Thinking Anglicans

some Southwark evangelicals rebel on finance

Updated Tuesday afternoon

Last week’s Church Times carried a report by Ed Thornton Evangelicals warned on cash. (This earlier report gives the background.)

…Some Evangelicals in the diocese are setting up an alternative parish-share scheme, which will be a registered charity (News, 20 April). It is understood that a presentation about the plans will be made to members of the South­wark Diocesan Evangelical Union in the next couple of months, and that briefing papers will be available for PCCs to discuss.

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Kuhrt, Priest-in-Charge of Christ Church, New Malden, in Southwark diocese, criticised the plans for an alternative fund. He said that he did not want “further schism and separation” in the diocese. “Creating separate structures is tempting, but is virtually always unhelpful because it creates confusion. We don’t need Evangelical ghettos being created, and we mustn’t use money as a means of blackmail… Anyone who’s really concerned about the mission of the diocese will not be wanting to go down this track.”

One source of information used in this report was this statement at, which is run by Church Society:

Ministry Trust to be established in Southwark Diocese

Due to widespread concerns in the Diocese of Southwark, a Trust is being established to support the ministry cost of parish clergy.

There will be a presentation for members of the Diocese of Southwark Evangelical Union and other interested bodies within the next couple of months, which will include a question and answer session, and briefing papers to take away for Parochial Church Councils to discuss, should they want them.

There has already been an expression of interest from clergy in the Diocese of Salisbury, because of their own local concerns.

However, a letter in this week’s Church Times from the chairman of the Southwark Diocesan Evangelical Union says:

…it is under­stood that a presentation about an alternative parish-share system in Southwark is to be presented to members of the DEU next month. The Executive Committee of the DEU has no plans to organise such a meeting.

Details were then published of the Southwark Good Stewards Trust in this article: Southwark Ministry Trust releases FAQs

The Southwark Good Stewards Company Limited report that because there has been, in the last few days, much misrepresentation of the Southwark Good Stewards Trust, the Directors have issued the below Frequently Asked Questions, ahead of the official Trust launch and reception. The Directors hope that the FAQ’s may be of interest to members of churches of other Dioceses where there is also widespread concern about revisionism…


Fulcrum has published an article by Stephen Kuhrt titled Why the ‘Southwark Ministry Trust’ is not the solution.

…Within Southwark Diocese, most of us describing ourselves as evangelicals are agreed that we are facing a major problem. A diocese of considerable diversity that has for several years maintained a balance between its different traditions has very suddenly appeared to lurch in one direction. This has come about through seven successive senior posts within the diocese all being given to liberal-Catholics. Hopefully for evangelicals in Southwark, this imbalance is temporary rather than indicating something more permanent. But it is definitely serious and has created a good deal of damage to the perception of how evangelicals are viewed and valued. At an extremely delicate time, these appointments have also created a very specific anxiety about so many of the leadership positions within the diocese now being held by those committed to a revisionist position on homosexuality. It is for these reasons that I have been among those who have criticised the imbalance within the Southwark appointments and strongly communicated this upset and dissatisfaction to our Bishop, Christopher Chessun.

At the basis of this response has been a commitment to what I see as the ‘principled comprehensiveness’ of being part of the Church of England. Part of what the ‘principled’ aspect of this involves is being prepared to make strong protest when decisions are taken that are seen as wrong or misguided and being committed to patient and ongoing pressure to reverse them. Part of what the ‘comprehensiveness’ side of this involves, however, is an equal commitment to remaining fully embedded within a diverse church partly because of the conviction that evangelicals equally need those of other traditions to tell us (just as strongly) when we go wrong as well…


  • Martin Reynolds says:

    Same old story.

    When LGCM celebrated its 20th anniversary in Southwark Cathedral in 1996 there were threats of the same sort then hoping to pressure the diocese to withdraw permission for the service.

    I suspect that the day is getting closer when some form of schism will take place.

    Mr Kuhrt, again.
    He wrote that rather mean and nasty essay on the Covenant over at Fulcrum.

