Thinking Anglicans

BBC Sunday programme interviews Jeremy Timm

The Rt Reverend Robert Paterson, Bishop of Sodor and Man, who is Chair of the Central Readers’ Council of the Church of England, was also interviewed. The BBC summary:

Jeremy Timm, a Reader in the Church of England, will have his preaching licence revoked by the Archbishop of York after choosing to marry his same-sex partner next month. Kevin Bocquet spoke to him about his decision, and Bishop Robert Paterson, Chair of the Central Readers’ Council, addresses the Church’s management of the issue.

The item starts about 21 minutes into the programme, which can be found from this page.

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Concerned Anglican
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Concerned Anglican

I heard the interview and I thought that Jeremy Timm was sensible, moderate in tone and made a good case. John Sentamu was unsurprisingly ‘unavailable’ for comment. The Archbishop of York has got himself into a bit of a mess over this one. Jeremy Timm is a lay person and despite heroic efforts on the part of the Bishop of Sodor and Man to persuade us otherwise there really is no legislation that upholds what Sentamu has done. Even the now historic and quasi – official ‘Issues in Sexuality’ cannot be twisted to apply in the Timm case. I have… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

This latest development regarding Jeremy Timm seems to suggest that the former Acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham – Richard Inwood – was merely the puppet in the case of Canon Jeremy Pemberton’s PTO refusal and someone else higher up the ecclesiastical ladder was pulling the strings. Jeremy Timm came over very well in the interview as a devoted Reader whose ministry is obviously greatly valued in the Howden Team Ministry. I felt sorry for the Bishop of Sodor and Man who was drafted in to hold the line. In the circumstances he also interviewed well but the great weakness… Read more »

Sister Mary
Guest
Sister Mary

Frankly, would Jeremy Timm even want to continue in the C of E after such treatment? Unless ++John makes a really humble public apology, I think JT would be fully justified in severing his connection. Which is deeply sad because he spoke with such inspirational eloquence about his diaconal ministry.

DBD
Guest

Concerned, it is indeed a serious misuse of power. The latest in a long line which we all know will end only at his retirement (at least we can hope!)

John
Guest
John

‘This is a serious misuse of power’. I absolutely agree. It’s disgraceful. How one despises the authors of these deeds.

Disgraceful
Guest
Disgraceful

According to the Bishop of Sodor and Man, it’s all a matter of doctrine. Jeremy can’t be a reader proclaiming doctrine as the Church of England has received it if by his actions he declares that “I do not believe this fairly important piece of doctrine” (around 29.08 in the recording). So it’s acceptable for clergy, readers and even Bishops to publicly question and express doubt in everything from the Virgin Birth to the Resurrection from pulpits up and down the country, but the line is drawn at a definition of marriage which at worst is questioned indirectly and by… Read more »

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

“I felt sorry for the Bishop of Sodor and Man who was drafted in to hold the line” Father David

Given that the role of Bishop of Sodor and Man is not one of bonded labour, he was quite free to say whatever he wished, or have been as ‘unavailable for comment’ as the Archbishop. From that, one can assume that either (a) he agrees with what has been done or (b) is prepared to collude in it.

Susannah Clark
Guest

‘This is a serious misuse of power.’ Does he actually have power to do this? Why would the local church want to roll over and accept this, if in all good conscience they accept Jeremy Timms? And if the local church simply said, collectively, actually, Jeremy is going to continue to officiate and fully belong at OUR local church community, what could the Archbishop possibly do? If people’s consciences are trampled all over, and they *let* their consciences – and the long-term love and acceptance of Jeremy – to be trampled all over… then in one sense they are being… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Once again, I agree with Susannah: Jeremy Timm’s churches should simply defy Sentamu, and withhold their entire parish share while they’re at it. Leaders only have the power they’re given.

