The Times Nicola Woolcock Youth worker wins gay job rights claim against bishop.
Daily Telegraph Jonathan Petre Bishop discriminated against gay youth worker.
Guardian Stephen Bates Bishop urged to resign after diocese loses gay bias case.
Daily Mail Rebecca Camber Gay Christian wins job tribunal against Church of England.
Western Mail Darren Devine Church faces payout over gay discrimination case and also Hailed as a victory for gay rights – here is reaction to yesterday’s tribunal decision.
And the BBC report linked yesterday has links to two video clips: these contain quotes from the bishop at yesterday’s press conference in Hereford, a short interview with Mr Reaney, plus other footage from the time of the Cardiff hearing.
Update The Hereford Times today has Bishop loses in gay worker case:
…The crux of the Bishop’s decision rested on a five-year gay relationship which Mr Reaney had ended four months before the interview.
Despite Mr Reaney’s promises of celibacy and self-control, the Bishop believed the situation would change.
The Bishop told the press conference he was “disappointed” with the outcome but insisted his decision was the right one and was not clouded by lifestyle.
“He had been living in a committed same-sex relationship for five years and that ended shortly before I met him,” he said at a press conference.
“I took the view that anyone who has been in a committed relationship of that kind for five years will be in a position of loss, grief and bereavement.
“If he had been a heterosexual person with a five-year relationship outside marriage then I still wouldn’t have appointed him because that’s not the teaching of the Church.”
Update Thursday evening: here’s one I missed earlier. The Hereford Journal had:
Bishop’s blessing as gay organists ‘wed’
As he awaits a landmark tribunal decision after turning down a homosexual man for a job, the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, has congratulated a Cathedral organist on his forthcoming gay wedding.
Hereford’s assistant organist Peter Dyke is set to tie the knot in a civil partnership ceremony with former church director of music Shaun Ward, at the city’s Town Hall.
An opponent of the C of E developing a formal Christian ceremony to bless gay couples in church,the Bishop has “offered his congratulations” to the couple.
A diocesan spokesman said: “Our eminent organist Peter Dyke has chosen to enter into a civil partnership.
The Bishop joins others in offering them his congratulations…”
The Archbishops’ Council has issued a Statement on Judgement of Employment Tribunal between Mr John Reaney and the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance:
A spokesman for the Archbishops’ Council said:
“The broader issue raised by this case is whether there are posts, including some non clergy posts, where the religious exemptions permitted under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations can properly be applied by bishops and dioceses. The Tribunal has helpfully confirmed that there are. It also held that the role of Diocesan Youth Officer is such a post, though on the specific facts before it – and in particular Mr Reaney’s assurance that he would continue to live a life consistent with the teaching of the Church – concluded that the bishop had taken the wrong decision.
“The regulations will continue to provide important protection for churches and other religious organisations in ensuring that their recruitment policies can reflect the organisation’s beliefs.”
A statement from the Diocese of Hereford is available here.
TRIBUNAL DECISION IS MIXED BLESSING FOR CHURCH
The Employment Tribunal in which the Board of Finance of the Diocese of Hereford, was accused of Sexual Discrimination has issued its judgement. The Tribunal found in favour of the plaintiff, accepting that the Diocese did discriminate against Mr. John Reaney in not appointing him to the post of Youth Officer within the Diocese.
Commenting after receiving the Tribunal’s Judgement, The Bishop of Hereford, Anthony Priddis, who gave evidence at the hearing, said he was disappointed but not completely down. “The Tribunal accepted that I did not ‘interrogate’ Mr Reaney and that I had acted in accordance with the teachings of the Church of England. It also recognised that the post of Diocesan Youth Officer falls within the small number of posts outside of the clergy which are within the religious exemptions of the
Sexual Discrimination ActEmployment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.”
The House of Bishops teaching document “Issues in Human Sexuality” spells out in some detail the General Synod statements that the Church upholds the teaching that sexual relationships belong within marriage and that this high standard to which all people are called is especially expected of those in leadership within the Church.
