Simon Bailey born 16 June 1955 (d. 1995)
The Reverend Simon Bailey was an Anglican priest.
Simon Bailey was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, one of five children of the Reverend Walter Bailey. Walter was a Baptist minister who combined conservative evangelical theological convictions with social radicalism. He bought his first television in order to be able to watch the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965. He supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and actually died while distributing leaflets for the Labour Party.
The family moved first to Birkenhead and then to Stoke-on-Trent, following Walter as he was called to different churches. Eventually he became so idiosyncratic that he ran his own church from home.
Simon Bailey continued his education at Regent's Park College, the Baptist Permanent Private Hall of the University of Oxford, where he read English Language and Literature.
Despite having chosen to study at the Baptist Regent's Park, Simon Bailey was by now unhappy in the Baptist tradition. He received the sacrament of confirmation in the Church of England, embracing Anglicanism as more 'aesthetic and sensual'.
Simon Bailey was a sexually active gay man who contracted HIV. He learned that he had the virus just as he took up the position of Rector of Dinnington in South Yorkshire. When he became too unwell to conceal his condition from the people around him he informed the diocesan authorities and gradually introduced the news to his own parishioners. Though not the only Anglican priest at that time to be HIV-positive, and eventually to develop AIDS, he was the first to stay in parish ministry, continuing to celebrate the Eucharist until only a few weeks before his death. One of the most remarkable features of his time at Dinnington was the love and care that he received from his parishioners.
Simon Bailey became well known to a wider public as a result of a BBC Everyman programme, Simon's Cross, that was broadcast in January 1995. The making of the programme led to his sister writing the biography, Scarlet Ribbons: A Priest with AIDS, which also contains extracts from Simon's published and unpublished writing.
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