Comments: Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham: Right Reverend Paul Williams

Terrific appointment. It was only a matter of time. I don't want to heap pressure on him, but you are looking at a future archbishop. London's loss (as the bishop said) is Southwell and Nottingham's gain, for the time being. Every blessing for his new ministry.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Tuesday, 10 February 2015 at 11:04pm GMT

I'm sure that when the new bishop arrives in Nottinghamshire he will soon ensure that his diocese is financially solvent for when he was Rector of Gerrards Cross (a parish not lacking in a bob or two) he raised several million pounds to built a spanking new, state of the art, Conference Centre which greatly assisted in the mission and outreach of St. James' parish church.

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 11 February 2015 at 1:44pm GMT

Wow! The last Archbishop capable of such prodigious feats of fundraising is now remembered for 'Morton's Fork'; are you really sure that this is Christ's way forward in the 21st century?

Posted by Stevie Gamble at Wednesday, 11 February 2015 at 8:01pm GMT

The CofE is a £1 billion enterprise (forgive the plc language, but you get the point). I am no expert on John Morton but it it is the case that the CofE probably has more money than it needs (that's the good news). The bad news is that it is in the pockets of its parishioners. The Bishop of Kensington, when at Gerrard's Cross, was able to persuade the congregation to step up and invest in Gospel work (from what I am led to believe). From debates in General Synod today, the fact that the money is available is fine but, given the demographics, success going forward may well depend on legacies! The Church Commissioners will find ways to push the boat out, but ultimately it will be down to parishioners. And by the way, could someone please tell me why clergy are so reluctant to preach on stewardship? The Bible is stuffed with teaching. It is not difficult!

Posted by Anthony Archer at Wednesday, 11 February 2015 at 11:13pm GMT

The lack of comments here suggests two things to me:

1. The moderator is at Synod and is too busy to post them and/or

2. We are all following our grandmothers' advice that if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all.

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Thursday, 12 February 2015 at 11:06am GMT

A good sound evangelical, happily married with children!Get the pattern?

Posted by robert ian williams at Thursday, 12 February 2015 at 11:14am GMT

Yes, quite astonishing how few Comments have been posted on this particular entry concerning the appointment of a Diocesan Bishop. Suffragan Bishop Libby and Suffragan Bishop Philip received a much larger post bag. Perhaps, had the next Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham been a woman and thus the first female Diocesan Bishop or (tell it not in Gath or to Anthony Archer) a Traditionalist, then I suspect there would have been far more Comments. Maybe we have to wait until a woman is appointed to a diocese, perhaps Oxford, before the number of Comments increase dramatically. Even before he is enthroned, have we any inkling as to how Paul Williams will handle the ongoing disputation concerning Jeremy Pemberton?

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 12 February 2015 at 1:58pm GMT

Laurence: there are three editors / moderators. We are not all at the Synod (though we do have other things to do instead). Comments continue to be monitored and published on a reasonably timely basis.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Thursday, 12 February 2015 at 3:34pm GMT

That was an attempt at humour! I realise that the moderators are very busy people and appreciate all the work they do :-)

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Thursday, 12 February 2015 at 4:59pm GMT

I'm sure the new Bishop of Southwell is as excellent as people say and I'm sure he was equally distinguished as Rector Gerrards Cross - what follows is not to cast any doubt on any of that. But I do wonder whether it was a tiny bit easier to pull off the financial coup in Gerrards Cross than it will be in many parts of Nottingham and rural Notts. It is interesting that the south Buckinghamshire parishes close to London are above average in sending their excellent parish priests to diocesan sees (Nott from Beaconsfield to Norwich via Taunton, Priddis from Amersham to Hereford via Warwick, now Williams from Gerrards Cross to Southwell via Kensington). Is it that these sorts of parishes (Im not pointing fingers - I was an ordinand in one of the three myself) attract higher calibre priests, and, if so, why might that be? It isn't that they are necessarily shy of sociologically difficult settings (Priddis, for example, was in High Wycombe before Amersham). Is it that some other equally high calibre people have not shone so obviously in less promising settings?

Posted by Peter Mullins at Thursday, 12 February 2015 at 5:50pm GMT

There is Hill (from Chesham Bois to Bristol via Buckingham - he was in Slough before Chesham Bois) as well.