That policy was endorsed by a General Synod motion of 1987, the Lambeth Conference of 1998 and the House of Bishop’s teaching document “Issues in Sexuality”. That policy, to which the Bishop of Hereford fully subscribes, is that those of homosexual orientation are wholly welcome and entitled to participate in the full life of the Church of England
It is the duty of every Bishop to uphold spiritual, moral and ethical standards and the Tribunal agreed. However, in the light of the tribunal decision the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance will now again look at its recruitment literature to make clear the teaching and requirements of the church in respect of the lifestyle of those in leadership roles.
In the light of the Tribunal decision, the Board of Finance will be taking further legal advice with a view to appeal.
The references above to “Sexual Discrimination” and to the “Sexual Discrimination Act” are what the press release says. They would appear to be errors. The case relates to the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.
The second reference has now been corrected on the diocesan website.39 Comments
The Employment Tribunal in Cardiff will formally publish its judgment tomorrow in the case of John Reaney v the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance.
Subsequently, the following article was published in the Hereford diocesan magazine: DIOCESE AWAITS YOUTH OFFICER TRIBUNAL DECISION.
Today, the Hereford Times carries this report:
Bishop of Hereford loses case
By Mark Bowen
A gay man has won his discrimination case against the Bishop of Hereford.
John Reaney,who was backed by gay rights group Stonewall, is celebrating today’s (Thursday) employment tribunal decision.
Mr Reaney was interviewed by a panel of eight people for the post of Youth Officer in the Diocese of Hereford last summer.
But an unanimous decision to appoint him was blocked by the Bishop of Hereford after a meeting Mr Reaney looks set to secure substantial compensation.
In its judgement, the Tribunal said: The Respondents discriminated against the claimant on the grounds of sexual orientation.The case will now be listed for a remedy hearing.’
John Reaney said: ‘I’m delighted that the Bishop of Hereford has lost this case. It demonstrates to many lesbian and gay Christians working for God within the Church of England that they are entitled to fair and respectful treatment.”
The case was heard over four days in Cardiff in April.
The diocese called a press conference for 9.30 am. More information about that will be published here when received.
Meanwhile, Mr Reaney’s solicitors have published this press release:John Reaney wins case against Church of England:
…His solicitor Alison Downie, partner at Bindman & Partners said:
“My client is pleased that he has won his claim. The Bishop and the Diocese were wrong and unlawfully discriminated against him because he is a gay man in refusing to appoint an excellent candidate to the post of Youth Officer. In this landmark test case the Tribunal found not only that he suffered direct discrimination but that if necessary they would have found indirect discrimination in the Diocese imposing a requirement of celibacy for lay people in employment within the Church. It is highly regrettable that the Bishop acted as he did and that my client lost a year of his life in bringing this claim to right the wrong done to him”.
And Stonewall Cymru has published this one: Stonewall Cymru celebrates tribunal victory against Bishop of Hereford:
…Matthew Batten, Stonewall Cymru’s Policy Officer, said: ‘This outcome is a triumph for 21st century decency over 19th century prejudice. We’re very happy for John. The tribunal has rightly made clear that the Church of England cannot discriminate against gay people with impunity. No one, not even a Bishop, is exempt from the law.’
And the BBC reports the decision as Bishop loses gay employment case:
…The Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, said he was “naturally disappointed” and may appeal…
…speaking to a news conference in Hereford on Wednesday, the Bishop said: “I still think the decision I made was the right one.”
“I regret the polarisation of view which takes place when these things happen,” he said, adding he had made the decision after a “great deal of prayer and contemplation”.
Press Association report: Gay man wins Church tribunal claim
For the diocesan press release go here.55 Comments
The Guardian has a report by Stephen Bates about a dispute in the Diocese of Chelmsford: Ordination spurned in gay row.
The story refers to “a statement written by the Rev Mike Reith, vicar of Dagenham, on the parish website.” You can read that material here:
Why I wrote to the Bishop asking for another Bishop….!
