Saturday, 19 July 2014

Bishop of Edmonton to retire

Updated

Peter Wheatley, the area bishop of Edmonton in the diocese of London has announced that he will retire at the end of the year.

There is nothing about this as yet on the London diocesan website, but we have seen a copy of the letter sent by the bishop to clergy in the Edmonton Area announcing his retirement.

Update 23 July

An announcement of the bishop’s retirement was posted on the diocesan website today: The Bishop of Edmonton announces his retirement.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 12:24pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

You had me worried there for a moment. The Bishop of Edmonton, to me, is Jane Alexander - my bishop!

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 12:27pm BST

He made an announcement at the London Diocesan Synod on Thursday evening.

Posted by: Susan Cooper on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 1:32pm BST

Does anyone know when it will be officially announced on the London Diocese website?

We all knew that it was on it's way but I can't help but be saddened by this news - He is a faithful Pastor and man of prayer, he will be missed

Posted by: Luke Harvey on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 3:48pm BST

An interesting appointment to be made.He is the only London Area Bishop who doesn't ordain women priests.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 4:41pm BST

Perry, aren't you forgetting the Bishop of Fulham who also along with the Bishop of London doesn't ordain women to the priesthood? It will be interesting to see whether or not the successor to the Bishop of Edmonton will or will not ordain women to the priesthood?
I have heard on the Anglican Grapevine that the soon to be retiring Bishop of Burnley (one of only two bishops to vote against the recent women bishops Measure) will be succeeded by a Traditionalist thus offering a much needed balance in the diocese of Blackburn.

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 7:20pm BST

Fulham and Bishop Peter dont

Posted by: Malcolm Gray on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 7:27pm BST

I agree with you Perry - It is indeed an very interesting appointment to be made.

I am sure that the next Bishop of Edmonton will be from the Traditionalist Catholic wing of the Church of England.

I am hoping that the role will be offered to Fr Philip North... I think he would fit in better as a Bishop in the Diocese of London and in the Edmonton Area

Posted by: Graham Williams on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 7:33pm BST

What a brilliant suggestion from Graham Williams. Following Father Philip North's reprehensible rejection by certain Cleveland Christians, he would be a first rate successor to Peter Wheatley as the next Bishop of Edmonton. Not only is he an excellent Catholic priest but also a great Evangelist and caring Pastor. Many pilgrims to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham know that Father Philip would make a wonderful pastoral bishop.

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 9:24pm BST

I deliberately said Area Bishop Father David. +Fulham ministers specifically to parishes who do not accept women priests...+Edmonton ministers to all hundred or so parishes in his Episcopal Area...a somewhat different ministry.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 9:28pm BST

Hmm, ok I think we've discussed the women priests issue; what interests me is whether PW will leave the Andrew Cain marriage issue unresolved - or will it be handed on to his 'lucky' successor?!

Posted by: peter kettle on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 10:06pm BST

Ah yes, the London Plan of 1994, brilliantly masterminded by Bishop David Hope, now having successfully been in operation for the last twenty years. An excellent solution to a difficulty that has significantly increased since the July 14th vote.

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 10:51pm BST

I have to confess that I find the way the Church of England has enshrined discrimination in its life quite nauseating. Call it theological differences, call it differing integrities; I am completely unconvinced. I have never yet heard a single argument from ultra-montane Anglos or "headship" Evos that seems to hold a teaspoon of water. To my ears it sounds like misogyny pure and simple.

This discussion has been men talking to other men about how another man can be given a job so that men can be sure that men will not have to cope with women priests. Why I, or anyone else, should be expected to give this position an honoured place in anything when they exclude half the human race is beyond me. I don't honour them or respect them, and I never will.

Society stopped permitting these things nearly forty years ago. Of course people found it hard to adjust, but the law is a good teacher. There was a huge hullaballoo about wearing seat belts until it became compulsory; then everyone (mostly) did it. Not acting in a racist or sexist way was the same. It still needs fighting for, but it is a basic legal and social given. Accepting men and women equally in the church and its structures would work exactly the same - but permitting discriminatory opt outs ad infinitum is only going to encourage people to carry on discriminating. Dressing it up in nice words won't hide the reality from the eyes of the world.

If the Church of England thinks it is going to be able to speak with a convincing, attractive and honoured voice to our society until it has sorted out its attitude to a number of discriminations it is fooling itself. Not discriminating on grounds of race, gender, ability and sexuality is just a baseline position in England now. All kinds of good work may go on in all kinds of parishes - including the Con Evo and Anglo-Banglo ones - but until we embrace totally non-discriminatory practices in our church then the Good News will not be heard.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 7:55am BST

The CNC should be very careful not to create theological ghettoes.

