Thinking Anglicans

Appointment of Dean of Truro

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office. There is more on the Truro Cathedral website.

Appointment of Dean of Truro: 17 August 2023

The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Simon Robinson, Residentiary Canon and Interim Dean at Truro Cathedral, for appointment as Dean of Truro.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 17 August 2023

The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Simon Robinson, Residentiary Canon and Interim Dean at Truro Cathedral, for appointment as Dean of Truro, in succession to The Very Reverend Roger Bush, following his retirement.

Simon was educated at Warwick University and trained for ministry on the Southern Theological Education Training Scheme. He served his title in the Parish of Freshford, Limpley Stoke and Hinton Charterhouse in the Diocese of Bath and Wells and was ordained priest in 2013. Simon was appointed Vicar of the Parish of Minehead in 2015. In October 2022, Simon took up his current role as Interim Dean and Canon Missioner at Truro Cathedral.

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Timothy Goode
Timothy Goode
8 months ago

This is a fabulous appointment. Simon is the most gifted priest and pastor.

Nic T
Nic T
8 months ago

I have known Simon for some years in Bath & Wells and this is an excellent appointment of an exceptional person.

Shamus
Shamus
8 months ago

If Simon is a Residentiary Canon, isn’t he correctly described as The Revd. Canon Simon Robinson, not The Revd. Simon Robinson? Who writes these announcements? It doesn’t in a sense matter a jot, but I just feel it’s polite to get things right on such official announcements.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Shamus
8 months ago

In every case where “The Revd. Canon” was not used, his name was followed by “Residentiary Canon and Interim Dean at Truro Cathedral”. Perhaps your suggestion was felt to be redundant. (Just a thought; I agree that it’s a good idea to get things right.) The Cathedral announcement uses “Fr Simon Robinson”.

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Shamus
8 months ago

Shamus on a more general point particularly with the Secular Press, there has been a sloppiness when it comes to the correct use of clerical titles, like for example referring to the Archbishop of Canterbury or Archbishop of York as Mr Welby and Mr Cottrell rather Archbishop Welby and Archbishop Cottrell and even referring to other Bishops in the same vein. There is certainly no excuse for such sloppiness, when there are plenty of books available on how to address people in High Office both in Church and in Society, I think it is quite deliberately and intentionally Crass and… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
8 months ago

Mr – or Ms, Miss, Mrs, Dr – is correct when referring to Anglican clergy. We had a TA discussion about this not long since.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

Anything other than that undertaker’s default: Rev Sheath. In the same league as the sub-Masonic handshake when handing over fees at the crem.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Shamus
8 months ago

Undoubtedly you are right. Currently it seems that he prefers to be known as Fr Robinson, and that was also used by the bishop when announcing his appointment as Vice-Dean in August last year. In the present case it is 10 Downing Street who are remiss. It will all be academic when he becomes Dean and ‘Very Reverend’.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

From what I understand Bishop (later Archbishop) Trevor Huddleston preferred to be addressed as Father Huddleston.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Clifford Jones
8 months ago

How do people square this with Matthew 23, 8-10?

“But you are not to be called ‘rabbi,’ for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called ‘masters,’ for you have one master, the Christ”

I am not trying to make a clever point, just honestly curious.

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Clifford Jones
8 months ago

I have a fundamental objection to calling any priest ‘father’ and will not do so. It is unscriptural, and directly contrary to our Lord’s instruction in Matthew 23 verse 9: “And do not call anyone on earth ‘father’, for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.” (NIV)

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  David Lamming
8 months ago

How does one refer to one’s male parent then? Male teachers and headteachers were often referred to as masters in more religiously observant times. All part of the pick’n’mix approach we have with Scripture.

Father David
Reply to  Fr Dean
8 months ago

Dad?
How does this square up with the BCP addressing the bishop at ordinations as “Reverend Father in God”?
Or what about a usual form of addressing Santa Claus as “Father Christmas”?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Father David
8 months ago

‘Reverend Father in God’ doesn’t square with scripture. That’s the point. It’s also a very strange way of describing a bishop’s role.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

CEO John or CEO Mary anyone?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Allan Sheath
8 months ago

What’s wrong with plain ‘Bishop John’ or ‘Bishop Mary’?

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

“Reverend Mother/Father in God” is a relational title, whereas “Bishop Mary/John” is functional. Which is why this form was retained in the CW Ordinal. As the Apostle wrote to the Church in Corinth, “In Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel (1 Cor 4:15).” While Canon C18 has “Every bishop is the chief pastor of all who are within his or her diocese … and their father or mother in God.”

