Of Course, I Could be Wrong

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Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest

If we had accepted the result of the referendum on E.U. membership then the last election would not have been all about Brexit and we would, at worst, still have Theresa May as prime minister; at best, we would now be enjoying the benefits of a socialist government. Remainers should be apologising, not claiming moral victories every time Boris Johnson’s government does something nasty or stupid.

We do not have ourselves to blame; we have poor losers to blame.

News Just In…

Japanese authorities have acted quickly to suppress rumours that the upcoming Olympic Games are to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. In a statement released to the world press today, they insist that the event will take place but, to minimise the danger of participants going down with the illness, all those taking part will be required to wear a hazmat suit whilst competing.

No Longer Shockable

A man on the BBC news said that the latest unpredictable outrage
from Donald Trump will “come as a shock.”

Really?

Anybody who is still being shocked or even mildly surprised by
anything Donald Trump says or does must be credulous to the point
of it being a good idea for them to be confined to a secure facility for
their own safety.

The Ultimate Meme

I have been worrying lately that I am wasting my time on Facebook. I spend ages thinking stuff up that I hope will be novel and encouraging of conversation but if I get three likes and a “well said” I am doing well. Whilst other people seem to acquire legions of followers simply by reposting something that somebody famous once said about love.

However, rather than giving in I decided to do some research and I believe I may have sussed out a certain formula for success and here it is. I expect a world record for likes for this one.

We Are ( More Likely Than Not ) Alone

Sometimes scientists come up with stuff that is worth every penny they spend on research. However, a heck of a lot of the time, scientific discovery is only worth the money to those who consider knowledge for the sake of knowledge to be vastly more worthy of funding than the preservation and enriching of human life. In my opinion, at the top of the list of colossal money-wasting scientific projects is the search for extraterrestrial life. The chances of there being anything more than a microbe elsewhere in the universe is extremely slim and if we were to find “intelligent” life out there the probability will be that is so far away that the length of time it would take to send and receive a message from it would make the discovery valueless.

So, why are scientists so attached to this illogical pursuit?

My guess is that they do not want their foundation myth to be proved false. Because of the Christian Church’s cruel treatment of post-Renaissance natural philosophers who claimed that the earth was not the centre of the universe, scientists are, on the whole, fervently atheistic and firmly attached to the premise that the earth is of no special status within the cosmos. The discovery of clever aliens, scientists believe would prove the earth’s insignificance and make the Christian story untenable. On the other hand, acceptance that we are, for all intents and purposes, alone, would put the earth right back into the centre of all things and make it the most important rock in the whole universe. It would also make intelligent design a far more reasonable proposition than that the earth and its inhabitants are accidental. This is the last thing most scientists want and so they continue to demand that a vast amount of money is spent on space projects which have the main purpose of trying to prove they have been right all along.

Personally, I would prefer a cure for cancer, an end to hunger and the spending of a lot more money and time on keeping the only place in the universe where we know there is life, a place that can sustain life.

Coughs And Sneezes Spread Diseases

To minimise the possibility of the transmission of the coronavirus, the Church of England has issued guidelines concerning the receiving of wine and the sharing of the peace during the service of holy communion.

Churchgoers are being advised to wear face-masks with a small hole cut into the fabric above the mouth. Communicants should then utilise a paper (definitely not plastic) straw, poked through the hole, to suck up the wine from the communion cup, making sure there is no reflux.

In respect of the sharing of the peace, the Church is not banning the practice of shaking hands but is insisting that there is no actual touching of skin. Instead, members of the congregation are to maintain a distance of at least four inches between each other’s palms and mime the action of handshaking. Hugging should be banned entirely (although this has nothing to do with coronavirus).

To further protect churchgoers from contagion, the priest presiding at the communion will do so with a plastic bucket over his or her head during the recital of the Eucharistic prayer and will use sugar-tongs when elevating the host.

The Archbishop of Canterbury was unable to comment personally on the new directives as he is in Nigeria again where people give him the proper respect that is due to his office.

Churchless Christianity

How does obeying Christ’s primary instruction to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” work in practice if you are not attached to any church organisation and have come to the conclusion that churches are toxic organisations that are bad news for people, not good news?