  • John Bowles says:

    Surely this has been on the cards for years? Knowing the Evangelicals’ concern for scriptural orthodoxy I suggest that it is inevitable.

  • Jeremy says:

    Hey, chickens!

    See that roost?

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    It makes sense that as the Evangelicals have all the truth, all the integrity and alone know the will of God for Southwark and every where else,

    that they should have, keep, and control their own money.

    And of course, command the rest of us.

    They are after-all public school by background and expectation and expect to be obeyed, or else we know what we can expect don’t we ?

    Such arrogance and conceit is amazing.

    The new bishop of Southwark is being kicked while new, before he finds his feet. Is this really kind let alone godly ?

    And all because they wish they could hide away from gay folk and gayness !

    Heaven knows how the lgbt members of congregations and lgbt ministers are left feeling in all this.

    I can’t wait to see their faces* at the Second Coming

    * covered in egg at best ***

    *** yes I can still smile at these antics, but I genuinely feel for the lgbt people in Evangelical set-ups (I have the T-shirt myself 🙂

  • Simon Butler says:

    It’s worth noting that only about 10 actual parishes are even considering this step, which is a small minority of even Evangelical parishes in Southwark.The vast majority of Southwark Evangelicals want nothing to do with this divisive and separatist step, most of whom have been sounding off about this for years.

  • David Rowett says:

    Hmmm, I just wish these folk would be honest – I mean, underneath the code words of the Jerusalem Declaration is the standard ConsEv underpinning, and for all the bleating about being open to all those who consider themselves ‘orthodox’ in that rather narrrow sense in which it’s employed in this partisan/polemical stuff, we know that there aren’t many folk who worship at Our Lady & St Ignatius’ who can join in the game.

    Why not say, ‘We’re a bunch of wealthy ConsEvs who are using that wealth to throw our weight around.’ I could respect that, in a funny way.

  • Davis d'Ambly says:

    And so it begins…

  • david rowett says:

    I’d be more impressed with ‘Evangelicals’ concern for scriptural orthodoxy’ if it wasn’t so darn’ selective. All the warnings in the Gospels about wealth seem not to appear on the radar: and I have to admit that too many of the Evangelical churches I’ve had dealings with have rather large car-parks with rather ‘nice’ cars…. It worries me does this flagrant ignoring of the plain meaning of Scripture.

    Rowan once observed that when Church Leaders are asked to speak out on morality, what’s actually being asked for is for the Church to support the POV of the person who’s asking. I think he’s on to something.

  • It all sounds very much like Congregationalism to me, an observer from afar. It seems to reek of: “We know what best to do with OUR money” – an overt protestation of a claimed ‘orthodoxy’ quite similar to the GAFCON/FCA conglomerate.

  • JCF says:

    And right after the FOCAs were here: imagine that!

  • Laurence – I’m English by birth (tho now in Canada) and evangelical by conviction. I was born into a working class family on a cobbled street in inner-city Leicester. Public school? You must be joking. We were dirt poor. My grandfather was a mechanic and my grandmother worked in a shoe factory.

    These caricatures are very unhelpful. Evangelicals – the real ones, not the demonized stereotypes – are as diverse as Anglo-Catholics and liberals and everyone else.

  • Father David says:

    If, as Lawrence suggests the revolting Evangelicals of Southwark are “public school by background” then I would further suggest that they will not be unfamiliar with “gay folk and gayness”.

  • Kevin Scott says:

    I am deeply saddened by this development – and by some of the comments about Evangelicals.

    As a liberal Anglican here in Kingston Deanery (Southwark Diocese and, yes, Stephen’s Deanery)I have always been greeted with respect and affection by evangelical colleagues. In this Deanery at least (which ranges from Reform to Res C) we have lived with difference and even come to value it. Amongst those colleagues, Stephen Kuhrt has been an example of how to hold conviction with integrity while living generously with those who hold different convictions.

    It is sad that Bp Christopher was not perhaps better advised about episcopal appointments, but in Kingston he has just appointed an evangelical Area Dean who has the respect and support of the Chapter.

    I am sorry, I say again, that this has happened in Southwark Diocese; that it has happened at all.

