Jeremy Timm – called to something new
It's with sadness and dismay that we heard that Jeremy Timm, licenced lay reader in York diocese and National Co-ordinator of Changing Attitude, has led his final service, and is to leave the church. Jeremy has taken this step because he has been advised that the Archbishop of York will remove his licence when he marries his long-term partner later this week. This is how the BBC covered the news today; a dignified, gracious and deeply symbolic act. Clearly Jeremy and his congregations share our commitment to make this Church of England a place in which everyone's gifts are welcomed, affirmed and used for the building up of God's commonwealth of love and justice.
I'm reminded that Jeremy is but the latest person of deep faith and conviction who has found themselves unable to continue to be part of a church which fails to treat people fairly and compassionately, and in this failure, fails also to show forth the love of God for all creation. I'm especially aware of the many women who have trodden the path which Jeremy now walks.
But I'm also full of hope, for the churches, and for Jeremy, because the place to which he has been sent – or called – is a place where God is still to be encountered. It's my hope that he'll continue to speak prophetically to the church from this new place, and that he'll give voice to the others he find along the way. They have something vital and prophetic to tell the church. There are ministries and sacraments beyond the calling and control of the institution, and which can perhaps only be encountered from the margins. I spoke of this during the Outerspace worship at Greenbelt in 2010, and for those who might be interested, the reflection can be found here: Where are the Altars – reflections.
We look forward to sharing Jeremy's journey, as partners with him and with Changing Attitude in creating a new kind of church, where everyone really is welcome.
Bless and affirm, O God,
the priest you have called each one of us to be.
Give to each of us
the courage and humility to be bearers of your healing
and signposts to your grace,
as we are broken and renewed,
as we gather round tables, wherever they may be
and share our bread, our wine,
our stories and our lives. Amen