And That Will Be Heaven

“And That Will Be Heaven”
by Evangeline Paterson, b.1928

and that will be heaven

and that will be heaven
at last… the first unclouded
seeing

…to stand like the sunflower
turned full face to the sun… drenched
with light… in the still centre
held… while the circling planets
hum with an utter joy
… seeing and knowing
at last… in every particle
seen and known… and not turning
away
… never turning away
again

Time To Talk? Not If You Want To Keep Your Job

Today is “Time To Talk Day” in England which has been organised by the Time To Change organisation. Their website claims:

“Mental health problems affect one in four of us, yet too many people are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless because of this. Time to Talk Day encourages everyone to be more open about mental health – to talk, to listen, to change lives.”

As well as organising today’s events, Time To Change work with employers to bring about a change for the better in the way mental health problems are perceived and dealt with in the workplace. A big part of this campaign is signing employers and other institutions up to a pledge which commits them to “changing the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace.”

Guess which well-known institution was one of the first to sign up to this pledge.

Yes, the Church of England, who constructively dismissed me from my post as a parish priest for having suffered from depression. How an organisation that exists to promote the teachings of a man who despised hypocrisy can be so blatantly hypocritical in so much of its dealings with people is beyond me.

Time to talk? I don’t advise it. If you are employed by the Church of England and start having mental health problems, quietly seek help from your doctor. Under no circumstances mention your problems to your bishop, your colleagues or even members of the laity. You will get no sympathy from them. In fact, my experience shows that you are likely to be thrown out of the Church and completely ignored by those you consider to be friends and colleagues.

Here is my story. I have included the real names of the people involved as it is a true story.

I was ordained into the diaconate of the Church of England in the diocese of Newcastle back in 1995. A year later I was ordained into the priesthood. My first curacy was in the parish of Newsham, near Blythe in Northumberland. Although I did not know it when I accepted the post, the vicar, Richard Pringle, was a bully of a man, very unpredictable in his behaviour. He would shout at me in front of the congregation and would physically push me around during services. However, it was his inappropriate behaviour around children and young people that was most disturbing. He would take every opportunity to touch and hug them and would even encourage them to sit on his lap. He had no friends his own age (early forties) and hung around the clubs in town that were frequented by teenagers. His conversations with children and young people could be very suggestive. Once, at coffee after the Sunday morning service, a boy and a girl (aged about fourteen I would guess) were sitting on the front of the stage in the hall, giggling and pushing into each other gently with their shoulders (harmless flirtation).

Pringle walked up to them and said out loud, “If anyone is going to give (girl’s name) a medical examination, it is going to be me.”

That made me shudder but things were to get worse. A mother from the congregation approached me and informed me that Pringle had taken her teenage son to a sauna and photographed him in the nude.

The diocese was in interregnum at the time so I immediately reported the incident to the archdeacon, Peter Elliott. He told me that he would have a word with Pringle. I do not know if he did but one thing is for certain, as I found out later, nobody else was informed and no action was taken.

I should have known that Elliott would not be interested enough in the situation to do anything about it because when I mentioned to him during the interview that Pringle always holidayed in places notable for providing easy sexual access to young males he replied, “I don’t care what Richard Pringle gets up to as long as he doesn’t do anything wrong on my patch.”

Although I was removed from the parish and placed with a vicar, Michael Webb, who was as different from Richard Pringle as you could possibly get and who was an excellent training incumbent, my bad experience as Pringle’s curate led to me experiencing bouts of severe, clinical depression. My father is an alcoholic and compulsive gambler and my childhood and teenage years were not good. I believe that Pringle’s behaviour triggered memories that led to my illness. I struggled on and even managed to gain a first incumbency as the priest in charge of a couple of small parishes on the Northumberland coast. Unfortunately, not long after taking up the post I became so poorly with depression and anxiety that I needed to be hospitalised on various occasions for periods of up to three months. I was off work for over a year.

During the two years of my illness the new bishop, Martin Wharton, came to visit me once and none of my colleagues stayed in touch with me. It was at this point that I started to realise that I would be a social leper because of my illness and whistleblowing for the rest of my life.

I later asked Wharton why he had only visited me the once and he replied, “You are not my only priest, Jonathan.”

