Thinking Anglicans

Appointment of Acting Diocesan Bishop of Coventry

Diocesan press release: Plans for the Diocese of Coventry during Vacancy-in-See

Following the announcement earlier this year that Bishop Christopher will be the new Dean of Windsor, he is now able to share the episcopal arrangements for the Diocese of Coventry during the Vacancy-in-See, which will begin in November 2023.

After working closely with Lambeth Palace over the summer he is delighted to announce that Bishop Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton, has agreed to become Acting Bishop of Coventry during the vacancy. Bishop Ruth will be supported by Bishop Saju Muthalaly, Bishop of Loughborough, as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese.

Bishop Ruth has been a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of Bath & Wells for over seven years and has previously led the Diocese through a Vacancy-in-See period. Bishop Ruth will be based in the Diocese of Coventry for 4 days a week. Bishop Saju is currently ministering in our neighbouring Leicester Diocese as Suffragan Bishop and is able to give the equivalent of one day a week to the Diocese of Coventry…

And there is also this: Appointment of Bishop Ruth as Acting Diocesan Bishop.

Towards the end of the first press release there is also this:

Further Support
Following discussions with Bishop Ruth, Bishop Christopher has also invited Bishop Jonathan Meyrick, retired Bishop of Lynn, who lives in Oxford Diocese, to become an Assistant Bishop, and he has generously accepted. With Bishop Edward Condry, who is already active as an Assistant Bishop in the diocese, and Bishop Paul Thomas, Bishop of Oswestry and Assistant Bishop, we will have a strong team to support Bishop Ruth and Bishop Saju as they come to join us.

Bishop Christopher has also moved to strengthen our Archidiaconal Team so that, working with the Diocesan Secretary, the Acting Diocesan Bishop would have a well-resourced engine room of support with which to work and minister.

For further details or if you would like contact our Archdeacons, please see our webpage here.

Process
Bishop Ruth will need to be made Acting Bishop of Coventry by an Instrument of Delegation under s.14 of the Dioceses, Pastoral and Mission Measure 2007. Bishop Saju will need to be made an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Coventry for the period of the vacancy. Neither action needs further consultation with the Diocesan Synod.

The Diocese of Bath & Wells has published this: Bishop Ruth seconded to the role of Acting Bishop of Coventry

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

15 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Michael H
Michael H
5 months ago

The Bishop of Taunton is under employed so she has time to be an acting bishop in a distant diocese. Is there a need for a bishop of Taunton. Has the Bishop of Coventry chosen his successor?!

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Michael H
5 months ago

The Bishop of Taunton was the acting Bishop of Bath & Wells for a year until June 2022. The Bishop is now going to be the acting Bishop of Coventry for 4 days a week for probably a year from November 2023. It does beg the question – does the diocese of Bath & Wells need two bishops?

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
5 months ago

This makes good sense, as both the diocesan bishop and suffragan have announced their resignations. I hope the CNC will take on board the obvious fact that, in my view, the Bishop of Taunton is a clear candidate for a diocesan bishopric. There has been a worrying pause in the nomination of women as diocesans recently. The Bishop of Chelmsford was announced in December 2020, and the only woman to be nominated since was the Bishop of Newcastle, in November 2022. It’s not good enough. Just saying.

Last edited 5 months ago by Anthony Archer
Michael H
Michael H
Reply to  Anthony Archer
5 months ago

Anthony Archer – as you say ‘Just saying’ and as I said above, the Bishop of Coventry has chosen his successor. I dislike the box ticking when the best candidate for a post is not selected because he’s male, pale, stale. Why should a woman be nominated if there is a better candidate who is ruled out because he is male. More pressingly, will the incoming Acting Bishop pick the next Archdeacon Pastor and the next Bishop of Warwick?

