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LONDON: Clergyman's licence is revoked

LONDON: Clergyman's licence is revoked

The London Times
November 9, 2005

The Bishop of Southwark, the Right Rev Tom Butler, has revoked the licence of a clergyman who invited a South African bishop to ordain three of his staff into the diaconate last week.

Bishop Butler has written to the clergy in his diocese explaining why he has revoked the licence of Rev Richard Coekin, the Wimbledon Church of England clergyman. He explained: "We do not do schism in the Diocese of Southwark."

The bishop also pointed to church tradition and law that bishops from outside the diocese have no authority to perform ordinations without the express permission of the bishop.

Mr Coekin had earlier threatened to take action of this sort unless the Bishop of Southwark dissociated himself from the recent House of Bishops' pastoral statement on civil partnerships, which said that clergy had no right to inquire into the private lives of their congregations who register their relationships when the law comes into effect next month.

Mr Coekin is now expected to appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and may become a cause célèbre among evangelicals in the Anglican Communion.

END

Unauthorised Service at Christ Church Surbiton

Press Release from Southwark Diocese

The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Rev Dr Tom Butler, has written to the clergy in his Diocese explaining why he has revoked the licence of the Revd Richard Coekin. This follows the unauthorised ordination of three members of Mr Coekin's staff team which took place at Christ Church Surbiton on November 2nd. Writing "We do not do schism in the Diocese of Southwark" the Bishop points to Church tradition and law that bishops from outside the Diocese have no authority to perform ordinations within it without the express permission of the Diocesan Bishop.

The case was made more complicated by the bishop concerned being a bishop from the Church of England in South Africa, a church not in communion with the Church of England nor a member of the Anglican Communion

Mr Coekin had earlier threatened to take action of this sort unless the Bishop of Southwark dissociated himself from the House of Bishops' Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships.

As well as revoking Mr Coekin's licence the Bishop of Southwark made it clear that the three people involved in the unauthorised ordination, Andy Fenton, Richard Perkins, and Loots Lambrechts have no legal authority to claim to exercise ordained ministry in the Church of England in the Diocese of Southwark.

END

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