Comments: Next Bishop of Newcastle announced

Another good episcopal appointment, just when the former Archdeacon of Lewisham thought she could escape from many years' service on General Synod!

Posted by Anthony Archer at Wednesday, 2 September 2015 at 1:58pm BST

Excellent news.

Christine retired as Archdeacon of Lewisham shortly before the women bishops vote, and many people in Lewisham were disappointed that she'd apparently missed out on becoming a bishop. It's good to hear she's un-retired.

Posted by Leon Clarke at Wednesday, 2 September 2015 at 2:36pm BST

The Northern Province gets its first female Diocesan Bishop but with a rather masculine macho surname. The rapid growth in the number of women in the episcopate of the Established Church is quite phenomenal as women bishops now by far outnumber the black and ethnic bishops within the Church of England and those who are open and honest about their same sexuality preference, who number precisely nil.
Well, someone had to be first to comment on the matter that so often dominates T A and consistently transforms this into into a single issue blog.

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 2 September 2015 at 4:35pm BST

Glad to see an 'older' appointment - a nice change from some of the boy bishops we've had in the past.

Posted by Concerned Anglican at Wednesday, 2 September 2015 at 6:03pm BST

Congratulations to Chris; and to the CNC and the C of E for not allowing such a quality talent to get away.

Posted by Susan Cooper at Wednesday, 2 September 2015 at 6:17pm BST

I think that we can now assume that Oxford will now have a male bishop. As for Newcastle all the conservative evangelical churches, like Jesmond
(1200 asa..the largest in the diocese) will be under the reform bishop of Maidstone.

Posted by robert ian williams at Wednesday, 2 September 2015 at 6:47pm BST

It's a long way from Maidstone to Jesmond, just think of the expense at 45 pence per mile. Paul Richardson used to look after Traditionalist parishes in the Newcastle diocese but then he resigned and went to Rome to be replaced by Frank White who welcomes the appointment of the next Bishop of Newcastle and is, of course, married to the Bishop of Hull. I suppose the Bishop of Beverley could exercise pastoral oversight and care for the conservative evangelicals of Jesmond; for York, where I believe Bishop Glyn lives, is a lot nearer to Newcastle than far away Kent.

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 2 September 2015 at 10:01pm BST

The female Bishops are coming in thick and fast - While obviously I have my reservations, I welcome her appointment and will pray for her.

Although at the age of 64, she won't serve as Bishop of Newcastle for very long - Not sure whether that was a wise move from the CNC

Posted by Graham Williams at Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 1:16am BST

I think all Brits here should be reading today's 'Independent' and responding accordingly, otherwise the whole thing becomes a narcissistic farce,

John.

Posted by John at Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 9:06am BST

It would be interesting to know what a conservative Evangelical Parish like Jesmond would want a bishop for. Do they bother with confirmation? I know this seems to have been given up in some Cons Evangelical parishes.
I imagine the number of Cons Evangelical parishes in Newcastle are few.. Also traditionalist Catholic.I understood that it was, with Portsmouth one of the most homogeneous dioceses in churchmanship in the C of E...a legacy of the early implementation of the Parish Communion.

Posted by Perry Butler at Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 9:26am BST

Of course Jesmond believes in confirmation ( in the traditional non sacramental Anglican sense), and they have had bishops from the Church of England in South Africa administer it. They have not had the local bishop for years ( and not paid their quota) and when I was a student the diocesan bishop was always told not to wear a mitre.

Jesmond has an illegal church plant in Durham diocese, and no doubt Bishop Thomas will confirm its members at Jesmond. Bishop designate Thomas is quiet before his consecration but don't expect that to continue once he is consecrated.

Posted by robert ian williams at Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 10:39am BST

I am not sure that age and therefore potential tenure are relevant considerations. It also needs to be borne in mind that the Dioceses Commission is getting into its stride. There may not be a Thirteenth Bishop of Newcastle. However, for now, there are enough challenges in Durham for the re-integration of Newcastle to be low on the list of priorities.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 10:49am BST

At the moment Jesmond imports bishops from Africa and Latin Americas for Confirmations.I do not think it bothers with bishops for anything else!

