Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Barking

The name of the next Area Bishop of Barking has been announced from 10 Downing Street. There is more information at the Diocese of Chelmsford website.

Appointment of Suffragan Bishop of Barking: 30 November 2021

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Reverend Lynne Cullens to the Suffragan See of Barking.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 30 November 2021

The Queen has approved the nomination of The Reverend Lynne Cullens, Rector of Stockport and Brinnington, in the Diocese of Chester, to the Suffragan See of Barking, in the Diocese of Chelmsford, in succession to The Right Reverend Peter Hill, following his retirement on 4th August 2021.

Background

Lynne was educated at Manchester University and trained for ministry at the Southern North West Training Partnership. She served her title at St Peter’s, St Stephen’s, St John the Evangelist and Holy Trinity, Congleton, in the Diocese of Chester and was ordained Priest in 2013.

In 2015, Lynne became a non-stipendiary minister at St John the Evangelist, Sandbach Heath, and was appointed Priest in Charge at St Andrew with St John the Baptist Church, Crewe in 2016.

In 2019, Lynne took up her current role as Rector of Stockport and Brinnington, also in the Diocese of Chester.

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Adrian
Adrian
1 month ago

Her 5th appointment in 9 years?

Did I miss the details about her family, her football team, her degrees, etc? She does seem very young.

I am happy for her and pleased to see someone so deployable.

Simon Kershaw
Simon Kershaw(@simon-kershaw)
Admin
Reply to  Adrian
1 month ago

Nice to have someone who is 57 described as “very young”!

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
1 month ago

I have no knowledge of Lynne at all, and am sure she is a very good thing. But I’m marveling at someone in priests’ orders for eight years becoming a bishop. Is this a record?

Simon Kershaw
Simon Kershaw(@simon-kershaw)
Admin
Reply to  Dominic Barrington
1 month ago

I don’t know Lynne at all either, but I guess that like many clergy, especially women, she has considerable experience prior to ordination. She is a couple of years younger than you Dominic, and the Chelmsford website says that she was formerly a “charity CEO”. There’s also a little more info at her own blog at https://lynnecullens.com/blog/

Simon Kershaw
Simon Kershaw(@simon-kershaw)
Admin
Reply to  Dominic Barrington
1 month ago

Thomas Becket was priested and consecrated on consecutive days, wasn’t he? And then there’s Ambrose, who was was baptized, ordained and consecrated bishop in Milan within a few days. Just a couple of examples!

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
1 month ago

Spencer Leeson was ordained priest in 1940 and consecrated Bishop of Peterborough in 1949. Arthur John (‘Jack’) Dain was priested in 1959 and consecrated an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Sydney 1965.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Dominic Barrington
1 month ago

Jane Alexander was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Edmonton six years after her ordination as a priest.

(not to mention Thomas à Becket!)

David Rowett
David Rowett
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Ah’ll see yer Thomas Becket an’ raise yer Ambrose o’ Milan – technically a pagan on day 1, Bishop of Milan within a week!!!

Peter S
Peter S
Reply to  Dominic Barrington
1 month ago

She is 114th woman to be elected bishop in the Anglican Communion. 10 other women have become bishops within ten years of being ordained as priests including Barbara Harris, Penny Jamieson, Katharine Jefferts Schori, and the late Ellinah Wamukoya. In the Church of England, Helen-Ann Hartley was also a priest for 8 years before becoming a bishop in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

One wonders what the people of Stockport and Brinnington make of losing their rector so soon. Perhaps their next parish profile will say something about an incumbent who might stick around.

Nicky Rodley
Nicky Rodley
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

And her previous parish too!

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Lynne Cullens has extraordinary gifts. I hope that they will not be stifled by this move and that they will not suffer from the loss of a hands-on focus (something I witnessed in a former life). May she prosper.

Jim Shepherd
Jim Shepherd
1 month ago

I know Lynne and this is a fantastic appointment. A clever working class woman with her feet on the ground. Perhaps there is hope for the CofE

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
1 month ago

I thought Chelmsford were chopping a huge number of parish clergy posts – why do they need another suffragan?

