Comments: BBC Sunday programme interviews Jeremy Timm

I heard the interview and I thought that Jeremy Timm was sensible, moderate in tone and made a good case. John Sentamu was unsurprisingly 'unavailable' for comment.

The Archbishop of York has got himself into a bit of a mess over this one. Jeremy Timm is a lay person and despite heroic efforts on the part of the Bishop of Sodor and Man to persuade us otherwise there really is no legislation that upholds what Sentamu has done. Even the now historic and quasi - official 'Issues in Sexuality' cannot be twisted to apply in the Timm case.

I have no doubt that the Archbishop will not yield but his action has been undertaken on no other basis than his own say so and it has been found wanting. This is a serious misuse of power.

The only pity is that Jeremy Timm has felt it necessary to leave the C of E (at least for the moment) as in so doing he has let the Archbishop off the hook of his own impaling.

Posted by Concerned Anglican at Sunday, 16 August 2015 at 1:13pm BST

This latest development regarding Jeremy Timm seems to suggest that the former Acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham - Richard Inwood - was merely the puppet in the case of Canon Jeremy Pemberton's PTO refusal and someone else higher up the ecclesiastical ladder was pulling the strings. Jeremy Timm came over very well in the interview as a devoted Reader whose ministry is obviously greatly valued in the Howden Team Ministry.
I felt sorry for the Bishop of Sodor and Man who was drafted in to hold the line. In the circumstances he also interviewed well but the great weakness in his argument surely concerned the Diocesan post code lottery. Hard Cheese if you happen to reside in the Diocese of York but in another diocese with another bishop the result might not have been so Draconian as it was for Mr. Timm.

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 16 August 2015 at 2:41pm BST

Frankly, would Jeremy Timm even want to continue in the C of E after such treatment? Unless ++John makes a really humble public apology, I think JT would be fully justified in severing his connection. Which is deeply sad because he spoke with such inspirational eloquence about his diaconal ministry.

Posted by Sister Mary at Sunday, 16 August 2015 at 4:27pm BST

Concerned, it is indeed a serious misuse of power. The latest in a long line which we all know will end only at his retirement (at least we can hope!)

Posted by DBD at Sunday, 16 August 2015 at 5:10pm BST

'This is a serious misuse of power'. I absolutely agree. It's disgraceful. How one despises the authors of these deeds.

Posted by John at Sunday, 16 August 2015 at 6:13pm BST

According to the Bishop of Sodor and Man, it's all a matter of doctrine. Jeremy can't be a reader proclaiming doctrine as the Church of England has received it if by his actions he declares that "I do not believe this fairly important piece of doctrine" (around 29.08 in the recording). So it's acceptable for clergy, readers and even Bishops to publicly question and express doubt in everything from the Virgin Birth to the Resurrection from pulpits up and down the country, but the line is drawn at a definition of marriage which at worst is questioned indirectly and by inference? The Bishop insults the intelligence if his listeners.

Posted by Disgraceful at Sunday, 16 August 2015 at 9:46pm BST

"I felt sorry for the Bishop of Sodor and Man who was drafted in to hold the line" Father David

Given that the role of Bishop of Sodor and Man is not one of bonded labour, he was quite free to say whatever he wished, or have been as 'unavailable for comment' as the Archbishop. From that, one can assume that either (a) he agrees with what has been done or (b) is prepared to collude in it.

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Sunday, 16 August 2015 at 9:52pm BST

'This is a serious misuse of power.'

Does he actually have power to do this?

Why would the local church want to roll over and accept this, if in all good conscience they accept Jeremy Timms?

And if the local church simply said, collectively, actually, Jeremy is going to continue to officiate and fully belong at OUR local church community, what could the Archbishop possibly do?

If people's consciences are trampled all over, and they *let* their consciences - and the long-term love and acceptance of Jeremy - to be trampled all over... then in one sense they are being complicit.