Just because a diocese has had an area bishop of one particular theological persuasion, does not mean that the next bishop should hold the same views.

Appointing bishops of consistent views to a diocese is the best way to ensure that the diocese entrenches itself theologically, and regards itself as distinct from the larger church.

Posted by: Jeremy on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 12:22pm BST

Peter is a great colleague - and we still have 5 more months of his ministry. The London Plan continues - and the Diocese of London isn't about to renege on its commitment to the ministry of women clergy, nor its commitment to those who can't yet receive it. That's the deal; anyone serving in London is aware of it.

The next appointment is nothing to do with the CNC. It'll be for Bishop Richard, with consultation and advice. Part of the consultation must involve whether it's advisable for the next bishop to be an ordainer of women or not.

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 2:16pm BST

There will presumably be some time of discussion/bureaucratic time-wasting before Edmonton can be filled - if until November, then a rather more basic way of diversifying episcopal ministry in London will be possible! Rachel Treweek or Lucy Winkett, perhaps?

Posted by: Neil Patterson on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 2:34pm BST

"Appointing bishops of consistent views to a diocese is the best way to ensure that the diocese entrenches itself theologically"
So, where does that leave the diocese of Chichester? When the Diocesan Synod voted on the Measure regarding Women in the Episcopacy, one bishop voted against (Chichester), one bishop voted in favour (Lewes) and one bishop abstained (Horsham). Soon after the vote was taken it was announced that a female Archdeacon of Horsham was to be appointed so that, perhaps, goes part of the way to explaining the abstention. But it hardly gives a consistent lead from the three bishops let alone gives any indication of theological entrenchment among the episcopal leadership within the diocese.

Posted by: Father David on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 2:48pm BST

I am not sure what is meant by 'a difficulty that has increased significantly since 14th July'

I have returned from Synod eager to make sure that people are aware of the excellent atmosphere in General Synod and during the Final Approval debate for the women bishops measure. The whole package involves everybody respecting everyone else and enabling them to flourish.

I do not understand that there is more difficulty after 14 July than there was before. In fact, I would expect there to be less difficulty.

People can stop posturing and get on with the mission of the church and spreading the Good News.

Posted by: Susan Cooper on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 3:44pm BST

"London is already top heavy with bishops who won't ordain women to the priesthood. It's time for the diocese to be more reflective of the wider church and to stop perpetuating enclaves." - Posted by: Concerned Anglican

I am not sure that you know the Diocese of London, very well - The Diocese of London has one Area Bishop who won't ordain women to the Priesthood; one Suffragan Bishop who won't ordain women to the Priesthood; a Diocesan who on the grounds of being a focus of unity he won't ordain women to the Priesthood then we have three Bishops who will ordain women to the Priesthood.

London is not top-heavy but rather balanced and we are very grateful for this in the Diocese of London.

Probably based on the arrangements set out in The London Plan, I think Bishop Peter's successor will be a Traditionalist Catholic but someone who like Bishop Peter has been very supportive and encouraging of the ministry of female clergy in his Area.

Hence I believe that a person like Fr Philip North will be a huge asset to the Edmonton Episcopal Area as Bishop - Fair enough he is against but very supportive but when you put his theological views aside, he is a prayerful and caring Pastor just like Bishop Peter

Posted by: Graham Williams on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 4:00pm BST

Well Susan, perhaps some words of the Primate of All England might help to clarify things. In writing to the leaders of our ecumenical partner Churches, Justin says that allowing women into the episcopate will be a "further difficulty" on the road to unity with other churches. In spite of all the welcome talk at General Synod about "trust" and "mutual flourishing" the July 14th vote hardly enhances the internal unity of the Established Church.

Posted by: Father David on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 4:59pm BST

Graham: So 50% of London bishops won't ordain women including what feels like a rather disingenuous 'focus of unity' in the diocesan himself.

That is scarily unlike most of the Church of England. Do 50% of the clergy and laity in the diocese of London not support the ordination of women either?

As for 'putting aside theological views' why can't that apply to a bishop for the Edmonton Area who will ordain women and care pastorally for those who don't like the idea? It cuts both ways.

Posted by: Observer on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 5:20pm BST

Jeremy Pemberton is wrong if he restricts the opposition to gay relationships and ss marriage, to just con evos. There are plenty of mod evos( who supported women bishops), who are equally opposed, if not a little nuanced.