Posted by Jean Mayland (Revd) at Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 11:08am BST

Interesting appointment, but cannot help feeling it is a short term appointment, but time may prove me wrong. Southwark has a past connection to Newcastle in the person of Bishop Bowlby who was translated from Newcastle to Southwark.

I share Fr David's thoughts.

Can John explain why we should read the Independent, his comment leaves this person wondering.


Fr John

Posted by Fr john Harris-White at Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 3:21pm BST

It is probably fair to say that the Clayton Memorial (Jesmond Parish) Church is unusual for what passes as a conservative evangelical parish today. The ethos is more obviously 'Prayer Book' than in a lot of places – surplice, scarf and hood, north end, &c.

I delight in Christine Hardman's appointment and hope that, while the Clayton Memorial Church is unlikely to feel able to receive her episcopal ministry, she will be able to make them feel less excluded from the life of the diocese than has hitherto been the case, so that their gifts can be deployed across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland. While I am uncomfortable with the provision of bishops for the theological views they hold, from this point of view the appointment of the Bishop of Maidstone can only help, it seems to me.

Posted by Liam Beadle at Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 3:44pm BST

I think Anthony has a point, the Bishop Designate of Newcastle has a maximum tenure of only six years, time enough to prepare for the creation of a second mega-diocese in the North East of England, with the possibility of Assistant Bishops of maybe Hexham and Lindisfarne. A reversal of Bishop Lightfoot's initiative in carving the Diocese of Newcastle out of the ancient and historic Diocese of Durham is long overdue. How wonderful it would be to reunite Durham with Aidan's Holy Island. I'm sure that would warm the sacred heart of St. Cuthbert. After all thirteen is not the most auspicious of numbers, not that I am superstitious in any way, let the reader understand.

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 5:20pm BST

If Jesmond has an "illegal church plant" in the diocese of Durham doesn't that mean that they will look to the yet to be consecrated Bishop of Islington, who is to offer episcopal oversight to church plants, rather than to the yet to be consecrated Bishop of Maidstone? I suppose it all depends on who lays hands upon the yet to be consecrated as to whether or not Jesmond will regard the new bishops as orthodox or apostate?

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 7:32pm BST

If the church plant referred to is Christ church Durham, it is not part of the Church of England so cannot receive the ministry of any bishop. I believe though there is another plant in Gateshead .

Posted by Charles Read at Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 9:17pm BST

Usually this would have been the case Father David but they won't be able to receive the ministry of the Bishop of Islington either as he'll have women lay hands on him at his consecration.

Posted by Graham Williams at Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 10:17pm BST

what John said at 9.06am. The independent carried a front page picture of the small refugee child whose body was washed up on a beach in Turkey after his family had fled from Syria. In the light of that, who gives a rusty thurible about who is going to lay hands on who?

Posted by David Keen at Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 11:28pm BST

"hope that, while the Clayton Memorial Church is unlikely to feel able to receive her episcopal ministry, she will be able to make them feel less excluded"

Trying to wrap my head around this: "make the excluders feel less excluded". OK...

Posted by JCF at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 3:35am BST

Charles, I've just looked at the website of Christ Church, Durham and they describe themselves as "an Anglican Evangelical Church in the centre of the city". Does that not make it part of the Church if England? Also the "Senior Minister" - Toby Jones, "Look you" is thereupon referred to as "an ordained Anglican Minister" N.B not "Priest"!
I seem to recall in the back of my mind somewhere that His Holiness, Pope Francis recently said something akin to make a "Mess" of the Church note the vowel is "e" not "a". Well, the Church of England is streets ahead of the Vatican in that respect. We await with interest to see the outcome of Part Two of the Synod on The Family in Rome next month, meanwhile this particular thread clearly shews what a mess the Church becomes when it departs from Scripture and Tradition.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 6:42am BST

Graham... the conservative evangelical bishop will only have male bishops lay hands on him, but I don't think they will be as purist as FIF, as to looking into their episcopal ancestry and whether they have ordained women or not.

