Thinking Anglicans

Jeremy Timm: further comment and reports

The Church Times has Reader ‘faced with choosing between marriage or ministry’

Updated (Thursday evening): the Church Times story has a new headline and location: Reader to lose Permission to Officiate over marriage plans

James Little, Team Rector of Howden Team Ministry, has published the following statement on Facebook

The CT asked me to comment as Jeremy’s Team Rector but didn’t include what I wrote, so here it is—

The Howden Team Ministry is a group of typically rural churches centred on Howden Minster in the East Riding of Yorkshire. We strive to be open, inclusive and welcoming to all and engaged with the communities we serve. The folk around here have known Jeremy since he was a lad and he is a popular and well-respected member of our ministry team. The removal of Jeremy’s PTO (for taking an entirely legal step) runs contrary to the message of welcome we proclaim.

I rejoiced when Bishop Alison was appointed as our new bishop for the East Riding and I applaud Archbishop Sentamu’s leadership in bringing this about. I was delighted to attend her consecration and her welcome service last month, seeing this as a great step forward on the road to equality, long overdue. However, I am saddened that our archbishop’s profound commitment to equality does not extend to the LGBTI community. I believe that the full involvement of women AND the full involvement of LGBTI Christians in the Church of England are, essentially, the same issue. All are one in Jesus Christ.

The Churchwardens are sufficiently concerned to take the unusual step of convening a meeting for later this week, to which I have been invited.

Jeremy will continue to have my full support.

The Telegraph also reports the story Gay Anglican preacher forced to ‘choose between marriage or ministry’

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Susannah ClarkJohn WardFather Ron SmithKatecseitz Recent comment authors
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Susannah Clark
Guest

A really forthright statement by James Little. If a local church community, in all good conscience, believes in welcoming, affirming and accepting people who have been married (regardless of their orientation), then I believe they have a right to have their conscience respected and protected. This whole thing is a nonsense. Here we have a clearly loved and respected member of the local church community, wanted by his church community, affirmed by his church community for the whole of who he is… and external authoritarianism is about to strip him of his valued role in that community. Personally, if I… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

James Little, if you’re reading this, please, for the sake of justice, defy your archbishop, and allow Jeremy Timm to continue in his role unlicensed.

As rector, you can’t be dismissed by episcopal fiat. Sentamu is acting arbitrarily and unjustly. Your oath of obedience isn’t absolute, and isn’t violated by disobeying your archbishop on this. Your disobedience may be the thing that brings Sentamu to his senses.

You are clearly a good man, and for good to triumph, good men must fight.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Madeleine Davies (Church Times) gives a very good survey of the situation. The Church of England is at yet another critical point in its history of hypocritical treatment of its LGBTIQ members. Anglican angels must have many stab wounds in their collective feet – from so much disciplinary dancing on, not the heads, but the sharp end, of the pin of gender and sexual discrimination. Can not the Archbishops discern the damage being done to the pastoral credibility of the Church by their parsimonious attempt to discredit the loving ministry of some of its most valued practioners -who just happen… Read more »

Thomas Scott-Golden
Guest
Thomas Scott-Golden

It is most saddening to hear of Archbishop Sentamu’s regrettable and regressive step in removing Jeremy’s Timm’s license. I applaud Jame’s Little’s open letter and heartly encourage him, the parishioners and Jeremy himself to continue in their open-minded, inclusive, humane and indeed Christ-like attitude of ‘All are one in Jesus Christ’. In addressing myself to Archbishop Sentamu, I would urge him to look at the example that Christ set us all, to ask himself, if Christ were walking on earth today, given all that we see of Him revealed in scripture and his interactions with those who suffered the slight… Read more »

SC
Guest
SC

Parish shares have been withheld over less. I’m not saying they should be, of course, but they have been.

Fr John E. Harris-White
Guest
Fr John E. Harris-White

I have delayed making comment, but support Jeremy, and Fr James.
I hope and pray that the deanery, parish and their PCC’S call Archbishop Sentamu to task for his most uncharitable action.

Being in my eighties I well remember a Ugandan priest being welcomed by the people of Herne Hill London as their curate. Safe from his Ugandan dictator. One Fr Sentamu. What ever happened to him?