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Allan Sheath
8 months ago

Isn’t Paul referring to the fact that he brought the gospel to the Corinthians, rather than to an ongoing parent/child relationship? Bishops are seldom fathers in God in that sense. We are to grow up in Christ, not to continue in an infantilised relationship with the bishop, or anyone else.

’Bishop’ is appropriate *because* it’s functional not relational. The parent stuff is an unhelpful myth.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

Our parents often live long after we have put away childish things, when we want our life with them to be mature and relational rather than functional (read cold and transactional). And while the analogy can be pressed too far, as priests, don’t we hope for something similar from our bishops – as do they? The thinking behind replacing “Reverend Mother in God” at ordinations with “Bishop Mary” is not dissimilar to that of those who change Trinitarian blessings to “creator, redeemer, sustainer”. It all sounds rather lovely (and illicit tinkering with the liturgy is great fun), but unlike “Father,… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Allan Sheath
7 months ago

I learned very early on in my first curacy not to expect much from my bishop – and certainly not any kind of a healthy relationship. Later in my ministry I had a bishop who didn’t even recognise my priestly orders. As one of the first women to be ordained deacon and (after a long interval) priest, relations with the hierarchy were often tense. Certainly very little nurturing or protection there, and too often abusive. In all my ministry I can recall only one bishop, Nigel Stock, who was really supportive. I can see that it might all be very… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Janet Fife
7 months ago

Janet, I’m sorry to hear of your particular experience and I do realise how women priests, for no other reason than their gender, have had to put up with poor behaviour from some bishops (at one time I had female colleagues who felt our bishop’s default position was to either flirt with them or bully them). As someone who had a difficult relationship with his father, and who yet spent too long in vain attempts to earn his affirmation, I can see how the maleness of the social Trinity might be a problem for you – although I certainly don’t… Read more »

Jim Pratt
Jim Pratt
Reply to  Allan Sheath
7 months ago

As a lay leader in a neighbouring parish at the time, I was present when a conservative anglo-catholic parish finally invited Bishop Barbara Harris, the very last parish in the Diocese of Massachusetts to do so (and to avoid too much controversy, it was to Solemn Evensong and Benediction, rather than Mass). In welcoming her, the Rector addressed her as “Right Reverend Mother in God”. It was very much a relational address, that despite theological differences, he was welcoming her not just as someone holding the office and title of bishop, but as a bishop to whom he (and the… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Jim Pratt
7 months ago

That would be significant, and fair, if he addressed male bishops as ‘Right Reverend Father in God’. My point is that to address any bishops in this manner runs contrary to scripture, to the way Jesus wanted his Church’s leaders to behave. It’s unhealthy for the Church, too, since it creates that culture of deference which has militated against the C of E’s dealing properly with complaints of abuse; and allows corruption of all kinds to flourish.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

Janet, of all the various comments on this question of “call no man father” I think yours is the only one that gets to the root of the matter. Current clerical custom and longstanding tradition is in direct contradiction to scripture, but nobody seems to mind or care. Surely this Scripture is not commenting on the simple use of certain words in certain contexts. It goes much deeper, and has everything to do with how obedience and authority is to be understood within the fledgling church. I agree that within a family setting, the word father implies a power relationship.… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Simon Dawson
8 months ago

‘Current clerical custom and longstanding tradition is in direct contradiction to scripture, but nobody seems to mind or care.’

I’m with you, Simon, but I get shouted down every time I mention it here. Some things are too sacred to be questioned even on Thinking Anglicans.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

I am with you also, Tim. Thinking Anglicans is a very special place. It reminds me of nothing so much as an academic common room or seminar room. I don’t hold an academic post currently, but in many ways TA has filled that gap for me. I have benefitted hugely from being able to listen in on many erudite conversations, from being offered many interesting leads and references, and from being able to expose my own ideas and research to incredibly helpful constructive and critical feedback. But things are not always rosy. I don’t know what it is like in… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Simon Dawson
8 months ago

Thank you for putting the point more clearly and comprehensively than I did! Jesus warned his disciples not to seek status or power, and not to lord it over his followers. I think this admonition is similar. No one is at risk of being servile towards Father Christmas.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Fr Dean
8 months ago

Quite so. And ‘Mister’ is a variant on ‘Master’.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Fr Dean
8 months ago

In many of his recorded utterances Jesus seems to be a master of hyperbole and irony, and other oratorical forms. Is this an example of such hyperbole?

Note also the link to verses 11 and 12 (Matthew 23.11-12) “The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.”. Perhaps this is the point of the instruction.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  David Lamming
8 months ago

Even “doctor” would be proscribed.

