Comments: Unrest in the Diocese of Aberdeen

"in a diocese that is already struggling to fill a number of empty posts across its 41 churches..."

Something has not been working in that diocese, long before Bishop Anne was appointed. It was too dysfunctional to nominate their own candidates. But not too dysfunctional to protest.

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 5 January 2018 at 4:19pm GMT

So a nominated bishop is being criticised and asked to stand aside because they strongly agree with their church's teaching on an issue. Can people south of the border try that one on?

Posted by Leon Clarke at Friday, 5 January 2018 at 4:34pm GMT

Perhaps this is why the TEC process of each diocese electing its own bishop, with the approval of the other dioceses, is a better method.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 5 January 2018 at 9:27pm GMT

I am very sad to read this. Anne Dyer is a marvellous person, and a fine Christian. Her depth of spirituality is something that will only bring a blessing to her new diocese.

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Friday, 5 January 2018 at 10:10pm GMT

Top down management of church = conflict and failure. We have seen it in Llandaff, Sheffield and now in Aberdeen and Orkney. London might be next. The circumstances in each are different, but the commonality is bishops trying to impose their will on lower orders of ministry and lay members. If British Anglican churches are going to survive, they are going to need to become much more democratic at a local level.

But suppose Carole Anne Dyer steps aside in favour of a conservative candidate, why won't the more liberal parishes and members then rise up?

Whatever happens, we have now pretty much established that if a someone who is either notably liberal or notably conservative is appointed to a diocesan bishopric that there will be protests. Expect a succession of bland candidates now who have no particular views on anything - or at least not views they are willing to share.

Posted by Kate at Saturday, 6 January 2018 at 12:26am GMT

@Pat: they had the chance and twice failed to select candidates for election; they should be grateful the college of bishops found them such an excellent candidate.

Posted by Jo at Saturday, 6 January 2018 at 6:13am GMT

"Perhaps this is why the TEC process of each diocese electing its own bishop, with the approval of the other dioceses, is a better method.
Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 5 January 2018 at 9:27pm GMT"

My understanding is that that is exactly what is supposed to happen in SEC. However, in this case the Diocese couldn't agree on nominations to allow an election to take place, in which situations the remaining bishops make the appointment.

Posted by NJW at Saturday, 6 January 2018 at 9:11am GMT

"they should be grateful" -- nice use of the word 'should.'

They obviously aren't, across the board.

The diocese is down to very few parishes. This complicates things. Things are going to get like this in TEC. Dioceses with under 2000K ASA will struggle, and there are now quite a few of them. One can hope that clear heads will face into this challenge, but it is hard to know what the solution is.

Posted by CRS at Saturday, 6 January 2018 at 10:50am GMT

I am not comfortable with the assumption that because a community is unable to come to a mind on a shared decision it is 'dysfunctional'. Nor is the protest of some about a decision made on their behalf a sign of dysfunction.

Posted by David Runcorn at Saturday, 6 January 2018 at 11:00am GMT

Not only a woman, but a woman who doesn't drive a car! The scandal!

Posted by Interested Observer at Saturday, 6 January 2018 at 11:17am GMT

Ahhh...thanks for the clarifications. If they couldn't agree on nominations, then perhaps the diocese as a whole is not quite as conservative as it is made out to be?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 6 January 2018 at 11:50am GMT

I am sad to read this report.
Leaving aside theological concerns, the argument about Canon Dyer not being a car driver is strange. I have visited Orkney and Shetland without a car. You fly, and then take a taxi. I don't have experience of the smaller islands, but it would be odd if there wasn't somebody who would meet you off the ferry. More generally, in rural parts of the north of Scotland, which I do know about, people are usually willing to offer lifts.

Posted by Flora Alexander at Saturday, 6 January 2018 at 1:46pm GMT

It is not unheard of for diocesans to have a car and a driver, laid on by their diocese -- and that be an understatement.

Posted by Laurie Roberts at Saturday, 6 January 2018 at 7:16pm GMT

I too find the car driver comment odd, as I'm sure that Canon Anne has found ways of getting around the issue over the years. Some rural car owners seem to be under the impression that it's an absolute necessity but that's not the case.