With the help of an occupational therapist, I worked hard on my recovery (only those who have suffered from severe depression will know how painful and arduous dragging oneself out of the depths of the illness can be) and eventually I was ready to return to work. The bishop sent Richard Langley, the archdeacon of Lindisfarne, to see me. He asked me what I wanted to do and I told him that I would like to return to work, looking after just one of the two parishes to begin with, with the intention of being responsible for both parishes in the near future. Langley told me that would not be possible and that the bishop wanted me to retire. If the Church had not been exempt from employment law (an exemption granted to them by the government to allow them to continue to discriminate against women and gay people) the diocese would have had to, by law, agree to my request for a phased return to work.

Upset at this I arranged to see Martin Wharton at his office. He reiterated the archdeacon’s demands stating that he did not believe a priest who had suffered from mental health problems should ever be allowed to be a parish priest. I argued with him and told him that he had a duty of Christian care but he was far more worried about how much it would cost to keep me employed than he was about my welfare. He told me he would think about it.

A couple of weeks later I received a letter from his office stating that I would be demoted to assistant curate and placed in the parish of St. Francis, High Heaton, Newcastle. Furthermore, I had to report regularly to work consultants and counsellors who were appointed by Wharton and to whom they had to report (there was absolutely no confidentiality). I also had to undergo annual work assessments that were far more intrusive and aggressive than those every other priest had to endure (they even included a lay Christian, who just happened to be a doctor appointed by Wharton). Worst of all I was placed on a two-year contract with the possibility of being dismissed immediately on the bishop’s whim.

I got on with my job and, because the incumbent was reluctant to visit people or go into hospitals (something I feel honoured to do), I was quite well-liked by the congregation. At the end of the two years, I had to fight for my job again as Wharton was still determined to get me off the books. My contract was extended for a further two years with the same draconian conditions.

At the end of this second period of employment, I received a letter from Wharton stating that my contract would not be extended. I wrote back saying that it was against the law of the land to sack an employee who was officially disabled for being disabled. Wharton obviously did not believe that I was disabled as he then sent me to a private psychiatrist to be assessed. I do not know what Wharton expected but I guess it was not what happened. The psychiatrist reported back that I was officially disabled. He also stated that I was perfectly capable of being a parish priest. In fact, he said that although I was slightly “eccentric” I would make an excellent parish priest (I still have a copy of his report should my honesty on this matter ever be challenged). The bishop then deigned to give me a one year contract.

I worked for a further three years, the last couple of years being without any contract whatsoever, although I still received my wages at the end of each month. Eventually, the vicar of Saint Francis’ decided to move on and Wharton used this as an opportunity to get rid of me for good.

I would point out that during the eight years that I was at the church of Saint Francis I did not have a single day off because of any illness, mental or physical.

When a vicar leaves his post and the parish moves into an interregnum it is the local area dean who becomes responsible for the services of the parish. In our case, the area dean, Kevin Hunt, passed the responsibility for the services to the two lay readers and myself. Now, I am not one for being in charge and I prefer to work collaboratively. However, I do like the services I preside at to be well put together and coherent. So, I immediately went to the choirmaster and organist and asked them to join with me to choose the hymns each week. The following week they came back to me and told me that they alone would choose the hymns (which is never their responsibility, I was, in fact, being far more inclusive than I had to be, mainly because I like working with others rather than on my own). When I replied that this would not be possible the organist, the choirmaster and choir went on strike.

The bishop told me that I had to leave the sorting out of the situation to the churchwardens. The archdeacon, Geoff Miller, told me I was not to discuss the matter with anyone. I completely obeyed both these directions even though no such rules applied to the organist or choir. A rumour started, which Miller chose to believe even after I had told him it was not true, that I had shouted at the organist. But neither of us had exchanged cross words with each other. Kevin Hunt came to a parish meeting but he refused to say that the choir was in the wrong as far as church law was concerned and that he had handed responsibility for the content of the services to the lay readers and myself. It was a nightmare. Nobody would stand up for me except the lay readers. It was as if the whole thing had been contrived to bring me down and it succeeded in doing just that. Bishop Martin Wharton fired me and evicted my wife and myself from my clergy house, our only home. In May 2010 I presided at my last holy communion at Saint Francis’ and I have not worked since.

