Thursday, 3 July 2014

Presiding Bishop visits St Albans and Oxford

Updated Friday evening

The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church recently visited St Albans and Oxford.

At St Albans she preached at the Alban Pilgrimage.

ENS Video: Presiding Bishop preaches at Alban Pilgrimage

ENS Video: Alban Pilgrimage pays tribute to Britain’s first Christian martyr

At Oxford, she preached at the University Church and received an honorary degree from Oxford University.

ENS Presiding Bishop preaches in Oxford

ENS Presiding Bishop receives honorary degree from Oxford University

The citation for the degree can be seen here.

The Church Times carries this interview with her, conducted by Paul Handley ‘A long process of liberation’.

Lucy Davis of WATCH has written Wonderful, inspiring day in St Albans with Bishop Katharine.

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Categorised as: Church of England | ECUSA

There is a good account (with pictures) of the St Albans visit on the WATCH website:

Posted by: Charles Read on Friday, 4 July 2014 at 10:42am BST

I met her when she came to Southwark. I find her a wonderful, inspiring person.

In many ways, I look to The Episcopal Church for leadership and identity.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Friday, 4 July 2014 at 2:33pm BST

A felicitous synchronicity :)

I posted my little remark before the previous post had gone up, and exactly the same combination of words occurs in both posts:

wonderful, inspiring

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Friday, 4 July 2014 at 5:59pm BST

I see from the pictures in the account Charles Read refers to above that Bishop Katharine was wearing a mitre - wasn't there some issue on previous visits about her not being allowed to do so?

Posted by: peter kettle on Friday, 4 July 2014 at 9:15pm BST

Women? In England? As Bishops? Wearing a mitre?
Why, next thing you know, they'll think they can run the country!
Oh, wait ...

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Friday, 4 July 2014 at 11:36pm BST

"The really moving thing was that it didn’t feel peculiar to be in the presence of a female bishop."

Because it's not peculiar. It's God-givenly ordinary. TBTG!

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 5 July 2014 at 12:28am BST

Oh, this interview might be worth some discussion in the Episcopal Church. With talk of reform and reorganization going on, and some questions about whether our bishops are trying to take some power from the laity, it may not be a good thing to have a Presiding Bishop say that she believes that appointing bishops is better than electing them. I hope that someone asks her to explain this statement. This is, if a true quote, not good.

Posted by: Dennis on Saturday, 5 July 2014 at 6:53am BST

A far better reception of the TEC Presiding Bishop than afforded to her on a previous visit to the UK, when she had to carry her mitre, rather than wearing it in procession - for fear she should embarrass the all-male House of Bishops in England.

Can't wait for Mother Church to come up to speed with the Pauline advice: "In Christ, there is neither male nor female" - in this important aspect of shared ministry in the Church of England.

Grateful thanks to St. Albans' Bishop, Dean and people, and to the authorities at Oxford University for according Bishop Katharine the right to preach the Gospel in England.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 5 July 2014 at 11:25am BST

"I hope that someone asks her to explain this statement. This is, if a true quote, not good."

She has a point, Dennis, in that men are way over represented as bishops and rectors compared to the numbers of female priests. I wouldn't agree with the nominating process, it clearly has created a huge division between the laity and the leadership in the CoE. The election process has allowed TEC to hold a wider latitude of diverse views. But it is disturbing that more women aren't elected. I'm sure that time will heal this eventually, but it is a loss for the church in the meantime.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 5 July 2014 at 4:03pm BST

It's a pity that only Commonwealth citizens can (at least theoretically) have a chance of becoming Primate of All England, due to the requirements of allegiance to the Queen, House of Lords, etc.

That notwithstanding Katharine Jefferts Schori falls into the category of being one of the finest Archbishops of Canterbury that we never had a chance to have.

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Saturday, 5 July 2014 at 8:05pm BST

Concerned Anglican, may I ask what she's done in her tenure that makes you so jealous? The buildings in the CoE are already owned by the national church, so that problem's taken care of. Allowing women and gay bishops and gay marriage weren't her call. Those were the General Convention's. It seems like her actions are to make TEC more like the CoE i.e. more centralized power for her office and the offices in 815 through lawsuits, rewriting bylaws of the church and organizations near to, but not actually part of the church so that they are controlled by headquarters, and now it seems she wants the church to dictate bishops and rectors to the laity--the very thing that Yanks here are always promoting as better than the English system. Unless what you really want is the expulsion of all conservatives from the church, then she's been pretty successful at giving them reasons to leave. Healing divisions within the church? No.

