Thinking Anglicans

mitres in Gloucester

The Diocese of El Camino Real reports on the visit of its bishop, Mary Grey-Reeves to the Diocese of Gloucester in England.

Read From Bp. Mary and Bp. Michael, June 21, 2010

Dear Friends,

Some of you may have heard that on a recent visit to England, +Katharine Jefferts Schori was asked to verify her orders of ordination and asked not to wear her miter. As you know, I am here on a partnership visit in the Diocese of Gloucester. Attached is a greeting and explanation from Bishop Michael regarding our own correspondence with Lambeth Palace, hopefully clarifying a policy that has been in place but not enforced. The incident with +Katharine was of course exacerbated by +Rowan’s Pentecost letter and +Katharine’s response. I must say that I have not met anyone here that is happy with +Rowan’s letter and the actions that it announced; but are rather many are embarrassed and upset.

As you will see from an update that Celeste Ventura and Channing Smith will send shortly, we are having a wonderful time in Gloucester being treated very well and shown great hospitality. There are no major issues regarding the wearing of my miter or being a woman bishop, although of course there are those who do not approve of women’s ordination. It is a very live issue here and there are lots of feelings and emotions as the Church of England approaches another vote, hopefully towards women in the episcopate, in just a few weeks.

In the meanwhile, I send greetings from everyone participating on this triangular partnership and ask your continued prayers. I will send another update at the end of the week after my return late on Wednesday night.

With love and blessings,
+Mary

A message from Michael Perham, Bishop of Gloucester

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Diocese of El Camino Real

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, rejoicing as always in our partnership, drawing together your diocese, the Diocese of Western Tanganyika and my own.

It has been a great joy to have Bishop Mary with us these last few days, sharing in our partnership meeting, speaking to our Diocesan Synod, preaching in the Cathedral and visiting parishes. It will be a particular joy when, on the last day of the partnership gathering, she presides at the Eucharist in the Lady Chapel of our Cathedral.

People here in the Diocese of Gloucester share my respect and affection for Bishop Mary. Once again having her here has been a delight and an encouragement to us all. Her graciousness is a wonderful gift to our partnership and companion relationship and I believe the partnership is a gift to our troubled Anglican Communion.

I am attaching a note I have written to try to explain some of the difficulties we have run into in England these last few days in relation to the ministry of visiting bishops. The difficulties have felt to be a long way away from the happy acceptance of one another here.

+Michael

The note mentioned is copied here below the fold.

And for good measure, there is a picture at The Three-Legged Stool, see Comments from ECR and Gloucester on recent events.

Background explaining the need for permission to her diocese

Under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure of 1967, which in my view needs urgent revision, but which is still in force and which must therefore be respected, clergy from abroad (Anglican or otherwise) need the permission of the Archbishop to officiate here. My understanding is that over the years, this rule has not been tightly followed in the case of those visiting partner dioceses for short periods of time, but only for those seeking to take up a ministerial post here. However, with all the present tensions in the Communion and with some people prepared to use legal processes to challenge bishops and others who do not follow the letter of the law, the Archbishop’s office has thought it best to ensure that the rule is strictly adhered to. Thus I have sought and obtained permission for Bishop Mary for preside at the Eucharist in Gloucester Cathedral.

(Bishop Gerard is also presiding at the Eucharist while here, but in his case in a private chapel where no such permission is required.)

The Measure makes no reference to what the bishop wears. As it happens, the simple weekday Eucharist at which Bishop Mary will preside is not one when either she or I would expect her to wear a mitre. However in the Cathedral on Sunday, when she stood at my side when I presided at the Eucharist and again when she preached at a Partnership Service later in the day, she did, like me and Bishop Gerard, wear her mitre.

The triangular partnership that draws the dioceses of Western Tanganyika, El Camino Real and Gloucester into a companion relationship emerged from the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops. There has never been any doubt within our dioceses that the three bishops are equally bishops of the Anglican Communion and not for a moment would we have treated one bishop differently from the others. We recognise and honour the ministry of all.

+Michael

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Bill Dilworth
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Well, so much for the claims that *of course* a visiting woman bishop would never be allowed to wear a mitre in the CofE under present circumstances.

dr.primrose
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dr.primrose

At several levels, the most troubling comment in Bishop Perham’s “Background Note” is this: “However, with all the present tensions in the Communion and with some people prepared to use legal processes to challenge bishops and others who do not follow the letter of the law, the Archbishop’s office has thought it best to ensure that the rule is strictly adhered to.” First, what legal challenges is he talking about? There’s been no reporting elsewhere of this. Was a serious threat or just huffing and puffing out of some quarters of the church? Second, why is any news about this… Read more »

Pantycelyn
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Pantycelyn

‘(Bishop Gerard is also presiding at the Eucharist while here, but in his case in a private chapel where no such permission is required.)’

You couldn’t make this stuff up ! Hilarious ! As are most attempts by the C of E to make and keep rules. No-one bovvers with them over-much — not even the bishops most of the time. (It is the same in the RCC people exercise as much freedom and creativity as they can — especially in ‘private chapels’ of course !

drdanfee
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drdanfee

I guess prosecutions in (a very traditional aka rightwing Catholic-Evangelical) God’s name will become the New Anglican Norm. And threats of prosecution, too.

Alas, Elizabethan Settlement, alas, Lord have mercy.

G Santayana: Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Or: Those who live by the doctrine police will eventually surely die by the doctrine police.

JCF
Guest
JCF

I have to wonder if +Mary Grey-Reeves received her invite (or didn’t have it rescinded) ONLY because she (publicly) *didn’t* attend the consecration of that *other* TEC bishop in the State of California named +Mary (i.e., Glasspool, Suffragan of Los Angeles). :-/

MarkBrunson
Guest

“As you will see from an update that Celeste Ventura and Channing Smith will send shortly, we are having a wonderful time in Gloucester being treated very well and shown great hospitality.”

If that’s meant to reassure, she really needs a staff writer.

It sounds like something said by people you generally see in a grainy video in a bare room, seated on a wooden chair, and surrounded by armed and masked men.

Pantycelyn
Guest
Pantycelyn

Well, yes the bishop of Gloucester did ask her NOT to go to Mary Glasspool’s Consecration…

‘I have to wonder if +Mary Grey-Reeves received her invite (or didn’t have it rescinded) ONLY because she (publicly) *didn’t* attend the consecration of that *other* TEC bishop in the State of California named +Mary (i.e., Glasspool, Suffragan of Los Angeles). :-/ ‘

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 at 1:15am BST

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“First, what legal challenges is he talking about?”

– dr.primrose, on Tuesday –

Was there not some legal action taken in a certain Church of england Diocese recently, where a Bishop refused to employ a celibate gay man as a diocesan employee? I guess that was occasioned by a need to comply with the law of the land.