Thinking Anglicans

Jarel Robinson-Brown and the Diocese of London

Updated yet again Tuesday

There have been numerous news reports and comment articles in both mainstream and social media concerning a tweet posted last Wednesday.

On Thursday the Church Times reported this story under the headline Cleric apologises for ‘White Nationalism’ remark.

A LONDON clergyman, the Revd Jarel Robinson-Brown, has apologised for posting on social media that the clap for Captain Sir Tom Moore, who died this week, was linked with “White British Nationalism”.

His post on Twitter — “The cult of Captain Tom is a cult of White British Nationalism. I will offer prayers for the repose of his kind and generous soul, but I will not be joining the ‘National Clap'” — was interpreted as a criticism of the man himself. It was quickly taken down, and Mr Robinson-Brown posted an apology in its place: “I offer an unreserved apology for the insensitive timing and content of my tweet regarding the clap for Captain Tom.”

A statement by the diocese of London said that the matter was being reviewed by the Archdeacon of London, the Ven. Luke Miller. “As a Church, we expect clergy to ensure that all online activity is in line with the Church of England’s social media guidelines and built on truth, kindness and sensitivity to others.”.

The Diocese of London statement can be found here: A statement from the Diocese of London regarding Jarel Robinson-Brown and reads in full as follows:

Jarel Robinson-Brown’s comments regarding Captain Sir Tom Moore were unacceptable, insensitive, and ill-judged. The fact that he immediately removed his tweet and subsequently apologised does not undo the hurt he has caused, not least to Captain Tom’s family. Nor do Jarel’s actions justify the racist abuse he is now receiving.

A review is now underway, led by the Archdeacon of London. As a Church, we expect clergy to ensure that all online activity is in line with the Church of England’s social media guidelines and built on truth, kindness and sensitivity to others. It is incumbent upon all of us to make social media and the web more widely positive places for conversations to happen.

A subsequent report appeared on Saturday in the Church Times: Support grows for Jarel Robinson-Brown.

A GROWING number of churchpeople have voiced their support for the Revd Jarel Robinson-Brown, the Black ordinand and former Methodist minister, whose Twitter post last week was widely interpreted as an attack on Captain Sir Tom Moore, who died on Tuesday…

..Mr Robinson-Brown’s post was quickly taken down, and an apology from him was posted in its place: “I offer an unreserved apology for the insensitive timing and content of my tweet regarding the clap for Captain Tom.”

A petition was none the less started for his removal from office (he has not yet been licensed, but has secured a title post at All Hallows by the Tower, London). By the weekend it had gained more than 20,000 signatures. Many of the signatories referred to Mr Robinson-Brown’s race, with comments such as “Racism is a one way street according to some. When a white person is accused of racist tendencies they are rightly called out and vilified. When a BAME person does the same it seems to be their right to do so based on the wrongdoings from generations ago.”

Racist trolling has been one trigger for expressions of support for Mr Robinson-Brown. Another has been the statement put out by the diocese of London, which read: “Jarel Robinson-Brown’s comments regarding Captain Sir Tom Moore were unacceptable, insensitive, and ill-judged. The fact that he immediately removed his tweet and subsequently apologised does not undo the hurt he has caused, not least to Captain Tom’s family.”

Many social-media posts have viewed this as undermining Mr Robinson-Brown’s apology — “throwing him under a bus” has been a common expression — as was the announcement that the Archdeacon of London, the Ven. Luke Miller, was to conduct an investigation into the matter…

On Sunday afternoon, a second statement was issued from the Diocese of LondonStatement from the Bishop of London regarding Jarel Robinson-Brown

“After Jarel Robinson-Brown posted his now-deleted tweet last Wednesday, my primary concern has been to ensure that he received immediate pastoral support in the face of the most appalling racist and homophobic abuse, aimed at him and at others. I am particularly thankful for the ongoing care that was quickly put in place, through so many different routes.

