Thursday, 20 November 2014

Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office

Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich: Martin Alan Seeley

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 20 November 2014
Part of: Arts and culture

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Martin Alan Seeley for election as Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Martin Alan Seeley, MA, STM, Principal of Westcott House, Cambridge in the Diocese of Ely, for election as Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich in succession to the Right Reverend William Nigel Stock, BA, on his translation as Bishop at Lambeth on 13 November 2013.

Notes for editors
Martin Seeley is 60, and read geography and then theology at Jesus College, Cambridge, before a year at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. He was awarded the English Fellowship at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and continued his ministerial training there. He served his title at the parish of Bottesford with Ashby, Scunthorpe in Lincoln Diocese from 1978 to 1980. He then returned to New York City where he served as curate at the Church of the Epiphany and Assistant Director of Trinity Institute, Trinity Wall Street, from 1980 to 1985. From 1985 to 1990 he was Executive Director of the Thompson Center, an ecumenical lay and clergy education programme in St Louis, Missouri. He returned to England in 1990 and until 1996 was a Selection Secretary at the Advisory Board of Ministry and Secretary for Continuing Ministerial Education. From 1996 to 2006 he was Vicar of the Isle of Dogs, Tower Hamlets, in the Diocese of London. Since 2006 he has been Principal of Westcott House, Cambridge and also from 2008 Honorary Canon at Ely Cathedral. He has also served as President of the Cambridge Theological Federation for the past 2 years.

He is married to the Reverend Jutta Brueck, Priest in Charge of St James’, Cambridge and they have two children, Anna, 14 and Luke, 11. He is a keen and able cook, and a keen, but less able saxophonist.

The diocesan website has more details: Next Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 20 November 2014 at 10:30am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Oh dear, NOT Jeffrey John, yet again, another opportunity missed! This is the second diocesan appointment recently of someone over 60, Hereford being the other one. I'll wager that the next Dunwich will be a female bishop.

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 20 November 2014 at 12:27pm GMT

Know nothing about him - but in his first appearance on TV since his appointment he appeared to liken the recent and present debates on women's ministry and SSM to 'The Devil whispering "sex" in the Church of England's ear.' Not terribly helpful imagery!

Posted by: stephen Morgan on Thursday, 20 November 2014 at 7:44pm GMT

How marvellous is this? An intellectual catholic joins the House of Bishops at the very moment we all thought they were being excluded to extinction! How did he get past the Wash House box-ticking and vetting system? The St Eds and Ips Vacancy in See committee has led the way in showing the rest of the C of E what it means to make a responsible and imaginative episcopal appointment - and resist the 'corporate' pressures which have dominated these appointment for the past decade. They deserve our heartfelt thanks.

Posted by: Simon R on Friday, 21 November 2014 at 11:44am GMT

Last Monday Tim Allen, who was one of the diocesan representatives on the CNC for St Edmundsbury, made this statement in General Synod:
'Those who are honest and frank enough to live openly in a Civil Partnership, while behaving in the chaste way required by Church law, are, it seems from all the evidence, de facto excluded from the House of Bishops, even when they are eminently qualified to be a bishop . . . It is not law, it is simply prejudice which keeps out of the House of Bishops those men who are gay, chaste, and honest. Such prejudice and discrimination is wrong, even when it is dressed up as a necessary tribute to certain homophobic elements of the Anglican Communion.'

Ruth Gledhill leaked the fact that Jeffrey John was shortlistedfor Eds and Ips weeks ago. It seems obvious that this is Tim Allen's way of telling the world (since he is bound by the CNC's so-called 'confidentiality') that Jeffrey John was blocked from this appointment by pressure put on the CNC not to upset the 'homophobic elements of the Anglican Communion'.

The CNC process stinks. Martin Seeley is a good man, but Tim Allen's statement strongly implies that his appointment depended on the unjust exclusion of someone else.

