Nick Baines on Southwark

Nick Baines writes in The Guardian today to say that Jeffrey John was not the favourite. The stories about Jeffrey John’s nomination as bishop of Southwark are mischief-making based on ignorance.

He wrote on the same topic earlier in his blog: Media literacy: Lesson 1

Nick Baines is the suffragan bishop of Croydon in the diocese of Southwark.

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JeremyErika BakerJerry HannonPrior AelredGöran Koch-Swahne Recent comment authors
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Hannah
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Hannah

Thank you, +Nick, for bringing some sanity to this media field day, though I’m sure many will think it unsporting of you to let facts and process get in the way of a good argument!

Spirit of Vatican II
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Spirit of Vatican II

Just what I said!

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Bp. Nick Baines reminds us all of the need for objectivity in our comments on the internet. It is difficult for any of us who are passionate in our desire for what we see as the need for a more caring and inclusive Church to know when to draw the line at points-scoring, rather than give in to our personal agendas – sometime to the detriment of fairness and charity. I now feel that, sometimes, our keenness to score a point against the perceived opposition overrides our better judgement – especially when any news reporter appears to back up our… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

Thanks for posting these and thanks to Nick Baines for writing them. On this side of the pond, people who don’t regularly visit here may not be clued in to how, er, speculative, or, um, just plain wrong Ruth G. often is – although I think she’s toned things down a bit since I first started hanging out here. I was not aware of the poor reputation for accuracy the main perp of this has in England until a Yank in London posted a very thorough analysis and ‘outing’ of him. They same probalem or potential problem in reverse exists… Read more »

jnwall
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jnwall

Why is it that every time something really awful happens in church politics, someone always comes along to explain, on procedural grounds, why its all perfectly normal and to be expected?

cryptogram
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cryptogram

Thanks to Nick Baines for breathing some sense into this sterile argument of few facts. If the ABC was angry at the 2-hour meeting of the CNC it was because someone had broken the confidentiality of the process and has deliberately done so again. The whole thing was put up by those wanting to block both Jeffery John and Nick Holtam, presumably on the supposed ground that they are miserable sinners whom God hates. Don’t blame anyone but the leaker and his/her agenda. Please God this will rebound on the hate-filled people who started it. I hope they listen hard… Read more »

badman
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badman

It is reported that all but one of the diocesan representatives wanted Jeffrey John. Therefore, if he was not the favourite, this is because the Archbishops and others from the higher echelons of the Church did not want him.

Since he is obviously bishop material – and was actually appointed Bishop of Reading at one point – and since he was the preferred choice of the diocese, it is fair to infer that he was not the favourite because he was gay.

That’s not good enough, I’m afraid.

Bob
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Bob

This gives an interesting and more rounded perspective on the going-ons? Thank you Bishop Nick!

Achilles
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Achilles

I am sorry but this seems like a smokescreen: “move on, nothing to see” (a phrase usually uttered in order to have someone’s interest dissipated rather than deployed as a means of stating there’s obviously no there, there). So the process can be studied on the website? http://www.cofe.anglican.org/info/asa/senappt/dbnom/dbnom3.pdf That’s four clicks down from the front page. You couldn’t claim it was buried but it’s pretty well mulched in. It’s also 35 pages long. I suggest Nick Baines offers his summary to the CofE webmaster as a substitute. But read through the précis itself. You can follow it, of course but… Read more »

chenier1
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chenier1

So, when a bishop in the Church of England, talking about the appointment of a bishop, announces that:

‘there are more competent people around than there are posts [for bishops].’

just before the Synod meets to determine the possible future inclusion of women bishops, we are told that this is ‘objectivity’.

That is simply ridiculous…

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“Why is it that every time something really awful happens in church politics, someone always comes along to explain, on procedural grounds, why its all perfectly normal and to be expected?” I don’t think anybody did. Nick Baines only pointed out that we cannot possibly know. “It is reported that all but one of the diocesan representatives wanted Jeffrey John.” That may have been reported, but as Nick Baines explains, unless there has been an official poll done by someone, we have absolutely no means of knowing whether this statement is true. A shred of evidence, just a little bit,… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
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Lapinbizarre

Interesting commentary from Nick Baines, but this would be the spin anyway and he’s hardly a disinterested party. Achilles is not alone in wondering “smokescreen?” When five of the six Southwark representatives favoured John, yet his references were not taken up, something stinks. But who, in the Real World, cares about the Little People? If it is true, as Riazat Butt and Stephen Bates write, that “it is said that Williams was extremely annoyed … that the name had leaked and that he blamed the liberals” it is alarmingly indicative of the nature of Williams’ knee jerk reactions, particularly if… Read more »

bobinswpa
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bobinswpa

I think there would not be such a stink if JJ had been appointed to Bishop of Reading in the first place, at least from the liberal wing of the church. I find myself incensed that Dr. JJ had to walk to the scaffold twice. Just tell him, “you’re not a suitable candidate, step down.” This was never going to fly. My question is why not get rid of all the homosexual priest period. Solves your problem CofE. You can be pure just like Nigeria or the ACNA, not tainted like TEC. Same for women. Dump the undesirables. It’s a… Read more »

Pantycelyn
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Pantycelyn

Yes, Wynne-Jones used to work for the C of E Newspaper. Seems that Christian journalists-or this one will do anything sometimes for good story — and the devil take the hindemost !!

