Read more »

Benedict
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Benedict

I’m sorry, but Father Davies, just like Jeremy Pemberton, would have been well aware of the Church’s position on this, agree with it or not, so the claims made on this thread are bordering on ludicrous. As the judgement on Fr Pemberton suggested, we cannot pick and choose as if from an a la carte menu what our response to particular aspects of church policy/teaching will be.

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

“As the judgement on Fr Pemberton” Benedict

Jeremy never uses the title ‘Father’.

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

Benedict: “the church’s position on this…”

No, that is the position of the largely self-appointed and self-replicating leadership of the Church of England who has tried to quash any opposition. It can and will change, and then all of the public official apologies for this homophobia will regret this sort of thing.

I assume that when that stage is reached you will be happy to remind yourself that you know the position of the church on this sort of bigotry. One wouldn’t want to “pick and choose” what to accept once marriage equality is finally recognized and allowed in the CofE.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Did Tim Dakin have any involvement in the removal of Jeremy’s Permission to Officiate? Given that Tim is on the committee of the Evangelical group in synod that stated that “appropriate sacramental discipline should apply to those who choose to enter into any sexual relationship other than within marriage between a man and a woman”, his Church Army role, his position until recently as General Secretary of CMS, and his former position as vice-chair of Fulcrum, I imagine he would hold the position of the half of the Church that regards gay sex as a sin – a position implicitly… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Isn’t it time that someone organised a protest around the January primates’ gathering?

The Church of England of England needs to be put on notice that England doesn’t stand for this.

Likewise the primates need to understand that the local English context requires change.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Benedict, If the Church protects opponents of female ordination on conscience grounds, why can’t it protect conscience on the grounds of human sexuality too? I am in favour of the protection of conscience in both categories. It could be argued that creating islands of protection for opponents of female ordination is itself a bit ‘a la carte’. The point is, the majority of church members today have no problem with gay and lesbian sex. The church is divided down the middle. There is no uniform view. Being legalistic doesn’t really address the spirit of the situation, which is driven not… Read more »

Chris A
Guest
Chris A

Leigh Hatts then you know what you have to do? Just carry on inviting Canon Davies to minister to you. Let the Bishop send the police to refuse him entry if he wishes.

David Beadle
Guest
David Beadle

Benedict, the “Pastoral Guidance” from the Bishops does not constitute the rules of the Church of England. It is a document practically scrawled on the back of an envelope without any due process. Justin Welby has said that it is up to each Diocesan Bishop how they apply discipline in these instances, so it is not even clear that Bishops themselves know what the rules in response to these sorts of situations should be.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

So hateful. Is this really the Good News? Is this loving our neighbor?

So sad to see this extreme and spiteful homophobic behaviour from CoE, yet again. The bishops who are displaying this hateful behaviour are considered a “focus of unity?” Really?

As long as “unity” is a rallying cry, CoE members are accomplices if you do nothing about it. Yes, accomplices. Your leadership takes silence as leverage to declare “unity” around the homophobic positions and bishops.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Jesus wept.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“The point is, the majority of church members today have no problem with gay and lesbian sex.”

Susannah, if I have a problem w/ this phrase, it’s because I no more accept “gay and lesbian sex”, than I accept “heterosexual sex”.

I accept, nay CELEBRATE, ***loving spousal relationships*** between a couple. However intimacy (including physical intimacy) is expressed between two spouses, is simply none of my (or anyone else’s, Bishop!) business.

Simon Tarlton
Guest
Simon Tarlton

I am deeply respectful of and in solidarity with the pain and frustration so may are feeling in response to the CofE’s insistence on the maintenance of dated, dusty, out-of-step rules and opinions. I deplore the intrusiveness into loving, committed relationships. But, my dear brothers and sisters, it is not just the gay community who are discriminated against. I am a 52 year old heterosexual ordinand in his third year of training. When I went to BAP I presented as a single (divorced over 10 years ago) man, whose former partner is still alive (now a good and supportive friend).… Read more »

Concerned Anglican
Guest
Concerned Anglican

All of this adds further to the woes of the Diocese of Winchester: Extremely poor judgement in the handling of charges of abuse in Jersey, which led to the effective annexation of the Channel Islands by Canterbury. The Diocese of Winchester is almost financially bankrupt. Morale is low and now this. What happened in London over the Fr. Andrew Cain case where he married his male partner would have been a better way to proceed – a good old C of E muddling through. Nobody objected to Fr. Cain’s new marital position (not even conservative evangelicals) and so after a… Read more »