As for the Bishop of Sodor and Man: at worst, he agrees with Sentamu; at best, he’s yet another of MLK’s white moderates. Either way, he’s complicit in homophobia, and contemptible as a result.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

” Jeremy can’t be a reader proclaiming doctrine as the Church of England has received it if by his actions he declares that “I do not believe this fairly important piece of doctrine” – +Sodor & Man – This statement from the bishop of sodor & Man defies credibility – if only from the point of view that this is – he admits – ‘a fairly important piece of doctrine’. Surely, compared with doctrinal issues such as divorce and re-marriage, and contraception; the issue of the difference between co-habitation as a Civilly-partnered person and as a Married person is not… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Well said Susannah. At some point, allowing this to happen is complicity. There’s an excellent book, I believe by Lillian Hellman, in which she described living in the Jim Crow (apartheid) US South. She said that white people were complicit every time they walked through the front door instead of the back, or used the white water fountain or toilet. The culture was systematically arranged to reinforce white supremacy that kept liberal whites complicit in, and quiet about the oppression of African Americans. It took a lot of faith and courage to break the worst of those systems (some are… Read more »

Gary Paul Gilbert
Guest
Gary Paul Gilbert

The Bishop of Sodor and Man comes across as a bigot. Most people saw no difference between a civil partnership and a civil marriage. If the C of E accepted civil partnerships then it should have accepted the civil marriage.

Bishops in the C of E seem to be real bigots.

I have trouble understanding why one would want to stay in communion with such a bigoted institution.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Father David
Guest
Father David

In a previous incarnation, the Bishop of Sodor and Man was, I believe, Domestic Chaplain to the present Ebor. Occupying a similar role to that of The Rev’d Mervyn Noote or the Rev’d Obidiah Slope – two fictional Domestic Chaplains who carried out their duties in a most dissimilar way. Noote was nought but an obedient Dogsbody but Slope exercised a much more powerful influence upon his Lord and Master, the Bishop of Barchester (not quite so powerful, however, as that exercised and executed by Mrs. Proudie, the bishop’s wife). I presume that Sodor and Man (a remote and difficult… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

So, if the “pastoral” statement says in point 18 that: ’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.*** Does the church no longer believe in its supposedly “fairly important bit of doctrine”? Is… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

What are other church volunteers to make of this?

You know — the volunteers who serve as ushers, or flower arrangers, or organists, or choir singers, or bell ringers, or gardeners?

if they marry someone of the same sex, are they not supposed to engage in these ministries either?

Or does this just apply to volunteers who have PTOs, which may be revoked?

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

Perhaps this has reached the point where peaceful civil disobedience is required. News-worthy events to raise the issue in the public mind and finally push Parliament to intervene. You will need a coordinating committee and a good sense of public relations. With a well organized push things could change quickly. But someone on the ground has to be willing to take the lead.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

You’re bang on about institutions manufacturing complicity, Cynthia. If 1987’s Higton motion wasn’t intended to spread blame around the Church of England, for traditionalists, it was a very happy accident. ‘Issues …’ has exceeded it: every time a person appeals to that homophobic document, they tacitly endorse it. Worse, due to collective responsibility, ‘Issues …’ made every English bishop complicit in homophobia. Progressives being compromised is a major barrier to change. Few are prepared to condemn inequality outright because, in doing so, they’d be condemning themselves, or at least, their own actions. Well, tough. We’ve all fallen short. We’re human,… Read more »

Tim N
Guest
Tim N

To pick up on the point made by Jeremy on Monday: The last question put to the Bishop (29.40 mins) was; ‘Would it be helpful to have some guidance from the HoB on Readers and their status if they enter into a Same Sex Marriage?’ To which the Bishop replied, ‘I have been campaigning for Reader Ministry and other forms of Lay Accredited Public Ministry to be sorted out in a whole lot of different directions not least this issue of discipline in the broadest sense of the term.’ What, one wonders, are the implications for Lay Worship Leaders; Pioneer… Read more »

Barry
Guest
Barry

If we are talking about resistance to the present behaviour of our leaders on same sex issues we might begin by reminding them that “Issues in Human Sexuality” was intended as a discussion document. By some occult process it has been elevated to the position of a statement of official teaching – and this despite the fact that it was quickly holed below the water line when the bishop who chaired the group which produced it, the late John Austin Baker, stated publicly that he had changed his mind and supported same sex relationships.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

