Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 23 September 2017

Mark Clavier The Living Church The Sea Change: Reflections of a Former Theological Educator

Giles Goddard ViaMedia.News Loyalty and Obsession

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of ordination, speaking of good will

Jesse Zink Church Times Born in discord, striving for harmony

Janet Traill explains the Colenso affair, which was the trigger for the first Lambeth Conference: Church Times A question of authority

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Susannah Clark
Guest

I enjoyed Jesse’s article for its historical overview. There can always be a temptation for the participants at the Lambeth Conference to tend towards thinking they can lay down the law for the Anglican provinces. That simply isn’t so. The 1998 declaration of “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture” has little or no moral authority for probably at least half the membership of the Church of England, who simply regard gay sex as positive not negative. The idea of an Anglican ‘constitution’ is off target because there is no worldwide Anglican Church. There are Anglican Provinces, each of which follow… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Andrew Lightbrown’s piece is terrific. He demonstrates clearly, with beautiful language, that the 5 Guiding Principles can’t be used as a hammer to force a nominee on an unwilling diocese. It’s sacramentally impossible. Which is incredibly ironic, of course. This is why I keep returning to the theme of creative thinking. Maybe the “flying bishops” still have role. Maybe once the church is 50-50 male-female, a non ordaining diocesan would be more palatable. Maybe there could be co-diocesans, female and non ordaining male? Or maybe CoE will finally admit that excluding women is just immoral and needs to stop. The… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I agree with every word Andrew Lightbown writes. It leaves us with a real problem. General Synod clearly thought this would work. There were those who genuinely wanted to make sure that traditionalists were as fully included as possible, and there were those who knew they would not get women bishops without compromising. Now, there’s a debate whether the 5Gs were part of what Synod voted for – they were part of a whole package that was “received” or something similar, so one could argue that GS did not actively vote for them. But that’s like saying that the Brexit… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

If a diocesan bishop doesn’t ordain women and other bishops can step in and do it instead, is that an insurmountable problem? The understanding with ‘traditionalists’ was that they were valued members of the Church of England, welcome and eligible at all levels of the Church. At the same time, there is now prevailing acceptance and celebration of ordained women in the Church of England. So it’s not like they are marginal to the Church as a whole. My ‘take’ on this is that we can find unity in our diversity, and instead of acting confrontational, what’s needed is grace.… Read more »

Mother Hubbard
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Mother Hubbard

The five GP notwithstanding we seem to be forgetting that in the “debacle” the bishop voluntarily withdrew his acceptance after long deliberations (no doubt with friends and FiF friends) & prayer. How are we to see this in the light of CNC and Ordinand selection in general? If the panel got it right, guided by the Spirit, which they clearly believe, then the nominee who accepts believes that he/ she has been chosen by God and confirmed by the Church. If this nominee then withdraws their acceptance “under pressure” or whatever other words were used are they • Opposing the… Read more »

Donald Reeves
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Donald Reeves

One question Jesse’s excellent article didn’t address is ‘How is the Lambeth Conference to be paid for?’

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Mark Clavier’s excellent piece on the fall of academia’s reputation nails many of the causes — a practical need to boost numbers — but doesn’t focus on the underlying cause: a change in the balance of power. England’s Anglo-Catholics have never recovered from their split over equal ordination, leaving evangelicals as the sole power in the church. Only the most foolish interview panel would dare address an evangelical theologian with the disrespect with which Clavier was addressed, and would receive swift and terrifying rebuke in that unlikely event. Yes, management speak has overtaken the church, but only ‘cause it’s a… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Clavier and theological education. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. When I was in medical education, educationalists did medical students and patients no favours by holding that knowing how to look and act “caring” was more important than learning basic science. It seems to me that something similar is going on in theological education. Trainee clergy, I hear from people who are in training, hear a great deal about feminist theology and politically correct liberal theology, but next to nothing about Church Fathers, Aquinas, Anglican divines, and 20th-century catholic theologians. Teaching trainee clergy about fashionable fads and causes… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

The point was made very forcibly by Giles Fraser this morning on the Sunday programme that it’s no longer a question of what conclusion the CNC comes to, it’s whether or not the diocese will accept a non ordaining bishop. And none will now.