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Michael H
5 months ago

It’s pretty unusual for an acting diocesan bishop to become the substantive bishop. Stephen Conway, then Bishop of Ely, was made acting Bishop of Lincoln, and during his spell there thr CNC for Lincoln took place, and the acting bishop was nominated to the see, as announced only this May. Have there been any other cases at all? https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/bishop-of-ely-to-become-bishop-of-lincoln

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
5 months ago

There is a recent precedent for a suffragan bishop from another diocese being ‘seconded’ to be the acting bishop in another diocese. David Thomson, then suffragan Bishop of Huntingdon, served for 15 months as Acting Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich between October 2013 and March 2015 (which included the diocese’s centenary year, 2014) after Bishop Nigel Stock was ‘poached’ by Justin Welby to be Bishop at Lambeth and when the then suffragan Bishop of Dunwich, Clive Young, had retired. But Bishop Thomson was not then appointed to the see. He returned to Ely diocese and retired as Bishop of… Read more »

Nic Tall
Nic Tall
5 months ago

As a resident of Taunton, member of Bath & Wells Bishop’s Council, and someone who grew up in Coventry diocese I want to wish Bishop Ruth the very best for this interim role. +Ruth is an excellent bishop, down to earth, outward focussed and very good with people. She is very experienced, having stepped up to cover when our previous bishop was unable to carry out duties as diocesan when he was undergoing treatment for leukaemia. She will very much be missed here, but this will help give stability to Coventry while it has both bishop roles vacant. Bath &… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Nic Tall
5 months ago

2.5 hours from one end to the other? *Scottish Episcopalian laughter*
Bath and Wells may legitimately need two bishops, but being able to get from one end of the diocese to the other in less than half a day (with a driver, I suspect) is not a point in favour.

Alastair living in Scotland
Alastair living in Scotland
Reply to  Jo B
5 months ago

Most ‘seats’ in Scotland do not involve a 2 1/2 hour journey to reach most parishes. Obvious exceptions being reaching island communities!

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Alastair living in Scotland
5 months ago

Even traversing the portions of Argyll & The Isles, Ross & Caithness, or Glasgow & Galloway accessible without ferries can take considerably longer that 2 1/2 hours (which, having grown up in Somerset, I suspect is a bit of an exaggeration anyway). But yes, the vagaries of Calmac and Northlink don’t exactly make things easier.

Jane Charman
Jane Charman
Reply to  Nic Tall
5 months ago

I am regularly surprised each time I read of a bishop taking on a substantial interim role outside their diocese. And I struggle to reconcile this with the inevitable assertion that they are somehow at the same time ‘certainly needed’ in their own diocese. In my previous role as a Director of Ministry I was asked to look at an interim secondment to a national role. All three of my then bishops agreed that I couldn’t be spared. At the time I allowed myself to be persuaded that I was ‘certainly needed’ but I realise in retrospect that it was… Read more »

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Jane Charman
5 months ago

Bob Jackson had empirically based research to suggest that any parish vacancy longer than 6 months leads to decline in attendance. A quick fix for (some of) our decline in numbers might be to try to fill incumbent vacancies in 6 months. However:

  1. Some posts do not attract applicants – we need a further strategy here.
  2. Some posts need to be part of some reorganization – so the growing practice of interim ministers helps here as they can be appointed swiftly
Fr Dean
Fr Dean
5 months ago

I’m bemused reading about the elaborate arrangements involving a cast of thousands to cover these episcopal vacancies. You’d almost think that the CofE was a thriving, going concern. As Jane Charman points out these bishops are happy with long interregna in parishes to eke out the dwindling diocesan coffers.

David James
David James
5 months ago

As a long serving ( now retired) inner city priest I can only observe that this episcopal game of Snakes and Ladders and the interest shown in it only serves to confirm my belief that it’s small wonder that we’re in our current state. Just who is the least bit concerned with the communities we serve and the people within them?

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
5 months ago

What’s distance got to do with the ‘job’ of a Bishop. e.g. Was the then Bishop of Exeter concerned about his overnight stays and care of his horse in travelling to Land’s End to officiate at a joyful confirmation service at St Sennen’s, back in the day? Or did he have a Suffragan Bishop of Cornwall? Has a historical study been carried out of parish priests or worshipping community per bishop?

15
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x