Commissioners quizzed on costs of Pemberton employment tribunal
Bishop who resigned under a cloud dies
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.”