  • Chris H. says:

    David, do none of the liberals you know drive nice cars or wish they had large churches with large parking lots? Does all the money given to the diocese charities go to food banks, women’s shelters or other things that conservatives and liberals agree on? Here in America several tests and studies have shown conservatives give more than liberals to charity. My local church doesn’t want the conservatives to go because they give more to the church than the liberals. Without the conservatives, the money won’t be around to keep things up. Neither do the local liberals give all they have to the poor or follow all the teachings in the Bible on generosity to the poor, etc. As someone put it, “Liberals want the government to take care of the poor so they don’t have to.”

    Meanwhile the conservatives are angry that the diocese gives some of their money to pro-LGBT,pro-abortion, groups and supports a bishop who has made it known he will not hire from conservative seminaries. The only way to keep their money away from what they don’t believe in and use it for what they do is not to give it to the diocese and give it directly where they want it. I wouldn’t be surprised if something like this popped up here and while it’s depressing that such disagreements go public, as long as the church gives to partisan groups it’s going to happen.

  • Jonathan Jennings says:

    Thanks for the reminder about the 1996 Southwark event; it’s often forgotten that it prompted a Thought for the Day broadcast which was unprecedented in that the speaker used the platform to launch an attack on the diocese of Southwark, the cathedral authorities and that part of the church of England campaigning on the issue.

    The Church of England communications unit made a formal complaint to the BBC, mostly on the basis that TFD was an inappropriate place for this kind of comment, not least because there was no right of reply and no guarantee of balance across the range of contributors.

    In the subsequent ill-tempered Synod session, the unit was roundly criticised for doing so. As I recall it, not one bishop came to their defence.

    The BBC initially dismissed the complaint but, interestingly, have never allowed the slot to be used in that way since.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    It’s helpful to hear from Kevin Scott that Mr Kuhrt is nice to liberals and he might bear it in mind that some of those commenting adversely above are themselves evangelical.

    We are all sorry this is happening in Southwark diocese, but it has been on the cards for nearly 20 years.

    It would seem from this and an earlier thread that both Southwark and Chichester enjoy leadership teams that leave some feeling sidelined – but it is from Southwark we consistently hear of schismatic acts and illicit ordinations. We already know that some of the usual suspects in South London already look abroad for episcopal oversight and one wonders how they have the cheek to complain!

    But here, at least as far as I am concerned, it is Mr Kuhrt, member of the leadership team of Fulcrum and increasingly frequent commenter on affairs that interests me. It is there, in what he says I am a critic. I am glad you think he’s a nice guy!

    His recent Fulcrum essay on the Covenant was a masterpiece of smug – “we must be right because all the other protagonists are attacking us”. It was based on the false principle that those opposed to the Covenant were somehow attacking something precious he and his allies were trying to promote and preserve.

    “Catholic ecclesiology” would deny him his wife and family and if this were the price of the Covenant I guess he might hesitate – even oppose what otherwise he might embrace. The main redactor of the Covenant wrote to me:
    “But maybe we’d all live and breathe more easily in our liberal Western Protestantism… It would certainly make my life easier in St Asaph as we negotiate the perils of Civil partnerships and gay marriage …”

    So, it would seem that those who are the strongest advocates for the Covenant accept that gay people and their families are to find their lives much easier in a world without the Covenant.

    Mr Kuhrt would not embrace clerical celibacy for himself and put away his wife and children because the vast majority of Christendom asks this of its priesthood, liberal Protestantism is his ally too!

  • david rowett says:

    Chris H seems to have missed my point: if a church is to campaign on the grounds that it alone is Scriptural, then it cannot but be asked why it privileges certain Scriptural passages above others – a Week 1 part of any course on hermeneutics, surely?

    I don’t know a great deal about the US situation, but I do know that ‘charitable giving’ in the UK can include both a water project in Africa and the funding of an exclusive school for the well-heeled. There’s reason to query the oft-repeated mantra that COnsEv parishes ‘give more’ as well. And perhaps someone Stateside should remember that over here a large car-park often means an eclectic parish, that darling of consumer Christianity.