David Runcorn
Guest

‘If a diocesan bishop doesn’t ordain women and other bishops can step in and do it instead, is that an insurmountable problem?’ Yes I think so Susannah. The problem is being required to swear allegiance to a diocesan bishop who does not actually think you should exist – that you are not really a priest. What can possibly be ‘mutual’ in such an arrangement As a DDO I do not know how I could prepare and present women candidates for selection and ordination to my bishop knowing he did not believe their ordination would be valid. A suffragan bishop with… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: Stanley Monkhouse, “educationalists did medical students and patients no favours by holding that knowing how to look and act ‘caring’ was more important than learning basic science. ” The better practice would be learning science, while at the same learning to be caring and empathetic–not just ‘acting’ that way. I knew a veteran family practitioner who once told a specialist that he would send his referrals elsewhere. The specialist, the GP said, belonged in a lab somewhere studying esoteric diseases but not in a clinic dealing with ill people. “Trainee clergy, I hear from people who are in training,… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“We see it in the behaviour of Church of England bishops – particularly the diocesan bishop of Blackburn, recently returned from the GAFCON meeting in Egypt – who have welcomed the arrival of an AMiE bishop in England. We see it in the behaviour of conservative evangelicals like Jane Patterson who sit on the CNC and at the same time act as trustees for AMiE- affiliated churches. It’s so counterproductive.” – Giles Goddard – Thank you, Giles, for pointing out the fact that even one of the bishops of the Church of England is not disassociated from the homophobia and… Read more »

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

@David Runcorn – Are ordinands required to swear allegiance to bishops? Shocking, if so. I thought they were only required to swear allegiance to the Queen, and merely canonical obedience to bishops.

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

“Trainee clergy, I hear from people who are in training, hear a great deal about feminist theology and politically correct liberal theology, but next to nothing about Church Fathers, Aquinas, Anglican divines, and 20th-century catholic theologians.” Stanley Monkhouse. Personally, I can’t help but wonder that if the Church Fathers had been assisted and challenged, at the time, by feminist and women theologians, then the Church would not now be struggling so badly with the issues of sexuality and misogyny. But better late than never. At least today’s ordinands are learning about the other 50% of the world’s population, and are… Read more »

Michael Mulhern
Guest
Michael Mulhern

‘If in doubt refer to the liturgy’ is the advice Andrew Lightbown was given. Sadly, Andrew has not followed that advice. If I were his liturgy tutor, I would be awarding him gamma minus. More so because his thesis was repeated parrot-fashion by Giles Fraser on BBC Radio 4 yesterday. You cannot square a theological and ecclesiological circle by equating ordination with the episcopal appointments process, which is the fundamental flaw in Andrew’s argument. Another is the selective way in which Andrew has ‘refer[red] to the liturgy.’ First, a bishop is not ordained to serve in a specific Diocese. A… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest

T Pott. You are right my wording was careless. But I am really not sure why you think it is ‘merely’ obedience that is sworn to a bishop. It makes me ponder how oaths of allegiance and obedience differ in practice?
Allegiance – loyalty or commitment to a superior or to a group or cause.
Obedience – compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another’s authority.

Andrew Lightbown
Guest

But Michael is wrong we don’t have an appointments process we have a nominations process. The line in the liturgy immediately prior to ordination is the clinching line because it is essentially asking the people to verify that after everything that has hitherto taken place ‘it is’ the will of the people that the archbishop ordains. This line is no mere liturgical padding. It makes it clear that the bishop is ordained after having first been received. All the liturgical up to this point are designed, for sure, to help ‘the brothers and sisters, affirm that ordination is their ‘will.’… Read more »

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

I think canonical obedience is very narrow, it is not obedience in general, it is obedience only to instructions which a bishop is expressly and specifically, authorised, by canon, to give.

An unqualified oath of obedience would require obeying anything the bishop said, provided it was not illegal. But canonical obedience is nothing of the kind.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Andrew Lightbown, you seem to be equating ordination with the stage before nomination.
But once someone has been ordained priest or bishop and then moves from a first post to a second, the ordination element no longer applies.

Could you explain how you see the liturgy of a bishop simply moving from one Diocese to another and up from area bishop to Diocesan, to connect with the nomination by the CNC?

Tim Chesterton
Guest

In our ecclesiastical province (Rupert’s Land), the oath simply says ‘I, A.B. do swear that I will pay true and canonical obedience to the Bishop of … in all things lawful and honest. So Help Me God.’

In our ordination service we promise to respect and be guided by the pastoral direction and leadership of our bishop.

I don’t read any of that as ‘swearing allegiance’ to a bishop. But perhaps in the C of /e the wording is different?

