Forward in Faith welcomes Sir William Fittall’s judicious report on Wakefield Cathedral.
We welcome particularly the Independent Reviewer’s ruling that ‘Even where the identity of the celebrant at a service is not routinely published in advance it should not be regarded as confidential information. It should, therefore, be supplied with a good grace to anyone who asks for it in advance so that they can make an informed choice over whether to attend a particular service in the light of their theological conviction in relation to gender and ministry.’
We are grateful for the sympathy and understanding that Sir William has shown to a faithful lay member of the Cathedral’s congregation in the situation in which he has been placed by a change of policy the ‘foreseeable effect’ of which, Sir William points out, ‘is precisely to increase the greater separation that the Dean says he wishes to avoid’.
As Sir William says, ‘The Church of England… has committed itself to enabling the minority to flourish within its life and structures. Denying brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ information which is not intrinsically confidential and which they need in order to act consistently with their theological conviction tends to undermine that commitment.’
A generous and Christ-like approach would be to go the extra mile and make such information available without waiting to be asked. That would help to make Wakefield Cathedral a truly inclusive church.
† TONY WAKEFIELD
The Rt Revd Tony Robinson
Chairman Lay Vice-Chairman
Dr Lindsay Newcombe
The Revd Ian McCormack