I moved into Durham diocese hoping for a fresh start but nobody will help me. Justin Welby was both insulting and aggressive towards me once he had spoken to Bishop Wharton (Welby had been quite supportive up until that point) and the new bishop won’t speak to me and did not respond to my request to meet him. The archdeacons refuse to answer my emails or acknowledge job applications that I put in. The area dean of the church in Durham that I was worshipping at refused to allow me to join the chapter. A person who I thought was a friend chose preferment to remaining my friend (that hurt). Kevin Hunt, who used to meet up with me for a drink once a month, made excuses not to see me again when he was promoted to the post of residentiary canon of Newcastle Cathedral (that really hurt and led me to believe that all those years he was just spying on me for the bishop). I have been almost completely cut off from the diocese. An email to the new Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman, telling her of my ordeal under her predecessor and asking for help, elicited no response. The bishop of Glasgow, Gregor Duncan, wrote to me after I had driven all the way to his city to ask him for help, to tell me I would not be welcome in his diocese because I would “bring too much baggage with me.” No colleague, bar Jenny Lancaster, a female priest from the church I worked in under the vicar, Michael Webb, have kept in touch with me. No bishop or archdeacon in the Church of England, although many know of me, my situation and my requests for assistance, have come forward with offers of help.

Of course, I am not the only priest who has been “disappeared” by his diocesan bishop following a bout of mental illness. I know of many myself. But I am one of the few who have stood up to the abuse and shouted about it publicly. My blog, “Of Course, I Could Be Wrong…” (which I started up after five years of enduring Martin Wharton’s prejudice) shouted very loudly about the Church of England’s discrimination against the disabled, gays, women and anybody else who are not the “right sort of people.” I am sure that my style of open blogging has made me even more unpopular within the Church. On the other hand, my blogging helped me remain relatively sane and introduced me to many people (albeit mostly living on the other side of the world) who do as Jesus would do rather than as the CEO of a banking concern would do. I have somehow managed to maintain a priestly ministry on the internet without the support of the church which ordained me.

Basically, I appear to be an embarrassment because I am a person who has mental health problems. Certainly, I have not received anything like the care, accommodation and understanding that I would have been legally entitled to if I had been working for a secular employer.

What I want is an apology from a Church of England bishop for the way I have been treated and, most important, restitution.

Whilst Doing The Weekly Shop

I was at the supermarket checkout yesterday when I felt a sneeze coming on. So, I turned away from the cashier, took out my handkerchief, raised it to my nose and sneezed loudly. Then I returned the handkerchief to my pocket, turned around and said to the cashier and the people waiting in line, “I’ve been doing that ever since I returned from China.”

You should have seen the look on their faces.

Sadly, this is a true story.

Three Questions

If the English were allowed to be as proud of being English as the Scots and Welsh are allowed to be proud of their nationality, would the U.K. still be a member of the European Union?

If the English were more secure in their national identity would they be less frightened of foreign influence?

Is Brexit yet another example of the liberal agenda (in this case, the shaming of the English for the British Empire) resulting in the opposite of what it was intended to achieve?

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest ( on awards )

I’ve got a great idea as to how to remedy the problem of “white bias” at the Baftas and other such events: stop having award ceremonies. They are disgusting exhibitions of grandstanding and pathological neediness. Heck, the luvvies have been paid already; they should be content with that like the rest of us.

NEWS FROM INDONESIA

A religious leader in Indonesia was arrested for selling methamphetamine to students, claiming it was halal or permissible under Islamic law.

Ahmad Marzuki, from Madura, Northeast Java, sold the substance to his pupils at an Islamic boarding school. He told them that the illegal drug would increase their drive to study and recite the Quran.

News From Kenya

The Majority Leader of the Senate, Kipchumba Murkomen, has revealed to Kenyans that he was once a pastor at Ngara, in Nairobi.

During the interview, the Senate Majority leader said that when he started, many people attended the church, but later on, they left because of his accent.

“I was a mini pastor. At first, many people would come, and because of my accent, people left, which meant we couldn’t collect much. I hadn’t learned how to speak in tongues,” said Murkomen.