As I say the only hope the liberals have is making the Synod more representative.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 5:40pm BST

Surely whether a bishop ordains women or not is but one factor in his suitability (one of the last occasions when the male pronoun can be used, happily)? While Edmonton is the most Catholic of the Areas in London, the mission of the church needs a man of broad sympathies. What is of course almost a given is that the priest concerned is pretty much guaranteed to already be serving in the diocese, much to its detriment.

Posted by: Simon Butler on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 5:51pm BST

Great post from Susan Cooper. As I myself have said several times now, it really is time for people to 'get a grip'.

Posted by: John on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 7:10pm BST

1. On Monday the Bishop of Chichester voted against the women Bishops' measure.

2. Afterwards the Bishop issued a statement which has subsequently been reprinted this morning in the Cathedral's weekly leaflet:

'The decision...will widely be greeted with huge relief, ending a prolonged period of uncertainty and introspection...'
'...today's decision will be received as an overwhelming affirmation of women, and their dignity, of their ordained ministry and the gifts that God has given the Church through them'.

Is this an example of what I believe is called 'cognitive dissonance'?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 9:59pm BST

I am really distressed by Father David's post. The atmosphere at General Synod was about trusting the future and making sure that all strands of the church continue to flourish. This, most of us are anxious to do. But the trust and respect are needed in both directions for it to work. Father David's post sounds like he is abandoning the trust before anyone has had time to do anything. Tell me this is not true.

Posted by: Susan Cooper on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 11:07pm BST

Dear Susan, I certainly have no desire to distress you and if you carefully read my last post you will see that I welcome all the talk of "trust" and "mutual flourishing" but as Archbishop Justin himself has said the future within our Church is not going to be without its difficulties and we must surely be aware of that. I genuinely hope that the words spoken at the last session of the General Synod result in action and that the Five Principles meet with due success. At the same time I am sure that you also have no desire to cause me distress as I have no real desire to suffer from "cognitive dissonance", for which there is no known cure!
So, Burnley and Chichester voted against the Measure, which bishop abstained? Was it the Bishop of London?

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 21 July 2014 at 6:12am BST

"Is this an example of what I believe is called 'cognitive dissonance'?"

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Sunday, 20 July

OR, maybe, 'Sheep and Goats' - both being allowed to live together for the time being.

And then, there's the parable of 'Wheat and Tares'.

'Cognitive dissonance' or plain hypocrisy?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 21 July 2014 at 6:37am BST

Fr David 20 July 4.59pm
" Justin says that allowing women into the episcopate will be a "further difficulty" on the road to unity with other churches. "

Some other churches - yes, as things stand. By no means all. Speaking on Monday evening with a Methodist minister just after the vote, he opined that if the measure had again failed, that would end the present "unification" discussions between his church and the C of E.

The C of E is not perfect but as a whole it couldn't be described as intransigent, psychologically buttoned-up or hidebound by institutional control. If anyone really wants such a system, there are options available, and these of course do not officially anticipate ordaining women to ministry. (But they will one day!)

Posted by: Sister Mary on Monday, 21 July 2014 at 6:56am BST

Fr. Ron Yes, but who are the sheep and the wheat and who do you suggest are the goats and the tares, for we all know what happened in the end to the latter?
As for Sister Mary's crystal ball, the strong statements issued post July 14th by the Great Churches of East and West don't suggest to me that they will be in any great hurry to embrace this post-Apostolic innovation.
Not only has the C of E come at long last come to a decision on women bishops but even more importantly after centuries of sitting on the fence it has also firmly decided which side of the Catholic/Reformed divide it is on. Once the first woman bishop is consecrated the Established Church will have placed itself firmly in the Protestant camp and will have waved Goodbye to the Rock from which we were hewn.

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 at 5:00am BST

'Not only has the C of E come at long last come to a decision on women bishops but even more importantly after centuries of sitting on the fence it has also firmly decided which side of the Catholic/Reformed divide it is on. Once the first woman bishop is consecrated the Established Church will have placed itself firmly in the Protestant camp and will have waved Goodbye to the Rock from which we were hewn.'

Have to say I think this is poppy-cock. It also makes me and the many people like me wonder why we have wasted so much time and energy arguing for just provision for so-called Traditionalists. It also seems to me grossly irresponsible because the very last thing we need is to keep this particular pot boiling. Finally, anyone who genuinely holds this view (as opposed to mere posturing, mischievous as it is) has no excuse for not leaving this church immediately.

Posted by: John on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 at 8:38am BST

> 'Not only has the C of E come at long last come to a decision on women bishops but even more importantly after centuries of sitting on the fence it has also firmly decided which side of the Catholic/Reformed divide it is on. Once the first woman bishop is consecrated the Established Church will have placed itself firmly in the Protestant camp and will have waved Goodbye to the Rock from which we were hewn.'

