So, we have a situation where a Church of England chaplain, who must have held a licence from the Bishop of Derby, has been reported to the police (though they did not pursue it) for articulating the possibility of believing in something which is the current doctrine of the Church of England, and has been made redundant subsequently, which he believes to have been discriminatory and unfair. What would we hope that leaders of the Church of England might say publicly in support of him and his ministry? What might they say to other clergy who could be in a similar challenging situation? What resources could the national Education department have made available to give guidance to chaplains and Christian teachers in schools using the Educate and Celebrate material?
Answer came there ‘None’.
Yesterday, the Daily Mail reported on the case, and reported that Andrea Williams, of Christian Concern, approached Libby Lane, the bishop of Derby, as well as the office of both the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, for comment. Libby Lane was reported as saying:
Public statements in support of one side in a dispute, prior to the evidence emerging in legal proceedings, is neither in the interests of good legal process nor, indeed, likely to serve Dr Randall’s personal interests well.
York said that there is nothing to add, and Canterbury (in the absence of Justin Welby on sabbatical) said ‘No comment.’
I find that extremely odd. I don’t see how difficult it would be to say something like ‘We cannot comment on this particular case. But we support him in his ministry, and he was, of course, quite right to tell pupils that they can believe in the doctrine of the Church of England.’ The initial talk was in June 2019—nearly two years ago. People have had two years to make a comment, and a clear 18 months before this case was brought.
And I don’t need to take the Daily Mail’s word for the story, because Bernard contacted me himself, in June 2019, to check what he was planning to say, and whether it was a fair expression of Christian faith and Church of England doctrine. I affirmed that it was. And I have therefore also offered an ‘expert witness’ statement for the court case being led by Christian Legal Centre on Bernard’s behalf.
New post: Does the Church of England deserve to survive? https://t.co/GhsjTSG6jH
— Dr Ian Paul (@Psephizo) May 17, 2021