Thinking Anglicans

Michael Ipgrave to be next Bishop of Lichfield

Press release from Number 10

Bishop of Lichfield: Michael Geoffrey Ipgrave

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 2 March 2016

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Michael Geoffrey Ipgrave for election as Bishop of Lichfield.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Michael Geoffrey Ipgrave, OBE, MA, PhD, Area Bishop of Woolwich, in the Diocese of Southwark, for election as Bishop of Lichfield in succession to the Right Reverend Jonathan Michael Gledhill, MA, on his resignation on 30 September 2015.

Notes for editors

The Right Reverend Dr Michael Ipgrave (57) grew up in a small village in Northamptonshire, in the English Midlands. He studied mathematics at Oriel College, Oxford, and trained for the ministry at Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford after a year spent working as a labourer in a factory in Birmingham.

He was ordained Deacon in 1982 and Priest in 1983 in the Dicoese of Peterborough. After more than 20 years ministry in Leicestershire and Japan, he became Archdeacon of Southwark in 2004. He was also Canon Missioner at Southwark Cathedral from 2010 to 2012 and was Chair of the Southwark and London Diocesan Housing Association, and Anglican Borough Dean of Southwark. Prior to this he had been Inter Faith Relations Adviser to the Archbishops’ Council and Secretary of the Churches’ Commission on Inter Faith Relations.

He was awarded the OBE in the new year’s honours list in 2011 for services to inter-faith relations in London. Since 2012 he has been Area Bishop of Woolwich, in the Diocese of Southwark and is also diocesan Warden of Readers. He chairs the Council of Christians and Jews, and is Co-Chair of the Anglican-Lutheran Society and of the Church of England’s Mission Theology Advisory Group.

Bishop Michael has written extensively on inter-faith issues and on questions of religion and human rights. He has edited 6 volumes on Christian-Muslim relations, is the author of Trinity and Inter Faith Dialogue (Peter Lang, 2003), and has contributed about 30 journal articles and book chapters.

Bishop Michael is married to Dr Julia Ipgrave, who works at Roehampton University as a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Humanities. They have 3 grown up sons, 1 with a German and 1 with a Russian wife, and are looking forward to the imminent birth of their first grandchild in Germany. Michael and Julia are enthusiastic about things Japanese; they enjoy walking, and are looking forward to exploring Staffordshire and Shropshire on foot.

The Lichfield Diocesan website has this: 99th Bishop of Lichfield named.

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Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Good appointment. Real breadth of experience which he will bring in full to the House of Bishops.

Kelvin Holdsworth
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Is this the first of these job announcements to give details of the pregnancy of the Bishop’s daughter in law?

Alastair Newman
Guest

So, after Ian Paul’s blog post the other day remarking on the translation of the evangelical Martyn Snow to previously liberal Leicester, we now have the centrist/liberal Michael Ipgrave translated to previously evangelical Lichfield. Perhaps it doesn’t pay to read too much into all this…

Father David
Guest
Father David

Could well be the first of its kind re. daughter-in-law being with child. Lovely news as I know from experience that nothing beats being a Grandfather. Grandchild number 5 due in June.

Kate
Guest
Kate

The press release is laudatory throughout… So what do we make of the final section revealing he is married, and explicitly married to a woman? To me that is suggesting his marital status is relevant to his election as a bishop? I find that uncomfortable reading.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

It wasn’t as if his biography needed padding out either!

Marian
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Marian

It feels rather sad (but perhaps unfortunately typical of the blinkered and narrow interests of the TA blog at the moment) that the comments about the announcement of the appointment of the latest bishop in the C of E have descended so rapidly into criticising the fact that the announcement of the appointment refers also to his wife. It is completely standard practice in such announcements in the C of E (check the previous two examples recently also posted on the TA site) to refer to the spouse of the person appointed by name and to say a little about… Read more »

Nick Nawrockyi
Guest
Nick Nawrockyi

Isn’t it more likely that Dr Ipgrave prepared his own biography (or at least some notes) and rather than seeing conspiracies everywhere, we might simply think that he wanted his new diocese to know something more in depth about his life?

