Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office

Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich: Martin Alan Seeley

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 20 November 2014
Part of: Arts and culture

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Martin Alan Seeley for election as Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Reverend Canon Martin Alan Seeley, MA, STM, Principal of Westcott House, Cambridge in the Diocese of Ely, for election as Bishop of Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich in succession to the Right Reverend William Nigel Stock, BA, on his translation as Bishop at Lambeth on 13 November 2013.

Notes for editors
Martin Seeley is 60, and read geography and then theology at Jesus College, Cambridge, before a year at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. He was awarded the English Fellowship at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and continued his ministerial training there. He served his title at the parish of Bottesford with Ashby, Scunthorpe in Lincoln Diocese from 1978 to 1980. He then returned to New York City where he served as curate at the Church of the Epiphany and Assistant Director of Trinity Institute, Trinity Wall Street, from 1980 to 1985. From 1985 to 1990 he was Executive Director of the Thompson Center, an ecumenical lay and clergy education programme in St Louis, Missouri. He returned to England in 1990 and until 1996 was a Selection Secretary at the Advisory Board of Ministry and Secretary for Continuing Ministerial Education. From 1996 to 2006 he was Vicar of the Isle of Dogs, Tower Hamlets, in the Diocese of London. Since 2006 he has been Principal of Westcott House, Cambridge and also from 2008 Honorary Canon at Ely Cathedral. He has also served as President of the Cambridge Theological Federation for the past 2 years.

He is married to the Reverend Jutta Brueck, Priest in Charge of St James’, Cambridge and they have two children, Anna, 14 and Luke, 11. He is a keen and able cook, and a keen, but less able saxophonist.

The diocesan website has more details: Next Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

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Father David
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Father David

Oh dear, NOT Jeffrey John, yet again, another opportunity missed! This is the second diocesan appointment recently of someone over 60, Hereford being the other one. I’ll wager that the next Dunwich will be a female bishop.

stephen Morgan
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stephen Morgan

Know nothing about him – but in his first appearance on TV since his appointment he appeared to liken the recent and present debates on women’s ministry and SSM to ‘The Devil whispering “sex” in the Church of England’s ear.’ Not terribly helpful imagery!

Simon R
Guest
Simon R

How marvellous is this? An intellectual catholic joins the House of Bishops at the very moment we all thought they were being excluded to extinction! How did he get past the Wash House box-ticking and vetting system? The St Eds and Ips Vacancy in See committee has led the way in showing the rest of the C of E what it means to make a responsible and imaginative episcopal appointment – and resist the ‘corporate’ pressures which have dominated these appointment for the past decade. They deserve our heartfelt thanks.

commentator
Guest
commentator

Last Monday Tim Allen, who was one of the diocesan representatives on the CNC for St Edmundsbury, made this statement in General Synod: ‘Those who are honest and frank enough to live openly in a Civil Partnership, while behaving in the chaste way required by Church law, are, it seems from all the evidence, de facto excluded from the House of Bishops, even when they are eminently qualified to be a bishop . . . It is not law, it is simply prejudice which keeps out of the House of Bishops those men who are gay, chaste, and honest. Such… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

‘Such prejudice and discrimination is wrong, even when it is dressed up as a necessary tribute to certain homophobic elements of the Anglican Communion.’

Well said by Tim Allen. I wonder how Synod received these remarks.

The person who talks about the elephant in the room can be subjected to ostracism as a result. Unfortunate, but that’s how groups tend to work.

OFW
Guest
OFW

Simon R’s description of this man as an “intellectual catholic” confirms what I thought as soon as I saw that he had been director of the Trinity Institute in New York. I believe that he will be a blessing to his diocese and to the Church.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

A previous one played the bassoon and this one plays the saxophone. It’s time for some diversity! How about some string, brass, and percussion players?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Don’t worry, Cynthia, one day The Trumpet shall Sound in the Church of England – when the Church wakes up to the need for an openly Gay Bishop. Miracles still do happen – even in the C. of E. Just look at the affirmation of Women as Bishops!

commentator
Guest
commentator

Dear Father Smith –
The Church of England keeps avoiding the appointment of an honest and open gay man as a bishop. It will delay the day even further now that it can appear righteous in the appointment of women to the episcopate. I also fear that the women that are appointed will not see their exclusion as in anyway related to the exclusion of such open and honest men. They will not raise the issue, rather they will settle in to the ‘episcopal lie’ as so many of their male predecessors have.