Posted by Jo at Saturday, 6 January 2018 at 8:39pm GMT

Provision of a car and driver presumes the availability of sufficient money to pay for it. The SEC is a poor church and I doubt it could afford that level of luxury. There is the, no doubt apocryphal, story of the English bishop who, on hearing geographical size of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles, said to its Bishop ”That’s fortunate. You will be able to do a great deal of reading while your chauffeur drives you around’. That said, as Flora Alexander points out, there are other ways of getting about other than by car.

Posted by Dr Daniel Lamont at Sunday, 7 January 2018 at 2:32am GMT

I can't pretend to know the churches in the diocese, though I have driven a bit in that area of Scotland when I lived in Fife for ten years. I suppose you can get a bus to take you down rural lanes to parishes in the countryside outside of Aberdeen. I once took a bus to Auchtermuchty from St Andrews. I had to wait 2 hours for the return bus. I wouldn't have thought it ideal, but it sounds like the complaints were not chiefly about that.

Posted by cseitz at Sunday, 7 January 2018 at 7:33am GMT

Would a blind bishop-elect be criticised for not driving?

Posted by Jeremy at Sunday, 7 January 2018 at 12:32pm GMT

Quite, Jeremy. And perhaps as a refinement of that question, would a conservative, male, blind bishop-elect be criticised for not driving? Or would their conservatism and their gender be worth the taxi fare?

Posted by Interested Observer at Monday, 8 January 2018 at 10:57am GMT

Not dysfunctionality.

In Scotland clergy have had the courage to leave comfortable livings on issues of principle. With the Presbyterians this was the case with the Disruption,and more dramatically so in 1689, when episcopally-minded clergy went out into the cold with their bairns...Could this not be another example of this sort of courage?

Posted by Clive Sweeting at Monday, 8 January 2018 at 11:10am GMT

Good point Jeremy. Why was a blind person not considered for this role?

Posted by William at Monday, 8 January 2018 at 12:38pm GMT

>>In Scotland clergy have had the courage to leave comfortable livings on issues of principle. ...Could this not be another example of this sort of courage?

But nobody has, so far. resigned from their charge, they have just stepped down from the Cathedral chapter, or a 'promoted' post.

Posted by Kennedy Fraser at Monday, 8 January 2018 at 3:48pm GMT

"would a conservative, male, blind bishop-elect be criticised for not driving" -- at the risk of appearing unkind, have you begun to lose the plot altogether?

Posted by CRS at Monday, 8 January 2018 at 4:08pm GMT

Leaving blindness and conservatives out of it for the moment. The very small SEC counts seven dioceses. Furthermore, at present two have episcopal vacancies (Brechin and St Andrews). This means that four Bishops outside Aberdeen are basically appointing a Bishop for the Diocese and saying that's that, for which they claim a canonical warrant almost never used. The letter from the Presiding Bishop sounds like doubling down: take it and like it. We appointed her and so there it is. One can well imagine that "blind liberals" in the diocese might well object, given the usual way bishops are chosen by dioceses in the SEC...things are already fairly strained and thin on the ground in the small SEC for this kind of Four Bishop whip.

Posted by CRS at Monday, 8 January 2018 at 4:24pm GMT

Re: Dysfunction

The diocese had two failed attempts to elect their bishop. When some members of the diocese weren't happy with the results of the canonical process, they express their anger in public first. Not last.

Meanwhile, the response from the primus states "there are many in the Diocese who have expressed their delight at the prospect of Canon Dyer becoming their bishop". He clearly doesn't believe that the protestors are speaking for the whole diocese. It's likely that the two failed elections indicate that it is a diocese that is not in unity. It is described as "struggling to fill posts..." Somehow that doesn't sound like an endorsement of electing a bishop who is comfortable with the same old ways, which seems to be the desire of the protestors.

So yes, I think dysfunctional is the right word. And often in that situation, a very new perspective and energy can change things.

I wish Canon Dyer the very best and hope that she brings new energy and hope to many in the diocese.

Posted by Cynthia at Monday, 8 January 2018 at 5:47pm GMT

That's a charitable thought, Clive. I'm afraid, however (and I'm happy to be corrected), that the resignations concerned involve little practical sacrifice as neither is in itself stipendiary, and I've heard nothing to indicate that either gentleman is resigning their substantive post as rector of their respective charge. This is more akin to the "letter of the week" in the sidebar of Archdruid Eileen's inestimable website.

