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Rights of reply

Just a brief one, but in the ongoing saga of the Wycliffe Hall controversy, there are two articles worth reading from Wycliffe Hall and one of their students. I’m not going to comment on Dr Turnbull’s reply in the Guardian, there’s plenty of response amongst the comments on that site to last a lifetime. There’s a fair amount of detritus in such discussions online and most of it I can happily live without, but there’s a few comments there genuinely worth reading… problem is spotting them when there is so much guff. Ultimately, though, focus on Dr Turnbull’s response. That’s the important bit.

Elsewhere, an old Sheffield University friend of mine, Richard England, has started blogging and has posted his thoughts on the situation as a Wycliffe Hall ordinand. As far as I know, he’s the only ordinand at Wycliffe to say anything about it thus far (mainly because I understand they were asked not to do so). It will be no surprise to regular readers to hear I disagree with his analysis but I do find it interesting that he ends up in 1 Corinthians as I have at various points (one and two) in this debate. I am becoming more convinced that Paul’s letter to a Corinthian church riven by ambition, factions and competition looks like it has a considerable amount to say to the Church of England at present.

Sunday programme on Wycliffe Hall & evangelicalism

Sunday programme logo

The Radio 4 Sunday programme had a long ten minute piece on the situation at Wycliffe Hall which didn’t say much that isn’t already known for those that have been following along. However, if you haven’t, it’s worth a listen to get a brief overview. (update: the slot starts 34 mins into the programme).

Richard Turnbull didn’t appear although they used clips from his Reform video but Christina Rees, Graham Kings, Pete Broadbent and Chris Sugden and David Peterson do all speak within the segment.

Graham Kings’ quote in the report that there needs to be ‘rigour withour rancour’ amongst the open, charismatic and conservative evangelical streams comes from this document on the Fulcrum website which may be helpful if you’re trying to work out the difference between these groups… although I’m not sure whether different people might like to be likened to canals, rivers or rapids!

*** Update ***

Other stuff of interest:

Losing my religion

Losing my religion

So, The Guardian have sharpened their knives and have them fully trained on eviscerating Richard Turnbull, principal at Wycliffe Hall.

I mused about whether I would blog on the situation at Wycliffe again and I do so somewhat reluctantly, but I can’t but comment on Richard’s speech to the Reform conference last year which is now doing the rounds on the Internet and which forms the basis of this latest blast from the Guardian. It’s about a 15 minute video so do take the time to watch it, if you haven’t already.

It’s hard to know where to start really…

There’s a lot I could say about the current troubles. About conversations I’ve had with people at Wycliffe or people who know people at Wycliffe. Certainly there are different opinions as to what is going on. Conservatives seeing him as the new broom which will inevitably stir up dissension from those who disagree, some admitting he has a tendency to put his foot squarely in his mouth. There are others who are deeply disturbed by events and disagree strongly with his approach. Anything I say is conjecture really and with the Wycliffe bloggers effectively on cease and desist orders, there’s not much that we can find out in this media, so I am not going to talk about that.

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More on Wycliffe – please do pray

Various things are starting to emerge regarding Wycliffe Hall… at least more press response:

  1. Anglican Mainstream carried a statement from the College Council
  2. Church Times and the Church of England Newspaper have both run articles this week (CEN basically reproduced the Anglican Mainstream one).

It is also THE topic of conversation here at Ridley Hall and, no doubt, at other theological colleges around the country. There are some very worrying things written in the coverage: Read more

It’s like Chelsea got relegated!

I wish.

No, the news in the Guardian today is that all is not well at Wycliffe Hall College over in Oxford with a mass exodus of staff upset at the principal, Dr Richard Turnbull.

Now, of course, I know better than to trust what I read in the newspapers and I will watch what happens in the next few days as, no doubt, various parties put their cases forward. Personally, I’m feeling quite glad that my DDO steered me away from even looking at the college and, also not entirely surprised that there’s a ruckus, after Dr Turnbull was one of the signatories on my least favourite document of the year – that covenant farce. I can’t tell you how glad I was when Ridley put some significant distance between themselves and that whole business.

I do feel incredibly sorry for the students, some of whom I know. I will be watching their blogs with great interest in the next few days and weeks – not least to see if they get stomped on with censorship. If you are a praying sort, then it might not be a bad idea to start putting in some serious prayer – for them especially but also the situation that will now be menacing above them like some dark thunder cloud.

