A BAPTIST minister married to a Church of England priest has
criticised the rules that prevented her from playing a significant
part in his ordination service.
The Revd Beth Allison-Glenny's husband Rob was priested on
Sunday, in the diocese of Oxford. But, because canon law prohibits
it, she was unable to be among the supporting priests who laid on
hands while Mr Glenny was ordained.
"He is deeply upset by it," she said before the service. "I want
to ask 'What is it you think is stopping me being a part of it?'
His mother is ordained and can lay a hand on him, but I can't."
Binding their two traditions together had always been a
priority, Mrs Allison-Glenny said. The couple used an ecumenical
marriage service, and, during her own ordination, Mr Glenny was
among those who laid on hands.
"Our own denominational identity has been so much a part of our
own life, and neither of us have felt we could move to become a
minister in the other Church," Mrs Allison-Glenny said.
Speaking after the service, Mr Glenny conceded that the diocese
was not able to make any changes but said the issue should be
addressed in the future.
A spokeswoman for the diocese of Oxford said that they did try
to include Mrs Allison-Glenny in the ordination service. "[She] was
robed and accepted our invitation to read the Litany at the
priesting service on Sunday. Just before Rob was ordained, Beth
kissed her husband as a sign of blessing."
While grateful for the "gesture", Mr Glenny said it did not
address the real problem. "My joyfulness at being priested had no
bearing on who read the litany. I was pleased to be able to
celebrate that day, and I was saddened it couldn't be with Beth
laying on hands. What's unhelpful is not having a clear theology
explaining what the priests are doing at the laying on of
Mrs Allison-Glenny said: "It's surely God who ordains? That's
what I found flummoxing. Are we somehow saying that the Baptists
would stop that from happening? I can't believe that would be the
theology of the C of E.
"You can say how ecumenically minded you are, but if you have
written into the rules things that stop ecumenical clergy from
being able to participate . . . it is saying one thing and doing
The couple now want the issue to be debated by the Synod. But a
C of E spokeswoman said: "Note 12 of the ordination service states
that priests share with the bishop in laying hands on the heads of
those ordained to the presbyterate. They do so at the invitation of
the bishop, who determines where they stand, and by what gesture
they indicate they are joining in prayer with him.
"The Baptist Churches have a different understanding of ordained
ministry from the Church of England and their ministers are not
ordained as priests in the historic threefold ministry. . . It is
only priests who join with the bishop in the laying on of