Diarmaid MacCulloch

Diarmaid MacCulloch copy

My fatal naivety and truth-telling took over during my diaconal year. I made no secret of having a partner as I had just entered a relationship. As I look back it was going to be impossible to go forward. The church was being forced to deal with this, thanks to a maverick evangelical in General Synod called Tony Higton. So the bishop of Bristol was then caught in the headlights on this and chose to say, well I can’t ordain you to the priesthood yet. Maybe later. I was enraged by that, so withdrew from the ministry.”

“It was worse because this extended into the Methodist church, who were my employers. There was a very determined move by conservatives to not have my contract renewed. It was coming up before the Methodist conference which is the equivalent of the bishop in the Methodist church. Conference behaved marvellously. They immediately went into private session, they discussed it in that straightforward fashion that Methodists have and they backed me. And I’m told that some really quite conservative former students of mine got up in conference and gave me their backing. Very touching.”

You can hear Diarmaid’s story here.