Tuesday, 6 July 2010

more about Southwark

That radio interview has drawn attention from no less a person than Jon Snow of Channel 4 News. He wrote on his blog about it today, see Faith and hate.

As is my wont, I awakened to the tones of the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4. The day’s controversy centred on the news that Dr Jeffrey John – the gay Anglican Dean of St Albans, who lives in a civil partnership, was being considered to become the Bishop of Southwark.

The raised voices came in a debate between two Anglican priests, in which one, Canon Chris Sugden – Executive Secretary of something called Anglican Mainstream – raised his voice in protest against the proposed appointment.

He was enraged that a priest who had indulged in an “active gay relationship” with the man whom he now enjoyed a civil partnership, was now being considered to become a Bishop. The Canon dismissed the suggestion that Dr John was now celibate. I already sensed that the discussion had veered into the priestly private life further than felt comfortable at 7.10 in the morning. But the Canon ploughed on.

He described an active homosexual, who had now become celibate, as akin to “someone entering the Cabinet having once fiddled his expenses”. The climax to the Canon’s wrath was that his fellow Canon had “never apologised” for his journey from active homosexuality to celibacy…

Reform has issued one of their rare press statements, see Comment from Reform on Jeffrey John, the dean of St Albans, being nominated for the post of bishop of Southwark:

“Dr John’s teaching regarding homosexual practice is contrary to both the Bible and to the current doctrine of the Church of England. To appoint him Bishop would send two very clear signals. First that the diocese of Southwark wants to walk in a different direction to the Church of England’s doctrine. Second that there is now little to stop the Church of England proceeding in the same divisive direction as the Episcopal Church in the USA . We would support churches in Southwark seeking alternative oversight should Dr John be appointed.”

Reform was established in 1993 and is a network of churches and individuals within the Church of England. Current individual membership is around 1,700, in addition to 35 member churches. More than 350 ordained clergy are Reform members.

Colin Coward has blogged about this topic, see Conservative evangelicals threaten to split church, defy bishops and withdraw financial support.

And yesterday, he wrote The new paradigm unfolds on Radio 4 between Chris Sugden and Giles Fraser!

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Categorised as: Church of England

I know that we have been here before but shouldn't a congregation which withholds its diocesan quota on the grounds that it doesn't like its bishop have the clergy's stipend stopped?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 9:27pm BST

The conservative evangelicals have achieved great power through bullying and threatening to leave the Church. Anglo-Catholics who cannot bear the thought of a woman's hands on their heads have done the same.

This is nonsense. The only outcome of accommodating a bully is that the bully will demand more. Accommodation only dignifies these folks' claims and gives them a heady sense of power.

The ABC and others in charge need to come to their senses and stand up to bullying. Then we will discover how hollow and pathetic all this effort to control by intimidation actually turns out to be.

Posted by: jnwall on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 10:27pm BST

One can't fail always to be impressed by Fr Colin Coward's reasoned arguments, the gentle way in which he expresses them and his lack of rancour. Contrast that with the ugly voices of Sugden, Raven and their bigoted ilk and it is clear a gay priest is much nearer to Christ than the bigots who would be rid of him.

Posted by: Rev Sidney Jensen on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 10:27pm BST

"We would support churches in Southwark seeking alternative oversight should Dr John be appointed".

- Paul Dawson, 'Reform' Statement -

SO! the oxymoronmically-named 'Reform' spokes-person is nailing his colours to the mast on this particular issue!

This entity ('Reform') is as mis-named as the one entitled 'Forward in Faith'; in that there is very little 'reformation' or 'forward-looking' paradigm involved in the testimony of either sodality.

The inference here, though, is currently couched in the threatening terms of out-and-out rebellion - against the Mind of the Church - if it should turn out that Dean Jeffrey John actually become the next canonically-appointed Bishop of Southwark.

These stand-over bullying tactics have been the culture of symptomatic harassment of the ABC and other leading Bishops of the Church of England in the recent past. Let's all hope and pray that the bullying does not pay off once more - to the permanent detriment of good order and discipline in the C.of E. and the Anglican Communion as a whole. Let 'Semper Reformanda!' not be scuttled by any group of backward-looking world-denying anti-gay or anti-women 'men-of-the-cloth'.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 1:51am BST

If I had been Giles Fraser... I would have said to Canon Sugden.

Will you confirm on this radio programme that amongst so called bible believing Christians there is no consensus as to what constitutes heterosexual immorality. That is you can never agree what the Bible says about diviorce and re-marriage. Will you distance yourself from ACNA for approving bishops who are divorcees?

That would have stopped him in his track....

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 6:30am BST

Fr Sugden has apparently not yet learned that with homosexuality as with National Socialism, analogies are doomed to fail. Throw embezzlement on the pile of nefarious activities to which the relationships of gay Christians have been likened. It's a step up from paedophilia, but the Radical Right's shrill insistence against any accommodation of faithful people just trying to play the hand they've been dealt is well past its sell-by date.

Fair point to Fr Sugden for pointing out the inanity of being hung up on the casuistry of celibacy - it's just a pity he doesn't take it to its logical conclusion and acknowledge that it is the moral character of relationships that counts and not the crude ability to insert tab A into slot B.

Posted by: Geoff on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 6:33am BST

I'm surprised to find myself partially agreeing with the statement from Reform. There at least some of us in the diocese of Southwark that want to "walk in a different direction to the Church of England’s doctrine"

The walk in question being away from discrimination...

Posted by: Tom McLean on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 8:25am BST

Geoff, Canon Sugden would not accept the title Father......it has only used in Anglican circles since the Anglo-catholic revival of the nineteenth century.

Evangelicals do not like the title Father as it undermines what Jesus said, about calling no man Father. Of course they take that out of context.

Mainstream Anglicans address their minister as Rector or Vicar, or Mr/ Mrs.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 5:36pm BST

Geoff, Canon Sugden would not accept the title Father......it has only used in Anglican circles since the Anglo-catholic revival of the nineteenth century.'

RC secular (diocesan) priests were also called "Mister" up to the nineteenth century too.

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 8:45pm BST

RIW: "the title Father... has only used in Anglican circles since the Anglo-catholic revival of the nineteenth century"

Of course, Roman Catholic secular priests were not referred to as "Father" before that time either, Robert.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 8:50pm BST

Pantycelyn: "Canon Sugden would not accept the title Father"

Which would be one of the reasons some of us would use it... For the amusement, rather than maliciously, mind!

Posted by: Tom McLean on Thursday, 8 July 2010 at 10:13am BST

One of our more mischievous Southern ladies here in the Diocese of Georgia made a point of referring to an *extremely anglo-catholic* "orthodox" type here as "Mr." or "Reverend" - the more irritated he got, the bolder she got, jovially calling him "Rabbi" and "Roshi" and, on one memorably-explosive occasion, "Baba-ji".

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 5:47am BST

Laughter must have its place.

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 10:23pm BST
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