Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 8 May 2021

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Victim of abuse failed by London bishops who perversely then pursue the victim’s defender

Charles Foster Surviving Church Growing up and away from the #Fletcherculture

Jaime Sommers ViaMedia.News Jaime’s Story – “They had absolutely no idea what to do with me”
by Jaime Sommers, a bisexual 50 year old woman whose story of abuse by the Church of England will shock many

Jon Stobart Church Times From the genteel to the exotic
“Auction catalogues provide a glimpse into the home lives of rural Georgian clergy”

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Michael H.
Michael H.
1 month ago

Re Jaime Sommers – the rapid escalation from kiss to exile is astonishing. How common is this? I ask that question, because I know someone who describes herself in social media as queer and pansexual but is also an ordination candidate in a diocese with an evangelical bishop. Maybe the situation is different because she is married to a (male) vicar and (I hear) has aspirations to be his curate. Michael H.

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
1 month ago

The ConEvos must be rattled if they’ve put Fr. Robert Thompson on a CDM. They’re trying to silence him of course – good luck with that! They’re also trying to frighten others off from criticising their unlovely views either. Doesn’t Jesus and St. Paul have words of warning for us about rushing to litigation; by their fruits ye shall know them.

Ann Reddecliffe
Ann Reddecliffe
1 month ago

I have been thinking about Colin Coward’s article. It seems to me that this is a matter where Issues in Human Sexuality is relevant. . I have been rereading Chapter 5 of Issues to refresh my memory of exactly what it says. This 1991 document is the one that all clergy have to assent to. It sets the standard. . Issues is clear that there are different standards applicable to clergy and laity. Clergy are to be held to a higher standard than the laity. There is no concept of a category of ‘those who hold a leadership position’, Issues is quite firmly binary on… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
Reply to  Ann Reddecliffe
1 month ago

That’s a good point Ann. As evangelicals this HTB plant will no doubt be familiar with the parable of the importunate widow and the unjust judge.

Colin Coward
Reply to  Ann Reddecliffe
1 month ago

Ann, thanks for reminding us that Issues does not require lay people to live “beyond reproach.”

I also note that it explicitly states that those in the church have the right to argue for change – including clergy, which is what Robert and many of us are doing.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Ann Reddecliffe
1 month ago

Ann Reddecliffe. Just one comment. I agree that ‘Issues’ affirms Rachel’s right to disagree and argue for change in her church on any issue (and I recognise that this came at real cost to her in this story and really feel for her). But ‘Issues’ does not comment on how and where that is most productively done. Most organisations have a social media policy. This is wise. At their best they are not an attempt to silence disagreement but to ensure a framework exists within which disagreement can be helpfully addressed and processed. I think most of us here have… Read more »

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

I think when Issues was first published in 1991 – 30yrs ago – there was not the range of social media we now have. It is a shame there is so little real progress on this subject after all this time and we are still discussing this. The experience Rachel has undergone looks like something from over 30yrs ago except now we know about it more widely and more quickly. The fact remains – Rachel is not under any form of contract and has a right to express her views where and how she sees fit. It may be disagreeing… Read more »

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Ann Reddecliffe
1 month ago

‘Issues’ is now THIRTY years old! In his Preface, George Carey wrote ‘…. this Statement – which we do not pretend to be the last word on the subject ….’ So how did it come to be something ordinands and clergy are expected to sign up to?

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
Reply to  peter kettle
1 month ago

As my tutor at Durham Professor Ann Loades said at the time, ‘Issues’ is not really about human sexuality but about male homosexuality. It was written by late middle aged men before women priests let alone women bishops, so it’s hardly a surprise that women and lesbianism are barely mentioned. It seems Rachel made every effort to try and resolve her differences with her HTB church plant before she approached the media. As a lay person she is not subject to the CDM in any case. A court case here with her clerical supporter just makes the CofE look even… Read more »

Andy
Andy
Reply to  peter kettle
1 month ago

Rachel has a right to disagree with church teaching and campaign for change. Being a lay leader in the church is within the gift of the leadership and is not a right. There are many things which may disqualify someone from lay leadership, publicly contradicting church teaching is a valid reason for some to be passed over for a teaching role.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Andy
1 month ago

Publicly contradicting the 39 Articles, maybe. Publicly contradicting the opinions of the parish pope and curia, or vicar and PCC if you prefer, no. Parish churches do not have their own doctrine. If a point of view can be publicly stated in one parish, it can be publicly stated in all parishes. No parish popery!

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
Reply to  Andy
1 month ago

Andy, even within the CofE’s silly rules being a lesbian is not in and of itself ‘contradicting church teaching’. As Martin Sewell points out how many of us are sufficiently worthy of leadership? At my ordination my vows were fortunately prefaced with the words “by the grace of God (I will)”.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  peter kettle
1 month ago

That’s the same George Carey that had his PTO withdrawn as a reaction to his unsafe, dishonest and disingenuous handling of a sustained series of sexual assaults by a fellow bishop, whom he defended to the hilt and withheld evidence in order to protect? That George Carey? Why is anything he said or says taken remotely seriously? Whilst Carey was over-seeing and endorsing the writing of an openly homophobic document designed mostly to keep those uppity gays at the back of, or preferably under, the bus, he was dishonestly protecting a gay friend of his who had been abusing vulnerable… Read more »

Nigel LLoyd
Nigel LLoyd
Reply to  Ann Reddecliffe
1 month ago

Some years ago, I attended the memorial service in Salisbury Cathedral for Bishop John Baker, who had been Bishop of Salisbury and under whom I had served as a curate and then incumbent. There was a remarkable tribute from Bishop Peter Selby, who spoke warmly of Bishop John’s intellectual rigour, passion to discern what is true, and openness of mind. Bishop Selby said that ‘Issues’ had been crafted by John Baker. He added that within a month of its publication, John Baker had declared that “these arguments are unsustainable”. Later, John Baker, visiting a Hospice down here in Poole/Bournemouth for… Read more »

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
1 month ago

As a Reader who has preached on many occasions, I can only say that if being “ beyond reproach “ is the standard for those stepping into the pulpit, I sincerely hope you do not ask the opinion of my wife or my dog.

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