Posted by Jo at Monday, 8 January 2018 at 6:04pm GMT

I'm sure everyone will agree that - as the case of the Sheffield diocese proved to everybody's satisfaction - you can't possibly have a bishop that some members of the local clergy might possibly have a few reservations about. Sorry, Canon Anne Dyer, you fail the Philip North test.

No doubt everyone is sincerely very sad about public criticisms of the nominee in the media and "the invidious position in which it places Canon Dyer as the Bishop elect of the diocese," but it would seem that is how things are these days. And what's sauce for goose is undoubtedly a savoury condiment for the gander.

Posted by rjb at Monday, 8 January 2018 at 6:25pm GMT

Was this open letter really the first the Bishops heard of the upset caused by their choosing a liberal to be the Bishop of the only non-liberal SEC diocese? And did they really hear nothing from the two cathedral clergy before they resigned?!

Posted by RevDave at Monday, 8 January 2018 at 7:54pm GMT

In response to RevDave - as I have read it the 'discontented' did ask for a meeting with Anne Dyer before they went public. And that the public letter was partly because this request for a meeting was effectively refused .... it is implied that she said 'I will meet with you AFTER I have been consecrated and installed as your bishop'.(Was that her idea, or was she told to say that by the bishops?) I can understand their frustration at that response - which I think was a bit cackhanded. if we continue the Philip North parallel, Bp Philip did at least meet with the women clergy as a group after his appointment was announced. So though I think that Anne Dyer who I know slightly would be an excellent bishop I don't think that the process has been particularly well played by the powers that be.

Posted by Marian Birch at Tuesday, 9 January 2018 at 8:26am GMT

Re: rjb, "Canon Anne Dyer, you fail the Philip North test." Are you suggesting that Canon Dyer thinks that some of the priests she will oversee in the Diocese of Aberdeen simply cannot be priests?

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 9 January 2018 at 2:11pm GMT

>>as I have read it the 'discontented' did ask for a meeting with Anne Dyer before they went public. And that the public letter was partly because this request for a meeting was effectively refused

The letter states: 'senior clergy and members of the Diocesan Standing Committee requested an early meeting with the Bishop Elect - both to make her acquaintance and also to address this and other concerns'

So they wanted a meeting with Canon Dyer to discuss the concerns about the process - something that she had no influence over (as they acknowledge). I think she was quite wise to avoid a meeting on those terms.

Posted by Kennedy Fraser at Tuesday, 9 January 2018 at 4:40pm GMT

If the diocese was unable to agree internally on a new bishop, then the selection by other bishops was bound to create discontent in one or more quarters.

But think about it. If the groups within the diocese cannot compromise or agree, then what chances would external leaders have?

I begin to suspect that the clergy who signed this open letter are being pickled in a brine of their own making.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 9 January 2018 at 11:21pm GMT

I agree with Kennedy Fraser that Canon Dyer was absolutely right to decline to meet the complaints if they wished to discuss process. There is no indication anywhere that they sought a meeting with the Primus which would have been an appropriate course of action. Indeed, it is clear from his letter in response that they did not seek a meeting before going public. Did the diocese make representations to the Episcopal College when the nomination of a new bishop reverted to it? It is my experience that when a nominating/selection committee cannot agree on a candidate, it is often because there were very few candidates. We do not know how many applicants there were. I wonder who would now want to take on the job of Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney if Canon Dyer were to stand down. We should also bear in mind that we have only heard from seven of the fourteen stipendiary clergy and so we have no idea what the other seven and other laity think.

Professor Seitz comments that the Bishops 'claim' canonical warranty. They had no alternative but act as they did. This is indeed a rare occurrence which is why the nomination reverted to the House of Bishops. There is no provision for sending the Bishops' nomination back to the diocese to vote on. You cannot move the goal posts during the game.I strongly support Bishop Mark's letter to the complainants when he deplores their attempt to subvert the canonical process. As a member of the SEC, albeit from another diocese, I would be very angry if the College of Bishops had given way on the matter of process. It is open to the diocese to propose a change in the canon in the normal way. I very much doubt if the complainants would have objected to the process if someone more to their taste had been nominated.

I think, to be kind, that the complainants are disingenuous. They claim that they are not protesting about women's ordination or gay relationships in the Church and stress they are not making not a personal attack on Canon Dyer This is hard to believe since they are pressurizing her to stand down. Putting the matter into the public domain in this way is deplorable and is simply an attempt to bully both Canon Dyer and the House of Bishops. I strongly support both her and the Bishops.