He further stated that despite not collecting a lot of money from the church to pay for his university fee, he still believes in preaching.

Murkomen also revealed that during his period in high school, he would speak in Marakwet to confuse other people who were speaking in tongues so that he didn’t feel left out.

News From Nigeria

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, shared a message titled “Crush that crush”, which was a charge to married people on how to avoid marital temptations.

He wrote: “Today, I will be focusing on the married. It is sad that many married people are still having crushes with persons apart from their spouses. If there is any fellow aside from your spouse you are admiring unduly, you must see such a person as the devil and get rid of them immediately.

“One of my sons once told me that he was always excited to resume in the office every Monday because he would get to see his secretary again. I told him to fire her immediately.”

The Biggest Irony

It is being reported that the day after the world marked Holocaust Memorial Day and the seventy-fifth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a group of Israeli settlers have stormed Einabous Secondary School in the occupied West Bank. According to Iyad Awad, a spokesman for the Education Directorate, they have set fire to a classroom and sprayed racist slurs in Hebrew on the school’s walls.

I just don’t get the Jews.

Nobody Cares

This year marks ten years of unemployment for me and effective ostracisation from the Church of England and my vocation. The anniversary has brought back all the pain and feelings of being a failure. Ten fucking years and not one outstretched hand from those
who could help me.

News From Indonesia

Police in Bangkalan regency, East Java this week arrested a 46-year-old ustad (Islamic preacher), who is identified by his initials AM, for meth consumption and distribution to his students.

In a press conference yesterday, Bangkalan Police Chief Rama Samtama Putra said AM doesn’t believe that meth is forbidden in Islam.

“According to him, smoking meth boosts his drive in reading the Quran,” he said.

Rama added that AM had been using meth for around 10 years. He also got some of his students hooked and sold the illegal substance to them.

AM told reporters that he is adamant that meth is not haram (forbidden for consumption by Muslims).

“It’s forbidden by the state, but there is no rule [about meth] in the Quran,” he said.

Despite his steadfast belief, AM could face up to twenty years in prison for possession and drug trafficking.

Anglican Bishops Turn Their Backs On Reality

The Church of England bishops have shown their continuing commitment to their traditional unenlightened, unscientific and completely unloving view of physical human relationships by releasing a statement reiterating that sex is for male-female marriage only.

More details HERE.

During his reign as archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has led the Church of England even deeper into anachronistic irrelevancy than it was when led by Rowan “Don’t Mention Teh Gay” Williams. Their national church is now so inconsequential in the lives of the English that it is hardly worth getting agitated anymore when its bishops talk bollocks.

My Life In The Church Of England

Here is my story. I have included the real names of the people involved as it is a true story.

I was ordained into the diaconate of the Church of England in the diocese of Newcastle back in 1995. A year later I was ordained into the priesthood. My first curacy was in the parish of Newsham, near Blythe in Northumberland. Although I did not know it when I accepted the post, the vicar, Richard Pringle, was a bully of a man, very unpredictable in his behaviour. He would shout at me in front of the congregation and would physically push me around during services. However, it was his inappropriate behaviour around children and young people that was most disturbing. He would take every opportunity to touch and hug them and would even encourage them to sit on his lap. He had no friends his own age (early forties) and hung around the clubs in town that were frequented by teenagers. His conversations with children and young people could be very suggestive. Once, at coffee after the Sunday morning service, a boy and a girl (aged about fourteen I would guess) were sitting on the front of the stage in the hall, giggling and pushing into each other gently with their shoulders (harmless flirtation).

Pringle walked up to them and said out loud, “If anyone is going to give (girl’s name) a medical examination, it is going to be me.”

That made me shudder but things were to get worse. A mother from the congregation approached me and informed me that Pringle had taken her teenage son to a sauna and photographed him in the nude.

The diocese was in interregnum at the time so I immediately reported the incident to the archdeacon, Peter Elliott. He told me that he would have a word with Pringle. I do not know if he did but one thing is for certain, as I found out later, nobody else was informed and no action was taken.