> Have to say I think this is poppy-cock.

Why do you think so? The General Synod of the Church of England has now, of its own free choice, ruled out reunion with Rome and Orthodoxy for all time to come. If that usn't putting itself firmly in the Protestant camp, what is?

Posted by: RJ on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 at 10:27am BST

I am sorry to see that this thread has been diverted into a reopening of the women bishops issue I'd hoped had been finally resolved.
Turning it back to + Peter, I would like to pay tribute to him for the way in which he stood in for the Bishop of Fulham for more than two years during the vacancy following the controversial departure to Rome of Mgr Broadhurst. This greatly increased his own workload at a time when he was not in the best of health, but nevertheless he ministered faithfully and wisely to many Res C parishes in Southwark, Rochester and London dioceses, as well as the parishes in his own Area.
I wish him a long and happy retirement.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 at 10:39am BST

" Once the first woman bishop is consecrated the Established Church will have placed itself firmly in the Protestant camp and will have waved Goodbye to the Rock from which we were hewn." - Fr. David -

Dear Father, you, above all, should know that the Petrine Rock is humanly fallible. The true Rock of our salvation is none other than Jesus, Son of God. There is salvation in none other!

It was well known that the first Peter resisted the reforming zeal of Paul on several issues. So the Church has moved on from Petrine Supremacy.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 at 11:03am BST

Dear John, may I respectfully refer you to the instant responses of the representatives from the Roman Catholic And Orthodox Churches to the July 14th vote? Do you also regard these as "poppy-cock"?
Alas your mask of "trust" and "mutual flourishing" has already began to slip when you state that those who disagree with you should leave our church "immediately".

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 at 11:08am BST

Father David,

I do not regard the responses of the two ecclesiastical communities you mention as 'poppy-cock', though I do certainly think (know) that at least the first is grievously out of step with most of its flock, on this, as on many other things. I do regard your claim as 'poppy-cock'. As for 'mutual flourishing', I am all in favour of it - and have said so many, many times on TA, to liberals as well as to traditionalists - but 'mutual flourishing' requires that both sides stop abusing the other. This you conspicuously refuse to do. Such churlishness contrasts most eloquently with the words and behaviour of many other 'Traditionalists' (Warner, Hope, Baker, North, etc. etc.), who shoulder their burden within the C of E manfully. Their position, however, is radically different from yours. Theirs is honourable - yours isn't. That's a pity, but it's up to you.

Posted by: John on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 at 2:51pm BST

> I am sorry to see that this thread has been diverted into a reopening of the women bishops issue I'd hoped had been finally resolved.

How can it have been finally resolved, when most of the world's Christians are against it and (because Rome has spoken infallibly on the subject) will always remain so? The Church of England has a disconcerting habit of thinking of itself as "the Church", rather than just as a tiny part of it.

Posted by: RJ on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 at 4:02pm BST

Brother John, I find the remarks in your recent email quite inconsistent. I was making exactly the same point as that contained in the official response from the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches and yet you don't seem to realise the contradictory nature of what you have written. As for the personal abuse, I forgive you.

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 at 4:20pm BST

It is one thing to say that the appointment of women bishops makes 'unity' with the RC and Orthodox churches more difficult (though note that the Pope himself recently did not seem to think that it made it impossible). It is another to say (as you seem to do) that their appointment will make the C of E decisively Protestant. But if that is the case, you ought in conscience to leave, ought you not? Other 'traditionalists' (such as the ones I mentioned) do not seem to share your description of the C of E. As for 'personal abuse', I wonder if you would like to admit that 'those who disagree with you should leave our church "immediately"' is a gross misrepresentation of my position on this, as on countless other occasions on TA. By contrast, endlessly harping on about fundamental disagreements is (a) destructive; (b) stupid; and (c) not likely to maintain the goodwill of those whom you anyway dismiss as 'Protestants'.

Posted by: John on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 at 5:39pm BST

Having spent my entire ministry seeking to grow the Church and extend Christ's Kingdom within the C of E, personally I don't desire or seek to ask anyone to leave the Church and would expect that courtesy to be mutual on the part of others towards those from whom they differ.

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 5:28am BST

"How can it have been finally resolved, when most of the world's Christians are against it and (because Rome has spoken infallibly on the subject) will always remain so?"

This spat is still continuing on TA, but it is no more realistic than the fervent advice to sabotage the vote was a week ago, or the overheated discussion about women priests in the weeks leading up to it.

