Thinking Anglicans

Appointment of Suffragan Bishop of Swindon

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office. There is more on the Bristol diocesan website. He will be consecrated on 30 November 2023.

Appointment of Suffragan Bishop of Swindon: 24 August 2023

The King has approved the nomination of The Venerable Neil Warwick for appointment to the Suffragan See of Swindon, in the Diocese of Bristol.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 24 August 2023

The King has approved the nomination of The Venerable Neil Warwick, Archdeacon of Bristol, for appointment to the Suffragan See of Swindon, in the Diocese of Bristol, in succession to The Right Reverend Dr Lee Rayfield, following his retirement.

Neil was educated at Nottingham University and trained for ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He served his title at St Lawrence, Towcester, in the Diocese of Peterborough, and was ordained Priest in 2006. Neil was appointed Vicar of Earley St Nicolas, in the Diocese of Oxford, in 2009.

In 2019, Neil took up his current role as Archdeacon of Bristol, in the Diocese of Bristol.

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Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
9 months ago

Congratulations to Neil and Bristol Diocese. I can’t help wondering where the Bishop of Birmingham process has got to.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
9 months ago

Perhaps someone turned it down? Has been a while.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Peter Owen
9 months ago

I could never understand why it took so long to get an announcement out, and used to berate (politely) the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary. Now only one name goes to Downing Street it really is a post box exercise, with no scope for nuanced memoranda. Short of the medical and revised DBS clearance what else is there? Excuses used to include ‘the Queen is at Balmoral’ or ‘we are in purdah’ on account of a general election period. Sadly of course the death of TLHMTQ was a real excuse. With the more prominent nominations, as with Canterbury, York and London,… Read more »

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

And another evangelical bishop?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

Hopefully. Otherwise I’ll suffer an anaphylactic shock.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

You added a question mark. You do not know then?

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  David Runcorn
9 months ago

He might have had a conversion experience since leaving Ridley Hall. I must check the Society of S Wilfred and St Hilda.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

He may not have needed one. Can you see the assumption behind your comment? I have taught at two evangelical colleges and the breadth of opinion and width of theological convictions has been one of the most stimulating features of those years. And while we are at it Christian conversion is something altogether more transformative than making a switch from (what you seem to assume is) ‘traditional’ evangelical to ‘traditiona’l catholic.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  David Runcorn
9 months ago

I was assuming we can all share what is known as a ‘sense of humour’.
I failed to be appointed to a relatively senior post in the CofE and a friend in court told me that the appointments panel were concerned that I had a sense of humour.
Heaven forfend.
A sense of humour does not necessarily indicate either a lack of understanding or rank stupidity.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

You shouldn’t treat the CofE as a joke. It’s inclusiveness covers a wide spectrum from earnest happy-clappies to genteel members of The Society of Hinge and Bracket.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

Mea culpa. I forgot,

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

Given the amount of hostility often expressed on TA towards evangelicals and evangelicalism, it might have been a good idea to append an emoji to make clear it was a joke. Failure to recognise it as such doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of sense of humour.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Janet Fife
9 months ago

I have no idea what an emoji is.
I thought evangelicals got a pretty easy time on TA.
Some of my comments were intended as light hearted but some less so.
To some of us Aunty C of E is being becoming decidedly unbalanced and listing heavily in a protestant direction.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

I thought evangelicals got a pretty easy time on TA.

In the past few days one commentator has said that he doesn’t see the point of evangelicals. It always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when someone says they can’t see the point of my existence.

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

I am not sure the point of your existence is being questioned.
Some of us are concerned about the cloning aspects of senior appointments and the lurch towards protestantism in the Church of England. A healthy spectrum is fine; imbalance not so good.
Please continue to exist!!!

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

The point of Tim’s existence, and the existence of other evangelicals, was not only questioned but denied a few days ago. The C of E has always been both protestant (reformed) and catholic; the balance shifts from one pole to the other from time to time. When I first joined, evangelicals hardly got a look-in. Evangelical applicants for the ministry were usually told to go off and get experience of catholic or liberal churches, but catholics and liberals were never told to sample evangelicalism to broaden their experience. I’m less concerned by the churchmanship of senior appointees than by their… Read more »

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Janet Fife
9 months ago

I have been around for rather a long time and valued the friends and insights from all traditions.
However that does not diminish the need for balance etc.
Protestant churches are those who protested (proper sense of the word) the Confessions of Augsburg in the 16th Cent. and those who followed them as offshoots etc.
The Church of England did not, ergo, is not ‘protestant’ but reformed and catholic(proper sense of that word.)
So lecture responded to with lecture! …carefully avoiding any humour for you to ‘evaluate’…meaning?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

I think we now know how to evaluate your ‘humour’.

Mary Hancock
Mary Hancock
Reply to  David Runcorn
9 months ago

Indeed, David. I trained at Ridley (a year behind Neil) and I am certainly not an evangelical. The ordinands then at Ridley covered a wide range of churchmanship from conservative evangelical, charismatic, those who formed a rosary circle, and those inbetween. The majority of the training was delivered ecumenically with the staff and students from all the TEIs in Cambridge learning together (and from each other).

David James
David James
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

Not particularly, I don’t think he’d have much street cred as a card carrier and the Diocesan agenda seems to have moved on to be more inclusive, balanced and (I have to say ) caring.

