Church of England investigates vicar who called transgender priest ‘a bloke’

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Rev Brett Murphy on his YouTube channel.

The Church of England is investigating a vicar after he described a transgender priest as “a bloke”.

Rev Brett Murphy, 38, made the comments about Rev Rachel Mann, who is openly transgender, on his YouTube channel while leading St David’s Church in Coalville, Leicestershire.

He was responding to an announcement by the Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, that Mann was being made the new Archdeacon of Bolton and Salford.

He said in a YouTube video: “Now you may wonder ‘is that really newsworthy, Brett’? You may roll your eyes, if you are a complementarian, that another feminist is getting a prominent high-ranking position in the CofE, but this is worse than that. The Rev Rachel Mann is in fact, biologically, a bloke, who identifies and lives as a woman.”

Murphy has since left the Church of England over its blessings for same-sex couples and joined the Free Church of England.

The Clergy Disciplinary Measure (CDM) brought against him was originally dismissed but has been re-opened.

A CDM is the CofE’s formal procedure for handling allegations of serious misconduct by clergy and can lead to rebukes and dismissal and prevent further employment within the Church.

The complaint against him was made by Canon Carolyn Lewis, Director for Education in Derby and Leicester Dioceses.

After considering the complaint, the Bishop of Loughborough, Saju Muthalaly, decided not to launch any formal action against Murphy. This decision was later reviewed by Canon Ruth Arlow who concluded that it was “plainly wrong”.

“Accordingly, under section 13(3)(b) of the Measure I remit this complaint to the Bishop and direct that the Bishop reconsider his determination that there be no further action,” she said.

The Bishop of Loughborough will now have to decide whether to overturn his original decision and recommend that Murphy be sanctioned.

Murphy said it was “scary” to be investigated under the CDM and feared for his livelihood and career. He said that CDMs are being “used as a weapon by the liberals to attack clergy who do not agree with them on sexual ethics”.

“The re-opening of the complaint especially exposes the drive within the CofE to censor and banish any dissenting voice that does not agree or celebrate extreme LGBT ideology,” he said.

“I am concerned by how many clergy out there are going through the same process and are suffering in silence.

“Many orthodox Anglican clergy are on the receiving end of a system that is being misused and abused. The process is designed to get the bad guys, the clergy who have done something seriously wrong, not for stating biological truth that is aligned with the CofE’s own teaching.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Murphy, said: “The Christian Legal Centre is dealing with a huge volume of cases involving clergy who have been intimidated and punished simply for expressing standard Christian beliefs on marriage and sexual ethics.

“Promoting same-sex blessings is a catastrophe for the CofE. It is a clear departure from the biblical model for marriage. We will continue to see the Church of England decline if it insists on continuing this course.

“The churches that are growing in the UK are the ones that hold fast to traditional biblical teaching on marriage and family. This is what people want and expect from the Church.”

The Church of England has been contacted for comment.

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