Comments: Paul Bayes is to be next Bishop of Liverpool

Brilliant appointment!

Posted by Charles Read at Wednesday, 7 May 2014 at 11:02am BST

I expect Charles is right, and I have no reason to doubt that this is a brilliant appointment.

I notice that it seems to illustrate the point made by Martyn Percy in an opinion piece here a couple of months ago, that C of E bishops seem to be drawn primarily from the ranks of specialists in mission and evangelism. Percy notes that this is the first time since the Reformation that there is not a single diocesan bishop with university experience as a lecturer in Theology. It is interesting that among the six bishops recently announced (four suffragans, Bp in Europe, and now Bp of Liverpool), the various appointing bodies have not yet taken the opportunity to address that deficit on the Bench. Given the large number of pending appointments, it will be interesting to see when a theologian or two makes it into those exalted ranks.
Either Percy himself, or (dare we hope?) Jeffrey John would fit the bill quite well.

Posted by Edward Prebble at Wednesday, 7 May 2014 at 8:47pm BST

Had hoped we could get him for Bath and Wells, but Liverpool will be an ideal fit, excellent appointment.

Posted by David Keen at Thursday, 8 May 2014 at 9:03am BST

It used to be said "If you want to get ahead get a hat." Now it would seem that within the Established Church "If you want to get a hat grow a beard." I note that both the bishops designate of Liverpool and Europe have what I believe are known as "goatee beards". The soon to be consecrated Bishop of Lewes also sports a similar amount of fuzz. I further seem to recall that the newish Bishop of Manchester also favours the wild and woolly look when it comes to facial hair. Who, however, can match the luxuriant growth of our last much loved and greatly lamented Archbishop Rowan? I am left wondering, with recent episcopal appointments, is this a late assertion of masculinity prior to certain changes within the Psaltery? I am further pondering when Europe and Liverpool take up their new dioceses, will this make up the hairiest Bench since Victorian times? As far as beards are concerned surely none of the modern contenders can come within a hair's breadth of Charles Gore and his beautifully trimmed beard, surely the very best beard in the Church of England since Archbishop Cranmer grew one in old age.

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 8 May 2014 at 9:30am BST

Father David, it has been noted before!!

Posted by Alastair Newman at Thursday, 8 May 2014 at 1:48pm BST

"the luxuriant growth of our last much loved and greatly lamented Archbishop Rowan?" Father David

Don't. I'm still getting flashbacks from seeing his eyebrows in High Definition during the Royal wedding coverage.

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Thursday, 8 May 2014 at 4:08pm BST

Laurence, you are not the only one to be fascinated by Archbishop Rowan's eyebrows. One of the Residentiary Canons told me that when the Dalai Lama was in St. Paul's to receive the Templeton Prize he tweaked and twisted Rowan's eyebrows as he presented him with his white silk prayer scarf. I also heard from the same source that the bearded Bishop of London was reported to have said of the Tibetan visitor:- " For a divine incarnation he doesn't half scratch his armpits a lot!"

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 8 May 2014 at 5:18pm BST

FWIW my former archdeacon said of +Maidstone's beard: "It speaks of the kingdom of heaven."

Posted by Mtr Louise at Thursday, 8 May 2014 at 5:22pm BST

This is all well and good, but please can we have some clean-shaven women soon?

Posted by Anne at Thursday, 8 May 2014 at 6:11pm BST

Fr David: I would call both these chaps' face furniture Van Dykes, since (I think...) a goatee exclude the moustache... (I could be wrong. I could be a pedant.)

Anne: We can have some women soon, but they shall have to wear beards too. I'm sure artificial ones will be allowed.

Posted by Dan BD at Friday, 9 May 2014 at 7:36pm BST

I note, however, that the FIVE suffragans announced this week are all bald-faced.

Posted by Dan BD at Friday, 9 May 2014 at 7:41pm BST

One of our recent Easter gospel passages concerned the Walk to Emmaus which highlighted the strange phenomenon whereby the two companions of the Risen Lord failed initially to recognise Him. The great artist Caravaggio tried to explain the reason why in his painting The Supper at Emmaus. How? Well, he depicts Jesus as clean shaven! Not only has the Lord experienced a mighty resurrection but He's also had a shave! So is it any wonder that they failed to recognise Him?