I should have known that Elliott would not be interested enough in the situation to do anything about it because when I mentioned to him during the interview that Pringle always holidayed in places notable for providing easy sexual access to young males he replied, “I don’t care what Richard Pringle gets up to as long as he doesn’t do anything wrong on my patch.”

Although I was removed from the parish and placed with a vicar, Michael Webb, who was as different from Richard Pringle as you could possibly get and who was an excellent training incumbent, my bad experience as Pringle’s curate led to me experiencing bouts of severe, clinical depression. I struggled on and even managed to gain a first incumbency as the priest in charge of a couple of small parishes on the Northumberland coast. Unfortunately, not long after taking up the post I became so poorly with depression and anxiety that I needed to be hospitalised on various occasions for periods of up to three months. I was off work for over a year.

During the two years of my illness the new bishop, Martin Wharton, came to visit me once and none of my colleagues stayed in touch with me. It was at this point that I started to realise that I would be a social leper because of my illness for the rest of my life.

I later asked Wharton why he had only visited me the once and he replied, “You are not my only priest, Jonathan.”

With the help of an occupational therapist, I worked hard on my recovery (only those who have suffered from severe depression will know how painful and arduous dragging oneself out of the depths of the illness can be) and eventually I was ready to return to work. The bishop sent Richard Langley, the archdeacon of Lindisfarne, to see me. He asked me what I wanted to do and I told him that I would like to return to work, looking after just one of the two parishes to begin with, with the intention of being responsible for both parishes in the near future. Langley told me that would not be possible and that the bishop wanted me to retire. If the Church had not been exempt from employment law (an exemption granted to them by the government to allow them to continue to discriminate against women and gay people) the diocese would have had to, by law, agree to my request for a phased return to work.

Upset at this I arranged to see Martin Wharton at his office. He reiterated the archdeacon’s demands stating that he did not believe a priest who had suffered from mental health problems should ever be allowed to be a parish priest. I argued with him and told him that he had a duty of Christian care but he was far more worried about how much it would cost to keep me employed than he was about my welfare. He told me he would think about it.

A couple of weeks later I received a letter from his office stating that I would be demoted to assistant curate and placed in the parish of St. Francis, High Heaton, Newcastle. Furthermore, I had to report regularly to work consultants and counsellors who were appointed by Wharton and to whom they had to report (there was absolutely no confidentiality). I also had to undergo annual work assessments that were far more intrusive and aggressive than those every other priest had to endure (they even included a lay Christian, who just happened to be a doctor appointed by Wharton). Worst of all I was placed on a two-year contract with the possibility of being dismissed immediately on the bishop’s whim.

I got on with my job and, because the incumbent was reluctant to visit people or go into hospitals (something I feel honoured to do), I was quite well-liked by the congregation. At the end of the two years, I had to fight for my job again as Wharton was still determined to get me off the books. My contract was extended for a further two years with the same draconian conditions.

At the end of this second period of employment, I received a letter from Wharton stating that my contract would not be extended. I wrote back saying that it was against the law of the land to sack an employee who was officially disabled for being disabled. Wharton obviously did not believe that I was disabled as he then sent me to a private psychiatrist to be assessed. I do not know what Wharton expected but I guess it was not what happened. The psychiatrist reported back that I was officially disabled. He also stated that I was perfectly capable of being a parish priest. In fact, he said that although I was slightly “eccentric” I would make an excellent parish priest (I still have a copy of his report should my honesty on this matter ever be challenged). The bishop then deigned to give me a one year contract.

I worked for a further three years, the last couple of years being without any contract whatsoever, although I still received my wages at the end of each month. Eventually, the vicar of Saint Francis’ decided to move on and Wharton used this as an opportunity to get rid of me for good.

I would point out that during the eight years that I was at the church of Saint Francis I did not have a single day off because of any illness, mental or physical.

When a vicar leaves his post and the parish moves into an interregnum it is the local area dean who becomes responsible for the services of the parish. In our case, the area dean, Kevin Hunt, passed the responsibility for the services to the two lay readers and myself. Now, I am not one for being in charge and I prefer to work collaboratively. However, I do like the services I preside at to be well put together and coherent. So, I immediately went to the choirmaster and organist and asked them to join with me to choose the hymns each week. The following week they came back to me and told me that they alone would choose the hymns (which is never their responsibility, I was, in fact, being far more inclusive than I had to be, mainly because I like working with others rather than on my own). When I replied that this would not be possible the organist, the choirmaster and choir went on strike.

