Comments: Nicholas Papadopulos to be next Dean of Salisbury

Given the safeguarding situation, the promotion of a former criminal barrister looks to be a good thing, bringing useful skills and experience to the Deanery.

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 28 March 2018 at 10:54am BST

Not all C of E appointments revolve around an obsession with safeguarding, despite the horrors of the past. Actually, this is a good appointment not because he is a criminal lawyer; but because (a) Nick is not an evangelical; (b) he understands the importance of musical excellence and intellectual gravity in making cathedrals attractive; (c) will develop the life of Salisbury Cathedral without resorting to the lowest common denominator. This is a good day for Salisbury - and for those who work at the Cathedral in particular.

Posted by Mike Nolan at Wednesday, 28 March 2018 at 12:59pm BST

Cheers Mike, that's really useful extra information

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 28 March 2018 at 3:50pm BST

Mike Nolan's approach to CofE appointments appears to revolve around an obsession with a personal caricature he has of evangelicals. We can safely presume the job profile was a little broader than his criteria. Is he aware that the previous Dean trained at an evangelical college?

Posted by David Runcorn at Wednesday, 28 March 2018 at 4:16pm BST

Our prayers and good wishes to Canon Nicholas on his appointment to the Deanery of Salisbury. He simply is a good man, and a dutiful priest. Somewhat of a rarity it would appear today.

I last heard him preach at Mass in Canterbury cathedral on the Sunday before Candlemass. We remember the service well, a very positive experience.

Salisbury will welcome him.

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by Fr John E Harris-White at Wednesday, 28 March 2018 at 5:18pm BST

“Mike Nolan's approach to CofE appointments appears to revolve around an obsession with a personal caricature he has of evangelicals”

It may be a little blunt, but it’s hardly some sort of idiosyncratic personal view. Try a few *hours* reading through #Howtoevangelical on Twitter: he’s not the only one with a question mark when it comes to the ‘e’ word by an almost infinitely long chalk. The important question one needs to ask, if this isn’t just one person’s idiosyncracy, is ‘why’?

A lot of people (most?) react very negatively to evangelicalism (apart from the Corbinized minority who crowd out evangelical churches echo chamber) and yet it’s in this cult coffer the leadership of the Church of England seems determined to stuff all its capital, as evidenced by the vast majority of its recent senior appointments. Is that really a smart thing? Regardless of the tradition one belongs to, surely on the level of eggs and baskets it’s questionable?

Posted by Fr Andrew at Wednesday, 28 March 2018 at 7:03pm BST

'cult coffer'????

Have fun in your echo chamber, folks. I'm done trying to build bridges with this group.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Wednesday, 28 March 2018 at 11:39pm BST

It was the end of a long day. I should not have risen to it. But within this rich and stimulating community called Thinking Anglicans are a significant number of folk who own the word 'evangelical'. We are in the room here. Without always getting it right I aspire to being a 'critical friend' within my own tradition (and some have disowned me for this) - and in my engaging with others. Fr Andrew when you suggest 'most' people you really mean people who think and share your preferences. (If we talked I think you would find that I very likely share a great many of your theological priorities). But no tradition has a monopoly of narrow tribalism, brainless piety, unredeemed prejudice or love of religious tat. We just claim 'theirs' is far worse than 'ours'. I still treasure the memory of Richard Holloway, when addressing a large conference of evangelical clergy, who commended the Evangelical tradition for its willingness 'to embrace bad taste for the age of the gospel'. Even Cathedrals?

Posted by David Runcorn at Thursday, 29 March 2018 at 8:10am BST

David & Tim,

It's never easy to communicate nuance on this board, but I certainly had no intent to give the message 'evangelicals not welcome.' Evangelicalism is a tradition which I admit brings me no joy (a perception that the C of E was such a church kept me out of it for a long time) and- as a gay man- much misery *but* I don't dispute its existence as a long tradition within Anglicanism with much to share and to teach. I've learned from my sisters and brothers in that tradition, and though that learning has often been dialectical, that's not a bad thing.

