Thinking Anglicans

The Bishop of Liverpool reflects on the ministry of bishops

Paul Bayes, the Bishop of Liverpool has written a reflection on the ministry of bishops for Via Media.News.

Elders of the Tribe

“The weak bishops.” “The lying bishops.” “The bastard bishops.” “I wouldn’t trust them as far as I can spit.” “The only way they’ll give a straight-line response is if you ask them to design a corkscrew.”

A few months ago on this site I wrote a piece which spoke of the need for people to express their anger if they were angry. I have seen all the phrases above on social media in the past few days, and I am glad of them, though I am not a masochist and I do not enjoy them. I am particularly grateful to the people who have contacted me directly to express their emotion and to make their points about the recent bishops’ statement.

For some, the sense of betrayal is particularly acute when applied to people like me, who have spoken of the need for change in the Church. Where was I? What happened to my voice? How could I have been so weak as to stand with this document? …

Do read it all.

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Susannah ClarkLaurence CunningtonFr John Harris-WhiteInterested ObserverKate Recent comment authors
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Pam
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Pam

Paul Bayes’ words, as forthright and thoughtful as they are, are not the words of an outsider, they are not the words of someone who has been pushed to the limits of their endurance, their love, their very being. Yes, anger is part of the response to the Bishops’ report and it jolly well should be. But beyond anger is always love. And the church desperately needs a new way of doing love.

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

It is a good bit of writing. Perhaps Bishop Paul would like to reflect that while it may be painful to abandon collegiality a little more, it would at least bring him the support of one side of the fence, and would have its own comforts. Something sitting firmly ON the fence will never do.

And being called a bastard is rather less painful than being forced to choose between a: lying or b: abandoning the person you love and who loves you either totally, or to a sexually unfulfilled relationship.

James Byron
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James Byron

I directed Bishop Paul to MLK’s words about white moderates. I’m sure it’ll do no good — England’s made appointing company men into an artform — but I’m always happy to be surprised.

Regardless, the solution isn’t appealing endlessly to bishops’ better natures: it’s reforming English church structures to get the right people into position to effect change. This is a political battle, that must be fought and won via political means.

Father Ron Smith
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At least, Bishop Paul seems to understand the ignominy of the Church of England’s Bishops’ lack of initiative in ‘doing the theology’ that will need to be done to accept Equal Marriage into its oh so parsimonious pastoral care for people in the Church who have no other way of deep personal relationship than with a same-sex partner. It has taken other Provinces, like TEC; the Anglican Church of Canada; and our own New Zealand Provincial Church (ACANZP) to bring into the Anglican provenance issues like the ordination of women as priest – not to mention bishops – to enable… Read more »

Fr John Harris-White
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Fr John Harris-White

Some of us whose active life and ministry was in the Church of England have grown tired of the double speak through many generations. But grateful to Bishop Paul for his thoughts.
I am more than grateful that I now live in the Episcopal Church of Scotland, where Robert and myself are loved, and recognised for who we are, a couple brought together by God.
I CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THE church OF England, the church of my birth, and hope the Synod meeting will actively support the total membership of the church. Change will happen. Love will triumph.

Fr John Harris-White
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Fr John Harris-White

Further to my comment, I apologise for typing error. It should read the Episcopal church IN Scotland.

Thanks,

Fr John

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

James has cited MLK’s words, which I have quoted in similar contexts before. They bear repeating (they’re from his Letter from Birmingham Jail, 16 April 1963): “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Interested Observer, I agree with everything you say apart from you think that the Bishop of Liverpool has love in his heart for LGBT people as he decided to support the bishops’ paper. I do not think that he did. I look at how Jesus reacted when asked to heal someone on the Sabbath. It was ostensibly against the Law but he did it anyway. Justice and love (and the Law of the Lord) are not concepts which apply to abstracts like doctrine or to unity. They apply uniquely to individuals. The loving thing is to do as Jesus did:… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Interested Observer, I hope you will be leaving this comment on Via Media News too.

Kate
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Kate

According to Reuters, the Lutheran Church in Norway has voted to allow same sex marriage

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN15E1O2

The Church of England is supposed to be a leader, not a laggard.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“According to Reuters, the Lutheran Church in Norway has voted to allow same sex marriage”

Will the Church of England regard itself as out of communion with Norway? What will GAFCON say, as it’s going to be pretty difficult to paint Norway (Norway!) as being an imperialist reminder of the colonialist past?

I’ve copied my previous article to Via Media, and it’s waiting approval.

Fr John Harris-White
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Fr John Harris-White

The more I read this blog, the more we need to hold the General Synod members in our prayers. The hopes of so many folk rests on the synod members speaking out for LGBT people, and moving the church of England forward to become loving and inclusive. As Our Lord calls us to be.

Laurence Cunnington
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Laurence Cunnington

How I wish Interested Observer had their own blog! Another brilliant comment from whoever they may be.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Should those of us who can travel to meet, arrange to come together to talk, share and pray face-to-face? With possibly a net video link for TA participants from further afield. Many of us have journeyed together for several years, spent hours preparing comments here, and yet – speaking for myself – I only actually know two people. We face a pretty pivotal stage here in the Church of England. The next Primates’ Meeting may not bode well for TEC. The Bishops seem to be trying to pre-empt and impose their consciences on everyone else. Many LGBT+ people (and their… Read more »