Posted by: commentator on Friday, 21 November 2014 at 1:14pm GMT

'Such prejudice and discrimination is wrong, even when it is dressed up as a necessary tribute to certain homophobic elements of the Anglican Communion.'

Well said by Tim Allen. I wonder how Synod received these remarks.

The person who talks about the elephant in the room can be subjected to ostracism as a result. Unfortunate, but that's how groups tend to work.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 21 November 2014 at 1:55pm GMT

Simon R's description of this man as an "intellectual catholic" confirms what I thought as soon as I saw that he had been director of the Trinity Institute in New York. I believe that he will be a blessing to his diocese and to the Church.

Posted by: OFW on Friday, 21 November 2014 at 5:46pm GMT

A previous one played the bassoon and this one plays the saxophone. It's time for some diversity! How about some string, brass, and percussion players?

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 21 November 2014 at 6:51pm GMT

Don't worry, Cynthia, one day The Trumpet shall Sound in the Church of England - when the Church wakes up to the need for an openly Gay Bishop. Miracles still do happen - even in the C. of E. Just look at the affirmation of Women as Bishops!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 21 November 2014 at 10:55pm GMT

Dear Father Smith -
The Church of England keeps avoiding the appointment of an honest and open gay man as a bishop. It will delay the day even further now that it can appear righteous in the appointment of women to the episcopate. I also fear that the women that are appointed will not see their exclusion as in anyway related to the exclusion of such open and honest men. They will not raise the issue, rather they will settle in to the 'episcopal lie' as so many of their male predecessors have.

Posted by: commentator on Saturday, 22 November 2014 at 3:11pm GMT

I hadn't picked up the Jeffrey John dimension. While I think Martin Seeley will be a first class bishop (and bring some much needed gravitas to the HofB - especially where clergy training is concerned) this does indeed prove that Welby and Sentamu are still exercising some kind of veto.

Here's an idea. When Viviene Faull, Lucy Winkett or Jane Hedges are offered Southwell and Nottingham, why don't they refuse to accept until Jeffrey is consecrated? Then they will be able to show us that those who have been in the forefront of campaigning for equality of ordination are absolutely, 100%, consistent in everything they are saying about wanting to overcome injustice and 'glass ceilings' in the senior appointments process. I am sure June Osborne (in whose 'Diocese' I live and work) will be equally committed to this principle as the author of a ground-breaking but suppressed report on homosexuality.

Holding my breath, one, two, three...

Posted by: James A on Saturday, 22 November 2014 at 6:49pm GMT

Or better still James why not appoint Jeffrey John as the next Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham? He can then reverse the disastrous Sentamu veto by granting a licence to Jeremy Pemberton to work as a Hospital Chaplain within that diocese.
Although, I'm not holding my breath!

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 22 November 2014 at 7:47pm GMT

"They will not raise the issue, rather they will settle in to the 'episcopal lie' as so many of their male predecessors have."

That's possible. However, it was not our experience in TEC. In fact, back in the 80's or so, there were conservatives who actually said "if we let the women in, we'll never be able to keep the gays out."

It's hard to say. Besides, how much power do bishops, other than the ABC and York, have to elevate priests? Isn't there a CNC that does that?

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 22 November 2014 at 9:17pm GMT

James A,
what are you saying? Let's leave the chaps off the hook and expect the women alone to make even more personal sacrifices and stand up for justice?
I suggest you start breathing again immediately.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 23 November 2014 at 10:43am GMT

Father David,

Great to see you keeping up your completely just campaign. Jeffrey John's treatment is indeed dreadful.

Posted by: John on Sunday, 23 November 2014 at 4:41pm GMT

I think we are expecting more of the women - and it is by way of saying they are better and stronger and more just than those who already inhabit the House of Bishops. They have experience of exclusion and injustice. We are simply asking that they take an active part in continuing the emergence of equality and justice in Church selection processes.
Are you suggesting they should rest on their laurels and leave others to continue to suffer? From your previous posts I would doubt that.

