SODOR AND MAN: Anglo-Catholic Vicar Resigns in Wake of Bishop’s attack on Evangelical Vicar
Bishop and Archdeacon have reportedly been attempting to close down the church
By David Virtue, DD
October 24, 2016
A social media storm has erupted against the Bishop of Sodor and Man in the smallest diocese of the Church of England, following VOL’s expose of the bishop’s witch-hunt against the former Canon Theologian and accusations of a “rigged” tribunal.
Despite a public outcry, the tribunal, which met last week, has refused to make it known if Nigel Cretney, a lay reader and a freemason, was allowed to sit on the tribunal, despite a major ‘conflict of interest’ against Dr. Jules Gomes.
On the Sunday following the tribunal, the tiny diocese with only about 10 fulltime remaining clergy received another devastating blow when the Rev. Bob Boyle, vicar of St Matthew the Apostle, the only Anglo-Catholic Church on the Isle of Man, announced his resignation without prior notice to his congregation, saying that he was leaving a paid job to pursue an unpaid House for Duty position in Plymouth, England.
The Archdeacon Andie Brown was present at the service when Rev. Boyle made his announcement and was seeking feedback from the congregation after the service. It is reported that both Bishop and Archdeacon have been attempting to close down the church. St Matthew’s is the only church on the island that continues to fiercely resist women clergy and both bishop and archdeacon have been pursuing a pro-women’s ordination agenda and imposing it on a number of unwilling parishes.
Sources say that the parish, which has been at loggerheads with the bishop for a very long time, raised a total of £11 for the bishop’s farewell gift, which would go to the bishop’s designated charity. However, to avoid a scandal, the PCC added another £89 to make up a total of £100, further infuriating members of the congregation.
A member of the parish told VOL that Bishop Paterson was intending to suspend the living without consulting the Church Commissioners. However, as a Forward in Faith parish, St Matthew’s Church is under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Beverly.
A few months ago, the Rev. Ian Brady and his wife, Rev. Lynda Brady, resigned from the diocese. No one will be appointed to replace the couple in their respective roles as Vicar of St Thomas Church and Chaplain to the Hospice.
Earlier, five clergy arrived on the island in response to an invitation by Archdeacon Brown considering two vacant parishes on the island. However, not a single cleric applied for the position. A theatre nurse from the local hospital, laen Skidmore, was finally appointed to the Parish of the Northern Plain.
Local people fear that the diocese is in danger of imploding, as vicars who are leaving may not be replaced and clergy are not applying for jobs to the island. The Parish of Arbory and Castletown continues to be vacant, despite the bishop’s assurance to the wardens that he would appoint a Vicar before he left the island.
Meanwhile, the story of the Bishop Robert Paterson pursuing his witch-hunt against the Rev. Dr. Jules Gomes has had thousands of direct hits and hundreds of shares on Facebook and other social media since it appeared on VOL last week. At least four major social media sites on the Isle of Man have picked it up and are generating a volume of comment largely attacking the bishop for his failed ministry on the Isle of Man.
‘Worst bishop ever on this island. Always interfering in everything. He gives the island a bad name,’ wrote David Cannell. ‘The bishop has demonstrated a complete lack of idea of what Christians require in their lives, in fact he epitomizes the opposite, however the people who have supported him need to reflect, if the devil were visible it might well have enjoyed the behavior of the acting bishop,’ pointed out David Pownall.
‘How sad, Jules is such a God given blessing to all. Very knowledgeable, approachable and so caring and kind to all his parishioners. All those against may not necessarily be true Christians, and the one can tell a good tree by the fruit it bears and Jules certainly bears the best fruit,’ wrote Diane Margaret.
The bishop has said that the tribunal will announce its result this week.