    My central premise remains unanswered. A Scriptural Church would be as highly critical of the ‘Gospel of Success’ tendency, of the City etc etc as it is of a couple of guys setting up home together. Why is there no shame that in a city within an hour of here all the UPA evangelical parishes are being emptied by one or two wealthy ConEv parishes in the nicest bits of town? In this diocese, I only know of one Evangelical parish in a UPA (of which there are plenty, even in bucolic Lincolnshire): coincidentally our strongest ConsEv presence is in a town which has all the hallmarks of wealthy south-eastern England. Does this not trouble you? It troubles me.

    I have plenty of concerns about my own (Anglo-Catholic) bit of the Church, but there seems to be a lack of self-awareness evident in much ConsEv material – as James Barr once said, ‘In some Conservative Evangelical circles, the only sin seems to be that of being insufficiently Conservative and Evangelical.’

  • Kevin Scott says:

    Hmmm… you have a point Martin.

    I only know Stephen from working with him as a neighbour and a colleague for some years.

    He and I disagree profoundly on a number of issues. But if all the structures of the Church fell apart tomorrow, and all the ecclesiologies turned into so much sand, it would be the nice guys I trusted and knew that I would seek out.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    “……. it would be the nice guys I trusted and knew that I would seek out”

  • David Keen says:

    Stephen Kuhrt “I regard the recently established ‘Southwark Trust Fund’ as a mistake and urge my fellow evangelicals within the diocese not to join it.”

  • Charles Read says:

    Perhaps this recent Southwark appointment will help:

    Although perhaps the fact she is female and a liturgist will not endear her to the type of evangelicals who set up so-called trust funds!

  • Anthony Archer says:

    This is an unfortunate but not unexpected development in this diocese. I don’t know how Southwark organises its parish share machinery, but presumably these parishes will declare UDI, pay their own clergy and only thereby deprive the diocese of the balance of the parish share, which is termed the ministry support contribution in St Albans. I have some sympathy with the churches concerned, but do not believe it will achieve anything. The global concern has always been that the acute fractures in The Episcopal Church will spill over to the Church of England. The Southwark CNC might have done better to have nominated an outsider as diocesan bishop (this is not to take a tilt at the incumbent) given that some of the seeds of this disunity were sown years ago. Et unum sint.

  • MarkBrunson says:

    Conservatives give more *money* – but not much else. Love of money is the root of evil, so, if churches don’t wish to lose money if the conservatives go . . . well, that says a lot about the churches, and very little about actual *caritas*.

    I’m rather tired of this “it’s been shown” meme — it’s the same statistical analysis that conservatives deride when not to their favor.

    A further thought, a study would mean that christian conservatives are very vocal about their giving (often the case, in my experience), yet, I think Jesus said something about left and right hands. Maybe others are simply more humble about what they give in money . . . not to mention time and self.

    And, no, I know very few liberals anymore who drive fancy cars or own big homes, at least, outside largely liberal metro areas. Most liberals are liberal because we know what it is to suffer and be poor. Those who “make it” by dubious standards of material success actually remember what being poor was like, and that breaks through their bigotry.

  • Counterlight says:

    No one ever got rich by moving left.

    I rent my home. I take the subway and I don’t own a car.

  • Randal Oulton says:

    To be fair, it’s not just the conservatives that might hold back their money if they don’t agree with something.

    The LBGT community is, I’d venture an opinion, even better and more organized at economic boycotts. I have LGBT friends in the Anglican Church in Canada who have said that they won’t give a dime towards funds going to Africa, as the African churches will just use their money against them.

    So, hard to fault the conservatives for doing the same. In Canada btw, I’d venture to say it’s the evangelicals that are “poorer.”

  • commentator says:

    St Albans got its present bishop because the loud evangelicals wanted a man who would be received in every parish, which translates as those who turned their backs on the previous bishop when he accepted Dr John as Dean. So, actually, the tail wagged the dog in St Albans – it was just more subtle than the actions in Southwark.
    When are the less evangelical parishes going to acquire the wisdom that gets you the bishop you’d like? They respect the ‘office’, live out unity in diversity, and get no credit for it. But the House of Bishops acquires another evangelical voice and Salisbury got the man that many in St Albans wanted. It was quite clear that the noise-some few would NOT have accepted Nick Holtam but the quite many were required to settle for Alan Smith.