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

Another point is that, when Jeremy Timm converts his Civil Partnership to marriage, the marriage will be backdated to the date he entered his CP. So he will have already been a married, licensed, Lay Reader for some years. This means the Archbishop is in the helpful position of being able to determine precisely what harm this particular marriage has done to the Church of England during that period i.e. none! There can be no anxiety or handwringing on the Archbishop’s part over *potential* harm for the Church – the facts are already known as the marriage will have existed… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

I am getting ready to preach on this Sunday’s Gospel reading from John 6, so I have been thinking about how often I (me, you, everyone) recieve Holy Communion without ‘munching’ (that’s actually the word John uses) our Lord’s flesh and drinking his blood, without taking his word into my body and giving it flesh in the everyday world. It’s difficult, but Jeremy and James (I think) are doing that, making our Lord’s Word live in their flesh. Alleluia.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Love is a human right, and sex is a human right. You should not lose your work in a community because of them. Indeed, as a Christian, if you want sex to be blessed and sanctified in marriage, then we should seek to affirm and celebrate the love and fidelity you express that way. What is wrong with people? Why are they so reluctant to see sex sanctified in marriage? And why should lesbian and gay people face discrimination (being treated differently from other people) and be denied the right to serve Christ in their communities? There is not enough… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

SC, every penny of parish shares should be withheld until this decision is rescinded. There’s nothing inherently wrong in withholding funds. Just the opposite: it’s wrong to fund homophobic policies.

In withdrawnng licenses, Sentamu is coercing people, and it’s reasonable to withhold resources from unjust coercion. If Sentamu wants to discuss this reasonably, he shouldn’t threaten people. So long as he does, this isn’t a debate, it’s a fight, in which the options are defense, or surrender.

You don’t surrender to homophobia.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Attacking lay leaders. Wow. Good for James Little+ for standing up for Jeremy Timm. It would be great to see the laity stand up and say “enough,” and put some teeth behind it. If you can’t do that for your own, I just don’t see CoE standing up for the even more vulnerable who Jesus asks us to serve. Anglicanism in England does not seem to be as action oriented as in other places, like TEC. I get it, with a social safety net that is far better than we have, it does seem to give CoE more room to… Read more »

Fr Paul
Guest
Fr Paul

Your link to the CT article doesn’t work…

Fr Paul
Guest
Fr Paul

Neither does the Facebook link….

Gary Paul Gilbert
Guest
Gary Paul Gilbert

What made this act of discrimination possible is the ambivalence of the Church of England toward civil partnerships for clergy. Priests could be in civil partnerships but had to answer potential questions from their bishops about their sexuality. Civil marriage makes it impossible for the institution to hide its bigotry. I wish they could spend their time looking at countries like Jamaica, where people are murdered if they are suspected of being LGBT. The C of E does not do human dignity. In this case, the congregation has recognized the ministry of Jeremy Timm, whereas the Archbishop has not. If… Read more »

Barry
Guest
Barry

1) I am reminded of a story told by the late Anthony de Mello SJ: “The master once told a bishop that religious people have a natural bent for cruelty. ‘Why?’ demanded the disciples after the bishop had gone. ‘Because they all too easily sacrifice persons for the advancement of a purpose,’ said the master.” 2) A familiar ploy of our leaders when their words and deeds provoke anger is “sit it out till they all quieten down.” For this reason alone, protest must continue. At the very least, I hope the Archbishop of York is being deluged with messages… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Congratulations to Jeremy Timm for the interview he gave just now on the Sunday programme. No bitterness or recriminations at the Archbishop’s decision but a great deal of sadness. Personally, I cannot see how the Archbishop’s reaction fits easily with the document “Issues in Human Sexuality” where a clear distinction is made been lay and ordained? Further the Bishops Pastoral Guidance on same sex marriage is clearly aimed at those who are Bishops, Priests and Deacons and makes no mention whatsoever of those who are licensed Readers. A dilemma indeed.

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

Just heard Bishop Patterson on “Sunday” Radio four say that you can be a reader and gay and in a civil partnership, but not in a marriage..as heterosexual marriage is a doctrine of the Church of England.

But isn’t the prohibition of sex before marriage a Church of England doctrine?

Neil
Guest
Neil

R Williams – surely you must know that a civil partnership does not assume a sexual relationship, whereas marriage traditionally does?

