Thinking Anglicans

Proposal to revive the See of Islington

The Church Times reports: Chartres sets out plan for ‘Bishop for church-plants’

A NEW “bishop for church-plants” has been proposed by the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres. The aim is to support the burgeoning movement as it spreads across the country.

The plan, which involves reviving the see of Islington, vacant since 1923, will be given final consideration by the Dioceses Commission later this month.

In a report presented to the London diocesan Bishop’s Council last Wednesday, Bishop Chartres argues that there is an “urgent” need for church-planters to be given “knowledgeable support and mentoring in the early years”. The Bishop of Islington’s ministry would be “inherently episcopal but not territorial; thoroughly collegial but with an independent sphere of responsibility”…

The full text of the report can be found here.

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Leon Clarke
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Leon Clarke

What I suspect is really happening here is that Sandy Millar has retired from the work he was doing since he retired as rector of HTB, and Richard Chartres finds he was doing useful work and wants someone to replace him.

I further suspect that the main usefulness is for someone who is part of the London college of bishops having overall oversight for the various HTB plants. If this bishop does not exist, the work will be done by someone based at HTB who is less answerable to Richard Chartres and wider Anglican structures.

Leon Clarke
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Leon Clarke

And I suppose the obvious question is how this non-territorial bishop will compare to the bishop of Fulham. Will the split of responsibilities between the territorial bishop and Islington be similar to the split of responsibilities with Fulham, or will it be different as this new bishop is doing a different kind of job?

Charles Read
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Charles Read

Leon, I thought the HTB clergy had taken oaths of canonical obedience to +London. And had made similar oaths at ordination.

peterpi - Peter Gross
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peterpi - Peter Gross

Simon on Wednesday, 11 March 2015 at 12:42pm GMT,

I am reminded of “I am the Monarch of the Sea” and The Captain’s Song (“When I was a lad …”), especially the last two verses of the latter, from HMS Pinafore. The parallels to navies and church hierarchies are instructive.

DBD
Guest

Yes, Charles, several people have thought that.

Alastair Newman
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Alastair Newman

I think that as long as planting of churches from the full breadth of the CofE traditions is supported, noone is likely to have an issue with this are they? But how likely is that to happen?

Jeremy
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Jeremy

I guess this means that if your parish is wealthy enough to plant churches, you get a bishop of your own.

Father David
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Father David

With this novel and innovative idea with regard to the oversight offered by the Church Planting Bishop of Islington, is this not further evidence that the present long serving Bishop of London is the greatest Archbishop of Canterbury we never had?

David Keen
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David Keen

I find it strange how sniffy some of these responses are. Shouldn’t we be celebrating? It seems entirely sensible to base leadership structures on what God is doing in the present, rather than because we’ve always done it. Change and growth among God’s people often results in new leadership structures – whether its Moses delegating his legal stuff after the report from Jethro Consultancies, or the first ‘deacons’. So what’s the problem?

John Sandeman
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John Sandeman

Planting of churches “from the full breadth of the CofE traditions” will happen when people in those traditions decide that planting a church is something they want to devote energy to, and join with others in their tradition to do it. Planting churches happens as a “bottom up” movement. Bishops don’t tend to lead this sort of movement. They come along later.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

This could all be a desperate attempt to avoid new plant churches being abducted by A.M.i.E. At least, with their ‘own’ (flying?) bishop. they could still technically remain ‘Anglican’.

Leon Clarke
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Leon Clarke

Charles: I didn’t want to suggest that there’s a problem with HTB-related clergy not taking seriously their vows of canonical obedience. What I meant was actually a largely positive thing, which I’ll try to explain better: Most plants in London are HTB ones, so if London does something to do with church plants, it’s mostly about HTB. HTB plants, quite naturally look to HTB as their mother church. If they were left to their own devices they’d organise into something rather like a diocese with HTB as the cathedral. The problem for the diocese of London is that, were they… Read more »

David Runcorn
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David Runcorn

Ron why call this ‘desperate’? Looks like a positive and bold initiative – and if you we want to add ‘shrewd’ as well -yes fine.

James A
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James A

This is very much Chartres the Strategist at work. He may, given the choice, be chauffeured a million miles away from worshipping in places with power-points and pop groups; but he has consistently and persistently invested much in the Sandy Millar/Nicky Gumbell trajectory. It has meant (a)that HTB and its plants remain within the mainstream C of E and (b) the parish share from HTB and their plants has kept flowing into the London Diocesan Fund. The appointment of Paul Williams as Bishop of Kensington was, unquestionably, part of this strategy, much to the chagrin of the liberal catholic parishes… Read more »

Peter K
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Peter K

It’s worth pointing out that HTB, although the largest, aren’t the only game in town (or the Metropolis) – there’s also the Co-Mission churches and a few others (does ‘Moot’ count as a church plant?)

The Co-Mission churches have found it easier to relate to London diocese rather than Southwark, so perhaps a ‘flying’ church-planting bishop would help bring those South-of-the-river churches more under the C of E umbrella.

