Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Bishop of London to retire

The diocese of London has announced that Dr Richard Chartres is to retire as Bishop of London on Tuesday 28 February 2017. The Bishop writes:

After consultation with the Archbishop I am writing to let you know about the timetable for my retirement. It is business as usual until Christmas, after which I shall hope to clear my desk of more than twenty years’ worth of accumulated debris. The intention is that my last public engagement as Bishop of London will be in the Cathedral at Candlemas, February 2nd 2017, the day when Simeon was granted a vision of Christ in the Temple and prayed “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.” My formal resignation will be dated from the end of the month on Shrove Tuesday.

Her Majesty the Queen has graciously indicated that I should remain as Dean of HM Chapels Royal until the appointment of the 133rd Bishop of London.

Read the press release here.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 11:42am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

I know it's naughty, and I wish the Bishop well, but I always think of him (in his stage presence and proclamation) as the Brian Blessed of the Church of England.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 12:40pm BST

Who next? Any guesses? Looking around the field isn't large.A surprise I wonder?

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 2:14pm BST

The appointment is extremely important and will be a bell-weather for the direction of the Church of England.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 2:28pm BST

The best Archbishop of Canterbury we never had!

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 3:28pm BST

I am sure Anthony Archer will correct all of us about our guesses considering he is the CNC but I'd suspect as a member of the Diocese of London and hearing the rumours going round that it will be +Adrian Stepney; +Philip Burnley, +Mark Horsham or +Stephen Chelmsford.

Its unlikely that it would be a woman this time round and I suspect that they'll try to keep +London as a Catholic Bishop; whether that's Liberal or Traditionalist remains to be seen

Posted by: Graham Williams on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 3:36pm BST

Any acting bishop/commissary news?

Posted by: DBD on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 3:38pm BST

Well, that scotches the rumour that he might have stayed until his 71st birthday, July 2018! Shame really because he is still in full flight and the CofE has enough on its plate without needing to nominate the third highest ranking bishop in the land. History will be kind to him. His episcopal ministry has been forceful and clear. Wish that other diocesans could take a leaf out of his book. However, his inability to ordain women as priests will be keenly noted when it comes to preparing the statement of needs for the diocese. Historically, the see has been filled by the translation of a diocesan, not of course his background. Were that to happen, there is only one candidate who is a non-ordainer. The exciting prospect of course is that his successor is a woman. It is an ideal diocese for such an appointment, with the strongest area scheme of any diocese.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 3:40pm BST

Personally I'd like to see someone already ministering in London to be appointed as the new Bishop. Stepney would be outstanding.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 5:33pm BST

Interesting to note that Treweek will have completed two years in Gloucester by the time the next London would take their post.

Posted by: DBD on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 6:17pm BST

Graham, that is a list of white men, probably all married and all straight. There was a huge fuss this year about a lack of diversity at the Oscars and if the church thinks it is immune from such criticism it is living in the past.

Posted by: Kate on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 6:34pm BST

Above all I'll miss the finest speaking voice in the College of Bishops!

In all the furore about the Green Report and whether we have a theology of episcopacy or just a model of management, the Bishop of London has been a shining light. He has collaborated really successfully with experts in finance and education to lead a really complicated diocese without ever ceasing to be, first and foremost, a Bishop and pastor. When I fell apart as an ordinand on his watch he was outstanding.

The game of guess-the-successor is all the more fascinating for being unobvious. There's a precedent for +Stepney of course. +Horsham is now willing to ordain women, so that would be an interesting balance of progress and continued catholicity. But it's a heck of a step up.

Posted by: James Allport on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 7:47pm BST

"Brian Blessed of the Church of England" nails it, Susannah!

Chartres has character and integrity, mixed in with a healthy dose of pragmatism. Gruff, doubtless, and disagree with him about much, but one of the best of the HoB.

Posted by: James Byron on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 10:29pm BST

It has been said that +Chichester has his eye on the post. I have no idea whether or not that is true.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 10:49pm BST

I'm all for an Anglo-Catholic Liberal. Where will the Church of England find such an exotic prelate?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 11:21pm BST

James, I agree that he has served the Church well and will be hard to replace.

Posted by: Kate on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 2:08am BST

+nick baines. A shoe in

Posted by: Michael burley on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 9:30am BST

Let's be imaginative...how about Sam Wells?

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 9:56am BST

@Father Ron Smith

I hear the Dean of St. Albans is still available. Alternatively, if the CofE can look to Wales for an ABC, we've got a few liberal Anglo-Catholic Bishops in the SEC...

I suspect, as ever, that the issue is that an Anglo-Catholic liberal who is prepared to hold the line against justice for LGBT people is going to be pretty rare.

Posted by: Jo on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 12:45pm BST

Anthony, being a bishop is like preaching a sermon. Stop while everyone is still wanting you to continue.

Posted by: Jamie Wood on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 12:48pm BST

I agree with cseitz that this is an extremely important appointment, which will show how well the 'settlement' over women bishops has taken root (or withered, a propos today's gospel reading!).