Very easy to say from a distance, I know. But in reality, on the ground, the Archbishop does not have the power to enforce his stupid threat, unless people let him. What would he do, if a community said, actually, we prefer to stand by our own conscience on this issue? Would he send in the police and bar the doors of the church? He knows that would be an act of defeat, as would any punitive action he tried to take against other members of this local church.

Collectively, if a church community stands square behind its oppressed member, they have the power (both moral and de facto), not the Archbishop.

The lesson to be learned: you can't 'own' other people's consciences. This is not the imperial church of the medieval papacy.

And the benefits to be gained: dignity and vindication for Jeremy - and let's not forget his partner. And a far more positive signal to the community at large beyond the church.

Because at present the Church is being viewed with bemused disgust, and appearing less and less relevant in the minds of people who might genuinely want to listen to the gospel, but are appalled and turned off by the way the Church treats lesbian and gay people differently to everyone else.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Sunday, 16 August 2015 at 10:17pm BST

Once again, I agree with Susannah: Jeremy Timm's churches should simply defy Sentamu, and withhold their entire parish share while they're at it. Leaders only have the power they're given.

As for the Bishop of Sodor and Man: at worst, he agrees with Sentamu; at best, he's yet another of MLK's white moderates. Either way, he's complicit in homophobia, and contemptible as a result.

Posted by James Byron at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 12:12am BST

" Jeremy can't be a reader proclaiming doctrine as the Church of England has received it if by his actions he declares that "I do not believe this fairly important piece of doctrine"
- +Sodor & Man -

This statement from the bishop of sodor & Man defies credibility - if only from the point of view that this is - he admits - 'a fairly important piece of doctrine'.

Surely, compared with doctrinal issues such as divorce and re-marriage, and contraception; the issue of the difference between co-habitation as a Civilly-partnered person and as a Married person is not so earth shattering?

Now that the Civil Law has changed - with the tacit acceptance of the Head of the Church of England (H.M. The Queen); her Church needs to get its act together pretty quickly or lose all respect from both Church and State on an issue that everyone else regards as peripheral.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 1:17am BST

Well said Susannah. At some point, allowing this to happen is complicity.

There's an excellent book, I believe by Lillian Hellman, in which she described living in the Jim Crow (apartheid) US South. She said that white people were complicit every time they walked through the front door instead of the back, or used the white water fountain or toilet. The culture was systematically arranged to reinforce white supremacy that kept liberal whites complicit in, and quiet about the oppression of African Americans.

It took a lot of faith and courage to break the worst of those systems (some are still around, sadly). But really, how much faith and courage does it take to defy ABY? What's the cost of defiance? Especially to the laity? This is a brazen and ugly attack on your brother in Christ, someone volunteering to do some heavy lifting... If now isn't the time to say "enough," when is it?

Posted by Cynthia at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 2:01am BST

The Bishop of Sodor and Man comes across as a bigot. Most people saw no difference between a civil partnership and a civil marriage. If the C of E accepted civil partnerships then it should have accepted the civil marriage.

Bishops in the C of E seem to be real bigots.

I have trouble understanding why one would want to stay in communion with such a bigoted institution.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Posted by Gary Paul Gilbert at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 7:52am BST

In a previous incarnation, the Bishop of Sodor and Man was, I believe, Domestic Chaplain to the present Ebor. Occupying a similar role to that of The Rev'd Mervyn Noote or the Rev'd Obidiah Slope - two fictional Domestic Chaplains who carried out their duties in a most dissimilar way. Noote was nought but an obedient Dogsbody but Slope exercised a much more powerful influence upon his Lord and Master, the Bishop of Barchester (not quite so powerful, however, as that exercised and executed by Mrs. Proudie, the bishop's wife). I presume that Sodor and Man (a remote and difficult diocese to fill) owes his elevation to episcopal office to the patronage of His Grace the Archbishop of York. Having reached the fullness of ministry he could on the Sunday programme being "not one of bonded labour" have chosen either to have been a Noote or a Slope and been "quite free to say whatever he wished". I still have quite a degree of sympathy for the bishop as he was put into bat on a very sticky wicket. Or, as Geoffrey Howe so memorably and devastatingly once said - was his bat already broken when he was sent in to play?

