Thinking Anglicans

Brechin and St Andrews list candidates for episcopal election

Two announcements from the Scottish Episcopal Church this afternoon:

Four candidates short-listed in vacancy for new Bishop of Brechin

The candidates are:

The Very Rev Dr Francis Bridger, Rector, St Mary’s Church, Broughty Ferry and Priest in Charge St Martin’s Church, Dundee and Dean of the Diocese of Brechin

The Rev Markus Dünzkofer, Rector, St John the Evangelist Church, Edinburgh

The Very Rev Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans

The Very Rev Andrew Swift, Rector, Holy Trinity Church, Dunoon and St Paul’s Church, Rothesay and Dean of the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles

Three candidates short-listed in vacancy for new Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane

The candidates are:

The Rev Canon Dr Charlotte Methuen, Professor of Church History at the University of Glasgow and Honorary Assistant Priest, St Margaret’s Church, Newlands

The Rev Christopher Newlands, Vicar of Lancaster

The Rev Canon Ian Paton, Rector, Old St Paul’s Church, Edinburgh


  • How fascinating – and altogether fitting – that the Dean of Saint Albans in the Church of England, our beloved Fr. Jeffrey John, should be listed as a candidate for the Diocese of Brechin by the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC).

    If Jeffrey gets elected by TEC, this will be a lasting reproach to the leaderhsip of the Church of England which has, for too long, ignored the theological gifts of JJ on the specious grounds of his sexual-orientation and loving same-sex partnership.

    With SEC, TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada no longer tethered to an outdated theology of gender and sexuality; the Church of England will need to get its patriarchalist backside into gear in order to keep up with the theological breadth of many of its Western counterparts.

  • Father David says:

    Wouldn’t it be absolutely marvellous if Jeffrey John were to be elected as the next Bishop of Brechin and St. Andrew’s having been so cruelly overlooked and omitted from the episcopate by the Church of England (several times!) and his native Church in Wales? Dean Jeffrey would certainly add great intellectual and pastoral gravitas to the episcopal leadership of the SEC. I’m only sorry that I am not eligible to vote for him!

  • Neil Patterson says:

    For the benefit of longstanding TA readers getting excited about Jeffrey John, it should be pointed out that Chris Newlands is also in a committed same-sex relationship and CP. Unfortunately he is Vicar of Lancaster, so this doesn’t quite work, but as the Dean of Hereford has said, Jeffrey has done a lot, “but he’s not the only gay Dean, you know.”

  • Jo says:

    Whilst the focus on the estimable Jeffrey John is understandable, it should be pointed out that there are a number of excellent candidates on both lists, Fr Andrew is a superb Dean in A&I, and Fr Chris of Lancaster is both a great vicar and a stalwart campaigner for LGBT folk in the church. It’s great to see the preparatory committees considering candidates from south of the border whose gifts are being squandered by the CofE for homophobic reasons as well as strong candidates from within the SEC.

  • Kate says:

    Lancaster Priory is a surprisingly cathedral-like parish church, with a very strong musical tradition. It is also inclusive. (It also happens to be where I was baptised, lol.) I can’t but help hoping Chris Newlands gets the nomination.

  • David Keen says:

    Is it normal to publish the shortlists for an appointment process? It’s a bit harsh on those who don’t get the job.

  • Michael Mulhern says:

    “It’s a bit harsh on those who don’t get the job” @David Keen. Correct. Which is why the delight of many of us at Jeffrey John’s inclusion on the Brechin shortlist is somewhat tempered by a genuine concern. How many ‘rejections’ is a person expected to bear for the sake of the kingdom?

    At least I have some confidence here, unlike in England and Wales, that his personal circumstances will not be allowed to derail a fair and open process, or collude with unreconstructed bigotry. It certainly puts the secretive culture of the English and Welsh systems to shame – and shows that the SEC is sufficiently confident in its own identity and processes to do things differently.

  • T Pott says:

    “Is it normal to publish the shortlists?” In the SEC process, yes it is normal and essential to the process.

    There is a small preparatory committee whose job is to produce nominations. These are then widely discussed in the diocese before the much broader diocesan electoral synod convenes and meets the candidates, then votes.

  • Erika Baker says:

    Jeffrey John is not the only same sex partnered candidate, and it’s not clear how much he really knows about the Scottish Episcopal Church and its culture.
    And in SEC sexuality and partnership status genuinely don’t matter. They won’t count against a person but they won’t count in their favour either.
    To people in England he may look like the ideal candidate.
    I would not be so sure that it looks like that from Scotland.

  • Bernard Silverman says:

    The publication of these lists is a welcome piece of transparency. I’m sure all the candidates are grown up enough to understand that. Much better than leaky “confidentiality”.

  • Interesting that even the identity of possible future Popes is known publicly these days. Future bishops should be scrutinised by the whole of the diocese, not only the clergy and the ‘Upper Room’ of the House of Bishops. All credit to TEC, SEC and the Anglican Church of Canada on their open election of their bishops. And then, of course, in the State Church of England, others have a hand in the process – therefore not entirely a Church matter!

    I already know, for instance, that my current bishop is listed as a candidate for a post in another province of the Communion. That gives me insights into how bishops manage their future.

  • Kate says:

    Yes, it might be hard for unsuccessful candidates but then, councilors and MPs seem to cope.

    But why is the diversity so poor? Why so many men? Not a single woman is under consideration for Brechin and only 1 in 3 for St Andrews.

  • Kennedy Fraser says:

    >>it’s not clear how much he really knows about the Scottish Episcopal Church and its culture

    Unless he’s read Kelvin’s excellent blog post on the matter

  • Paul says:

    Lets hope Jeffrey gets it to finally stop his name and conspiracy being brought up in every vacancy

  • Erika Baker says:

    “Unless he’s read Kelvin’s excellent blog post on the matter”

    It is indeed an excellent post.
    But I’m not sure that “I’ve read a blog about it” is necessarily going to be sufficient qualification.

  • Jo says:

    Two gay men out of 7 candidates looks pretty good on the diversity front, Kate. Who would you have liked to have seen nominated who wasn’t?

  • Jo One woman out of seven candidates – diversity? We can sound as if that one is sorted now. It isn’t at all.

  • Jo says:

    My point was simply that gender is not the only form of diversity.

  • Jo sorry if my post sounded abrupt. That was not my intention.

  • andrew spear says:

    Interesting comments on inclusivity and diversity front. Just one evangelical out of seven and he’s 67 this year! Perhaps Tilby will write another article for Scotland!

  • Jean Sutherland says:

    Also concerning was the article in today’s Courier saying that The Revd Markus Dünzkofer is currently rector of a Roman Catholic church in Edinburgh. The article has now disappeared from the online version of the Courier. Presumably if this were true he would be ineligible to stand for election!

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