After an evangelical priest, incensed by guidance from the House of Bishops on civil partnerships, arranged "irregular ordinations" by an "out of communion" confederate shipped in from South Africa, he was stripped of his licence by the Bishop of Southwark.
Following an appeal presided over by the arch-homophobe Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester, Dr. Rowan Williams has now confirmed Scott-Joynt's ruling that the evangelical priest should be relicensed.
Some years ago, Scott-Joynt led a working party which recommended dropping the ban on the marriage of divorcees. However, apart from this, he has a history of anal-retentiveness. He bitterly opposed any relaxation of the requirement for clergy to wear traditional robes at services. He was one of the nine diocesan bishops who wrote to Rowan Williams, opposing the appointment of Dr. Jeffrey John as suffragan bishop of Reading. And he denied transsexuals the right to marry in their adopted sex, because it would undermine marriage, which
"according to the law of the land is the union of one man with one woman and that is proclaimed by the plaque in the wall of every Register Office ... the words 'woman' and 'man' will no longer mean what everyone including the law has always thought that they meant
Writing in the "Guardian
", ["Care in the communion
", 5th July, 2003], he concluded. --
"For me, it is fundamental to being an Anglican that we respect each other, listen to each other, learn from and with each other ...
We are still waiting for signs that this fundamentalist has ever listened or learnt. Today's report is yet another example of sifting facts and rejecting the advice of a QC to rule in favour of another homophobe and reinstate his licence to preach hatred. --
An evangelical cleric who was stripped of his licence by his bishop last year following a dispute over homosexuality was reinstated yesterday by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
In a surprise decision, the archbishop upheld an appeal by the Rev Richard Coekin against the Bishop of Southwark, Dr Tom Butler, who banned him from officiating in his diocese after an irregular ordination service.
The dispute blew up after Mr Coekin, the minister of Dundonald church in Wimbledon, south London, arranged for a bishop to be "parachuted in" from South Africa over the head of Bishop Butler to ordain three of his staff as deacons.
The unofficial ordinations were backed by Reform, the evangelical network, whose 600 clergy members are increasingly rejecting the authority of the bishops in protest at their "un-Biblical" stance on homosexuals.
Mr Coekin and many other evangelicals have declared themselves to be in "impaired communion" with their bishops over guidance on civil partnerships issued by the House of Bishops a year ago.
Dr William's decision followed a rare Church court hearing in London last month, presided over by the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, and attended by several QCs.
The Archbishop said yesterday that he backed a report drawn up by Bishop Scott-Joynt in which he found that treatment of Mr Coekin had been "seriously flawed".
However, Dr Williams also made clear that Mr Coekin must in future conform to the discipline of the Church.
The Archbishop said that relationships in the diocese now needed to be "rebuilt through the processes of prayer, discussion and trust".
Friends of Mr Coekin insisted last night, however, that he would remain in impaired communion until Bishop Butler distanced himself from the guidance on civil partnerships.
THE MINISTER who was stripped of his licence after going ahead with irregular ordinations in the diocese of Southwark was this week appealing against the decision. The Rev Richard Coekin, minister of Dundonald Church in Wimbledon and senior pastor of the ‘Co-Missions Initiative’ group of churches in London, exercised his right of appeal after the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Rev Tom Butler, removed his licence last November. The appeal was being presided over by the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, at St Dunstan’s-in-the-West Church in Fleet Street, London.
The situation occurred after Mr Coekin oversaw the ordination of two curates, Andy Fenton and Richard Perkins, to lead church plants as part of the ‘Co-Missions Initiative’. Mr Coekin declared ‘temporary impaired communion’ from the diocese of Southwark, leading to the ordinations being carried out by a South African Bishop, Martin Morrison. Mr Morrison belongs to the Church of England in South Africa, a small denomination which broke off from Anglicanism in South Africa and is out of communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Bishop of Southwark had refused to ordain the two men for three years arguing that the diocese’s numbers were capped by the ‘Sheffield formula’.
Mr Coekin’s appeal revolved around four main points, the main one being that the Bishop formalised ‘schism’ by removing his licence rather than accepting ‘impaired communion’ over theological differences. His second point was the refusal of the Bishop to oppose the House of Bishops statement on Civil Partnerships which he claims is contrary to the Bible. He also argued that his church planting initiative should be welcomed by the Bishop of Southwark, and the South African Bishop who performed the ordinations is excluded from church rules in the area, so nothing illegal had taken place.
At the London Men’s Convention last Saturday, which Mr Coekin chairs, the Rev William Taylor, Rector of St Helen’s Church in Bishopsgate, urged the congregation to pray for Mr Coekin during the hearing. At the time of going to press the appeal was still ongoing. Full details of the verdict will appear in next week’s edition of The Church of England Newspaper.
THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury will decide on the fate of the minister who had his licence revoked after organising irregular ordinations in the Diocese of Southwark.
An appeal by the Rev Richard Coekin against the licence revocation by the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Rev Dr Tom Butler, took place at St-Dunstan’s-in-the-West Church in Fleet Street, London, last week. Mr Coekin, who is minister of Dundonald Church in Wimbledon and senior pastor of the ‘Co-Missions Initiative’ group of churches in London, arranged the ordinations of Andy Fenton, Richard Perkins and Loots Lambrecht last November after declaring ‘temporary impaired communion’ from the Diocese of Southwark.
They were ordained by Bishop Martin Morrison of the Church of England in South Africa (CESA), a church currently not in communion with Canterbury. At the appeal, which was presided over by the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, lawyers for Mr Coekin argued that because CESA is out of communion with the Church of England the ordinations could not be deemed a breach of canon law or an ecclesiastical offence. They also claimed Mr Coekin had not rejected the Bishop of Southwark’s authority.
But representatives for the Bishop of Southwark countered that Mr Coekin’s actions were clandestine because he had sought neither the permission of the Bishop of Southwark nor the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the licence revocation was entirely appropriate.
Before the hearing both sides had unsuccessfully met to see if an agreement could be reached. The details of the appeal will be sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who will confirm, vary or cancel the revocation of Mr Coekin’s licence. The decision is expected to be made within the next month.
See also:Coekin Butler Scott-Joynt
Coekin appeal is heard
Archbishop allows Coekin appeal Monday 5th June 2006Bishop of Winchester's report
Monday 5th June 2006IN THE MATTER OF CANON C12(5) OF THE CANONS OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLANDBETWEEN:THE REVEREND RICHARD JOHN COEKINAppellantAndTHE BISHOP OF SOUTHWARKRespondentREPORT TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY