Comments: Bishop of London: Sarah Elisabeth Mullally

What wonderful news for London, and a sad loss for us in Devon.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Monday, 18 December 2017 at 10:25am GMT

Her CV is unusual for a bishop. It's clear she is a darling of the establishment, probably because she avoids saying anything controversial. It's hard to imagine someone less qualified to be a bishop - I like my bishops to challenge the establishment. But there is no doubt she fits the profile which might, very sadly, be necessary for the See of London.

Posted by Kate at Monday, 18 December 2017 at 10:29am GMT

This explains the timing of the Carlile publication. I hope that both diocese and Bishop designate enjoy her pontificate.

Posted by Stanley Monkhouse at Monday, 18 December 2017 at 11:20am GMT

Vast experience since 2006

Posted by S Cooper at Monday, 18 December 2017 at 11:24am GMT

My guess is that this will not be straightforward. Behind all the delight and the sense that London dared to do what everyone thought impossible, there will be large numbers of parishes (and clergy) unable to rejoice at this news. That will have serious consequences for the mission and unity of the Diocese. Doubtless, David Ison was a key player in this one; and Welby may be relieved to have a safeguarding supremo a short hop away. But, all said, this is a very 'safe' appointment (she won't dissent in the way Stephen Cottrell might have done - and she is a pretty dreary preacher, too). As Auden famously said, "back to the moderate Aristotelian city, of darning and the eight-fifteen."

Posted by Alan Mitchell at Monday, 18 December 2017 at 11:29am GMT

Good News for the Diocese of London! Bishop Sarah you will be missed in Exeter, but love and prayers go with you. Anne Foreman

Posted by Anne foreman at Monday, 18 December 2017 at 12:53pm GMT

May God bless Sarah, and through prayer (her own and other people's for her) may she serve this diocese with grace and sharing and teamwork, and all the compassion she has had to draw upon as a nurse.

At the outset of new journeys, nearly everything is prospect, but one thing's for sure: God promises to accompany us every step of the way.

God also longs to accompany so many people who are struggling and feeling marginalised in the corners and thoroughfares of this great city.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Monday, 18 December 2017 at 1:00pm GMT

Safe appointment, and I wish her well -- but where's the Lucy Winketts of the church, who we were told would, upon equal consecration being passed, revolutionize the CoE? Even if Winkett herself has decided that her calling lies elsewhere, what's happened to the others?

Posted by James Byron at Monday, 18 December 2017 at 2:07pm GMT

Haven't yet spotted a mention of her supporting a football club. Alleluia!

Posted by Shamus at Monday, 18 December 2017 at 2:25pm GMT

I cannot help thinking that this falls into the same category as all other female episcopal appointments: safely 'on message'; theological lightweight; a supporter of The Regime. I cannot speak for Lucy Winkett and The Pioneers of yesteryear, of course. But there is a perception that they cannot be controlled in the same way. Don't expect too much challenging of the status quo (political, social or eccelsiastical) from Bishop Mullally.

Posted by Michael Mulhern at Monday, 18 December 2017 at 4:11pm GMT

The Six O'Clock news on Radio 4 told us all we need to know. Rod Thomas is happy because Sarah Mullally has affirmed her commitment to a traditional view of marriage. 'Safe' in the issues that matter at the top of the food chain.

Posted by Bill Broadhead at Monday, 18 December 2017 at 7:01pm GMT

"South East Institute for Theologian (sic) Education"??

Who's proofreading announcements from Number 10?

Posted by Alan T Perry at Monday, 18 December 2017 at 8:36pm GMT

Isn’t the ability to make or keep safe, and to give security an important quality in a leader? That is not the same as dull - but nothing I have encountered in +Sarah’s ministry suggests that. There is no shortage of leadership around in the church that is simply causing exhaustion and anxiety at the moment in pursuit of strategy and renewal. Nor is it so obvious to me that appointing a woman to a diocese as large, complex and conflicted as London could seriously be called ‘playing safe’. Elsewhere this appointment is being received with a great deal of excitement and hope and I share that. And it is also good news on the continued, slow, conflicted journey towards a church that celebrates women and men in equal partnership in its life and leadership.

Posted by David Runcorn at Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 8:01am GMT

Am I alone in thinking (as an enthusiastic supporter of equal ordination) that gender equality has taken complete priority over all other factors in this appointment? Despite all the nice glow on the BBC yesterday, I am left asking who is going to benefit from this appointment?

Was the over-riding priority to appoint a Bishop of London who would effectively and imaginative serve wider society, and bring a critically intelligent and distinctive theological voice to bear on (what Wesley Carr used to call) 'the pressure points at the edges of the Church'; or was this more about the current internal preoccupations and obsessions of the Church? Those of us who have supported equal ordination have not done so in order to make the Church of England more inward-looking and congregational.

As we were listening to all the warm words about gender equality on the BBC yesterday, we were also hearing disturbing reports of the shameful conditions in Liverpool Prison, where human lives are being degraded in abysmal conditions. Does the Church of England and its bishops have nothing to say about this? Has the progressive control of the Welby project rendered us completely incapable of speaking with clarity and intelligence into a situation like this, while we blandly get on with 'growing the Church' and 'discipling' the uncertain?

Posted by David Richards at Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 8:11am GMT

This is David Richards - member of London Diocesan Synod, Bishop's Council, Lay Chair Westminster (St Margaret's) Deanery, LDBS, etc. etc. - and I should just like to make it clear that the posting by another David Richards at 0811 on 19/12 was not me! As someone quite heavily involved in diocesan matters in London I have plenty of opportunities to raise questions, be listened to, be ignored, etc. etc. within the relevant synods and councils, and so haven't been posting here on Thinking Anglicans.

Posted by DAVID W RICHARDS at Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 1:54pm GMT

Glad to meet you, David W Richards. Sorry if another one of us by the same name caused you an identity crisis. Very glad to confirm that you are not me - and vice versa!

Posted by David Richards at Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 3:27pm GMT

David Runcorn makes an interesting point. The newly appointed +London is hardly likely to say anything that renders her partisan before she even starts in her new role. The only real proofs of what any bishop thinks will be their contribution to the 'teaching document' and how they vote should any substantive measures (the Hereford Motion for instance) appear before synod. I would, however, suspect, given her medical background, that although she might not be an out and out progressive she is also unlikely to be ultra conservative. But as always I may be wrong.

Posted by Andrew Lightbown at Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 3:42pm GMT

"Am I alone in thinking (as an enthusiastic supporter of equal ordination) that gender equality has taken complete priority over all other factors in this appointment?"

No (the other David Richards!), you're not. I support equal consecration in every province as a matter of basic justice, but have no time for the bold claims, often bordering on gender-essentialism, that women will revolutionize an institution simply by virtue of their sex. We should be judged not by who we are, but by what we do.

Male or female, we're all fallible, and all susceptible to institutional groupthink. A fact shown clearly by not a single female bishop coming out in support of marriage equality. The Bible can be set aside for them: but not, it appears, for others.

Regardless of their sex, it appears that the presbyters willing to speak out are either refusing to put themselves forward, or being denied the throne.

Posted by James Byron at Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 4:09pm GMT

David W Richards, you say that as someone quite heavily involved in the diocese of London you have not been posting here.

Pete Broadbent, currently the acting bishop of London, is perrhaps even more heavily involved and he has been known to post here.

Posted by T Pott at Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 4:22pm GMT

No problem David Richards! Best wishes, David W Richards!

Posted by DAVID W RICHARDS at Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 4:23pm GMT

David Richards (the real one) 'gender equality has taken complete priority over all other factors in this appointment'. Can I ask what is your basis for claiming this? Is it clear to you that +S is clearly not otherwise equipped for this role - or that a number of men would have been more suited that her? Given that we are a church with a senior leadership with a very large numerical bias in favour of men (including many diocesan senior teams) I find your claim difficult to sustain. And in such circumstances I would expect the appointment of only the third woman diocesan to attract comments re gender equality.

Posted by David Runcorn at Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 4:24pm GMT

T Pott: +Pete is quite vocal and has been around a long time in the diocese. I am sure he does post here quite often because he's quite au fait with doing such things - unlike so many bishops. I think I was only trying to say that whilst I have many views - possibly as many as the Lake District - I am conscious that I am privileged to have a formal opportunity within the diocese to express them. I could express views about the appointment, but as I was on the vacancy in see committee in the diocese and so partly responsible for electing those who we elected to serve on the CNC, I now need to turn my attention to my own parish where the appointment is going to present quite a few issues! Interesting times ahead in London.

Posted by DAVID W RICHARDS at Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 6:34pm GMT

James: many of us support the ordination of women because of the Bible, not in spite of it. We have not set aside the Bible to ordain women but have followed it to its logical conclusion.

Posted by Charles Read at Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 10:42pm GMT

David W Richards - I was on Vacancy in See Committee too. I thought that was difficult enough but thanking God that I was not part of the Crown Nominations Commission now.

Every cloud has a silver lining

Posted by Chuchu Nwagu at Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 11:20pm GMT

Fine by me, Charles, just so long as the same generous interpretation's extended to LGBT people.

Posted by James Byron at Tuesday, 19 December 2017 at 11:57pm GMT

I'm saddened by some of the comments on the appointment of the Bp elect for London, partly because I've generally worked with the idea that as a priest I don't always get to choose who I work with, nor do I have to feel I must always like the people we work with along the way.

Like it or not bishop Sarah is already a bishop in my Church, chosen and consecrated according to the appropriate procedures. If she were my diocesan I should want to support her and respect her position as is her due. Does it matter she may not be, as some appear to be suggesting, the best preacher, theologian or whatever if she has the ability to foster and develop those with such gifts, and others besides , and ensure they are able to flourish in a healthy and safe environment?

Posted by Another FrDavid at Thursday, 21 December 2017 at 10:16pm GMT
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