An article by Giles Fraser received a response from Richard Turnbull here. Joanna McGrath also has a piece there, and a letter from some members of the Wycliffe community is here.
Joanna McGrath’s intervention is very significant because she and her husband are hardly very far along the ‘liberal’ spectrum. How depressing that the fight within Anglicanism is now reflected within the Evangelical movement itself. As the pagans say, those whom the gods wish to destroy they first drive mad.
This dispute and information on Wycliffe has been around for some time now; however, no one has yet to answer my question:
“Who are the faculty and staff who have left Wycliffe?”
I attended Wycliffe in the Summer of 2005 right after Turnbull took over – during that time I met many of the Faculty; yet I cannot now find out who has left.
Will someone please answer?
I must say that as a student at Wycliffe Hall I really don’t recognise the picture painted in many places as a picture of my own Hall. We are in a necessary process of change, and there are quite obviously tensions (as there are in any organisational change). Clearly these could have been better handled.
But Wycliffe is not the den of raving misogynist, intellectually impaired Bible-bashers you might by now think it is. By and large it is a loving Christian community with some truly wonderful teachers. Before using the word ‘homophobia’, the media might have checked with my gay fellow students. Before alleging women-unfriendliness, it would have been useful to check whether the many women studying here received anything but encouragement from the staff. The same could be said for the supposed anti-intellectualism; I daresay the process of critically evaluating how orthodoxy holds up versus modern critical scholarship requires at least as much intellectual backbone as going along with the main scholarly stream.
I must say that all in all Wycliffe Hall is still a great place to be – not a perfect one, but what is?
Peterdh thanks for taking the time to make a comment as one inside the community in question.
I was a student at Wycliffe, along with my husband, in the ’97-’98 school year — one of the best years of our lives! This news about Wycliffe has been painful — and I’m with my friend and former colleague, John Riebe+, in wondering just what the changes are. It would be best to know those before too much blind commentary takes place. I do know, John+, that David Wenham+ is taking a place at Trinity College, Bristol. His leaving Wycliffe seems to me a real blow, but again I don’t know the specific circumstances. He and his wife Claire have been faithful staff members at Wycliffe. David, as a scholar and as a person and pastor, is a man of real integrity — and there is nothing about his orthodoxy to be questioned.
I will say to Peter dH that my experience at Wycliffe as a woman in the late ’90’s had its very real difficulties. This was not due to any of the staff, but to some of my fellow students, young men in their ’20’s for the most part (I was in my late ’30’s), who were members of the group Reform. I was taken aback many times by their rude treatment of women staff in class and of me at points, just because I was a woman. As much as I’d hoped to agree with them in their concern for the Anglican Church, I found them very immature in their reactions to their elders both in age and experience and extremely colorless in their views of the world — what I mean is that they seemed to have very little care for the creation in its splendor and color and variety and only wanted to communicate rather formulaic evangelical statements to win others for Christ. There were times I was appalled at what they got away with. And yet my general experience at Wycliffe was one of great grace, humor, and excellent fellowship in a wonderfully scholarly context.
This is the official scoop:
Revd Geoff Maughan, left in March to be Vicar of Cumnor
Rev.Dr. Dave Wenham, leaves August for Trinity College, Bristol
Rev.Dr. Adrian Chatfield leaves in summer for Ridley Hall, Cambridge
Dr. Krish Kandiah leaves in summer to be Dir. Churches in Mission of the Evangelical Alliance
These are official as noted in the Wycliffe Hall Spring 2007 Newsletter
Sorry this is late in posting. Hope you see it!!
Let me add to the list posted above that what seems to be implied in most places – “all of these departures are directly related to the tensions at Wycliffe” – is not necessarily true. I cannot look into men’s hearts, of course, and as a student I am not privy to all the details. But Geoff always loved parish life and wanted to finish his professional career in one, and Adrian basically got offered his dream job at Ridley (it’s a real pity Wycliffe couldn’t offer it to him!)
Personally, I’ll miss every single one of the above. David Wenham, whom I had most dealings with, is an wonderful person and a first rate scholar; in fact, the most inspirational, thoughtful and challenging tutor I had at Oxford (together with Nick King SJ at Campion Hall). Bristol will be absolutely blessed with him.