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Gamma for ‘rant’ about Holy Trinity, Brompton

18 June 2008


From the Revd Mike Starkey
Sir, — The Revd Dr John Pridmore is a witty and engaging columnist. But he really can’t be allowed to get away with his rant about Holy Trinity, Brompton (HTB; Diary, 13 June). I have no particular brief for HTB, but his caricature can’t remain unchallenged.

Dr Pridmore rails against the prospect of St Peter’s in Brighton being taken over by HTB, saying the faith of St Peter’s was “mature, temperate, tentative, and enquiring”, and implying that the faith of HTB is immature, intemperate, rash, and closed-minded.

On the few occasions I’ve heard or read sermons from HTB, they have been by Bishop Lesslie Newbigin, Bishop Richard Chartres, and a senior official from the Vatican. Oddly enough, I have yet to hear a sermon from HTB by a self-professed Evangelical. The one book I own from the HTB/Alpha stable is a thoughtful, nuanced book of theology by a former tutor of St Stephen’s House, Oxford.

The latest senior appointment at HTB is Pete Greig, author of a frankly agonising book on the apparent silence of God in the face of suffering (particularly that of his wife).

There may well be wild-eyed fundamentalists at HTB, but I have yet to meet one. True, HTB and its offshoots do Christianity with a bit of enthusiasm and style. As John Wesley found, that is enough to get most of your fellow clergy harrumphing in disapproval.

Dr Pridmore says: “Better that not one stone of St Peter’s should stand on another than it should become a purveyor of blister-pack certainties.” Keep a note of that. It will make a fitting epitaph for the Church of England.

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