Posted by Daniel Lamont at Thursday, 11 January 2018 at 4:22am GMT

Exactly, Daniel.

The Diocesan Synod had two chances to elect a bishop from a shortlist agreed by them. They failed. So the Episcopal Synod had to do their job for them. They elected , with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the best possible person to take this incredibly difficult and onerous job on. But instead of being thankful, a bunch of virtually all male clergy and a handful of influential people lay folk chose to throw the toys out of the pram in an attempt to bully Bishop-Elect Anne.This has been nothing other than a cynical and despicable attempt to subvert a canonical process and I am proud of our Bishops for standing up to it.

Posted by Jim at Thursday, 11 January 2018 at 1:13pm GMT

Dear Daniel, you will obviously know the canons of the SEC better than I do. An outcome where four diocesans impose a Bishop whose views are in line with their own and not with a diocese that voted against the LGBT provisions just seems like a less than satisfactory outcome and one that will resolve things by driving out opposition.

Posted by CRS at Thursday, 11 January 2018 at 1:57pm GMT

The diocesan synod has not had two chances to elect a bishop. It has been totally bypassed.

The diocese only get to vote if the Preparatory Committee put forward 3 to 5 candidates. Two Preparatory Committees were formed and failed on both occasions to put any candidates forward for the diocese to vote on.

A Preparatory Committee comprises two bishops, five members of a Provincial Panel and four persons chosen by the Diocesan Synod. Any potential candidate must also be approved by the College of Bishops.

So it is not the diocese which failed to find three candidates, but the Preparatory Committees.

Why could the Preparatory Committees not find candidates? Was there division between provincial and diocesan members? Did the College of bishops simply veto everyone the committee produced? As far as I know there has been no explanation. It is however wrong to blame the diocese for the failure of the Preparatory Committees. Whatever the reasons, the failure of the Preparatory Committee and the College together to find 3 candidates has effectively denied the diocese any vote.

There seems nothing to stop the College of bishops blocking all candidates produced by any Preparatory Committee, thus deliberately frustrating the process and reserving all future appointments to themselves.

Posted by T Pott at Thursday, 11 January 2018 at 7:46pm GMT

I may be mistaken, but I thought that the provision for same sex marriage in the SEC was accompanied by safeguards, so that no priest is obliged to conduct such a marriage unless they are happy to do so. If, as it seems, it is the case that a candidate who appears to have a very good reputation (I know nothing about Canon Dyer) is considered unacceptable because she holds an inclusive position, it looks as if something is badly wrong.

Posted by Flora Alexander at Thursday, 11 January 2018 at 8:43pm GMT

I take T.Pott's point that it is the Preparatory Committee's failure to find three candidates and not the Diocese. We do not have answers to the questions he raises at the end of his post and nor do I expect to receive any. Appointments are always done in confidence and that should be true here. All that we know is what is contained in the two public letters. Moreover, we have only heard from a section, albeit a large one, of the diocese. My point is simple: whether or not the process of appointing a Bishop is flawed, once one has embarked on that process, one cannot change it part way through. The complainants are seeking to do just that by asking that the Diocese as a whole to be allowed to approve or veto the Bishops' decision. That cannot be allowed to happen. Canon Dyer has been properly appointed Bishop.

I know little about Canon Dyer other than that she is a woman and that she has reportedly conducted an equal marriage but she does seem to be suitable candidate for an episcopal post. I think that the complainants are quite wrong to have published their letter. The proper and grace-filled thing to have done would be to have accepted Canon Dyer's nomination and found a modus operandi which would satisfy the consciences of all parties. It would take work but it could be done. So far, it hasn't even been tried. Instead, while claiming that this is not about women's ordination or equal marriage, they are using the mechanism of a public letter to try to hound Canon Dyer out - a person who happens to be both a woman and in favour of equal marriage. This is neither honest nor Christian.

I am exercised about this matter because it affects the whole of the SEC of which I am proud to be a member. Already it has caused considerable reputational damage. Think how much more damaging it would be if Scotland's first woman bishop were to be forced to stand down. It may well be that the process for the appointment of bishops in the SEC needs reviewing but that should be done well after the event. Hard cases make bad law.