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 month ago

This looks a really good appointment. The Barking Episcopal Area is huge, consisting of five London boroughs, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Newham, Barking & Dagenham, and Havering. And that’s before Harlow, Epping, and Ongar are added. It is larger than a number of dioceses. The time is coming when vacant suffragan sees may not automatically be filled, but large dioceses (Chelmsford is the second largest in the CofE) with established area schemes will be the last affected by any new deliberations of the Dioceses Commission, IMHO.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 month ago

I don’t know the area well but I think the majority of the population in those London boroughs will be Muslim. It is still a large area to cover nonetheless.

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 month ago

When I lived in Stratford the nearest place of worship was a former Church of England Church which had become a Hindu Temple. The Temple was looking to expand and bought all the other houses in my terrace before eventually making me an offer I couldn’t refuse for my house. I then moved to Barking. The nearest places of worship were a mosque and a former Quaker meeting house which is now a Gudwura. I now live in Havering. There are a small Muslim Cultural Centre and a Synagogue in Romford. At the Civic Remembrance Service prayers were offered by… Read more »

Tim M
Tim M
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 month ago

Around 32% of residents are Muslim in the London Borough of Newham. A substantial proportion, but not a “majority”. Let’s not be so hyperbolic in the season of goodwill.

Reference: https://www.newham.info/newham-facts-and-figures/

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Tim M
1 month ago

I’m happy to be corrected at any time but most especially in Advent. I thought I’d heavily qualified my ‘hyperbolic’ comment.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
1 month ago

I know Lynne not. Her Linkedin profile says:

Rector of Stockport and Brinnington; Chair & trustee of National Estate Churches Network, member of CofE’s Estates Evangelism Task Group & Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community

The Dioceses Commission website says this about Suffragan Sees::
https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-11/Dioceses%20Commission%20-%20Episcopal%20Ministry%20and%20Suffragan%20Sees%20-%20Guidance%20on%20the%20Operation%20of%20%20Sections%2012%20and%2017%20of%20the%20Dioceses%2C%20Pastoral%20and%20Mission%20Measure%202007.pdf

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  God 'elp us all
1 month ago

Thank you for sharing this. I’m curious about this paragraph in the document:

“10. Arrangements for the financial support provided by the Church Commissioners for episcopal ministry mean that the amount expended by them have since 1 January 2011 no longer been directly consequent upon the number of bishops in the diocese. The decision to fill a suffragan see or leave it unfilled does not therefore have financial consequences for the Church of England as a whole.”

So who does pay for suffragan bishops, then?

Sonia
1 month ago

++Justin was bishop of Durham for just less than a year before becoming ABC

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Sonia
1 month ago

Justin Welby consecrated Bishop of Durham by John Sentamu – 28th October 2011 Enthroned in Durham cathedral – 26th November 2011 Appointment as ABC announced in January 2013 Confirmation of Election ceremony as ABC 4th February 2013 Enthroned at Canterbury cathedral 21st March 2013 During his brief tenure as Bishop of Durham he did revolutionise the Parish Quota system asking the parishes to tell the diocese what amount of parish share they could pay and then adjusted the Diocesan Budget accordingly. Welby himself said at the time of his appointment as Primate of All England that he thought it was… Read more »

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
1 month ago

If she is 57 and has been ordained for less than a decade, she must have had a substantial secular career before being ordained. It is surprising that this is not mentioned in the announcement.

Jonathan Jamal
1 month ago

I notice that whenever the appointments of Area Bishops are announced officially from Downing Street, those appointed are not referred to in the announcement as Area Bishops but as Suffragan Bishops, which would suggest that legally Area Bishops have no basis in Anglican Canon Law, but are still legally Suffragan Bishops and that Area Bishops are more of a Local arrangement in any given Diocese where they obtain, rather than a canonical arrangement. In Roman Catholic Dioceses like the Archdioceses of Birmingham and Southwark, they have a system of Area Bishops, but that has no basis in Roman Catholic Canon… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
1 month ago

