Dr Williams prompts new PEV to quit Freemasons

Interesting article from the Church Times ………………………

Dr Williams prompts new PEV to quit Freemasons

by Ed Beavan


THE Principal of Pusey House, Oxford, the Revd Jonathan Baker, is to resign as a Freemason after being encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury to reconsider his membership before his consecration as the next Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

It was announced earlier this month (News, 13 May) that Mr Baker would be one of the two new Provincial Episcopal Visitors, to replace Mgr Andrew Burnham, a leader of the RC Ordinariate, who seceded in January.

Mr Baker, who recently served as an Assistant Grand Chaplain to the Freemasons, posted a statement on the Ebbsfleet website last Friday, the day when he was contacted by a Sunday newspaper. He said that he had joined as a lay undergraduate in Oxford, and had found it to be “an organisation admirably committed to community life and involvement with a record of charitable giving second to none, especially among, for example, unfashionable areas of medical research”.

He said: “Had I ever encountered anything in Freemasonry in­compatible with my Christian faith, I would, of course, have resigned at once. On the contrary, Free­masonry is a secular organisation, wholly supportive of faith, and not an alternative to, or substitute for, it. In terms of the Church of England, its support, for example, for cathedral fabric is well docu­mented.”

Mr Baker said that he had reviewed his priorities. “Archbishop Rowan had invited me in discussion to reconsider, amongst other com­mitments, my membership of Freemasonry.” He had decided to resign “because of the particular charism of episcopal ministry and the burden that ministry bears”.

His “absolute priority is the new ministry to which I have been called and to the people who will be in my care. I wish nothing to distract from the inauguration of that ministry.”

It is more than 20 years since the General Synod expressed a view on Freemasonry. In July 1987, it debated Freemasonry and Christianity: Are they compatible?, a report that found aspects of the Craft blasphemous, and questioned its compatibility with Christianity. The Synod en­dorsed the report by 394 votes to 52.

In 2003, it emerged that Dr Williams had blocked appointments of Freemasons as senior clerics when he was Bishop of Monmouth.

Giles Fraser

One comment to “Dr Williams prompts new PEV to quit Freemasons”
  1. Now it seems to me that we have been here before discrimination against Freemasonry from the head of the Church of England.

    Nonetheless tens of thousands of Freemasons continue to support the Anglican Church all over the world.

    I can remember a US Minister with whom I had many conversations telling me that he had realized after speaking out against Freemasonry for many years, that is was in fact mostly Freemasons at his last two appointments that were always there helping with the laying out of the Church furniture, making sure the books were in the right place, the hymn cards were correctly distributed.

    It then became almost an epiphany that it was also Freemasons that were last to leave after tidying up after the Church service.

    So, I say to Dr. Williams, the ‘good shepherd’ does not do his job well by kicking his sheep.

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