Monday, 23 January 2006

Bishop of London's well-earned sabbatical

Updated Tuesday morning

The Sunday Times carried this report by Christopher Morgan yesterday: The bishop will be away this Easter…. The Times this morning carried a further report (not by their Religious Affairs correspondent) headlined Where will you find a bishop this Easter? A: In church B: On board a luxury liner.

The fact is that the bishop is having long overdue sabbatical leave, and for this reason would in any case have been absent this Easter. The text of his note today to London clergy appears below.

Stephen Bates in the Guardian reported this matter in a more balanced way in Clerics back bishop taking Easter cruise

Extract from Richard Chartres email to London clergy


You may have seen that the Sunday Times has very kindly advertised the fact of my sabbatical. This is the first in 33 years of ministry and ten years in London and I think I owe it to everyone else to retreat and go away for a while.

Unfortunately, because I am responsible for many things on the General Synod agenda, I cannot begin my sabbatical until February 13. I shall be away for just over two months, returning to duty on 24 April. I am very grateful to colleagues who will deputise for me during the period.

The Senior bishop, the Bishop of Kensington, will be officiating at the Easter Vigil in the Cathedral. I hope I have not left too much to burden very busy people excessively.

This week I am going to the Conference of European Churches in Rome with the Cardinal to participate in the planning of the third European Ecumenical Assembly. After the success of the great grassroots assemblies in Basle and Graz, the third is planned for Sibiu in September 2007. They happen about every ten years and give an opportunity for Christians of all confessions to pray together for Christian witness in Europe….

Tuesday Updates
Ruth Gledhill in The Times Holy sea: Richard Chartres
Tim de Lisle Guardian Vicars of the world, unite

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 23 January 2006 at 12:52pm GMT
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

The Times have changed...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 23 January 2006 at 7:52pm GMT

Oh for goodness sake. Let the Bishop enjoy his sabbatical leave.

The pity is that he has not previously taken a sabbatical leave, and that this one is so brief.

I hope that he will relax and enjoy every minute!

Posted by: The Revd. J. Michael Povey on Monday, 23 January 2006 at 11:07pm GMT

It seems mean spirited of people to criticise the Bishop of London. He is generous to his senior staff and sends them regularly on sabbatical and reading breaks. Also he is good at taking 5-6 week reading breaks roughly every 3 years, and people benefit from him coming back fresh. He cannot be expected to use his long summer holidays for studying, as he has a family with whom to be a husband and father and just relax. I guess Lent must be a good time for him to escape as there are not too many meetings, and he was away last Lent on a similar cruise for a fortnight in the Indian Ocean. People should give him a break (literally) and be thankful for his gifts.

Posted by: Neil on Monday, 23 January 2006 at 11:10pm GMT

What a bizarre reaction by the Amicus official! Wearing my trade union activist and unemployed HRM lecturer hats, I would have thought that this would be a marvellous chance to argue for the extension of such sabbaticals to all clergy.

The mean-spirited reaction of the Murdoch press is rather less surprising.

Posted by: Alan Harrison on Tuesday, 24 January 2006 at 9:28am GMT

You need to recognise that this is a non-story, generated and fuelled by the Sunday Times journalist Christopher Morgan, who has a thing about Swan Hellenic (he often runs "bishops do jollies" stories), and presumably has an axe to grind (perhaps he's never been asked to do a lecture tour). Nobody is complaining about Richard Chartres' sabbatical apart from Morgan. And Amicus' role in all this is curious, since decent employment conditions for the clergy presumably include sabbaticals, which is what the London policy on CME recommends. So they should be arguing in favour of what +Richard is doing.

And we do have six bishops in London, so the absence of the diocesan on sabbatical can be perfectly adequately covered.

Morgan needs to get a life.

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Tuesday, 24 January 2006 at 9:57am GMT

I hope the beer is cold and the sun shines ....

Posted by: Jeremy Timm on Tuesday, 24 January 2006 at 10:07am GMT

So Easter does not count for much any longer in the diocese of London?

Will any cleric in that diocese now be able to go on a luxury cruise over Holy Week and Easter?

Or is it the case that some clerics are more equal than others...

Posted by: Martyn Sandford on Tuesday, 24 January 2006 at 2:29pm GMT

Let the poor bishop have some time off!

Posted by: Kurt on Tuesday, 24 January 2006 at 3:09pm GMT

It is amazing to find so much mean-spiritedness on reasserter blogs by contributors who take a literalist view of Holy Scripture. The Bible as law book makes them very judgmental rather than leaving judgment to God. Now the good Bishop of London has joined the ranks of those who have become the 'poster' boys of abuse: ECUSA's PB, the Bishops of California and Florida.

Posted by: John Henry on Tuesday, 24 January 2006 at 6:51pm GMT

Well, I know that clergy do take sabbaticals over Easter, and the cruise is simply reflecting the fact that he may have something interesting to say.

Talk about a storm in a teacup.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 24 January 2006 at 7:14pm GMT

The Murdoch press seem to have a 'thing' about any kind of sabbatical or study leave. Here in Australia it's not the bishops (I don't think the local Murdoch papers would know a bishop if they tripped over him) - it's the judges.

Posted by: Rodney on Thursday, 26 January 2006 at 12:46am GMT

John Henry wrote "It is amazing to find so much mean-spiritedness on reasserter blogs"

Dear John, Realy ? Where ? I have searched in vain through the main orthodox Christian sites for negative comments.. As far as I'm concerned the sabbatical concept is brilliant, and I've no criticism of +Richard whatever !

Posted by: Dave on Thursday, 26 January 2006 at 6:04pm GMT

Dave, you might read the comments on the same news release on the Titus 1:9 Blog ("How dare a bishop absent himself from his diocese during Holy Week!" would be considered a rather mild-mannered response).

Posted by: John Henry on Thursday, 26 January 2006 at 7:47pm GMT

Dear John Henry, OK Read them. Some people were rather critical! In the original article I also found this quote from Andrew de Berry, of the clergy section of the trade union Amicus, who said the bishop had “lost the plot” and added: “What is he doing leaving the diocese at the most important time of the year? This is about the most discouraging thing he could have done for his clergy.” But I'm not sure Mr de Berry is a "reasserter" who "takes a literalist view of Holy Scripture".. they're not usually the one's found in Amicus ?

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 29 January 2006 at 11:45pm GMT

the Bishop of London tells people that this will be his first sabbatical in over 30 years...what he truthfully should have said is that this is at least his third extended period away (apart from holidays) since becoming a bishop and that this is a jolly GOOD thing.

Posted by: Neil on Thursday, 2 February 2006 at 5:49pm GMT
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