You are broadly right: they are all suffragans, regardless of what the diocese in question might call them. Several dioceses have area schemes, including Chelmsford. Others include Lichfield, Oxford and Southwark. There ought to be more area schemes. Many suffragan bishops are really bishops’ curates, with little, if any, delegated authority. The appointment of suffragan bishops (including the Bishop of Dover, area bishops and the provincial episcopal visitors) is governed by the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534. The act provides that the diocesan bishop wishing to have a suffragan shall ‘name and elect’ two ‘honest and discreet spiritual persons being learned… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 month ago

I suppose that the success of an area scheme will depend on how it is framed, and to whom responsibility is given. Gerald Ellison’s London area scheme (1979) worked fairly well. It was copied in Chichester by Eric Kemp in 1984, building on a prototype scheme of 1974. Just as Ellison retained control of London and Westminster, and delegated the rest to his suffragans, so Kemp retained control of Chichester, Brighton and Worthing, giving something approaching carte blanche to the suffragans of Horsham and Lewes. We now know, all too well, that the delegation of de facto diocesan authority to… Read more »

Father David
Father David
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 month ago

Chichester used to have the Area system for the two Suffragans of Horsham and Lewes. Introduced by Bishop Kemp but abolished under Bishop Warner.

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
1 month ago

Not under Canon Law, but the legal standing of an Area Bishop is enshrined in a scheme – the oldest (London) orginally made under the Dioceses Measure 1978 section 11 (now repealed), and now governed by the Dioceses, Mission and Pastoral Measure 2007 S13. Ironically, section 11 schemes were known as “permanent” provision, whereas in theory a Diocesan can now revoke such a scheme by instrument. In the London case, it would be difficult to do so without a great deal of opposition – the Area System has been in place formally for 40 years and informally for longer, and… Read more »

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
1 month ago

Well Pete … sounds like something for a Simplification Agenda;…; or the (Dame Caroline Spelman’s) Dioceses Commission https://www.churchofengland.org/about/leadership-and-governance/dioceses-commission … or long grass?
BTW- how many licensed/ stipendiary clergy or ‘worshipping community’ per bishop, and in 1987 or 2007 (say?). Wishing you and your ‘successor’ well.

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  God 'elp us all
1 month ago

2021 Willesden: 1.2m population. 115 FTE clergy. 37 SSMs. 60 PTOs. 100 parishes and BMOs. 22 Chaplaincies. Can’t do the previous figures off the top of my head, but it would be about the same in 2007. More clergy in 1987 because Stipendiary Assistant Clergy apart from title posts have more or less disappeared.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
1 month ago

Of the chaplaincies, do you know how many are funded by the C of E and how many by another organisation (e.g. hospitals or prisons)?

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

We used to fund a lot of them, but during the time while I was Archdeacon and then Bishop, we had a policy of trying to persuade Trusts and Unis to pay for them, on the basis that this made them more mainstream in the institution. the downside of course is that the distinctively CofE ethos of chaplaincy and what we bring to it can get lost. But we have kept a hand of being involved in appointments, licencing them under the EPMM, linking them with Chapter, doing MDR, etc.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
1 month ago

Thanks Pete. What’s EPMM and MDR?

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Extra Parochial Ministry Measure. Ministerial Decelopment Review.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
1 month ago

Thank you for this data Pete. Hoping to simplify, my ‘hypothesis’ is that over recent years (however defined) declining ‘worshipping community’ is paralleled by increasing numbers of parishes per clergy and increasing numbers of bishops per ‘adherent’ (or more appropriate word).
Relatedly, could you comment on the involvement of the Dioceses Commission in continuing with a suffragan bishop’s post after he/she moves on, or retires?

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
1 month ago

But is that any more than a box-ticking exercise? Let’s be frank, we don’t see the Dioceses Commission declining to recommend the filling of suffragan sees, which is in stark contrast to the way in which deanery pastoral committees up and down the country recommend leaving parishes vacant or combining them with other parishes.