Garry
Guest
Garry

Well, I wouldn’t marry a woman myself, but that’s a whole other story. Some men do, however, and I’m grateful that’s so because if it weren’t I wouldn’t be here to write this comment. Now, if I were married to another man (which would be accepted in the Anglican Church of Canada and legally possible everywhere in Canada), I’d be very pleased to have it known if I had children. I’m sure their grandparents would be too.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

At least the present author of press releases at 10 Downing Street no longer makes the mistake of calling them “Her Majesty’s Bishop of …”

Father Ron Smith
Guest

As a former Coventrian, I found the linked video of Bishop Michael to be a total joy. To hear that Midland (Brummy) accent, in the enthusiastic description of his early provenance, I found quite captivating. AND, despite his Oxford University education, no plummy Old Boys Club suggestion of superiority in the usual H.o.B. style. +Michael’s obvious experience of the ethos of the working classes – together with his experience of other cultural situations should stand him in good stead in his new ministry. Also, his insistence on ‘breadth and variety’ in the Anglican Tradition sounds very promising. The Church of… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

Kate: Note that the info regarding spouse is in the “notes for editors” section, not in the official bit about the Queen’s approval for nomination. Marital status is of interest to a general reader, and that’s what editors are looking for. We’ve reached the point where much of the population would have no interest at all in the next bishop of wherever. A bit of personal info makes for better better fodder the public.

Father David
Guest
Father David

“Is this the first of these job announcements to give details of the” nationalities of Bishop Michael and Mrs. Ipgrave’s daughters-in-law? If so, jolly good! The announcement makes mention of Germany, Russia and Japan as well as Inter-Faith issues and interests. The new bishop seems to have world-wide interests to bring as gifts to both land-locked Staffs and Salop.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Jonathan Gledhill retired on 30th September 2015 and the name of his successor was appropriately announced yesterday on St. Cedd’s Day, a mere five months after the last incumbent laid down his crozier and headed off to Dunprayin. John Pritchard retired on 31st October 2014 and the See of Oxford is still vacant sixteen months later. Is there a problem?

Neil Patterson
Guest
Neil Patterson

Father David, as reported somewhere below, the first CNC to appoint an +Oxford could not agree, the replacement one is meeting presently.

Re. all the comments about Mrs Ipgrave etc, yes, it is human interest, but the contrast is with new bishops widely known to be gay (some recently, including those apparently in relationships) there is simply a conspicuous silence.

Father David
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Father David

P. S. For Cedd read his brother Chad.

Turbulent Priest
Guest
Turbulent Priest

Father David : evidently there is.

As for the other comments. All that personal stuff reads very uncomfortably in what is an official announcement. As so often, comms can’t get the tone right. Much better to have a simple standard format–the appointee can put out their own personal thing later.

Father David
Guest
Father David

P. S. For Cedd read his brother Chad.

Chris Routledge
Guest
Chris Routledge

“Also, his insistence on ‘breadth and variety’ in the Anglican Tradition sounds very promising. The Church of England needs more like him/her.”

Fr. Ron – I could not agree more. Serving in Lichfield Diocese myself, I am delighted that Bishop Michael has been appointed. From everything I have heard so far (both in that video and from those who have spoken about him), I think our Diocese is going to be well-blessed through his ministry.

Kate
Guest
Kate

The Bible is clear that while marriage is permissible, it is preferable to be celibate. Including marriage details within such a press release (even if in notes to editors) gives the impression the church sees marriage in more positive terms than the Bible does. That’s a problem.

Does anybody seriously believe the press release would have said, “Michael is celibate”? If we don’t, then marriage should not be mentioned either.

Simon Butler
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Simon Butler

Thinking Anglicans – the only website where comments routinely look for the bad news in the good.

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

The Oxford CNC has been a problem (see TA 14 May 2015). The commission met again on 4 February and is due to meet next week, 7-8 March, when (it must be assumed) it will conduct fresh interviews with new candidates. The General Synod has been promised a report by the CNC in 2016, although no-one is holding their breath. Ironically, the introduction of interviews (something I lobbied for) has caused problems. In the days when I was a central member, all the world was a candidate (provided they were ordained Anglicans and of sound mind). On that basis, if… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

“Thinking Anglicans – the only website where comments routinely look for the bad news in the good.” There are three quite separate questions. 1) Is Michael a good choice? I don’t know but suspect possibly he is, although personally I have reservations about someone with such a strong inter-faith background. 2) Since the press release material strays into issues such as marriage, the press release causes us to ask if it good for diversity or equality that another white, older, straight, married man has been promoted? I think not. In equality terms, for example, the gender mix of the House… Read more »

john (not mccain)
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john (not mccain)

“the only website where comments routinely look for the bad news in the good.”