Posted by Daniel Lamont at Thursday, 11 January 2018 at 9:37pm GMT

Surely if the college of Bishops were in the habit of vetoing all candidates put forward for espiscopal posts we'd have heard about it, not least from the authors of the open letter. I would be very surprised if none of them were on the committees and it's clear they have no compunction about airing their grievances publicly when it suits them.

Posted by Jo at Friday, 12 January 2018 at 5:21am GMT

Mr Potts, thank you for your excellent and helpful post. You have clarified the matter/procedures greatly and one must wonder what has been going on behind the scenes. Esp with a reduced College of Bishops of 4. I agree this has hurt the reputation of the SEC but for reasons other than the Diocese of Aberdeen.

Posted by CRS at Friday, 12 January 2018 at 7:51am GMT

Surely if the Bishops were determined to manipulate the system in order to install their own candidate, as implied above, they would not have authorized a second Preparatory Committee?

Posted by Daniel Lamont at Friday, 12 January 2018 at 12:16pm GMT

Canon 4.29 requires that a second Preparatory Committee be convened if the first one fails, or if it succeeds in finding candidates but none of them gets a majority in the subsequent election (after several votes). Only if the process fails a second time, whether at Preparatory Committee stage or at the electoral stage, does the appointment lapse to the College of Bishops.

So following the failure of the first Preparatory Committee there had to be a second. No inference can be drawn from this as to the bishops motives or intentions.

Posted by T Pott at Friday, 12 January 2018 at 2:11pm GMT

Thank you, Mr Pott, for that clarification. I'm away from base and could not check.I'm grateful for the disclaimer in your final sentence.

Posted by Daniel Lamont at Friday, 12 January 2018 at 3:14pm GMT

It may be worth noting that there are two other episcopal vacancies in Scotland, in the diocese of Brechin, and the diocese of St Andrews, Dunblane and Dunkeld. In both these dioceses the first Preparatory Committees have failed to nominate any candidates. Whether the second Preparatory Committees fare any better, or the bishops end up making these appointments too remains to be seen.

There is at least primae facie grounds to question whether all at provincial or episcopal level are acting in good faith, and this may explain some of the concern in Aberdeen and Orkney.

Posted by T Pott at Friday, 12 January 2018 at 7:13pm GMT

No, T Pott, there are no such grounds. All that exists is your idle speculation insinuating duplicity on the part of the college of bishops. Do you not think that members of the two preparatory committees might have broken ranks had the sort of deliberate sabotage you're alleging taken place? Is it not more likely that both committees were deadlocked over choices of liberal and conservative nominees, or that there is a dearth of candidates who would make good bishops willing to take on a small diocese in a small, non-established church when all the funds, power and perks of a CofE bishopric might be awaiting many of those potential candidates? Why jump to the allegation of foul play without anything to back it up?

Posted by Jo at Friday, 12 January 2018 at 8:35pm GMT

Thanks again T Pott. I had wondered what the state of affairs was in Brechin and in St As, having noted their being (still) vacant.

Posted by CRS at Saturday, 13 January 2018 at 7:16am GMT

"...when all the funds, power and perks of a CofE bishopric might be awaiting many of those potential candidates?"

Now there is a nice piece of idle speculation.

Posted by CRS at Saturday, 13 January 2018 at 7:36am GMT

Indeed, CRS, but one more plausible than T Potts' scurrilous assertions (remember that "primae facie" means, effectively, there is sufficient evidence to assume guilt unless innocence is proven). It's not hard to believe that many people who might be considered for a calling to the Episcopate might see more scope for the exercise of their ministry as a suffragan in an English diocese where there will be at least some funds to try new things, an existing framework of staff to support your ministry and so on. Compare with the profile of the Diocese of Brechin, for example, that reads a little like a request for someone to push water uphill with their bare hands. It will be someone's calling but you can see why you're not going to get as many takers as you might for, say, Ramsbury.

Posted by Jo at Saturday, 13 January 2018 at 11:55am GMT

I am trying to think of just one SEC potential Bishop who ended up in the CofE for the reasons you indicate.

Posted by CRS at Saturday, 13 January 2018 at 4:57pm GMT

I don't mean from within SEC - recall that the recently retired Primus was recruited as Bishop from the Church of Ireland. The SEC is at a disadvantage in recruiting from the pool of candidates south of the border because of the resource constraints it is under, and it has a comparatively small pool of candidates of its own because of the relatively high ratio of bishops to clergy, particularly stipendiary clergy. We all know that large churches with lots of money have little trouble finding priests. Is anyone seriously doubting that the same applies to dioceses?