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 10 May 2014 at 9:50am BST

Dan, traditionally you are correct in that a goatee beard referred to chin fluff alone, as seen on the face of Abraham Lincoln or indeed the last Bishop of Europe. But since the 1990s hair on the chin and on the top lip has been referred to as either a goatee or a Vandyke. The debate continues.
Am I correct in thinking that clergyman should not sport a moustache alone but either a full set or be clean shaven? Is there something in Canon Law which forbids this? Although the last Bishop of Bradwell wore a moustache alone without any beard and very fetching in looked too, in a Desmond Lynham sort of a way.
Indeed the 5 recently appointed Suffragans are indeed that i.e. Suffragans. The last two recently announced Diocesans both have beards of sorts. So if you really, really want to get ahead in today's Church of England - grow a beard.

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 10 May 2014 at 12:25pm BST

Beards seem to be on the up and up. The bearded Conchita Wurst of Austria has just won the Eurovision Song Contest.

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 10 May 2014 at 11:47pm BST

"So if you really, really want to get ahead in today's Church of England - grow a beard."

I sincerely hope the inverse will not be assumed – i.e. that all those who wear a beard "really, really want to get ahead"... ;)

Posted by Dan BD at Sunday, 11 May 2014 at 12:10am BST

"So if you really, really want to get ahead in today's Church of England - grow a beard."

Will there be a booming fake beard market for women?

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 11 May 2014 at 8:14pm BST

" "So if you really, really want to get ahead in today's Church of England - grow a beard."

Will there be a booming fake beard market for women? "

I'm presumably not the only one imagining the next meeting of WATCH resembling the stoning scene in the Life of Brian?

Posted by Graham Ward at Monday, 12 May 2014 at 4:16pm BST

Well done Graham for taking this thread from the appointment of the Bishop of Liverpool to the Life of Brian. Now, I am left wondering who the bearded Godly Matrons of WATCH will be hurling their stones at? In the film it was Matthias, son of Deuteronomy of Gath and John Cleese took the part of the Jewish High Priest. Presumably Justin Welby will be cast in that role in the film's remake as he looked so pretty in imperial purple amid the sea of pure white on the steps of St. Paul. But be warned the glass ceiling won't be completely broken until the first woman is seated upon St. Augustine's throne in Canterbury cathedral. I seem to recall that the stoning scene ended when a mighty boulder landed upon and squashed the High Priest. So, Justin, you have been warned.

Posted by Father David at Monday, 12 May 2014 at 6:59pm BST

There is more to breaking the stained glass ceiling than who gets ordained, though that is a crucial part of it. The danger is that bishops and others will think that once women are bishops that's it all sorted. It isn't.

Incidentally, Janet Fife (one of those ordained in 1994 and who wrote in last week's Church Times)and I lay claim to inventing the 'stained glass ceiling' label - we used it for a WATCH meeting in Manchester diocese all those years ago.

Posted by Charles Read at Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 3:13pm BST

Charles says that "There is more to breaking the stained glass ceiling than who gets ordained" but then fails exactly to articulate what that "more" is?
He then goes on to claim to be the co-progenitor of the actual phrase " the stained glass ceiling". In all my many visits to thousands of churches over the years I have yet to see a church containing a stained glass ceiling. In my experience the stained glass windows are usually set within the walls. Surely, as a church, after many, many years internally debating the contentious issue of women's ordination, we need to break through the stained glass windows in the walls of our churches and reach out with the wholesome medicine of the Gospel to those in our nation who so desperately need to know the One whose praises are sung therein.
We shall soon reach a conclusion as to the identity of those who can actually aspire to be top of the spire, now let us turn our full attention to what the Risen Lord actually commissioned those first eleven disciples to do prior to His glorious Ascension - namely to "Go then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples"
Although it is deeply regrettable that we have no real scholar bishops currently among the Psaltery, it is perhaps a sign of hope for the future that those who are now being promoted to the top of the spire all seem to be very definitely Mission minded and Mission orientated.

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 14 May 2014 at 5:42am BST

On the charitable assumption that Fr. David really does not know what I am on about...

There are multiple layers of gender discrimination in the Church of England and ordaining women is not the only issue among them. We are very used now to the question of why so high a percentage of women clergy are NSM / MSE etc. When we see female incumbents of large suburban churches (for example)in ratio to female clerical numbers generally, we might be getting somewhere. And what about the diocese that sees itself as being very "pro-women" but has no women senior staff and would not hold a celebration of 20 years of women priests in its cathedral? (NB this was not my diocese. In Norwich we are (comparatively) righteous.

Posted by Charles Read at Thursday, 15 May 2014 at 9:35am BST
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