James A
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James A

I hadn’t picked up the Jeffrey John dimension. While I think Martin Seeley will be a first class bishop (and bring some much needed gravitas to the HofB – especially where clergy training is concerned) this does indeed prove that Welby and Sentamu are still exercising some kind of veto. Here’s an idea. When Viviene Faull, Lucy Winkett or Jane Hedges are offered Southwell and Nottingham, why don’t they refuse to accept until Jeffrey is consecrated? Then they will be able to show us that those who have been in the forefront of campaigning for equality of ordination are absolutely,… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Or better still James why not appoint Jeffrey John as the next Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham? He can then reverse the disastrous Sentamu veto by granting a licence to Jeremy Pemberton to work as a Hospital Chaplain within that diocese.
Although, I’m not holding my breath!

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“They will not raise the issue, rather they will settle in to the ‘episcopal lie’ as so many of their male predecessors have.”

That’s possible. However, it was not our experience in TEC. In fact, back in the 80’s or so, there were conservatives who actually said “if we let the women in, we’ll never be able to keep the gays out.”

It’s hard to say. Besides, how much power do bishops, other than the ABC and York, have to elevate priests? Isn’t there a CNC that does that?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

James A,
what are you saying? Let’s leave the chaps off the hook and expect the women alone to make even more personal sacrifices and stand up for justice?
I suggest you start breathing again immediately.

John
Guest
John

Father David,

Great to see you keeping up your completely just campaign. Jeffrey John’s treatment is indeed dreadful.

commentator
Guest
commentator

Erika;
I think we are expecting more of the women – and it is by way of saying they are better and stronger and more just than those who already inhabit the House of Bishops. They have experience of exclusion and injustice. We are simply asking that they take an active part in continuing the emergence of equality and justice in Church selection processes.
Are you suggesting they should rest on their laurels and leave others to continue to suffer? From your previous posts I would doubt that.

Rev Barbara Evans
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Rev Barbara Evans

Very pleased to see Canon Seeley appointed; a proper card-carrying liberal catholic. But he is not really an academic theologian. So the CofE still won’t appoint one to a bishopric. The scholar-bishop is now extinct in the CofE, which is a great loss to both church and nation. Jefferey John would have ticked this box, as would others. Will the Archbishops and CNC dare to appoint some good theological minds to the Bench of Bishops ever again?

Robin Ward
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Robin Ward

There are now a lot of liberal catholic diocesan bishops. The whole of the old puritan heartland of East Anglia is a liberal catholic episcopal monopoly: Chelmsford; St Edmundsbury & Ipswich; Norwich; Ely; Lincoln. Elsewhere there are Truro, Exeter, Worcester, Southwark and Manchester. And perhaps Salisbury and Portsmouth. It is surprising that this influence is not felt more.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Commentator, Several points: I take issue with the idea of expecting sacrifices from one group of people only. We cannot let the men off the hook. I also don’t believe that just because a group of people has suffered oppression they automatically become human rights campaigners for all other causes. ‘Women’ are not a homogenous group and we have as many different views as men. Otherwise all black people would be card carrying feminists and Margaret Thatcher would have supported gay rights. So I expect liberal men and women with a backbone and moral integrity to support Jeffrey John, but… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

“There are now a lot of liberal catholic diocesan bishops” and very few traditional catholic diocesan bishops!

Father David
Guest
Father David

If it is true that Jeffrey John was short listed for the dioceses of Southwark, Exeter and St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich and was not offered any of them despite his eminent suitability to be a Diocesan Bishop does that not seem to suggest that the Church of England is Institutionally Homophobic?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Commentator, I don’t think it’s unjust to hope for zeal for justice from anyone. One could argue that it would be more effective for a woman to become bishop and then join Alan Wilson in his very public support for gay equality. Fundamentally, though, I do struggle with what to me seems to be the stereotype of the women serving and suffering with dignity, as if it was something women were particularly suited to. Equality means precisely that women are not materially different from men. I think the other difficulty I have with the proposal is that it is a… Read more »

Geoff Jones
Guest
Geoff Jones

Lincoln, Truro & Manchester ‘Liberal Catholics’? Really? You could have fooled me, Robin. I thought they were just members of SCS (the Society for a Conspiracy of Silence)in the House of Bishops!

Commentator
Guest
Commentator

Erika
Thank you. I whole heartedly agree. But too few dare to raise their heads above the parapet, which leaves us with isolated heroes and heroines. Although I still thank God for them.