Posted by Father David at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 8:26am BST

So, if the "pastoral" statement says in point 18 that:
'18. We recognise the many reasons why couples wish their relationships to have a formal status. These include the joys of exclusive commitment and also extend to the importance of legal recognition of the relationship. To that end, civil partnership continues to be available for same sex couples. ***Those same sex couples who choose to marry should be welcomed into the life of the worshipping community and not be subjected to questioning about their lifestyle.***

Does the church no longer believe in its supposedly "fairly important bit of doctrine"?
Is Jeremy not lay?

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 9:04am BST

What are other church volunteers to make of this?

You know -- the volunteers who serve as ushers, or flower arrangers, or organists, or choir singers, or bell ringers, or gardeners?

if they marry someone of the same sex, are they not supposed to engage in these ministries either?

Or does this just apply to volunteers who have PTOs, which may be revoked?

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 11:59am BST

Perhaps this has reached the point where peaceful civil disobedience is required. News-worthy events to raise the issue in the public mind and finally push Parliament to intervene. You will need a coordinating committee and a good sense of public relations. With a well organized push things could change quickly. But someone on the ground has to be willing to take the lead.

Posted by Dennis at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 1:45pm BST

You're bang on about institutions manufacturing complicity, Cynthia. If 1987's Higton motion wasn't intended to spread blame around the Church of England, for traditionalists, it was a very happy accident.

'Issues ...' has exceeded it: every time a person appeals to that homophobic document, they tacitly endorse it. Worse, due to collective responsibility, 'Issues ...' made every English bishop complicit in homophobia.

Progressives being compromised is a major barrier to change. Few are prepared to condemn inequality outright because, in doing so, they'd be condemning themselves, or at least, their own actions.

Well, tough. We've all fallen short. We're human, goes with the territory. We've gotta get past this. Even on its own terms, this line of thinking fails: the greater harm is done by staying silent and passive. Those who do are more guilty, not less.

Posted by James Byron at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 4:25pm BST

To pick up on the point made by Jeremy on Monday:

The last question put to the Bishop (29.40 mins) was; 'Would it be helpful to have some guidance from the HoB on Readers and their status if they enter into a Same Sex Marriage?'
To which the Bishop replied, 'I have been campaigning for Reader Ministry and other forms of Lay Accredited Public Ministry to be sorted out in a whole lot of different directions not least this issue of discipline in the broadest sense of the term.'
What, one wonders, are the implications for Lay Worship Leaders; Pioneer Ministers; and presumably Ministers of the Sacrament, will they also be removed from their ministries in a little while if they are in same sex marriages?

Posted by Tim N at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 8:41pm BST

If we are talking about resistance to the present behaviour of our leaders on same sex issues we might begin by reminding them that "Issues in Human Sexuality" was intended as a discussion document. By some occult process it has been elevated to the position of a statement of official teaching - and this despite the fact that it was quickly holed below the water line when the bishop who chaired the group which produced it, the late John Austin Baker, stated publicly that he had changed his mind and supported same sex relationships.

Posted by Barry at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 9:03pm BST

This current spate of purges may seem arbitrary and capricious, but it is entirely consistent with an interpretation of Lambeth 1.10 which promotes to doctrinal status the notion of incompatibility with scripture. The remaining parts of the resolution make no reference to scripture so have always been regarded as of lesser importance. The resolution gave Gafcon the green light to oppose gay marriage and support criminalisation in its own context. Although the new General Secretary of the Anglican Communion has recently questioned the stricter interpretation of Lambeth 1.10, our own bishops have preferred to maintain a steadfast neutrality, due to a desire to maintain unity. Any departure from the incompatibility doctrine is viewed as tantamount to heresy, or worse. 2008 didn't revisit it and another Lambeth conference is unlikely; 1.10 equates to the First Council of Nicaea, except where local churches have resisted, most notably in North America.