Letter of Monday 23rd April ‘07
Further discussion of this occurs in the comments at Chelmsford Anglican Mainstream’s article Vicar of Dagenham issues statement on non-ordination of Chelmsford candidate.
There is even more here from The Ugley Vicar Lost confidence in Chelmsford
The Wall Street Journal has an article titled In Europe, God Is (Not) Dead by Andrew Higgins. Christian groups are growing, faith is more public. Is supply-side economics the explanation?
The Church of Sweden and its finances are described in detail.57 Comments
The Reverend Dr. Ephraim Radner, a member of the Covenant Design Group, and currently Rector of the Church of the Ascension, Pueblo, Colorado, USA but soon to become professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College, Toronto, Canada has written a paper, published at the ACI website, entitled The Common Cause of a Common Light. Here’s how it starts:
The movement towards a separated North American Anglican church, aligned perhaps with one part of the Anglican Communion and not another, appears to be gaining steam. The focus of the Anglican Communion Network’s official leadership has shifted perceptibly towards this goal, overtly transferring its energies from its work as a coalition of American traditionalist bishops working representatively with the larger Communion, to the strategy of a “Common Cause” formation of a new ecclesial structure that would function either as a new Anglican Communion province, or as a province in a new alternative Anglican Communion. Regular consultation among Network bishops has diminished in frequency, while the work on Common Cause has demanded new and steadier communication.
Is this shift of energies positive? As a founding member of the Network, I would urge more open discussion about this. Indeed, it is a discussion that has not taken place in any organized, illuminated, and Communion-wide basis, and it needs to, quickly and honestly and without rancor. Obviously, the topic has long been a staple of blog debate. But however informative such debate can be, it is not a substitute for common prayer, discussion, and discernment as a Body in the Lord. Indeed, most bloggers are anonymous or pseudonymous, their representative roles blurred or hidden, and their actual numbers limited by the psychological demands of the genre. Yet, from Lambeth to North America to Africa, much that we know about the hopes and strategies of the coming months comes only on internet discussions culled from partially leaked memos, recorded off-hand comments, indirect interviews, secret informants, and pure speculation. And on this basis people declare their allegiances! The Anglican Church is longing for an open council, un-manipulated by guile and passion; yet what we are getting instead are the sparks of competing political strategies that have the effect of inculcating ecclesial passivity drunk on anxiety.
It’s worth reading right through, despite a problem with its formatting which one hopes will be fixed soon.70 Comments
The American body named Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes also known as the Anglican Communion Network will hold its Annual Council Meeting on 30-31 July at St Matthew’s Cathedral in Bedford Texas, which is near Fort Worth. Here is the official announcement:
Over 80 representatives of the Anglican Communion Network will gather at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas for two full days July 30–31 for the Network’s Annual Council Meeting. This will be the third meeting of its kind since the birth of the Network in March 2004. The Bible teacher for the meeting will be the Most Rev. Greg Venables, Archbishop of the Southern Cone.
The press is welcome to attend plenary sessions of the council meeting. Press credentials can be obtained by registering online at www.regonline.com/annualcouncil2007. Suzanne Gill, Director of Communications for the Network Diocese of Fort Worth, will be coordinating press on site and can be reached at (817) 244–2885. The meeting is otherwise closed to the public.
And here is this morning’s report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Episcopalians’ struggle comes home
Area residents will get a close-up look this month at the decades-long rift that is continuing to tear apart the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church.
About 80 representatives of the Anglican Communion Network, of which Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker is a leading member, will meet July 30-31 in Bedford at St. Vincent’s Cathedral.
The network — formed three years ago by Episcopal members appalled by church actions such as the 2003 consecration of openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire — likely will be a sounding board for more attacks on leadership of the U.S. church.
The Rev. Ryan Reed, dean of the Bedford cathedral, said network representatives will discuss how to work more closely with other conservative Anglican groups. Archbishop Greg Venables, a conservative who leads the Anglican province that includes Venezuela and Bolivia, is the main speaker. Some sessions are not open to the public, but general gatherings are open.