Posted by Jo at Saturday, 13 January 2018 at 7:48pm GMT

I confess this is the first I have heard of the SEC's recruiting for Bishops 'south of the border.' I recall when Chillingworth was elected but I don't remember his being recruited (from N Ireland).

Posted by CRS at Sunday, 14 January 2018 at 7:45am GMT

@Jo Perhaps I should stick to languages I understand. By primae facie I meant at first glance. You and others have alleged the failure to agree candidates was the diocese's fault, I meant to suggest that similar issues in 3 dioceses suggest other possibilities.

Preparatory Committees are confidential. To suggest they would break ranks is a scurrilous suggestion in itself.

The notion that a conservative v liberal deadlock could be the reason seems to me a scurrilous suggestion. The Committee should produce candidates for the diocese to vote on, not block those from other parties. They could put forward 2 of each, for example.

The dearth of candidates argument applies in all walks of life. Raith Rovers cannot compete for players with Rangers and Celtic, but there are plenty of people willing to play for them.

I did not accuse anyone of duplicity. I do question whether all members of the PCs are 100% focussed on providing the dioceses with candidates, but only as a possible alternative to blaming the Aberdeen diocese, which is what you initially did.

Posted by T Pott at Sunday, 14 January 2018 at 11:09am GMT

I don't recall blaming anyone, merely noting the fact that the preparatory committees failed in their task and suggested a few possible reasons that might have come about other than yours (which I only made because I thought you were claiming your suggestion to be the case until proven otherwise; I'm glad you've corrected that). That doesn't need to be anyone's fault, but it does mean they've given up their say in the process and don't have much grounds for complaint when the canonical process is followed through to the conclusion and a suitable candidate is selected by the College of Bishops.

CRS: Take a look at the biographies of past SEC Bishops and you'll find a fair proportion who had posts in England immediately prior to their election as Bishop, more who began their ministry in England or crossed the border a number of times, and of course many who served entirely within Scotland. Given the relative size of the CofE compared with SEC and the ease by which the transition can be facilitated (no issues about recognition, no immigration paperwork, not much of a language barrier) this shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

Posted by Jo at Sunday, 14 January 2018 at 2:22pm GMT

Thanks, Jo. During my time as Professor at St Andrews I simply never heard anything about recruiting Bishops. Perhaps it predated my time there (1998-2007). So yes it is a bit of a surprise and also sounds a bit sad.

Posted by crs at Sunday, 14 January 2018 at 6:44pm GMT

PART 1/2 posts
FACTS:
The selection of a Bishop in the Scottish Episcopal Church follows a DIFFERENT procedure than in the Church of England.
The SEC prides itself on a DEMOCRATIC process. The election of a Bishop is by the representatives of the Lay & Clergy (described on SEC website). Only in exceptional cases, should it fall to the College of Bishops (C of B).
Episcopalians in Aberdeen & Orkney can trace their family history to the original Scottish Church.
While there are members of clergy & congregations in the Diocese, who voted for Women Bishops & Same Sex Marriage, their representatives at Diocesan & Provincial Synods, consistently voted before/in June, 2017 against.
Vote for Canon 31:
Bishops 4 for 1 against 1 abstention NOT recorded on website 1 Bishop Aberdeen & Orkney retired before June, 2017

Currently, we find ourselves in the situation in 4 Dioceses (Argyll & The Isles, Aberdeen & Orkney, Brechin, St Andrew’s & Dunkeld), where the C of B will/have appointed to their own ranks from their own choice.
ALL my information is in the public domain..

Bishop Mark Strange (M, R & C) is the Interregnum Bishop of (A & O).
During this time on 27 June, 2017 he was elected Primus by his fellow Bishops (currently 4/7 due to 3 vacancies)
He boasted about going back to his “home Diocese and singing as a choir boy in the Cathedral” and spent much time in A & O.
On the A & O website, he espouses his admiration for the said Diocese & its attributes.
He carried out the office commensurate with Bishop Interregnum & travelled countless miles across land & sea making sure that the Diocese was not suffering from a vacant seat. In his own Diocese, many of his congregation noted his extended absences with some concern.
As a ‘listening’ Bishop, who met the majority of clergy & congregations during this protracted election process, he surely gleaned the feelings in the Diocese - many he called “my friends” - as to whom would suit this position.
The democratic procedure apparently fell due to lack of suitable candidates. Nominations were sent to the Preparatory Committee, on which sat the Primus & the Bishop of Edinburgh - one member frankly described the process as “dysfunctional”.

