Thinking Anglicans

Upset in Tunbridge Wells

Anglican Mainstream has reproduced online this piece by Peter Sanlon, who as the article explains is at one and the same time:

Both churches are in Tunbridge Wells.

Securing a Future or Stockpiling Whitewash?

Dr Sanlon is not happy with the current state of the Church of England.

Dr Sanlon is also Convener of the “Anglican Partnership Synod” in Rochester. For those who don’t recall what the “Partnership Synod” in Rochester is, this earlier article from 2016 may help: Conservative evangelicals to form “shadow synod”.

Dr Sanlon was also a signatory here: The Movement for a Renewed Orthodox Anglicanism.

Other news reports about him from 2016 can be found in the Times of Tunbridge Wells:

Archdruid Eileen has been driven to comment on this: Disgusted with Tunbridge Wells.

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In the knowRod GillisInterested Observerdr.primroserobert williams Recent comment authors
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FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

Why do the silly views of this man matter? Who is he anyway? By paying him attention TA is implying his views are worth discussing. Ignore him and he might go away.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Well if you ask me, he seems to be obsessed with sex and other people getting it, or not. Oh dear.

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

“Dr Sanlon is not happy with the current state of the Church of England.” Understatement of TA editorial! He takes a swipe at virtually all elements of the CofE, Bishops (of course) and any compromised (in his view) aspect he can find. I always react negatively when commentators take a swipe at the HTB network, because they of all elements of the CofE seem to be one of the few that are really doing ‘the stuff.’ Dr Sadlon obviously wants all to be constantly reminded of his view of homosexual acts. No concept of covenant faithfulness in Tunbridge Wells presumably.… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

The Book of Ezekiel is a prophesy against the Shepherds of Israel, a warning that their traditions are not pleasing to God, and an injunction to consider the impact on the sick and broken; however, somehow, Dr Scanlon believes the Book of Ezekiel supports the traditions of the modern-day Shepherds as they deal harshly with the vulnerable and marginalised.

Andrew
Guest

As someone who isn’t an Anglican in my heart, but a fellow-traveller, this seems like a rum deal.

The injunction to “Choose this day whom you will serve” seems apposite. As does Christ’s observation that no one can serve two masters.

I don’t know if he draws a stipend from one church whilst also ministering to a church not in communion with it, but that is the sense of what’s reported here. Is that an honest way to carry on?

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

You couldn’t make it up!

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Perhaps I lack a sense of humor, but I don’t see either the alleged “problem” – or anything at all amusing in the comment by the Beaker person. Are people in Tunbridge Wells somehow excluded from any right to differ from the cosy consensus down at the BBC?

Or is this Tunbridge Wells an English thing?

Laurie Roberts
Guest
Laurie Roberts

‘They may use a bit of sheep dip. Whitewash? While sitting on a a sheep with fatal structural flaws? What kind of shepherds are these?’

And what kind of shepherds ?

Well said Archdruid Eileen !

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

Alan Marsh wrote: “Or is this Tunbridge Wells an English thing?”

It is indeed a quintessentially English (as opposed to British) thing. See the article in Wikipedia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disgusted_of_Tunbridge_Wells

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

Alan Marsh, I’m guessing you don’t live in England? Tunbridge Wells has for some decades been a byword for people who write ‘green ink letters’ grumbling about this or that. In fact there used to be a BBC programme called ‘Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’. TW is a genteel Georgian spa town in Kent, which may be the reason. The ‘problem’, as Andrew has said above, is that Sanlon is simultaneously leading a church within the Church of England, and a rebel breakaway church. Difficult to see how this can be done with any integrity. Clergy might serve 2 parishes in… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“Sanlon is simultaneously leading a church within the Church of England, and a rebel breakaway church”

In a sane world, such behaviour would be grounds for termination. It says a lot about the CofE that it doesn’t have either the will or the capability to sack people for actions obviously against the interests of the organisations.

Revd Dr Charles Clapham
Guest

Have I understood rightly that Peter Sanlon is both a priest in the established Church of England, and also a minister in the Free Church of England? Can someone with a better understanding of canon law/clergy discipline explain how on earth this is possible? I ask this as a genuine question, not a rhetorical point!

(Could a parish priest in the Church of England simultaneously function as a priest for a church plant in England affiliated to the American Episcopal Church, for example?)