The bishop told me that I had to leave the sorting out of the situation to the churchwardens. The archdeacon, Geoff Miller, told me I was not to discuss the matter with anyone. I completely obeyed both these directions even though no such rules applied to the organist or choir. A rumour started, which Miller chose to believe even after I had told him it was not true, that I had shouted at the organist. But neither of us had exchanged cross words with each other. Kevin Hunt came to a parish meeting but he refused to say that the choir was in the wrong as far as church law was concerned and that he had handed responsibility for the content of the services to the lay readers and myself. It was a nightmare. Nobody would stand up for me except the lay readers. It was as if the whole thing had been contrived to bring me down and it succeeded in doing just that. Bishop Martin Wharton fired me and evicted my wife and myself from my clergy house, our only home. In May 2010 I presided at my last holy communion at Saint Francis’ and I have not worked since.

I moved into Durham diocese hoping for a fresh start but nobody will help me. Justin Welby was both insulting and aggressive towards me once he had spoken to Bishop Wharton (Welby had been quite supportive up until that point) and the new bishop won’t speak to me and did not respond to my request to meet him. The archdeacons refuse to answer my emails or acknowledge job applications that I put in. The area dean of the church in Durham that I was worshipping at refused to allow me to join the chapter. A person who I thought was a friend chose preferment to remaining my friend (that hurt). Kevin Hunt, who used to meet up with me for a drink once a month, made excuses not to see me again when he was promoted to the post of residentiary canon of Newcastle Cathedral (that really hurt and led me to believe that all those years he was just spying on me for the bishop). I have been almost completely cut off from the diocese. An email to the new Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman, telling her of my ordeal under her predecessor and asking for help, elicited no response. The bishop of Glasgow, Gregor Duncan, wrote to me after I had driven all the way to his city to ask him for help, to tell me I would not be welcome in his diocese because I would “bring too much baggage with me.” No colleague, bar Jenny Lancaster, a female priest from the church I worked in under the vicar, Michael Webb, have kept in touch with me. No bishop or archdeacon in the Church of England, although many know of me, my situation and my requests for assistance, have come forward with offers of help.

Of course, I am not the only priest who has been “disappeared” by his diocesan bishop following a bout of mental illness. I know of many myself. But I am one of the few who have stood up to the abuse and shouted about it publicly. My blog, “Of Course, I Could Be Wrong…” (which I started up after five years of enduring Martin Wharton’s prejudice) shouted very loudly about the Church of England’s discrimination against the disabled, gays, women and anybody else who are not the “right sort of people.” I am sure that my style of open blogging has made me even more unpopular within the Church. On the other hand, my blogging helped me remain relatively sane and introduced me to many people (albeit mostly living on the other side of the world) who do as Jesus would do rather than as the CEO of a banking concern would do. I have somehow managed to maintain a priestly ministry on the internet without the support of the church which ordained me.

Basically, I appear to be an embarrassment because I am a person who has mental health problems. Certainly, I have not received anything like the care, accommodation and understanding that I would have been legally entitled to if I had been working for a secular employer.

News From America

Nadejda Reilly, 51, was arrested on the seventh of January after she was involved in a head-on collision with a car on a major north-south highway in the US. She had been reportedly driving for several hours waiting for a “calling from God” when she saw a car driving on the opposite side. According to the affidavit from Pennsylvania police, she allegedly “wanted to test her faith by driving through the vehicle” and deliberately drove her car into the opposing lane of traffic.

Ms Reilly and two of the other car’s passengers were injured and taken to Lehigh Hospital-Hazleton. A third passenger was unharmed. Reilly expressed no concern or remorse for the victims stating that “she did not care if the other people were injured because God would have taken care of them.”

Reilly was originally granted bail at US$50,000 but the judge revoked it last Wednesday after he determined she was a threat to herself and the community. #noshitsherlock

News From Kenya

A Kilifi Bishop, Thomas Kakala of Jesus Cares Centre Ministries, has revealed that the locust invasion being witnessed in several parts of the country is a ‘plague’ that is biblical and was brought by ‘God’ to punish the nation after the leadership erred.