Susannah Clark
Guest

Robert makes a good point. Why is sex before marriage taken less seriously than sexual orientation? How many couples go to church, and serve the church in various capacities, without being married to each other? In fact, the majority of people these days enjoy sex before marriage before (if) they ever get married. It’s no longer seen as much of a problem or a sin. And that’s before we even get on to the subject of divorce. If we’re going to be puritan and literalistic about it, then ALL these issues should be deal-breakers in the eyes of church leadership.… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I’m not sure the CoE doctrine is as clear as all that. The “pastoral” statement says quite clearly: ’18. We recognise the many reasons why couples wish their relationships to have a formal status. These include the joys of exclusive commitment and also extend to the importance of legal recognition of the relationship. To that end, civil partnership continues to be available for same sex couples. Those same sex couples who choose to marry should be welcomed into the life of the worshipping community and not be subjected to questioning about their lifestyle. Neither they nor any children they care… Read more »

Swithun
Guest
Swithun

Re: sex before marriage and relative immorality I am heterosexual, and sometimes wonder how best one might stand with those who are oppressed within the church for their homosexuality, without ending up speaking on behalf of people whose experiences I would not presume to know in detail. One way of speaking only of what I know might be to say to my bishop or whomever: I would like to assert that on my wedding night I was not a virgin. Moreover I do not believe that there is anything in that fact deserving of repentance. Kindly judge me first according… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“But isn’t the prohibition of sex before marriage a Church of England doctrine?”

Posted by: Robert ian Williams

It probably is a Roman Catholic doctrine, Robert. I’ve never heard of anyone being refused marriage in the Church of England on the basis of their pre-marital relationships.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I think the exchange between RIW and Fr Ron is really important.
We tend to elevate every “many Christians believe…” to the status of formal Doctrine.

There seem to be an awful lot of things to do with sex that have, over the years, acquired a quasi-doctrinal status they don’t really have at all.

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

No I didn’t realise that Neil. However read the online Tynwald debates with Bishop Paterson contributing..he was quite clear in understanding their true nature and to quoite him ” where they were headed.”!

Neil
Guest
Neil

Robert – but Bishop Paterson would be wrong in making any assumption of sexual activity within a civil partnership in terms of law. And all clergy within CPs are presumed officially to be celibate and must be treated as such. A ridiculous situation but it explains why Bishops can approve of CPs and why it is more problematic for them as there is no hiding place when it comes to marriage (and the presumption of sex).

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Why is it always presumed that heterosexual marriage (i.e. between male and female) is always necessarily encumbered with an explicitly sexual relationship? I wonder how many marriages are between two people of the opposite gender who intentionally married without the expectation of a sexual relationship. I know of at least one such happy marriage. There must be more. At one time, this might have been cause for dissolution on grounds of non-consummation. I doubt that the Church would today insist on the dissolution of such a marriage on such grounds. My point here, is that there are already different types… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“marriage…is always necessarily encumbered with an explicitly sexual relationship.”

Encumbered?

Kate
Guest
Kate

Father Ron

I suggest that to “the couple are not differently gendered” you add “IN LAW”. As some of the cases involving famous athletes have shown, biological gender is complex and might not match legal gender. Oddly the church seems to rely upon legal gender which is at best an arbitrary construct and is a truly bizarre foundation on which to base church policies.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I do see your point, Kate.

However, there are situations in which the Church does NOT recognise legal definitions – take the legal Marriage of Same-Sex persons; where the Church definitely does not recognise their legal existence.

John Ward
Guest
John Ward

I am not seeking re-election to General Synod this year. And a good job. This is a bridge too far for me. Martin Niemöller comes to mind. Despite the wonderful consecration of women bishops this year, the ABY’s decision is a serious challenge to my integrity, and I can’t put up with this any more. John Ward, formerly member of General Synod for London

Susannah Clark
Guest

I suggest the Church’s position on gender is genital rather than legal. Let’s not forget that when a transgender person transitioned, there was great resistance to the possibility that two previously married people might end up with the same genitals. So, shamefully, evangelical Christians of various denominations lobbied for a legal requirement that before the transitioned person could gain legal identity in their newly-assigned gender, they had first to divorce their longstanding partner. This lobbying paid off, the law was amended, and for many years transgender people were put under pressure to divorce, or else forego pension rights, legal rights,… Read more »