The Anglican Communion Network and similar conservative groups contend that the American church no longer represents those abiding by the historic faith.
The network, based in Pittsburgh, represents 200,000 laity and 2,200 clergy in the U.S., said the Rev. Daryl Fenton, chief executive. It has 10 member dioceses, including Dallas and Fort Worth, and also has alliances with some 40 smaller U.S. Anglican groups that have left the Episcopal Church in opposition of what they say are departures from biblical Christianity by Episcopal leadership…
Back in December 2006, TA published this article: What size is NACDAP really? which included this:
The American Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes or Anglican Communion Network has published this map, showing at the time of writing a total of 737 parishes that are said to be affiliated with them in some way.
Curiously though, the same website also says:
We are currently ten dioceses and six convocations stretching from coast to coast, border to border. As of January 2005, ACN dioceses and parishes count 200,000 Episcopal Christians in more than 800 congregations, and the number of affiliated parishes grows weekly.
The map on the ACN website now lists a total of 845 “parishes” though from an English perspective “congregations” would be a more accurate term to describe them. Nevertheless the claims made by Daryl Fenton above are identical to the now updated page of the ACN website quoted previously which currently says:
We are currently ten dioceses, six convocations and the international conference stretching from coast to coast, border to border. As of January 2007, ACN dioceses and parishes count 200,000 laity and 2,200 clergy in more than 900 congregations, and the number of affiliated parishes grows weekly. We have received support throughout the Anglican Communion, including encouragement from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Fourteen leaders of the international Anglican Communion, representing 75 percent of the world’s 60 million Anglicans, have offered their recognition and pledged the full weight of their ministries to the Anglican Communion Network.
There are clearly a number of inconsistencies in these claims. An earlier attempt to get to the bottom of the numbers claimed by the Network was done in February this year: A Modest Analysis of NACDAP’s “Anglicans in the United States” by Lionel Deimel, Joan Gundersen, and Christopher Wilkins. You can read that here. The data provided to the primates in Dar es Salaam by Bishop Robert Duncan can be read in this PDF file here.
And much more recently, on 29 June, epiScope had this comment on the slightly different issue of counting “breakaway” churches:
…there may be 250 congregations within the continental United States that claim to answer to various Anglican bishops in Africa and Latin America—but that’s not the same thing as “up to 250 of the 7,000 congregations in the U.S. church.”
The numbers, as we’ve said before, are hard to pin down, because—as we all know—”congregations don’t leave, people do.” The vast majority of the congregations listed under foreign bishops appear to be fledgling “new church plants” meeting in homes and hotels, not established, full-bore, paid-up TEC parishes.
In fact, so far your editor has found less than a dozen TEC congregations that were officially listed by their dioceses as “closed” when a significant group chose to depart and re-form as an “Anglican” congregation. (More later; watch this space!) The rest remain open as TEC congregations, in many cases greatly renewing their mission and ministry in the absence of the controversy du jour.
Christopher Howse in the Daily Telegraph had this to say about the papal announcement on the Tridentine Mass: The facts about a misreported Mass.
David Bryant in the Guardian wrote about Jean-Paul Sartre in Face to faith.
In The Times Stephen Plant writes about Simone Weil in A passionate companion on the path to religious truth.12 Comments
Those who felt uncomfortable about the process which the General Synod approved last Sunday for the Church of England to respond to the ACO about the Draft Anglican Covenant may be interested in this.
Nine members of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council (which is somewhat similar in function to the CofE’s Archbishops’ Council) have been appointed to draft the Church’s response to the first version of an Anglican covenant. None of them are bishops.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson made the appointments. The nine members of the Covenant Response Drafting Group are:
The group is charged with writing a proposed response of the Executive Council to the draft Anglican covenant for the council, to be considered at its October 2007 meeting in Dearborn, Michigan. Anderson said that the drafting group will also “design a process for continuing to gather input from the entire Episcopal Church to aid the Executive Council in its response to subsequent covenant drafts.”32 Comments
From the Wycliffe Hall website:
During the first week of July, Wycliffe Hall hosted over 100 visitors from around the Anglican Communion for a four-day consultation. Building on the work of a similar venture exactly five years ago, we were able to invite a wide selection of bishops and pastors, theologians and those in mission agencies. They came together to confer on two key matters of common concern: taking forward the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant and examining the challenges and opportunities for Anglican Mission in the ‘First World’.
