On Resigning from the Affinity's Social Issues Team

My resignation letter - sent on Tuesday 11 October 2022.

Dear Chums,

Those of you who attend SIT meetings regularly will know that I’ve been absent for a year or more.

For decades, my mother lived in Reading and I used SIT meetings as a bonus to visit and stay with her.  Though she died in January 2021, my SIT attendance still involves three days of travel but now an additional two nights in a hotel.  This is no longer a sensible use of my time or money.  So it is with some regret that I tender my resignation from the Team.  Please, no ifs, no buts, no Zoom thank you.  I have moved on.

I was first invited to speak at a FIEC’s Christian Citizenship meeting, the forerunner of the SIT, in the late 1980s on the subject of genetics and gene therapy in a rather dingy side room at Westminster Chapel.  I presumed they liked me because I was subsequently invited to join the Committee.

I recall several meetings.  For instance, when I was chairman, I invited Ann Widdecombe and Martin Bashir to address us, though, of course, not together.  She tore into us Protestants, while he seemed pleasant enough.  Perhaps the saddest meeting was when we learned that the Affinity bosses refused to adopt a position paper that we had drafted stating that human life begins at fertilisation / day one.  I should have resigned there and then.

However, there have been jolly times and I have met and been encouraged by numerous transient members, learned much about some important issues, and made some lifelong friends.

I wish you all well and may your futures be fruitful as you wrestle with those fundamental issues on the SIT agenda.

With Christian greetings,


Letters of appreciation from SIT members.

You will be missed. Thank you for all you have done. And thanks for still letting The CI use your stuff…
Simon (Deputy Director for Public Affairs, Christian Institute).

Thank you for your service and faithfulness John. I too would have been gutted by that denial of a position paper. Presumably it's been adopted since or do you know? I have valued your clear points on bioethics and life issues.
I pray God blesses and keeps you and hope that our paths cross again.

Warm regards
Regan (Pastor, The Angel Church, London).

Dear John,
It has been very good to get to know you through SIT and your wisdom, experience and expertise will be greatly missed.
I hope we can continue to connect from time to time and stay in touch with your ministry.

Every blessing,
Tim (Head of Public Policy, Christian Concern).

Hi John
Thanks so much for your fellowship and input during my ten years with Affinity. I really enjoyed getting to know you and to appreciate your seemingly boundless energy for writing and working. I know the SIT will really miss your contributions, both in person and in print. Also, I always appreciated the fact that I never had to correct any of your grammar or punctuation - well, except for your insistence on two spaces between sentences (a throwback to typewriters and the monospacing of all the letters, meaning that two spaces were needed to emphasise the break).

Also, I didn’t know that Saint Anne had been a previous visitor to the group. I would have loved to be there for that!

Every blessing.
Matthew (Former secretary for the SIT).

Dear John,
Well, this is the end of an era. All those involved with you can be nothing but grateful for your many years of faithful service and informed guidance as chairman, as editor of the Bulletin, and as producer of expert papers, and for your friendship and fellowship throughout. I personally greatly appreciated the benefit of your significant contribution in all these roles. Your explanations of complex or narrow specialist issues were always so clear than even I (who at school only opted for arts subjects whenever given the choice) could fully understand them.  I was present at the Ann Widdecombe meeting. She certainly did give us all a thorough dressing-down. I don't remember the Bashir meeting. It was probably in my time, but I must have been missing for some reason. I remember a meeting with (now the Rt Hon Sir) Stephen Timms, MP. Was that at your invitation? I remember him saying how much he loved Ely Cathedral, but I can't recall what possible relevance that might have had to our discussion with him.

I completely concur with your comments about the failure of Affinity to adopt the position paper on when human life begins. With any other imagined starting-point to life, Psalm 139, Matthew 1:20 and Luke 1:35 make no sense at all.   Whatever your "move on" involves, I trust you will be led to other spheres of usefulness.

With warmest regards, in the Lord,
Rod (one-time staff member at FIEC).

Thanks John.
I’m sorry to see you go!  Your insight was so valuable on bio issues and wider challenges. I much appreciate your years in service especially done with a cheery sense of humour.

May you and your family experience much blessing,

Yours in Christ,
David (Partner at Moore Barlow LLP).

Hi John,
As David has already said, we are so grateful for all your contributions and faithful service over many years.  I have enjoyed getting to know you a bit and your direct and simple explanations and your heart for biblical principles to be applied to all areas of Christian ethics.

I am not familiar with the context for your position paper being rejected. I believe it was part of wider debate about all the papers, but it was before my time and I cannot usefully comment further. For what it’s worth I would content that human life begins at conception.

May God bless you and use you in the future!

As a postscript, do you have any suggestions of recommendations for someone who may be a suitable replacement for you in that area of expertise?

With love in the Lord Jesus Christ,
Graham (Director of Affinity).

Hi John,
Thanks for your many years of service.

Stephen (Public Engagement Coordinator at Free Church of Scotland).

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