Nevertheless, my first thought was to call my principal and encourage him to get on the blower! It’s like Chelsea being relegated – seriously good teachers and academics suddenly looking for jobs! Don’t get me wrong, Ridley have got great staff and some really good teachers… but there’s nothing wrong with trying to make the best a bit better. 😉

Credit where credit is due…


So as I trailed some time ago (and criticised), the Archbishop of Canterbury (along with the Archbishop of York) is now broadcasting on YouTube. The first broadcast was launched yesterday and you can watch it by clicking the screen above.

I feel I have to be big about this and actually withdraw some of my remarks from my previous article. The short film they have released is actually pretty good and much of my critique was misplaced.

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I can’t remember when I last gave up food…

I have a confession to make. I know it’s a pretty shocking confession coming from someone who comes from evangelical roots, but I can’t remember the last time I fasted. If you imagine a list of priorities in a Christian’s life, I am ashamed to say that the spiritual disciplines are pretty much at the bottom of my personal list. Not only that but within that list of priorities in the spiritual disciplines, fasting is pretty much the bottom of that list. In short, it’s at the bottom of the to-do pile and not likely to get done anytime soon. I know it’s wrong but that’s the truth of the matter for me. I may be a skinny boy (albeit a bit less skinny than I used to be) but I do like my food and fasting HURTS!

Imagine my surprise therefore when I find myself actually resolving to fast and pray for these next few days. Is it a Lenten thing? Actually no. What has me exercised is the gathering of the Anglican Communion’s Primates in Tanzania.

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What not to wear and other interesting lectures…

As I continue through my training, I am becoming increasingly aware that the clock is ticking! I am pretty much half way through my first year with only one more year of training to go. This Summer discussions start about where I will serve as a curate. Two years doesn’t feel like very long right now and those two years are ticking down all the time.

It has got me thinking about the value of each and every lecture and training opportunity I get. There literally is no time to waste. Maybe I should lighten up a bit but when a lecture doesn’t start on time, or we take ages having our mid-lecture coffee break (for the double sessions) or the lecture simply isn’t very good (and thankfully there aren’t many) … it really starts to annoy me!!

I’ve also started thinking about what lectures or training opportunities I really want to see happen before I leave Ridley. If they happen, I’ll be sure to update this article and tick them off… but as of right now, I give you my top eight training opportunities I want to see happen but which (as far as I know) are not in our curriculum.

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The CofE need your help

This week I have been mostly helping the Church of England with its Love Life, Live Lent project and specifically the SMS service. Following a previous post that touched on the subject, staff at their communications office have been in touch and we’ve been trying hard to get it working with a number of emails going back and forth.

I am posting again now because I genuinely want to see this project succeed. I think it’s a great idea and a great use of technology for a suitable piece of content. However, it seems that while some people are able to sign up, others of us are having trouble.

Both my wife and I have mobiles on the Orange network and neither are able to get signed up. Dave Walker over at the Cartoon Church blog can’t sign up either (also on Orange) and a further friend of mine (also on Orange) can’t sign up either. So it appears that this SMS service has a bit of an issue with Orange.

How can I help, Dave? I hear you asking… Well, the CofE haven’t asked for this help – but I can guarantee that it will be useful information for them in their search to get this fixed to work out if all the people having problems are all on Orange.

So, please use the comments below to say whether you’ve been able to sign up or not and what phone network you use. I guess it might also be useful to know whether you’re on pay-as-you-go or a contract and what your handset is (if you are prepared to share that information).

Let’s see if we can work out what the pattern is!

Can the Anglican Communion legislate for conscience?

Archbishops of York and Canterbury

International readers may not be aware of it, but a political situation is beginning to seriously rumble in the UK concerning the proposed Equality Act that is already law in Northern Ireland and is due to come into effect in the rest of the UK in April. I won’t pretend that I know what’s going on with these new laws or try to rehearse all the details of the legislation. However, as part of this Act, there are Sexual Orientation Regulations (S.O.R) that make it impossible to discriminate on the basis of sexuality.

There have been a series of protests from Christian groups who are worried that they could be prosecuted or sued if (for example) a Christian hotel owner refuses a room to a gay couple, or a Christian adoption agency refuses to allow a gay couple to adopt a child or even a church refuses a gay couple the ability to book the church hall for a party.

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