Conservative commentator Calvin Robinson, Religious Affairs Editor at GB News and an Ordinand of the Diocese of London, has been blocked from being ordained this year.
The English Churchman has seen communication from the Diocese of London obtained by Mr Robinson by a Subject Access Request. It would appear that certain diocesan authorities had made a decision to not ordain Robinson as long ago as last July.
In an e-mail sent on 10th July 2021 to the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Robert Wickham, Bishop of Edmonton, wrote, “There will be no space for any fulham [sic] curates in Edmonton next year, as I’ve already agreed with Jonathan [Baker-Bishop of Fulham-Ed.] that we will have one at any time.”
Fulham is one of two Provincial Episcopal Visitors in the Province of Canterbury that provides pastoral support for those Anglo-Catholic congregations and clergy that do not accept the ordination of women. Wickham’s e-mail would seem to indicate that restrictive quotas have been set; it is difficult to see how these quotas foster the official ‘Mutual Flourishing’ mandated by General Synod in the Five Guiding Principles of 2014.
Another e-mail from Bishop Wickham to Rt Revd Emma Ineson, at Lambeth Palace, on 3rd December 2021 indicates that the Archbishop of Canterbury had taken an interest in the situation: “In a conversation last night, ++Justin asked for some examples of Calvin Robinson’s tweets. Calvin is a Diocese of London ordinand, now released. I think the Bishop of Fulham is looking to place him at St Alban’s Holborn. Since being at St Stephen’s House, he has changed his mind over the ordination of women.”
This publication was the first to publicly query whether or not opposition to Robinson’s ordination would be successful. The story reached the UK’s mainline media over the Easter weekend when the Daily Express ran a feature on the matter. Robinson’s media profile has grown quickly via his work on GB News and opinion pieces he contributed to the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, and the Spectator. He enjoys a considerable following on social media, with over 153,000 on Twitter, almost ten times those of the Bishop of London but fewer those that follow the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In a statement, Mr Robinson said, “The problem is that there is a disconnect between the Church of England hierarchy who are increasingly woke Guardian readers, and the congregations who are mostly Daily Express and Daily Mail reading conservatives.“
I am much closer to the grassroots, I tend to read the Express and the Mail and I am willing to stand up for those orthodox Christian opinions in favour of protecting the sanctity of marriage, returning to Scripture, not allowing homosexual marriage in the Church, or allowing re-baptisms for trans people and the like.”
This story continues to develop.