I did wish to make clear, however, that it's by no means one person who has problem ('a personal caricature'), it's lots (just as I'm sure if there was a #Howtocatholic hash tag it would be equally long and vituperative). And by saying 'most?' I was thinking not of people who share my church tradition (and yes our theologies have lots in common and some real serious differences) but rather the majority who never set foot within a church, perhaps that 60 per cent or so (according to the research) who are actively put off by someone talking about their Christian faith.

Surely it's a good thing to recognise that there are people who find a particular approach to faith highly problematic and at least wonder whether that might be partly down to what that approach entails and envisages rather than thinking it's just people with 'personal caricatures' being unthinkingly prejudiced?

If there are problems for many •outside• the church with evangelicalism *and* we seriously want to grow the church, isn't that at least reason to not unthinkingly follow the path which the C of E seems to be determined to follow: to bet the whole farm on one tradition?

Posted by Fr Andrew at Thursday, 29 March 2018 at 11:11am BST

I couldn't have put it better, Mr Runcorn. Smiling. jeans-wearing evangelical ditty singers simply have "bad taste"!

Posted by FrDavidH at Thursday, 29 March 2018 at 11:52am BST

A cab driver reaches the pearly gates. St. Peter gives him a gold staff and a silk robe and he h axs into Heaven.

A priest arrives next and St Peter says he will let him in, but gives him a sack cloth robe and rickety wooden staff.The priest is shocked and asks why he is being treated poorly.

St. Peter says, "This is Heaven. We are only interested in results: when you preached, people slept; when the cabbie drove his taxi, people prayed."

It is a joke, of course. But I think it would be foolish to believe we can know whether God thinks evangelicalism or a traditional Catholic approach is best at mission. All we can do, I suggest, is try to discern what God is asking us to do as individuals and trust Him to take care of the big picture.

Posted by Kate at Thursday, 29 March 2018 at 1:02pm BST

I'm with David R on this one - and I think we would be very nervous about the C of E becoming monochrome. I do remember the days - nearly 30 years ago - when some of us wrote to our diocesan bishop when there was an archdeacon vacancy, pleading for an evangelical to be appointed as there were not any among the three bishops, three archdeacons and one dean in our diocese (and hardly any among the rural deans!) How things have changed!

Posted by Charles Read at Thursday, 29 March 2018 at 2:29pm BST

Fr Andrew To be honest it is hard hear welcome when described as a 'cult coffer' - but I too aspire to robust engagement across the church traditions. Indeed for most of my ministry that has been a key part of my job.
Pastoral hunch here - the next time you are meeting evangelicals for some dialectical learning do invite FrDavidH along. Reading between the lines I think he is quite interested.

Posted by David Runcorn at Thursday, 29 March 2018 at 3:41pm BST

I do try not to be partisan, but it is wearying when so many new bishops and deans are being appointed from the 'evangelical' end of the spectrum. I know that many, probably most, of them appreciate the breadth of Anglican tradition and some could justifiably describe themselves as 'Catholic Evangelicals'. But it was not a healthy time for the Church when, as Charles Read says above, nearly all the clergy in senior appointments could be labelled Liberal Catholics. Nor would it be healthy if they were all Evangelicals (liberal or otherwise). Those who don't understand the nuances of a tradition from the inside are likely to make insensitive appointments. Moreover, while cathedrals can be effective centres of mission and evangelism, and some of them could be more so, at their heart is the life of an essentially Catholic liturgical community. A Dean with no sensitivity to this would be worse than useless.

