Comments: Janet McFarlane to be next Bishop of Repton

These married Evangelical women will make a huge contribution to the justice agenda / 'option for the poor'. Just like the men...

Justice agenda - what justice agenda ?

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 26 February 2016 at 11:58am GMT

Only one more to go and the C of E women bishops will have reached double figures. Who will be Number 10 - Oxford perhaps? So many in such a short period of time but isn't it about time that another Black or Asian was consecrated as a bishop of the Established Church? The last such consecration was of the present Ebor way back in 2002 when he became Area Bishop of Stepney. Maybe the Archbishop of Uganda would like to be translated to an English See. Again, Oxford is vacant - now that really would put the cat among the pigeons.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 26 February 2016 at 2:34pm GMT

Fr David, I think Rose Hudson – Wilkin would be an outstanding choice. Fr Paul

Posted by Paul D Dean at Friday, 26 February 2016 at 6:11pm GMT

Laurence - are we talking about the same person? You seem to know her mind very well...

Posted by Charles Read at Friday, 26 February 2016 at 6:35pm GMT

Pedant alert

John Sentamu was consecrated Bishop of Stepney in1996 and translated to Birmingham in 2002

Posted by Simon Bravery at Friday, 26 February 2016 at 8:25pm GMT

One more woman to go and the English (9 since 2014) will have outpaced the Canadians (9 since 1994) in the appointment of female bishops. A few more to go to become the world leaders (USA, 22 since 1988). And coming just days after Karen Gorham's consecration at Westminster Abbey, this appointment continues the year-long tradition that there's always a female bishop-elect in the wings ...

Posted by Peter S at Friday, 26 February 2016 at 11:25pm GMT

Charles you seem to (think you) know mine...

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Saturday, 27 February 2016 at 12:45am GMT

Thank you for that correction - always good to get the facts right. 1996 - that's 20 years ago and, if I am not mistaken, no Black or Asian has been consecrated since then? The Archbishop of York can't be that far off retirement and when he goes we shall be left with a very monochrome episcopate.

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 27 February 2016 at 5:54am GMT

Father David, according to the excellent resource in such things, http://peterowen.org.uk/articles/bishops.html , the Archbishop of York was born on 10 June 1949 and so has a little over three years before reaching the prescribed age of retirement.

Posted by RPNewark at Saturday, 27 February 2016 at 8:50am GMT

RPNewark - I think that Archbishop Sentamu could actually soldier on until June 9th 2020, the Eve of his 71st birthday, which makes it nearer to four more possible years in office prior to compulsory retirement.
With the news that 40% of the Stipendiary Clergy will reach retiring age within the next decade - I wonder if the powers that be regret bringing in the cut off point at 70 years of age?
However, Reform and Renewal - sorry - Renewal and Reform has as one of its laudable aims - the aspiration to increase the number of ordinands by 50%. Curates all round!

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 27 February 2016 at 9:12am GMT

RPNewark - Thank you for pointing me in the direction of the list of English Diocesans and their ages. There I discover that only 10 Diocesans (approximately 25%) are older than I am (I used to feel more secure when we had bishops who had fought in the War - men like Runcie and Phipps, both of whom were awarded the M. C.). Having been born on 17th June 1952 (St. Botolph's Day) I find that only Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, Derby, Hereford, London, Newcastle, Norwich, Sodor & Man and York are older than me!
I further discover that the list is incomplete when it comes to Dates of Birth. The gaps can be filled as follows
Guildford - Andrew Watson 16th July 1961 (54)
Hereford - Richard Frith 8th April 1949 (66)
Liverpool - Paul Bayes 2nd November 1953 (62)
St Edmundsbury & Ipswich - Martyn Seeley 29th May 1954 (61)
Southwell & Nottingham - Paul Williams 16th January 1968 (48)
I know one should not ask a lady her age but in these days of equality and equal opportunity - here goes
Newcastle - Christine Hardman 27th August 1951 (64)
Gloucester - Rachel Treweek 4th February 1963 (53)
I have been unable to discover the birthdays of Robert Innes (Europe) and Martyn Snow (Leicester)
I know, I know! But it beats Train Spotting.

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 27 February 2016 at 9:59am GMT

O come, Fr David, nothing beats train spotting.

Posted by Fr William at Saturday, 27 February 2016 at 11:29am GMT

I make it now that there are more female bishops than male bishops of the "Society".That has to be significant and something those who us who belong to "Resolution" parishes need to reflect on.As a parish,we belong to that group of parishes that passed the Resolutions back in the day but have not as yet affiliated to SSWH.Anyway "these married Evangelical women" are probably good,if safe, choices.At least the Church of England may have the wit to avoid the disastrous appointment in the TEC where Heather Cook was consecrated Suffragan Bishop in Maryland and after totally scandalous behaviour is now serving 7 years in prison.Oddly enough , I have never read anything about her in "Thinking Anglican"

Posted by michael at Saturday, 27 February 2016 at 7:59pm GMT

We might need to wait until the new Church of England Yearbook is published re actual birth dates of +Europe and +Leicester. Robert Innes was born in 1959. Martyn Snow was born in 1968 (I am told he is younger than +Southwell and Nottingham, also born 1968). Both are the two youngest diocesans currently.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Saturday, 27 February 2016 at 8:06pm GMT

Father David, you are correct in your 0912 of 27 February. Section 2 of the Ecclesiastical Offices (Age Limit) Measure 1975 states:

"2 Archbishop may continue in office for certain period after attaining retiring age at discretion of Her Majesty.

