15/03/2012

Time heals

Twenty years ago a Canadian priest was fired for being gay and in a relationship. In 1981 Jim Ferry went to his bishop expecting understanding and instead met a church court which expelled him from the ministry.

The Toronto Star reports that they are now to meet again in a ceremony of reconciliation.
For Finlay, now 74, the service is a “personal opportunity for me to express my regret” for Ferry’s suffering. “It was a very, very difficult time for both of us.”  ...
When Ferry informed Finlay of his circumstances, Finlay ordered him to end the relationship. Ferry refused. (The church accepted homosexual clergy, but only if they abstained from giving expression to that fact. In effect, if they lived a lie.) 
Finlay then issued a letter to be read at all Anglican parishes, outing Ferry and “inhibiting” him from performing pastoral duties. Effectively, the priest was fired, becoming, he said, “an outcast . . . and a ‘labelled’ outcast."
Under church procedures, Finlay brought charges against Ferry and, in early 1992, convened a rarely used “bishop’s court” to hear the case.
The court — which had origins in pre-Reformation England — concluded that Ferry’s only wrong was his disobedience to a superior.
As a penalty, Finlay withdrew the priest’s licence. ...
For both Finlay and Ferry, the past two decades have brought pain, anguish and humiliation. Ferry paid immediately and publicly. For 20 years, he felt cast out for the crime of “loving another human being deeply and intimately.”
all here.

Jim Ferry, right, and former archbishop Terence Finlay, left.
STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for this personal story...the kind of personal stories that are repeated in the thousands day after day, generation after generation...lifetime after lifetime where prejudice, discrimination and abuse against LGBT citizens, fellow Christians/others, exits. Every last trace of injustice directed toward LGBT everywhere/anywhere ought be faced...it appears there is some amends and Grace here, may that extend worldwide at The Anglican Communion.

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