THINKING ANGLICANS

Update on the vacancy in the See of Hereford

The Crown Nominations Commission held its second meeting to consider the See of Hereford on 25 and 26 February, and was unable to make a choice. The Commission will reconvene in May and June. The news was announced in this press release published on the Hereford diocesan website.

Archbishop of Canterbury
March 7th 2014

From the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Diocese of Hereford

Vacancy in the See of Hereford – meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission

An update from the Archbishop of Canterbury – Chair of the Commission

Many of you will have been keeping the Crown Nominations Commission in your prayers last week, for which many thanks. It is good for those of us undertaking this work to know that we are being prayed for.

We thought it important to provide an update on the progress of our deliberations which are still continuing. The Commission has had two meetings. Following interviews, we did not feel able to make a choice as to whom God is calling to be the next Bishop of Hereford and felt that we needed more time to discern the next stages for mission and ministry in the Diocese. Taking time over appointments is important and the Commission is utterly committed to finding the right person to be your Bishop. We are therefore making arrangements to reconvene on 1 May and 6 June 2014.

As ever, I will be keeping the whole diocese in my prayers.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury

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CynthiaRevd Laurie RobertsLaurence CunningtonPete BroadbentDavid Runcorn Recent comment authors
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Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

What does this mean? Are they keeping it open until women can be considered? There were absolutely no suitable male candidates? The diocese, though ancient, is no longer viable? What is certain is that it won’t help the CNC traffic jam. Can seasoned CNC watchers interpret these runes, please?!

Father David
Guest
Father David

Oh dear, this is not the first time difficulty has been experienced in appointing a Bishop of Hereford. There was a dreadful, unsuccessful vituperative campaign against the appointment of Herbert Hensley Henson in order to prevent him taking on the See. It was so unpleasant that it became known as the Hereford Scandal. Thankfully Henson was appointed and was later translated to the once great See of Durham. Both archbishops Davidson and Lang were dead set against Henson’s move to Durham but the Prime Minister of the day got his wish and HHH became a great but acerbic Bishop of… Read more »

Sally Barnes
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Sally Barnes

There should not be any more Episcopal appointments made until we know the outcome of the Women Bishops legislation in July. Then proper choices can be made from among the gifts, vocations and experiences of men and women. I am very glad that the appointments committee has made this decision.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Is the well of suitable male liberal candidates running dry then? If so, why not appoint a good solid Traditionalist? Alternatively, is it time to do a Leeds in the Midlands and amalgamate the three dioceses of Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester? An ideal time to do it with both the dioceses of Hereford and Gloucester currently vacant.

ED: Gloucester is not vacant until November.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Was Jeffrey John in the running for this? Is this what the disagreement is all about?

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Is this what the disagreement is all about?

I do not think Jeffrey was shortlisted.

RPNewark
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RPNewark

I suspect a difference of opinion/wishes between the diocesan and national members of the CNC but I emphasise that I have absolutely _no_ evidence on which to base this suspicion.

Donatus
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Donatus

In answer to Father David, there might be some logic to the amalgamation of Hereford and Worcester. However Gloucester more naturally looks to the south-west: a merger with Bristol would make more sense.

commentator
Guest
commentator

If we are to hold all appointments until the possibility of women then lets wait on the facilitated conversations for the possibility of homosexual bishops. That way lesbians get a fair deal.

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

I know people will want to read all kinds of sinister and devious things into this announcement. I suspect, pace the gossip-mongers, that this is prosaically what it says it is. Two major factors have changed over the past years in relation to the CNC. First, the increase in numbers of diocesan reps from 4 to 6, which means that they have more clout (not a veto, like that of parish reps) and can organise themselves to oppose candidates they don’t want. (It was always possible to do this by getting central members of the CNC on board – London… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

This is unusual (save for Canterbury in 2012, except that the CNC was less candid then). There needs to be at least two thirds to secure a nomination (i.e. 10 out of 14 votes). If a commission is divided (say 9:5), they must vote again in the knowledge that if members vote the same way deadlock with continue. However, it can also happen that two members switch their vote between the final two and cancel each other out. It is a sign either that the central members and the diocesan group are at odds or more likely the diocesan group… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Avoiding these deadlocks is yet another argument for electing bishops on the model of the Episcopal Church: candidates are announced, introduce themselves to the vacant diocese, and a vote is held. Transparency and consent are paramount.