Where Her Majesty considers that there are special circumstances which make it desirable that a person holding the office of archbishop should continue in that office after the date on which he would otherwise retire in accordance with the foregoing section, She may authorise the continuance in office of that person after that date for such period, not exceeding one year, as She may in her discretion determine."

Now I wonder who would be the person(s) who would offer advice to Her Majesty in such circumstances. Hmmmm.

Posted by RPNewark at Saturday, 27 February 2016 at 9:10pm GMT

Archbishop Randall Davidson was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to retire, all his predecessors died in office, in 1928, aged 80. Of course, he was a Scot of good Presbyterian stock and parentage, having been born in Edinburgh. I wonder what he, the longest serving ABC since the Reformation, would have made of the Columba Declaration?

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 28 February 2016 at 5:16am GMT

Not so very long ago one of the best ways for a clergyman to get a tea cosy was to have run a Theological College. Prior to that the best way to get a hat was to have been Headmaster at a major Public School. Now things have changed, Big Time! The best chance for a woman to get a new hat is to have been an Archdeacon. Of the nine so far nominated to be Right Reverend no less than five have been Venerables - Gloucester, Newcastle, Taunton, Sherborne and, most recently Repton. More than 50%, so ladies, if you have hopes of cope and mitre seemingly the best way to achieve this is to be the Archidiaconal eyes of the bishop.

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 28 February 2016 at 7:00am GMT

I have updated the dates of birth on my list of English diocesan bishops; I agree with those given by Father David.

The Church of England Year Book stopped giving full dates of birth in the 2008 edition, so unless it has re-instated these recently (the most recent copy I have is 2013) we won't learn the actual birth dates of +Europe and +Leicester from there.

Posted by Peter Owen at Sunday, 28 February 2016 at 12:24pm GMT

Dear Peter, thank you for updating your list of Diocesans, most helpful. From the list it would seem that the best way for those of the masculine gender to become Diocesan Bishops is to have been a Suffragan Bishop first. The vast majority of Diocesans have taken this particular route. Only four (Blackburn, Europe, Lincoln and Peterborough) were Archdeacons immediately before becoming Diocesans. Three were College Principals (Coventry, Sheffield and St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich). two were Parish Priests (Chester - Beverley Minster & Salisbury - St. Martin's in the Fields). One was a Domestic Chaplain (Sodor & Man to Ebor).
Of the two Archbishops - they became Most Reverend after having had their own diocese: Ebor was Birmingham and prior to that Stepney - Cantuar was briefly Dunelm and prior to that Dean of Liverpool. It is very rare for a Dean to become a Bishop. Surprisingly many female Deans whose names were oft mentioned as possible bishops have remained firmly ensconced in their Deaneries.

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 28 February 2016 at 1:53pm GMT

+Europe was not an archdeacon - he was senior chaplain in Brussels and so (in English terms) a Dean or a parish priest.

Posted by Charles Read at Sunday, 28 February 2016 at 9:01pm GMT

+Lincoln was not an archdeacon *immediately* before becoming a diocesan bishop either. He was an archdeacon, but then became head of the Ministry Division of the Archbishops' Council.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 28 February 2016 at 10:54pm GMT

This place is starting to sound like a Shakespeare play. 'Gloucester', 'Buckingham' etc.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Sunday, 28 February 2016 at 11:57pm GMT

Unlike Pope Francis I lack the quality of infallibility! I had thought that Robert Innes was Archdeacon of Brussels prior to becoming Bishop of a diocese which stretches from Gibraltar to Vladivostok. Further research shews that he was, as Charles Read intimates, Senior Chaplain at the pro-cathedral in Brussels but in the announcement of his appointment to Europe he is referred to as "Chancellor" rather than Dean. Before going to Europe he was for six years Vicar of St. Mary Magdalene parish church, Belmont in the Diocese of Durham where I had the privilege some years ago of officiating at my niece's wedding. His present day successor at Belmont somewhat annoyed the Provost of the Episcopalian cathedral in Glasgow with her speech at the General Synod on the Columba Declaration.
As for Christopher Lowson, I note that up until 2011 when he was appointed Bishop of Lincoln he was known as the Venerable Christopher Lowson (if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck then in all probability it is a duck). I remember him as an ordinand way back in the early 1970s. We used to attend the same Ordinands Tea Parties at Auckland Castle in the days of Bishops Ian Ramsey (great man) and John Habgood. Little did I know then that I was supping tea with the saintly Bishop Edward King's 21st century successor.