Pantycelyn
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Pantycelyn

I don’t think I want ‘competent people’. I’ve had my fill of them in church and state already.

I want michael ramseys, ha williamses, and people like the Dean (of the Dean’s Watch); and the Warden-phoebe willetts, Dss Elsie Baker;tony benn, michael …. (er ex-labour leader) – and all sorts of people seen as none-entities from Lambeth, Westminster and all these clever places.

Look what Thatcher and Blair did to UK –and the world

Rev Sidney Jensen
Guest

Now that we have a “more rounded perspective of what is going on”, how does that explain the virulent homophobia the leak unleashed? Why weren’t the other candidates’ names leaked? We are still in the dark over the whole silly process. Were other candidates married/single/ closet gay/celibate? It is preposterous to blame the media when the desired backlash clearly worked.

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Well it’s quite good to hear from Bshp B; though his cool remarks/reminders of due procedure rather miss the mark as I hear, see, and understand that mark – maybe by a few miles if not more? The point is (surely): we Anglicans indulging another round of overt-juicy queerbashing preachments as usual from all the usual rightwing CoE figures/speakers? Reform FiF, Ang(not)mainstream, others – all were quite happy to talk self-righteously in many public venues about how innately immoral, still, by category and by presupposition, all queer folks truly are, cross my heart and hope to die. Plus, the gleeful… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Where is it reported that 5 of 6 diocesan representatives favored Dean John? What’s the source?

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest

Dear Dr. Williams,

Hundreds of thousands are “annoyed” with your constant smoozing turned oozing of harmful discrimination and excluding of LGBT Christians at ALL levels of Anglican Churchlife…sorry to observe that “snideness” and “demeaning” of LGBT Anglicans/friends/family at TEC has spread (like the disease it is) into “blackballing” revealing stunted clarity of thinking when evaluating clergy/laity with good moral character in Merry Olde England! Rowan Williams, resign.

john
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john

No doubt there are many stories to tell here. But I don’t think we should weakly capitulate to Nick Baines’ allegedly objective procedurism, especially as delivered in such a patronising mien. Failing cogent evidence to the contrary and on the useful principle ‘cui bono?’, it seems obvious that the leak must have come from anti-gays. In which case, as always, they play a very dirty game.

badman
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badman

“…it is understood that five of the six diocesan representatatives on the 16-person commission voted for him.” i.e. for Jeffrey John.

Reported in http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/08/church-gay-rights-archbishop by Riazat Butt and Stephen Bates

Pantycelyn
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Pantycelyn

Baines is no friend of lgbt people either.

JPM
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JPM

Is the bishop always so condescending?

karen macqueen+
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karen macqueen+

Frankly, I am not persuaded by Nick Baines’ articles. I wonder if Nick Baines got the points that many progressives have made about this nomination process. The secrecy of the process cannot help but contribute to misinformation and confusion surrounding the process. It won’t do to say that a more transparent process will enmesh the Church in “politics”. “Politics” is unavoidable in any process. This factor just has to managed well and an open process is a good way to do that. nomination process. What good does it do to have an “insider” like Nick Baines tell us that Jeffrey… Read more »

Grandmère Mimi
Guest

Some might say that Bishop Baines has a vested interest, but I would never say that.

Old Father William
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Old Father William

I am so very happy with the transparency and the democracy of our system in TEC. Quite honestly, it seems hard to believe we’re in the same Communion. And maybe the time has come to admit that we’re not.

MarkBrunson
Guest

BISHOP Baines

OBJECTIVITY concerning CofE procedures.

What is it you Brits say? “Pull the other one, it has got bells on.”

Scot Peterson
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Scot Peterson

From a simple, Yank, political scientist, who probably should stay quiet: I see Bishop Baines’ point. But I also think that the problem comes about from a lack of transparency in the process. A secret/confidential appointments process is well suited to choosing hierarchs, not legitimate leaders. Indirect election may insure competence (at the expense of representativeness), but even US Supreme Court justices (who are selected through a similar indirect process, by others who are appointed) are subject to public scrutiny at some point (see Elena Kagan Senate hearings). A similar ethos to this one was reflected when the Sec Gen… Read more »

Ordinary Vicar
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Ordinary Vicar

“I don’t think I want ‘competent people’. I’ve had my fill of them in church and state already.

