COLIN SLEE: “MERCY, NOT FAIRNESS”

IN HIS INTRODUCTION to “Honest to God, 40 years on” Colin Slee wrote (of another Bishop Robinson)

“With the luxury of 40 years’ hindsight, it is possible to see in Honest to God a bishop publishing in accessible language, at an accessible price, what theologians and many others beyond the regular membership of the Church had been saying for some while. Robinson’s offence, therefore, was honesty in advance of the institution’s capacity to cope with it.”

Colin Slee was an exemplar of that kind of honesty. Working many miles North of his immediate sphere of influence I’ve nonetheless frequently looked to him when I’ve found my own courage  failing a bit, when my own nerve has needed a bit of steel, when my heart has looked for a bit of compassion, in and from the Church, for a world and its people in very great need of it. “The institution” must urgently pray for the grace of a growing capacity to “cope” with honesty. Honest to God.

Dean Jeffrey John’s sermon at Dean Colin’s Requiem Eucharist noted

Other people had said to him ‘It’s not fair: you’ve led a good life’. Colin replied, ‘How do you know? And anyway, whatever goodness I have is God’s gift. We rely on mercy, not fairness’.

Honestly, Dean Colin, you couldn’t have left a better address to our beloved Church and nation at this time. Mercy, not fairness. Surprisingly un-scared. Thank you for being an instrument of that mercy. Thank you for sharing your courage with us.

Ben Slee’s tribute to his father is here and the Prayers of Intercession offered by his sister Ruth Slee are here