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

It’s flipping hard work writing the submissions! I speak whereof I know… I think there is a case for the ending of several suffragan posts in small dioceses – but the real case, as i’ve argued elsewhere, is for the ending of monoepiscopacy, the division of Dioceses into areas which relate to the realities of the public square and municipality, and giving suffragans a real job with an Area system. There is work going on to look at this at present. There are large conurbations where the suffragan see could relate much more directly to the locality – and better… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
1 month ago

I don’t doubt that writing those submissions is a lot of work, and I can imagine the kind of jargon that has to find its way into the accumulated verbiage that goes into such documents. The point, however, is that once that submission is made there is no real doubt that the green light will be given to fill the see. The point that I am keen to make, and that I suspect God ‘elp us all is also trying to make, is that it is increasingly hard to justify replacing suffragan bishops when so many parish posts are being… Read more »

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

You read me right Fr Dexter Bracey. It’s right too that as (+/=) Pete says such ‘submissions’ (and their consideration/ approval/ rejection) should take ‘a lot of work’. IIRC the last ‘rejections’ were more in terms of particular role descriptions rather than quantitative need. I still wait to see an update of the Diocesan Commission’s website with an Annual Report. I also appreciate that the creation of the diocese and bishop of ‘West Yorkshire and the Dales/ Leeds may have supported a view like ‘never again’. In the same way that some say that a fish rots from the head,… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Simon Kershaw(@simon-kershaw)
Admin
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
1 month ago

Nonsenses like … London, also a city divided between two dioceses. Or more.

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
1 month ago

Is there something in London south of the Thames? Does not compute…

Though seriously, you can read the reports about reconfiguring the London Metropolitan area. Arbuthnot (1967) and Compton (1976). The work has been done, but never acted upon. Mostly, I suspect, because a new Metropolitical Diocese centred on London would detract from the primacy of Canterbury.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
1 month ago

Many thanks. I had also assumed that the reference made by Mr Kershaw was to the creation of Greater London in 1965 (or 1889 for the LCC). Also, if the diocese was extended to cover Greater London, and this did have the effect of detracting from Canterbury, would that matter? After all, Gregory the Great intended London to be the metropolitical see, and it only wound up being Canterbury because of the transient role of the kings of Kent (specifically Ethelbert) as ‘bretwalda’ or paramount king in much of England below the Humber. In my view, active consideration should be… Read more »

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Froghole, Is this not the kind of work for which the Dioceses Commission exists- not just an appointment to reward someone. If anything it should be a poisoned chalice!

Your proposal should be one of many to be considered. Some parts of the country lend themselves to a number of geographical amalgamations/ mergers/ ‘unitisations’; others have fewer ‘options’, eg Truro, Sodor&Man, Newcastle, York?

Maybe a good opportunity also to review Provincial boundaries, as well as the role of the Bishops of Dover and at Lambeth.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  God 'elp us all
1 month ago

Pete Broadbent has referred to Arbuthnot https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/churchman/084-03_192.pdf and Compton reports. Arbuthnot was second church estates commissioner, and his report had been commissioned in the light of the transformation of the LCC into the GLC in 1965,and the pending Redcliffe-Maud royal commission on local government (1966-69). Compton was the first ombudsman and chaired the boundary commission until 1978 so was well alive to the acute controversies engendered by the Local Government Act 1974. However, much water has passed under the bridge since 1976-77. Most importantly, there has since been a radical demographic transformation within the old boundaries of the GLC. Even… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

Is there an Eastern region of the Southern North West Training Partnership? Then they’d have all bases covered.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

There are some church leadership skills that can only be learned and inhabited through a sustained period in the same ministry context. There is a humility that comes from having to live with the consequences of one’s own influence and decisions. There is the experience of seeing how vision and strategy really play out after two or three years. There is the sense of pace required to sustain one’s own spiritual journey long term amongst colleagues and alongside a community. There is broad spirituality that only emerges though leading the church through periods of sowing, growing, dying and ploughing. Or… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

Don’t you think those skills might also be learned and employed in leading other organisations, such as charities? And then transferred into church contexts?

