Monday, April 01, 2013

Giles Fraser to be next Bishop of Durham


You’ve got to hand it to ‘controversial vicar' the Rev’d Dr Giles Fraser (the one on the right), who teased us in the Mail on Sunday yesterday with: ‘I was never Archbishop of Canterbury, so my Easter message isn't about gay sex... It's about faith and hope.’

As he typed those words into his laptop he must have known that his nomination to the Episcopal See of Durham was about to be announced. And so the humble parish priest of St Mary's, Newington, in the Elephant and Castle, fills the vacancy left by the newly-installed Archbishop of Canterbury The Most Rev’d Justin Welby, to become The Right Reverend Father in God, Giles, by Divine Providence Lord Bishop of Durham. He will also sit as a member of the House of Lords, which he’ll find a bit of come-down from doing 'Thought for the Day', 'Moral Maze', or writing columns in The Guardian and Socialist Worker.

The moment he resigned as Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral in support of ‘Occupy London’, we all knew that he would be duly rewarded. He was perfectly content for people to ‘exercise their right to protest peacefully’, but the Dean and Chapter thought otherwise. No-one knew more than Dr Fraser about contemporary ethics and engagement with the City of London as a financial centre, so when the Dean wouldn’t listen, there was no alternative but a principled stand against the Pharisees of the Cathedral.

The Rev’d Dr Giles Fraser is a fitting choice for Durham: he passionately supports women bishops, and is a founder (and current President) of ‘Inclusive Church’ which campaigns for lesbian and gay inclusion within the church. His ministry is widely considered to be psychotherapeutic and prophetic, especially by the Zimbabwean Mother's Union who arrange the flowers for St Mary's. He also knows a lot about economics, and writes inspirational sermons about how Christians ought to be ‘flash mobs of hope’.

Dr Fraser is eloquent and intelligent: indeed, he is one of the few Anglicans ever to demolish Dr Richard Dawkins (quite comprehensively). He isn’t afraid to speak truth to power, always siding with the poor and vulnerable. And neither is he afraid to be provocative, telling us recently: ‘I despise the antisemitism of St. John's Gospel’ and also ‘I hate Jesus’, which was lauded by the Bishop of Buckingham as ‘an antidote to the pasty moralistic "Jesus expects you to love him as much as he loves you" blackmail that used to be used to make missionary kids eat up their greens’.

Such pronouncements make him perfect for Durham – not so much as a successor to the evangelicalism of Justin Welby or the intellectualism of NT Wright, but very much of the mould of David Jenkins who denied the virgin birth and expressed a few unorthodox statements about the resurrection of Christ. Hating Jesus and accusing St John of being anti-Semitic are of little relative consequence. He greeted the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI like a true Anglican: “The moment has arrived,” he tweeted. “The world no longer has a Pope in it. To be honest, I'd be happy enough if we left it that way.”

Dr Fraser’s hero and prophet is Bishop Gene Robinson, whom he loves ‘to bits’. He also raises money for worthy charities, deciding recently to run the marathon in aid of sex workers in Ghana. Such profound theological insight and altruistic humanitarian endeavour brought him to the attention of the BBC, who invited him to be a member of the commentary team at Archbishop Justin’s enthronement, and also of the world-renowned LSE, who appointed him Visiting Professor of Anthropology.

Dr Fraser said of his elevation to Durham: “As I go on, I find myself having less and less respect for the leadership (for want of a better word) of an organisation that often seems to do little more than seek its own perpetuation. Indeed, I find the mealy-mouthed pronouncements of many bishops plain embarrassing Becoming one of them obviously makes them less mealy-mouthed and slightly less embarrassing.

“The Occupy thing obviously continues to haunt me; and I will probably remain bruised about all of that to my dying day. Watching the new man being made Archbishop at St Paul's brought much of it back – and I had been preparing this week to write something that expressed some of that emotion. It was then that I realised clearly that it was time for me to go.

“Sometimes you have to let the anger drop, if only for your own sanity. It's time for fresh fields and pastures new, and Durham will be perfect for me, and I will celebrate with a small glass of port.”

38 Comments:

Blogger David B said...

I found this piece rather surprising for a brief period before I remembered the date.

Well done, Your Grace.

David

1 April 2013 at 09:56  
Blogger Chris Rogers said...

Amazing, Your Grace is on top form.

1 April 2013 at 10:00  
Blogger jadis said...

Hard to separate truth from fiction - superb post.

1 April 2013 at 10:04  
Blogger DevonMaid said...

I confess ... I was fooled!

1 April 2013 at 10:07  
Blogger William said...

This is what happens when you put your faith in Gok.

1 April 2013 at 10:10  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Yeah, good one, Cranny. You had the Catholic in me really going there for a minute: "Aha! That's the Protestants for you, and no mistake".

1 April 2013 at 10:16  
Blogger Derek said...

My first response was 'this has to be a joke'.

Thanks for the laugh, Your Grace.

