From the Rt Revd John D. Davies
Sir, — I was sorry to read that the Revd Beth Allison-Glenny, a Baptist minister, was prevented from participating in the laying on of hands at her husband’s ordination to the priesthood (News, 3 July). This sort of situation is likely to occur more frequently in the future, and surely some form of flexibility can be found to meet the problem.
When I was preparing for my consecration as bishop, I asked that my close friend and colleague Bishop Lesslie Newbigin should be allowed to participate in the laying on of hands. Lesslie’s ecumenical commitment had always led him to refuse invitations to behave as if he were an “adopted” Anglican bishop; he was clear that his Orders were those of a bishop of the Church of South India. For this reason, the request that he share in my consecration was refused. But, after a good deal of negotiating, he was allowed, with the Bishop of Gotland of the Church of Sweden, to lay hands on me immediately after the “official” laying on of hands, which he very graciously did, with a whisper in my ear of 1 Thessalonians 5.24.
Rules of this kind are for bending; Lesslie and I were deeply grateful for this moment of hierarchic flexibility.
JOHN D. DAVIES
Nyddfa, By Pass Road
Gobowen SY11 3NG