Comments: Bishop of Lancaster to retire

Great! Another gig available for someone whose interests include walking in the countryside, playing with his dogs and gardening.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Monday, 16 January 2017 at 7:17pm GMT

Only if they decide to replace him.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 16 January 2017 at 10:16pm GMT

"Great! Another gig available for someone whose interests include walking in the countryside, playing with his dogs and gardening."

Did you read the column? It sounds like his life has been completely taken up with preaching, teaching, youth evangelism and looking after a local church. How many other bishops are so absorbed in everyday Gospel work?

Posted by Neill Wallis at Tuesday, 17 January 2017 at 8:40am GMT

Simon, are you suggesting that there might be a long overdue cull of Suffragan bishops? Surely, the current trend is in the opposite direction i.e. to create even more of them - most recently Berwick and I do believe that Leicester is looking to introduce yet another Suffragan Bishoprick!

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 17 January 2017 at 8:50am GMT

Can't we (on TA) move beyond dismissive comments about the leisure activities of bishops and others being included in press releases?

The formulaic press releases are aimed at the secular papers and their general readership.


Posted by John Roch at Tuesday, 17 January 2017 at 9:46am GMT

I like to read of the leisure activities of those soon to be consecrated or soon to retire - it shews that they have a hinterland. Mind, they all seem to enjoy similar leisure interests, not least walking. It would be a most refreshing change to appoint a bishop who enjoys both hang gliding and bungee jumping.

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 17 January 2017 at 10:05am GMT

"The formulaic press releases are aimed at the secular papers and their general readership."

Formulaic press releases or, as Martyn Percy is suggesting, formulaic bishops?

In this case, Bishop Geoff seems genuinely different though. The concern is whether that difference will be retained if he is replaced.

Posted by Kate at Tuesday, 17 January 2017 at 11:20am GMT

Fr David,

The new Bishop of Berwick doesn't equate to an extra suffragan bishop, just that hitherto Newcastle had simply an assistant bishop. New badge, rather than more hats.

Posted by Hannah at Tuesday, 17 January 2017 at 3:12pm GMT

@ Neill Wallis, if you go back and read the press releases describing the last I-don't-know-how-many new episcopal designees from the last couple of years, you'll find an awful lot of what I'm (only somewhat tongue-in-cheek) describing.

And anyway, I wasn't referring to the retiring bishop.

As to John Roch's statement that such press releases are aimed at "the secular press and their general readership," I doubt very much if the general readership of the secular press gives a

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Tuesday, 17 January 2017 at 6:26pm GMT

Do we really need ever more Bishops? +Geoff sounds like a really good minister who was made a Bishop and (nearly) lost to the main "job" of the clergy - ministering to God's people and leading mission to people in the parishes"

We used to make do with about 5 Diocesans - in a time when they had to travel round their "super-mega-dioceses" by horse!! How about putting 120+ of our best ministers back into the parishes and just having ++Canterbury plus London, Winchester, Lichfield (or Chester), Lincoln and York?

Posted by RevDave at Tuesday, 17 January 2017 at 7:20pm GMT

"Great! Another gig available for someone whose interests include walking in the countryside, playing with his dogs and gardening."

Daniel Berry seems to have decided that the successor bishop will be male. TEC may have a poor track record of appointing women bishops, but by comparison the Church of England has moved with alacrity. As a member of the Dioceses Commission I will not comment on whether or not an appointment will be made. That process is commenced by the diocesan bishop and his team. Father David has been rightly corrected by Hannah. In fact both the resurrection of the See of Berwick in the Diocese of Newcastle and the proposed creation of a new See in the Diocese of Leicester, to be considered by the General Synod in February, do not represent net increases in the episcopal headcount. Both dioceses had assistant bishops for some time previous.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Tuesday, 17 January 2017 at 8:58pm GMT

"Bishop Geoff has played a pivotal role in many Diocesan initiatives as a key member of the Bishop's leadership team."

He has done a lot more than that, but the above managerese may reflect what some think is what should be expected of a bishop these days.

Oddly, no reason is given for the retirement.

Posted by T Pott at Tuesday, 17 January 2017 at 9:27pm GMT

The thing that strikes me as unnecessary is the detail of how many grandchildren members of the clergy have.

Posted by Flora Alexander at Tuesday, 17 January 2017 at 9:50pm GMT

Mr Archer, must you really read so much into what was obviously intended to be a sarcastic swipe at whoever it is who has been choosing bishops in the C of E? Get it? I was being a smart-a&&. No other content intended or even hinted at.

For cryin' out loud.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Tuesday, 17 January 2017 at 10:52pm GMT

"TEC may have a poor track record of appointing women bishops."

TEC bishops are elected not appointed.

As for "poor track record," a couple of months ago, I made an effort to determine the number of TEC women bishops and posted the result on Thinking Anglicans. At that time, there had been 25 women consecrated or elected TEC bishops, 12 of which had been consecrated or elected diocesans.

The reader may determine whether or not that constitutes a "poor track record."

Posted by dr.primrose at Wednesday, 18 January 2017 at 12:00am GMT

No reason for retirement? He's 65 years old and has been in active ministry for 43 years.

Posted by Richard at Wednesday, 18 January 2017 at 12:39am GMT

They'll probably be needing to fill two vacancies in the Diocese of Blackburn within the next year or two, when +Philip is translated to a Diocesan See

Posted by Graham Williams at Wednesday, 18 January 2017 at 1:58am GMT

"Oddly, no reason is given for retirement"
Bishop Geoff will be 66 in the summer surely that is reason enough - after 43 years of exemplary Christian ministry we should wish him a long and happy retirement with sincere thanks for all that he has done to promote the Christian Gospel and extend Christ's Kingdom.
I know not if he is to be succeeded and whether or not his successor will be male or female but I do know that Bishop Julian Henderson chose Philip North to be Bishop of Burnley and for that he is to be highly commended. Bishop Philip is an absolute asset not only to the diocese of Blackburn but to the Church of England in general as he focuses our attention upon a much neglected ministry to those who live on vast and often poorer housing estates. It will be a crying shame if, in the fullness of time, Bishop Philip is not given his own diocese. I note that London is soon to fall vacant.

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 18 January 2017 at 7:14am GMT

"TEC may have a poor track record of appointing women bishops."

I meant to write 'has' a poor track record. 25 women bishops consecrated since and including Bishop Barbara Harris in 1989 seems stunningly poor compared with the CofE's 10 in two years. KJS is on record as saying how disappointed she was on the subject. TEC does of course elect its bishops, which is probably the key reason why there are so few women. Conservative GC and diocesan electors. It's why the CofE won't move to elections any time soon.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Wednesday, 18 January 2017 at 8:37pm GMT

While we're moving off topic, a more interesting comparison with TEC is Canada. As at April 2017:

TEC will have 15 female bishops (7 diocesan, 8 assistant) plus a further 8 "retired" bishops (although TEC bishops don't really retire).

Canada will have 9 female bishops (5 diocesan, 4 assistant) plus a further 2 retired bishops.

England will have 10 female bishops (2 diocesan, 8 assistant).

A lot has happened in the last year to address the low numbers of women being nominated or elected in TEC, but the Canadian comparison is instructive as they use elections not appointments, and have a smaller number of dioceses / bishops than TEC.

Of course I suspect that if we did this on a per capita (communicant members?) basis Australia or Aotearoa / NZ would lead ...

... or possibly Wales where in a few days 1/6th of the episcopate will be female :)

Posted by Peter S at Thursday, 19 January 2017 at 9:40am GMT
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