“I believe it is right that the original matter is reviewed properly and swiftly by the Archdeacon of London, to enable us all to reflect and learn, and that work is taking place. I also believe, and have made clear to Jarel, that there is no excuse for anyone to be sent the shocking messages he has been receiving. Jarel did of course quickly acknowledge that his tweet was ill-timed and pastorally-insensitive.

“I am deeply concerned to hear reports within the Church that United Kingdom Minority Ethnic clergy and ordinands have been affected by recent events, and by the Diocese’s response. I want to ensure that in London, and right across the Church of England, our clergy and those training for ministry feel safe. I look forward to the report of the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Task Force launched last year, and the work of the Archbishops’ Commission that will follow, which I know will help to achieve this shared end.

“Any form of online abuse, including racism, homophobia and threatening behaviour, cannot be tolerated. I sincerely hope that those perpetuating it will desist and consider the hurt they are causing. We must all work to ensure the digital world becomes a more loving and generous place.”

The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally
Bishop of London

Updates

The Church Times has reported further: Racist attacks on Jarel Robinson-Brown ‘appalling’, says Bishop of London.

The Archbishops’ Anti-racism Taskforce issued this: Statement from the Anti-Racism Taskforce.

The Diocese of London issued this Response to the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce.

The Church Times has again reported this development: London diocese will look at its own actions in Jarel Robinson-Brown review.

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David Emmott
David Emmott
7 months ago

Stable doors and bolting horses come to mind.

Alison Menage
Alison Menage
Reply to  David Emmott
7 months ago

So now everyone else is at fault not Mr Robinson Brown!! Really!? 20,000 signatures Dame!!! Still in denial!! Actually it wasnt only this comment . He has made several other ‘misjudgements’ apparently!!!

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
7 months ago

The Church of England, and Bishop Mullally in particular, needs to rid itself of the comfortable conviction that those who have been (and perhaps still are being) oppressed should always be polite and inoffensive when speaking about it. I read Jarel’s original tweet before it was deleted, and it wasn’t offensive. It was challenging and it made me think – but how has that become a sin or a disciplinary matter? As for Bp. Mullally’s statement that ‘Jarel Robinson-Brown’s comments regarding Captain Sir Tom Moore were unacceptable, insensitive, and ill-judged’ – that’s just plain wrong. Jarel called Capt. Tom ‘kind… Read more »

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
Reply to  Janet Fife
7 months ago

I have to say that I found the original tweet offensive: briefly, my father fought in the same campaign as Captain Tom, and was a man of somewhat similar temperament. I didn’t entirely like the way that the media suddenly discovered a quiet and decent man and made a popular hero of him: but he was a hero, of a certain sort — a sort that is not often celebrated at all, and I like to think that my father was the same. To be told, with all the terseness and unsubtlety of a Twitter message, that celebration of quiet… Read more »

Alison Baker
Alison Baker
Reply to  Richard Pinch
7 months ago

‘My father fought in the same campaign…’ It seems we’re still fighting the war, often on behalf of those we love and what we imagine they fought for, because none of us want to grow up and face the ugly injustices that still – still – continue to be tolerated (and even endorsed) in Church and society. So long as we continue to buy the Mail and Express, wave the Union Jack, and belt-out ‘God save the Queen’ everything will be OK… unless, of course, you challenge the comfortable narrative and name the Sacred Cow, or you’re black, gay, disabled,… Read more »

Nigel Currie
Nigel Currie
Reply to  Alison Baker
7 months ago

There seems to be an assumption here that you can love and respect your family members who risked their lives in service on behalf of this country and its values or you can be concerned about injustices in the here and now, but not both. What a shame if you don’t have friends and family (maybe a little like Captain Sir Tom) who exhibit both characteristics.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
Reply to  Alison Baker
7 months ago

I found this post by Alison Baker rather upsetting, because it seemed to me that it could be read as a personal attack on my maturity and values. 