Turbulent Priest
Guest
Turbulent Priest

Benedict—the same sort of argument could have been used to say that Rosa Parks (or anyone else in 1960s USA who sat in the wrong part of the bus) should have expected what was coming to her. The bishops were not unanimous in supporting the “pastoral statement” because we know that a good number of them abstained. And also that there are widely differing applications of the Pastoral Statement–as made explicit by Bishop Inwood’s evidence to the Pemberton tribunal. As already stated, those of us who witnessed Jeremy’s ministry in Salisbury, including the Way of the Cross, will know how… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Are we in fact seeing a consistency here? Licences and PTOs are not being revoked, but new licences and PTOs are not being given? That seems to be the case for both Jeremys — JP in Lincoln and in Southwell; JD in Salisbury and Winchester. Has anyone lost a PTO, rather than being refused a new one? (Licences are not so easy to remove, I think.) A counter-example will readily disprove this hypothesis. I don’t suggest that this is a good state of affairs, though if it’s the case it clearly could be worse (if PTOs were being removed, not… Read more »

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

Simon – yes. Much of the stuff on TA ignores the fact that Licences and PTOs are different in kind. A priest with an existing licence (or benefit of freehold) can *only* have that licence removed via CDM or EJM proceedings. An existing PTO can be removed without appeal (though not without communication with the priest involved – but there is no *right* to hold PTO). A new licence or PTO does not have to be given (and, for instance, can be withheld from a priest who refuses to undergo a DBS check) No doubt that won’t satisfy those who… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

All of this hullaballoo after the Archbishop of Canterbury’s frank talk with the Press about his positive reaction to the possibility of a Gay child’s Same-Sex Civil Marriage!

Really, our Mother Church of England must begin to get its corporate act together – or lose the respect and confidence of the rest of us in the Anglican Communion. (‘Mercy before Judgement’).

Turbulent Priest
Guest
Turbulent Priest

Bishop Pete: It is interesting that you should use refusing a DBS check as another example of a reason for which a PTO can be refused. Everyone trained in child protection knows that the reason for being especially careful about people who refuse a check is that they may well have something to hide. The analogy is especially hurtful, isn’t it. I’ll leave others to join the dots. And because in the case of a DBS check a bishop would presumably have no choice in the matter, it isn’t even an accurate one.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Simon K
Yes, we have seen an existing PtO revoked, in Southwell & Nottingham.

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

The DBS check thing is an example. I intend no parallel or inference. It happens to be one of the reasons why application for PTO has been refused of late. Umbrage and offence-taking doesn’t help sensible discussion, if I may say so. Another reason to withhold PTO would be if they hadn’t got the right to work in the UK. Example is not analogy.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“DBS check”? queried the Ignorant Yank.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

One wonders whether the situation will be any different in February, after the primates have gathered and (one may hope) agreed to disagree about such things.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

” Umbrage and offence-taking doesn’t help sensible discussion, if I may say so.” You can say so, but this is a moral issue and CoE is horrifically on the wrong side. It looks very much that “focus of unity” means “unity” around bigotry and homophobic discrimination that would be illegal and intolerable in the secular world. Further, it seems that this is very much about kowtowing to human rights abusers in Africa – particularly Uganda, Nigeria, and Kenya. When is that OK? Why would that be OK? Why wouldn’t people be offended? As a gay person I take offense and… Read more »

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

Yes, we have seen an existing PtO revoked, in Southwell & Nottingham.
Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 13 December 2015 at 10:17pm GMT

… and also, though for a Reader – and yet another Jeremy, in York.

Turbulent priest
Guest
Turbulent priest

+PB: I didn’t take umbrage at your DBS example. Merely pointing out something about the example which may have revealed a subconscious train of thought. I do take umbrage at the treatment of the two Jeremys but that’s different.

As for the right to work example, that’s again an issue outside a bishop’s control.

Deselecting people you don’t agree with is not a constructive approach.

