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Southwark appointments annoy Evangelicals

22 March 2012

by Ed Thornton

EVANGELICALS in Southwark diocese are to meet the diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, to pro­test about the lack of Evangelicals in senior posts.

It is understood that Evangelicals in the diocese are unhappy that two re­cent senior appointments have gone to people with what they con­sider to be liberal views on sexuality. The Revd Jonathan Clark, who was ap­pointed last month as the next Bishop of Croydon (News, 10 Feb­ruary), chairs Affirming Ca­tholicism. Canon Dianna Gwil­liams, who was recently appointed Acting Arch­deacon of Southwark, is the general secretary of Inclusive Church, and on its board of trustees.

Evangelicals are also unhappy that, since the departure of the former Bishop of Croydon, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, for Bradford, there are no Evangelical bishops in the diocese.

The chairman of Southwark Dio­cesan Evangelical Union (DEU), Canon Gary Jenkins, said that Bishop Chessun had asked the DEU to ar­range a meeting so that he could hear the views of Evangelical clergy and lay people about recent appoint­ments.

The Revd Stephen Kuhrt, Priest-in-Charge of Christ Church, New Malden, in Southwark diocese, and chairman of Fulcrum, will attend the meeting. He said: “There is a very serious issue of imbalance, and Evangelicals across the diocese are very concerned. Through the recent appointments of liberal Catholic after liberal Catholic, Bishop Christopher has alienated not only the most conservative Evan­gelicals but many of those more open Evan­gel­icals who are com­pletely com­mitted to working with Anglicans of other traditions.”

A spokesman for Southwark dio­cese said: “The Bishop of Southwark is always keen to listen to the con­cerns and issues which arise for his clergy and parishioners. In meeting with the Southwark Diocesan Evan­gelical Union he is ensuring that people who are affiliated to this group can share with him their thoughts on recent developments within the diocese.”

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