Last edited 7 months ago by Richard Pinch
Michael
Michael
Reply to  Richard Pinch
7 months ago

I agree Richard Pinch. Alison Baker’s ‘don’t mention the war’ comment was odd. One of my uncles fought in Burma. He died recently but never spoke of his service. It is important to continue to talk about the war not least because anti-Semitism continues to exist. There are still alive not only WW2 veterans but also many who never knew their fathers because they were killed by enemy action, including Bill Cash MP. The PM shamelessly used PMQs to announce a national clap for Captain Tom. I doubt his family wanted it. When the coffins of the fallen used to… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Richard Pinch
7 months ago

You’re right, Richard, I didn’t choose my words carefully enough. I should have said that I didn’t find it offensive. Nor, I think, would my parents have done – both of whom fought in WW2, my father in the same campaigns as Capt. Tom. My father was very alert to, and averse to, hints of racism and nationalism. While of course I admire Capt Tom’s spirit and achievement, like many others I’ve found the fever pitch of national adulation rather disquieting. That’s what I thought Jarel was trying to say. He expressed no disrespect for Capt.Tom or his memory. On… Read more »

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
Reply to  Janet Fife
7 months ago

Janet, Thanks for that. I too found the “fever pitch of national adulation rather disquieting”, as I indicated. But the tweet did not say that. It said it was “a cult of White British Nationalism”. Now, I may read old-fashioned books on logic, but to me these are different statements. Your, and my, comments allow for at least the possibility of the co-opting or exaggerating, possibly for bad reasons, of a genuine feeling which is not in itself bad, but a positive and generous response to a quiet and decent man doing something good. Jarel Robinson-Brown’s tweet identifies this admiration… Read more »

Barry
Barry
Reply to  Janet Fife
7 months ago

Prophet in our midst!

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
Reply to  Barry
7 months ago

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Let us all remember that as we comment here.

Andrew
Andrew
Reply to  Richard Pinch
7 months ago

I agree with you, Richard. The truth of subjective experience compressed into the medium of unmoderated social media can lead to false assertions. The uncharitable tweet conflated two phenomena, as you have rightly identified – less to do with ‘prophetic rage’ than a well-timed ploy to promote a book, it seems. A nobler cause would have been to join Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer, Archbishop Sentamu and BME politicians, who have been at pains to overcome hesitancy in some ethnic minority communities about the Covid vaccine, countering rampant misinformation on various platforms. This would have been a… Read more »

Jan Rushton
Jan Rushton
Reply to  Janet Fife
4 months ago

Well said. Jarel employed a tight command of English which sadly meant that many completely misunderstood what he was trying to say, but nothing he could have been deemed to say warranted the raising of the storm against him, denying him his integrity – are we concerned about what will happen for this courageous man now?

Canon Dr Michael Blyth
Canon Dr Michael Blyth
Reply to  Richard Pinch
7 months ago

I, like Richard, found the tweet offensive and inflammatory. Although the situation has now progressed to include the Diocese of London’s statement in the internal review of the incident and response’s effect on BAME ordinands and clergy, I felt the diocese had no option but to issue an apology to Capt Sir Tom’s family – though in addition offering pastoral support to Revd Jarel Robinson-Brown on account of the unacceptable level of abuse he was receiving. It is difficult to see quite where the matter will end, as it appears to have morphed into an examination of systemic racism within… Read more »

Horatius
Horatius
Reply to  Richard Pinch
7 months ago

Absolutely

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
7 months ago

It beggars belief that no-one at the top of the hierarchy in the Diocese of London or advising them anticipated what would be the outcome of issuing the statement that they did. Any one with half a brain could have anticipated that in the current climate, it would only inflame the situation. Captain Tom, clearly a good and gracious man, is being weaponised in our current culture wars. Various people on social media have objected to the public pressure, stoked by the tabloids, to ‘clap’ for him. I remember a similar pressure at the time of the funeral of Princess… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
7 months ago

