THE Communications Office at Church House, Westminster, has
published a partial transcript of evidence given by the former
Acting Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Richard
Inwood, at an employment tribunal last week, after criticism of his
reported comments on social media.
Bishop Inwood was defending his decision not to grant a licence
to Canon Jeremy Pemberton, who claims that this constituted
unlawful discrimination (
News, 19 June). Canon Pemberton, who is Deputy Senior Chaplain
and Deputy Bereavement and Voluntary Services Manager in the United
Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, needed the licence in order to
take up a new post as Head of Chaplaincy and Bereavement Services
in the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in June last
Bishop Inwood has previously said that he was unable to issue
the licence "in light of the pastoral guidance, and for reasons of
11 July 2014). He was referring to Canon Pemberton's marriage
to Laurence Cunnington in April that year (News,
17 April 2014).
Asked by Sean Jones QC, counsel for Canon Pemberton, whether
entering a same-sex marriage was a sinful act, Bishop Inwood
replied: "I think at this point, because the Church has not changed
its canons or legislation, it is certainly irregular, and some may
say it is sinful, yes."
When asked whether he personally felt it was sinful, the Bishop
said: "That's a very difficult question to answer. I'm not a judge
of what is sinful in the sense that I would claim to understand the
mind of God. We are currently engaged in discussion to see what the
mind of God might be. It may be that there would be a change in the
Church's position, in which case same-sex marriage would not be a
He continued: "I think Canon Pemberton ought to have had regard
to the teaching of the Church, and held off on his marriage at this
particular point and had regard to the Church's teachings."
The tribunal heard that the Communications Unit at Church House,
Westminster, sent an email to bishops setting out the line that
would be taken by Lambeth Palace if asked about the case. The email
made reference to the House of Bishops' pastoral guidelines and the
facilitated conversations, and said that "in each individual case,
and this clearly won't be the last, it is a pastoral matter for
that diocesan bishop".
Judge Peter Britton asked Bishop Inwood whether he agreed that
the email "is not indicative of any strong disapproval". The Bishop
replied that the email showed that "the Archbishop of Canterbury
had other things on his priority list at this point."
A ruling is not expected until September.
Sentamu defends York Minster's Pride parade
THE Archbishop of York has defended York Minster, after a vicar
from his diocese said that it was "offensive" and "provocative" for
its Canon Pastor to bless a giant rainbow flag draped over its
The York Pride Parade, an LGBT event, began from the minster
In a statement on Monday, Dr Sentamu gave gay people assurance
that "they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and
deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and
The Archbishop spoke out after the Vicar of St John, Newland, in
Hull, the Revd Melvin Tinker, told Minster FM, a local radio
station, last week that the Canon Pastor of the Minster, the Revd
Michael Smith, should be "ashamed of himself".
"Would he say serial adulterers should be welcome in the Church?
Would he say that people who are engaged in paedophilia should be
involved in the Church?" Mr Tinker asked.
The Dean of York, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull, said last Friday:
"For the second year running we are joining other groups in the
City of York in showing our support for a section of the community
that frequently experiences discrimination and hostility.
"York Minster's invitation to everyone to discover God's love
through our welcome, worship, learning and work is extended to the
Mr Tinker has, in turn, been strongly criticised for appearing
to link gay people with adulterers and paedophiles. In response, Dr
Sentamu said: "Clergy of the diocese are entitled to express
varying views on the question of human sexuality."