New to the internet? Welcome!

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

It seems that way, Simon Butler!

Susannah Clark
Guest

Like Marian, I think it’s great that a whole clergy family is acknowledged. Like Neil Patterson, I think that out of respect for gay couples, the spouses or partners of gay bishops should be given equal acknowledgment. Anything less is discrimination. Having said that, it sounds to me that Michael could be a very good bishop. Indeed, on an equally positive note, most of the bishops I have met (with the possible exception of one former bishop of Winchester) have come across to me as really decent people (and that includes my cousin, for whom I have really high regard).… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

“why not a Bishop in her twenties” am I correct in thinking that the youngest age a person can become a bishop is 30?
“My judgement is that the problem is not with the candidates, but with the composition of the Oxford CNC.”
If there is stalemate again after next week’s CNC meeting would it not be possible to choose new selectors from the diocese of Oxford to serve on the CNC?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“John Pritchard retired on 31st October 2014 and the See of Oxford is still vacant sixteen months later. Is there a problem?

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 3 March

Hold your breath, Fr. David. It may not be beyond the realms of possibility that one Dean Jeffrey John could be being considered. After all, he did once agree to become a Suffragan Bishop of the Oxford Diocese (but was set aside by the ABC. at the time – because of pressure from GAFCON). Perhaps, under Archbishop Justin (Justice?), he might be considered for the See of Oxford!

Father David
Guest
Father David

I think the Dean of St. Albans would make an admirable 43rd Bishop of Oxford and would bring much needed gravitas to the Bench of Bishops as a very rare Scholar Bishop – just what Oxford needs. However I fear if it came to a vote he would not receive the approval of certain representatives on the CNC from the Oxford diocese who were instrumental in assisting in depriving him of the See of Reading in the first place. Hence my suggestion as to whether or not it would be possible to select new Diocesan representatives if they reach stalemate… Read more »

Simon Butler
Guest
Simon Butler

Not new to the internet John McCain but I have avoided it for Lent. Perhaps that’s why I find it depressing to read this thread. But also, as an out gay priest – indeed a former Chair of the House of Clergy in Michael’s current diocese – I cannot but observe that this site’s commentators are obsessed with lgbt issues and seem to want to make everything about that one issue. There doesn’t seem to be much actual thinking going on at the Thinking Anglicans website these days. It’s as predictable and inward-looking as comments on Virtue Online, Anglican Mainstream;… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

The standing orders which govern the workings of a CNC are somewhat flimsy. They do not allow for the diocesan group to be changed, although I suppose in the eventuality of death or disability of any member a way could be found for the vacancy-in-see committee to elect a replacement. It is possible to deputise for a central member (I have done so), but only before a particular CNC starts. No, they have got to come to their senses and get on with it, aided by the Holy Spirit and undergirded with prayer!

Frank Nichols
Guest
Frank Nichols

What a depressing thread! I need to remind myself that it is God Who calls people to a share in priestly ministry, and the preoccupations of an increasingly career minded Church miss the mark. Words of Fr Herbert Kelly SSM need to be revisited in the Church. “Choose for yourself the lowest place, not because of modesty but because it is most fit for you”. “You may not choose your work….you may prefer, however, that which is most dangerous, least notable, least popular. There will generally be room for you here.” So let us hope that the so-called talent pool… Read more »

Andrew Lightbown
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Andrew Lightbown

Good to see a centrist bishop appointed to a major see. Looks like he won’t be coming to Oxford however!

Kate
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Kate

Frank Nichols Thank you for your insightful comment. Certainly something to which I can relate. @Various I find the criticism of Thinking Anglicans misplaced. It is the opposite of my experience of TA. Yes, some issues do come up a lot, but what issues! They go to the heart of how we understand Scripture. Should it be read literally or purposefully? LGBT issues, the role of women in the church and the sacrament of marriage allow us to discuss our response to the nature of Scripture in the context of actual, concrete issues rather than just in abstract or theoretical… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