Pete Broadbent
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Pete Broadbent

The proposal, which we have been working up for some time, has to be approved by the Dioceses Commission. It’s about a bishop for church planting, not merely in the Diocese of London, but across the piste. And no, not every church plant in London is HTB in origin. Much work is being done to remind catholics that planting was their prerogative in the C19, and to equip them for the same. We have a commitment to start 100 new churches in London before 2020. And to plant resource churches across the country at the invitation of the respective Bishops.… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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“Ron why call this ‘desperate’? Looks like a positive and bold initiative – and if you we want to add ‘shrewd’ as well -yes fine.” – David Runcorn – Perhaps my word ‘desperate’ is a little forced. However, until A./M./i.E. is exposed by the Church of england to be what it actually is – a plant on home territory by the GAFCON – such a measure as ‘special oversight’ of Church plants might be a necessary step for +London to take. When will the Church of England stand up and admit that the GAFCON trespass on C. of E. jurisdiction… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

The Bishop of Willesden clarifies the situation concerning the future role of a resurrected Bishopric of Islington. Good to see the Church of England being proactive for once. What he describes looks very much to me like an alternative version of the Third Province which FiF sought but for very different reasons. If this comes to pass would Christ Church, Salisbury conform and submit to the oversight of the Bishop of Islington rather than continue to shelter under the GAFCON umbrella? Also the good bishop looks forward to the three new Area Bishops being consecrated together later this year. That… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Third Province? Is the assumption that all church plants are now and forever shall be conservative on the same issues that unite them all?

Simon R
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Simon R

I’m grateful for Pete Broadbent’s timely reminder of the catholic pioneers who church-planted in Victorian England (Dr Hook’s Leeds Parish church and the satellite parishes which surrounded it being a prime example). They did this, of course, both in obedience to, and sometimes in the teeth of opposition from, the existing hierarchical structures. In that sense, very little has changed. The notion of Episcope ‘across the piste’ may make sense in terms of resourcing and inspiring a particular (congregational) constituency; but it contributes to the further ecclesiological fragmentation of the Church of England’s distinctive mission to its wider societal context… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Simon R, I wonder what the Victorian Oxford Movement Anglo-Catholic church planting pioneers would make of the present day HTB church plants?

Pete Broadbent
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Pete Broadbent

There is a madness that overtakes this set of Boards every once in a while. And also a deafness. Nobody has linked +Islington to GAFCON, AMIE or any other sectarian group. It’s all in your imaginations. The 30 or so plants in London are all led by priests who hold the respective licence of the relevant Area Bishop. They are normal CoFE, the both-and of parish and new experimental ecclesial Communities. I was teaching 6 more clergy yesterday who are already planting or about to plant under the authority of their Diocesan/Area Bishops. It’s entirely catholic (though not obsessively monoepiscopal).… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

I can’t think that words like “madness”, “deafness” and “fantasy” are particularly helpful when discussing a new concept such as a Flying Bishop for Church Plants. I don’t recall this novel idea or proposal being discussed by the General Synod, should this not be high on their agenda, especially as the implications of the creation of such a new post stretch far beyond the boundaries of the diocese of London, even as far as St. Swithin’s in Lincoln but not, so it seems, Christ Church, Salisbury?

Simon R
Guest
Simon R

I don’t think I was directly linking the Islington appointment with sectarianism per se; I was simply pointing out the Bishop of London’s propensity to make common cause with some of these groups outside his own jurisdiction. This, not unreasonably, causes me to wonder what his understanding of a catholic expression of episcope actually is. The case I cited can be found at http://rechurchzg.org/category/events/ scroll half-way down the page. Was the Bishop in Europe consulted about this visit to an ACNA- affiliated ‘plant’ before it took place, for example, or given an opportunity to say what the implications for this… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

A question from a far outpost of the Anglican world, where such propositions as ‘special episcope’ for select groups would be first raised in the general Synod of our Church: Is this process, proposed by +London, yet been discussed by the General Synod of the local Church? And if not, why not?

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

Since ECUSA have no place in Europe anyway, their attitude is irrelevant. They should abandon their imperialist presence there before they start worrying about border-crossing (!) Pot. Kettle. Black. [There’s a lot of pious nonsense talked about border-crossing by those who have historically practised it themselves]

More seriously, +Richard does ecumenical relationships with the Orthodox and Reformed in Europe. That’s his role. So that’s why he was there.

As to Ron Smith – the way this works is that the Dioceses Commission is the place where these things are scrutinised. They are a standing commission of General Synod.

Simon R
Guest
Simon R

“+Richard does ecumenical relationships with the Orthodox and Reformed in Europe. That’s his role. So that’s why he was there” @ Pete Broadbent. So where does that leave the Bishop in Europe (a Diocesan Bishop of the Church of England)? And it still doesn’t explain why he was making overtures to an ACNA-affiliated ‘plant’ in someone else’s diocese. Pete Broadbent’s take on TEC’s place in Europe is refreshingly direct and I find it hard to disagree with his analysis. Nonetheless, given that it is there, and that the CofE is in full communion with TEC, we cannot simply behave as… Read more »

Tom Marshall
Guest
Tom Marshall

Yes, Simon R, quite right. And more to the point, the Church of England is NOT in communion with ACNA! It would be interesting to know what the Council for Christian Unity has to say about this and similar perambulations around Europe by the Lord Prelate of London.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

re Tom Marshall’s observation that the C.of E. is not in Communion with ACNA; those of us in other Communion Provinces would quite like an official statement from the ABC that this, indeed, is the reality. One wonders whether the judicial silence on tis matter might just segue in some sort of de facto reationship between C.of E. and ACNA?