Perhaps Pete Broadbent could suggest this long-overdue reform to his episcopal colleagues?

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

In answer to +Pete Broadbent, the six diocesan reps, if they act together and consistently with what they have previously agreed, DO have a veto. As Anthony Archer points out, to secure a nomination (and this comes after the number of candidates has been whittled down to just two), a candidate must be supported by 2/3rds of the members of the CNC – i.e. by 10 of the 14 voting members. Unless there is a leak, we shall not (and should not) know whether, as RPNewark speculates, the deadlock in this case is due to a difference of opinion/wishes between… Read more »

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

I don’t think there’s much to learn from ECUSA, thanks. But the principle of electing bishops in the CofE merits sensible discussion irrespective of whether any other churches do it. As might a practice of interviewing for several sees at the same time, which would break the existing log jam and also allow for some considered policy on placing the first few women candidates. The current system has become far too bureaucratic and formulaic. There’s also the English cultural issue of priests who evince a mixture of reticence, false modesty and scheming. Many of the best candidates are genuinely nolo… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

To the nolo episcopari point:

These days, priests might rightly hesitate to become part of such an apparently homophobic group as the House of Bishops.

Robert ian Williams
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Robert ian Williams

With the largest percentage of female clergy, and virtually no evangelical and FIF presence, surely Hereford would be an ideal diocese for the first woman bishop.

James Byron
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James Byron

All credit to Pete Broadbent for keeping an open mind on TEC’s policy despite his dislike of the church itself.

(Sincere) nolo episcopari is a reasonable point that could be incorporated into an electoral system, say by a nominating panel with the power to add names to the ballot (with the potential candidate’s permission, naturally).

PerryButler
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PerryButler

Since a diocesan bishop is unlikely to be under 50 or over 60, has to be male, in orders a certain number of years, in full time ministry and is almost certain to have undergone residential training, it would be interesting to know ( from the publishers of Crockfords perhaps?) just how large the current pool is. getting smaller and smaller I imagine.

Christopher Whitmey
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Christopher Whitmey

+Pete says, “It’s also the diocese where there are almost no parishes opposed to the ordination of women”. If you look at the number of Resolutions A or B that is true. However there are to my knowledge two parishes in the Hereford Deanery, without A or B, who only have male priests taking services out of respect for their known views. On the other hand the diocese has one of, if not the, largest proportion of female priests. This balancing act exercised the mind of the V-in-S committee when preparing the Statement of Needs: http://tinyurl.com/Hfd-V-i-S Robert Williams says, “virtually… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Obviously, the CNC has failed to find “the only six penny item in a penny bazaar” as far as the See of Hereford is concerned.

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

Maybe the see is being kept warm for the promotion of the Priest-in-charge of Ledwardine, the Reverend Merrily Watkins. I’m sure she’d do a wonderful job, though there might be blood on the carpet.

Pity she’s fictonal.

Father David
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Father David

I sincerely hope that there won’t be blood on the Hereford carpet. I remember when Maggie Thatcher used that self same phrase when appointing Brandon Jackson to the Deanery at Lincoln. We certainly don’t want or need another disaster like that.

David Runcorn
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David Runcorn

I think it is possible this situation reflects faith not doubt and leadership not indecision. It is certainly more transparent. I leaves me more hopeful not less.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Not sure I agree with +Willesden on the nolo episcopari point. That’s usually taken as a modest refusal of something actually desired. There is little evidence of the first nominated candidate declining the see (and these days with interviews the candidates are asked if they would accept the nomination). In any event, nolo episcopari (a Roman Catholic construct) needs to be seen in the context of 1 Timothy 3:1. No, there are plenty of candidates; the system is not good at developing them. It is certainly true that the pool of suffragan bishops is not highly papabile, but since when… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Anthony Archer “there needs to be gender balance in their episcopal team”. Certainly gender balance in the priestly team is becoming a greater reality and also in the archideaconal team, as more venerable women are being appointed but after 20 years of the priesting of women the Decanal team remains predominantly male, out of 44 dioceses only 5 cathedrals will soon be headed by female Deans (York, Birmingham, Guildford, Salisbury and before too long Norwich). Hardly an avalanche, more of a trickle – I suspect the same will be the case in the episcopate – a slow drip, drip!

David Lamming
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David Lamming

Father David: You’ve left out St Edmundsbury Cathedral where Dr Frances Ward was installed as Dean on 16 October 2010.

