Fr Paul Williamson
|Priest-in-Charge of St George's Church, Hanworth|
|Church||Church of England|
|Diocese||Diocese of London|
|In office||1992 to present|
|Birth name||Paul Stewart Williamson|
|Born||1948 (age 68–69)|
|Alma mater||King's College London|
Paul Stewart Williamson (born 1948) is a controversial Anglo-Catholic priest in the Church of England. He has brought high-profile civil suits in English courts over matters of Anglican faith and practice, including the ordination of women to the priesthood and the legality of the marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Early life and education
Williamson was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 1972 and as a priest in 1973. From 1972 to 1975, he served his curacy at St Paul's, Deptford in the Diocese of Southwark. He was an honorary curate of St John the Divine, Kennington between 1976 and 1977.
In 1978, Williamson moved to the Diocese of London. He served as a curate at Holy Trinity with St Mary, Hoxton from 1978 to 1983, at All Saints, Margaret Street from 1983 to 1984, and at St Mary's, Willesden from 1984 to 1985. For the next three years, he was not attached to any parish but held Permission to Officiate in the diocese. In 1989, he joined St George's Church, Hanworth as a curate. Since 1992, he has been priest in charge of St George's.
Williamson is a well-known opponent of the ordination of women to the priesthood. In 1997 he sued the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral for appointing a woman as a minor canon. On 16 July 1997, he was declared to be a vexatious litigant by justice Christopher Rose at the Royal Courts of Justice. As a result, he is no longer allowed to bring action within the Courts of England and Wales without permission.
In 2011, with others, Williamson challenged a major grant by the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. The Charity Commission for England and Wales, which described the complainants as "a substantial number", subsequently ruled that the grant had been unlawful.
On 26 January 2015, Williamson interrupted the consecration service for the Church of England's first woman to become a bishop, Libby Lane, at York Minster. His objection was responded to by John Sentamu, Archbishop of York (who was officiating) and the service continued.
- "Paul Stewart Williamson". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 30 November 2015. (subscription required)
- "Frailty, thy name is Williamson". The Independent. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
- "VEXATIOUS LITIGANT - ATTORNEY GENERAL v WILLIAMSON". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
- Dutta, Kunal (25 February 2005). "Turbulent priest". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- The ruling of the Charity Commission for England & Wales is available in full here
- The Telegraph, 26 January 2015]
- "Frailty, thy name is Williamson", by Andrew Brown, The Independent, 15 April 1997
- "Dr Carey and the Glorious Battle"
- "Vicar wins royal wedding inquiry", The Times, 2 March 2005
- "Charity Commission asked to investigate grant to Ordinariate", Thinking Anglicans website