I heard on Radio 4 this morning about Rev Julie Nicholson, a 52 year old vicar serving in Bristol who is resigning because she does not feel able to forgive the tube bombers who killed her daughter. The Guardian reports,
"It's very difficult for me to stand behind an altar and celebrate the Eucharist, the Communion, and lead people in words of peace and reconciliation and forgiveness when I feel very far from that myself," she said in a BBC interview. "So for the time being, that wound in me is having to heal. In terms of my ministry, a colleague and a friend recently said priesthood begins in the world, not in the church, and I was very relieved to hear that; because what I am trying to do now is redefine my priesthood.
"I am looking for a way in which I can still have priestly ministry when there are some things I can no longer practise, or I can't currently practise, and for me that's about integrity."
The decision is admirable, but I wish in these circumstances that the church would refuse resignations. It is in my view a bad testament to the hierarchical structure of church if local churches cannot cope with the doubts and struggles of its clergy.