Bishop makes rallying call after parish vicar defects

A parish shaken by the departure of its vicar following his defection to the Catholic Church has been told to rally round and pray by the Bishop of Plymouth.

Parishioners filing into the Parish Church of St Mary The Virgin in St Marychurch were visited by the Right Rev Canon John Ford…a week after vicar David Lashbrooke told his congregation he was unhappy with the way the Anglican Church was going and he had decided to convert to the Catholic faith, taking part of the congregation with him.

Bishop John, who conducted the parish mass on Sunday, told the congregation that despite the ‘hurt, incomprehension, and shifting plates of the Church’, it was best to ‘pray and reflect’ rather than become angry.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

11 comments on “Bishop makes rallying call after parish vicar defects

  1. MichaelA says:

    [blockquote] “He is one of hundreds of Anglican priests who have left the Church of England in recent months.” [/blockquote]
    This is really interesting. Does anyone know the circumstances of these hundreds of priests? They have not gone to the ordinariate – whilst many may do so in the future, the pronouncements of those involved in setting up the ordinariate indicate that only a small number have left the CofE for it, at present. So who are the “hundreds of priests”?

    One would think the CofE would be rather concerned about such a loss…? If so, then surely it won’t be just this congregation that needs reassurance from their bishop?

  2. RMBruton says:

    I don’t know where they come up with these statistics for hundreds of Anglican priests leaving in recent months? Can such claims be really substantiated? Did this fellow just up and leave or did he submit a letter of resignation to his bishop?

  3. the roman says:

    I wonder how many of the “hundreds of Anglican priests who have left..” just left for other professions, callings or whatever and not necessarily for the RCC.

  4. J Random User says:


    Don’t know anything about the statistics, but the law in the Church of England seems to be that once a priest declares his intention to leave the Church of England, he is forbidden to exercise any sacramental or liturgical functions. Thus in this case, the priest really had no choice other than to “up and leave”, since that is precisely what the rules say he must do. Some diocesan bishops have allowed Ordinariate-bound priests to “give notice”, but this appears to be the exception rather than the norm.

  5. Teatime2 says:

    I wonder if the newspaper messed up and it should have read hundreds of [i]Anglicans[/i], not Anglican priests? That sounds about right.

  6. deaconjohn25 says:

    What struck me was–as in a number of other cases–when a group has left the CofE Church with the parish priest or pastor so often it has included some of the most active, and presumably the most deeply immersed in the Christian Faith, who have also left.
    As for “hundreds” leaving, I wouldn’t be surprised since It seems to have been one or more a day reported as leaving quite regularly for a while now.

  7. trooper says:

    The website for the Ordinariate in England just posted that there are 61 clergy members and about 800 parish members who were registered at the Rite of Election this past Sunday.

  8. MichaelA says:

    Thanks Trooper.

    So clearly there aren’t hundred of priests who have left for the Ordinariate in recent months. That leaves two possibilities:

    (a) The reporter got his facts wrong. Which wouldn’t surprise – journalists constantly mess things up when reporting on religious affairs;

    (b) There have been many priests leaving the CofE who have not been going to the Ordinariate.

    Either could be true.

  9. MichaelA says:

    [blockquote] blockquote [/blockquote]
    “The website for the Ordinariate in England just posted that there are 61 clergy members and about 800 parish members who were registered at the Rite of Election this past Sunday.”
    That is enough to maintain several congregations, and to have plenty of priests left over (even if, as I suspect, some of the priests are ready to retire). Rome is already doing very well out of this. Even retired priests can help to take the load off overstretched clergy. And younger clergy can be used for church planting and evangelism.

  10. deaconjohn25 says:

    I don’t know the rules for English Catholic dioceses, but it is not mandatory in most American dioceses that a person take part in the Rite of Election ceremony to become a Catholic–especially in controversial or touchy situations or simply distance from the bishop’s cathedral where the Rite is supposed to take place with those registered for it. Conversion can still be like it was before Vatican II–usually quite private with instruction by a priest with the individual convert. So there could be more converting than the 61 Anglican priests registered for the public Rite who for one reason or another want to keep it low key. Thus, the scope of conversions cannot be adequately counted until after Easter (and even then some are brought into the Church outside the Easter Vigil ceremonies).

  11. driver8 says:

    Prayers for Fr. David and for the folks at St. Mary’s.