Look up for a moment. The CoE has decided long ago that women can be priests and bishops. Whether anyone thinks it should have decided that is irrelevant. It did.
The run up to Synod was calm and measured, most groups within the church had come out in favour of the proposals.
The debate in Synod was predictable but polite.
The vote was entirely as expected.
The CoE will now have women bishops. There will be provisions for those who cannot cope with that.
And there is complete calm about this.

We can stop this debate now. It is no longer happening anywhere but on some internet fora and it is now completely irrelevant.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 9:16am BST

Father David, I wonder if you would agree that, for the Roman Catholic Church to be consistent on its opposition to women as bishops in the Church of
England, it would have to consider the possibility the our male bishops are actually bishops and our male clergy, priests?

Also; do you think there would ever be re-union with Rome while she denies the validity of the Clerical Orders of the C.of E.? Rome has certainly not shown any willingness to revoke Pope Leo's embargo against Anglican Orders in the past. Why should they be so concerned about them now?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 10:24am BST

This thread has wandered rather far from the original topic of the retirement of a particular bishop. Which leads naturally enough to a legitimate discussion of who might succeed him, and the implications thereof.

But please let's not wander further afield. And let's be polite.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 10:43am BST

On another thread the Revd Canon Peter Edwards made a very pertinent comment:

'For myself, I really couldn't give a monkey's about the opinions of those who think the C of E did something regrettable last week - or 20+ years ago. That includes those who were never members, rarely seen but not unknown on TA; those who have left, but still haunt the battlements of thinking Anglican opinion; and those, almost daily on TA, who are still in the C of E and still banging on about how far down the drain we've gone. Stay and play nicely within the new climate of benevolent trust which has yet to be put into practice; or don't stay. But the new rules say explicitly that it's time to STOP denying (or being mealy-mouthed) about the reality that women can now indeed be in all 3 Holy Orders.'

Trenchantly put. I wouldn't go quite as far myself. But those who keep criticising the C of E and/or who regard themselves as (in their sense) Catholic and the C of E now as irredeemably Protestant (in their sense) should get out, otherwise their position is dishonourable (as well as extremely tedious for the rest of us, who are trying to make things work).

Posted by: John on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 11:32am BST

Thank you, Simon, for calling this thread to order, which my earlier attempt to do so clearly failed to achieve.
For the record, although I do pay tribute to +Peter's faithful and wise ministry, and wish him well in his retirement, I also hope that his successor will ordain women. As I have said before in earlier threads, I don't think it's acceptable any more to require women priests to swear obedience to bishops who doubt the validity of their orders, and that applies to suffragan bishops holding devolved responsibility for particular areas, as well as to diocesans. Keep the PEVs, and 'para-PEVs' like Fulham, by all means, but don't perpetuate other pockets of episcopal dissension.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 11:40am BST

Malcolm: +Peter's successor will not ordain women... +London and his team have a clear vision for the running and growth of the Diocese of London... The London Plan and its arrangements is an integral part of their vision.

A female Bishop would be better placed in Kensington or Willesden but appointing a female bishop to the Edmonton would be unwise for a number of reasons - We must look past seeking to appoint female bishops to any Suffragan/Diocesan See that becomes available but look at what works for each Diocese and the arrangements it has in place.

The current arrangements in the Diocese of London have worked and continue to work after 20 years, so unless anything major should happen - It will continue

Posted by: Graham Williams on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 1:09pm BST

Graham: I was not for a moment suggesting a female bishop for Edmonton - that would certainly be a bridge too far at this stage (but in God's good time, who knows?). You seem very certain about the outcome of this appointment, whereas I was only expressing my personal preferences and I claim no inside knowledge of how the London Plan works. The Rev'd Dr Perry Butler however, who first raised the question of +Peter's successor in this thread, and who knows a great deal about the workings of the diocese of London, clearly does not see the outcome as so certain.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 10:37am BST

There's a link to the interim London Plan here: http://www.london.anglican.org/about/the-london-plan/the-london-plan/

I've just finished Draft 4 of the new version (to be compliant with the new Measure and House of Bishops' Declaration), and we (ie the London College of Bishops) would hope to be signing this off soon along with the documentation for the Dioceses Commission in order to make the case for an appointment to the See of Edmonton. As I said earlier in the thread, no view has yet been taken in relation to the particular position of the next bishop on the priestly and episcopal ministry of women.

What matters most in my view is that the next Bishop should be a person of generous orthodoxy and missional zeal, committed to CV 2020 - our Diocesan vision for mission. http://www.london.anglican.org/mission/capital-vision-2020/

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 6:32pm BST
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