If PTOs are usually withdrawn without consent for only the most serious misdemeanours, tending towards criminality, then a demonstrably harsh interpretation of Lambeth 1.10 cements unity, making no distinction between lay and ordained, citizen or church member. The only way to challenge this is to test it against UK law where the Church's opt outs may not be so iron clad.

Posted by Andrew at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 9:24pm BST

I’m sorry to come to this thread late, but I'm just trying to get clarity in my mind about the different points important in it.

One is that the House of Bishops Pastoral Statement, this related decision and this Bishop’s defence of it are morally flawed because they do not recognise equal marriage. This dominates the thread (and indeed most threads on this website) but let it stand aside for a moment just so we can see the rest more clearly.

A second is that the Statement in distinguishing between clergy discipline and lay life doesn’t in fact mention licensed or authorised lay ministers at all. Let us just allow for a moment (whether we like it or not) that the related decision now clarifies this by emphasising Reader ministry having licensing / authorisation in common with ordained ministry.

What is left in view?

The claim that something set out in Canon and liturgy (in this case, that marriage is defined as being between people of different sexes) has the status of doctrine, and that, although people will not be disciplined for arguing for change in this doctrine, acting as if change has already happened (in this case, by blessing or entering into same-sex marriage) is not compatible with continued licensed or authorised ministry.

So – leaving aside the things I have left aside to see this claim clearly - does the House of Bishops really believe this claim to be true?

One contributor to the thread has already indicated a way in which its members do not. The precise quotations from Canon and liturgy which the Statement uses in this case also name the indissolubility of marriage.

But there are also other places where a Bishop or two act as if a clear position in Canon and liturgy is not binding on him or her without facing de-authorisation.

For just one example, I recently attended an episcopally-led Quiet Day in which the leader purported to preside at a Eucharist at which the words of institution were used as the only form of Eucharistic prayer. Not just the doctrine implied by Canon and liturgy but the Declaration of Assent and fifty-years of ecumenical agreements all set aside in one go.

I find this very encouraging. If the House of Bishops is clearly seen to be relying on a line of argument which it doesn’t actually believe to be true (authorisation for ministry depends on never acting in a way which challenges a position which can be deduced from Canon and liturgy) then the battle is almost won.

Posted by Peter Mullins at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 9:47pm BST

What outcome here most glorifies the Lord? It's a question too few on both sides seem to ask.

Had ABY done nothing, this issue would have passed with little notice. As it is, in canonically martyring Jeremy Timms (and that I think is the apt verb), ABY has given a platform for Jeremy's witness to shine bright. It is hard on Jeremy but I for one see the Lord's hand in this.

I think calls to withhold parish shares is wrong. That is the way of Mammon. But every clergyman who supports Jeremy could lead his congregation in prayer for Jeremy and that his ministry will continue.

Posted by Kate at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 1:56am BST

"This current spate of purges may seem arbitrary and capricious, but it is entirely consistent with an interpretation of Lambeth 1.10 which promotes to doctrinal status the notion of incompatibility with scripture."

On Monday I asked the practical question about various groups of volunteers.

But in the above sentence Andrew has named my deepest concern--that an intellectually bankrupt hermeneutic is being imposed on the Church of England. And of course it is in the interest of keeping Global South bishops in the Communion (more or less).

Again I ask whether the Archbishops are abandoning their duties to their English flock. Surely their chief concern ought to be what is good for England--not what is "good" for a highly centralised version of the Communion.

Jeremy (non Pemberton, non Timm, but in appreciation of both)

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 1:59am BST

Barry makes a very good point which is often overlooked that "Issues in Human Sexuality" merely has the status of being a "discussion document" and is in no way part of the official Doctrine of the Church of England so we cannot pretend that it has been around since the Council of Nicea nor can it be put on the same level as the Ten Commandments.
We must not forget that failure to agree to the content of this "discussion document" cost Rowan Williams the diocese of Southwark when he had his Lambeth fireside chat with George Carey. But God is good and following Carey's retirement the great Rowan became his immediate successor.
Further, Andrew points out that usually PTOs are withdrawn "only for the most serious misdemeanours, tending towards criminality". Should not the Established Church have its own internal right of appeal against withdrawal of permission to officiate or does it all just depend upon the capricious whim of each and every Diocesan Bishop? Surely common justice demands such an internal right of appeal.