Commentator
Guest
Commentator

Will orientation balance come alongside gender? So often there is no question of including a homosexual in a markedly heterosexual group – take the House of Bishops. (lol)

Father David
Guest
Father David

“Will orientation balance come alongside gender?”
Will Jeffrey John be consecrated (long overdue!) before the first woman is ordained a bishop?
Apologies for omitting Frances Ward from among the list of female Very Reverends, which makes 6 out of 44, once Jane Hedges moves to East Anglia.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Will well-connected advocates of equal ordination go to bat on behalf of Jeffrey John & other gay and bisexual clergy? Are they driven by justice, or self-interest?

The deafening silence with which the eight “participant observers” in the House of Bishops greeted the infamous “pastoral advice” doesn’t bode well.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

We, in ACANZP, have to thank the Church of England (and the Holy Spirit) for the fact that we now have our 3rd female Diocesan Bishop in the New Zealand Anglican Church. The Right Reverend Dr Helen-Ann Hartley is the Bishop of Waikato. She was ordained priest in 2005 in the Diocese of Oxford, UK, and served her curacy in a rural team of fifteen parishes. In 2008, she was appointed Tutor in New Testament Studies at Ripon College Cuddesdon, and was involved in the training and formation of ordinands and teaching in the University of Oxford. She was recruited… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Well, James Byron (that’s a famous surname – any relation?) we all know what Dom Gregory Dix said when observing the consecration of a new bishop when all his brother bishops surrounded him in a scrum like huddle. After the disastrous reception given to the publication of the Bishops Pastoral Letter what we need more than anything else is an archbishop with steel in his backbone. What would earn a current Archbishop more Brownie Points, following the P. R. disaster of the recent bishops missive, than all else would be the courage to consecrate Jeffrey John.

Father David
Guest
Father David

So it would seem, Dear Fr. Ron, that if women are seeking preferment to the episcopate then New Zealand is the place to be! I wonder how many Anglican dioceses there are in N. Z. And what percentage 3 female diocesans represent out of the total Kiwi episcopate? Have these female episcopal pioneers achieved equality in numbers yet?

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

There are nine dioceses in the Province of Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia, two of which are currently led by women, Christchurch (Victoria Matthews) and Waikato & Taranaki (Helen-Ann Hartley), where the jurisdiction is currently shared with the Archbishop. There appears to be one vacancy (Waiapu). The reason people talk of three women bishops in NZ is I think because Helen-Ann is the third to have been appointed, the first being Penny Jamieson (who was the first woman to be ordained diocesan bishop in the entire Anglican Communion, not the first woman bishop – that was Barbara Harris, Massachussetts suffragan).… Read more »

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

“The deafening silence with which the eight “participant observers” in the House of Bishops greeted the infamous “pastoral advice” doesn’t bode well.” James Byron Quite. They either all agreed with it – which is bad. Or they all agreed to be silenced – equally bad, or even worse, perhaps. I’ve said before, elsewhere, that I think it is naive to hope that the CNC will suddenly decide to choose women with integrity and backbone as bishops when they (almost without exception) choose spineless ‘company men’ as bishops at present. I’m sure they will manage to find and nominate drippy and/or… Read more »

Robin Ward
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Robin Ward

There is of course a racially segregated episcopate in the Anglican Church in New Zealand

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The New Zealanders will no doubt respond to Robin Ward, but meanwhile the official church website explains it this way http://www.anglican.org.nz/About/History A Revised Constitution The General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui adopted a revised constitution in 1992, which provides an opportunity for each of the three partners, tikanga (= way, style, or cultural model) Maori, tikanga Pakeha (European), tikanga Pasifika, to express its mind as an equal partner in the decision-making process of the General Synod and to exercise mission and ministry to God’s people within the culture of each partner. With the adoption of this constitution, the Church of the Province… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

One of my hobbies is to try and divert whatever the original subject is about onto a different track. It is interesting where the thread can lead to. To take this one from the failure to appoint a bishop for rural Herefordshire all the way to Father Ron’s native New Zealand and a discussion on how many dioceses there are down under and how many are occupied by women bishops is quite remarkable. From the Welsh border to the antipodes – a triumph!