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

And we haven’t heard much about the bishop-curate of Jesmond.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

What is the local bishop doing about this cleric who is encouraging schismatic breakaway from the national church? Surely there is some mechanism in the Church of England to deal with double-dippers – and especially when they do not contribute to the financial burden of the benefits they enjoy at the expense of the established Church – while yet being employed in the encouragement of schism?

Richard
Guest
Richard

The CofE recognizes the validity of Free Church orders and ministry. Doesn’t that create/permit this crazy situation where a priest can serve a church of each denomination — in the same town!!!

Daniel Lamont
Guest
Daniel Lamont

When I see the word ‘revisionist’ used by a Conservative Evangelical, as in Dr Sanlon’s piece, I sigh deeply.It is a rhetorical device to do rwo things: 1) to demonise those who interpret the Bible differently and 2) to suggest that the user of the term has the only right interpretation, that this is orthodox and that this is what the Church has always believed since the Bible was committed to writing. In fact there are several legitimate interpretations of key passages and the definition of what is or is not orthodox has changed over the years. It has never… Read more »

Laurie Roberts
Guest
Laurie Roberts

They may use a bit of sheep dip. Whitewash? While sitting on a a sheep with fatal structural flaws? What kind of shepherds are these?’

And what kind of shepherds ?

Well said Archdruid Eileen !

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Sunday, 25 February 2018 at 9:37pm

CORRECTION ! — I meant to write

‘and what kind of SHEEP ?!’
apologies

Geoff McL.
Guest
Geoff McL.

“Doesn’t that create/permit this crazy situation where a priest can serve a church of each denomination — in the same town!!!”

No more than it permits a priest to serve in the Roman Catholic Church and CofE concurrently.

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

A former vicar of Tunbridge Wells left the Church of England because it’s too liberal. Now in the RC ministry, he spends a lot of his time critising his new denomination for being too liberal. Perhaps he could give one of Mr Sanlon’s churches a try.

Rich
Guest
Rich

I believe CofE priests can hold FCE licences also.
That is what enables this.
There are others who do this for different reasons.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Like Janet Fife and Interested Observer, I am incredulous that this situation has been allowed to continue and, like Perry Butler, I see worrying parallels with ‘Bishop’Pryke in Jesmond. In both cases an apparently blatant breach of what we have assumed to be canon law has been allowed to continue without disciplinary action. Is this because canon law does not in fact offer a clear and irrefutable way of dealing with it (in which case why is a proposal to change this not already before General Synod?) or is it because the ABC is so much a prisoner of his… Read more »

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

Being an old grouch these days, I find myself saying “Seen it all before – 50 years ago”. In those days it was a handful of very extreme Anglo-Catholics who scandalised the faithful. Some readers may remember Dr Eric Mascall’s comment in his first book of verse, “Pi in the High” which I will not copy as I’m sure it’s still in copyright. However, my old colleague Gordon Reid in far off Philadelphia was less wary so I offer a link to his website https://saintclementsblog.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/pi-in-the-high/ It really is remarkable how close is the resemblance to todays’ Sanlons and Prykes. Maybe… Read more »

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

I would think that Canon Law does offer some help. B43 is long and detailed and others here may want to study it. It is concerned with churches outside the parish and a number of points (so not applicable in the Tonbridge case) but does give guidance at other points. However, C28 says: “1. No minister holding ecclesiastical office shall engage in trade or any other occupation in such manner as to affect the performance of the duties of his office, except so far as he be authorized so to do under the statutory provisions in this behalf for the… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

This doesn’t require canon law. This is basic, duty-of-loyalty stuff.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Thank you, Charles. If that’s the best that Canon law can offer, then it does all seem a bit tenuous, based on other trades and occupations, and capable of keeping a large team of ecclesiastical lawyers occupied until the crack of doom. No wonder the bishops haven’t acted! Perhaps the case of a licensed CoE minister simultaneously practising as a bishop or minister of another denomination not in communion with the CoE seemed so preposterous and unlikely to happen that no provision was made to directly counter it. Well, now that it has happened, more than once, it’s time to… Read more »

Charles Clapham
Guest

Possibly a breach of the oath of canonical obedience or some other aspect of licensing or induction? Or breach of the ordinal?

Charles Clapham
Guest

I think one has to conclude that the local Bishop is (rightly or wrongly) reluctant to act, rather than there is no sound legal basis for acting.

