on Tuesday, 6 April 2021 at 12.36 pm by Peter Owen
categorised as Church of England
The Rt Revd Peter Hill has announced that he will retire as Bishop of Barking on 4 August 2021. There are more details on the Chelmsford diocesan website.
Hopefully there will be a review as to whether he ought to be replaced in this top heavy diocese.
It would be a good opportunity to shed a useless episcopal post and appoint a chief companion, support and critical friend for the diocesan. I gather they’re all the rage.
I thought they were called Bishop’s Chaplain!
I believe that in the Chelmsford diocese posts are designated as either red, amber or green to determine whether or not they should be filled. Perhaps such an approach might be taken with vacant episcopal sees too. However, my fear for any review of senior roles in this particular diocese is that such a review might end up recommending three more bishops, eight more archdeacons and a couple more directors of this-and-that: after all, dismantling all that inherited ministry is tough work, and parish clergy won’t make themselves redundant.
A review by the Dioceses Commission takes place now whenever it is proposed to appoint a successor in a suffragan or area see, so the new Bishop of Chelmsford will have to justify appointing a new Bishop of Barking to replace +Peter Hill.
Looking forward to seeing this and Episcopal futures discussed at General Synod:
I note also the consultations regarding the Bishop of Willesden, its future and that of the present occupant, esp w.r.t. inclusion and diversity.
A number of areas seem rather under-represented too at diocesan level; one for London, one for IoM.
Any more ‘troublous bishops’ to be ‘let go’?
London, as a metropolis, actually has two diocesan bishops of its own, London and Southwark, and much of it is in the dioceses of Rochester and Chelmsford.
How often is such a review any more than a box-ticking exercise?
We have self-supporting ministers. Isn’t about time we had self-supporting suffragans?
Kate: This reminds me of a scene in Luis Bunuel’s ‘Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie’ (1972) when Mgr. Dufour (Julien Bertheau) turns up at a suburban residence in the garb of a gardener, asking for a job. He is turned away abruptly by the mistress of the house (Stephane Audran). He returns a short while later in his episcopal finery, and has his ring kissed by Audran. He explains to her (and her husband, Jean-Pierre Cassel), that “the Church has changed. We started having worker priests, and now we have worker bishops”. He gets the gardening job, and later shoots… Read more »
Few things cheer me up more than a good helping of violence, revenge and murder. That’s why the Bible is such a comfort. The pastoral strategy employed by Mgr Dufour has much to commend it. I recall at a clergy conference one of my colleagues ruminating on the fact that so often after he’d taken home communion to the sick, they died. I said “If it’s a case of cause and effect I’ll do home communions much more often, for I have a little list …”.
Stanley thanks for the anecdote. Poison is on my mind as I recently received a poison pen letter denouncing me as a ‘corvid denier’ and a few other illiterate insults, in response to my anti church closure stance. Anonymous of course, typed in large print and stamp not franked by Royal Mail. Curiously the envelope was written by hand and a very basic address which the Royal Mail tracked to me.
I’m very sorry to hear this, Michael. Church people can be very sad and hurtful. I think it was Harry Williams who said something like church is the place where people take their neuroses – and psychoses too IMO (in case people are unsure of the difference, neurotics build castles in the air, psychotics live in them, and psychiatrists collect the rent). I suppose conventional spiritual advice from a Clerk in Holy Orders would be to pray for yourself and the author of the billet doux, not only that he or she might come to terms with the hurts that… Read more »
Michael – I forgot – there’s the BCP Commination Service. Quite handy.
I know that you’re teasing here, but I feel I should respond in a serious way. I once knew a lovely pagan couple who taught me their doctrine of ‘ninefold returns’. Whether you bless or curse, it returns to you, ninefold. I’ve managed to bear that in mind for several decades now, not because I became a pagan, but because it echoed the words, ‘Bless those who curse you’. I think that the Commination Service is a very dangerous rite. Is there a man or woman living who is not included in the list of sinners? Anyone who pronounces the… Read more »
Yes Toby – teasing. I too believe that one reaps what one sows, but it doesn’t stop me fantasizing about what I’d like to do to some, for example, politicians or the advertising industry. Or golfers. I’m not old enough to play golf.
Blimey, ninefold?! The pagans I know only go up to threefold. 😮 A bit of one-upmanship among our pagan brothers and sisters?
These were Yorkshire pagans, so I suppose it had to be more than soft southern returns.