Father David
Guest
Father David

Laurence Cunnington presents us with a pretty harsh picture of the current episcopal leadership of the Established Church and I’m afraid that I have to agree with him. His somewhat unkind view of the Bench is, alas confirmed as each succeeding new dull appointment is announced. In my entire life I have not known such an uninspiring group of nonentities as the current crop of bishops. Maybe the unscriptural and untraditional innovation of women bishops might just add a splash of colour and new life but the silence of the lambs (the eight participant observers) alas indicates otherwise. With so… Read more »

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

The description “drippy/self-interested/company men/spineless” is easy to conjure up. I’m not sure that it’s in any way accurate. But what would I know? It might just translate into “people I don’t like who don’t agree with my theological position”. In which case, try playing the ball, rather than the man. Speaking as someone who would never describe myself as drippy or self-interested or a company man, or spineless, I kind of wonder whether you know anything at all about the House of Bishops. But we’re an easy target – that’s what bishops get. I think it would be helpful to… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Quite correct Bishop Pete in your footballing analogy – to play the ball not the man. Or, as the late great Tony Benn would have it, concentrate on the ishoos (sic) rather than the personalities. But then again it is the personalities who create the issues, so is it all that surprising that the current bench of bishops are proving to be such an easy target when taking into consideration their recent Pastoral Epistle, I wonder what that great writer of letters -St. Paul – would make of your recent offering?

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

“I kind of wonder whether you know anything at all about the House of Bishops.” “I think it would be helpful to disentangle the dislike of the decisions we take from the character assassination – unless you have well-founded grounds for using the adjectives that you do?” Pete Broadbent I know a number of bishops personally and my partner knows many more. The adjectives I used were well chosen – without naming individuals, their position can be characterised typically by their saying and doing one thing in public as bishops and saying and doing something else entirely in private. Others… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“I think this means there are a total of twelve dioceses but I could have misunderstood.” – Simon Sarmiento – Simon, here is the official listing of the Dioceses/Hui Amorangi of our ACANZP: 1. Diocese of Polynesia (Tikanga Pasefika) 2. Te Pohopitanga O Aotearoa (Tikanga Maori) a. Hui Amorangi ki Te Tai Tokerau b. Hui amorangi ki Te Manawa o te Wheke c. Hui amorangi ki Te Tairawhiti d. Hui Amorangi ki Te Upoko o te Ika e. Hui Amorangi ki Te Waipounamu 3. Diocese of Auckland 4. Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki 5. Diocese of Waiapu 6. Diocese of… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Thank God for the Anglican Communion, long may it reign. The C of E would be greatly impoverished without it.

commentator
Guest
commentator

Is Bishop Broadbent in the House of Bishops or the College of Bishops. I’m not sure but I think there is a difference. And is he self-interested when he defends himself as showing none of the unflattering characteristics or not. I’m not quite sure.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

I offer this with some hesitation, but am wondering how news of a press release that I thought showed refreshing transparency and conviction has become such a thoroughly mean-spirited thread? It seems to be open season for a wholesale rubbishing of the present leadership of the CofE. The only bishop named here with respect is nevertheless a ‘bigot’ – but a consistent one. The rest are dismissed en block, un-named but many ‘personally known’. So they know who they are presumably but are judged here without fear of contradiction. The only bishop to respond to this relentless negativity has his… Read more »

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

I’m in the College (all bishops with a see or a licence are in the College). I’m also in the House as an elected suffragan from the Southern Province (the House is a creature of the Convocations and General Synod). As to whether I behave in the ways described – that’s for others to judge. I don’t think that any of the adjectives (drippy/self-interested/company men/spineless) describe me. You’d have to ask those who know me whether I’m self-deluded.

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

@ Pete Broadbent. I don’t flatter myself that you are likely to care what a complete stranger thinks of you, but I did not have you in mind when I made my original comment. It wasn’t a personal attack.

Revd Laurie Roberts
Guest
Revd Laurie Roberts

David Runcorn do you not know, that lgbt folk have a low opinion of the bishops behaviour towards us over many years ?

Why would we want to pretend otherwise ? We tend to be honest, God help us.

Peter Broadbent was also disarmingly honest, when he wrote (above) :

‘There’s also the English cultural issue of priests who evince a mixture of reticence, false modesty and scheming. Many of the best candidates are genuinely nolo episcopari – ‘

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“I don’t think there’s much to learn from ECUSA, thanks.”

Yeah. We aren’t about to adopt your model of top down leadership, either. It seems devoid of spirit and even basic kindness, which can not be said of TEC. Unity with human rights abusers, really? Really?