Soon there will be three strands of succession in the Church of England..
1) Mainstream... accepting both male and female bishops at episcopal consecration.
2) An Anglo Catholic traditionalist stream only allowing a pure untainted line of male succession. yet even some of these men will have ordained women deacons!
3) A conservative evangelical succession which will allow for participation of male bishops who have ordained women. It will be interesting to see whether bishops of type 2 participate at consecrations of 3.

You see classic evangelicals do not believe in a chain of apostolic succession and only see episcopacy as a good form of Church government and not the esse of ecclesiastical reality.

Posted by robert ian williams at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 7:01am BST

In the light of that, who gives a rusty thurible about who is going to lay hands on who?

As a matter of fact I care very much about the plight of the refugees.

I care very much about war, poverty, the labour leadership, etc.

Why should that preclude me from caring about who lays hands on who?

By the way, I don't really care about rusty thuribles, but I expect a bit of brasso will sort that out.

Posted by ian at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 9:48am BST

@Fr David,

Christ Church Durham is not part of the Church of England, nor does the minister (who was ordained in the CofE, and previously served in Oxford) hold the bishop's licence.

Posted by Hannah at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 9:55am BST

John and David,
why do so many people think that everything is an either/or situation?
Our politicians are at it too. Cameron seems to think we have to choose between helping refugees and organising (or joining) a pan-European response.
You two seem to think that we choose between getting involved in the refugee crisis and commenting on a specific post on Thinking Anglicans.

I know it is said that men aren't good at multi tasking, but this is a little extreme.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 10:39am BST

Interesting comment by Perry Butler concerning the homogenous nature of the diocese of Newcastle. As someone who was Geordie-born and came to faith through the Alnmouth Franciscans I have an interest. I remember parishes in the 1960s/1970s such as Christ Church , Shieldfield,St Matthew's,Big Lamp and St Anthony, Byker that were very much anglo-catholic. Looking at the SSWH website,it seems that there are now no society parishes in that Diocese so maybe + Christine will have few concerns from any remaining AC parishes? Long domiciled in the lovely but far from homogenous Diocese of Sheffield I have lost touch with the North East but must admit I cheered at the suggestion of Durham and Newcastle coming together once more

Posted by Michael at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 10:45am BST

Fr. David (and others) - yes this is confusing. I was in Durham when Christ Church began. The minister of Claypath URC church was leaving. He had built up a significant student ministry there and the URC were being rather unadventurous in replacing him. A small group of conevo Anglican churches - chiefly Emmanuel Wimbledon and Jesmond -offered to supply ministers (the offer made direct to the church lay leadership, not to the URC) - or maybe the church approached them - I don't think it was clear.

Two Anglican curates were appointed by Jesmond / Emmanuel - Tony Jones from Oxford (St Ebbe's?) and a guy from Carlisle. The Carlisle guy was, I believe, acquainted with the facts of life by his bishop (Graham Dow) and persuaded not to come to Durham.

Claypath URC became Christ Church and bill themselves as Anglican. But they have never been in communion with the bishop of Durham, finding Tom Wright too liberal. Tom asked them to stop labelling themslves as Anglican but of course they take no notice of the bishop of Durham.

They said at one point they had some young men wanting to be Anglican ordinands and asked St Nick's Durham to send them to the DDO. The vicar of St Nick's refused. At this time, Christ Church was meeting in the town hall, next to St Nicks. They have now bought the old URC building at Claypath.

Confused? You might well be...

Posted by Charles Read at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 12:39pm BST

David, thanks.

Posted by John at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 1:36pm BST

Totally agree with you David, compared with that photo what the hell does it matter who lays hands on who.