This current spate of purges may seem arbitrary and capricious, but it is entirely consistent with an interpretation of Lambeth 1.10 which promotes to doctrinal status the notion of incompatibility with scripture. The remaining parts of the resolution make no reference to scripture so have always been regarded as of lesser importance. The resolution gave Gafcon the green light to oppose gay marriage and support criminalisation in its own context. Although the new General Secretary of the Anglican Communion has recently questioned the stricter interpretation of Lambeth 1.10, our own bishops have preferred to maintain a steadfast neutrality, due to… Read more »

Peter Mullins
Guest
Peter Mullins

I’m sorry to come to this thread late, but I’m just trying to get clarity in my mind about the different points important in it. One is that the House of Bishops Pastoral Statement, this related decision and this Bishop’s defence of it are morally flawed because they do not recognise equal marriage. This dominates the thread (and indeed most threads on this website) but let it stand aside for a moment just so we can see the rest more clearly. A second is that the Statement in distinguishing between clergy discipline and lay life doesn’t in fact mention licensed… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

What outcome here most glorifies the Lord? It’s a question too few on both sides seem to ask. Had ABY done nothing, this issue would have passed with little notice. As it is, in canonically martyring Jeremy Timms (and that I think is the apt verb), ABY has given a platform for Jeremy’s witness to shine bright. It is hard on Jeremy but I for one see the Lord’s hand in this. I think calls to withhold parish shares is wrong. That is the way of Mammon. But every clergyman who supports Jeremy could lead his congregation in prayer for… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“This current spate of purges may seem arbitrary and capricious, but it is entirely consistent with an interpretation of Lambeth 1.10 which promotes to doctrinal status the notion of incompatibility with scripture.” On Monday I asked the practical question about various groups of volunteers. But in the above sentence Andrew has named my deepest concern–that an intellectually bankrupt hermeneutic is being imposed on the Church of England. And of course it is in the interest of keeping Global South bishops in the Communion (more or less). Again I ask whether the Archbishops are abandoning their duties to their English flock.… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Barry makes a very good point which is often overlooked that “Issues in Human Sexuality” merely has the status of being a “discussion document” and is in no way part of the official Doctrine of the Church of England so we cannot pretend that it has been around since the Council of Nicea nor can it be put on the same level as the Ten Commandments. We must not forget that failure to agree to the content of this “discussion document” cost Rowan Williams the diocese of Southwark when he had his Lambeth fireside chat with George Carey. But God… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Re Peter Mullins “Eucharistic” experience. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that by the time of its long gestation in Common Worship a significant ( and seemingly growing) part of the Church of England has given up liturgical worshp altogether. Off topic…but perhaps worth a thread sometime. Further evidence of fragmentation…where will it end?

Paul Richardson
Guest
Paul Richardson

Many posts have queried the legality of the Archbishop of York in the line he has taken. Has anyone considered testing this proposed course of action by using the clergy discipline measure and making a formal complaint?

Susannah Clark
Guest

I agree with Father David that people should not be at the mercy of a bishop’s caprice, and that there should be a due process of appeal, and discussion, and objective, public and transparent decision making, with arguments for and against being presented for all to see, to know where they stand. In response to Kate, I am sure that God’s grace has been demonstrated by Jeremy Timm, in his response to his discriminatory treatment by the Archbishop of York. However, to suggest that therefore this is ‘the will of God’ – for gay people to be discriminated against so… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“But there are also other places where a Bishop or two act as if a clear position in Canon and liturgy is not binding on him or her without facing de-authorisation.”

Peter, I think you’re reasoning that this is about “Canon and liturgy” (w/ your Eucharistic example). I don’t think it is. It is, as always, about “Teh Gay: Ick”. That is, homosexuality is (despite episcopal denials) ALWAYS treated as something separate—something *uniquely* detrimental/antithetical to The Faith.

Ebor & Cantuar don’t worry that “an episcopally-led Quiet Day Eucharist” will irrevocably split the Anglican Communion. But any old lay reader’s marriage might.