Andrew Lightbown
Guest

“It is an important principle that although the Crown nominates, it is not appointment by the Eika – Crown but acts of the Church – election on behalf of the diocese and confirmation of that election on behalf of the province and the wider Church – which make the person concerned bishop of the diocese”. So according to Moore’s Intro to Canon Law it is the diocese that ‘elects’ a bishop and in doing so accepts that they are also doing so on behalf of the wider church, that is to say the wider church doesn’t select and first and… Read more »

Michael Mulhern
Guest
Michael Mulhern

Andrew Lightbown has made an important point about nomination. I accept that (you will have to forgive the fact that I am more familiar with the process in the Church of Ireland than of England). However, I think Andrew’s argument falls-down after that. Yes, Bishops are nominated to a See in the first instance. But, surely, in England, it is not the Diocese that confirms the nomination and makes it an appointment: it is the head of state! Andrew is right that Bishop Philip withdrew his nomination, because he had not yet been to tea at Buckingham Palace, and the… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Michael Mulhern: the process for the appointment of diocesan bishops in England is this: 1. The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) meets and considers whom to recommend for nomination. That name goes, via the Archbishop and the Prime Minister to the Crown, and the nomination is then “informally” announced from 10 Downing Street. 2. The Crown gives permission to the College of Canons of the cathedral of the diocese that they may proceed to an election. In a separate document the Crown formally nominates the person who has been recommended. 3. The College of Canons meets and elects the nominated person,… Read more »

Andrew Lightbown
Guest

The word appointment is never used by the Head of State or anyone else in the process. Believing that we have an appointment process rather than a nomination process is to locate ordination to the episcopacy, or inter diocese translation, on the shakiest of grounds. In terms of the liturgy I have expressed that where an ordination takes place all the questions leading up to the ‘brothers and sisters…….’ are designed to help facilitate a resounding ‘it is.’ Election – by the Deans and Canons of the Diocese and (where necessary) ordination on the assent of the ‘brothers and sisters’… Read more »

Michael Mulhern
Guest
Michael Mulhern

I will gladly be corrected on the process of ‘appointment’ (Simon Kershaw) or ‘nomination’ (Andrew Lightbown) in England. However, nothing Andrew Lightbown has written, or my examination of the liturgical formularies, or the Canons, provides any evidence to justify Andrew’s claim that ‘it is the goodwill of the diocese that comes first.’ This is to place far too narrow and selective an interpretation on the totality of the process, certainly as Simon Kershaw has outlined it – especially when the ‘election’ is not an election as most of us know it in other Anglican provinces. I think what this discussion… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

This is an interesting example of the old political jibe of people being “in office but not in government”. It appears from this discussion that a diocesan bishop could be imposed over the heads of local opposition, because the process does not require either the local ordained or the local parishioners to approve of the selection. That’s “in office”. But in the face of active opposition from the people in the diocese, it would be impossible for a bishop to function. There has been a lot of focus on the alleged “right” of bishops to refuse to accept the orders… Read more »

Simon R
Guest
Simon R

Interested Observer offers some useful analogies. However, by claiming to be part of the Catholic Church, the Church of England can never simply be a ‘local’ institution. That is why arguments about the primacy of local opinion and local ‘reception’ are, ecclesiologically, debatable at best. It is also why we need a much clearer theological statement of what the appointment/nomination process is about, and how mutual flourishing (if that is what it is to be) is an operative element in this process. Hopefully, Oliver O’Donovan has this in his sights.

Marcella
Guest
Marcella

I have experience of working for/with/under (choose your preferred word) a bishop who denied the reality of my priesthood. It was enormously undermining, especially as I had taken on a parish where it was known I would face opposition (the previous incumbent having retired into the parish). This bishop even refused to use the word ‘priest’ at my licensing to the parish. That sent a negative message to parishioners at the outset. Whatever the technicalities of ‘appointment’ or ‘nomination’; whatever the 5GS say; we have to ask about any particular nomination: is this person going to be good for the… Read more »

Marcella
Guest
Marcella

Clavier’s piece is illuminating. It has been obvious for some years that the Church no longer values pastoral clergy, but I hadn’t realised it also devalues scholarship. The desperation to manage multiple parishes and the shortfall of clergy, seem to be leading to an abandonment of the Church’s wider vocation to teach and care for the flock. This short-sightedness will inevitably contribute also to a decline in the Church’s ability to evangelise. If we do not have a people ready to ‘answer for the faith to which they are called’, how will they convince others to follow Jesus? If we… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

It may be helpful to note that the Ordinal (1662) acknowledges that a bishop is consecrated and ordained “IN the Church of God” but “OF” the Church of England and a particular See within it. This is in keeping with the old conciliar canons that insisted on ordination only to a particular cure, and the continued insistence that priests and bishops confine their ministries (apart from synodical functions) to their parish or diocese.