‘Corvid denier’ is delicious. Are you going to eat crow? 😉
Wasn’t the original plan to transform all seven Chelmsford diocesan Archdeaconries into Suffragan Bishoprics?
I expect if such a review in the Diocese of Chelmsford took place, they would first have to ask the question whether the present Area Bishop and Episcopal Area system remained in place, or whether the Area system was dismantled and the Area Bishops were returned to being Suffragan Bishops and the number of these were reduced. At least two dioceses in the Church of England , Salisbury and Chichester have dismantled their Area Systems and returned the Area Bishops back to being Suffragan Bishops again. In my own Roman Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Westminster they had an… Read more »
A CofE diocesan is remoured to have told his suffragan: “When I am not there, you are me. When I am there, you are nobody.”
Yes Allan that certainly seems to be symbolised liturgically in the Church of England on big Diocesan liturgical occasions in Cathedrals, that in Procession, the Suffragan Bishop or Suffragan Bishops will not carry their Croziers or Pastoral Staffs in Procession, if the Diocesan Bishop is present, even though they will be coped and Mitred in Procession, only the Diocesan Bishop will carry their Crozier and a Suffragan Bishop will only use their Crozier or Pastoral Staff in the Diocese, when they are representing the Diocesan by doing a Confirmation, Licensing, Induction, or ordination by delegation, and the understanding is that… Read more »
Jonathan: Thank you for this, of which I was largely unaware, but I see that it accords with my experience in various situations including a Confirmation when the Suffragan carried his pastoral staff. (His was of a very basic, almost rustic, type which seems to be in vogue in the C of E; even Cantuar is sometimes seen with one.) At Winchester Cathedral, which I have now known intimately for 70 years, we had at one time a Suffragan Bishop who was also a Canon Residentiary, or the other way round. On high occasions (the Chapter in copes at Evensong,… Read more »
I believe the Dean always has precedence in procession in his/her cathedral. Only one bishop carries a crozier, as a sign of jurisdiction. All bishops present can wear a mitre; it’s a symbol of office, not jurisdiction. When the two archbishops (Canterbury and York) are present at an event, both have their metropolitical crosses carried side by side before them, but only one (of the host province) carries a crozier. I read that the Benedictines of Three Rivers (in the US) once had an occasion where three croziers were used: one for the abbot of the order; one for the… Read more »
Thank you. I am familiar with precedence in the C of E, but it is rare and possibly unique for a bishop to be a residentiary canon, or vice versa, in an English cathedral. I was sharing my experiences with Jonathan as we both have interests in such matters. As you mention the Benedictines, until the reforms of King Henry VIII Winchester had been a monastic cathedral of the Benedictines for the best part of 700 years. The Prior, as head of the Cathedral Priory, along with his counterpart at Canterbury, also a Benedictine Cathedral Priory, had papal dispensation to… Read more »
While Chichester successfully dissolved its area scheme and moved on, Salisbury hasn’t, or not yet. It is still clearly two separate areas with separate structures, in fact this separation is in some ways more embedded now than it was when a formal scheme existed. The creation of an area scheme was always something of a puzzle in a diocese that is not the largest and is culturally and demographically pretty similar across the piece. Such differences as exist are comparatively minor and were not in any case addressed by the original division into areas. Even more puzzling is the way… Read more »
Area Bishopric schemes have hardly been an outstanding success. In the Chichester diocese what was created by Kemp has now been abolished by Warner. The great diversity of the Church of England now finds expression in the recent inspired appointments to Horsham and Lewes. I would further suggest that Team and Group Ministries have not proved to be the success that some had hoped that they would be. The recent total reorganisation of parishes into larger groups in the Church in Wales has received much criticism. Heaven help us if in the Church of England we go down that route… Read more »
I am praying that a couple of courageous diocesans will start to model a different way of leading a diocese, sacrificing central managerial posts and focussing on parish and chaplaincy based ministry and mission. When morale rises amongst clergy and laity and the effect will spread, and the herd will follow. Diocesans need to detach from the group think, and use the autonomy they have.
That would be good, but I rather think that we’ll continue with the present policy that the beatings will continue until morale improves.
Amid all the speculation about the future there’s a sad lack of appreciation for Peter Hill, so I’d like to say what an excellent job he has done in his time there.
I observe that the Bishop of Barking will preside at ordinations in June. It will be an opportunity to observe that rarely used piece of ordination liturgy, the presentation of the P45. I can’t quite remember whether it comes before or after the presentation of the Bible.