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two more college inspection reports

Reports are now available (PDF files) concerning

Download these and earlier reports from this page.

See earlier article with some background.

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Christopher ShellFord ElmsFather Ron SmithFrd ElmsSiggi Pålsson Recent comment authors
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Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

I saw a table a couple of years ago setting out the almae matres of the anglican bishops, which seemed unless the stats were wrong to show Cuddesdon favoured to an almost unbelievable extent. I do not know whether the Runcie factor was the cause, but how does this square with the Michael Hampson ‘Last Rites’ picture of Cuddesdon as somewhere where (except in Biblical studies) the self-contradictory position seemed to be taken in lectures that there are no answers only more questions. Or with the fact that it is so rare for Cuddesdon (as opposed to Wycliffe) students to… Read more »

badman
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badman

Oak Hill = boys club.

“there were 57 ordinands in training, including one woman”

“the number of women ordinands remains far less than the 15% minimum required by the House of Bishops’ Guidelines”

The staff is also “predominantly male”

Reader
Guest
Reader

Good to note though, given the stats quoted above, that the inspectors at Oak Hill “saw no evidence of any lack of awareness of the need to afford equality of opportunity to all.” (Para. 37)

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

Christopher Shell The nature of the course people take as preparation for ordination depends on previous experience, education and age – and not just on what a particular college offers. It is not every understanding of ministry which suggests that academic excellence is an essential prerequisite (you’d be hard pressed to find this stated as a principle or generally exemplified in the Bible, for example). Since it is possible that factors like age and understanding of ministry are correlated with the colleges students choose to attend, the comparison of colleges by the courses ordinands choose to take requires more analysis… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“The inspectors noticed no apparent provision in the programme of worship, however, for students to experience other than their own preferred and familiar worship styles. This we found regrettable, given the need already mentioned in para 41 for the College to look to giving to its ordinands a fuller view and appreciation of the breadth of tradition and practice across the Church of England into which they are preparing to be ordained.” – Extract from Oak Hill Report – What seemed to me to be singularly lacking in the worship provision at Oak Hill was any regular celebration of the… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“One might question whether this is enough for the students who one day will be expected to major on the Eucharist as the besic ingredient for Sunday worship in their Anglican parishes.” Oh, will they? I am reminded of a quote from someone in Nigeria, I believe it might have been Bp. Popoola, though I stand to be correctd, on how Anglicans there preferred the “longer” Mattins (though Matins was always shorter where I came from) with more opportunity for praise, I believe was the touted benefit, than the Eucharist. So, they might not end up in parishes where they… Read more »

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Hi Mark-

Of course: that’s not the point. There are 2 points: (1) bishops would rightly be expected to be drawn -on average- from the more rather than less educated; (2) the whole vagueness and questions-good-answers-bad approach spoken of by ‘Last Rites’ is self-contradictory.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“bishops would rightly be expected to be drawn -on average- from the more rather than less educated;”

Why would you expect God to select from a more educated group when He is calling a bishop?

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Hi Ford- Because bishops should be drawn from those who are above average in a large number of categories. The more categories you are above average in, the better choice you are. There is no preferential treatment given to intellect here. What applies to intellect also applies to every other category. Namely: it’s better to be above average than below average. By definition, in fact. For example, when Rowan Williams was chosen, strengths to this appointment were pointed out: namely that he was a leader among his peers in terms of both spirituality/character and intellect. Likewise John Sentamu, Pope Benedict… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

‘By your argument, would it be better to choose someone who was average or mediocre in categories such as these?” No, Christopher. By my argument, it would be best for the local ecclesia to prayerfully seek the will of God in selecting their bishop. Now, there are many ways one can do that, and certainly assessing a person’s education is part of it. Your statements would seem to suggest you consider the selection of a bishop as nothing more than selecting a manager or something, as though God really doesn’t have much of a role in it at all. If… Read more »

Siggi Pålsson
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Siggi Pålsson

re: Hampson on Cuddesdon. Time will tell if Cuddesdon students continue to crowd the ranks of the episcopate, but the present teaching regime no longer corresponds to the picture that Hampson gives ‘that Christianity could be whatever you wanted it to be … We knew all about what we didn’t believe and virtually nothing about what we did believe…’ (pp.99-100) Given the polemical tenor of the book, the possibility that Hampson is employing hyperbole should not be ruled without the bounds of possibility. It may also be the case that Cuddesdon has correctly judged the developing character of the Church… Read more »

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

CEO? When did I mention the business model of leadership? Christlike servant leadership is of course something very different. Which is why one would expect bishops to be above (not below) average in the servant-heart department.

Frd Elms
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Frd Elms

“one would expect bishops to be above (not below) average in the servant-heart department.” My point, Christopher, was that I would expect God to know that when He calls someone to ordained ministry in the Church. It is for us to decide if the call someone perceives is actually from God. You seem to think it is for us to decide, not on the nature of the perceived vocation, but whether or not the person who perceives that call measures up to OUR ideas of what an ordained minister should be. We get to vet God’s candidates to see who… Read more »

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

I think you have a false dichotomy there, since not only is it not possible for us infallibly to know what God’s opinion is on the matter, but also it is the job of those human beings who go through the human processes that confirm or deny any application to be coworkers with God.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

So, Christopher, what exactly IS the role of God in the selection of ordained ministers? Does He even have a role? How CAN we “confirm or deny any application to be coworkers with God”? What are our criteria? Is it only about OUR ideas of what constitues the “right” education, or what WE judge to be morally appropriate behaviour? Do we insist on adherence to the letter of the Law? Where do you find God in these things? Solely in Scripture, or is God also to be found elsewhere? I’m not suggesting that all the places we find God are… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Interesting isn’t it, on the question of academic suitability in candidates for ordination, that Christ chose a few simple fishermen to be amongst his closest assicates in ministry? This is not to say that a ‘good mind’ is no use in ministry, but rather that a ‘good heart’ might be even better.

“Where are your wise men now, where are your philosophers?” – Saint Paul.

“I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and of earth for choosing the simple..” – Jesus

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Hi Fr Ron-

Exactly. They were well above average, as religious leaders go, in being non-establishment, good-hearted, etc..

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“They were well above average, as religious leaders go, in being non-establishment, good-hearted, etc..” So, again, who decides the average above which ministerial candidates should be? God, or us? Clearly, in the case of the Apostles, God had the choice. And “above average”? Let’s see, a tax collector (establishment), someone who would eventually betray Him, a pragmitist who flew off the handle regularly and who would deny Him when the crunch came(neither of which seem all that good hearted), and, if we count Paul, someone who had diligently persecuted the Church and who might well have been responsible for the… Read more »

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Sounds like they were above average in being average – rather like those newspaper stories when it is proclaimed that Mr Average (i.e. the only truly average person – insofar as that makes sense and is not a contradiction in terms) is a bloke called Mike from Worksop. In other words, they fitted the bill for what Jesus wanted in a way a Pharisee never could. They certainly fit the universal/classless nature of what Jesus was about. I don’t go with some versions of the ‘vocation’ thing, as *all* Christians are in some way ‘called’ – and so are those… Read more »