Comments: CNC elections

Very happy with some of these names :)

Posted by Susannah Clark at Thursday, 27 July 2017 at 7:30pm BST

Let me be so bold as to offer congratulations to Anthony Archer on behalf of all regular TA users .

Posted by Edward Prebble at Thursday, 27 July 2017 at 9:52pm BST

With Anthony Archer on the CNC does that mean we can expect more female diocesans? Unlike the BBC, do they get paid the same as male diocesans?

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 27 July 2017 at 10:44pm BST

With Anthony Archer on the CNC (@Fr David) does this mean we will see the best person appointed, regardless of gender or theological conviction? Will we see more prophets and fewer prefects? Will we see a more critical approach to these appointments, where the distinctive calling of the Church of England and its commitment to the people of this country takes priority over the internal neurosis of the institution? Will we see more bishops who can speak with intelligence and insight in the public sphere, and stop taking refuge in the vocabulary of the tribe? Will we see people like Sam Wells, Andrew Davidson, Sarah Coakley, Jessica Martin, Stephen Cherry, Duncan Dormer and, indeed, Judith Maltby giving the House of Bishops a much-needed wake-up call? Let's leave the gender politics to one side (the situation has become too critical to play these games) and start getting people of real quality, who will stand up to the controlling culture, and challenge the lazy thinking that produces statements like yesterday's cack-handed attempt to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act.

Posted by Will Richards at Friday, 28 July 2017 at 1:53pm BST

Will Richards - I would agree that there are still gifted and talented people in the Church of England whose presence would greatly enhance the Bench of Bishops. I suppose the next test will come with the appointment of Richard Chartres' successor. My money is on the Bishop of Stepney to succeed, even though this will mean that all five senior bishoprics will be held by Evangelicals.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 28 July 2017 at 7:13pm BST

A fairly cursory look at the details of the voting counts, and cross-referencing to the votes on the conversion therapy and transsexual motions, suggests that to a large extent votes were cast on "political" lines rather than on the personal qualities of the candidates. Inevitable of course under the CNC system. It's possible to track the way that transfers go when particular candidates are dropped out.

The natural implication (and of course, if you agree with them, perhaps even hope) is that, to some extent, the members of the committee will themselves act "politically" rather than as "impartial" members of an appointing committee. Sadly, the opacity of the whole appointment system will make it impossible to tell.

Posted by Bernard Silverman at Friday, 28 July 2017 at 9:42pm BST

Father David---leaving Anthony Archer aside, you should note that (according to Wikipedia) one of the new members is "a supporter of same-sex marriage" and another wrote in their manifesto for election to GS "To fulfil its mission, the Church of England needs to be ... a church where everyone can participate fully in ... leadership, regardless of ethnicity, class or background, sexual orientation, disability or gender." On the other hand two of the new members were in the fairly small group of people who voted against both the "conversion therapy" and the "transsexual welcome" motions.

Posted by Bernard Silverman at Friday, 28 July 2017 at 9:59pm BST

Father David,

The Bishop of Stepney is a liberal-minded bishop who would make an excellent Bishop of London. I have huge confidence in him.

Susannah

Posted by Susannah Clark at Friday, 28 July 2017 at 11:55pm BST

I've just taken Frank Longford's book "The Bishops" down from the bookshelf and blown off the dust. It is subtitled "A Study of Leaders in the Church Today" and it was first published in 1986, just over three decades ago and so is a fairly relatively recent publication. In addition to the two archbishops - Runcie and Habgood he includes the following colourful Anglican characters:-

The Anglo-Catholics
Graham Leonard
Eric Kemp

The Evangelicals
David Shepphard
Maurice Wood

The Liberals
Hugh Montifiore
David Jenkins
John Baker
John Bickersteth

Were Lord Longford alive at this hour he'd be hard pressed to write a similar volume on the current bland bunch of bishops. I can only think of one true traditional Anglo-Catholic on the current bench of diocesans. However, the lists of Evangelicals and Liberals would be far longer than they were in Longford's day but all much of a muchness. Let's hope that the newly elected CNC can introduce a bit of colour and character, more rebels and less prefects and, please God, the odd eccentric or two.

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 29 July 2017 at 7:23am BST

Father David wrote, "Let's hope that the newly elected CNC can introduce a bit of colour and character, more rebels and less prefects and, please God, the odd eccentric or two."

Oh, and how about a good academic theologian or two (or three or more). Such are conspicuous by their absence from the current House and College. Far too many MBAs and the like.

Posted by RPNewark at Saturday, 29 July 2017 at 11:59am BST

I add my congratulations to Anthony Archer, with thanks for his many valuable contributions to TA on CNC related matters. But, since Anthony's lips will soon be sealed on any such matters, where are we going to get our informed, experienced and measured view from? Can anyone else step up to the plate?

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Saturday, 29 July 2017 at 1:13pm BST

If so Bernard then it's two thirds"liberals"one third"conservatives"...but now the diocese has 6 members not 4, that surely have at least the power to block an appointment especially if they stick together. But then people say Caroline Boddington is the real power broker!

Posted by Perry Butler at Saturday, 29 July 2017 at 2:52pm BST

Yes, of course Adrian Newman is open-minded. he is also energetic and creative, as well as being a thoroughly nice person. He is an excellent Bishop of Stepney. He will doubtless make a good diocesan bishop, too. But London? He is someone who is institutionally 'on message'; who is, by conviction, committed to the Renewal and Reform programme; and believes that current strategies for growth are 'The Thing.' London needs someone who can speak to wider society, has a much broader cultural vocabulary, and show that the Church of England is here for those beyond the Church as well as those within it. We have to get away from this notion of someone being a good bishop because they are 'known' within the Church. That counts for nothing in the big, wide world where we have all-but-lost any scrap of credibility we might have ever had.

I fear that the CNC election results do not fill me with much hope that London will get a big hitter who will be trusted and engaged by the wider world. So... bets on for Chris Cocksworth, Andrew Watson, Tim Dakin, Paul Williams, Peter Hancock and, yes, Adrian Newman. Same old. Same old.

Posted by Edmund Walters at Saturday, 29 July 2017 at 3:01pm BST

I'd agree wholeheartedly with you RPNewark on the need for Scholar Bishops. Look again at Lord Longford's list from the mid 1980s and there you will find three outstanding academics and theologians Kemp (Chichester) Baker (Salisbury) and Jenkins (Durham). Where are their modern day equivalents - the cry goes up.
Whoever gets London - Chartres will be a hard act to follow.

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 29 July 2017 at 5:40pm BST

My thanks to Edward Prebble, Malcolm Dixon and others for their kind comments. I assume my new role as a CNC central member on 1 September, for a five year period. Re my lips being sealed, that of course will be right, but there a difference between transparency of process and confidentiality of deliberation. @Will Richards, “does this mean we will see the best person appointed, regardless of gender or theological conviction?” Well, for the ‘best person’ read ‘the person God is calling’ to the episcopate. Discerning the mind of God by human means (not forgetting prayer) is challenging. How do we co-operate with the Holy Spirit? Certainly we need gender balance on shortlists. Theological conviction should also be viewed on the basis of equality, although issues like Sheffield bring this into sharp focus. I received barely any correspondence from the electorate, despite having issued a full election address, but one question was very on message and I was challenged in how I replied. The voter said: “Could you possibly clarify a point for me, please? You indicate that you are committed to “diverse shortlists [which] should be inclusive”, but you have repeatedly expressed the view ... [on TA et al] ... that no “non-ordainer” ... should be considered for appointment as a diocesan bishop.” I replied inter alia as follows: “If a diocese was to come to the CNC making it clear ... that such a candidate could be considered, would be acceptable to all in the diocese, and that this was supported by the secretaries’ consultation and the views expressed in the CNC by the diocesan representatives, then such a candidate could well be invited for interview (and should be, assuming they meet the overall requirements and attributes). So if a diocese ... expressed a clear (and reasoned) view, I would not consider a candidate’s stance on ordination to be an automatic bar. However, I would hopefully have had the opportunity to express my general view on the point and be healthily sceptical of how a nomination of such a person might be received. But not to permit such a candidate to be shortlisted (solely on account of their traditionalist stance) would do the discernment process a disservice. And that would certainly offend my view on diverse shortlists.” @Perry Butler, “then it's two thirds "liberals "one third" conservatives"...” is I fear simplistic. I argued in my election address that from my experience of the CNC, admittedly 10 years ago, “the churchmanship of candidates and members of the CNC was rarely a factor, contrary to opinion outside.” I am an evangelical, but to the chagrin of many fellow evangelicals I am an ‘affirming evangelical.’ That doesn’t make me a ‘liberal’, but if folk want to cast me as such that is up to them. @RPNewark, “... how about a good academic theologian or two.” I argued at the time not to increase the diocesan representatives on the CNC from four to six. One other proposal was to have eight! One consequence of this has been for the dioceses to have more influence (not necessarily a bad thing) but for the House of Bishops to be deprived of a +Sykes (RIP) or a +Selby. Dioceses tend to come with a crying need for a bishop who will emphasise mission. Why can’t a scholar theologian do this also? I don’t know the answer to this. It needs the diocesan representatives to listen carefully to the needs of the national Church, and for the central members to listen carefully to the needs of the diocese. As to the process more generally, there has been comment on other blogs etc. that the process needs radical revision. I don’t subscribe to this. However I am pleased that Professor Oliver O’Donovan has been asked to undertake a theological review of the CNC. Some are askance at this, assuming that the theology of the episcopate is fairly settled, which it is. However, it seems to me that any thinking on process needs to take place when there is confidence and agreement about the theological framework.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Saturday, 29 July 2017 at 9:18pm BST

Good to see that Mr. Archer believes in vocation and that God calls a person to episcopal ministry. In which case why has God stopped calling traditional Anglo-Catholics to episcopal ministry and currently seems to be favouring Evangelicals? Did God make a mistake in calling Philip North to be Bishop of Sheffield? From what he writes it would seem that the views of the vacant diocese override and overrule the will of God. Of course, an emphasis on mission is important but so is a balanced episcopate which we had not so very many decades ago but sadly no longer, as now we have a very monochrome Bench. Mr. Archer and all the other members of the CNC have much to ponder upon prior to entering a season of purdah after September 1st MMXVII.

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 30 July 2017 at 7:02am BST

Thank you to Anthony, for openness and response here. I think you have been on a moving journey as an affirming evangelical, which was also very evident in your article in 'Journeys in Grace and Truth'. May God's grace and wisdom guide you, and may decency give you strength and courage to speak your mind in the group process. And God give you patience as well!

Posted by Susannah Clark at Sunday, 30 July 2017 at 7:18am BST

I would echo Father David's call for more representation of the Catholic tradition in the leadership of the Church of England.

I would also like to add that I believe there is a case for considering co-option/calling of some leaders of religious houses into the membership of the House of Bishops.

While they may not have the calling or inclination to lead whole dioceses (though it's not unthinkable) they have huge experience to contribute to Church leadership on prayer, on community, in some cases on deep-rooted Catholicism, which would enhance and enrich our journeys together as a diverse, generous, and spiritual Church.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Sunday, 30 July 2017 at 9:22am BST

Father David: I find it hard to have Eric Kemp mentioned in an exemplary way, and I am not a survivor of abuse. I can only assume that you have not read the Gibb Report on Peter Ball. It is a sobering, shocking report and he does not emerge from it well.

Posted by Grumpy High Churchwoman at Sunday, 30 July 2017 at 4:06pm BST

“If a diocese was to come to the CNC making it clear ... that [a non-ordainer] could be considered, *would be acceptable to all* in the diocese, and that this was supported by the secretaries’ consultation and the views expressed in the CNC by the diocesan representatives, then such a candidate could well be invited for interview...

Anthony, I can't imagine that any candidate of any Anglican churchmanship would ever "be acceptable to all"... Is your criteria anything more than a thinly veiled means to discriminate against trad Anglo-Catholics - and a repudiation of the agreement reached to enable *mutual* flourishing?

Posted by RevDave at Sunday, 30 July 2017 at 7:15pm BST

"Anthony, I can't imagine that any candidate of any Anglican churchmanship would ever "be acceptable to all"... Is your criteria anything more than a thinly veiled means to discriminate against trad Anglo-Catholics - and a repudiation of the agreement reached to enable *mutual* flourishing?"

Categorically no, but it should be noted that the vast majority of nominations to diocesan sees are actually widely acceptable to the diocese in question, else the CNC has failed in its discernment. TA is not the place to unpack the Guiding Principles, and I for one am keen to see Sir Philip Mawer's report on Sheffield before commenting further. I may have set the bar high, but we are dealing with an issue in the CofE on which the Church has a settled mind.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Sunday, 30 July 2017 at 10:34pm BST

Dear Grumpy,
If you carefully read what I wrote you would find that I was referring to the former Bishop of Chichester as an outstanding academic and theologian and how much we need scholar bishops to add gravitas to the bench today. May I respectfully suggest that you read what Lord Longford wrote about Bishop Kemp in his book "The Bishops".
We now all await what Lord Carlisle has to say in a forthcoming report on one of Dr. Kemp's predecessors - Bishop George Bell.

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 30 July 2017 at 11:14pm BST

Edmund Walters - I am intrigued by your regret that a 'big hitter' is unlikely to be appointed to London. You mention several names who you clearly do not consider as fitting that description, but none who does. Who do you have in mind?

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Monday, 31 July 2017 at 12:40am BST

Mr. Archer makes clear that if a "non ordainer" was considered to be acceptable to the vacant diocese then that person would be "invited for interview"
If the Church of Wales had not been disestablished and the CNC was involved in the discernment process then it is more than likely that Jeffrey John would now be seated upon the cathedra of Llandaff rather than the former Dean of Salisbury, as he received overwhelming support from the diocesan representatives.
The new Bishop of Llandaff graciously made passing reference to the little local difficulty in her Enthronement address.
"Let's be honest with one another. There are also surprised people in the diocese who may still be wondering "how did this happen". People who expected a different accent, a different dean, who would have preferred a different gender." She might also have added "a different sexuality!"
I note that Mrs. Clinton's forthcoming book examining the 2016 Presidential Election has as its working title "WHAT HAPPENED"
What happened, indeed! Seems to me that the newly elected CNC already gives the appearance and impression of being highly discriminatory in their selection of future diocesan bishops - NO "non-ordainers" and NO Gays. A sad indictment.

Posted by Father David at Monday, 31 July 2017 at 8:45am BST

Malcolm Dixon's question is a fair one, and it has left me struggling, simply because we have such a lightweight and monochrome episcopacy. Anthony Archer's statements on this thread leave me with very little confidence that this will change during the current quinqennium.

As a supporter of equal ordination, I would still welcome Martin Warner as a scholar-missioner, not least because he is able to speak effectively to wider culture beyond the Church, and his theological stance would not undermine the ministry of women (indeed, in Chichester it has been enhanced). He would make a much more incisive impact in the House of Lords, too. I would say the same of Philip North, frankly. There is an argument, too, of ditching the convention of always translating for London, and considering someone like Sam Wells. But, please, no more functionaries who will simply serve the ecclesiastical machine and be deemed effective at putting a few extra bums on seats. There is more to the C of E than this. As someone else has said, we desperately need a prophet, not a prefect.

Posted by Edmund Walters at Monday, 31 July 2017 at 12:48pm BST

I may have got this terribly wrong, but I can't help but read in Anthony Archer's comments a thinly veiled apologia for maintaining the status quo and for pro-actively blocking people who do not fit his understanding of what the C of E's episcopacy should be. Would Durham's representatives have ever favoured David Jenkins (or John Habgood for that matter); and would Ely have ever wanted Stephen Sykes, or Worcester Peter Selby, or Salisbury John Baker? I am afraid the procrastinating flannel I am reading on this thread depresses me because it is precisely those people who do not 'tick the boxes' who are more likely to be the ones that make a real difference - not least beyond the Church, where it really matters. Now we know Anthony Archer's premeditated strategy, we can sit back and place sure certainties on the 'usual suspects' for the next five years.

Picking up Fr David's comments, I think there is at least one diocese asking, after only a year or so, 'How did this happen?' after Anthony Archer's recipe for episcopal appointments was followed to the letter.

Posted by Michael Mulhern at Monday, 31 July 2017 at 1:25pm BST

Hi Anthony Archer, Thank you. I will remember to always object to a liberal, a liberal catholic, an anglo-catholic or a MOR establishment type being appointed as my Diocesan.

IMHO they would be alienating to some and a risk to unity....

Posted by RevDave at Monday, 31 July 2017 at 6:33pm BST

Dear Father David: I have read Longford's book and am familiar with his career - may I respectfully suggest you read what was said about Eric Kemp in the Gibb Report and consider as how mentioning him as an episcopal exemplar might be heard by someone abused by Peter Ball.

Posted by Grumpy High Churchwoman at Monday, 31 July 2017 at 9:41pm BST

There has probably never been, and there will probably never be, any satisfactory method of appointing bishops. It is simply too much to characterise the horse trading, political manoeuvering, box ticking and lobbying (however tactfully and artfully undertaken) as having anything to do with the movement of the Holy Spirit.

The Church (or churches) have variously attempted acclamation, prayer (which characteristically elides conveniently with the prejudices of those praying), election, nomination (whether by committee or as a species of personal patronage) and bargaining (which may or may not involve overt simony). On occasion violence has helped clarify the outcome.

My view is that prime ministerial patronage actually worked quite well, but it was often a chore for busy latitudinarian, sceptical or nonconformist premiers. Nonetheless, the CNC has worked creditably well, and I have little doubt that it will continue to function as such with Mr Archer back on the panel.

Several people have complained about the chronic mediocrity of the bench. Well, there is something in that, but the bench has often been mediocre, and I suspect it will continue to be so. Some contributors to this thread have lamented the decline of the bench since the 1980s, perhaps forgetting how uninspiring it seemed at the time.

I think we are expecting far too much. We are demanding nineteenth century quality and results with twenty first century resources. We are demanding people of the calibre and character of the Victorian era (albeit without many of the accompanying ‘values’) when the conditions that nurtured men of that stamp no longer exist and the institutions that made their achievements possible have long been secularised. We are praying for individuals with the personality, drive, and faith needed to move mountains, but these people (who are generally lured into more lucrative professions) are scarce, whilst they can often be difficult to manage and frequently disappoint inflated expectations. Many of us are also demanding that the Church become more democratic, but ‘talent’ is frequently difficult to reconcile with democracy, and the trade-off is seldom satisfactory if democratic imperatives inhibit the implementation of the ideas generated by the talented, which regularly offend established interests.

We will continue to have the best bench we have, until the (shallow) talent pool evaporates altogether, and then we will have no bench (and perhaps no Church?) or else we may have some other system of ecclesiastical government.

Posted by Froghole at Monday, 31 July 2017 at 9:58pm BST

I agree with Froghole that "prime ministerial patronage actually worked quite well". Harold Macmillan, for example, made some superb appointments - not least the saintly Michael Ramsey. Previously we had a much livelier, more diverse and interesting Bench than we have at present. Who would you rather oversee episcopal appointments - Anthony Archer (after what he has written above - "same old, same old") or Mrs. Theresa May?
Certainly when Jeremy Corbyn takes over he would undoubtedly have livened up the episcopate, had PMP still been the order of the day, in the same way that he has enlivened and energised the Labour Party.
Would Michael Mulhern like to reveal which diocese he alludes to which is asking "How did this happen?" or are we to be left guessing?

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 1 August 2017 at 6:58am BST

Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Anthony Archer spilled much ink on TA telling us what he thinks the Five Guiding Principles are by attempting to convince us that black is white? In that sense, I guess the content of Philip Mawer's report and recommendations will be irrelevant.

I think Rev Dave and others have a point. When a member of the CNC fundamentally disagrees with the FGPs we will not see Philip North or any other traditionalist being nominated as a diocesan bishop. Cut the semantic circumlocution: minorities have no place in the leadership of the Church of England. No wonder wider society views us with profound suspicion.

Posted by Jonathan Mitchell at Tuesday, 1 August 2017 at 8:24am BST

No, Jonathan Mitchell, the Five Guiding Principles are, like much else that underpins our faith, very much open to interpretation and, as we have often been reminded, 'need to be held in tension one with another'.
Many of us think that no flourishing can be 'mutual' if, in order for one party to flourish, another party has to be subjected to unreasonable demands. That would be the case if all the women priests in a diocese were required to swear allegiance and canonical obedience to a diocesan bishop who did not believe that they were really and actually priests, even if the diocesan attempted to cling to the specious SSWSH distinction between legally holding an office and actually being a priest.
There may indeed be some members of the new CNC who fundamentally disagree with some of the FGPs, but I am sure that Anthony Archer is not one of them, and he has said as much.

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Tuesday, 1 August 2017 at 10:53am BST

Why all the rather illiberal complaining about Anthony Archer? All members of the CNC bring their own views and prejudices with them, as is inevitable, and Anthony has been elected by Synod members who presumably know his views and want him to do this job. It's called democracy, comrade - as Roger Moore nearly said in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Anthony has articulated what many of us are struggling with vis a vis the FGP - namely how can it work in practice? We were steered away from pinning down the details in Synod and those of us who raised points of detail were derided for being picky. Now we are in a mess.

Anthony Archer strikes me as a man of great integrity who wants the best for the Church and will serve on the CNC in a selfless way.

Posted by Charles Read at Tuesday, 1 August 2017 at 12:43pm BST

Thank you @Malcolm Dixon. You have confirmed the very point I was making.

Posted by Jonathan Mitchell at Tuesday, 1 August 2017 at 1:00pm BST

One aspect of the old prime ministerial patronage system is that people were involved in appointments who weren't active church members. For example, a good friend of mine who held a senior secular position but was a "nominal" Anglican, if that, was asked to chair an appointing committee (which, if it met at all, would have met informally and in secret, things being what they were then, and the candidates would not have known they were being considered). Whether that was a good thing or a bad thing depends on your point of view. Moving to the CNC was a step on the process of disestablishment of course.

I suspect that both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn would have taken at least something of a personal interest if the old system still pertained. Presuming that Mrs May is on a church electoral roll, she does have a say, via the extremely indirect and convoluted "democratic" structures of synodical government and CNC composition!
In the Sheffield case, local MPs certainly felt it within their right to express a view after the initial appointment. I believe that part of the current process is the seeking of views from "secular" sources, but how or if these views are actually taken into account is only known in the secret halls of the CNC meetings.

Froghole's post is very interesting in setting out all the different ways of making appointments, and in making it clear that any system will be terrible except when you consider all the possible alternatives. But if we are to have committee appointments, we could have greater transparency, even if only in a way which combined information across appointments. For instance, the CNC could produce an annual report in which it said: This year we filled x appointments. Altogether there were y applicants, of whom z were interviewed. Then we could have a breakdown of applicants and interviewees by various characteristics (gender, ethnicity, etc) There could be summaries of the kinds of submissions that had been received in response to the adverts that are placed, and --- dare one say it --- links to public versions of these if the submitters agreed. And so on. But sadly it's unlikely, because of the prevailing culture of secrecy and the immunity of the Church of England from Freedom of Information.

Posted by Bernard at Tuesday, 1 August 2017 at 1:21pm BST

Dear Grumpy,

Having read Lord Longford's book you will know what a high opinion the noble Lord had of Bishop Kemp as a spiritual and scholarly bishop. I note that Rowan Williams also receives a certain amount of censure in the Gibb report. If I were to praise him for his academic ability and spirituality would I receive similar criticism from your good self?

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 1 August 2017 at 3:21pm BST

"...deep-rooted Catholicism, which would enhance and enrich our journeys together as a diverse, generous, and spiritual Church."

I suppose everything is context, but I live in France and in close quarters with "deep-rooted Catholicism." In its most generous guise, the term here could never refer to the kind of diversity you reflexively assume. To enclose it in that kind of diversity of practice would be to rob it of its baseline sense ("universally held").

Could you perhaps come up with another term so that those who use it to denominate who they are in the most basic sense aren't asked to share it with a context in which almost its opposite is being implied: a "deep rooted Catholicism" in a First Church of Diversity and Choice.

At some point we are using language that can stretch only so far. "Deep-rooted catholics" in the CofE presumably want to use the word to emphasize a common Catholicism of ecumenical hope. Not a diversity amalgam. If not, then what does the word Catholic mean unless one wants to say fairly immediately that Catholicism itself has a deficient understanding. If that is what you are saying, it will be understandable only to a very elite group of insiders in the CofE.

Posted by crs at Tuesday, 1 August 2017 at 4:10pm BST

I agree with Charles Read: I've been a little taken aback by the criticisms of Anthony Archer. I believe he has integrity, cares about the Church and, from an LGBT point of view, and on the issue of women priests, he is a liberal-minded person who has also been far more transparent than many people in the Church of England. In a Church where many people don't engage, he's come here frequently and been forthright and pretty responsive. The internet being what it is, that can go quickly pear-shaped, and he could be forgiven for taking a look at the flak he's had here the past few days and feeling perhaps I won't bother to post here.

From my perspective he's 'one of the good guys', and I'm moved and impressed by his own admissions of changing attitudes on lgbt. If I possibly hold different views on catholic bishops - I think 'non'ordainers' *should* be able to be diocesan bishops - nevertheless I believe Anthony is a really good person to have on the CNC, and I trust him as a human being.

In the end, there are more qualities to be sought in an episcopal appointment than faction, scholarship, intelligence, or gender: anyone charged with positions like these needs to have strong human qualities, ability to engage with people, serve and facilitate them, and above all have a personal spirituality that is deep-rooted and loving and humble-hearted. Personally, I thought Philip North had these characteristics and I think it is a travesty if people like him just get counted out.

So I maybe (I don't know) have a different slant than Anthony on some things. But do I trust his decency and good intent? Yes I do.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Tuesday, 1 August 2017 at 5:17pm BST

@Bernard: Many thanks. I believe Mr and Mrs May are/were on the electoral roll at St Andrew’s Sonning, Berkshire (an important church – it was once adjacent to a major residence of the bishops of Salisbury).

Aside from Bolingbroke (an atheist high churchman[!]) and Grafton (Unitarian), all premiers were members of the three established churches until Lloyd George; thereafter, and on a generous measure, Bonar Law, Baldwin, Eden, Macmillan, Home, Heath, Thatcher, Blair, Brown, Cameron and May have been regular or occasional churchgoers, with Baldwin, Eden, Macmillan, Home, Heath and May being genuinely committed Anglicans. Chamberlain (lapsed/hostile Unitarian) and Attlee were atheists (Attlee was an atheist sympathetic to the Church), with Wilson and Callaghan agnostics – the former a lapsed Congregationalist and the latter a lapsed Baptist, but both sympathetic.

Historically, prime ministerial patronage was extensive and exceeded that of all bishops: covering both archbishops and all bishops, all deaneries bar Bangor and St Asaph, 63 prebends, 12 sundries (e.g., the wardenship of Manchester), 99 livings (129 parishes), with a further 6 livings (10 parishes) as alternate – a patronage dwarfed only by that of the lord chancellor.

The growing weight of official business in No. 10 and LG’s establishment of a cabinet secretariat led to the rise of the appointments secretary; an equivalent was nominated at Lambeth after 1965. The move to gain greater control over appointments came from the Church rather than Whitehall (viz. the Howick and Chadwick reports), affirmed by Synod in 1974, with the structure of the CNC worked out by Donald Coggan and Norman Anderson with Callaghan by 1976 (with a special reservation over appointments to the five most senior sees). I suspect that Callaghan, overwhelmed by union bargaining, the need to appease the IMF and the management of a ministry with no effective parliamentary majority, would have been relieved to be rid of the business.

Fr. David has commended the prime ministerial system, and I see the remarks above about Eric Kemp; it should be noted that Michael Ramsey wanted Kemp on the bench because he needed a good canon lawyer (especially after the retirement of Robert Mortimer from Exeter in 1973). However, Heath’s appointments secretary, John Hewitt, blocked Kemp’s advancement because Hewitt was suspicious of Kemp’s disestablishmentarianism. Kemp only left the Worcester deanery once Hewitt retired and was replaced by the more flexible Colin Peterson.

Posted by Froghole at Tuesday, 1 August 2017 at 6:42pm BST

In the light of Father David's post (7.23 am on 29 July) I've looked again at my copy of "Believing Bishops" by Simon Lee and Peter Stanford, published by Faber & Faber in 1990. Their book considers Anglican and RC bishops. In Part III ('Visions') they divide bishops into three categories, Prophets, Pastors and Peacemakers, and 'Wider Visions'.
Under 'Prophets', they provide pen portraits of +David Jenkins (Durham), +David Sheppard and +Derek Worlock (Liverpool) and +Graham Leonard (London).
Under 'Pastors and Peacemakers' they consider +Basil Hume (Westminster), ++Robert Runcie (Canterbury), ++John Hapgood (York) and +Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (Arundel & Brighton).
Under 'Wider visions', looking at "the role of bishops elsewhere before we settle on a vision for the English churches", they name +Cahal Daly (Down & Connor), ++Robert Eames (Armagh), Pope John Paul II, and the late +Oscar Romero and +Desmond Tutu.
Interestingly, in a final chapter, '2001: An Episcopal Odyssey', they pose the question, "Who should lead the English churches into the next millennium?" Their conclusion is that +Richard Harries, +Mark Santer,and +George Carey "are the most talented of the English candidates, but the successor to Robert Runice can only be determined when the question of the dual role of the Archbishop of Canterbury — the 'Eames factor' — has been decided." They concluded: "A bishop with the prayerful spirituality of Cardinal Hume, the theological insight of the Bishop of Durham, and a combination of the Liverpool bishops' concerns for the voiceless and their ability to be effective voices, such a bishop would be our ideal model."

Posted by David Lamming at Tuesday, 1 August 2017 at 7:50pm BST

My thanks for the further comments on this crucial general issue, particularly those who have supported me. All those who have supported me know me as opposed to those who have been critical of me who don't, save that they have read my various and frequent posts on TA. I have spent a lifetime in my professional work asking people what their detractors might say about them. It is the kind of question that makes you feel quite vulnerable. Nevertheless, living in the age that we do, with all comments that would have previously have been confined to the pub being broadcast across the web, I am pleased to tell my detractors that although I hear them I am rather more thick skinned than they think, expecially on issues of women in ministry, SSM and the workings of the CNC, about which I know rather more than they do.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Tuesday, 1 August 2017 at 10:17pm BST

As one of the (19) unsuccessful lay candidates for election to the CNC, I've been particularly interested in the various comments posted above on the likely impact of the result of the elections on future episcopal appointments, especially on the 'Five Guiding Principles' (FGP) and whether a 'non ordainer' could ever now be considered for appointment as a diocesan bishop. As someone wholly supportive of female bishops, I was, nonetheless, concerned at the reaction to the nomination of +Philip North to the see of Sheffield and his subsequent decision to withdraw: hence the Private Member's Motion that I tabled and which at the last count has so far attracted 70 signatures. It requires a further 30 signatures for it to be considered by the synod's Business Committee for inclusion on the General Synod agenda, and I would urge any readers of this TA blog who are members of GS to sign it now, if they have not already done so. Its terms are:

"That this Synod:
(a) share the sadness and regret of the Rt Revd Philip North in his decision, announced on 9 March 2017, to withdraw acceptance of his nomination to the See of Sheffield;
(b) note the substantial support for Bishop North’s nomination from many women and men, lay and ordained, in the dioceses of both Sheffield and Blackburn, and in the wider Church of England;
(c) express its full support for Bishop North in his future ministry, whether in the Blackburn diocese or elsewhere;
(d) note, with concern, the implications of Bishop North’s decision, and the public debate that preceded it, for the ‘mutual flourishing’ of the Church of England; and
(e) request the House of Bishops urgently to review the ‘Five Guiding Principles’ and to consider whether they need to be amended or amplified in order to ensure that there is an equal place at all levels in the Church for men and women of different theological convictions on the issue of women’s ordination, and to report to the Synod by February 2018."

I tabled the motion online in March and the February 2018 date in para (e) was predicated on getting the necessary 100 signatures before the May deadline for items to be included on the agenda at York last month. However, it will still be relevant to debate the issues in February, when we should also have the benefit of the Philip Mawer report.

(Perhaps of interest, of the 70 signatories, four stood for election as lay members of the CNC, and one as a clergy member. Of those 5 names, two were elected.)

Posted by David Lamming at Tuesday, 1 August 2017 at 10:49pm BST

Well said, David Lamming, I do hope that you get the extra 30 signatures in order that this important matter be debated at the General Synod.
I note that Philip North was virtually forced to give up Whitby but far-sighted Julian Henderson saw his worth and offered the Suffragan See of Burnley where he has been an outstanding success.
Could something similar happen with regard to dioceses? Having been virtually forced to relinquish the See of Sheffield I do hope the newly elected CNC has the vision and foresight to call him for interview for the vacant See of London and that he is successful in succeeding Richard Chartres. We need inspired and inspiring leaders like Philip as senior diocesans. Failing London, I see that Bristol will soon be vacant.
For God's sake and for the future successful mission of the Church of England give this gifted and talented man a diocese!

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 2 August 2017 at 7:20am BST

I don't see any comments here casting doubts on Anthony Archer's integrity. The fact is that Anthony Archer consciously decided to set out his stall on this thread, especially in relation to so-called non-ordainers. He has also made his position on the FGPs clear elsewhere, and in a way that doesn't quite square with the way others of us read them. It is inevitable that people will draw conclusions and comment - especially as some people wasted no time in hailing Anthony's election as some kind of panacea. Isn't this just good disagreement, or is that now a threat to diversity, like traditionalist catholics seem to be?

Posted by Will Richards at Wednesday, 2 August 2017 at 1:31pm BST

Will, the trouble is that by eliminating groups that you see as "a threat to diversity", even though they have agreed to respect difference, you are rejecting objective diversity - and replacing it with the oxymoron of "diversity that agrees with us."

Down that road lurks the "pure liberal church"!

Posted by RevDave at Wednesday, 2 August 2017 at 7:57pm BST

With the passing of Bishop Michael Manktelow to greater glory I have been re-reading his excellent biography on John Moorman, Bishop of Ripon. When his appointment to that former Northern diocese was announced a certain Margaret Deansley wrote quickly with her congratulations "What a lot of sense Mr. Macmillan has! We really do need some learned bishops in the Church of England"(page 61)
Elsewhere we learn of the high esteem in which Dr. Moorman held Bishop George Bell.
"His admiration for George Bell was unqualified here was 'a truly catholic bishop', known the world over for his courage in denouncing the war-time bombing policy which led to the loss of innocent civilian lives, for his support of those within Germany who were working for the overthrow of Hitler, and for his unstinting determination to bring the World Council of Churches into being. Later in life John was particularly proud to wear George's episcopal ring not least during his own ecumenical work, feeling that he was carrying on in the same independent, yet essentially Anglican, spirit." (page 43)
Just as Mr. Archer is keen to see Sir Philip Mawer's report on the Sheffield debacle so too many in the Chichester diocese and beyond are keen to see Lord Carlisle's report concerning that great and saintly bishop George Bell.

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 3 August 2017 at 1:47pm BST

Having read this morning's Church Times, I feel that the comments on this thread, following Anthony Archer's setting out his stall, are fully justified. Leaving aside the concerns about the 'party' dimension of the successful electors, it is telling that Professor Oliver O'Donovan, as Chair of the CNC Review Group, is raising questions about (a) those who have arrive at a CNC meeting with their criteria - and their minds - already fixed ('a bishop already in their pocket' as he puts it); and (b) the lack of attention given to the wider needs of the Church, not least the lack of theologians among the bishops.

Bishops are not ordained and consecrated to serve a particular diocese (just as priests are not ordained to be 'chaplains' to their gathered congregations in a specific geographical area, unless they are OLMs). They are ordained 'a bishop in the Church of God.' We are in the current tedious, monochrome episcopal terrain we are precisely because the needs of the Diocese have been given far too much prominence. People who should know better (i.e. Martyn Percy) have colluded with this. The spurious obsessions (and, frankly, shallow perceptions) with growth have ruled out theologians as, presumably, being incapable of inspiring communities for mission. Really? Since Christopher Hill's retirement from Guildford, for example, we now have no serving Bishop who can conduct ecumenical discussions at the appropriate theological and ecclesiological level. Who, among the current episcopal cohort, has the intellectual weight to challenge government on the ethical and theological concerns arising from the paucity in mental health provision, the crisis in the prison system, or the tribal insularity surrounding Brexit?

For me, Professor O'Donovan's report cannot come quickly enough. If we are lacking theological rigor in the House of Bishops, how much more (with the honourable exception of Dr Maltby) are we lacking it among the elected members of the CNC. Given the skill-set needed by electors, as Professor O'Donovan has outlined, it shows up the current system of electing from General Synod members as woefully inadequate and far too politicised. If we don't change this, and change it quickly, we will simply deserve the episcopacy - and the Church - we get for the future. From where I'm standing, we've got a pretty good view of what that will look like.

Perhaps a new petition should be added to the Litany... 'from all self-interest and indolent thinking, from contentment with our own perceptions and expectations, and our fear of difference and the unexpected, Good Lord, deliver us!

Posted by Michael Mulhern at Friday, 4 August 2017 at 8:51am BST

I wonder if the Brand-new CNC will have the grace and courtesy to call the Dean of St Albans for interview with the view to appointing him to a vacant diocese?
I've just read the recently published Peer Review of 30th June MMXVII for the diocese of Lincoln which states
"The panel recognised and affirmed the effort and progress made under the leadership of
+ Christopher over the past five years in the turn around of the diocese from where it had been and the difficulties it faced"
I'm not sure what these difficulties were but I do know that shortly after + Christopher was appointed the Suffragan Bishops of Grantham and Grimsby soon left the scene.
In the case of the Suffragan See of Grantham - a Gay man was appointed and as far as I know the roof of Lincoln cathedral hasn't fallen in - not even with the appointment of the first female dean.
So, if an openly Gay man can be appointed to a Suffragan See, why can't an openly Gay man be appointed to a Diocesan See? Both the Bishop of Grantham and the Dean of St. Albans self admittedly lead a celibate lifestyle so there's no difference there and, after all a bishop is a bishop is a bishop, so why this distinction and discrimination between those appointed to Suffragan Sees and those appointed to dioceses?

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 5 August 2017 at 11:33am BST

As a soon to be central member of the Crown Nominations Commission as from September 2017, I have absolutely no idea who might be considered as candidates for the vacant sees of London, Bristol and Truro (and those thereafter) and look forward to being able to consider a diverse group of candidates, as my election address made clear. I won't be coming with any 'candidate in my pocket' for any of them. What I do know, however, is that the only relevant considerations in the nominations are those of the diocese in question, the needs of the House of Bishops, and the Church of England in general. Nominations to diocesan sees in the Provinces of Canterbury or York are therefore solely a provincial matter and the views, if any, of other provinces in the Anglican Communion (AC) are irrelevant, save in consideration of a vacancy in the See of Canterbury. Recent developments in the AC, reported elsewhere on TA, whether in Uganda, Kenya or elsewhere, are of no consequence.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Sunday, 6 August 2017 at 12:31am BST

"Elsewhere we learn of the high esteem in which Dr. Moorman held Bishop George Bell."

I have to confess to have not engaged with the George Bell affair, but in preparation for my (re-)appointment to the CNC I have started some summer reading. Paul Avis' excellent book Becoming a Bishop: a theological handbook of episcopal ministry, has this to say in the context of the nomination of William Temple. 'But Bell, who had been a vocal critic of the Allies' aerial bombing strategy of Germany, with its huge number of civilian casualties, lacked the ability to project himself on the public stage and was rather deficient in wordly wisdom. Temple's tenure of the See of Canterbury was tragically short (1942-44), but Churchill's choice was abundantly vindicated." Whether Bell was the best ++Cantuar we never had we will never know.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Sunday, 6 August 2017 at 12:58am BST

No, I prefer to think that Richard Chartres was the best Cantuar we never had.

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 6 August 2017 at 12:08pm BST

@Anthony Archer. Thank you for your comments on this thread (which is now spent), and for the courteous manner in which you have responded to some of the points made on it.

You mention the appointment of Temple in lieu of Bell. I suspect that it is not so much that Bell was perceived as other-worldly (Bell was a shrewd man of business and a highly effective international ecclesiastical statesmen), as that he had touched an extremely raw nerve in his protests at Harris’ policy of bombarding civilian targets. Churchill was strongly in favour of Harris’ policy, and for Bell to have drawn attention to its moral failings was problematic in the context of the policy not being universally approved within the Government (and at a time when Churchill’s authority was not entirely secure). Bell’s interventions on this point in the Lords created the risk of dissension within the Government at a time when internal squabbles over strategy were a luxury that could scarcely be afforded – hence Churchill’s fury with Bell.

Churchill despised Noel Coward, but there is a line in ‘Let’s not be beastly to the Germans’ (a song written in large measure to ridicule the likes of Bell) in which the Master wrote ‘We can send them out some bishops as a form of Lend and Lease’. When Churchill heard this line he found it uproariously funny (in a rather ominous sense), such was his hatred of Bell.

Churchill had, effectively, devolved ecclesiastical patronage (and much domestic policy) to his deputy, Attlee, for the duration. I suspect that Temple’s appointment had much to do with Attlee’s instinctive liking for Temple’s work in Manchester and York (this, despite Attlee’s near-atheism). Temple was also closely associated with proposals for the establishment of the post-war ‘welfare state’ (it is often supposed he originated the phrase), although his involvement in the actual formulation of the Beveridge Report was scarcely marginal. He was nonetheless a figure of massive authority; next to him Bell was a figure of little consequence. The appointment of Fisher was also, effectively, Attlee’s handiwork, even though Churchill had the final say. By 1944 the enormities of Nazi rule in Europe were becoming ever more apparent, so Bell’s protests against aerial bombardment made even less sense than in 1942; the Chichester diocese had also suffered relatively little from the war; London had, so its bishop was the obvious choice.

Posted by Froghole at Tuesday, 8 August 2017 at 11:10am BST

Clearly Philip North is the man for London but I expect we'll be landed with some limp liberal. The new CNC committee sounds a recipe for disaster. I sense that the way ahead is for orthodox catholics and true evangelicals to increasingly hive off with their own bishops while remaining formally part of the CoE. Gay marriage will finish the demolition job started with women priests.

Posted by Ken Powell at Tuesday, 8 August 2017 at 5:05pm BST

@Ken Powell You heard it first! I think not!

Posted by Anthony Archer at Tuesday, 8 August 2017 at 10:37pm BST

The smart money is probably on Stephen Cottrell for London with a move to the next door diocese. Although in a worldly sense it will be quite a wrench giving up Bishopcourt for the "modest lodgings" which housed the Chartres family in the former servants' quarters of the Old Deanery. Still, I suppose with all their new found wealth the Church Commissioners could always consider buying back Fulham Palace. If
+ Stephen does go to London then they will be gaining a first rate preacher. In all my time in the Chelmsford diocese I never heard him once give a dud address.If + Stephen doesn't go to London then it can't be all that long in the future before Bishopthorpe becomes vacant with lodgings that are far from modest.

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 9 August 2017 at 8:28am BST

Alternatively, if there is no hope of Jacob Rees-Mogg succeeding Mrs. May as Prime Minister, I wonder if the newly elected CNC might wisely consider him as a worthy successor to Richard Chartres? Surely, in these ecumenical days the fact that Rees-Mogg is a Roman Catholic shouldn't prove to be an insurmountable obstacle? In fact, I am even thinking of having a tattoo inscribed upon my person which reads "THE MOGG FOR LONDINIUM"

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 9 August 2017 at 2:58pm BST
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