Letter to Holy Trinity, Dulwich Hill, August 10th, 2019

Hi Holy Trinity,

I hope that this is the right time to bring everyone in our community up to date on my personal situation and on conversations with our bishop. I guess no time is ideal. Even so …

It seems clear that I will not be continuing in my current role at Holy Trinity beyond the end of this year. I am still not certain about the future for my family. I think my future in my role in the parish though is clear.

The bishop and I have discussed the issue of who succeeds me at Holy Trinity. I was encouraged by this discussion. Indeed, he assured me that I would not be replaced by someone who did not respect the culture and values of our community.

I discussed with the bishop too the rumours about me that I believe are circulating amongst some members of the church community. Apparently, the same rumours had been brought to his attention. I told him that my expectation was that such rumours would fade out naturally over time as they would be seen to be without foundation.

I appreciate that this is a difficult time for all of us. At the same time, I would ask that every member of our community recognise that this is fundamentally a crisis for my family – for myself, Ange, Veronica, Imogen, Soren and Fran – and to respect that.

I remember when my dad died in 2001 – he spent so much time counselling people, trying to help them come to terms with the fact that he was dying, that it left him with very little emotional energy for his family. My experience of my own first marriage breakdown in 1991 was similar. I spent so much time trying to help people come to terms with my crisis that it left me empty and dangerously depressed.

The great Persian poet, Rumi, said “there is a place beyond good and evil. I will meet you there.” I appreciate that Rumi is not Jesus, but when it comes to judging other people, I believe he expressed the mind of Christ. I am okay about meeting with people to discuss my family situation, but only in that space that Rumi speaks of, and not for the purpose of forming judgements. To lionize either myself or Ange is as unhelpful as demonizing us.

I appreciate that we naturally feel at greater peace when we feel we can categorize people as either good or bad, worthy or unworthy. The truth is though that life is complex, relationships are fragile, and we can only ever aspire to be the community of sinners who live by the grace of God in the cross of Christ.

I’ll leave it there for now. Be assured that my focus over my remaining months at Holy Trinity will be on ensuring a positive future for our church and an ongoing focus on Christ, the community, and service to the vulnerable.

Yours in the Good Fight,