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
9 months ago

What a fantastic appointment. I knew Neil when he was a curate and was thoroughly impressed with him then and thought he would go far!!

Father David
Father David
9 months ago

The second recent internal appointment from Archdeacon to Suffragan.
Archdeacon of Surrey to Bishop of Dorking
Archdeacon of Bristol to Bishop of Swindon.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Father David
9 months ago

Perhaps something to do with the strong emphasis on vision, strategy and culture that some dioceses are trying to embed. An internal appointment ensures the direction of travel. That is not to say that the recent appointments are not right and good, but it raises the question of whether the senior leadership team want fresh insights and experiences to critique and influence their plans. I guess the answer to that is how they fill the archdeacon vacancies.

Richenda
Richenda
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
9 months ago

Those of us from within the Bristol diocese always thought an internal appointment was likely as the Bishop of Bristol is not far off retirement herself. We have been blessed with two excellent archdeacons after all.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Richenda
9 months ago

Why does the diocesan’s impending retirement make an internal appointment more likely?

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Father David
9 months ago

Can any good thing come out of Swindon?

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

Trevor Huddleston was a curate at St Mark’s Swindon before joining CR.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

Comedian William Stone quipped at the Edinburgh Festival “Nationwide must have looked pretty silly when they opened their first branch” . They’re from Swindon.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

Diana Dors

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Father David
9 months ago
Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Father David
9 months ago

Ah! Good archdeacon material!

David James
David James
Reply to  Father David
9 months ago

Whose brother was Fr. Peter Fluck, onetime Vicar of Boston.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David James
9 months ago

Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher denounced Dors as “a wayward hussy”. I hope Fr Fluck defended his lovely sister from this episcopal opinion.

David James
David James
Reply to  Struggling Anglican
9 months ago

Michael Doe was at Swindon pre USPG

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Father David
9 months ago

Sixty years ago in the diocese of Norwich the suffragan bishop and archdeacon posts were fused for a period. The Bishop of Lynn and the Bishop of Thetford each had an archdeaconry.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Clifford Jones
9 months ago

John Ramsbotham as well as being Archdeacon of Auckland was also Bishop of Jarrow.

DBD
DBD
Reply to  Clifford Jones
9 months ago

I remember a CofE legal briefing note from the last 10 years (or so) about the holding of residentiary canonries or archdeaconries by bishops suffragan. I’ll see whether I can find it.

DBD
DBD
Reply to  Clifford Jones
9 months ago

I think the document I was thinking of above was this 2010 legal office memo re: suffragans as deans. https://dan.barnesdavies.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/suffbpdean.pdf (Of course, the 1999 Measure is superseded now.) The advice is that combining posts like this is legally possible but could well be ill-advised in practice — though obviously it recently worked in Ludlow.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  DBD
4 months ago

I have only just seen this. Thank you.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
9 months ago

I don’t know Neil Warwick at all, so can make no comment on his appointment. However, two questions come to mind:

does a diocese the size of Bristol really need a suffragan? The C of E appears to have given up any attempt at reviewing suffragan sees and is filling them all as they become vacant. If only such stability could be ensured at parish level. are the vocations of archdeacon and bishop really so similar that so many can slide from one role to another?

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
9 months ago

The diocese of Hereford no longer has a Suffragan Bishop.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Father David
9 months ago

The exception that proves the rule!

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
9 months ago

Portsmouth

Viv Faull
Viv Faull
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
9 months ago

The Bank Holiday gives me a moment to respond. No appointment to a Suffragan See can be made without the approval of the Dioceses Commission, to which I had to make the case in person, the Diocesan Synod and Bishop’s Council having given its unanimous support particularly because Swindon and North Wilts are so very different from Bristol and South Glos. I was then required to follow a process set out by the Archbishops’ Appointment Advisers Office which includes a national trawl of potential candidates and an interview of several candidates by a diverse panel. Neil was subject to rigorous… Read more »

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Viv Faull
9 months ago

Perhaps a precedent was set for such a move within the diocese of Bristol by Freddie Temple, grandson and nephew of two Archbishops of Canterbury, when in 1973 he became Bishop of Malmesbury having served previously as Archdeacon of Malmesbury

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Father David
9 months ago

Benjamin Pollard went from being Archdeacon of Lancaster to being Bishop Suffragan of Lancaster.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Viv Faull
9 months ago

Gosh, I really wasn’t expecting a response from a diocesan bishop! But thank you, Bishop Viv, for responding. Whilst I do think there is a question about whether a geographically compact diocese such as Bristol needs a suffragan (after all, one bishop apiece seems to be able to cover the ground in the larger dioceses of Portsmouth and Hereford), my bigger point was a more general one about the lack of any clear process for determining how many bishops the C of E really needs, and what their purpose is. You tell us that the diocesan synod and bishop’s council… Read more »

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
9 months ago

Bishops’ stipends and expenses are paid for by the Church Commissioners, although I think the diocese provides and maintains the house. So why wouldn’t a diocese want a free clergyperson?

In fairness, I have no doubt the majority of suffragan and area bishops work very hard but do all their tasks have to be done by bishops or done at all? Chairing or sitting on committees could be shared more widely.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Simon Bravery
9 months ago

The Church Commissioners provide and fund the houses of diocesan bishops. (Since historically much of the CCs’ assets were taken from the endowments of the diocesan bishoprics.)

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