I am 61 and live in Southend on Sea. I was ordained deacon in 2005 and priested in 2006 having trained at NTMTC where I gained a degree in Contextual Theology. I am currently serving as Associate Priest in the Team Parish of Southend. Until retiring some months ago I also worked full time for Aviva in Southend. My experience as a self supporting priest in the workplace has given me an insight into the needs of working people and of how the church is viewed by those who have very little contact with it. I am chaplain to our local shopping centre in Southend and I am also part of a group looking at lay vocations in our deanery. I would describe myself as a Liberal Anglo-Catholic. I am a member of WATCH (women and the church) and currently serve as treasurer to the Chelmsford WATCH group. I am a member of Changing Attitude and a supporter of Inclusive Church. I am nominated by Canon Stephen Burdett and seconded by Canon Dr Jane Freeman.
I support the recent decisions of Synod believing that it is good news for the Church and is the right way forward to unite us and I believe that the measure should go through as agreed by Synod even though it represents a considerable compromise to supporters of women in the episcopate. I also believe that The Code of Practice will provide, quite rightly, a generous provision for those who, in conscience, are opposed to women as priests and bishops.
I am absolutely committed to equality for all irrespective of gender, disability, colour, race, sexuality etc. I support the full inclusion of lesbian and gay people in all areas of the church including the three-fold ordained ministry. Whilst we must try to understand and be sympathetic to those who find the full inclusion of women and LGBT people in the Church a real challenge, it is not right that inequality for those groups should be enshrined in law. The church, I believe, has a duty to set an example of inclusion to the rest of society. Sadly, at this time, it seems that society is setting the example and the church is seen as an anachronism in today’s world.
The Anglican Communion is something very special and I do not believe that the Covenant will do anything to enhance that specialness. The context of each of our Provinces is so different and so each should be able to grow and develop in ways that are appropriate to that context. To sign the Covenant commits a Province to agreeing not to undertake any new development to which another signee objects, without the consent of the Standing Committee - a body of just 15 people. In its current wording a Church which takes an action that the Standing Committee and other authorised bodies does not agree with could effectively have its membership of our communion limited or suspended. On this basis the Covenant will only serve to move us further apart from each other rather than towards the unity which is God’s intention for the church.
Whilst I can understand the need for a process to deal with issues of complaints etc I am concerned that there seems to be little help and support for clergy who find themselves complained about. Priests can find themselves very vulnerable with sometimes little opportunity to defend themselves and so it is vital that an adequate support mechanism is available and accessible. I feel that the process of finding the right help and support needs to be more clearly defined.
Having worked for some years as a priest in the workplace I believe that this is such a valuable, but often unrecognised, part of the priestly ministry. In our increasingly secular world many people, particularly younger people have no experience of “church”. Having a minister in the workplace provides a link between the church and the world and benefits both. The church keeps in touch with what is happening in the work place and those in the work place get an experience of Christianity at work which they might not otherwise get. With the example of Paul in front of us I believe that this part of the ordained ministry is at the forefront of our mission.
I will faithfully attend Synod during my term of office and will continue to work towards full inclusion of all in the Church and will support those measures which seek to help the most vulnerable in our society. Please contact me if you wish to discuss this or any other matters.
42 Harcourt Avenue
Southend on Sea