Comments: Expect a conservative evangelical bishop soon

"... it is evident that to date the normal processes for appointing diocesan and suffragan bishops have not delivered the aspiration to appoint a bishop who holds the Conservative Evangelical view on headship. It is also unclear whether the processes are capable of doing so within a reasonable timescale."

Well, it sounds like they already have: I'd call "never" a reasonable timescale ...

Posted by Geoff at Friday, 20 June 2014 at 3:44pm BST

So . . . which diocese is going to be "volunteered" for the burden of hosting a bishop who does not believe in ordaining women?

If the CNC representatives from the diocese do not want such a bishop, then one hopes that such a bishop will not be imposed on them against their wishes.

And could someone please explain why it is important that someone holding the "conservative evangelical view on headship" be made a bishop?

Sounds to me like discrimination in favor of a theological viewpoint that cannot succeed on its own merits.

Posted by Jeremy at Friday, 20 June 2014 at 4:50pm BST

Well, one could argue that Martin Warner was 'imposed' on Chichester against the wishes, if not of the CNC representatives of the Diocese, at least against the view of most probably the majority of the people in the pew. Surely if the church is to make any progress in its 'mission' to the contemporary world in which it finds itself, it has to eschew the promotion to positions of authority those who hold such antideluvian views.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 20 June 2014 at 6:38pm BST

I was given to understand that the appointment of Bishops followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Is this no longer the case or has it been determined that the person of the Trinity in question has their heart set on a ConEvo bishop and, if so, hasn't the Holy Spirit made apparent who this man should be and to which See he should be appointed?

Posted by Jo at Friday, 20 June 2014 at 7:13pm BST

Interesting that the FinF statement says that they 'naturally' agree that the Archbishops role in ordinations will be valid - since they had asked for the archbishops not to participate in traditionalist consecrations because they've both ordained women.

Posted by Miranda at Friday, 20 June 2014 at 7:18pm BST

I would have thought that this kind of a bishop should be one of the "flying" ones, and not foisted on some poor unsuspecting diocese.

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Friday, 20 June 2014 at 7:34pm BST

Jeremy: They don't seem to be imagining that happening at CNC; that'll be why they only mention suffragans, who are appointed, so they can be imposed on unsuspecting parishes with no consultation or input whatsoever. Oh goodie.

Geoff: Hear, hear. One wonders why it is that no CNC has chosen one(!)

Posted by Dan BD at Friday, 20 June 2014 at 7:48pm BST

Equality and representation should be a two way street. Fascinating that those so preoccupied with "justice" are so quick to agree with injustice against those they disagree with. The hypocrisy is stunning.

Posted by Rob Holman at Friday, 20 June 2014 at 8:08pm BST

The reference to suffragans was mine, not the archbishops.

A new PEV suffragan see could not be created and filled in the timescale of "a matter of months".

Posted by Peter Owen at Friday, 20 June 2014 at 9:22pm BST

Suffragans are not just 'appointed' any more. There is a process which is documented in a couple of files linked at the right hand side of http://www.churchofengland.org/clergy-office-holders/asa/senappt/sbnom.aspx

The diocesan bishop must appoint an advisory group, largely from the Bishop's Council; this group will work on the role and person specification, assist in shortlisting, interview and evaluate the candidates. The decision is ultimately that of the Bishop, but it would be hard for him to entirely ignore the process so recently set up.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Friday, 20 June 2014 at 10:06pm BST

Rob Holman seems to be reading a completely different thread.
If there were justice in these matters then bishops would be elected by the congregants because they thought she (or even he) would be a good leader, teacher and pastor for the community.
If, in this just and equitable situation, a person was chosen who also happens to be a conservative evangelical, then that would be a right and good thing for all.

What I, and I guess many here, feel is that giving a preference to someone, or parachuting some man into a job mainly because he happens to hold conservative evangelical views seems odd, unfair and definitely hypocritical if we say that the Holy Spirit guides our choices as Jo states above.

Further, on earlier threads there has been considerable discussion on how poor is the potential pool generally and the small minority groups suffer even more as they are already tiny and can only have men. It is awful to appointment a token person from groups such as Reform, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and as many Conservative Evangelicals are actively planning a parallel church with allegiances outside these shores, well, I think it a dreadful mistake.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 20 June 2014 at 11:48pm BST

'I was given to understand that the appointment of Bishops followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Is this no longer the case...?'
Yes and no - unless you believe that the Holy Spirit only chooses men for this job?

Posted by David Runcorn at Saturday, 21 June 2014 at 7:32am BST

@Simon Kershaw I think you'll find that, like most of the advisory processes in the CofE, it is followed most rigorously by the bishops most committed to defensive bureaucracy and "procedure". Such processes don't always produce the best candidates, and there are certainly some appointments where a more intuitive appointment procedure is adopted...

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Saturday, 21 June 2014 at 10:05am BST

I am truly saddened by the mean spirited response found in some of the comments voiced here in response to the Archbishops' proposals. I am an evangelical in favour of women bishops, but I acknowledge that the many devoted conservative evangelicals among us are entitled to their view and should have their fair representation on the episcopate. I work in a parish where both views are represented and we work perfectly well together with Christian respect.

Posted by Michael Tanner at Saturday, 21 June 2014 at 10:30am BST

What is the historical, ecclesiological, or theological reasoning behind "there should be bishops from every corner"? Surely when there is a vacancy we try to discern which individual is called to that role? Surely the bishop is the bishop, no matter who likes it or not? Bishops are not MPs. Not in the Church of England.

