Showing posts with label Richard Haggis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Richard Haggis. Show all posts

Friday, December 19, 2014


Just to be clear, I knew Richard before he was famous, or, as certain bishops in the Church of England would say, infamous. He and Ricardo look so very happy following the conversion of their civil partnership into marriage.
Mr Haggis believes that his struggle to find employment in the Church is entirely attributable to his decision to write an article for The Guardian in 2005, in which he criticised the Bishops' stance on same-sex relationships among the clergy: specifically, the questions to be asked of those entering civil partnerships. He has suffered a "very long period of depression", but has found solace in celebrating at Fairacres Convent, in Oxford.
Richard and I became Facebook friends through mutual friends some time ago. Last year, when I visited England, I met Richard, who had helped me arrange to stay in a guest room in Christ Church College, Oxford. During my stay of several days in the city, he very kindly showed me around Christ Church College and around the city of Oxford. Since I am, as they say, une femme d'un certain âge, he paced our explorations within the limits of my energy and ability in a most gracious manner. To this day, I remain grateful to him and credit him for my most pleasant stay in the city. 

My friend misses his priestly ministry immensely, and it breaks my heart that the church refuses to allow him to use his pastoral and preaching gifts in active ministry. It is very much the church's loss.

Bishop Alan Wilson is greatly to be admired for his courage in speaking up for justice and compassion, and I am proud to call him friend. He is the model of a pastoral bishop.

Friday, May 9, 2014


Richard Haggis
What follows are the meandering thoughts of my friend Richard Haggis during one of his frequent walks near Oxford in England. 
Chatting with internet friends today, I bothered to check and see that 17 of America's 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, have ratified gay marriage. So has Uruguay, so has France. So has the UK (well, apart from Northern Ireland, which only seems to be united when it wants to be). It was only in 1996 that the America Congress passed the "Defence of Marriage Act", which the Supreme Court has since declared unconstitutional. And, although I sulk about the retarded crassness of the Churches to be part of this revolution, and in particular, my own Church of England's insistence on being protected by law from having to look reality in the face, I also see the amazing steps forward that people all round the world have been making, for the sake of a small (but let's admit it, glamorous and rather wonderful) minority.

And with such thoughts on my mind I was hobbling towards Cowley to sort things out at the building society which can only be sorted in person, and I saw two forms in the middle distance. At first I thought they were a girl and boy. Obviously teenagers, dressed from school, it was that time of day. But no, on coming into closer focus I saw that the willowy dark one was a tall black boy of perhaps Ethiopian ancestry, the other a meatier white Barton chav. They were clinched in the tightest embrace, sealed, before they parted with a passionate kiss.

What were they? 14, 16? I can't guess that. They weren't full-grown, but they were adult height, at least as tall as me. And I wondered as they parted their separate ways to go home to the "tea" (this is Barton) their mothers will have ready for them, whether their mothers know, and if they do, what they think, and if they don't, what they might.

And then I thought it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks, because that kiss in broad daylight on the street said it all - that it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks any more. We are free to live and love and pursue our happiness however we choose.

This is what we have fought for. It is happening. The truth is making people free.

Richard Haggis
Barton-upon-Bayswater, Oxford
May 2014
Richard's words about the affectionate teenage boys are wonderful and true.

Note: My church, The Episcopal Church, is part of the revolution and has taken its licks because of it, with some of the blows coming from the hierarchy in the Church of England.

Richard writes at Winsome, Lose some.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


I snapped the photo as I breakfasted in solitary splendor in the great hall in Christ Church. The reason I had breakfast alone is because I had the time wrong, and when I arrived breakfast was over. With a true sob story about having to take the bus to Heathrow, I asked if I could have a light breakfast of cereal and toast, and the manager was kind enough to allow it.

The Rev Richard Haggis was my personal guide around Christ Church College and Oxford, and a splendid guide he was. He should hire himself out. A delicious moment at the great Hall at Christ Church was when I called to Richard's attention that we were cutting the long queue of the hoard of tourists, and he said quite naturally and spontaneously, "This is my place." Not the most inspirational moment, but delicious, and I cherish those small, delicious moments. Nor did I pay the entrance fee, since I was Richard's guest. 

All quotes below are from Richard.

Autumn colors in the vine growing on the wall above a tunnel at Christ Church.  The entire walk was lovely. The picture is not photo-shopped but shows the true color of the turning leaves.

"The tunnel is to contain an ancient brook which passes under Christ Church and various other parts of the city of Oxford, joining the canal, I believe, a little further north. It can be viewed, covered in this splendid creeper, from the walkway through the War Memorial Garden.

"It is, I believe, creeping jasmine, approaching the south doorway to the historic cloister of S. Frideswide's priory, which Cardinal Wolsey purloined to begin his Oxford college, which Henry VIII later purloined in turn to make Christ Church a college and a diocesan cathedral. It is one of the most ancient parts of the college."

The secret garden with the tiny fountain and a lovely weeping willow.  The building in the background is the Faculty of Music and the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments.

Statue of Mercury in Tom Quad.

"'Mercury, beckoning the tourists into Christ Church'.  Mercury was initially male, but there was an incident with a firework, and he has been re-assigned. Like Jan Morris, the college's first 'old girl'."