Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Grantham threatened with outing by Sunday newspaper

Updated Saturday afternoon

Harriet Sherwood in the Guardian has reported this:
Bishop of Grantham first C of E bishop to declare he is in gay relationship

The bishop of Grantham has become the first Church of England bishop to publicly declare that he is gay and in a relationship. In a move that will be embraced by campaigners for equality but is likely to alarm conservatives who fear the church is moving away from traditional teachings, Nicholas Chamberlain said there had been no secret about his long-term – albeit celibate – relationship with his partner.

But a threat by a Sunday newspaper to reveal Chamberlain’s sexuality had pushed him to speak publicly. He acknowledged that the revelation would cause “ripples” within the church. “It was not my decision to make a big thing about coming out,” he told the Guardian in an exclusive interview. “People know I’m gay, but it’s not the first thing I’d say to anyone. Sexuality is part of who I am, but it’s my ministry that I want to focus on.”

The Guardian also has this comment article by Andrew Brown ‘Double standard’ in C of E on homosexuality is less defensible today.

The Church of England has been confused and dishonest about homosexuality for most of the last 50 years, as it struggled to come to terms with feminism and the sexual revolution. The official line is that all sex outside marriage is wrong, and that gay people can’t marry in church. However, the definition of marriage is flexible for straight people: the church accepts that divorce and remarriage can be regrettable necessities for heterosexuals, even when they are priests or (occasionally) bishops. Meanwhile, gay churchgoers are often welcomed and are frequently married or partnered. Congregations vary widely in their attitudes but are, for the most part, no more illiberal than the society around them.

In effect, there is one standard for the laity – which is to conform to the liberal norms of society – and a double standard for the clergy who are supposed to be celibate, even when they live with same sex partners, if not heterosexually married. It is perfectly in order for clergy and even bishops to be civilly partnered…

The Diocese of Lincoln has today (Saturday) published a letter sent out yesterday from the Bishop of Lincoln:

2 September 2016

Last year, Nicholas Chamberlain accepted the invitation to become the twelfth Bishop of Grantham. I was delighted that we were able to appoint a priest of his faithfulness, energy, wisdom and experience to this senior role at such an important time in the life of our diocese.

Bishop Nicholas has brought to the diocese many excellent gifts that are serving us very well as we seek to build the life of the church in greater Lincolnshire in faith, confidence and joy. It was for those many gifts that he was appointed. It was clear to me, and to those who assisted me with the appointment, that Nicholas would be an excellent bishop, and this has been borne out by the tremendous benefit we are already enjoying as a result of his ministry among us during the past year.

Bishop Nicholas’ appointment was made following the recommended and established procedures for suffragan posts, and was approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury (as metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury). The archbishop, and the members of the advisory panel, were in full possession of the facts of the appointment and unanimous in their support.

A story has been published on the Guardian website this evening about sexuality and the church. The same story will appear in the newspaper tomorrow, and it includes an interview with Bishop Nicholas in which he is open about the fact that he is gay. Bishop Nicholas gave this interview willingly and after much careful thought and prayer, and he did so with the express intention of acting in the best interests of the Diocese of Lincoln and of the Church of England.

I am satisfied now, as I was at the time of his appointment, that Bishop Nicholas fully understands, and lives by, the House of Bishops’ guidance on Issues in Human Sexuality. For me, and for those who assisted in his appointment, the fact that Bishop Nicholas is gay is not, and has never been, a determining factor.

I understand that in some parts of the church – locally, nationally and internationally – this news will be challenging. My prayer for the church is that we will continue to seek to work together to understand difference with respect and dignity; to embrace and nurture our diverse gifts as disciples of Jesus Christ and in the service of God and neighbour; and to enrich and enable fulfillment in the lives of all God’s people, whatever their background, race, faith, gender or sexuality.

With my thoughts and prayers,

The Right Reverend Christopher Lowson
Bishop of Lincoln


Dean of Winchester: Catherine Ogle

Press release from Number 10

Dean of Winchester: Catherine Ogle

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 2 September 2016

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Catherine Ogle to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church, Winchester.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, MA, MPhil, DLitt, Dean of Birmingham, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity and Saint Peter, Saint Paul, and of Saint Swithun in Winchester, on the resignation of the Very Reverend James Edgar Atwell, MA, BD, ThM on 14 July 2016.

Notes for editors

The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, (aged 55) studied at Leeds University, and then at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. She studied for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge 1985 to 1988. Her first curacy was at St Mary, Middleton in Ripon diocese from 1988 to 1991. From 1991 to 1995 she was Religious Programmes Editor at BBC Radio Leeds and attached to St Margaret of Antioch, in inner city Leeds.

In 1994 she was among the first women to be ordained priest in the Church of England and served her first incumbency from 1995 to 2001 as Priest in Charge of Woolley with West Bretton in Wakefield Diocese. From 2001 to 2010 she was Vicar of St Peter’s, Huddersfield Parish Church, also in the diocese of Wakefield. From 2003 to 2006 she was Chaplain at the University of Huddersfield. From 2008 to 2010 she was Honorary Canon at Wakefield Cathedral and Rural Dean of Huddersfield. Since 2010 she has been Dean of Birmingham.

The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle is married to Robin Goater, an accountant currently Finance Director of a local mental health charity. They have 1 son, Thomas, who is studying to be a teacher.

Her interests include the arts, broadcasting, hospitality and walking.

The Winchester diocesan website has A new Dean for Winchester Cathedral.


Suffragan Bishop of Berwick: Mark Tanner

Press release from Number 10

Suffragan Bishop of Berwick: Mark Tanner

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published : 1 September 2016

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Mark Simon Austin Tanner to the Suffragan See of Berwick.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Mark Simon Austin Tanner, MA, BA MTh, Vice Principal of St John’s College, Durham and Warden Cramer Hall in the diocese of Durham, to the Suffragan See of Berwick in the diocese of Newcastle which has been in abeyance since 1572.

Notes for editors

Canon Mark Tanner was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, then at St John’s College Durham and then at Liverpool University. He trained for the ministry at Cranmer Hall, Durham. He served his title at Upton in Chester diocese from 1998 to 2001.

From 2001 to 2007 he was Vicar at Doncaster in Sheffield diocese before moving on to be Vicar at Ripon in the diocese of Ripon and Leeds from 2007 to 2011, and was also Area Dean of Ripon from 2009 to 2011. From 2009 to 2011 he was OCM with 21 Engineering Regiment, and with 101 Royal Artillery from 2011 to 2013.

Since 2011 he has been Warden of Cranmer Hall in the diocese of Durham and Vice Principal of St John’s College, Durham, and from 2015 he has been Honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral.

Canon Mark Tanner is married and has 2 children.

His interests include walking, running and motorcycles.

The Newcastle diocesan website has Canon Mark Tanner announced as new Suffragan Bishop of Berwick.