St. Elisabeth, Wood Lane
‘Let your light shine before men
that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.’
Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell.
Essex CM4 0HD.
cc. Bp. Maidstone, Rod Thomas
cc. Bp. Barking, Peter Hill
cc. Archdeacon Barking, Chris Burke cc. Area Dean, Martin Court
Dear Bishop Stephen
I am writing to give you notice of my resignation from the Church of England.
I have thought and prayed hard about this. I have had discussions about doing so with my family, my PCC, Bishop Rod and with Archdeacon Chris Burke. For various reasons, I feel that now is right for me to resign.
We are grateful for all that the Lord has done through us and for us. Others can testify to this. My disciples won’t last, but the Lord’s disciples will. I am nothing except the Lord use me. He is the Rock, not me. As the Lord has been faithful to us in the past, so we trust Him expectantly for the future. We have peace whatever He has in store for us. We believe our future is in the Anglican church but as it is found in the Free Church of England as they ‘hold fast the faithful word’ (Titus 1:9).
As you are aware, I have not agreed with the liberal trajectory of the Church of England for some time nor with various practices that have been allowed to happen within this diocese. I was horrified at the proposal to ordain Jide Macaulay. I believe it is unfaithful to support plural truth on primary issues of salvation. I believe it is unfaithful not to reject publicly the same-sex agenda. I also have concerns about Safeguarding in the context of the transgender agenda and specifically what happened earlier in the year with Mermaids, which I fear will be replicated in Church of England schools up and down the country. I also feel it is unfaithful to mis-use baptismal liturgy in the context of gender transition.
Attempts at saying the Church of England’s official teaching is not changing are, nonetheless, already undermined by practice and it seems only a matter of time before the charade ceases and official teaching changes too.
I am not saying it is wrong for others to stay in the Church of England but only if they fight for orthodoxy and do not compromise. I have wonderful brothers and sisters in the Church of England who are choosing to stay and help the church be faithful – I pray God’s blessing on them and that God bless Dagenham mightily too. However, I believe God is now calling me out for gospel ministry elsewhere.
To those who might accuse me of abandoning the flock, I would reply that I have no desire to do that at all. The Good Shepherd laid down His life for His sheep and leads them in paths of righteousness and to safe pastures. I seek to do the same. ‘Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed but if it dies, it produces many seeds.’
It comes then, at great cost to us to leave St. Elisabeth’s – both relationally and financially but we must go where the Lord leads. This is my 13th year as minister here and my 50th year in Dagenham. I have served in this diocese since 2002. I do not wish to leave badly nor force others to stay or go against their consciences.
My resignation now seems timely, especially given recent presentations on financial pressures within the diocese, especially locally.
My intention now is that having informed you first, I shall make my resignation public to the congregation this Sunday, 1st December. I will of course, fill out whatever paperwork is necessary as you send it my way.
As a minister of Christ
Revd Steven Hanna
Hewett Road Dagenham
28th November 2019