I want michael ramseys,…”

Yes and Amen! But none of the systems we now have seem designed either to produce them or to allow them to grow and nurture. It’s all Bishop’s Job descriptions, profiles, and leadership skills for competent management

And if we changed the system to a more open electoral one, can you really see a Michael Ramsey standing for election?

Achilles
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Achilles

Well, just take a look here: http://www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/26333#436438 We simply have a Cold War situation that may break out into an all-out one. it’s pretty obvious that the sooner this happens, actually the better. There may be troubles in post-Fall of Communism Europe but it’s nothing when compared to the atmosphere of fear, duplicity, subterfuge and hysteria that reigned up till 1989. Let’s just have it out, and tear down the wall. That should be our objective, since we have realised, once this artificial barrier was removed, we are all Europeans now. Similarly, once the ‘Big H’ has been removed as… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

This surely was a media event. Of course it is peppered with a broad streak of irony for those who remember well Rowan’s own flirtation with the Southwark “process” and how it dealt badly with him and the stories he was wont to tell. The stories are (as usual with leak stories from secret meetings) based on one or two snippets of truth retold in a salacious way. Undisclosed additional sources -usually described as “senior” something – (who may not even exist!) interpret these “facts” and fill them out and make the story as punchy as the journalist wants it… Read more »

Pantycelyn
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Pantycelyn

‘michael …. (er ex-labour leader) – ‘ Foot -of course– finally recalled last name. Not ‘competent’ –just visionary , moral, passsionate, all that … No, you’re right –there’s no way a michael ramsey could emerge much in the brave new world – not without a miracle / ‘cock up’. Rowan emerged from the chrysalis, but was squidged alas, while vulnerable – before his wings had dried and hardened for the necessary flying. (I’m no better, really). Another ‘good John’ is still possible, or another ‘John Paul 1’ — but he too, was finished off very early on… Perhaps we need… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Martin
“In general I think the Baines piece offers nothing at all other than a self-serving “Look how moderate and “Lambeth friendly” I am.”. Sad.”

Bearing in mind that Nick Baines was merely making the point that we simply cannot know – what should he have written?

Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

The Baines article raises more questions than it answers as the above contributions point out. Only time will tell whether the chosen candidate does indeed meet the needs of the diocese more than any other candidate could have done. I suppose we should be grateful to the leaker for pointing out the shortcomings of the current process even though it is temporarily embarrasing for the Church. Far better surely to involve the clergy and laity of the diocese more directly in the election of their bishops under an Alternative Vote system such as the one being proposed for Parliament, allowing… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“It is preposterous to blame the media when the desired backlash clearly worked.”

Not so sure about that. Mr Wynne-Jones let himself be used… I think that’s bad enough.

Prior Aelred
Guest

Erika —

If the point is “we simply cannot know” then he shouldn’t have written “Jeffrey John was not the favorite” (as if he knew).

The tone was pretentious & condescending (as others have already said).

Really, everyone ought to watch the “Yes. Prime Minister” episode, “The Bishop’s Gambit.” It will clarify a lot of of questions. (“We don’t trust that the Holy Spirit knows who will make a good Church of England bishop.”)

Jerry Hannon
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Jerry Hannon

Prior Aelred wrote, answering Erika’s question on what Bishop Baines should have instead written: “If the point is “we simply cannot know” then he shouldn’t have written “Jeffrey John was not the favorite” (as if he knew).” We cannot define Nick Baines error better than the good Prior has written, Erika. Yes, many were played by the fundevangelicals and their co-dependent journalist (rather hard for me to use that term, given the results, but there we are) friends or allies. But the good Bishop should not have written his non-factual opinion about Dean John, should he? The CofE process, revealed… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Prior
“then he shouldn’t have written “Jeffrey John was not the favorite” (as if he knew).”

He explained that the system does not identify favourites and frontrunners. The only favourites are those whose names are finally chosen to go forward.

So if there are no favourites, JJ cannot have been a favourite.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Stephen Bates in the Guardian says, “The knowledge that John . . . was one of six candidates for the south London diocese was known to journalists more than a week before the story appeared in print.”

So there was a week-long conspiracy of silence in the press? Bizarre.

And contradictory of the notion that this was a media-driven event. According to Bates, it seems that several “journalists” (note the plural) tried to hush it up.

If you can’t count on the press to report the news, where’s the accountability? For the press? For the Archbishops?