Thinking Anglicans

that London church service redux

The Diocese of London website carries this Statement on the Service at St Bartholomew the Great signed by Bishop Pete Broadbent. (Hat Tip to Ruth Gledhill who has published a fuller version of Martin Dudley’s letter on her blog under the heading Dudley pulls it off! and also wrote about it under a more sedate headline on The Times website as Vicar who performed ‘wedding’ ceremony for two gay clergy expresses regret.)

The Assistant Bishop of London has issued the following statement regarding the service that took place at St Bartholomew the Great on 31 May.

Dear Colleagues,

I am contacting you all on Bishop Richard’s behalf since, as you know, he is currently away on holiday.

Earlier this year, the Bishop wrote to you regarding a service held at St Bartholomew the Great on May 31st, which had generated considerable publicity and consternation.

Since this time, under the Bishop’s instructions, the Archdeacon of London has carried out an investigation into the matter, alongside the Chancellor of the Diocese. This has involved a series of frank discussions with the Rector, Revd Dr Martin Dudley.

As a consequence, the Rector has made expressly clear his regret over what happened at St Bartholomew the Great and accepted the service should not have taken place. Bishop Richard has considered the matter and has decided to accept the Rector’s apology in full. The matter is therefore now closed.

To avoid any uncertainty over what has been said, I have enclosed below, with the Rector’s permission, his statement of apology to the Bishop:

“I can now appreciate that the service held at St Bartholomew the Great on 31 May 2008 was inconsistent with the terms of the Pastoral Statement from the House of Bishops issued in 2005. Whilst the precise status of this pastoral document within the Church of England generally and the Diocese of London in particular may be a matter of differing interpretations, I ought to have afforded it far greater weight. I regret the embarrassment caused to you by this event and by its subsequent portrayal in the media. I now recognise that I should not have responded positively to the request for this service, even though it was made by another incumbent of your Diocese, who is a colleague, neighbour and friend of us both nor should I have adopted uncritically the Order of Service prepared by him and his partner. I had not appreciated that the event would have been attended by so many nor that it would have attracted the publicity and notoriety which it did.

“I share your abhorrence of homophobia in all its forms. I am profoundly uneasy with much of the content of the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement which anecdotal evidence suggests is being widely, though discretely, disregarded in this Diocese and elsewhere. Nonetheless, I am willing to abide by its content in the future, until such time as it is rescinded or amended, and I undertake not to provide any form of blessing for same sex couples registering civil partnerships.”

As I say, following the Rector’s full and frank apology, the Bishop considers the matter now closed.

With best wishes and prayers

Pete Broadbent
Assistant Bishop of London

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Ford ElmsBillyDJohnrobert marshallRobert Ian Williams Recent comment authors
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JCF
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JCF

“Rule the Closet! The Closet rules The Church!”

IMHO, moral authority on this issue had moved to Los Angeles (See Dio LA PDF here: http://s3.amazonaws.com/dfc_attachments/public/documents/104/Some_Questions_and_Answers.pdf )

andrew holden
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andrew holden

Now what’s that quote from the Bible about a prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own diocese?

revLois Keen
Guest

As a wise bishop once told me, and which was repeated by other bishops since then, better not to ask and apologize later.

Padre Mickey
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Revda. Lois, I’ve heard that advice as: “It’s always easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.”

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“However, these sacraments are never withheld because something basic to the very nature of the person has disqualified them, e.g., being a man, a woman, a gay person, a white person, a black person. “This being said, a gay person, who is not disqualified from baptism, should not be barred from other sacraments because of his or her sexual orientation. We can argue, therefore,(that) persons who are able to enter into a lifelong commitment as the church understands it should be able to receive the sacrament of marriage in a same-sex union.” – L.A. Task Force This extract, from the… Read more »

John
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John

As a boring academic, I wish Martin Dudley could spell.

Ph
Guest
Ph

Well, that’s a really comprehensive apology – it makes it quite clear that: The rules are stupid and cruel: “I should not have responded positively to the request for this service, even though it was made by another incumbent of your Diocese, who is a colleague, neighbour and friend of us both” The Bishops’ guidance is (deliberately?) open to creative re-interpretation: “the precise status of this pastoral document within the Church of England generally and the Diocese of London in particular may be a matter of differing interpretations” No-one with (check all that apply) either a heart or brain pays… Read more »

BillyD
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BillyD

“As a boring academic, I wish Martin Dudley could spell.”

Huh? I copied his portion of the letter and ran it through my spellcheck and the only words that got flagged were “recognise” and “neighbour,” both of which are understandable since Fr. Dudley is a limey and I live in God’s country, where we recognize our neighbors. What words did you think he misspelled? Maybe I have to adjust my spellcheck.

Spirit of Vatican II
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Spirit of Vatican II

Interesting that his letter has a typo and a spelling error — deliberately?

Happily the net result remains a step forward rather than a setback for the cause of church recognition of gay couples, and Fr Dudley — as good a master of weasel words as any of his superiors in the Churhc of England — comes out of this with his integrity intact.

Robert Ian Williams
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Robert Ian Williams

Martin Dudley lost an opportunity when Anglican Mainstream gave him the right of reply. His letter was a rambling one on Donatism…..he should have simply said to them ,” why can”t you agree what the Bible maeans about divorce and then come back to me?”

robert marshall
Guest

‘Discretely’ is a valid word – but mis-spelt in this context – though maybe not – perhaps there are little clumps of disregarding the Pastoral Statement within the diocese?

John
Guest
John

Robert Marshall is right – without the ‘maybe not’.

BillyD
Guest

“‘Discretely’ is a valid word – but mis-spelt in this context…”

Thanks – I did not know that.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“both of which are understandable since Fr. Dudley is a limey and I live in God’s country, where we recognize our neighbors.”

Whereas, BillyD, I live in a country where we don’t trust people who leave the ‘u’ out of ‘honour’. Sorry. Couldn’t resist:-)