Speaking in his Malindi office, the preacher said locusts were among 10 punishments issued by God in Egypt because the ruler then was arrogant and against the will of God.

Kakala insists ”Kenya must change and turn to God, people should repent their sins, and this begins with the King to call his prophets and organize a national prayer day.”

Passing Thoughts Of A Mad Priest ( about the Beast )

I have always assumed that the Antichrist was Nero or some other enemy of Christianity back in the First Century A.D. However, having just watched Trump speaking at Davos earlier today in which he used the language of hope to persuade his listeners to abandon hope, I have to admit I am beginning to entertain the decidedly unenlightened proposition that John the Revelator was, in fact, referring to a twenty-first-century A.D. president of the United States of America.

Yes, I know it sounds silly and unscientific but, on the other hand, isn’t scientific fact supposed to be based on empirical evidence?

When WOKE Goes Bad

Graham Hill, a visiting research fellow at the University of Leeds’ School of Law, has an article published by the academic website, The Conversation, today concerning Asian grooming gangs in England and how ethnicity made authorities wary of investigating the child sexual abuse they were perpetrating. You can read his full essay HERE.

This sandal is the most tragic consequence of the liberal tendency to shut down conversations through shaming. In The Guardian today, there is a vitriolic piece by columnist, Suzanne Moore in which she lays into the actor, Laurence Fox for stating his opinion on the BBC’s “Question Time” that the criticism of Meghan was not racist. The title of the article, “I’d never heard of Laurence Fox until he started lecturing us about racism,” is indicative of her and many other liberals’ methodology of putting down the opposition.

Personally, I think Fox was wrong in his appraisal of the situation, although I believe the racism of the English press is anti-American rather than a colour of skin thing. However, the man is entitled to his opinion and should be free to express it without the massed ranks of the liberal media mafia demonising him as a warning to others who might dare to go off-message.

Laurence Fox’s career has more than likely, been seriously damaged by liberal attacks on his character following his comments; no wonder the police are worried about acting in ways that might be deemed as politically incorrect even when the law of the land and their duty to protect dictates that they should.

Found In Translation

As reported in The Guardian.

Facebook has blamed a technical error for Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s name appearing as “Mr Shithole” in posts on its platform when translated into English from Burmese, apologising for any offence caused and saying the problem had been fixed.

The error came to light on the second day of a visit by the president to Myanmar, where Xi and state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi signed dozens of agreements covering massive Beijing-backed infrastructure plans.

A statement about the visit published on Suu Kyi’s official Facebook page was littered with references to “Mr Shithole” when translated to English, while a headline in local news journal the Irrawaddy appeared as “Dinner honours president shithole”.

News From Zambia

Controversial Zambian International Prophet DD Isaac is reported to have caused a stir at his Holy Ghost Embassy church on Sunday when he allegedly turned water into wine. According to eyewitnesses, he poured water into a glass and after “ministration” the water turned into a wine like substance.

This incident left congregants baffled as to whether this was really a miracle or a scam.

South Africa based religious analyst Shephard Ben Abraham said the miracle of turning water into wine is being used by alcohol consumers to justify their acts.

“While there is nothing wrong with miracles, these kind of miracles of turning water into wine are fueling reckless drinking,” Shephard said. “I would advise pastors to desist from these kind of miracles for the sake of the society.”

Headed For Jerusalem

Okay, the U.S.A. has inflicted Donald Trump on the world
but, on the other hand, it also gave us…

David Olney
singer-songwriter
March 23, 1948 – January 18, 2020
May he rest in peace and rise in glory



Check out the Guardian obituary for an account of how he died.
It was, it has to be said, satisfactory.

Spirit In The Sky

As reported in “The Sun”

Caroline Hawthorne was left gobsmacked after a Jesus-like figure appeared in the sky above her house in Birmingham.

The forty-two-year-old, who was making a cup of tea at the time, said she was stunned after she spotted the bizarre formation from her kitchen window.

She said: “It was really odd, the sky was quite cloudy and there was this weird cloud formation. People have been telling me it looks like an angel or Jesus with his arms outstretched.”

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