  • Gerry Lynch says:

    They are after-all public school by background and expectation and expect to be obeyed

    Maybe in England. Believe me, it makes little difference when none of them are public school educated…

  • Chris H. says:

    Firstly, the studies I was looking at used IRS data and/or excluded money given to churches.

    Secondly, now that most conservatives have been chased off, TEC is still a WASP church. Unless you’re pointing to specific churches on reservations, etc. It’s still the country club church. A parish with an ASA of 50 can’t afford a priest and the buildings and support the food bank,etc. unless they have some money.

    Thirdly, Randall’s observation is correct here as well. LGBT activists are perfectly willing to refuse to give to the local women’s shelter, children’s shelter, main food bank, etc. because they have ties to groups with a spokesperson on the other side of the country who was insulting. It doesn’t even matter if the local group ignores the national position.

    Finally, I doubt that every liberal rents like Counterlight and every conservative owns their home. Also, the local liberals who aren’t country club members are often part of the unions, who like to think of themselves as just regular working folk, but who make much more than the other working folk. They aren’t poor; they just won’t admit it. As liberal/”Blue” as New England, Chicago, and California are, I highly doubt that all the rich are conservative and all the liberals are poor. It takes money,lots, to make it into and to control the government no matter which side/party it is.

  • MarkBrunson says:

    Still doesn’t change anything.

    Firstly, still about money, nothing else. Nor does it take into account the reasons for the giving, nor the expectations, nor what else might be given – for instance, what is the savings for a food bank in volunteer work, rather than cash paid to an employee in a non-profit corporation? IRS deals only with money, not people.

    Secondly, non sequitir – takes up another popular meme of the ASA of 50. Still statistics, not real life. Defeats original proposition by saying that, somehow, these liberals who give less are giving so much. Confusing, confused and embarrassing argument.

    Thirdly, and that makes conservatives decent in what way?

    Finally, in what way does the makeup of government actually correspond to the people they claim to represent? So, if liberal politicians have all that money, liberals must, as well? We had eight years of Dubya, so who bought that? Then we get Unions – really? That old canard? What else we gonna get, flouride is a communist plot? No one who has a home of their own, food and clothing is poor. I bring home less than $220 a week – I still don’t consider myself poor. No one claimed that liberals are all poor, but most of us ARE working class, despite your projections. The claims you are making are both presumptuous and silly.

    I give your report a D.

  • Counterlight says:

    “Also, the local liberals who aren’t country club members are often part of the unions, who like to think of themselves as just regular working folk, but who make much more than the other working folk. They aren’t poor; they just won’t admit it.”

    Tell that to my creditors.

  • “As someone put it, “Liberals want the government to take care of the poor so they don’t have to.””

    That would make sense, if liberals didn’t pay the taxes that the government uses to take care of the poor. In fact, liberals want the government to take care of the poor because when it was left to the private sector as a voluntary action the poor did not get cared for very well.

  • Erika Baker says:

    Well said, Bill.

    Liberals also want to the government to take care of the poor because they believe that having a minimum standard of living and healthcare and education free at the point of use are a basic right in a civilised society and not something that should be left to unreliable and fickle individual charity that the “poor” then have to be grateful for.

    It’s why many of us are very happy to pay taxes and really really dislike tax evasion, even exploiting legitimate loopholes.

    It would also be much better if the donors didn’t think they were good chaps for doing good with their money but realised that some of that money has been earned with the help of all of society and should therefore be used for the benefit of all of society. No moral kudos involved.

  • MarkBrunson says:

    What always gets me is that the same conservatives who believe individuals aren’t morally mature or trustworthy enough to make decisions in their own lives and have to be “protected” from their vocations and loves are quite trusting of the moral maturity of individuals – especially if they are wealthy, conservative – to provide for the needy and disadvantaged with no coercion! Rather backwards, I think.

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