Since the culture of the C of E has been demonstrated by IICSA (and elsewhere) to be deeply problematic and to foster abuse, maybe a bishop who has learned those skills in a non-church culture is exactly what we need.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Yes and yes, but it’s all about how those skills are transferred. I don’t think, for example, the uncritical importing of managerial and centralist leadership skills is serving the church well. And what is important for me is the attitudes which underpin the use of those skills. I’m not sure there is a short cut to the formation which happens in the exercise of long-term ministry. Sure the church gets leadership wrong. But for me that signals the need to dig deeper into the spirituality of Christ-like service.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

I think the Church of recent years has imported some of the least helpful managerial ideas, without understanding how they might work in an organisation meant to be following Christ, where much of the work is done by volunteers. But, hopefully, management styles learned in running charities might be a bit different than those learned while working in a multinational oil company.

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

The point about managing volunteers is a good one. At parish level clergy are leading a group who are by and large giving their time free, gratis and for nothing. They are not motivated by the prospect of promotion and a bonus. This involves a different approach to managing within the workplace.

Lynne’s challenge as an Area Bishop will be to lead clergy whose workload increases as their numbers diminish. When I was in a similar position I found the relentless optimism of management rather wearing.

Nicky Rodley
Nicky Rodley
Reply to  Simon Bravery
1 month ago

It certainly will. In Harlow deanery alone (in the Barking area) the number of FTE stipendiary clergy is being almost halved. There is to be a lot more emphasis on lay led ministry. There are many very good and committed SSMs and LLMs around but they can choose where to go, which causes an imbalance in resources. One church might have 6 clergy, mostly being non-stipendiary, a neighbouring church has one – guess which one won’t thrive. Or there might be a church which, on paper, is resourced (e.g. stipendiary priest and SSM), but the SSM does very little.

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Nicky Rodley
1 month ago

I think it is similar with respect to retired clergy. Few seem to choose to spend their golden years in Romford so the clergy are pretty thinly stretched hereabouts.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

Your experience of long-term ministry in the C of E might be different to mine – and inevitably will be, since you’re a man (and, I hope, haven’t been subject to abuse in the Church), but I’m pretty cynical about the results of such long term formation in many of our leaders.

We need a complete change of culture, and one way of bringing that about is by bringing people into the top layer who have been formed in a healthier culture.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Formation. When I was ordained in 2006 the bishop, Redfern, told his new deacons that we were to bring all our personalities and experience with us in the service of the Master. Given that all of us had had extensive experience in the real world, this was good to hear. Now, 15 years later, with intimate knowledge of curate training in two dioceses, I have the impression that this attitude no longer holds. It is as if the rigid training process is run by people afraid (or unable) to display discretion. Maybe it could be done by robots. In truth, I think formation… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

This is really helpful Janet. There are a number of toxic cultures at work in the church and yes some of them have been informed by the unchallenged leadership of.senior people who have clocked up many years service. I guess I am trying to hold on to the unique and positive contribution that ministerial formation brings to Christian leadership. It seems that a huge amount of discernment is needed at present to identify healthy patterns of formation from church and non-church ministry. For me it’s the biblical wisdom tradition that captures the need for a spirituality that works within and… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

Could you say more about the biblical wisdom tradition and leadership? That sounds very interesting.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

In my reading in and around the Book of Proverbs wisdom (which begins with the fear ofthe Lord) is seen at work in all areas of life. The proverbs are remarkably wide ranging, covering all kinds of everyday tasks and decisions. There is no sacred/secular divide. The same godly wisdom can flow though it all. Jesus teaches this holistic vision of wisdom, enabling not a religious reformation, but the transformation of all things. I think the wisdom tradition informs Jesus teaching style more than is often acknowledged, and it seems to be modelled too by his apostle/brother James in the… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

In my experience, the Church of England is just about the last place to learn these lessons!

Adrian
Adrian
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

Learning to live with the consequences of your personality, choices, and mistakes teaches a humility that can not otherwise be learnt. That humility teaches compassion. I am pleased to have met some compassionate bishops and archdeacons, yet they are a minority in my experience.

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