Thinking Anglicans

Bishops of Tonbridge and Dorking to retire

Updated Sunday evening

Brian Castle, the suffragan Bishop of Tonbridge in the diocese of Rochester, recently announced that he will retire in the autumn.

I missed the announcement, which I am told was made a couple of weeks ago. This might be because, although it is online at the bishop’s personal website, it has yet to appear on the diocesan website or, so far as I know, anywhere else.

Update

A comment on another entry advises that Ian Brackley, the suffragan Bishop of Dorking in the diocese of Guildford, also announced his retirement last month; he will leave on 30 September 2015. Again this has not yet appeared on the diocesan website, although I have found a brief mention at the end of this item in a local paper.

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Father David
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Father David

To lose the Dean of Rochester and now the Suffragan Bishop of Tonbridge in quick succession – it’s all change among the hierarchy in the diocese of Rochester. The photograph of the Suffragan Bishop and his wife is a very jolly snap – almost demon happy.

Chris Routledge
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Chris Routledge

I’ve had the privilege of knowing Bishop Brian for over 11 years, first as Church Army, then as ordinand, and finally as curate in Rochester Diocese. Very pastoral Bishop who I’m sure will be sadly missed in the Diocese. Blessings to him.

David Green
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David Green

An email was sent out to all Clergy and other associated people about ten days ago, but now that I’ve checked you’re quite right – still nothing on the Diocesan website. I understand Bishop Brian will finish at the end of October.

Father David
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Father David

Apologies for “demon happy” read “demob happy”

Father David
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Father David

I’m wondering what special qualities must a person have to rise from Suffragan to Diocesan? Many are called but few are chosen. Both Dorking and Tonbridge have laboured long and hard as faithful servants of the Lord but neither received their own diocese, even though Dorking was acting Diocesan of Guildford several times during his long and arduous episcopal ministry. But neither, like so many other Suffragans, was offered a diocese. What particular qualities and virtues do members of the CNC look for when selecting Diocesan Bishops?

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

It remains the case that a majority of nominations to diocesan sees are of bishops who have episcopal experience. I noted this when pressing for a review of senior church appointments in 2005 (leading to Talent and Calling – the first Pilling Report). If CNCs regard the suffragan pool of talent as the main fishing ground the Church needs to be very sure of the procedures for appointing suffragans. However, to begin to answer Fr David’s question, clearly given the flat structure of the CoE, only some suffragans will be translated to a diocesan see. Added to that, there have… Read more »

Peter Mullins
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Peter Mullins

I suspect the system is very unsettling for the Suffragans most obviously suitable to become a Diocesan. Several candidates are now invited for interview for each Diocesan vacancy – and each time he or she has to think him or herself fully into the possibility of the appointment for which he or she has not applied. If he or she is good, this may happen more than once or even several times. And each time (in all statistical probability) he or she then has to return to his or her own Suffragan job with continued vocational commitment.

Father David
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Father David

Anthony, thank you for that very full and thoughtful answer to my original question. Your considerable knowledge and experience, which you freely and kindly share on the T. A. Blog, is always worth reading. Unlike the Prime Minster at PMQs each Wednesday, you actually answer the question being asked. For that, grateful thanks.

John
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John

Glad to hear criteria have absolutely nothing to do with ‘must be sound Evangelical and not, not, not gay or even sympathetic to gays’. Such a relief.

Clare
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Clare

There’s another issue too. it is less true than it was 10 or 20 years ago – when the Suffragan bishops in question were appointed to their roles – but it certainly used to be the case that basically a diocesan bishop could ‘choose’ his Suffragan rather than the person concerned having to go through all the CNC hoops. I guess that the qualities required for being chosen by an individual and being the successful candidate for a CNC process (required for diocesans) might be rather different.

Nick Clarke
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The last page of the recent edition of the Diocesan Newspaper carries the news of Ian’s retirement.

Father David
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Father David

How to become a Diocesan Bishop or even how to bag the Top Job:-

After a Miniscule time as Bishop of Durham Justin Welby was invited to attend for interview by the CNC. Apparently he was asked “Why do you want to be Archbishop of Canterbury?” He replied – “I Don’t!” And was offered the job.

RPNewark
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RPNewark

Clare,

The CNC procedure *only* applies to diocesan bishops. It is still the case that suffragan/area bishops are selected by the diocesan with or without the advice/assistance of a group of people selected by the diocesan from the diocese.

Peter Owen
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So it does Nick. You can read it online here:

http://www.cofeguildford.org.uk/about/the-wey/details/the-wey—march-april-2015

But this is the sort of thing that I would expect to find on the News page of the diocesan website.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

The process for nominating suffragan bishops is set out in a guidance note dated January 2009 and which appears not to have been revised since then. Go to: http://www.churchofengland.org/media/35883/sbnom1.doc My sense is that the procedure is followed by each diocesan bishop reasonably closely. However, it would be an interesting piece of work to review the operation of the guidance. For example some bishops are less transparent with the identity and workings of their advisory groups, which ought to be reported to their Bishop’s Councils. The archbishop of the province concerned has an important role, including being satisfied that the process… Read more »

Rev David
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Rev David

Hmm, interesting that people are worried the criteria is that you must be evangelical… Like some many other bishops, these are both Cuddesdon men!