After he claimed that he had been forced to retire at 70 due to his beliefs about women not being ordained, a Church of England priest disrupted the consecration of the first female bishop was subject to religious discrimination.

  • Paul Williamson claimed that he was made to retire by his feminist beliefs 
  • Rev Williamson interrupted 2015 consecration service shouting ‘Not in the Bible’ 
  • He tried to use age discrimination to get his retirement in 2019. 
  • His latest lawsuit on religious discrimination was lost as it was too late

After protesting at consecration of first female bishop, a Church of England priest lost his claim of discrimination against religious belief at a tribunal. He claimed that he had been forced to retire as he believed women should not be ordained.

Reverend Paul Williamson stated that he had to retire at 70 because of his inpopular views.

His famous campaign against women being ordained dates back to 1997, when he attempted to sue St Paul’s Cathedral’s chapter and the dean for failing to name a minor female canon.

The priest interrupted the ordination ceremony of Libby Lane, England’s first woman bishop, at York Minster in 2015. He shouted that the ordination was ‘not found in the Bible’ and was an ‘absolute hinderance’.

After being made to retire as priest at St George’s Church Hanworth, London, Rev Williamson was subject to a second employment tribunal.

Rev Williamson, 72 years old, lost the first case of age discrimination in 2019, after he retired from ministry at 70. If there are extraordinary circumstances, priests automatically retire at age 70. 

Rev Paul Williamson, a Church of England priest who claimed he was forced out of his post due to his controversial belief that women shouldn't be ordained has lost a religious discrimination case - his second bid to claim he was forced to retire at the age of 70 because of discrimination

Rev Paul Williamson is a Church of England Priest who claims he was expelled from his position because of his controversial belief in women not being ordained. His second attempt at claiming that he was made to retire due to discrimination has failed.

Rev Williamson interrupted the service where Rev Libby Lane was being ordained as a Bishop

Rev Williamson interrupts the ceremony where Rev Libby Lane is being ordained as a bishop

A protesting priest shouting “Not In the Bible!” disrupted consecration of the Church of England’s first female bishop

In January 2015, Rev Paul Williamson protested against the consecration of the first female bishop in Church of England history.

In a ceremony conducted by John Sentamu, Archbishop to York at York Minster, the Reverend Libby Lane was made Bishop of Stockport.

This historic moment was briefly interrupted when Rev Paul Williamson, an ultra-conservative priest shouted ‘Not in The Bible’ while she was being presented to the congregation. 

According to a Church of England spokesperson, he was a serial protester who had been invited.

He stated that he had the right to protest, but that the difference was one voice affirming the truth and another protesting the injustice. 

In a landmark move that ends five centuries’ of church leadership by all men, Mrs Lane was ordained a bishop. 

After years of heated debate, the General Synod had just announced that legislation would allow women to fill the same role.

Although he lost his case, he attempted to file the same allegations as before with additional claims of discrimination based on religion.

‘[Rev Williamson]A tribunal report stated that the victim believed that discrimination was occurring because of his beliefs about the ordination and ordination of women to the clergy.

Watford’s employment tribunal heard:[Rev Williamson]The ordination of women to the clergy does not conform with Biblical doctrine.

He stated that his convictions have led him to pursue a variety of legal actions.

While Rev Williamson had requested that he continue his work past November 2018’s 70th birthday, the Tribunal heard nothing from him. The Bishop of London however decided to prolong his service only until April 2019.

Early 2019, Rev Williamson, who was ‘distressed by thoughts regarding his impending retirement’ told the tribunal. He sought support from his GP for mental health.

The doctor diagnosed him with stress, and prescribed antidepressants. He declined counselling. Concerns were also raised that he might be having suicidal thoughts.

Rev Williamson was dismissed from his current case after his religious discrimination allegations were not filed in time. The panel also questioned him about why they weren’t brought up during his previous tribunal.

According to the tribunal panel, “The second claim as it was reformulated includes a new claim of religious discrimination that did not exist in the first claim.”

It is evident that Rev Williamson held the belief, prior to the filing of the initial claim, that the refusal of his extension of service was motivated in part by his religious beliefs about the ordination or women.

He and his agents apparently chose not to include this information in the original claim. These matters should have been filed with the original claim. 

Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu (L) and the Rev Libby Lane take part in a consecration service where she became the eighth Bishop of Stockport at York Minster on January 26, 2015

The Rev. Libby Lane at York Minster, England, where she was consecrated

L to R: Dr John Sentamu (Archbishop of York) and Rev Libby Lane participate in a consecration. She became the eighth Bishop for Stockport at York Minster, January 26, 2015.

Rev Williamson was the first to be ordained deacon and priest in 1972. From 1992 to 1992, he served as St George’s priest in Hanworth.

Rev Williamson was known for opposing the ordination and ordination of women into the priesthood.

When he became a headline in 2015,In a church service led by John Sentamu (Archbishop of York), Reverend Libby Lane, became Bishop of Stockport.

This historic moment was briefly interrupted when Rev Paul Williamson appeared and shouted “Not in the Bible” as she presented herself to York Minster’s congregation.

A Church of England spokesperson described him at the time as a “serial protester” who was expected to be there.

He stated that he had the right to protest, but the difference was one voice affirming the truth and another protesting the injustice.

Due to his legal difficulties, Rev Williamson was also declared a “vexatious litigant” by the High Court in the same year that he attempted to sue St Paul’s Cathedral’s chapter and dean.

He protested also against the legality Prince Charles’ marriage to Camilla 2005.