There were good contingents of visitors from Australia and New Zealand and from the United States and Canada, as well as smaller numbers from Continental Europe, South America and the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East. Each day included worshipping together and hearing from the Scriptures (focused on Ephesians). The consultation concluded with a Communion service in the chapel with a decidedly African feel as it was presided over by Bishop Gideon Githiga (Kenya), with a sermon from Archbishop Mouneer Anis (Egypt) on the theme of covenant renewal.
Wycliffe owes many thanks to those who made this consultation possible—especially our co-hosts in the Anglican Communion Institute. It is hoped that many of the ideas, generated through building good relationships and creative discussion, will bear fruit during the coming months as the Covenant Design Group receives input from around the Communion and as bishops prepare to gather for the Lambeth Conference in July 2008.
When God Brings Things to a Point by Philip Turner
Why a Covenant, and Why Its Conciliar Form: a Response to Critics by Ephraim Radner
The Place of Confession in an Anglican Covenant: Outline by Ephraim Radner
Covenanting in the Church and in Scripture – Congruent or Discordant? by Christopher Seitz
Following Christ the Lord by Martin Davie
No Petition Candidates Submitted for Bishop’s Election
The deadline for the submission of petition candidates for the Bishop’s Election of the Diocese of South Carolina has come and gone. No petitions were submitted.
The special Bishop’s Election, as previously called by the Standing Committee on June 9, will be begin at 10:00 am on August 4, 2007 at St. James Church, James Island. Registration of clergy and lay delegates will begin at 8:00 am. Immediately following the celebration of Holy Communion the convention will convene to elect the XIV Bishop of South Carolina. We request that each mission and parish submit the names of their specially elected lay delegates to the Diocesan office as soon as possible.
The Rev. J. Haden McCormick
President, Standing Committee
The Church Times has a leader about the General Synod: Sins of the Synod.
Giles Fraser writes about the synod too: Talk about life, not church politics.
And there is a summary of what happened in Synod pushes Brown for more power.
Full detailed reports of synod are in this week’s paper edition of the Church Times and will be on the public web next week.5 Comments
The Ugandan primate, Archbishop Henry Orombi has written an article entitled What Is Anglicanism?
The article is a very clear statement of his views. He says that he will not meet with the ECUSA House of Bishops in New Orleans, as he has been invited to do by the Archbishop of Canterbury. And the Ugandan bishops will not attend the Lambeth Conference next year if ECUSA bishops attend. There are further comments on this at TitusOneNine including some by Ephraim Radner and Stephen Noll. Mark Harris has also written about this here.
It ends with this:
…If, as I have suggested, the future of Anglicanism lies in a revival of the key Reformation and evangelical principles that shaped the Church of Uganda and our mother Church of England, then our instruments of communion need to find a way to serve that vision. I fear, however, that our conciliar instruments are in danger of losing their credibility and being rendered irrelevant. The resolutions of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops have always had a moral authority among the communion’s autonomous but interdependent provinces, yet some of those resolutions are now flagrantly defied and even mocked.
We primates have worked hard in recent years to find consensus even in our present situation of broken or impaired communion. Through the grace of God, our communiqués have been consensus statements, unanimously agreed upon, and they are evidence of our commitment as primates to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). Yet some provinces have not taken our communiqués seriously, and the primates, as an instrument of communion, have been scorned.
The current crisis presents us with an opportunity to mature into a global communion that represents not just historic bonds of affection but also an advancing mission force for the Kingdom of God that Jesus inaugurated. For this to happen, our instruments of communion may also have to become instruments of discipline. As a member of the primates’ standing committee, I was invited to come to the United States in September 2007 to attend the meeting of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops. But I recently wrote the archbishop of Canterbury and informed him that I could not participate.
