Inclusive Church Trustee to be disciplined by Archbishop of York
At our recent Annual General Meeting, Jeremy Timm became a trustee of Inclusive Church, filling the seat reserved for a Changing Attitude nominee, which had been vacated earlier in the year by Keith Sharpe.
Last week it became public knowledge that the Archbishop of York has told Jeremy that if he should enter into a same-sex marriage, his status as a Reader in the Diocese of York will be terminated immediately. The archbishop was clear that Jeremy was welcome to continue his ministry as a civil partner, but not if he entered into a civil marriage.
Jeremy has been in a Civil Partnership since 2009 and is planning to convert this to a Marriage in the Autumn. Jeremy is currently a member of the Howden Team Ministry which encompasses six parishes in and around the market town of Howden, East Yorkshire. Jeremy has the full support of his parish clergy and churchwardens.
The original announcement by Changing Attitude is at http://changingattitude.org.uk/archives/8609
The news has received extensive media coverage, especially on local TV and radio in Yorkshire, but also nationally, see for example the Church Times http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2015/14-august/news/uk/reader-to-lose-permission-to-officiate-over-marriage-plans .
The BBC interviewed Jeremy for the Sunday Programme on 16 August, and also spoke to the Bishop of Sodor and Man, who chairs the Central Readers’ Council of the Church of England. He acknowledged that there was no national policy covering Readers and same-sex marriage. He accepted that other diocesan bishops might hold different views of the matter, but claimed that the archbishop was entitled to take such action if he wished.
Inclusive Church is of course horrified that such action would be taken, particularly against a lay person. We shall be supporting Changing Attitude and other members of the LGBTI Anglican Coalition in seeking urgent clarification of the status of Readers, Church Wardens and other lay officials throughout the Church of England. We also look forward to the day when being lawfully married is no barrier to ordained ministry.
Meanwhile, we offer Jeremy and the Howden Team our full support and prayers.