Posted by: commentator on Sunday, 23 November 2014 at 5:11pm GMT

Very pleased to see Canon Seeley appointed; a proper card-carrying liberal catholic. But he is not really an academic theologian. So the CofE still won't appoint one to a bishopric. The scholar-bishop is now extinct in the CofE, which is a great loss to both church and nation. Jefferey John would have ticked this box, as would others. Will the Archbishops and CNC dare to appoint some good theological minds to the Bench of Bishops ever again?

Posted by: Rev Barbara Evans on Sunday, 23 November 2014 at 7:15pm GMT

There are now a lot of liberal catholic diocesan bishops. The whole of the old puritan heartland of East Anglia is a liberal catholic episcopal monopoly: Chelmsford; St Edmundsbury & Ipswich; Norwich; Ely; Lincoln. Elsewhere there are Truro, Exeter, Worcester, Southwark and Manchester. And perhaps Salisbury and Portsmouth. It is surprising that this influence is not felt more.

Posted by: Robin Ward on Sunday, 23 November 2014 at 10:02pm GMT

Several points: I take issue with the idea of expecting sacrifices from one group of people only. We cannot let the men off the hook.
I also don't believe that just because a group of people has suffered oppression they automatically become human rights campaigners for all other causes. 'Women' are not a homogenous group and we have as many different views as men.
Otherwise all black people would be card carrying feminists and Margaret Thatcher would have supported gay rights.

So I expect liberal men and women with a backbone and moral integrity to support Jeffrey John, but I don't expect conservative men and women to do so.
And I don't expect anyone to do this against their own self interest. I will celebrate them if they do, but I will not expect it.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 23 November 2014 at 10:29pm GMT

"There are now a lot of liberal catholic diocesan bishops" and very few traditional catholic diocesan bishops!

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 24 November 2014 at 6:35am GMT

If it is true that Jeffrey John was short listed for the dioceses of Southwark, Exeter and St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich and was not offered any of them despite his eminent suitability to be a Diocesan Bishop does that not seem to suggest that the Church of England is Institutionally Homophobic?

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 24 November 2014 at 9:47pm GMT

I don't think it's unjust to hope for zeal for justice from anyone.
One could argue that it would be more effective for a woman to become bishop and then join Alan Wilson in his very public support for gay equality.

Fundamentally, though, I do struggle with what to me seems to be the stereotype of the women serving and suffering with dignity, as if it was something women were particularly suited to.
Equality means precisely that women are not materially different from men.

I think the other difficulty I have with the proposal is that it is a meaningless gesture unless all women agree not to accept an appointment.
Otherwise, one would be chosen, she would quietly refuse and the CNC would simply move to the next one on the list.
All she would ever be is a female Giles Fraser. Which is a wonderful example to us all, don't get me wrong, but which hasn't changed the church.

Political action like that is only effective if sufficient people participate.

I could imagine:
- all gay priests stopping Sunday services until there is equality. Or all liberal priests – now that would change things!
- all gay/liberal people refusing to pay towards the parish share until there is equality.
- all liberal priest / area bishops refusing to be appointed to a higher role until there is equality....

None of it will happen because you never galvanise everyone at the same time.
But without the participation of everyone, you only ever have gesture politics and no real change.
And that's some sacrifice to expect from any lone individual.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 24 November 2014 at 10:39pm GMT

Lincoln, Truro & Manchester 'Liberal Catholics'? Really? You could have fooled me, Robin. I thought they were just members of SCS (the Society for a Conspiracy of Silence)in the House of Bishops!

Posted by: Geoff Jones on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 at 2:48pm GMT

Thank you. I whole heartedly agree. But too few dare to raise their heads above the parapet, which leaves us with isolated heroes and heroines. Although I still thank God for them.

Posted by: Commentator on Wednesday, 26 November 2014 at 4:33pm GMT
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