Posted by David Emmott at Thursday, 29 March 2018 at 4:45pm BST

An interesting discussion. Too much labelling goes on IMHO. I've been the victim of it: AC, 1662 nerd, dresser up, ritualist, and much more. All inadequate. The label that I feel more and more at home with is Wesleyan: compassionate, enthusiastic, evangelical, catholic, patristic, inclusive, humsnity-affirming and heart-warming. I've celebrated mass in full fig, in mufti and all stations between. In my 19th cent Bodley-decorated AC barn, the full works says something wonderful about the human response to the Divine. In my elegant 18th century town centre church, Wednesday's BCP with surplice and scarf feels exactly right. The breadth of the C of E is wonderful. I would not presume to know the mind of God, so I do what I can as much as I can as well as I can to as many as I can.

Posted by Stanley Monkhouse at Thursday, 29 March 2018 at 4:57pm BST

"it is hard hear welcome when described as a 'cult coffer' '

Rhetoric / metaphor is what that is (and mild I would have to say). It's like when a friend points out to you that your dress sense is doing them no favours. It's not nice to be told but it might be worth taking what they're saying on board.

Again there is a serious point in that, what I understand of, (at least some streams in) Evangelicalism is the theological dichotomising of believers/ non-believers, the notion of the gathered church/ the elect, the importance of personal conversion: these can lead to an in-out thinking that is at odds with the Church of England's history as a church geographically defined, as being for and of the people of a particular parish/diocese/province (rather than the fervent-believing selection of the people therein). Held up against that notion of what the Church of England is, evangelicalism *can* look decidedly 'culty'. Pointing this out is not meant to exclude our evangelical sist/brothers but alert them to another viewpoint.

Posted by Fr Andrew at Thursday, 29 March 2018 at 5:28pm BST

This has proved to be a most extraordinary thread. It concerns the appointment of the next Dean of Salisbury, who I don't know, but if I was to consider his ministerial background, which is broad, the last question I would have considered is whether he is an 'evangelical'. Mike Nolan lit the blue touch paper by making a lot about, for his personal reasons, the fact that, in his view, one of the features of his appointment is that 'Nick is not an evangelical'. Really? You mean he doesn't preach the Good News of Jesus? I doubt it. Of course the knee jerk reaction is that a product of Ripon College Cuddesdon cannot by definition be an evangelical. Years earlier he would have been consigned to being a Runcie lovey. Times have changed. This naked tribalism was rightly exposed by ++Cantuar during his evidence to the IICSA. Contributors to this thread evidently believe that 'churchmanship' plays a material part in appointments. It does not. The discernment process is quite different. Can I commend Discerning in Obedience for Easter reading to TA readers? Whether diocesan, suffragan, dean or residentiary canon, the principles are the same.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Thursday, 29 March 2018 at 10:55pm BST

Fr Andrew. One last thought. It boils down to what we want to achieve. If I say I want to engage with people I strongly differ with but address them and their views with names they do not recognise or even find distorting and insulting, no real meeting is going to happen. I may tell them then they are being thin-skinned. But who is the measure of that? It is possible it is me that has hardened up. And the right to speak as an honest friend has to be earned. If I really want to meet such folk then their sensitivity - likely learned through pain, like mine - is part of what I must work with. But people don’t tend to hang around if they feel insulted, told off or lectured. And fair enough I say. Easter Greetings.

Posted by David Runcorn at Friday, 30 March 2018 at 8:52am BST

Gosh. What a hare I have set running. It might help if I say that I thought not being Evangelical was a good thing in relation to the Salisbury appointment simply because too many senior appointments over the past few years have made the Church of England predictably monochrome. That Nick Popadapulos fits what might be called a 'traditional profile' for a Dean is as refreshing as it is welcome. I don't know whether he is part of the 'talent pool' or has been on the MBA training. But I do know that he preaches with intelligence and humanity, and his theology is manifestly fed by a rigorous and wide-ranging cultural intelligence. This is a far more attractive foundation for leading a cathedral community than an obsession with numbers and resorting to the latest fad, as we are seeing in other cathedrals (one, in particular, that is not too far from Salisbury, as it happens).