Angus Stewart, Scottish Episcopalian, ancestors died in faith at Culloden & post-Culloden.

Posted by Angus Stewart at Monday, 15 January 2018 at 10:27am GMT

PART 2
Exactly the same scenario happened in Argyll & The Isles in 2010, while Bishop Mark was Interregnum Bishop. The Primus fails to accept this premiss put to him.
Many are unconvinced, that the appointment (NOT election) of Kevin Pearson (C of E, Durham, Edinburgh) by the C of B, who few in the Diocese had heard of, was the most suitable candidate for this overwhelming rural and traditional Diocese - with a long and important Episcopalian history.
Kevin was appointed Convenor of the Scottish Episcopal Institute Council.
From announcements on-line, he encouraged the appointment of Rev Dyer to SEI Council (Bishop elect of A & O, C of E, Durham, 2011 transferred to SEC , 2017 conducted SS marriage in her church/lesbian couple from Yorkshire).
Detailed in her CV: has trained SEC clergy & has several times given in-Service in A &TI.

Can we believe, by serendipity, that Rev Dyer’s name was pulled out from the Magic Mitre?
With her skills, she was well able to take the initiative to apply, when the position was widely advertised or to bide her time and stand in the remaining 2 vacant Dioceses.
Attending Synods and reading the Diocesan Profile, Rev Dyer will be aware of the strongly held traditional views.
We have excellent & experienced female & male Scottish Episcopalian candidates, who are being overlooked left, right & centre to the detriment of our traditions and will consequently put off young Scots from coming forward to our Church.

Some here, are criticising the group from the A & O clergy & laity for their Open Letter…..please read in full on Scottish Anglican Network and ask yourselves why the C of B failed to meet the clergy BEFORE the appointment was announced on 9th Nov and since.
Courtesy sadly lacking to inform the Cathedral Canons. Several opportunities were available. Definitely had two: accepted hospitality on 5th (Bishop Seabury celebration in Aberdeen Cathedral) & again on 9th Nov in Aberdeen.
Now the Primus accuses the A & O Letter Writers of “subversion” in an Open Letter.
What a word for a Primus to use about his fellow colleagues and “friends”.


Angus Stewart, Scottish Episcopalian, ancestors died in faith at Culloden & post-Culloden.

Posted by Angus Stewart at Monday, 15 January 2018 at 10:28am GMT

Have to say I don't understand the hostility to Bishop Kevin. He seems to have done well in a difficult job managing a vast and sparsely populated diocese with extremely tight finances and a very modest number of Episcopalians that was in danger of being amalgamated with one of its neighbours. I've not heard any grumblings within the diocese myself, though perhaps others move in different circles to me.

Ultimately I don't see why it is necessary for a Bishop to share the views of the majority in their diocese on an issue that is now settled and on which each is able to exercise their own conscience. You disagree with Canon Dyer about equal marriage, some in Aberdeen & Orkney will agree with her. Each is free to follow their conscience in either marrying or refraining from marriage and in the case of clergy of either conducting or not marriages between couples of the same sex.

You ask a great many leading questions and imply an awful lot that you ought to state outright if you believe it to be true. You are seeking to find grievances in not having a meeting (what purpose would such a meeting serve?) and it seems to me that you are simply looking for a reason to object to the process to hide your dislike of the chosen candidate.

As for the constant references to your ancestors in the faith, you may recall that the Pharisees were fond of mentioning their descent from Abraham, and John rebuked them telling them that God could raise up descendants of Abraham from the stones. I would suggest that God is equally capable of raising up from the stones descendants of the non-jurors who kept the historic faith. He might even be able to do so from among those born in England.

Posted by Jo at Monday, 15 January 2018 at 10:08pm GMT

Didn't sound like hostility to me, or anything so personal, but rather a questioning of procedure in the light of so few bishops making important decisions re: direct appointments of personal friends.

Non-jurors born in England? What does that mean or resolve?

Posted by CRS at Tuesday, 16 January 2018 at 3:17pm GMT
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