Russell Dewhurst
Guest
Russell Dewhurst

Many thanks to Bishop of Willesden for reminding us of the difference between PTO and a licence/benefice in these circumstances. A licensed priest whose licence is revoked has the opportunity to put his case in an ecclesiastical court or tribunal and hear the arguments against him. But, it is said, retired priests and others who rely on PTO can have their right to exercise their ministry taken from them without any due process. It seems wrong to me that priests who have given themselves “wholly to their office”, as the Ordinal has it, in a lifetime’s service, should have a… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

“Umbrage and offence-taking doesn’t help sensible discussion, if I may say so.” But the same might have been said by segregationists in the States in the 1960s. Or by the Soviet politburo during the dissident movements in the 1970s. The discrimination of gay and lesbian Christians – and LGBT people generally – by the Church of England is extraordinarily offensive, and diminishes people’s lives. Discussion takes place here on Thinking Anglicans. Contributors can be both offended *and* reasonable… persuasive, passionate, logical, heart-felt. I believe there is plenty of grace in these columns. And patience, and long-suffering. Should justice be gagged,… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

“Much of the stuff on TA ignores the fact that Licences and PTOs are different in kind.”

Pete: that may be the case but the frustration is that bishops seem to ignore the fact that PtO has been given in Salisbury but denied in Winchester. Can I invite you to comment on that? It does rather suggest the House of Bishops can’t quite agree on this issue doesn’t it?

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

I didn’t say “belligerent”. I think TA is a useful forum, but the single issue focus does tend to mean that nearly all comments are read through an LGBTI lens. There is a major question (already being discussed on social networks and being aired in the Courts here in the UK) about whether “being offended” constitutes a matter about which people should complain or seek to get redress of grievance. I think we need to be a bit more robust in our debates. I also think that there is a tendency constantly to impugn the motives of those with whom… Read more »

David Beadle
Guest
David Beadle

I think Russell Dewhurst has hit the nail on the head. It is precisely knowing the difference between PTOs and Licenses, as well as new Licences and those already granted that makes the treatment of clergy so deplorable.

Bishops are preventing priests from exercising ministry only where they believe they cannot be challenged, while they are too afraid of losing their case in ecclesiastical courts – so uncertain are they of their legal basis for wrecking the lives, careers and Godly ministries of priests in same-sex marriages.

Derek Jay
Guest
Derek Jay

Jeremy is one of the most gifted preachers I have ever encountered – I still remember his sermon at the Glastonbury Pilgrimage 35 years ago about Chaucer’s pilgrims and today’s pilgrims in air-conditioned coaches – journey of life, companions etc. Also about 10 years ago at the Edington Festival about a church mouse and how buildings speak of holiness. I last saw him when he preached at our cathedral in Bristol on the feast of the Assumption. Chatting afterwards he mused on the fact that he only had to travel about 3 miles from the house where he now lives… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Pete, thanks for your reply, and no, I don’t seek to impugn you personally, any more than I seek to impugn my cousin, also a bishop, who I respect highly as a decent human being. You say: “In relation to unity in diversity, that only works if you accept the premise that a core unity is possible in (for example) the Anglican Communion as it currently exists. Unity in diversity is only possible if we can agree a core around which to be unified (which I don’t see at present).” Pete, our core unity is only, ever, in Jesus Christ… Read more »

Robert Ellis
Guest
Robert Ellis

I think the thing that gets me more than anything is that there will never be any real accountability in these decisions which have been taken by the hierarchy. The trouble is that we all get tarred with the same brush….and people can shout until they are blue in the face…but this is all homophobia wrapped up in bad theology. Yesterday I was doing locum duty again in a local church here in Staffordshire. In the vestry there must have been about 40 children and teenagers choir cassocks and surplices. Each one perfectly labelled with Christian names and beautifully laundered.… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“There is a major question (already being discussed on social networks and being aired in the Courts here in the UK) about whether “being offended” constitutes a matter about which people should complain or seek to get redress of grievance.” Just be sure to understand that people who hold homophobic beliefs are merely offended when we LGBTQ people are treated fully as Children of God. On the other hand, LGBTQ people on the receiving end of discrimination and hate language are suffering actual pain. That is why this is a moral problem. To be crystal clear: language that suggests that… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“I think TA is a useful forum, but the single issue focus does tend to mean that nearly all comments are read through an LGBTI lens.” But of course, there is almost no voice for open, honest, and holy LGBTQ people in the House of Bishops, and it seems missing from the General Synod. The CoE leadership is seemingly “unified” around brutal discrimination or inaction in the face of it. So the voice is desperately needed. If you look at the CIF section of the Guardian, I think you’ll find that the general population has very strong views on intolerance… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“I think TA is a useful forum, but the single issue focus does tend to mean that nearly all comments are read through an LGBTI lens.”

Perhaps because this is the issue on which thinking Anglicanism and unthinking bigotry are presently in greatest conflict.

A few years ago there would have been much more about women bishops. Fortunately that battle has been largely won. This one will be too.