Peter Mullins
Guest
Peter Mullins

Yes, JCF, I actually agree with you. My point was that their line of argument pretends that it is the acting against a clear position deduced from Canon and liturgy which is what is incompatible with authorised public ministry and which thus justifies their delegitimising a person’s ministry. Another parallel strikes me: the refusal to bury the unbaptised and those who took their own lives was once a position clearly deducible from Canon and liturgy; culture changed, ministers began to act against this clear position, Bishops stopped disciplining them for doing so, and then finally Canons and liturgy have been… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

‘Ebor & Cantuar don’t worry that “an episcopally-led Quiet Day Eucharist” will irrevocably split the Anglican Communion. But any old lay reader’s marriage might.’

True. Which is another way of saying that the Archbishops are allowing Communion homophobes to dictate who can be married in England.

It is hard to imagine a more profound betrayal of English clergy–and now parishioners.

Feria
Guest
Feria

I agree with all those who have said what a disgrace this act of discrimination is.

If anyone wants to play legal hard-ball, it _might_ be possible to make a case that, because Howden is on the coast, it is not “locally situate within the Diocese of York” for the purposes of section 10 of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners Act 1836. In that case, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners would have been acting outside their powers when they placed Howden under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of York in 1846.

Feria
Guest
Feria

… the important edge is the boundary with the Diocese of Sheffield, not the coast.

Adrian Judd
Guest
Adrian Judd

‘Will have his preaching revoked’??
Sloppy reporting if he has PTO not a licence.
Preaching permission might be better.

Feria
Guest
Feria

I did a little more digging. (Only fair, since it was my appalling map reading that made the jurisdictional argument unnecessarily muddy in the first place.) The Diocese of Sheffield didn’t exist in 1846. Immediately prior to 1846, Howden and Snaith formed a geographically contiguous group of peculiars which had a boundary with the Diocese of Lincoln, and were therefore not wholly surrounded by the Diocese of York. It’s in that sense that one could argue that Howden (and Snaith too, for that matter) was not “locally situate in the Diocese of York”, and that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners therefore exceeded… Read more »

David Beadle
Guest
David Beadle

Unless I’m missing something + Sodor and Man’s comments on doctrine are disingenuous nonsense. Clergy are free to hold views disagreeing with Church doctrine, otherwise all clergy who are in favour of same-sex marriage for clergy could be accused of breaking the doctrine of the church. Is this really the best the Bishop can come up with, even if it is in defence of the indefensible?

Peter Mullins
Guest
Peter Mullins

There is an answer to “Unless I’m missing something”. The existing Pastoral Guidelines which the Bishop is expounding / expanding in this radio interview includes a paragraph which says: “The Church of England will continue to place a high value on theological exploration and debate that is conducted with integrity. That is why Church of England clergy are able to argue for a change in its teaching on marriage and human sexuality, while at the same time being required to fashion their lives consistently with that teaching.” This is why I took care in my earlier contribution to this thread… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Susannah, where I see “grace”, to use your word, is that when the inevitable happened it happened to someone who is a model. I see grace neither in oppression nor in discrimination but in sacrifice and in the reaction of Jeremy. It’s a distinction which lies at the heart of Christ’s betrayal and crucifixion. It was oppression but the inevitable was turned to grace because the victim was innocent (amongst other reasons). I don’t want to go into it in public, but I also believe that the Lord is trying to reach out to Bishop John to teach him, to… Read more »

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

Apparently on the Isle of Man, a ss marriage made in England is legally only accepted as a civil partnership( see wikipedia article on ssm and Isle of Man). So the solution is, emigration to the Isle of Man!

