Thursday, 20 May 2004

local papers roundup

The Barnet Times carries this picture of Jeffrey John to illustrate its story Clergy back gay dean:

More than 40 clergy in the Diocese of St Albans have signed a letter signalling their support for the appointment of an openly homosexual dean.
The letter, which can be viewed by visiting the diocese’s web site, said the 47 signatories wanted to express their excitement and joy’ at the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John, who claims to be celibate but is in favour of same-sex relationships.
The letter said: “We see nothing in his appointment, his lifestyle or his views that contradict scripture, tradition and reason, and hope that, in the long run, those who find the appointment hard will be able to engage in a sensible and rational discussion of the issue of homosexuality, which we do not see as one to impair the unity of our diocese.”

Note: the letter is not on the diocesan website, only linked from there as is the DEF statement; the letter is in fact on the site of St Peter’s Berkhamsted.

The St Albans Observer carries a report of last week’s news under the headline Tax rebellion over gay dean. This action by a single parish in Barnet has already been reported in various papers including last week’s issue of the Observer’s sister paper in Barnet (same ownership, same webserver), so to describe it as an “escalation” is misleading.

THE row over the appointment of gay priest Jeffrey John as Dean of St Albans escalated this week with one church openly rebelling by refusing to pay its diocesan tax.
Holy Trinity Lyonsdown, an evangelical church in New Barnet, is withholding its yearly parish quota of around £33,600 in protest at the appointment of Dr John.
Each church pays a stipend to the diocese which then redistributes some of the money to enable churches to pay their clergy and costs. Anything above that is kept by the diocese.
Lyonsdown’s decision means it will pay its own clergy and donate the extra funds believed to be around £5,500 to a charity that helps gay Christians live a celibate life.

Comment: For “some of the money” above read “about 80% of the money” as that is roughly what comes back to Lyonsdown out of its quota payment. But beyond this, the vicar lives rent-free in the diocesan-owned vicarage. And Mr Dobbie has elsewhere stated to the bishop:

As a matter of principle, which I am sure you will understand, we request forthwith not to receive financial benefit of any kind from the diocese.

but he has not yet announced that he will move himself and his family out of the vicarage. (See here for more detail on all this.)

The Herts Advertiser carries no news reports about any of this, but has only a number of letters from the public, some of which are against the appointment.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 20 May 2004 at 1:58 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: St Albans