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 7:10am BST

Re Peter Mullins "Eucharistic" experience. It's ironic, isn't it, that by the time of its long gestation in Common Worship a significant ( and seemingly growing) part of the Church of England has given up liturgical worshp altogether. Off topic...but perhaps worth a thread sometime. Further evidence of fragmentation...where will it end?

Posted by Perry Butler at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 8:09am BST

Many posts have queried the legality of the Archbishop of York in the line he has taken. Has anyone considered testing this proposed course of action by using the clergy discipline measure and making a formal complaint?

Posted by Paul Richardson at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 8:49am BST

I agree with Father David that people should not be at the mercy of a bishop's caprice, and that there should be a due process of appeal, and discussion, and objective, public and transparent decision making, with arguments for and against being presented for all to see, to know where they stand.

In response to Kate, I am sure that God's grace has been demonstrated by Jeremy Timm, in his response to his discriminatory treatment by the Archbishop of York. However, to suggest that therefore this is 'the will of God' - for gay people to be discriminated against so that grace may be seen in their oppression... seems to me to be a rationalisation for unfair marginalisation of people who are LGBT, and treating them differently to others (aka discrimination).

Of course, it may set a positive example of a good man, but oppression is oppression, and it sends NO signal of grace about the church to the general public.

On the basis of this rationalisation, apartheid was good because it enabled non-whites to show grace in their ill-treatment... slavery was good because servants could be gracious in their bondage... long-suffering victims of sexism helped demonstrate God's will by meek submission.

To be honest, what I see here is capricious power, and a kind of sexual apartheid that treats gay and lesbian people differently, excludes them from straight ministry, marginalises them because they are different.

All this is done on the basis of dogma on which the Church of England is divided down the middle, disrupting a local church community, pushing a decent man out of service in a community where he is loved and wanted, and refusing him the sacrament and blessing that straight people are given in marriage.

To see the grace of God at work in oppression may be possible, but to see the oppression itself as grace would be mistaken (as Kate herself may agree, I don't know).

Sometimes bullying and oppression need to be confronted for what they are. Personally I don't care one way or the other about the money. One churches financial contribution to a diocese is not so much, if it is withheld. But the local church community itself can defy the assumed power of the Archbishop, by simply affirming Jeremy Timms and his partner, celebrating his marriage when it happens, and asking him graciously to carry on serving, officiating and preaching in their church, because morally and de facto they have the power on the ground to do that.

Jeremy and his partner (I'm sorry, I don't know his name) are simply seeking the blessing of marriage for their love and fidelity. To be the *whole* of who they are. To do what any other gay couple may do, because it is the law of the land, and respected as such.

It is the Archbishop who is out of step, badly, and I don't see grace in his seeming moral certainty. It fails to reflect the church we serve today, where so many people would welcome Jeremy's service, married or not.

We are not Nigeria or Uganda. We are closer to North America in our culture. Frankly, unity can only be preserved in Anglicanism in diversity. If some provinces can't handle that (including York) then they - not Jeremy Timm - are the problem. We do not 'own' other people's consciences, nor do we own the consciences of a local church. We need to live and love together, accepting difference, not imposing forced uniformity as 'The Covenant' so dismally failed to do.

Grace includes resisting injustice and defiance of unjust power.

This can be done peacefully without resorting to the sword. It does not imply obsequience or surrender.

The local church should insist on affirming Jeremy and the episcopal dictat should be resisted with grace and dignity. THAT would be a witness.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 9:37am BST

"But there are also other places where a Bishop or two act as if a clear position in Canon and liturgy is not binding on him or her without facing de-authorisation."

