On being “for” instead of “against”

Giles Fraser is saying goodbye to being a columnist for the Church Times. After 9 years he says:

I HAVE written this column for nine years. It is time for me to hang up my hat. It has been a huge privilege to write in these pages, and I want publicly to thank the work of the editorial team, who have been so supportive of my column.

Partly, this decision has to do with the arrival of a new Archbishop. Justin Welby is a good man, and will, I expect, make a fine leader of the Church. But his moral opposition to homosexuality remains a massive problem for me – as was that of his predecessor. I do not want to spend my time getting angry with him, or continually being ashamed at the Church of which I am, and will always try to remain, a part.

But the C of E is travelling in a different direction now. And there is something spiritually deadening about being in a state of permanent opposition to all of this. In my sermon on Sunday, I preached about the loyalty of Simeon and Anna, arguing that it is more important to say what you are for than what you are against. I need to take my own advice, and find a different space where I feel more comfortable saying what I am for.

Sometimes you have to let the anger drop, if only for your own sanity. It’s time for fresh fields and pastures new.

Canon Giles Fraser is Priest-in-Charge of St Mary’s, Newington, in the diocese of Southwark.

The Café does not think this is the last we will hear from Giles but wish him all the best in his fresh fields and pastures.

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  1. Sounds like a good candidate for a Café UK correspondent!

  2. Rod Gillis

    Giles Fraser’s columns in The Church Times have been challenging and insightful. His final piece for The Times, linked in the article on this site, uses the phrase “loyal opposition”. Those of us who are governed in the tradition of the Westminster parliamentary system are familiar with the concept. However, loyal opposition with its co-relative freedom of expression are often a struggle within the institutional church. Fraser is one of the people who seems to be able to get it right. I understood he would continue writing for The Guardian (?)–hopefully so.

    I’ve often been envious of the covereage of religious issues in both the U.K. and The States. Canada’s has a very small media market, and the religious press here is smaller still. The only truly national media forum for Canadian Anglicans is The Anglican Journal. It has long had an independent editorial policy, but the new interim editor is also the Principal Secretary to our Primate. Those of us who value voicing the loyal opposition and who value freedom of expression find the controversial appointment worrisome. When it was announced the online comment board of The Journal filled with a dozen concerned comments–much of it from journalists or folks familiar with The Journal. I notice the story is still on the Journal website –but the original comments are no longer available.

    I’ve always believed that the free expression of opinion on matters of controversy serves the common good—especially in the church. Thankfully, sites like Episcopal Cafe and Thinking Anglicans keep hope and opportunity alive.


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