Oak Hill at odds with Archbishops’ Council rep to the college council

Oak Hill, the Church of England conservative evangelical theological college in north London, has distanced itself from a member of the Archbishops’ Council who had previously been listed as a member of the college’s governing council.

Revd Canon Charlotte Cook voted for the implementation of same-sex blessings, including ‘experimental’ standalone services, at November’s General Synod, along with her diocesan bishop, Rt Revd Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. Cook has just become a Canon of St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

She is priest-in-charge of three churches in Suffolk and since 2022 has been Area Dean of Ipswich. She was appointed to the Archbishops’ Council in 2019.

On November 27th, in response to a press enquiry about Cook’s position on the Oak Hill Council in view of her support for same-sex blessings, Revd Dr James Robson, former director of Keswick Ministries who became college principal in September, told Anglican Ink:

“’”There’s been an error on our website which I have asked to be corrected, and I believe now has been. 

“‘”Revd Charlotte Cook is not a member of Oak Hill’s Council. She is the C of E’s General Synod representative to Oak Hill, appointed by the C of E. 

‘She is in attendance at College Council meetings, but is not a member appointed by the Council, or a voting member of the Council.”

Having listed Cook as a member of the Council, the Oak Hill website now places her name below the 12 full members and states that she ‘is in attendance at Council as Church of England General Synod Rep, but not on Council’. The Council is chaired by Jeremy Anderson CBE, former chairman of the financial services practice of global accountants, KPMG Anderson is one of the churchwardens of conservative evangelical flagship church in the City of London, St Helen’s Bishopsgate.

After the General Synod voted last February to back same-sex blessings, St Helen’s rector, Revd William Taylor, announced in a video that the church had ‘pressed pause on financial contributions to the Church of Engla

In 2022, the Dean of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Very Rev Joe Hawes, who is civil-partnered, became chair of LGBT pressure group, the Ozanne Foundation, which describes itself as ‘a charity that works with religious leaders and faith groups to protect and celebrate the equality and diversity of LGBT+ people’.

Founder Jayne Ozanne has just resigned from the General Synod. She wrote to Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby: ‘I can no longer in all conscience stay in an institution which continues to condone the abuse of LGBT+ people in our care.’

Julian Mann is a former Church of England vicar, now an evangelical journalist based in the UK.

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