Peter, I think you're reasoning that this is about "Canon and liturgy" (w/ your Eucharistic example). I don't think it is. It is, as always, about "Teh Gay: Ick". That is, homosexuality is (despite episcopal denials) ALWAYS treated as something separate---something *uniquely* detrimental/antithetical to The Faith.

Ebor & Cantuar don't worry that "an episcopally-led Quiet Day Eucharist" will irrevocably split the Anglican Communion. But any old lay reader's marriage might.

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 10:26am BST

Yes, JCF, I actually agree with you. My point was that their line of argument pretends that it is the acting against a clear position deduced from Canon and liturgy which is what is incompatible with authorised public ministry and which thus justifies their delegitimising a person's ministry. Another parallel strikes me: the refusal to bury the unbaptised and those who took their own lives was once a position clearly deducible from Canon and liturgy; culture changed, ministers began to act against this clear position, Bishops stopped disciplining them for doing so, and then finally Canons and liturgy have been and are being adjusted to take account of the new reality; no Bishop would have argued that PTO needed to be withdrawn from an authorised minister who acted in line with the new consensus before Canon and liturgy caught up.

Posted by Peter Mullins at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 12:15pm BST

'Ebor & Cantuar don't worry that "an episcopally-led Quiet Day Eucharist" will irrevocably split the Anglican Communion. But any old lay reader's marriage might.'

True. Which is another way of saying that the Archbishops are allowing Communion homophobes to dictate who can be married in England.

It is hard to imagine a more profound betrayal of English clergy--and now parishioners.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 1:38pm BST

I agree with all those who have said what a disgrace this act of discrimination is.

If anyone wants to play legal hard-ball, it _might_ be possible to make a case that, because Howden is on the coast, it is not "locally situate within the Diocese of York" for the purposes of section 10 of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners Act 1836. In that case, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners would have been acting outside their powers when they placed Howden under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of York in 1846.

Posted by Feria at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 1:46pm BST

... the important edge is the boundary with the Diocese of Sheffield, not the coast.

Posted by Feria at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 2:48pm BST

'Will have his preaching revoked'??
Sloppy reporting if he has PTO not a licence.
Preaching permission might be better.

Posted by Adrian Judd at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 3:56pm BST

I did a little more digging. (Only fair, since it was my appalling map reading that made the jurisdictional argument unnecessarily muddy in the first place.) The Diocese of Sheffield didn't exist in 1846. Immediately prior to 1846, Howden and Snaith formed a geographically contiguous group of peculiars which had a boundary with the Diocese of Lincoln, and were therefore not wholly surrounded by the Diocese of York. It's in that sense that one could argue that Howden (and Snaith too, for that matter) was not "locally situate in the Diocese of York", and that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners therefore exceeded their powers in handing the territory over to York. If that argument flies, then deciding who has permission to officiate in Howden is a matter for the Dean of Durham Cathedral, not for the Archbishop of York.

Posted by Feria at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 5:44pm BST

Unless I'm missing something + Sodor and Man's comments on doctrine are disingenuous nonsense. Clergy are free to hold views disagreeing with Church doctrine, otherwise all clergy who are in favour of same-sex marriage for clergy could be accused of breaking the doctrine of the church. Is this really the best the Bishop can come up with, even if it is in defence of the indefensible?

Posted by David Beadle at Tuesday, 18 August 2015 at 6:26pm BST

There is an answer to "Unless I'm missing something". The existing Pastoral Guidelines which the Bishop is expounding / expanding in this radio interview includes a paragraph which says:

"The Church of England will continue to place a high value on theological exploration and debate that is conducted with integrity. That is why Church of England clergy are able to argue for a change in its teaching on marriage and human sexuality, while at the same time being required to fashion their lives consistently with that teaching."

This is why I took care in my earlier contribution to this thread to try to set out clearly the position the Bishop is taking:

"The claim that something set out in Canon and liturgy (in this case, that marriage is defined as being between people of different sexes) has the status of doctrine, and that, although people will not be disciplined for arguing for change in this doctrine, acting as if change has already happened (in this case, by blessing or entering into same-sex marriage) is not compatible with continued licensed or authorised ministry."

