Refreshing, whatever his other qualities, that this male Bishop is mainly famous for being married to his wife, the novelist Catherine Fox.
This makes a change from women bishops who are profiled as being "married to..."
It is also nice to have someone who is not committed to "hill walking" and "reading", although he does still have the "two children" as required for preferment!
Whatever else one might say about him, it is at least gratifying that the new bishop of Sheffield has the year of Calvin's death as part of his Twitter handle.
Like me, perhaps, he too likes to wake up in the morning and think: "whatever else may be wrong with the world, Calvin is at least still dead. Praise be to God, Calvin is dead (as of 1564)."
Watching this as an expat export from the C of E continues to be bewildering. But what is truly awful to behold is the nature of the comments on the Cranmer blog, which are poisonous beyond words, and stand in marked contrast to the dignity and grace of Wilcox, North, et al. If I had a blog that attracted such negativity and hostility in the name of Christ, I'd close it.
I was once offered a job at Buckingham Palace. They were so sure I was right, I was offered the job without competitive interview. I turned it down and insisted that the job was advertised in public. And yes, I still got the job but this way nobody could doubt that I was the best person for the job.
It is up to Pete Wilcox, but in his position I would turn down the appointment and say that I wanted my candidature considered by a fresh CNC. Otherwise he risks "second best" being muttered anytime he suffers adversity or does anything controversial. Bishops are supposed to be leaders - creeping in as second choice is not an auspicious start. He might be the best candidate but he should have had the confidence to say to the CNC that he wished that to be proven.
It is not clear to me why Sheffield gets second best. The new bishop feels called and the diocese seems to be happy to welcome and affirm him in his new ministry; why would that be second best? Sure his appointment is at the second time of asking, but why would that make it second best?
Strange though if may seem, the CNC lives in the real world. The fact that it elects two candidates and then expresses a preference between them is a hang over from the time before the new convention was introduced that Downing Street now needs only one name. It is often the case in the making of appointments that the preferred finalist candidate turns the offer down, the situation with Sheffield, albeit with a wrinkle. The CNC had already voted for the Dean of Liverpool with Fr. North protected. It would have been wholly unnecessary to repeat the process.
"Second best" is the phrase used by Archbishop Cranmer. Not my choice but in Pete Wilcox's place I would not want to become Bishop of Sheffield in these circumstances and risk that comparison. Sheffield deserves better. Asking for a fresh competition takes courage - but that is the calibre of person we want as bishops.
Pete Wilcox might be the best candidate - but he risks not being seen as the best candidate. Philip North showed great integrity in standing down - the comparison (as Bishop Cranmer hints) does Pete Wilcox no favours. And if the Independent review criticises the CNC which picked him, he is tainted; and if the review stands by the appointment of Philip North, he again looks like second best.
"Dr Wilcox said: 'I will be ordaining with great joy and delight both women and men as priests in the diocese but I will also be hugely supportive of Bishop Glyn (who opposes the ordination of women priests) and respect the traditional Catholic position.' "
And respect the male catholic tradition, there fixed it.
'"Second best" is the phrase used by Archbishop Cranmer. Not my choice but in Pete Wilcox's place I would not want to become Bishop of Sheffield in these circumstances and risk that comparison. Sheffield deserves better. Asking for a fresh competition takes courage - but that is the calibre of person we want as bishops.'
Turning it down would have involved Sheffield Diocese in a long and difficult wait, when they now need leadership more than ever. And it would have involved the Church in a lot more expense. I don't know Pete Wilcox, but I think in this case I'll give him credit for putting the needs of the Church and diocese before his own ego.
We were fortunate enough to have Bishop David Wilcox give a series of lectures on various books of the Bible. At each successive lecture the number attending grew from 30 to 40 to 50 to 60. When Bishop David told his son Pete how many were attending each lecture - Pete's response was that he got nowhere near the number his dad was attracting when he hosted something similar at Liverpool cathedral! However, come what may, if Pete can make the Bible come alive in the way in which his pater does - then that will be a great plus to his new ministry in the diocese of Sheffield.
One of the the issues with regards Sheffield is that Philip North was the CNC's first choice but possibly not first choice for many in the diocese. It is currently fashionable to blame 'illiberal liberals' and 'hectoring bullies' for him standing aside but this level of analysis ignores the reaction from within the diocese. Let's not confuse the CNC's 'first choice,' with wider acceptance in the diocese. The CNC failed in this case (as it has in others) to identify an acceptable 'first choice' candidate at the first attempt.
For the post I now occupy, I was second choice for 4 of the 6 parish representatives. Far from being a burden, i find this a liberation. When, after two weeks of shillyshallying by the first choice, the post was offered me, I said I would not accept unless all 6 reps gave the bishop their unwavering support for me. Eventually they did. And now I find that because of all this, I feel no pressure to live up to their expectations - because I was second choice!
It is such a relief to know that, not only is the bishop elect married to a person of opposite gender, so are his children !
Meanwhile lgbt couples are left unsupported.
'Mutual flourishing' ?
Would empathic self denial and restraint from heterosexual church leaders be too much to hope for ?
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