Ruth Gledhill has more about this on her blog at Southwark acts against unorthodox ordinations.
Unauthorised Service at Christ Church Surbiton
Press Release from Southwark Diocese
The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Rev Dr Tom Butler, has written to the clergy in his Diocese explaining why he has revoked the licence of the Revd Richard Coekin. This follows the unauthorised ordination of three members of Mr Coekin’s staff team which took place at Christ Church Surbiton on November 2nd. Writing “We do not do schism in the Diocese of Southwark” the Bishop points to Church tradition and law that bishops from outside the Diocese have no authority to perform ordinations within it without the express permission of the Diocesan Bishop.
The case was made more complicated by the bishop concerned being a bishop from the Church of England in South Africa, a church not in communion with the Church of England nor a member of the Anglican Communion
Mr Coekin had earlier threatened to take action of this sort unless the Bishop of Southwark dissociated himself from the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships.
As well as revoking Mr Coekin’s licence the Bishop of Southwark made it clear that the three people involved in the unauthorised ordination, Andy Fenton, Richard Perkins, and Loots Lambrechts have no legal authority to claim to exercise ordained ministry in the Church of England in the Diocese of Southwark.
The full text of the bishop’s letter appears below the fold.
Letter to Clergy in the Diocese of Southwark
8th November 2005
You will, by now I am sure, have heard about the unauthorised ordination at Christ Church Surbiton on November 2nd. In the light of this, I have written to the Revd Richard Coekin revoking his licence. I am writing to you now with some necessary detail.
As many of you also know Richard has been the Assistant Minister of the Proprietary Chapel of Emmanuel, working out of Dundonald Wimbledon, and has spear-headed the planting of several congregations in the Diocese of Southwark. Parish clergy, Archdeacons and Bishops alike have been involved in an ongoing exchange with Richard concerning the necessity for such church plants to occur only with the agreement of the vicar of the parish in which the plant is set. This has not always been the case, and evangelical parish clergy in the diocese have been particularly concerned when such plants have seemed to oppose their own witness and mission. For this reason, we were not prepared to support the selection and training of further ordination candidates from or for Dundonald unless future church plants followed our Diocesan Guidelines.
The recent Pastoral Statement from the House of Bishops concerning Civil Partnerships occasioned a further exchange of letters. Richard informed me on October 25th that unless I dissociated myself from this statement he would regard himself as being “in temporary impaired communion” and would no longer be able to accept my oversight; he further indicated that he intended to proceed with the ordination of “eligible staff” by a visiting Anglican bishop. No details of the time or place were given, but the service took place at Christ Church Surbiton on November 2nd without my having been further informed. The Bishop, a Bishop Martin Morrison, was from the Church of England in South Africa, a church not in communion with the Church of England nor a member of the Anglican Communion. (The Church of England is in communion with the Church of the Province of South Africa).
I had alerted Richard to the “Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967” which states that bishops from overseas may only perform Episcopal duties in a Church of England Diocese by commission in writing of the Diocesan Bishop and with the consent and licence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. None of the clergy concerned were given this authority. There may, therefore, be further consequences to the action of November 2nd.
In the meantime Richard’s licence has been revoked (although I am told that he has twenty-eight days to appeal to the Archbishop), and you should be aware that none of the ‘eligible staff’ involved in the service – Andy Fenton, Richard Perkins, and Loots Lambrechts – has any legal authority to claim to exercise ordained ministry in the Church of England in the Diocese of Southwark.
I am sorry to burden you with all of this, but the matter is basically quite straightforward; by long standing Church tradition and law, bishops from outside the diocese have no authority to perform ordinations within it without the express permission of the Diocesan Bishop. We do not do Schism in the Diocese of Southwark.
With best wishes,
Grace and Peace,