There may be all sorts of things one wants to say about that (my contribution happened to be about the extent to which the House of Bishops doesn't actually operate as if this line of argument is valid in other areas) but one does need to be clear that this is what is being claimed.

Posted by Peter Mullins at Wednesday, 19 August 2015 at 2:22am BST

Susannah, where I see "grace", to use your word, is that when the inevitable happened it happened to someone who is a model. I see grace neither in oppression nor in discrimination but in sacrifice and in the reaction of Jeremy. It's a distinction which lies at the heart of Christ's betrayal and crucifixion. It was oppression but the inevitable was turned to grace because the victim was innocent (amongst other reasons).

I don't want to go into it in public, but I also believe that the Lord is trying to reach out to Bishop John to teach him, to help him grow.

For the record, I am a Christian in a same sex relationship. I loathe discrimination but face it far too often. But, as a Christian, I see ++John as someone who is genuinely striving to do God's will but in this needs to grow in understanding IMO, just as I need to grow in many areas of understanding, just as do we all. I'd rather see calls for education than protest.

Incidentally, I don't think any minister should be married and that therein lies the underlying problem. In that I am Anglo-Catholic.

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 19 August 2015 at 2:28am BST

Apparently on the Isle of Man, a ss marriage made in England is legally only accepted as a civil partnership( see wikipedia article on ssm and Isle of Man). So the solution is, emigration to the Isle of Man!

The Isle of man House of keys (parliament) voted for civil partnerships in 2009 and Bishop Paterson had a vote, as he is member of the House of Keys. I wonder if he voted for it.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Wednesday, 19 August 2015 at 5:47am BST

Feria, if an appeal is to be made to the Dean of Durham, "the doyen of Deans", then they'd better get their skates on, as Dean Sadgrove's last service at Durham cathedral takes place on the last Sunday in September. He will be greatly missed, not only in Durham but in the wider Church of England as well. Let's hope that the "talent pool" - from which is supposed to emerge a superior life form in the evolutionary scheme of things - can produce a wise and learned successor to an exceptionally fine Dean.
Am I right in thinking that the "talent pool" is only meant for future bishops and deans to swim about in? What about Archdeacons? Is there a similar "Boot Camp" for future potential Venerables? With the considerable increase in their number if there isn't then there surely ought to be as my understanding of the role is that they are now supposed to be warm and cuddly - pastoral and "missional" and no longer the episcopal rottweilers. In my experience some of the existing ones are greatly in need of a system of reprogramming to conform to the new way of thinking.

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 19 August 2015 at 6:50am BST

Thank you, Kate. I really appreciate your reply and I do indeed see grace in what you say.

Personally, I identify most with Carmelite spirituality - Interior Castle, Story of a Soul etc - and I am catholic in leaning in the sense that I believe in the Holy Presence in the sacrament.

I am also in a same-sex relationship.

I believe there is indeed grace and witness in humble-hearted forbearance. I also feel sure that John Sentamu is on his own journey as well, and sincerely seeks to walk in the grace of God, as God's servant.

However, I also believe - at times - there is powerful grace at work in resistance to injustice.

Thank you very much for your comment which is a valuable reminder.


Posted by Susannah Clark at Wednesday, 19 August 2015 at 9:14am BST

Father David,

What I was suggesting was not an appeal process, but a legal assertion that the wrong person made the first-line decision, because Howden is not in fact in the Diocese of York. To get that assertion accepted would require at the very least the threat of court action, and probably an actual court appearance.

In fact, because there's little or no extant case law on what the phrase "locally situate in", from section 10 of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners Act 1836, means (and because it would have implications for many other parishes across England), it might well have to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

By the time all that's happened, I suspect Dean Sadgrove's successor would be well and truly in post.

Posted by Feria at Wednesday, 19 August 2015 at 10:31am BST

Tynwald, the Isle of Man parliament, has two houses, of which the House of Keys is one. The Bishop of Sodor and Man is an ex officio member of the other house, the Legislative Council.