Charles Razzall
Charles Razzall
Reply to  David Lamming
7 months ago

Are you serious really ? What about Luke 14 v 26 and parallels “If you do not hate your father and mother you cannot be my disciple “ … is that what you understand to be scriptural ?

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Clifford Jones
8 months ago

In his case that was quite correct as he was a member of a religious order.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Matthew Tomlinson
7 months ago

I think that other members of CR would refer to him as Bishop Trevor partly, no doubt, because of pride in his attainments. Another ‘prelate brother’ was Victor Shearburn, Bishop of Rangoon, who retired to Mirfield. I can recall being in his company at a dinner at the College of the Resurrection, and am almost certain that on the list of attenders he was styled Father Shearburn. It seems to me that, for a prelate brother, ‘Father’ would be used within the CR circle and ‘Bishop’ in the world at large. More often than not a member of CR has… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

I assumed, from the lack of complaints on TA about Mr Robinson’s appointment, that he isn’t an evangelical. Seems I was right.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

I was almost tempted to trot out the old chestnut about his becoming ‘increasingly reverend’. Honestly, what trivia from No 10’s omission of the single word ‘Canon’ from the formal announcement. In a nutshell, this discussion hinges on the difference between biological and spiritual fathers (I would accept that would include women priests in the C of E). But, of course, with very few exceptions, Roman Catholic priests are never biological fathers although the spiritual honorific is universal for them. I remember meeting an elderly and delightful RC priest who, referring to his own celibate state, said that he looked… Read more »

Geoff McL.
Geoff McL.
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

I understand he’s the superior of the Sodality of Mary, Mother of Priests!

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Geoff McL.
8 months ago

That probably accounts for the encomia. Had he been a leading light of the evangelical wing, there would have been loud protests on TA. Ergo, I assumed he was Anglo-catholic.

Gerald Beauchamp
Gerald Beauchamp
8 months ago

Being from the catholic wing I’m happy to be called ‘Father’ but I’ve served in parishes in other traditions. As a new arrival in one church I was informed by a low church retired member of the armed services that there was no way he would call me ‘`Father’ but that he would address me as ‘Padre’. When I tried to point out gently that the word ‘padre’ comes from the Latin ‘pater’ meaning ‘father’, I was told ‘Stuff and nonsense!’ It’s probably best not to take ourselves too seriously – or the bible too literally.

Matthew Tomlinson
Matthew Tomlinson
Reply to  Gerald Beauchamp
8 months ago

Padre has arrived in English by an indirect route through Hindustani (Urdu) where it is just the generic term for a Christian minister of any denomination. It is ultimately from the Portuguese for ‘father’ however as the first Christian missions to India were led by Portuguese Jesuits. The Urdu word for church, ‘girja’, is also from Portuguese.

Father David
8 months ago

Truro, the diocese of Walter Frere and Graham Leonard has in the past had a High Church Tradition. Perhaps the next bishop of that far southwest diocese will uphold this tradition and assist in restoring a more equal episcopate between Catholic and Evangelical chief pastors in the Church of England.
On another matter on this thread I would be more than surprised if the Christ Child didn’t refer to Joseph as “Abba” as every Jewish child refers to their father?

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Father David
8 months ago

Frere, unlike Leonard, doubled up as Dean of Truro. The cathedral was a good venue for Frere to exercise his undoubted musical and liturgical skills. Frere’s successor as Bishop and Dean in 1935 was Joseph Hunkin, who was in the evangelical tradition and had been nominated for Archbishop of Sydney in 1933. In the chapel of CR’s Leeds house there was a pyx, which had been at Truro Cathedral and was returned there when the house closed in 1976.

Charles Razzall
Charles Razzall
8 months ago

What a laugh! I shall soon be having lunch with my old friend the Master of Balliol College Oxford…Dame Helen Ghosh…better not mention her dad!

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Charles Razzall
8 months ago

When I was the Team Vicar of the delightful St George’s Badshot Lea the Duchess of Gloucester came to help us celebrate our centenary in 2003. Her private secretary ‘phoned me beforehand to check whether I preferred to be addressed as Mr Henley or Fr Henley; we settled on Mr Henley. If HRH was happy with the title ‘Father’ then I think we’re fine and there’s nothing to worry about.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Fr Dean
7 months ago

Over the period 1968 to 1982 the Royal Foundation of St Katharine in London, a Royal Peculiar, had a succession of Mirfield Fathers as Master. There would be other CR members in residence additionally to the Master. I should think that ‘Father’ would have been used by Royals in their dealings with the Royal Foundation of St Katharine. I understand that the Queen Mother would make a gift of a large box of chocolates to the resident brothers every Christmas.

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