Com­mis­sion­ers quizzed on costs of Pem­ber­ton em­ploy­ment tri­bunal

Bishop who re­signed un­der a cloud dies

The Church of England - - NEWS -

BEN BRAD­SHAW MP, ques­tioned the Church Com­mis­sion­ers this week why Church of Eng­land mem­bers are still un­aware of the amount paid in the Jeremy Pem­ber­ton em­ploy­ment tri­bunal.

The Labour MP asked Sec­ond Church Es­tates Com­mis­sioner, Caro­line Spel­man, how much the Church of Eng­land had paid in the tri­bunal. She said she was un­able to an­swer be­cause it was still ‘lit­i­ga­tion in progress’.

Mr Brad­shaw said it was ‘a ridicu­lous sit­u­a­tion’: “He has been stopped from be­ing a hos­pi­tal chap­lain, a job which by all ac­counts he did su­perbly, be­cause of the dis­crim­i­na­tory ap­proach of the Church of Eng­land. Par­tic­u­larly when we are cel­e­brat­ing the demo­cratic elec­tion of the first openly gay, mar­ried priest to the Gen­eral Synod, this is a ridicu­lous sit­u­a­tion.”

He ex­pressed his hope that Mr Pem­ber­ton (pic­tured) would ap­peal the de­ci­sion of the tri­bunal.

Sharon Hodg­son, Labour MP for Wash­ing­ton and Sun­der­land West, then asked if Church lead­ers could re­solve such mat­ters to avoid gay clergy feel­ing dis­crim­i­nated against, to which Mrs Spel­man pointed out that Church lead- ers had ini­ti­ated the ‘Shared Con­ver­sa­tions’.

SNP mem­ber for East Kil­bride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, Dr Lisa Cameron, asked the Com­mis­sion­ers what progress the Church Com­mis­sion­ers have made on their com­mit­ment to re­duce the Church of Eng­land’s car­bon foot­print by 40 per cent by 2020, to which Mrs Spel­man replied that it has al­most been reached.

Dr Cameron then asked what steps are be­ing taken to ad­dress con­cerns about fu­ture renewables’ in­vest­ment re­sult­ing from ‘un­sup­port­ive’ Gov­ern­ment pol­icy af­ter the di­rec­tor of in­vest­ments of the Church Com­mis­sion­ers, Tom Joy, co-signed a let­ter to the Chan­cel­lor high­light­ing the con­cerns.

Mrs Spel­man said that by talk­ing with the Gov­ern­ment, the Church is ‘demon­strat­ing its com­mit­ment to tackle cli­mate change’.

Va­lerie Vaz, Labour MP for Wal­sall South, asked what as­sess­ment the Church Com­mis­sion­ers have made of the ef­fect of fu­neral poverty on fees paid for fu­ner­als, to which Mrs Spel­man an­swered that the Church ‘does all it can’ to keep fu­neral costs down.

She added that she did not have the de­tails of an es­ti­mate on whether the write-off that some parishes are able to make for fu­ner­als is go­ing up or down.

Brom­ley and Chisle­hurst MP, Robert Neil asked whether the Church of Eng­land plans to in­tro­duce an an­nual na­tional me­mo­rial ser­vice to hon­our Bri­tish civil­ians killed dur­ing the Sec­ond World War and whether the Church could of­fer prayer on a sys­tem­atic ba­sis for the armed forces. A FOR­MER Church of Ire­land bishop who re­signed un­der a cloud af­ter an­nounc­ing that he was leav­ing his wife has died.

The Rt Rev Peter Bar­rett, Bishop of Cashel & Os­sory, died on 28 Oc­to­ber. He was 59.

Bishop Bar­rett was or­dained in 1981 and served his cu­racy in Li­mavady, Co Derry, and was Dean of Water­ford when he was ap­pointed bishop in 2003.

Less than three years af­ter his ap­point­ment the bishop said he had writ­ten to the Arch­bishop of Dublin, Dr John Neill, stat­ing he was re­sign­ing his post fol­low­ing the break­down of his 25-year mar­riage. It was later an­nounced the bishop had had an af­fair with a mar­ried woman and the two were leav­ing their spouses to live to­gether.

“Above all it is to my wife and chil­dren, who have to bear the bur­dens of anger, dis­ap­point­ment and pain, that I ex­press my pro­found sor­row,” Bishop Bar­rett wrote to his dio­cese in an­nounc­ing his res­ig­na­tion.

On 25 Fe­bru­ary 2006 Dr Neill told the con­gre­ga­tion of St Can­ice’s Cathe­dral in Kilkenny the bishop’s de­ci­sion to re­sign was “not taken lightly. Nev­er­the­less Bishop Peter could not sus­tain his min­istry among you in view of the di­rec­tion that his life has taken.”

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