The Tynwald Civil Partnerships Act was passed in the 2010-2011 session. The Bishop spoke against at second reading in the Legislative Council. See pages 42-43 of:

He was absent for the third reading:

Posted by Peter Owen at Wednesday, 19 August 2015 at 11:24am BST

Who would have thought that the Anglican Church on the Isle of Man was resistant to the ethos of governmentally-approved Civil Partnerships?

However, probably like most Church of England Bishops who fought against the idea of Civil Partnerships - their biggest problem now is being seen to actually APPROVE of Civil Partnerships when faced with the demand for Same-Sex Marriage.

It's amazing how one's doctrinal base is so easily overturned when faced with another - more drastic - alternative. So much for moral integrity.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 20 August 2015 at 11:12am BST

Thank you, Peter Mullins, but I'm still not sure I follow. I can't see that any document used by the House of Bishops in these sorts of instances actually prohibits lay people from entering into a same-sex marriage (with the exception of the guidance for Readers, but then the Bishops are bound by "Issues" which contradicts it, insofar as they have to agree to live within it's guidelines to be appointed).

I suppose + Sodor and Man may be referring to the ordinance of marriage as something entered into by a man and woman in BCP and CW. Even excepting the problems with applying this to the current situation, I wonder how many ministers would be left if all licenses were withdrawn for not following all possible and disputable implications of every jot and tittle in the liturgies of the prayer books.

Posted by David Beadle at Thursday, 20 August 2015 at 3:57pm BST

Jeremy has retweeted a rather pithy remark by @cathedralverger on his Twitter timeline:

When it is a choice between love or the Church we have entered an Alice in Wonderland world

Posted by Kate at Friday, 21 August 2015 at 3:23am BST

Is there any update on what Jeremy's church community has decided to do about his effective removal from ministry, or are they just going to accept it?

Posted by Susannah Clark at Monday, 24 August 2015 at 10:42am BST

Thank you for your question of the 24th, Susannah. I also have been wondering what is happening in Jeremy's church and parish. I note that things have gone quiet about the matter on this site. As I said in an earlier comment, in potentially explosive situations like this the practice of our episcopal leaders is to "sit it out until the troublemakers quieten down," so it is important that this case does not get lost to sight and a great deal of justified indignation become sound and fury which achieved nothing.

Posted by Barry at Tuesday, 25 August 2015 at 10:48am BST

I hope that we may hear further from the people in Howden soon. Meanwhile may I draw your attention to this statement from Inclusive Church

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Wednesday, 26 August 2015 at 2:23pm BST

Simon, thank you for the link to the Inclusive Church statement. Has the Archbishop of York yet come out of hiding to give a public explanation of his action toward Jeremy Timm? If he has done so, I have missed it. I have no wish to be unfair to him, so it is important that we hear from His Grace why he has chosen to behave in such an insensitive and pastorally damaging way.

Posted by Barry at Wednesday, 26 August 2015 at 3:35pm BST

I'm unclear on Ebor's powers within his own cathedral.

Is there any chance that the Dean might schedule a service of thanksgiving for Jeremy Timm's marriage, after it takes place (elsewhere)?

Posted by Jeremy at Saturday, 29 August 2015 at 11:33am BST

Jeremy, your suggestion that the Dean of York might schedule a service of thanksgiving after Jeremy Timm's marriage is attractive but almost an impossibility.

It may be (I simply don't know, can someone enlighten us?) that the Archbishop of York officiates in the Minster technically at the invitation, or by permission, of the Dean and Chapter, and that they have absolute control over who does what within their walls. Even if that is the case, however, and even if they are sympathetic to Jeremy Timm, I cannot see them engaging in what would look like a head-on public confrontation with ++ Ebor. Nor would I blame them. It could only sour still further a wretched situation.

I remain disappointed that the Archbishop declines to give to concerned Church people an explanation for his behaviour.

Posted by Barry at Sunday, 30 August 2015 at 11:43am BST
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