Anthony, I recall you saying, in earlier threads where this subject has arisen, that you thought it most unlikely that any further non-ordaining diocesan would be appointed, and that provision for dissenters would ultimately only be via the PEVs. I agree with that view, but your post earlier in this thread appeared to allow for that possibility, via the translation of +Chichester.
Has something happened to change your view, or did I just mishear it the first time?

If mere parish priests of prestigious central London churches are open to consideration, how about Lucy Winkett? She's been overlooked too long already.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 1:13pm BST

Malcolm: It will have to be a Diocesan Translation rather than a suffragan translation. +London is a huge job and it will need an individual; who is already a Diocesan to fulfil the role. +Chartres was an exception as he was well placed and was Archbishop Chaplain; but we must remember that London has become a much bigger role since +Richard Londin took over; and the next London will require a certain type of experience.

+Adrian Newman is a fantastic candidate but I think it won't be repetitive of Stepney going to London - +Adrian will get a Diocesan post in the next year though but it won't be London.

The Vacancy in See committee and CNC will know the importance of getting it right and I think it will be increasing pressure. +London will leave behind a stronger Diocese than when he first took the post and an extremely effective Senior Team. I will say that London will need someone with experience of London (not neccesarilly serving in London atm), reshaping a Diocese, a focus of unity; someone known to the public square and the Royals; a Diocesan and a Catholic (Whether that is Liberal or Traditionalist is open to discussion) and preferably someone whose worked or had relations with a cathedral in previous roles as +Richard has been paramount to the successful relationship and continued growth between the Diocese of London and St Paul's Cathedral

Posted by: Graham Williams on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 1:50pm BST

Graham, your comments are insightful, and you could very well be right. I would, however, like to put an alternative view: that the key requirement and qualification for this hugely responsible position is - the kind of person you are... your qualities... your prayer life... your skills with people from all walks of life.

You said yourself, that Adrian Newman is a fantastic candidate. He really is. His communication skills are absolutely outstanding. Combined with that, he has a personal humility (not a fake one) and ability to listen to the person he encounters, to serve the person he encounters. He is also highly intelligent, and if you review his career, he really hasn't put a foot wrong. In short, he is a very safe pair of hands, and has the true personal qualities to be a wonderful Bishop of London.

I'd go further, and say that this post would be invaluable training for an even more challenging role as a Primate after that, if that was ever offered to him.

I don't think I've known a more human, decent and down-to-earth bishop since Bishop John Taylor of St Albans, who recently passed away (to glory).

I'm sure there are many and various possible candidates for this post, but I certainly hope Adrian will be on the final shortlist. I think it would be a huge shame if he wasn't. He's there. He's qualified. He's serving, right at the heart of London, in one of its most deprived areas. His wife works as a volunteer, doing unseen work in hospitals in Tower Hamlets (and I've encountered her there, while working as a nurse at the Royal London).

They are servants of God, serving the people of London, and the co-incidence of another Bishop of Stepney becoming Bishop of London is just that - incidental. The key thing is: what kind of personal qualities does each potential candidate have.

For those here at Thinking Anglicans who, quite rightly, urge far more inclusion and affirmation for LGBT people: Adrian Newman is privately very inclusive and open-minded, as I know first-hand, from the acceptance and value he has given me, as a trans woman and a human being.

But he seems to give that to everyone he meets. When you speak to him, you feel like he is really listening, and looking gently and deep inside you, wanting to understand, wanting to serve - and I think that is going to be a vital characteristic in the Church which we all hope to see emerging. An inclusive, servant Church, serving at street level, yet also capable of offering moral values and example to the great and good. That last thing needs a really skilled communicator, a moral leader, and whoever the Bishop eventually is, those are important qualities I hope for.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 3:08pm BST

Well, Graham Williams, given all those requirements and adding the desirability in such a premier appointment of the new bishop holding the post for (say) 5 - 10 years, and noting the unavailability of the archangels Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, that leaves a very, very short list of potential candidates, doesn't it?

Posted by: RPNewark on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 3:30pm BST

Graham, I think our current Bishop of Lincoln, Christopher Lowson, ticks a lot of those boxes...

Posted by: Nick Nawrockyi on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 6:40pm BST

"Anthony, I recall you saying, in earlier threads where this subject has arisen, that you thought it most unlikely that any further non-ordaining diocesan would be appointed"

I was merely pointing out that if the next Bishop of London is a translation of a currently serving diocesan there is only one candidate who is a non-ordainer. I was not supporting the suggestion of another non-ordainer, which I think would be a disaster for the diocese. I don't normally comment on particular names, but the Rector of St James's Piccadilly has time on her side and of course it would be one way for the Bishop of Lincoln to get into the House of Lords, he being currently blocked by the priority being given to women bishops!!

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 9:31pm BST

"the key requirement and qualification for this hugely responsible position is - the kind of person you are... your qualities... your prayer life... your skills with people from all walks of life."

