Gay priest becomes member of Crown Appointments Commission

The Church Times

The Revd Paul Collier, has been appointed a clergy member of the Crown Appointments Commission. Paul is a member of General Synod, Changing Attitude, LGCM and the committee of the Southwark Diocese Support Network, and is, in the words of the Church Times, campaigning for “justice for lesbian, gay and bisexual people”,

Paul is Priest-in-Charge of St Hugh’s, Bermondsey, in Southwark diocese, and has served on the General Synod since 2000. It is apparently unusual for a member to get on to the CAC so soon after election to Synod. Paul chairs the General Synod Human Sexuality Action Group, launched last July, which is pressing for “open and honest” discussion of the House of Bishops’ 1991 statement Issues in Human Sexuality.

Paul will be a member of the Crown Appointments Commission for the next five years. He and two other clergy representatives from the General Synod take their places uncontested, owing to a lack of other nominations. The other two clergy, returning for a further term, are the Revd Professor Anthony Thistleton, who chairs the Evangelical Group on Synod, and the Revd Hugh Broad, Convenor of Affirming Catholicism. There were no nominations at all from the Catholic Group. “I suppose it was the Jubilee and half-term, and nobody noticed the date. It’s terrible,” the chairman, Fr David Houlding SSC, said after the announcement.

“I don’t think we’ll see another diocesan bishop who is opposed to the ordination of women. We don’t expect to get a lot of appointments, but we do expect to have a voice at this level. I can only blame myself for not getting our act together. I think it’s regrettable. The Church of England works best when all the parties are represented.” Fr Houlding said that there had been 11 nominations from the House of Laity for three seats on CAC, and that traditionalist Catholics were among them. “It will be a good election,” he predicted.

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