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Posted by Henry Dee at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 1:38pm BST

As a historian, I am particularly taken with the phrasing of the latter part of the appointment notice, "... appointed as Her Majesty’s Bishop in the diocese of Newcastle," which is so wonderfully Cranmerian, and about which Dr. Kirk has reflected here:

http://ignatiushisconclave.org/2015/09/04/lese-majeste/

Posted by William Tighe at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 2:15pm BST

The thriving Jesmond plant in the diocese of Durham I refer to is in Gateshead. Jesmond has been detached from the diocese for years. They have their own TV channel and are the backbone of the Christian Institute.When Bishop Thomas is ordained they will have their first Church of England bishop for years.

Posted by robert ian williams at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 3:26pm BST

I'm with David Keen in this one. The Jesus I read about in the gospels has no opinion on the subject of who lays hands on who, but making disciples and caring for the poor and needy seem to be pretty high on his agenda. I don't know a single thing about Christine Hardman, but if those things are high on her agenda too, then I (one of those big bad evangelicals) would be delighted to have her as my bishop (not that she's likely to be moving to Canada any time soon!).

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 4:20pm BST

"I know it is said that men aren't good at multi tasking, but this is a little extreme." Erika Baker

I agree - it is a variation on the argument that ran "Why is the government wasting time introducing 'gay marriage' when the economy needs sorting out?"

Having said that, I also agree with Henry Dee's comment: "what the hell does it matter who lays hands on whom."

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 10:01pm BST

I must agree with John (as usual). Nobody enjoys gossiping about bishops more than I do, and I'm delighted to have the opportunity to gossip about some lady bishops (as we respectfully call them in my generally-disrespectful household).

But given what is going on in Europe, surely everything pales into insignificance now? It's not about multitasking, it's about perspective. How can we even think about church politics at a moment like this? I come to TA hoping to see our bishops thunderously denouncing the abomination of letting refugees drown in the Mediterranean or rot in internment camps, and instead find we're preoccupied with who gets to wear a pointy hat. It's not wrong to be bothered about bishops of course (and I'm very happy, if that's the right word, for Christine Hardman), but what good does it do us to have a lot of nice gentleman and lady bishops if they're going to be polite and restrained in a moment of clear moral crisis?

Posted by rjb at Friday, 4 September 2015 at 11:37pm BST

It seems to me that Jesmond parish church has long since declared UDI not only from the diocese of Newcastle but also from the Church of England. But I wonder what happens when the current long standing incumbent of the parish either choses to retire or is called to greater glory, who will license his successor, will it be the Queen's bishop of Newcastle? David Holloway is now in his mid seventies. I see from Crockford's that he was appointed to the living in 1973, so presumably he still has the freehold and being appointed prior to 1975 did not have to retire at 70. One of my former predecessors eventually retired when he was 90 years of age, so maybe David Holloway has another decade and a half in hand as Vicar of Jesmond?
Well spotted William Tighe - in the unusual wording concerning the appointment of the retired Archdeacon of Lewisham to the North Eastern See of Newcastle - "The Venerable Christine Hardman is appointed as Her Majesty's Bishop of Newcastle"
This is quite a contrast to the wording of the announcement of another Archdeacon to be the first female diocesan - "The Queen has approved the nomination of Venerable Rachel Treweek for election as Bishop of Gloucester"
As to whether it matters or not as to who lays hands on whom, perhaps we could consult the Pope's Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle and seek his opinion on an issue which is causing quite a stir in the Church of England's dovecote?

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 5 September 2015 at 6:28am BST

The Clayton Memorial Church's plant is Holy Trinity Gateshead. They are, perhaps unsurprisingly, independent of the Diocese of Durham. There is also a plant about to open in west Newcastle – S. Joseph's, Benwell, in a former Roman Catholic building. The relationship of S. Joseph's to the Diocese of Newcastle is unclear.

