This month’s Synod will not consider the legislation on women bishops, but Reform has still written an open letter saying that if the legislation passes without concessions it will have no option but to tell its newly ordained priests to leave the Church of England and that Reform churches may stop contributing financially.
So, threats and blackmail from Reform, no surprise really and given that there are only fifty signatories to this letter the response could well be, “so what.” However, Reform, a mainly evangelical organisation, does have some clout in that it boasts large congregations which are financially viable, possibly because many of its members tithe , something that cannot be said of every liberal Anglican in the UK. Reform has also ordained over 180 men over the last decade, and claims that 50% of these are under the age of thirty.
Reform’s Chairman, Rod Thomas, said that “nothing is being done to head off the huge practical problems that will result”, a statement which seems oblivious to the fact that the small number of people who share his attitudes are the problem!
Meanwhile, Ed Tomlinson, the Forward in Faith vicar who largely gained prominence after mocking the sentimentality of the way his parishioners bury their nearest and dearest, has weighed in with some well timed whingeing. Tomlinson, it seems, is tempted by Rome’s offer of a home for disaffected priests but is seriously deterred by the fact that Roman Catholic stipends are so much lower than those of Church of England clergy, enough perhaps for a single man, but not sufficient for one with a wife and family to support.
The thought does occur that if we were to have a whip round for Tomlinson, he might still jump. Anyone prepared to contribute?