Perhaps the CofE became caught up in the “cult” of Capt Tom to be unable to appreciate what Jarel was saying. Everyone appreciated the effect Sir Tom had. (£37 M pounds is testimony to his efforts) . However, pushing a zimmer frame aged 100 – amazing in itself – is not the most heroic act in British history. Those of us who are not black and gay perhaps can conveniently forget a nationalism from which some people feel excluded. Jarel ‘s tweet is less a criticism of a fine English gentleman, than a revelation of the prejudice and hatred that… Read more »

Everard Bone
Everard Bone
Reply to  FrDavid H
7 months ago

One of my closest friends, mixed race, gay and theologically liberal too was outraged by the curate’s tweet. If the only moral you take from this is that there are racist people than I am afraid you will not profit as you would by seeing the whole picture and reflecting upon it.

Jan Rushton
Jan Rushton
Reply to  FrDavid H
4 months ago

well said – thank you

David Lamming
David Lamming
7 months ago

Jarel’s controversial tweet is not alone in recent days in raising issues concerning the boundaries of freedom of speech, the dangers of unwise and insensitive comments on social media, the ‘penalties’ for non-compliance with ‘political correctness’, and claims to a right not to be offended. Other stories include: Teacher Will Knowland’s sacking by Eton College over a provocative YouTube video about gender and ‘radical feminist orthodoxy’ (see The Times, Saturday 6 February 2021, pages, 1, 2 and 14-15.) East Londonderry Democratic Unionist Party MP Gregory Campbell referring in a post on Facebook to the BBC Songs of Praise edition on… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  David Lamming
7 months ago

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply” ~ Anon

Last edited 7 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  David Lamming
7 months ago

So that’s three examples of middle-aged white men asserting their privilege, two of them their right to be racist, one of them a stew of horrid including the claim that “he was also forced to defend himself over claims in his video that male-on-male rape in prisons outnumbered male-to-female rape outside of jails.” I’m sorry, but my sympathy for MPs, Eton teachers and barristers — the poor wee powerless lambs — who are trying to work off their midlife crisis by turning into Toby Young edgelords is vanishingly small. Particularly in the case of the teacher: he wasn’t spouting these… Read more »

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
Reply to  Interested Observer
7 months ago

Freedom of speech does not include demanding others pay you to say things with their imprimatur that they do not agree with

… a principle which presumably applies to the hierarchy of the Church of England as well?

Jo B
Jo B
7 months ago

Poor chap screwed up by saying something true but insensitive and, more importantly, challenging to the right wing consensus. It’s certainly true that our hard right press finds Captain Sir Tom Moore a far more palatable (white, English, male, war veteran) hero of the pandemic than the men and women of all colours and nationalities who have worked far beyond the point of endurance in our hospitals these past 12 months. It’s part of a clear attempt to create a Dunkirk/Blitz narrative that is, yes, white nationalist in flavour. Sir Tom did a wonderful job (metaphorically) pulling people out the… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B
Reply to  Jo B
7 months ago

Jo B : Mr Robinson Brown ‘s tweet shows the problem of viewing everything through one’s ideology and of over-interpreting. Sometime a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes admiration for a thoroughly decent old gent is just that. It isn’t either / or. One can admire Capn. Moore and also the staff in our hospitals (after all, his focus was all about supporting those staff) , and also think about underlying and structural issues. There are a lot of people in this country who are small c conservative and no doubt some who are more extreme right wing. I… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Jo B
7 months ago

I live in the white and elderly South West where 60/70s style casual racism is not too hard to find among otherwise good and kind folk.
So I hope that one positive to come out of the pandemic is seeing nightly on our TVs how much the NHS depends on fine South Asian clinicians, many of them Muslim.