Posted by Mike Nolan at Friday, 30 March 2018 at 11:00am BST

"The discernment process is quite different"

If the discernment process was working, we wouldn't have monochrome periods (either way) based on the latest fashion. It’s why I think Discernment in Obedience is a joke. It's not discernment at all. At the best it is saying "These are candidates we don't mind, any preferences?" but because discernment is so difficult, it's doubtful we achieve even that much.

I am not getting into the tribalism on this thread, but I am certain that discernment isn't working. If it was, we would have an equal number of female bishops by now, some prominent gays and lesbians in committed marriages, and probably one or two trans or intersex bishops for diversity. And a better racial mix. That's my real hatred of claiming that discernment is involved : it signs up God and attempts to make him responsible for the discrimination in appointments. I burn with anger at those who would use His name that way.

Posted by Kate at Friday, 30 March 2018 at 11:21am BST

"Discernment isn't working. If it was, we would have an equal number of female bishops by now..." The fact that we do not have equal numbers of female bishops is, I would suggest, a sign that discernment *is* working. We are not appointing someone just because of their gender, or whatever aspect of their identity chimes with the current obsession.

Rather, I would dare to hope that the reason we do not have equal numbers of male and female bishops at this early stage of admitting women to the episcopate is that we are taking a long hard look at peoples' formation, their theological terroir, their experience of the church, and their overall 'fit' for the job in terms of skills and capability to deliver what is expected. Sometimes, such criteria will be fulfilled by a woman; at other times not. Surely, we are not in the business of patronising women by giving them the top jobs just because they are women?

Posted by Will Richards at Friday, 30 March 2018 at 1:07pm BST

It is good to know that churchmanship doesnt play a material part in appointments..though i doubt if it plays no part at all. But churchmanship is none the less a feature of the C of E and this is often seen in relation to pastoral re- organisation for instance. One of my sadnesses is that in many ways the traditions in the C of E have moved further apart in my lifetime and to the interested outsider the C of E does appear "tribal".

Posted by Perry Butler at Friday, 30 March 2018 at 1:56pm BST

"AC, 1662 nerd, dresser up, ritualist, and much more" - you say that like it's a *BAD* thing. I think you may just have written my new Twitter bio.

Posted by Gerry Lynch at Friday, 30 March 2018 at 2:18pm BST

" It might help if I say that I thought not being Evangelical was a good thing in relation to the Salisbury appointment simply because too many senior appointments over the past few years have made the Church of England predictably monochrome."

I think you'll find that this doesn't 'fit' Salisburys profile. If it's about balance or representation then the evangelical constituency has been under recognised, being much larger than presented, and the senior staff hugely monochrome on the liberal side. +Graham was a passing difference. I know Nick P, he's a nice thoughtful guy, but he won't be different to what's there or different theologically to June Osborne.

Posted by Ian H at Friday, 30 March 2018 at 4:16pm BST

Mr Lynch, others used those terms as insults. I relished and relish them.

Posted by Stanley Monkhouse at Friday, 30 March 2018 at 7:31pm BST

"Surely, we are not in the business of patronising women by giving them the top jobs just because they are women?"

Well the current incumbents have the top jobs *just* because they're men, so what's the difference? I wonder who decides what the criteria are for 'skills and capability' for the job? Cis white heterosexual men. Hey, what a surprise, look who gets appointed.

I mean, if our current 'leaders' are the best of the bunch we're completely and utterly stuffed. Yes, many are nice people but I would wager that if the CNC appointed just random women & LGBT & BAME people to the top jobs they certainly wouldn't do any worse than the current lot, with the added bonus that their appointments would be helping to right the wrongs of centuries of oppression and prejudice.

Kate is absolutely bang on when she says (and it's worth quoting verbatim and making a second appearance on this thread) 'claiming that discernment is involved... ... signs up God and attempts to make him responsible for the discrimination in appointments'

Posted by Fr Andrew at Friday, 30 March 2018 at 7:59pm BST

The racism and sexism and homophobia in the appointments process is •structural• and so it's never going to be the case of 'the best person getting the job' while those lopsided structures are in place.