Posted by Dan BD at Saturday, 21 June 2014 at 3:57pm BST

Once again, I am at a loss to understand what in this thread saddens Michael Tanner and stuns Rob Holman .....

I believe in the indisolubility of marriage, it was once held by many if not most Christians, I do not want a bishop who reflects my position ..... I can think of many other things .......

I have made my case, I do not think it lacks charity nor do I hold other peoples views in low contempt. Party spirit is anathema to our faith, we should not use bishops to validate it nor use the episcopate as an award scheme.

I still haven't got over the shock that the Bishop of Bath and Wells came near to having to answer his own door to the hoi polloi ....... It's beyond belief to any who love The Lord!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Saturday, 21 June 2014 at 7:57pm BST

My view is that the Church is richer if the consciences of Christians with diverse theological views and traditions are respected.

I should hope that this principle of unity in diversity would manifest itself in diversity at the episcopal level too.

Just as I feel a democracy would be weak, if only one party got elected to Parliament, and minority opinions and needs were dominated and marginalised...

...in the same way, in a situation where there is a clear and substantial evangelical component in the Church of England, that component deserves representation at the episcopal (and all other) levels.

I say this, even though I diverge from some evangelical assumptions.

It works both ways. Liberal Christians (and others) who believe in good conscience in lesbian and gay marriage also deserve respect and representation.

The 'Covenant' style of trying to domineer dogma is the last thing we need, and I agree with others here, who call for generosity of spirit, and respect of divergent conscience.

Diversity is a strength, imposed uniformity a weakness. Grace can bridge the gap and provoke love and creative syntheses.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Saturday, 21 June 2014 at 8:49pm BST

" I acknowledge that the many devoted conservative evangelicals among us are entitled to their view and should have their fair representation on the episcopate."

There are an endless number of issues that divide people. In the case of the churches that would include equal marriage, ordination of women, inclination towards ecumenical liaison with Rome, any number of things. Should there be a quota for bishops holding each opposing position on these? Where does it end?

Posted by Interested Observer at Saturday, 21 June 2014 at 8:56pm BST

Lovely tolerant 'liberal' comments on this thread.....

Posted by Peter K+ at Saturday, 21 June 2014 at 9:35pm BST

I think this is a good and necessary development - even though I think they (Con Evos) are in this respect wrong. That's the nettle we all should grasp.

Posted by John at Saturday, 21 June 2014 at 11:30pm BST

{shudder}

Lord, have I thanked You lately I'm an Episcopalian? TBTG!!!

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 22 June 2014 at 3:05am BST

Tolerance of all but the intolerant is a fundamental liberal idea. So long as conservative evangelicals continue to be intolerant towards the ministry (not to mention the legal rights) of female and gay people I will continue to be intolerant towards them. Tolerance does not extend to tolerating injustice.

Posted by Jo at Sunday, 22 June 2014 at 10:30am BST

However even the Episcopal Church makes mistakes. look how the presiding bishop bent over backwards for Bishop Lawrence and now he is costing the Church millions in South Carolina.

Posted by robert Ian williams at Sunday, 22 June 2014 at 1:45pm BST

An interesting development to see that the Primates are to ensure that arrangements be made for "the presence in the College of at least one bishop who takes the Conservative Evangelical view on headship." A token Headship bishop among the ranks.
It would seem from the above statement that the Wallace Benn Apostolic Succession is to be continued within the Established Church. I wonder upon whom the mantle of Elijah will fall?

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 22 June 2014 at 7:59pm BST

I am puzzled by the FiF statement. On the one hand, it appears to be a restatement of the non-collegiality principle (which some refer to as 'taint'), which supports the existence of the PEVs, but in a new context. However, am I right in thinking all previous PEVs have been consecrated by the Archbishops (even when those Abps ordain women)? Yet this appears to be a bid to exclude male bishops who co-consecrate women bishops from consecrations of PEVS. Or maybe it is only male-bishops who have been thus co-consecrated. So very difficult to split the hairs in the right place!

Posted by Neil Patterson at Monday, 23 June 2014 at 1:47pm BST

If conservative evangelicals believe the hierarchy's biased against them, why aren't they campaigning for elected bishops, instead of affirmative action? Could it be that they know most clergy and laity would be no more receptive to their brand?

Posted by James Byron at Monday, 23 June 2014 at 3:19pm BST

"it is evident that to date the normal processes for appointing diocesan and suffragan bishops have not delivered the aspiration to appoint a bishop who holds the Conservative Evangelical view on headship." Gee, let me get this right: let's publicly overhaul the rules to accommodate the ultraconservatives, but get married to your loved one and experience the full force of yet unwritten canons. How depressing.

Posted by Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente at Monday, 7 July 2014 at 5:24pm BST

The deeply unhappy problem about appointing a pro-headship bishop to a diocese is the same as appointing a traditional Anglo-Catholic: at a stroke, all the women priests in that diocese now have a diocesan bishop who in his heart believes none of them have any business being there, and are all play-acting at being priests. However good a job they are doing, however holy they are and whatever their churchmanship, this bishop cannot accept their calling.

He may deal with them very politely and graciously and be the epitome of professionalism, but he does not truly accept them and would rather they were not there. If this doesn’t amount to betrayal, it’s hard to say what does.

If there must be a conservative evangelical bishop, he should be a PEV, and not forced upon any diocese, the great majority of which will be horrified to have him.

Posted by Mary Evans at Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 7:38pm BST
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