1 April 2013 at 10:24  
Blogger IanCad said...

I have learned that it is unwise to comment on HG's April 1st posts until late in the day.

1 April 2013 at 10:52  
Blogger Simon said...

lol

1 April 2013 at 10:53  
Blogger H Dickins said...

Genius

1 April 2013 at 10:54  
Blogger Preacher said...

ROFL.

1 April 2013 at 11:15  
Blogger Anne Bennett said...

What a shame it is not true...

1 April 2013 at 11:16  
Blogger Flossie said...

The first sentence about the photo had me in paroxysms - (the one on the right) - sheer genius! Helped along by the picture behind him which looks as if he has a little tuft of hair sticking up in the middle of his head as if trying to emulate Gok's quiff.

A post to treasure, Your Grace.

1 April 2013 at 11:20  
Blogger Angharad said...

Brilliant!

1 April 2013 at 11:24  
Blogger Mr Veale said...

It's worrying that we were able to believe this for a few moments...

1 April 2013 at 11:27  
Blogger Richard W said...

I have to say I believed it for about 15 seconds. Maybe that was just hope rearing its ugly head.

1 April 2013 at 11:35  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

indeed, he is one of the few Anglicans ever to demolish Dr Richard Dawkins (quite comprehensively).

LIAR

1 April 2013 at 11:47  
Blogger sep912 said...

Top work

1 April 2013 at 11:50  
Blogger William said...

Well done Greg. For once you are correct. Like a broken clock. Although you must admit that the Dawk got egg on his face. Happy Easter?

1 April 2013 at 12:05  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Gok Wann for Bishop!

1 April 2013 at 12:10  
Blogger John M Ward said...

Now it's gone midday...

I well recall just how much we on the Question Time/This Week LiveChat 'enjoyed' Dr Fraser on the latter programme a few weeks ago.

It is perhaps fortunate that not many people are up at that time to watch this somewhat surreal programme (though I don't know if many later catch it on iPlayer) as he was just about the worst advertisement for the Christian churches of any kind that I have ever encountered.

Indeed, they really need to get rid of him somehow, to help improve the CofE's credibility. I don't suppose it will happen, though: they give the impression of having been overcome by satanic influences within...

1 April 2013 at 12:14  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Lighten up, G Tingey. Demolishing Dawkins is not much of an achievement, as even the more honest atheists would admit.

1 April 2013 at 12:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

A damn awful thing to read. Quite upsetting...

1 April 2013 at 13:03  
Blogger Philip said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1 April 2013 at 13:21  
Blogger Philip said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1 April 2013 at 13:24  
Blogger Philip said...

I bet the BBC would love to think it true their favourite cleric obtained such an elevation!!

Actually it's is not too difficult to believe it's not all that far from what could too easily be the truth!

1 April 2013 at 13:25  
Blogger Hamish Redux said...

Yes, it's not a matter of a "few" Anglicans demolishing Dawkins. A 5-year-old child can do it.

1 April 2013 at 13:37  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Fortunately, knowing people in the diocese who are likely to be on the panel that select the next bishop, I was only taken in for a second or two.
Even better is the fact that Durham have learned from their mistake in having David Jenkins and remain in favour of an evangelical successor of the Prince Bishops.

1 April 2013 at 14:34  
Blogger Cam Ma said...

Fraser would be better suited to succeed the Other Millipede as Labour MP for South Shields...

1 April 2013 at 15:07  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

The people of South Shields deserve a lot better than that left wing little gob scheit!

1 April 2013 at 16:31  
Blogger Jesuestomihi said...

OH Nooooooo....!

1 April 2013 at 17:38  
Blogger peggy38 said...

I love your annual fake outs, YG. Even though I expect them, they are so well done that I usually wonder at least once if I am mistaken. You are always good for a giggle on 4/1.

1 April 2013 at 18:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

One will not sleep soundly until the successor to Durham is announced and it is NOT Fraser...

1 April 2013 at 19:12  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

Phew!

1 April 2013 at 19:30  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

But this one is true:-
http://juliagasper.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/devil-brings-case-for-discrimination.html

1 April 2013 at 19:55  
Blogger Mr. Mcgranor said...

Goodbye Church of England you are officially rejected by God now. He tolerated your women clergy stunts...but this will not be tolerated.

2 April 2013 at 05:40  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

I believed it! PS Gok Wan is an a agram of go w**k.

3 April 2013 at 06:04  
Blogger Fr. John+ said...

"The Rev’d Dr Giles Fraser is a fitting choice for Durham: he passionately supports women bishops, and is a founder (and current President) of ‘Inclusive Church’ which campaigns for lesbian and gay inclusion within the church. "

Two words for such a man, pretending to be a Bishop in the Church of God:

Anathema sit.

Even as Anglicans, you have to stand up for what is right. A public stoning would be the proper procedure after electing such a pervert, and heretic to office. Trouble is, who would you start to stone first- this BINO (Bishop in name only) or those 'who have the greater sin,' by electing him?

-Fr. John+

20 April 2013 at 11:24  

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