Posted by Fr Andrew at Friday, 30 March 2018 at 8:30pm BST

"The racism and sexism and homophobia in the appointments process is •structural• and so it's never going to be the case of 'the best person getting the job' while those lopsided structures are in place."

Yes! Exactly. The call of not appointing women just because we're women is abhorrent and patronizing. As if there isn't an army of women who are exceedingly well equipped for the job. And as Fr. Andrew said, they could not possibly do it worse than the current lot.

Posted by Cynthia at Saturday, 31 March 2018 at 12:05am BST

Having just watched a repeat of "Canterbury Cathedral" on BBC2 Canon Nicholas figured significantly - especially when he received the telephone call to say that the bid for £12 million had been successful. It would seem that Sarum is about to receive a formidable Dean.

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 31 March 2018 at 4:31pm BST

A few final comments on this interesting thread which has strayed somewhat from the good news of the appointment of the new Dean of Salisbury. I cannot agree with Kate on her view of discernment, but this is not the place to unpack Professor O’Donovan’s report. Discernment has nothing to do with signing up “God and attempting to make [Him] responsible for the discrimination in appointments,” even if such exists, which I doubt. It does however have much to do with co-operation with the Holy Spirit. As to women bishops, the Church of England has done extremely well. It was never going to be possible to achieve gender parity overnight. Since it has been lawful to ordain women as bishops in late 2014, there have been three nominations of women to be diocesan bishops, out of nine appointments (33%), one of which was the translation of a male diocesan (Oxford). So far as suffragan bishops are concerned, there have been 17 nominations, of which 10 have been women (59%) and, of the seven men, two (Berwick and Tewkesbury) were appointed by their woman diocesans. Other provinces in the Anglican Communion, in particular TEC, would have loved to have appointed so many women so quickly. Their appointments processes, involving conservative synodical electors in many cases, have not allowed this.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Sunday, 1 April 2018 at 9:29pm BST

Reading this thread, I am struck by not so much as what is said as to how it is said and I am stung by Tim Chesterton’s comment ‘I am done trying to build bridges with this group’. I hope he won’t stop contributing but perhaps we ought to build bridges with him. I too have no idea what a ‘cult coffer’ is. T. S. Eliot spoke of the ‘language of the tribe’ and the discourse on this site is often coded and referential – for example, readers need to know what ‘1662’ or even ‘1928’ signifies. It might help to know something about Robert Runcie, who resigned as Archbishop of Canterbury some thirty-five years ago and possibly even the notorious Gary Bennett preface. Some of this is inevitable but the danger of becoming an echo chamber is real. This site gives voice to points of view which are important to hear – I have been particularly glad to have read Janet Fife’s contributions recently. Tim Chesterton has a parish in Edmonton, Canada, Rod Gillis also contributes from Canada, others from the USA, I now read it from Scotland. This is called ‘Thinking Anglicans’ not ‘Thinking Church of England’ so perhaps we should be careful to avoid a discourse which excludes rather than includes.

Posted by Daniel Lamont at Wednesday, 4 April 2018 at 5:55pm BST

Daniel Lamont's mention of Gary Bennett has caused me to revisit John Habgood's chapter on "The Crockford Preface"in his book "Confessions of a Conservative Liberal" where he writes -
"The Preface had three main strands:
1. A critique of the Anglican Communion for avoiding hard questions about authority;
2. Criticisms of the General Synod and its committee structure for failing to provide a coherent policy for the Church of England.
3. The identification of a powerful liberal establishment determined to upset the traditional balance of the Church."
It seems to me that Gareth Bennett was something of a prophet who was not without honour except in his own country. These three criticisms are still relevant to the Church in the 21st century. Perhaps, under the third strand, I'd now exchange the word "liberal" and replace it with the word "evangelical".

Posted by Father David at Friday, 6 April 2018 at 9:13am BST
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