Last edited 7 months ago by Allan Sheath
Interested Observer
Interested Observer
7 months ago

Everyone comes out of this badly. The original tweet was ill-judged grandstanding, and rather too easy to mis-interpret: there’s a very valuable point in there, but not one to fit into 160 characters. Naming a popular war veteran and fund raiser in the same sentence as “white nationalist” is unlikely to end well: the object himself is too hard to separate from the populist sentiment in the immediate aftermath of his death. There’s going to be an outpouring of nationalist sentiment, much of it rather toxic, when the Queen dies; the place to talk about that is an academic journal… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Interested Observer
John Wallace
John Wallace
Reply to  Interested Observer
7 months ago

I feel sorry for Jarel. He was pointing out something important and damaging in our current society, although Twitter was probably not the best place to do it.. Why should a centenarian feel that he has to raise funds for the NHS, however good it has been to him, although only by doing what it was set up to do? NHS Charities are a non-sequitur. There should not be any charitable support for NHS – it should be totally funded by taxation. Do I raise charitable funds to make up the shortfall of Central Bedfordshire Council? There is no difference.… Read more »

David Emmott
David Emmott
Reply to  John Wallace
7 months ago

This. In all the outpouring of indignation there has been very little to challenge the idea that the NHS should largely depend on charitable giving.That is the real scandal. It’s not a surprise to learn that the Church of England is still the Conservative Party at prayer (though I’m not sure about the prayer bit); it is saddening that the church of Michael Ramsey, Mervyn Stockwood and David Sheppard, among others, seems to have sunk without trace.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  David Emmott
7 months ago

Many thanks. However, DHSC has just announced that it wishes to reverse the marketisation of the NHS: http://www.healthpolicyinsight.com/?q=node/1699. Health costs rose far more rapidly during the 1950s than anyone had predicted in the 1940s – it was one of the major factors in stimulating decolonisation and the decline of what David Edgerton has called the ‘warfare state’; the response of Keith Joseph and Barbara Castle to rising costs was a more cohesive form of management (1974), the costs of which soon became apparent. The introduction of market incentives (1989-91) were an attempt to overcome the perceived excesses of ‘managerialism’: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57a08d91e5274a31e000192c/The-history-and-development-of-the-UK-NHS.pdf… Read more »

Stephen King
Stephen King
Reply to  John Wallace
7 months ago

As a former finance director of an NHS charity, I can confirm that NHS charities do not fund statutory NHS provision. They enhance, and complement, the NHS by going beyond the boundary of what the NHS is required to do, by funding additional facilities and services. In the words of one of my erstwhile colleagues, “the NHS is the cake, and the charity is the icing on the cake”. NHS charities help the NHS, but neither subsidise it, nor substitute for it. They certainly do not underwrite any financial deficit the NHS might incur.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  John Wallace
7 months ago

I agree with most of that, although I’d say that it’s a pretty handy skill for a priest to be able to say things clearly and in the right tone for the venue and audience. I’m not so sure about the argument that there is a problem in raising funds for public services. I suspect a vicar who decided to criticise the local PTA for raising money for playground equipment would be treading on pretty thin ice, one who derided the British Legion selling poppies as protecting the government from criticism about funding for veterans doubly so. Teenagers wanting a… Read more »

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
Reply to  Interested Observer
7 months ago

Money raised from charity also funds scanners, audiology equipment, some staff roles and building works to wards – I’m not sure that is what people gave it for but it happens. It can be a little bit of a grey area once the money is in the general charity pool. Those things should not depend on charity but needs must given the steady reduction of funding across the years and the increased demand.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
7 months ago

My goodness, Luther-Pendragon have been busy earning their pennies this week, haven’t they? What I am asking is this: how does an emotionally literate human being like Dame Mullally, who, presumably, has the intelligence to understand what all the noise is really about, fly off into panic and cave into the Daily Mail and the rest of them by throwing a young priest who is gay and of African heritage under a bus? Did she not, for one second, stop to forsee how this would play out and how it would be interpreted? As it is, it will become one… Read more »

Michael
Michael
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
7 months ago