The Isle of man House of keys (parliament) voted for civil partnerships in 2009 and Bishop Paterson had a vote, as he is member of the House of Keys. I wonder if he voted for it.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Feria, if an appeal is to be made to the Dean of Durham, “the doyen of Deans”, then they’d better get their skates on, as Dean Sadgrove’s last service at Durham cathedral takes place on the last Sunday in September. He will be greatly missed, not only in Durham but in the wider Church of England as well. Let’s hope that the “talent pool” – from which is supposed to emerge a superior life form in the evolutionary scheme of things – can produce a wise and learned successor to an exceptionally fine Dean. Am I right in thinking that… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Thank you, Kate. I really appreciate your reply and I do indeed see grace in what you say. Personally, I identify most with Carmelite spirituality – Interior Castle, Story of a Soul etc – and I am catholic in leaning in the sense that I believe in the Holy Presence in the sacrament. I am also in a same-sex relationship. I believe there is indeed grace and witness in humble-hearted forbearance. I also feel sure that John Sentamu is on his own journey as well, and sincerely seeks to walk in the grace of God, as God’s servant. However, I… Read more »

Feria
Guest
Feria

Father David, What I was suggesting was not an appeal process, but a legal assertion that the wrong person made the first-line decision, because Howden is not in fact in the Diocese of York. To get that assertion accepted would require at the very least the threat of court action, and probably an actual court appearance. In fact, because there’s little or no extant case law on what the phrase “locally situate in”, from section 10 of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners Act 1836, means (and because it would have implications for many other parishes across England), it might well have to… Read more »

Peter Owen
Guest

Tynwald, the Isle of Man parliament, has two houses, of which the House of Keys is one. The Bishop of Sodor and Man is an ex officio member of the other house, the Legislative Council.

The Tynwald Civil Partnerships Act was passed in the 2010-2011 session. The Bishop spoke against at second reading in the Legislative Council. See pages 42-43 of:

http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/hansard/20002020/c101026.pdf

He was absent for the third reading:

http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/hansard/20002020/c101123.pdf

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Who would have thought that the Anglican Church on the Isle of Man was resistant to the ethos of governmentally-approved Civil Partnerships?

However, probably like most Church of England Bishops who fought against the idea of Civil Partnerships – their biggest problem now is being seen to actually APPROVE of Civil Partnerships when faced with the demand for Same-Sex Marriage.

It’s amazing how one’s doctrinal base is so easily overturned when faced with another – more drastic – alternative. So much for moral integrity.

David Beadle
Guest
David Beadle

Thank you, Peter Mullins, but I’m still not sure I follow. I can’t see that any document used by the House of Bishops in these sorts of instances actually prohibits lay people from entering into a same-sex marriage (with the exception of the guidance for Readers, but then the Bishops are bound by “Issues” which contradicts it, insofar as they have to agree to live within it’s guidelines to be appointed). I suppose + Sodor and Man may be referring to the ordinance of marriage as something entered into by a man and woman in BCP and CW. Even excepting… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Jeremy has retweeted a rather pithy remark by @cathedralverger on his Twitter timeline:

When it is a choice between love or the Church we have entered an Alice in Wonderland world

Susannah Clark
Guest

Is there any update on what Jeremy’s church community has decided to do about his effective removal from ministry, or are they just going to accept it?

Barry
Guest
Barry

Thank you for your question of the 24th, Susannah. I also have been wondering what is happening in Jeremy’s church and parish. I note that things have gone quiet about the matter on this site. As I said in an earlier comment, in potentially explosive situations like this the practice of our episcopal leaders is to “sit it out until the troublemakers quieten down,” so it is important that this case does not get lost to sight and a great deal of justified indignation become sound and fury which achieved nothing.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

I hope that we may hear further from the people in Howden soon. Meanwhile may I draw your attention to this statement from Inclusive Church
http://inclusive-church.org.uk/node/26776

Barry
Guest
Barry

Simon, thank you for the link to the Inclusive Church statement. Has the Archbishop of York yet come out of hiding to give a public explanation of his action toward Jeremy Timm? If he has done so, I have missed it. I have no wish to be unfair to him, so it is important that we hear from His Grace why he has chosen to behave in such an insensitive and pastorally damaging way.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I’m unclear on Ebor’s powers within his own cathedral.

Is there any chance that the Dean might schedule a service of thanksgiving for Jeremy Timm’s marriage, after it takes place (elsewhere)?