Jeremy Timm: further comment and reports – ‘Thinking Anglicans’
The Church Times has Reader ‘faced with choosing between marriage or ministry’
James Little, Team Rector of Howden Team Ministry, has published the following statement on Facebook
The CT asked me to comment as Jeremy’s Team Rector but didn’t include what I wrote, so here it is—
The Howden Team Ministry is a group of typically rural churches centred on Howden Minster in the East Riding of Yorkshire. We strive to be open, inclusive and welcoming to all and engaged with the communities we serve. The folk around here have known Jeremy since he was a lad and he is a popular and well-respected member of our ministry team. The removal of Jeremy’s PTO (for taking an entirely legal step) runs contrary to the message of welcome we proclaim.
I rejoiced when Bishop Alison was appointed as our new bishop for the East Riding and I applaud Archbishop Sentamu’s leadership in bringing this about. I was delighted to attend her consecration and her welcome service last month, seeing this as a great step forward on the road to equality, long overdue. However, I am saddened that our archbishop’s profound commitment to equality does not extend to the LGBTI community. I believe that the full involvement of women AND the full involvement of LGBTI Christians in the Church of England are, essentially, the same issue. All are one in Jesus Christ.
The Churchwardens are sufficiently concerned to take the unusual step of convening a meeting for later this week, to which I have been invited.
Jeremy will continue to have my full support.
The Telegraph also reports the story Gay Anglican preacher forced to ‘choose between marriage or ministry’
Here we have the very latest P.R. Disaster in the Church of England – this time afforded by the Archbishop of York’s withdrawal of the P.T.O. (Permission to Officiate) of a Civil-Partnered Lay Reader in his archdiocese, who now wants to get married, according to the law of the land.
Having previously said that there were 3 possibilities for Church authorities to take in response to Clergy or lay ministers converting their Civil Partnerships into the situation of of the ‘Equal Marriage’ legislation made available to British citizens in England and Wales; one of which was ‘to do nothing’, Archbishop Sentamu, of the Province of York, has now decided not to take that option – in the case of Jeremy Timm, a long-serving, well-qualified, Lay READER in the Parish involving the Howden Team Ministry.
Jeremy’s Team Rector in the parish,The Revd. James Little, here speaks of his, and the parish’s, full support for their hard-working Lay Reader, venturing to ask why, when Jeremy’s relationship with his partner has been found acceptable to the Church, while participating in the ministry and enjoying the status of a Civil Partnership, Jeremy should suddenly be found unacceptable in parish ministry when he and his partner decided to take up the government’s option for Civil Marriage, now that this has become legally acceptable in England and Wales.
Members of the parish are obviously unhappy about this development, and in a mood to do what they can to have what they see as an obvious injustice overturned. Let’s hope that the public meeting planned by the Church Wardens of the parish will stir up enough concern in other parishes of the Church of England (which undertook a recent drive to increase the involvement of Lay Ministry in the Church), so that the Archbishops of York and Canterbury will do something to overturn this silly situation; where a person’s legal status as a married person can prevent him/her from exercising a viable lay ministry.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand