Comments: Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney: Anne Dyer

Great news for the Episcopal Church of Scotland. May God bless you in the many blessings you will receive through this momentous decision.

Posted by Fr,J at Friday, 10 November 2017 at 12:29am GMT

We pray for Anne and her family as they move north. A great day for the Province when words and votes became action on the first appointment of a female Bishop in the Scottish Episcopal Church.
We are fortunate to be members of the Scottish Episcopal Church , and continue to pray for Mark our Primus and our church's continued ministry.

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by Fr John Emlyn Harris-White at Friday, 10 November 2017 at 8:01am GMT

I add my congratulations to Anne on her appointment. It is good that the episcopal bench north of Hadrian's Wall will have its first female member.

One detail in the announcement confuses me. She speaks of being elected by the bishops, but I thought Scotland was very proud of having a system that involved quite a wide Electoral College for episcopal vacancies. Is election by the bishops a final ratifying stage to that, or have I missed something here?

Posted by David Walker at Friday, 10 November 2017 at 3:23pm GMT

Congratulations to Anne. She's come a long way since she threatened to divorce Roger if he gained more than a gamma on his liturgy exam!

Posted by Janet Fife at Friday, 10 November 2017 at 3:51pm GMT

@ David, The Electoral Synod in Aberdeen failed to elect, I think twice, so the election falls to the bishops. Where does Hadrian's Wall run through Newcastle? Possibly north of the cathedral, but south of Bishop's House, so +Christine is certainly bishop of large tracts this side of the wall.

Posted by Anthony Birch at Friday, 10 November 2017 at 4:41pm GMT

What you have missed, David, is this press release from July.

Election of new Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney to pass to Bishops
July 13, 2017
The process for electing a new Bishop involves a Preparatory Committee producing a shortlist of a minimum of three candidates for recommendation to the Electoral Synod. The Preparatory Committee has announced today that it has been unable to recommend this minimum number of candidates for the election of a new Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney. The current electoral process will therefore automatically come to an end in mid-August. The right to elect a new Bishop will pass at that point to the Diocesan Bishops, sitting as the Episcopal Synod.

Posted by Peter Owen at Friday, 10 November 2017 at 4:43pm GMT

That's an interesting press release Peter. I wonder what the authority is for the statement "The right to elect a new Bishop will pass at that point to the Diocesan Bishops, sitting as the Episcopal Synod".

The canons of the SEC are online at

Canon 4.11 suggests that:

"Should the Preparatory Committee again fail to produce the list by the new date, the Convener of the Electoral Synod shall convene a meeting of the Electoral Synod, at which the election shall be declared void. Immediately after such declaration, the Primus shall issue a fresh mandate, in terms of Section 4 of this Canon."

In other words there's a re-run of the Preparatory Committee and the Electoral College.

Canon 4.30 specifies further time limits, suggesting that if a fresh election is required (which is presumably what should happen under 4.11) then only after another 120 days has elapsed does the election lapse to the Episcopal Synod, i.e. the bishops.

Of course, I am neither Scottish nor a canon lawyer, nor indeed a lawyer of any description, so what do I know?

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Friday, 10 November 2017 at 5:06pm GMT

Simon, there's another press release, copied below, which I missed. It has more about the timescale, but I'm not sure that it makes it any clearer!

Primus thanks Preparatory Committee of Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney during vacant See
July 14, 2017

The Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church says:

“I would like to thank the Preparatory Committee of the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney for all the hard work they undertook as they prayerfully moved through the intricacies of Canon 4 (Of the Election of Bishops to vacant Sees).

“The Committee has conscientiously worked on behalf of both the diocese and the province, taking great care to do all they could to honour the wishes of the diocese in seeking a new Bishop and doing so in the spirit of the Canon.

“Yesterday the Committee reached the conclusion that they did not have the three names required by Canon to present to the diocesan electors, this decision was reached after prayer, thoughtful reflection and much debate. This is not the decision they had hoped to reach but it is one they have taken with confidence, aware that the ministry they are seeking requires to be right for the diocese.

“According to Canon 4 the process will now pass to the College of Bishops on 19th August, the point at which the present Mandate comes to an end (by that date it will no longer be possible to achieve an election of a new Bishop within the 120 day period set out in Canon 4, section 30.)

“The College of Bishops, as the Episcopal Synod, will now be charged with the electoral process and this will also be undertaken with prayer, debate and with love and care for the people of the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney.

“A date is not yet known when the appointment of a Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney will be made but I would ask for prayers for the Bishops and the diocese as the process moves on.”

Posted by Peter Owen at Friday, 10 November 2017 at 5:55pm GMT

Is she excused from supporting a football team because she is a woman or because it is Scotland?

Posted by David Emmott at Friday, 10 November 2017 at 10:51pm GMT

FWIW, Hadrian's Way, which tends to follow the course of the wall, passes to the south of Newcastle Cathedral.

Posted by Mary Hancock at Saturday, 11 November 2017 at 12:22am GMT

Whatever the detail of the canons and processes, we have this new bishop to welcome and sustain with generosity of spirit.

Posted by Laurie Roberts at Saturday, 11 November 2017 at 2:06am GMT

Both, David. :p Besides, you can't pick a team in Scotland without declaring yourself to either be Catholic or Protestant, so good Episcopalians ought to pick either two or none.

Posted by Jo at Saturday, 11 November 2017 at 7:15am GMT

It is interesting - and probably telling - that both in Scotland and, a couple of years ago in the Church of Ireland, the first female bishop was chosen by an episcopal caucus rather than the normal wider electoral process (which had failed to elect in both instances). For all the vaunted liberalism, when the cookie crumbles and push comes to shove, most church electorates of lay people and clergy seem to be rather conservative and traditional.

Posted by Marian at Saturday, 11 November 2017 at 11:52am GMT

Thanks for the clarifications about the process. I guess this means Scotland is not the first Anglican province where the first woman to be appointed as bishop has come about through the electoral system failing to appoint. The C of E system has its detractors, but it has allowed us to get the number of women bishops into double figures in quick order.

Now we need to work harder on our BAME numbers!

Posted by David Walker at Saturday, 11 November 2017 at 12:33pm GMT

..most church electorates of lay people and clergy seem to be rather conservative and traditional.

But the electoral synod did not get the opportunity to vote as the process (twice) did not produce the required shortlist of three and so the election passed to the college of bishops sitting as the episcopal synod.

My (limited) experience of the Canon 4 process is that the clergy and the laity when voting for a bishop are more interested in the skills, experience and vision of the person than their gender.

Posted by Kennedy Fraser at Saturday, 11 November 2017 at 8:00pm GMT

David Walker, perhaps the C of E is not that different from other provinces in Britain: only two women have been appointed Diocesans so far, through the "normal" processes for that. Still lots of work to do here, including increasing BAME numbers.

Posted by RosalindR at Saturday, 11 November 2017 at 11:17pm GMT

A view from Scotland:

The so called Scottish Episcopal Church does it again, electing another English Clergy to the Episcopate. Our church is nothing more than the Church of England at prayer in the heather. Could they not find a priest who was Scottish to be appointed as Bishop. I can think of two priests in this diocese, one man and one woman, who are highly qualified to be a Bishop. Those purple clad collegiates responsible for this appointment should be ashamed of themselves. This is not an anti women tirade, or opposition to the churches position on same sex marriage, but it is evermore a clear indication that being Scottish is only suitable for the name boards outside churches. One wonders how long it will be before the complete aping of Lambeth ensues and the current holder of the Primacy will be called the Archbishop of Scotland. I for one will no longer be a member of the `English Church' nor will I abandon my heritage by joining the Presbyterians, rather I will find solace and succour in the ranks of the unchurched.
Robin MacDonald - Johnston

Posted by Angus Stewart at Thursday, 16 November 2017 at 4:45pm GMT

A view from Scotland:

Well, this is certainly *a* view.

Posted by Kennedy Fraser at Friday, 17 November 2017 at 9:11am GMT
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