Posted by Liam Beadle at Saturday, 5 September 2015 at 9:09am BST

Short term episcopal appointments of older candidates are to be welcomed. The bishops have time to do some good but not enough to cause harm, they cost less and the relatively quick turnover means that hard pressed clerical outfitters have a bonanza.

Posted by Concerned Anglican at Saturday, 5 September 2015 at 11:03am BST

Can anyone supply specific precedents for the wording 'Her Majesty's bishop'?

I share W.Tighe's surprise, but a full answer is needed.

It rather reminds me of the Kaiser's position as 'episcopus summus' in the Prussian set-up.

Posted by Clive Sweeting at Saturday, 5 September 2015 at 2:11pm BST

rjb,
the crisis has been going on for months, and yet people have been commenting on other things on TA. I have no idea what they do in their "real" time - presumably, like John and David, concern themselves with politics AND write comments on TA.

I also find it supremely uninteresting who lays hands on whom. The topic was important while we were discussing provisions to get women bishops through General Synod. There are some practical outworkings now that matter to those to whom they matter.
And you can see on this thread that fewer and fewer people are engaged in this discussion.

I agree that it is about priorities. And in the lgbt debate I would often like to not not just what people think but how much it matters to them in the overall scale of things.
We simply don't know.

But, there we are, this is Thinking Anglicans, the Bishop is in the CoE news by virtue of having been appointed, there is a thread about it here and people comment.

I would assume that the same people have also signed up to help with the refugee crisis or save people from traffickers or do other meaningful things in their real lives.
That doesn't mean that they're not allowed a cup of tea or glass of wine in front of their PCs chatting away on a relevant thread on Thinking Anglicans.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 5 September 2015 at 4:48pm BST

rjb
"I come to TA hoping to see our bishops thunderously denouncing the abomination of letting refugees drown in the Mediterranean or rot in internment camps, and instead find we're preoccupied with who gets to wear a pointy hat"

I would agree with you there.
But on TA we're supposed to stay on topic. If you want a vigorous conversation about the refugee crisis, you'll need to wait for a thread that deals with it.

Maybe Simon could put up Justin Welby's comments about the refugee crisis as a new post?
Bishop Alan Wilson also made some very pertinent comments.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 5 September 2015 at 5:24pm BST

Thanks, rjb.

These are very serious matters, but let me also make it clear that I value - and derive sustenance from - the fellowship of ALL at TA.

John.

Posted by John at Saturday, 5 September 2015 at 7:35pm BST

I support Erika's statements. And yet I also support the spirit of rjb's question about priorities.

It all comes down to the question "who IS my neighbor?" It's the question that challenged Jesus after he said "love your neighbor as yourself."

In this light, the inclusion of WB's is part of loving our neighbor, female and WB supporters. It gives some an "opt out" on fully loving their female neighbors, including not loving them by insisting on the insulting theology of taint. I know some will vociferously oppose that characterization, but I think it comes down to that.

Clearly we (in Europe and the US) are not loving our neighbors well enough when they come to us as refugees and migrants of all sorts. We have not offered Biblical hospitality and we haven't help relieve the situations that are so grueling in their home countries (I'm not an expert on what we should/could do).

If the machinations of CoE show anything, it's that a lot of time and energy is spent on weaseling out of loving ALL of our neighbors, female, LGBTQ, migrants, the "other du jour," or anyone whose love costs us anything. I'm glad that CoE leaders are speaking to the refugee issues, but they lack street cred when they pick and chose "who is my neighbor."

Posted by Cynthia at Monday, 7 September 2015 at 10:53pm BST

I was quite amused, trawling through this thread today to see this:

"By the way, I don't really care about rusty thuribles, but I expect a bit of brasso will sort that out."

(Posted by: ian on Friday, 4 September)

There is one other way, Ian, and this is to keep the thurible in regular use - so that it never gets rusty.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 11 September 2015 at 1:45am BST
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