The negativity is simply a build up of frustration that LGBTQI people are completely shut out. With few options to be heard, it’s going to be a focus on TA, one of the only places where people can give voice to their aspirations and frustrations. I bet that Michael will be a fine bishop. But the pain of exclusion grows. It has grown further from the shenanigans of the primates meeting and that “walking together” nonsense. I deeply wish that we were walking together… Injustice will never be healed by silence, diversion, lies, etc. CoE apparently has no prophet/moral leader… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“What a depressing thread! I need to remind myself that it is God Who calls people to a share in priestly ministry, and the preoccupations of an increasingly career minded Church miss the mark”. – Frank Nichols – Having been a visitor to Kelham when Fr. Kelly was still alive, I can echo your respect for his ideas about fitness for ministry. However, when you say, in effect: “Leave it to God to do His work”, God only has human beings through whom His will can be done. If they do not hear God’s voice, we human beings may still… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

That’s right Father Ron but I think the nub of Frank’s point is that although we see bishops as important that doesn’t mean the Lord does.

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

What are the odds for a woman bishop in Woolwich?

Father David
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Father David

That John Robinson’s next successor will in all probability be female, I’d call that a “dead cert”. But what odds for a woman Bishop of Woolwich who is either black or Asian? “Honest to God”, who would have thought of that?

Marian
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Marian

Having followed the later comments on this thread – on which I myself made an early comment, in support of the inclusion of details relating to Bishop Michael Ipgrave’s wife in the press release, I think I probably have come to the conclusion that at the moment TA does seem to specialise in trying to find bad news in the good (Good remark by another commentator). It just feels a rather sad place at the moment – each time I visit it for some reason or other, I come away feeling that too many of those who post regularly have… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Where does the Bishop of Manchester keep his ferrets?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Thank you Marian!

I must say, I also miss the thoughtful conversations and the intelligent engagement with people who disagree with us that used to happen on Thinking Anglicans.
Maybe we’re all too battle weary and no longer have the patience… but it’s a real loss.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Marian, how sad.

When I first came to Thinking Anglicans a few months ago, my view was that the Bible was clearly against same-sex sex. I listened. I went away and checked things. I changed my mind. It has helped me to understand the Bible better.

So personally I see TA much more positively than you. It remains a valuable place for those prepared to listen.

David Runcorn
Guest

Sadly I’m with you Marian. Though I continue to value TA as a valuable source of information I find myself staying away from the comment threads more often than not these days.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

I’m sorry that Marian and David Runcorn feel that way. I’m wondering if “the problem” is what’s happening in the world? Three Jeremy’s are being persecuted for getting legally married. The primates meeting was billed hopefully as a means of getting along in difference and instead it turned out to be a charade, with TEC getting censured for difference. There’s an appearance that this had a chilling effect on Canada. The human rights violations being perpetrated upon our LGBTI brothers and sisters in some of the Anglican Communion, without “consequences,” is pretty nasty. We aren’t talking about “chips on shoulders.”… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest

Cynthia I don’t think it is down to this one issue. Quite a variety topics are debated on TA.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

I get that there are many topics here on TA, David. The disappointment voiced was about the response to the appointment of Michael. There are multiple issues, including the representation of evangelicals vs. ACs. But one mustn’t underestimate the malaise as a manifestation of oppression, exclusion, and injustice. The persecution of the three Jeremy’s has everyone wondering “how long, dear Lord…” The primates meeting, and the apparent crowing by Justin about how the current bench of bishops are the most orthodox ever… It’s quite shocking.

David Runcorn
Guest

Cynthia my point is not about what or why. It is about how.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

I hear you, David. “How” things are addressed matters. But I would also say that there’s a heap of pain. One can’t dictate how that needs to be expressed, especially in a climate of repression. I can’t speak for others. I can only speak as a gay person who has been dreadfully hurt by the church, but finally know liberation and redemption in my church. My church is very democratic and gives the impression of listening to diverse voices. CoE feels like a heartless, hierarchical machine that answers to no one, not even the Jesus of the gospels. That doesn’t… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest

Cynthia The CofE is my home. I love it and seek to serve Christ in and through it. It is very far from perfect, I often struggle with it – but not as much as I struggle with your sweeping dismissal of it here. And not for the first time. You believe the church where I worship and minister is heartless, Christ-less and answerable to no-one. Well I can only say you will not find me entering into such public judgment on your church. Partly because I don’t feel qualified too, but mainly because I believe the Jesus of the… Read more »