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

There have certainly been cases where a full time stipendiary incumbent was found out doing another full time job (e.g. as a schoolteacher) and was persuaded to go NSM / SSM on the basis that they were being paid to be the Rector of St Bertha’s. I know a stipend is not a salary, but the real issue here is of morality – is it honest to take a stipend and only do half the work / give half the time?

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

If as the Times of Tunbridge Wells says the congregation is under 20 at St Marks perhaps Dr Sanlon needs another church to fill in the time.

In the know
Guest
In the know

This was 830am BCP (which has grown from 2 to 20 in Rev Sanlons five years in Wells!). The family service thrives!

Anne
Guest
Anne

Thank you Charles for your very helpful comments re Canon Law. However, my question is, do we know that Dr. Sanlon’s Bishop or Archdeacon hasn’t intervened in some way? I would imagine that any intervention would be deemed as confidential so would not be in the public domain until any ‘judgement’ demanded, for example, relinquishment of one post or the other, should that be the case. I don’t think we can assume that nothing is happening. Or do others know something I don’t?

Rowland
Guest
Rowland

The Times is incorrect. I believe the congregation is at least 100. Suspect the reporter went to tbe 8am !

Matt
Guest
Matt

“I think one has to conclude that the local Bishop is (rightly or wrongly) reluctant to act, rather than there is no sound legal basis for acting.”

I don’t think we can conclude that at all…

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

At once C of E and Free C of E? How unremarkable. If you want to go big, why not be both an Anglican Priest and a Druid. Check out this interview with Rev. Shawn Sanford Beck: “I am a ‘ChristoPagan’ … I practice magic, study the runes, and talk to trees and fairies; …and I am a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. AND I’m an ordained priest in the Anglican Church of Canada. For 15 years I’ve preached and pastored churches in my diocese. I’m a regional dean, and I train other priests, deacons, and… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

Has anyone noticed this parallel? The Church Times of 18th February 2018 contained a letter from the Revd J. Barber in which he states ‘… nine years ago I was asked to help out in a local Methodist circuit, as there were not enough preachers to cover all services. I was therefore made an associate Methodist minister and have served in five chapels’. Mr Barber was retired when he ‘was made an associate Methodist minister’ but nevertheless remains a priest of the CofE in good standing, having PTO in the Diocese of Salisbury. Dual licensed there also. That’s the problem.… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Good to hear the reporter got up for the 8 o’clock! It would be interesting to know more about the congregation as it seems Dr Sanlon has alienated many of the regulars. Tunbridge Wells is very well provided with evangelical parish churches..is his congregation “new Christians” or” sheep moving to different pens” ?

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

Richard – your Methodist parallel does not hold good. Preaching occasionally on a Methodist circuit is not in the same league as setting up a whole new church in another denomination. Like many others, I have done the former (about once a month, but I was not an incumbent at the time) and it can be seen positively as strengthening ecumenical links as both churches thrive. The Tunbridge case hardly enables the Anglican church to thrive!

robert williams
Guest
robert williams

The Free Church of England ( about 600 individuals ) is split btween a high church bishop ( former Cof E vicar) , John Fenwick and traditional Protestant element resisting that trend…both can’t afford the legal fees to sue each other for property.

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

“If you want to go big, why not be both an Anglican Priest and a Druid.”

There was a case several years ago of a TEC priest (Anne Holmes Redding) who also became a Muslim. She claimed that she could be fully both at the same time.

Her bishop disagreed and she was ultimately deposed (2009).

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“She claimed that she could be fully both at the same time.”

Well, as a lecturer, it’s always nice to have a practical example to motivate some theoretical material. I guess that even in comparative religion they’d like that: along comes someone willing to provide it.

Someone has edited Wikipedia recently to tone it down, but the cached version you get when googling for her name starts “Anne Holmes Redding (born October 22, 1951) is a heretic and former Episcopal priest”

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: Interested Observer, “I guess that even in comparative religion they’d like that…” I’m doubtful. And, in terms of inter-faith dialogue it is not a helpful contribution. On a couple of occasions I have had the privilege to lead worship in United Church of Canada (Presbyterian/Methodist/Congregational) pastoral charges; but did so as a licensed Anglican Church of Canada cleric within the clear boundaries of an ecumenical arrangement,with permission from the UCC session, under terms that fostered ecumenical ties. I’m also a member of the progressive Canadian Association of Baptist Freedoms; but I am a “friendly member” on the clear understanding… Read more »