I find it interesting that many of her strongest supporters in TEC don't sound like they want her to have a second term as PB, though she is eligible. If she's that wonderful, why not?

Posted by: Chris H on Sunday, 6 July 2014 at 2:52am BST

I mean no disrespect to the visiting presiding bishop but her period in charge in the US has not been without very considerable internal conflict and division has it? An estimated $34M spent pursuing traditionalist parts of that church through the courts and further conflicts over property.

Posted by: David Runcorn on Sunday, 6 July 2014 at 6:47pm BST

It's money well spent David.

Posted by: Observer on Sunday, 6 July 2014 at 8:12pm BST

"[H]er period in charge in the US has not been without very considerable internal conflict and division has it?"

You could say the same thing about Archbishops Williams and Welby.

And we don't know whether the tide of litigation will hit UK shores. If it does, the CofE will probably look to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, and TEC more generally, for lessons in self-defense.

Posted by: Jeremy on Monday, 7 July 2014 at 12:53am BST

Yes, how dare she try to stop people from stealing things! Though she has a legal and fiduciary duty to protect the possessions of the church as an officer of a non-profit corporation, the scandal of conflict is all that matters. Such considerable conflict. Why, I'll bet that once the schismatics try to walk away with parishes and property the Commissioners of the Church of England will decide to let them go with whatever they want to prevent controversy. That is obviously what would happen, no?

"I mean no disrespect to the visiting presiding bishop but her period in charge in the US has not been without very considerable internal conflict and division has it? An estimated $34M spent pursuing traditionalist parts of that church through the courts and further conflicts over property." - David Runcorn

Posted by: Dennis on Monday, 7 July 2014 at 3:20am BST

Many of us would be absolutely delighted if our PB were to consider a second term. Many of the critical comments about her come from misogynists, schismatics, and others who have treated her with utter contempt and at least verbal abuse – most notably in the region claiming to be the former Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. I seriously doubt if any male presiding bishop would have exceeded her grace and wisdom in dealing with such outlandish behavior. It is about time that the wider Anglican Communion hears the truth about this. Personally, I feel that she deserves a rest from this, but I imagine that she will at least consider the possibility of seeking to continue, despite the above. My prayers go with her.
[The Rev'd] Robert McCloskey

Posted by: Robert McCloskey on Monday, 7 July 2014 at 3:31am BST

I would say the leadership has been guilty of some poor planning and poor responses to some of the happenings within TEC over the last decade.
But the decision of some ex-episcopalians to retain possession of the property and assets they formerly enjoyed as members of TEC left the leadership of TEC no choice but to regain their lawful property.
One has to admire those who have left TEC and walked away empty handed. The others have done harm to themselves and those who they left behind, what a waste of their energy!
The court cases are a scandal, but TEC would have been in great trouble had they allowed their assets to be removed and subverted. The same would apply to a charity here in the UK.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 9 July 2014 at 12:32am BST

Martin, many denominations have agreements in place where in the case of a parish/congregations disagreement with the church organization the supermajority gets the property. In many cases in TEC the deed was in the parish name, not the national organization who of course has never given a dime to owning the properties in the first place. I'm not sure how much more trouble TEC would have been in if they had let them go without spending $40 million+ on lawsuits. TEC doesn't have direct use of those properties anyway and around here is having trouble selling property nobody wants. Even in parishes here that are loyal to TEC giving to the church and diocese without earmarks or demands on use are way down. Nobody actually wants to give to a church that is going to change its doctrine down the line and become something the giver didn't intend or take the gift and use it to pay lawyers to sue their friends down the road. On the other hand a couple of parishes in Oregon split peacefully this week without the legal drama. TEC's lawyers in NY are probably crying about lost millions...

Posted by: Chris H on Wednesday, 9 July 2014 at 6:06pm BST

David Runcorn might usefully reflect on the parishes of St Charles, Poulsbo, and Grace by the Sea, Oak Harbor in the diocese of Olympia. The story of their departure from TEC is a model of decency.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 9 July 2014 at 9:00pm BST

Martin Reynolds
Thank you for offering a degree of critical realism into this discussion about the TEC story.
And yes I was asking for some actual information to base impressions on. So thank you. Is there a way I can access these stories from my corner of the world?

Posted by: David Runcorn on Thursday, 10 July 2014 at 11:33am BST
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