Bill My money is also on Lambeth Palace and the Archbishop’s propensity to meddle in other dioceses. He exhibits a lack of understanding of primus inter pares He only sees primus. I keep wondering how, as Archbishop, he did not know that he has no authority to forbid clergy from entering their churches and no authority to tell churches to remove monuments. It should not be necessary for the Church Monuments Society to write to the Times. As for William Nye’s ratty response to the Spectator, is it forbidden to criticise the House of Bishops woeful response to the pandemic?… Read more »

Susannah Clark
7 months ago

Richard, I agree that people can say ‘I didn’t find it offensive’ or ‘I think there are people who might not find it offensive’ (opinions) because as you say, there is no ‘fact’ that it was offensive or inoffensive. There are just divergent opinions. For myself, I think there were two things at play, complicating people’s reactions to Jarel’s comment (which he retracted). Firstly, I believe there was absolutely nothing ‘white nationalist’ or ‘racist’ about Captain Sir Tom himself. To suggest otherwise would be deeply insulting. He came across as just a kindly, decent man. Like your father (and indeed… Read more »

Kate
Kate
7 months ago

There is some stunning inequality here. Jarel RB’s said something misjudged which many found offensive but nonetheless he was also saying something which many young black people also think.   But equally Sarah Mulally’s first statement was also misjudged but others have found it offensive. She clearly didn’t check with Jarel before sending it and, quite apart from the “throwing under the bus” aspect, is likely to read to many young black people like a white establishment figure failing to understand the context of those who live with the drip-drip-drip of racism.   So why has a formal investigation been… Read more »

Nigel Currie
Nigel Currie
Reply to  Kate
7 months ago

I’d be interested to learn whether you think that there is such a thing as a ‘cult of Captain Tom’ among the general public, and also what evidence you have that ‘many young black people’ agree with the statement that ‘the cult of Captain Tom is a cult of White British Nationalism’ (rather than a widespread respect for a man who did something remarkable in his 100th year).

brcw2
brcw2
Reply to  Nigel Currie
7 months ago

Obviously, each of us can only comment on the experiences we’ve personally had, so it’s hard to say what the ‘general public’ thinks, but certainly a number of people whose opinions have been shared with me via social media have made statements that suggest a ‘cult of Captain Tom’ in some quarters. (Among other things, the anger directed by some at those who did not take part in the ‘clap for Captain Tom’ was scary in its vehemence and open expression.)

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Nigel Currie
7 months ago

It depends on how you define a cult. I agree that Captain Tom did something good in walking up and down his garden 100 times for charity, and his activity went viral leveraging his fund raising disproportionately, good for him. But a knighthood? Honorary colonelship? RAF flypast? Instructions from the Prime Minister to mark his death with a national clap? Sounds like a cult to me. And it’s a valid question to look at race in this, and to ask if the many hundreds of BAME health-workers who gave their lives to COVID in the NHS over the past year… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Simon Dawson
Mark Bryant
Mark Bryant
Reply to  Nigel Currie
7 months ago

At some stage – and this has little to do with the tweet, but more its context – the people who understand these things, will help us to understand why Captain Tom becomes the great rallying figure. Was it to do with the lack of leadership in our key politicians? What did he exemplify that we wanted? Cpt Tom walked round his garden in order to raise £1000. The fact that this ended up being millions is little to do with Cpt Tom and more to do with what the population projected on to him. Look too at the extraordinary… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Mark Bryant
7 months ago

There “is a lot to learn” from the amount of money spent on Capt. Tom’s birthday cards. What exactly?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Mark Bryant
7 months ago

I admired Captain Tom, but events seemed to overtake him – he didn’t create any ‘cult’, but somehow certain people lost a sense of proportion in all this. I recently received an email from an organisation which seems to have set itself up as a springboard for online national petitions: this one was for a State Funeral for Sir Tom. The last one, I understand, was for Sir Winston Churchill in 1965, and before him King George VI in 1952. I believe that Sir Tom’s family, whose wishes ought to have been paramount, ruled out any kind of pomp. But… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
7 months ago

