Here is a puzzle for the growing number of people who are dismayed by the Church’s acceptance, led by the current #BishopofChichester, Dr Martin Warner, of charges of sexual abuse by his great predecessor, #BishopGeorgeBell, who died in 1958.
Last Friday, 9th September, a large congregation nearly filled @ChichesterCathedral at the Funeral Eucharist for the very popular Mrs Pat Kemp, widow of Bishop Eric. The celebrant was Dr Warner.
The processional hymn “Christ is the King! O Friends Rejoice..” was sung with fervour, Dr Warner leading the chorus.
What struck some in the congregation was that the hymn’s words were written by Bishop Bell, the very man whose memory has been besmirched! His name has been removed from (for example) George Bell house, but his words are still allowed.
Probably the choice of hymns had nothing to do with Dr Warner, yet it is consoling to speculate that this one’s inclusion may represent a first step towards his inching his way towards an expression of regret for the damage that his and his colleagues’ have done to Bishop Bell’s memory.
Or should one not impute such Vatican-like subtlety to the Anglican Church?