Jeffrey John will not be the next bishop of Durham. I think that was certain from the word "go" as Durham Diocese is now staffed predominantly by evangelicals (so much so that I can't find a church to worship in that isn't FFF (Forward in Faith or Fulcrum). However, the news is worse than just a disappointment for those of us of a non-Bibliolatrous and non-Romanist persuasion as the next "Prince Bishop of Durham" is going to be Paul Butler, the bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, which has been an enclave of hardcore evangelicalism for a long time.

It was never going to be Jeffrey John but why God, why have you sent us a homophobic shepherd who will be unable to be the pastor of all his flock?


CUTHBERT WEPT — 7 Comments

  1. Who gives a flying fuck what “flock” you’re in; you’re a human being who wants to be treated like a farm animal.
    Grow up and stop leaching off your wife. Get a fucking job, asshole!

  2. That’s as ridiculous as saying that Anglo-Catholic bishops can’t be pastors to the evangelical churches in their dioceses, or that pacifist clergy can’t be pastors to soldiers in their congregations, or that left-leaning clergy can’t be pastors to wealthy business people in their parishes. I’ve always believed that Anglicanism is bigger than that.

    • I don’t believe that Anglo-Catholic bishops who are against the ordination of women can be real pastors to their female clergy. In England this has been proved in the Chichester Diocese. A good pastor encourages that which is good in a person and discourages that which is bad. If a bishop believes that a female priest is a bad thing then he is not going to do a very convincing job of encouraging his female clergy to realise their vocations fully. A good pastor will rejoice when couples fall in love and will encourage them to commit to a life long faithful relationship and help them achieve this. Butler is not going to be able to offer such support and encouragement to his gay, partnered clergy and laity.

  3. If you are right and Durham churches are all Forward in Faith or Fulcrum, then this won’t be a problem, will it? If, however, you’re exaggerating, as I suspect you are, then I suppose the thing to do would be to check with gay, partnered clergy in his previous diocese and ask how he’s done.

    As for whether we can provide pastoral care to people with who, we disagree on a moral issue – well, all I can say is that I personally have spent a lot of years trying to do what you believe to be impossible. As to whether or not I’ve been successful, of course I’m not the person to ask.

    • There are moral issues and moral issues. I’m sure you can disagree with someone over the smoking of cannabis or abortion and still offer the full pastoral experience. You could disagree with me about gay sex and still be a good pastor to me, I’m sure. But, I can’t see how you can offer the same pastoral encouragement to a gay couple as you would to a straight couple if you think having a gay, sexual relationship is contrary to the word of God. Unless, that is, you are prepared to compromise your own beliefs by encouraging something you are not convinced should be encouraged or to just avoid the subject (which is what I did when I disagreed with a parishioner’s politics).

      Yes, of course I’m exaggerating the percentage of FFF parishes in Durham Diocese but not the number within commuting distance of my house bearing in mind how little money I have to spend on diesel or public transport. The nearest church I could comfortably attend is 20 miles away which, with English petrol prices would cost me £8 every time I attended a service.

    • But what really depresses me about this appointment is that he says that his main priorities will be getting more bums on seats and tackling poverty in the North East. Call me old fashioned and a softy, but I wanted a bishop whose main priorities were caring for his flock (being a pastor). We’ve got perfectly capable laity who we could empower to be frontline evangelists and social reformers. Biblically – St. Stephen comes to mind. But looking after your own flock doesn’t get you an MBE or the Canterbury job so I was always going to be disappointed.