To put it into context, this gentleman’s life and passing was recorded in just a few local newspapers. “– Gamal Osman, consultant in acute medicine Dr Osman died in the early hours of January 28, following a prolonged period of time in intensive care. Dr Osman had already lost his brother to Covid in September 2020. In a statement, North Bristol NHS Trust said: “Despite this tragedy, many conversations with friends, colleagues and relatives trying to persuade him to minimise his risk and despite his awareness of the risk involved, he was committed to continuing to care for acutely unwell… Read more »

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Kate
7 months ago

There is much that I agree with in Kate’s comment, but I must question her view that the Diocese of London needs to hire new PR consultants. The problem is that the Bishop and Diocese are misusing the PR consultants they have. PR consultants, indeed most consultants, are good servants but bad masters. If the Bishop is allowing the PR consultants to draft the responses in cases such as this one, and is merely signing off on them, then she is using them very badly. Such responses must be those of the Bishop, after careful thought and prayer. By all… Read more »

Evan McWilliams
Evan McWilliams
7 months ago

Twitter is not a context which is conducive to complex thought, discourse, or reflection. There are no proper safeguards, very few ‘house rules’, and virtually no opportunities to engage in the genuine relationship-building that might allow difficult statements to be received well. I find the sad situation in which my friend Jarel finds himself all-too predictable. Some time spent examining the supposed moral neutrality of social media might prove instructive. Sometimes a ‘neutral stage’ is anything but.

Last edited 7 months ago by Evan McWilliams
David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Evan McWilliams
7 months ago

Is not a major lesson to be learnt from this very sad incident is that clergy and lay members of the Church should under no circumstances use Twitter and similar platforms for any purpose other that to inform people about the details of the next service or provide a link to a diocesan initiative. Jarel’s real fault is to have used this platform to raise a complex and challenging issue without realising the storm it could raise. Could the CofE establish that no member of the church should use Twitter to discuss any matter of significance? Think Trump!

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
7 months ago

Daribul Islam Choudhary is 100yrs old, walked his garden in lockdown and also raised money for charity during his fast in Ramadan. I wonder how many people, outside of his community, will have heard of him. Twitter is a blunt tool and not the place to try and have a nuanced debate. I share some of the the concerns the tweet expressed and condemn the racist and homophobic comments made following the tweet. The Diocese of London have not helped matters with their own actions – freedom to express an opinion works both ways. If you don’t like it prove… Read more »

Clare Amos
Clare Amos
7 months ago

The black liberation theologian Anthony Reddie is a friend and facebook friend on mine. This is what he has just posted on facebook. (it is too long for a TA comment – but you can see enough) · Reply · 8h Anthony G. ReddieYesterday at 12:45 AM   ·  I want to publicly thank all those who have offered private and public support to my friend and mentee Jarel Robinson Brown. I have largely held off making any overt comments because of my internalised shock at the turn of events that has confronted him and my concern for his welfare. I have journeyed with Jarel since he was… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
7 months ago

If I say something clumsy or harsh in the pub then I can almost immediately moderate what I’ve said or if the circumstances require make a grovelling apology. Hopefully the conversation will move on and be forgiven and forgotten. Those using social media forget that something clumsy or ill judged is only a screenshot away from being immortalised. I’m the last person to say that clergy should be mealy mouthed but we as clerics have to be careful too. Jarel is young but not very young and I gather that he has been in ministry for a while with the… Read more »

Horatius
Horatius
7 months ago

Too little – too late. Three of my friends were Anglican clergy. ALL have left the Anglican Church. Many more following, and church members quitting in droves. CoE….your days are truly numbered

Adrian Thatcher
Adrian Thatcher
7 months ago

Jarel certainly speaks for me.

Carole Henson
7 months ago

This is a sad situation that seems to have gone out of control. A public apology is maybe a way forward as this moment of unguarded ‘white racism’ has understandably greatly upset many British people & was done by a vicar ?

Bob Edmonds
Bob Edmonds
6 months ago

Captain Sir Tom Moore, a hero who gave a nation hope. RIP.

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