Jumping Ship

After much prayer and consideration I have decided to leave Anglican ministry, and pursue ministry within the denomination I have for many years felt a natural affinity towards - the Unitarian Church. I did my degree at the London School of Theology, graduating in 2010; towards the end of my degree I happened upon the work of Don Cupitt. I found his non-realist Christian standpoint immensely captivating; his work drew me into considering Anglican ordained ministry.  Upon reflection I decided to train at the most ‘liberal’ Anglican seminary, where Cupitt himself was even vice-principal: Westcott House.

At Westcott House I made some good friends, and enjoyed the insights of a few lecturers but for the most part I found the experience deeply dissatisfying. I was surprised and disappointed to find that the insights of Cupitt had come to be regarded with distain, and so I slowly arrived at the conclusion that there would need to be a stark disconnect between what I thought and the beliefs I promulgated. During this trying period I did however discover an oasis, a place where I did not need to obfuscate my words, a place where I could be open and honest. This was the Cambridge Unitarian Church.

I was in two minds, on the one hand I felt that I should pack the whole thing in and move in an entirely new direction, but on the other, I knew I did not really know to what extent the microcosm of Westcott House reflected Liberal Anglo- Catholicism more generally. There was always the chance that in overcoming the obstacles before me, I would discover my place, where I fit into the Church.

So, I took up my Assistant Curacy role in the Diocese of Portsmouth, in 2013 being ordained to the deaconate, and in 2014 to the priesthood, and then finally I resigned my post in the summer of 2015. My assistant curacy post was not deeply dissatisfying, but nor did I ever feel at home. My colleagues were always very supportive, and the congregation to which I served was very welcoming and friendly, but regardless my theological scruples continued to gnaw at me. I invariably occupied theological space outside Anglican comfort zones. My Christian ‘anarchic’ leanings always left me feeling uneasy, especially when ecclesiastical authority was exercised. So I gradually and probably inevitably arrived at the conclusion that I must leave, I must pursue Unitarian ministry.