Yes. Which is why consideration should not be limited to existing bishops. There are good candidates outside the House of Bishops as well - Martyn Percy comes to mind but I am sure there are many others.


Posted by: Kate on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 9:39pm BST

Personally, I would love to see +Christopher Chessum cross the river, but I guess he's much too liberal.

Posted by: Christopher on Thursday, 21 July 2016 at 8:57am BST

+Christopher Chessun will definitely move in the next year or two but it won't be London. The role of the Bishop of London is a huge role and needs someone's with a certain pazazz and pedigree. It has nothing to do with +Chessun being Liberal as +Chartres could also be described as Liberal but unifying

There are at least 5 credible candidates that fit the bill and it will be for CNC to identify them.

Posted by: Graham Williams on Thursday, 21 July 2016 at 12:13pm BST

"There are at least 5 credible candidates that fit the bill and it will be for CNC to identify them"

Yes but if the outcome doesn't visibly deliver diversity then it will also be for CNC to justify that the selection criteria do not themselves discriminate against women, LGBT people and disabled people.

Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 21 July 2016 at 1:24pm BST

While I admire much of what +Richard has done, I think we could do with a little less pzaz and a bit more obvious loving spirituality. +Southwark has this in spades and a total commitment to the poor and to other social issues.

Posted by: Christopher on Thursday, 21 July 2016 at 2:20pm BST

"While I admire much of what +Richard has done, I think we could do with a little less pzaz and a bit more obvious loving spirituality."

+Richard had a high depth and level of visible/invisible spirituality and this was shown in his personality, his charisma and many more.

I have nothing against +Chessun but he's not right for the Diocese of London and I think it would be unfair to place him in London. The next Bishop of London takes on such a huge role, a huge team and huge Diocese

Posted by: Graham Williams on Thursday, 21 July 2016 at 3:38pm BST

Thanks, Anthony for your clarification. I agree with you.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Thursday, 21 July 2016 at 3:42pm BST

A quotation from this morning's Times concerning the style of Bishop Chartres:-
"The last of the idiosyncratic prince bishops familiar from Trollope, rather than the bland bureaucrats they go for these days"
Surely we need more like + Richard on the Bench to add gravitas, colour, sparkle, fizz and pizzazz to counterbalance the current bunch of "bland bureaucrats"?

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 22 July 2016 at 9:33am BST

One factor which should be considered is the balance of church background / style among the bishops. Allowing that labels are always inadequate, of the five most senior diocesan bishoprics, four (Canterbury, York, Winchester, and Durham) are held by those from broadly evangelical backgrounds. This suggests that those appointing the next Bishop of London should bear in mind the desirability of him / her representing a different tradition - liberal, modern catholic, etc.

Ability to reach out across church tradition is also vital in a diocese as diverse and complex as London, as is ability to connect with senior figures in education, business, and politics. This strongly suggests seeking someone who already knows how to be a diocesan bishop.

Posted by: Philip Hobday on Friday, 22 July 2016 at 2:56pm BST

What about the boy bishop of Dudley, Graham Usher? Open Evangelical, a bit conservative with Chameleon pretentions...just the ticket?

Posted by: Malcome King on Friday, 22 July 2016 at 4:18pm BST

...or even John Inge?

Posted by: Malcome King on Friday, 22 July 2016 at 4:22pm BST

‘Chameleon pretentions’

It says it all does it not? This is the trouble with the liberal/open evangelical bishops of these modern times, you can’t pin them down to anything (usually because there isn’t much there to pin down except generic quotes by other more interesting people…have you read his Places of Enchantment book for example?) The trouble is, i have found, is that you don’t know where you or anyone else stands! In my experience these are dangerous people and lust after power rather than the holy spirit. That said, John Inge is a different kind of Bishop and I think would be great!

Posted by: Mike Sermon on Friday, 22 July 2016 at 4:46pm BST

‘Whoever desires the office of a ‘bishop’ desires an honourable thing’ 1Tim 3.1. The passage then goes on at length to itemise the costliest standards of life and faith that go with the job. Perhaps that is why the opening verse starts with such a positive encouragement to those seeking or engaged in this vocation? There is no mention of call. It is about a willingly chosen consecration. Why make this statement? Perhaps because then, as now, it was a thoroughly thankless job and its occupants were variously dismissed as hungry for power, featureless bureaucrats, empty of actual principles or theology, by the church members they were appointed to serve.

Posted by: David Runcorn on Saturday, 23 July 2016 at 10:27am BST

and we wonder why the average cofe parish church is empty and dry and, nationally, irrelevant!

Posted by: Anna Ford on Sunday, 24 July 2016 at 5:12pm BST

London can have +Chichester - then we can have a modern Bishop who will inspire the diocese rather than maintain the 19th Century view of lay people needing to keep to their place

Posted by: Confused Sussex on Monday, 25 July 2016 at 11:05am BST
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