Posted by Peter Mullins at Thursday, 12 February 2015 at 6:30pm GMT

@Anthony Archer "London's loss... is Southwell and Nottingham's gain." My parental home is in the Kensington Area. My reaction - and the reaction of those who worship in the church where I grew up (including the vicar!) - is to repeat Anthony Archer's plaudit in reverse. There seems to be plenty of schadenfreude between Harrods and Heathrow at the moment.

Posted by William Richards at Thursday, 12 February 2015 at 7:38pm GMT

Even more worrying and of concern is that the Archbishop of Canterbury's Presidential Address hasn't garnered a single solitary comment!

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 12 February 2015 at 11:05pm GMT

Peter, could that lovely man Colin Bennetts be added to the list of distinguished South Bucks clergy who went onto higher things - Coventry via Buckingham?

Posted by Father David at Friday, 13 February 2015 at 4:50pm GMT

No, Father David, Colin Bennetts [who preached at the service at which I was ordained priest] became a Suffragan Bishop from appointments at St Andrew's, north Oxford and Chester Cathedral. I was being struck by the fact that for fourth time in thirty years a new diocesan Bishop was being appointed who became a Suffragan Bishop from a parish appointment in the Amersham Deanery [to two of whom - and many other high quality priests who served in that deanery - I remain personally endebted].

Posted by Peter Mullins at Saturday, 14 February 2015 at 8:14am GMT

Well, Peter, if you won't allow dear Colin Bennetts, what about Robin Smith who was Rector of Chesham and sometime R.D. In the Amersham deanery. As I recall Robin didn't quite make Diocesan Bishop but he did become episcopal as a Suffragan bishop in the St. Albans diocese.
Surely someone from Beaconsfield must have risen up the ranks over the years? If not then the great Dom Gregory Dix once served at St. Michael's in Beaconsfield and I'm sure that you will agree that the author of The Shape of the Liturgy is worth at least half a dozen Diocesans? Then let us not forget that great prophet and seer Roland Allan who was sometime Vicar of Chalfont St. Peter.

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 14 February 2015 at 10:25am GMT

I did, of course, confidently predict this would be the first vacant diocesan See to be filled by a woman. So confident was I, that I popped down to William Hill. Now I am twenty quid poorer!

But... I had not reckoned on the degree to which archiepiscopal influence is being currently exerted at CNCs. That Paul Williams is very much in the image likeness of Welby and Sentamu is not in doubt. But it gives further credence to the (widely discussed) perception that, having consecrated Libby Lane, we will not now see a woman (and certainly not a woman hotly tipped by Ruth Gledhill) as a diocesan for some time. There is a widespread belief that the Welby strategy is to 'knobble' the Synod and the House of Bishops, to isolate any challenge to his programme of 'Reform' and marginalise the intellectual and moderating voices in both bodies. The 'obvious' female candidates for episcopacy will not fit the Welby/Sentamu blueprint and had better get settled-in for the long haul at York, Salisbury, Norwich, Portsmouth and Piccadilly, it would seem.

That is profoundly depressing, not least because some (though not all) of them would fundamentally oppose the lack of consensual leadership and disregard for theological rigour in the House of Bishops. They would also be prepared to take a lead where the current episcopal occupants of Salisbury, Chelmsford, Southwark, Norwich, Exeter, Worcester, Truro, Manchester & Newcastle (to name but a few) appear to have been woefully silent and even compliant in the face of a more papal and corporate form of 'management.'

Posted by James A at Saturday, 14 February 2015 at 2:29pm GMT

Well, how about the Ven Rachel Treweek for Kensington?

Posted by Perry Butler at Saturday, 14 February 2015 at 7:40pm GMT

I can't let Father David's mention of Roland Allen go by without standing out of respect for that great man. His 'Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours?' had an enormous influence on me.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Sunday, 15 February 2015 at 3:56am GMT

I wonder whether James A is being just a little bit premature. (a) We can't assume that on the new more level playing field the best candidate for the first particular vacancy would happen to be female. (b) This candidate matches the diocesan spec quite closely. (c) At least the early stages of the process for this particular appointment were ahead of the levelling of the playing field. But if the new Bishops of Gloucester and Oxford are both male then, yes, it will cost us much more than one person's loss of £20.

Posted by Peter Mullins at Sunday, 15 February 2015 at 3:41pm GMT

Well, how about Piccadilly for Oxon? That would be yet another feather in the cap for the multi-talented Amersham Deanery.

Posted by Father David at Monday, 16 February 2015 at 6:16am GMT
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