Among my reasons is this: In February 2007, the primates of the Anglican Communion met in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and made certain requests of the Episcopal church. It is my conviction that our Dar es Salaam communiqué did not envision interference in the American House of Bishops while they are considering our requests. For me to violate our hard-won agreement in Dar es Salaam would be another case of undermining our instruments of communion. My decision to uphold our Dar es Salaam communiqué is intended to strengthen our instruments of communion so we will be able to mature into an even more effective global communion of the Church of Jesus Christ than in the past.
In December 2006, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda unanimously adopted “The Road to Lambeth,” a statement drafted for a council of African provinces. Among other things, it stated, “We will definitely not attend any Lambeth Conference to which the violators of the Lambeth Resolution [1.10] are also invited as participants or observers.” Accordingly, if the present invitations to the Lambeth Conference stand, I do not expect the Ugandan bishops to attend.
It is important that this decision not be misunderstood as withdrawing from the instruments of communion. On the contrary, our decision reflects the critical importance of the Lambeth Conference: Its value as an instrument of communion is greatly diminished when the persistent violators of its resolutions are invited. If our resolutions as a council of bishops do not have moral authority among ourselves, how can we expect our statements on world affairs to carry weight in the world’s forums? An instrument of communion must also be an instrument of discipline in order to effectively facilitate meaningful communion among its autonomous provinces.
The Church of Uganda takes its Anglican identity and the future prospects of the global Anglican Communion very seriously. Our thoughtfulness in how we participate in the instruments of communion reflects our fundamental loyalty to our Anglican heritage. Likewise, our devotion to the Word of God—expressed through our martyrs, revival, and the historic episcopate—reflects our commitment to the ongoing place of the Church of Uganda as a province of the Anglican Communion.
The Independent’s Education section has a feature on Wycliffe Hall, written by Peter Stanford: Fear and loathing at Wycliffe: Oxford’s theological college is being rocked to its foundations.21 Comments
Guardian Stephen Bates Church moves to reclaim lost wedding market by loosening rules on venues
The Times Ruth Gledhill Rules are relaxed on wedding venues
Earlier, in the Sunday Telegraph Jonathan Wynne-Jones had Choose your church, the CofE tells couples
Alastair Cutting has several interesting reports on his blog Synod.11 Comments
The Archbishop of York said farewell to the bishops of Worcester and Coventry, who are retiring, the bishop of Sodor and Man, who is to become the Dean of St Paul’s, and Michael Chamberlain, who is retiring as chair of the Finance Committee of the Archbishops’ Council.
The morning’s main business was the Archbishops’ Council’s draft budget for 2008 (GS 1665). Synod agreed the gross expenditure figures in the table below. There are some small sources of income, but the net expenditure, shown in the last column, is provided by the dioceses. The apportionments on individual dioceses are shown in GS 1665.
|1 Training for Ministry||10,947,200||10,647,200|
|2 National Church Responsibilities||10,060,328||10,060,328|
|3 Grants and Provisions||1,596,200||1,596,200|
|4 Inter-diocesan Support/
Mission Agencies Clergy Pension Contributions
|5 Church’s Housing Assistance for the
Finally Synod gave final approval to the Church of England Marriage Measure. The voting figures were:
The measure requires parliamentary approval before it can come into effect.
Official report of Tuesday here.0 Comments
Bishop Ben Kwashi, Bishop of Jos in Northern Nigeria, chairman of SOMA (Sharing of Ministries Abroad) and co-ordinating Bishop of CANA (The Convocation of Anglicans in North America) spoke at the Anglican Mainstream Fringe meeting at the General Synod of the Church of England held in York on 9th July 2007.
Read the full text of his remarks here.
Changing Attitude has a press release: Davis Mac-Iyalla meets Bishop Ben Kwashie at Church of England General Synod, York.
TitusOneNine has an unofficial transcript of the speech made by the Bishop of Durham in Sunday’s debate. The link to that transcript is here.48 Comments