Posted by Father David at Monday, 29 February 2016 at 5:57am GMT

It may well look like a Shakespeare Play but on the whole it has nought to do with the Archdeacon of Norwich who is soon to be the Bishop of Repton. Someone had the temerity to accuse me of "trolling". I must admit I had to look up the meaning of the word and it was not very perspicacious! Usually, when a new woman is to be elevated to the episcopacy this Blog is full of comments on how wonderful she is and what an ornament she will be to her new Bishoprick (Hensley Henson's spelling). Perhaps, like buses they are now coming along with such frequency that such comments have become few and far between. Is it a case then of Love's Labour's Lost?

Posted by Father David at Monday, 29 February 2016 at 8:59am GMT

I did once hear of an Anglican Franciscan Friar becoming 'The Dean of Jesus' (College). We simple friars were then bound to ask him: "How does that relate to 'The Vicar of Christ?'

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 29 February 2016 at 9:55am GMT

OK I will rise to Fr. David's bait!

I have known Jan for some years, having met her at parties at the (now) Archdeacon of York's house when the latter was a vicar in Manchester. Present also at said parties were Libby and George Lane. I hope you are all impressed by this concise name-dropping!

Jan is now my archdeacon and indeed my line manager as I am Director of Reader training and Deputy Warden of Readers. She has been a great support to me in my work for the short while she has been Warden and she has an enthusiasm for promoting Reader ministry. Further, she is very mission minded and a good support to clergy who are facing hard times. She broadcasts regularly on local radio and handles the media astutely. When having cancer treatment last year, she spoke about it in the local media in a way that highlighted what people going through chemo have to endure and she shared the impact and difference her faith made.

We will miss her greatly and Derby diocese is blessed to have her.

Hope that is sycophantic enough to help Fr. David think normality has been restored here! (I happen to think what I have written is true!)

PS in my hearing, Jan has at different times described her ecclesiastical tradition as 'liberal' and 'evangelical'! Old party labels don't really work any more...

Posted by Charles Read at Monday, 29 February 2016 at 12:44pm GMT

This thread seems to have attracted a good deal of statistical and other analysis. To add to it, I venture hesitantly to return to a subject I have raised in these columns before (and for which I received a withering episcopal rebuke the last time!), that is where the 9 women bishops so far appointed received their theological training. This might be thought to give a clue as to their 'constituency' or churchmanship, although it is by no means an infallible indicator of such.

Of the 9, 3 were trained at Cranmer Hall, 2 at Trinity Bristol and one each at St John's Nottingham, Wycliffe, St Alban's and SEITE. Does that seem to you a well balanced spread across our broad church? Me neither! It seems to me to show a markedly evangelical bias.

Whilst I have no doubt that all the candidates chosen are estimable, admirable and will make excellent bishops, I am increasingly concerned that other excellent candidates, who were once thought most likely to be amongst the first women bishops but have a more catholic background, continue to be overlooked for preferment, and this last appointment does nothing to lessen that concern.

I understand that the current structure of the CNC makes it theoretically quite hard for any central policy to be imposed, and that suffragan appointments are entirely in the gift of the Diocesan concerned. But people can always be secretly 'leaned on', gently or otherwise, and the outcome so far suggests that something untoward may be going on, and that we may be being steered towards an HTB model. As always, I cling to the hope that the next appointment will prove me wrong!

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Monday, 29 February 2016 at 3:00pm GMT

Malcolm The present appointments prove you wrong. If you think they all represent a uniform steer towards a HTB model (whatever that is) you are assuming none have their own mind or theological convictions? And with with all respect I do not think you are aware of the complex and creative variety within Anglican evangelicalism in general these days.

Posted by David Runcorn at Tuesday, 1 March 2016 at 7:03pm GMT

David - Thank you for your reply. No, I don't think that a priest's place of theological training puts them in a straitjacket for the rest of their ministry, as I tried to make clear in my post. But it is an indicator of where they have come from.

I readily agree that I am not fully aware of the complex and creative variety within Anglican evangelicalism these days, although that is where I began my faith journey, and I know that there are some evangelicals that I can agree with more easily than others. I don't doubt that the 9 women bishops do represent that wide variety, as I think you are implying, but what about the rest of our broad church?

I wish I could agree that the present appointments prove me wrong. But for 3 of the 9 to have been trained at Cranmer Hall (coincidentally the same place as the ABC was trained) and not even a single one from Mirfield, St Stephen's House, Westcott or Cuddesdon (all catholic or with catholic leanings) defies any statistical improbability. Something IS going on, and I don't like it!
Anyone out there agree with me?

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Wednesday, 2 March 2016 at 1:07pm GMT
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