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Monday, 23 January 2012

“There is no place for you in this church.”

The Very Rev Jeremy Winston
 Dean Of Monmouth Sept to Nov 2011

Not as they would have intended but nevertheless they have had their way. The purple-obsessedmean-spirited women who, not content with being ordained into the sacred ministry, complained bitterly about the appointment of a traditionalist, Canon Jeremy Winston, to the post of Dean of Monmouth. Another has been appointed in his place, one who, according to reports, shares the view that traditionalists can take what is offered or leave the church. Fr Jeremy was regarded as unacceptable despite his manifest talents because he did not accept the fashionable view that the priesthood can be re-defined by committee. So here was a priest who stood head and shoulders above many, including the Bench of Bishops, who had been told: “There is no place for you in this church” as if it were their church, a church that has become dominated by those who delude themselves into thinking that after 2,000 years, they know the mind of God better than Jesus Christ.

Dean Jeremy was held in such high esteem outside the church hierarchy that the Service of Thanksgiving held on Saturday (January 21) in St Mary's Priory Church, Abergavenny, witnessed a congregation in excess of 800 led by the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent representing HRH The Prince of Wales. (Prince Charles had twice visited St Mary's to open projects initiated by Fr Jeremy when Vicar.) Attendance was limited only by space with every nook and cranny of the Priory Church occupied, as was Fr Jeremy's funeral service in St Woolos Cathedral where the congregation overflowed into chapels and outside, with a broadcast link to St Mary's in Abergavenny.

How often have we heard that the talents of women should not be overlooked as justification for them standing at the altar in persona Christi yet Fr Jeremy's obvious talents had been ignored until it became clear to all but the blinkered and prejudiced that he was without doubt the best candidate to be appointed Dean of Monmouth following the departure to St Helena of the now Bishop Richard Fenwick. In addition to his many pastoral and personal gifts which were frequently referred to at the Service of Thanksgiving for his life [in the link go to January 21, 2012], Fr Jeremy held many Appointments, some of which appeared in the Order of Service:
  • Regional Chaplain to the Order of St John
  • Chairman of the Standing Liturgical Advisory Commission
  • Past Chairman of the Gwent Medical Ethics Board
  • Past Chairman of the Additional Curates Society
  • Governor of several schools, often acting as Chairman
  • Chairman of Father Ignatius Memorial trust
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Friends of Friendless Churches,
  • Long-standing member and chairman of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales
 Listening to the many moving tributes to Fr Jeremy, those on the Bench of Bishops present must have sat rather uncomfortably since they are 'of one mind' on the ordination of women, ie, their Archbishop's. Bishop David Thomas was the last and only bishop appointed to care for traditionalists. The position was dropped following his retirement with unforeseen consequences for the planned ordination of women to the episcopate. Bishop David and Lord Rowe-Beddoe referred directly to the issue. In his tribute Bishop David said, "I for one shall never forget his courage in proposing and championing the so-called ‘Kirk-Winston amendment’ to the draft legislation on women in the episcopate in 2008." Lord Rowe-Beddoe went further. He said, "As a staunch traditionalist, Jeremy was appointed to a small panel of the Governing Body which drafted a Bill for the appointment of women bishops in 2009. His amendment, which called for the reappointment of a provincial assistant bishop, was defeated. It has been widely acknowledged that the defeat of this amendment contributed greatly to the defeat of the Bill itself at that time. He was always unfailingly courteous to those who did not share his views, even when some told him that “there is no place for you in this church”.

It would be a fitting tribute to Fr Jeremy if those who think that traditionalists have no place in the church reap their reward and see Synod and the Governing Body now bury the move that will separate us from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

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