Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Blackburn to retire

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Julian Henderson, has announced that he will retire in July, immediately after the Lambeth Conference. There are details on the diocesan website and in an open letter from the bishop to his diocese.

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Angusian
Angusian
2 months ago

Sadly the experiences of a Lambeth conference will again be wasted on a yet another retiring bishop!

Bruce Deans
Bruce Deans
Reply to  Angusian
2 months ago

And again, who cares?

Easy come, easy go.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Angusian
2 months ago

As he can’t implement anything he learns from the ‘conference’, it does make the Lambeth Conference look like a jolly for bishops, doesn’t it?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

Perhaps his attendance at the Lambeth Conference has more to do with what he can give to it, rather than what he can receive.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
2 months ago

The gift that keeps giving?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI8bb65vOiE
at 24.33
Good bye- now there’s a beautiful story? A bishop worth bashing? A hole left in Blackburn Lancashire?

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

The Lambeth Conference is in many ways similar to a child’s birthday party with boycotts, temper tantrums over pass the parcel, and hyperbole fuelled by sugar.

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
Reply to  Angusian
2 months ago

My impression of the Lord Bishop of Blackburn is that while he may be stepping down from his position, few have found him retiring!

David Lamming
David Lamming
2 months ago

But there is little point in +Julian retiring before the Lambeth conference, since there would be insufficient time to run the process to enable his successor to be in place before the conference. The diocese will, therefore, be represented at the conference and, after Bishop Julian retires to live in Sussex, he will be able to share the experiences gained from Lambeth if (or when) he is appointed as an Assistant Bishop in Chichester Diocese.

Rchard Ashby
Rchard Ashby
2 months ago

Didn’t he undermine LLF before it even got underway?

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Rchard Ashby
2 months ago

Yes he did, he’s a poster boy for the ConEvo constituency.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
2 months ago

Does Blackburn alternate between Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical diocesans?

RPNewark
RPNewark
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
2 months ago

I think not. My recollection is that the previous incumbent, who’s name escapes me at the moment, was of the same ConEvo ilk.

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  RPNewark
2 months ago

The previous bishop of Blackburn was Nicholas Reade, formerly an archdeacon in Chichester, Mirfield-trained.
Before him the bishop was Alan Chesters. St Stephen’s House trained.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
2 months ago

Before Alan Chesters was Stewart Cross, whose episcopate was tragically cut short by a terminal illness. He had studied at Trinity College Dublin, which also provided two other 20th Century diocesans for the English Northern Province: Greer of Manchester and Bloomer of Carlisle.

RPNewark
RPNewark
Reply to  RPNewark
2 months ago

My recollection was incorrect. Nicholas Reade is a member of the Society of S. Wilfrid and S. Hilda. My apologies to him and to readers of TA

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  RPNewark
2 months ago

He was Mirfield trained, as you state.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
2 months ago

An opportune moment to merge Blackburn with some of the other dioceses in the north west.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Fr Dean
2 months ago

There would of course be an opportunity. +Carlisle is 70 in July 2023. But my reading of the ‘regional plans’ is that they will not necessarily result in fewer dioceses or bishops. When will there be a change of gear in the CNC bishop-making machine? I think it will continue sine die. Rochester is done. Bath & Wells is done. Liverpool and Newcastle are to come before July 2022. The new CNC quinquennium starts in the autumn (with new central members) and they kick off with Lincoln (deferred) and Winchester (not sure in what order), and now Blackburn. There is… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Anthony Archer
2 months ago

Anthony, I can’t think of any other organisation that would let the process dictate the outcome in the manner you describe. If Synod were serious about the rationalisation of dioceses and the number of senior clerics they would amend the process, they’re clearly not. The rest of the Establishment have rumbled them as we have seen with their noble Lordships and the Ecclesiastical Committee. The state of entropy is overwhelming and it seems terminal.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Fr Dean
2 months ago

I don’t disagree, and the complexity of the Church of England is no reason to shy away from radical change. But all change, to be effective, must be capable of being implemented. Regional groupings of dioceses makes very good sense as a start. There are huge amounts of cost that can be driven out by shared working and resources, in the areas of finance, HR (including deployment), procurement, and DAC matters. All could be handled nationally with the right structures and linkages. Who will embrace it? And will the bishops go along with it? The next five years will tell.… Read more »

Nick
Nick
Reply to  Anthony Archer
2 months ago

A personal preference would not be to see diocesan sees reduced, but to see the number of suffragan bishops whittled away. Their proliferation is something of the last 100-150 years. Rather than bishops, I would focus on the rationalisation of diocesan boards of finance (another innovation of the last 100 years or so). A normative diocesan structure of a single bishop supported by the appropriate number of archdeacons (some of whom could also be parish priests or be attached as a residentiary at a cathedral), supported by a slightly enlarged Bishop’s Office function that was pastoral in focus, with other… Read more »

Michael Mulhern
Michael Mulhern
Reply to  Anthony Archer
2 months ago

In Ireland, two Roman Catholic Dioceses have, effectively, been merged by retaining their territorial names and boundaries but sharing a diocesan bishop and a central administration. It makes me wonder whether this is is what is being experimented with in the Ely/Lincoln arrangement? It would certainly cut out a lot of the tortuous process that went into creating Leeds (with few discernible advantages to date). Isn’t this something that could fall under the remit of the simplification exercise +Pete Broadbent was heading up? Finer minds than mine on here will quickly tell us whether it is possible, given the current… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Michael Mulhern
2 months ago

… and the Church of Ireland has been doing similarly for a long while. For example, the Bishop residing in Kilkenny is still the Bishop of Ossory in that diocese, the Bishop of Leighlin in that diocese, and likewise of Waterford, of Lismore, of Ferns, and of Cashel. One part-time PA, no full time Archdeacons or advisers. It’ll be interesting to see how things work out for the new bishop (formerly residing in Kilkenny as it happens) manages the new diocese (Limerick etc and Tuam etc) that covers by my reckoning a fifth of the landmass of the island of… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Stanley Monkhouse
Michael Mulhern
Michael Mulhern
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
2 months ago

But isn’t it interesting, Stanley, how the Church of Ireland more than keeps its head above water (in terms of clergy deployments, financial stability and lower rates of decline compared to England and Wales for example) with episcopal ministry spread thinly and low level diocesan infrastructure? It puts the focus on the parishes and the importance of the ‘bread and butter’ of pastoral ministry… though I guess we would want to have a conversation about the public face of the Church of Ireland in some parishes I (and doubtless you) know!

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Michael Mulhern
2 months ago

Indeed so, Michael. And there are several “Church of Irelands” – it’s by no means homogeneous. The CoI of, say, Down and Dromore or Kilmore etc is not that of Cashel etc or Cork etc. The church of the Cork/Kerry rivieras and tourist traps is one thing, that of south Dublin quite something else. And some churches of the midlands are little more than tribal temples of Protestant farmers (but for how much longer?). Yes, there is healthy emphasis on pastoral ministry, and since evangelism would in ROI amount to stealing catholics or Muslims, there’s precious little of that. (Did… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Michael Mulhern
2 months ago

The powers that be are consistently denying that the current Ely/Lincoln arrangement is anything more than temporary. There are many more sensible diocesan rearrangements than simply treating Ely and Lincoln as a single unit.

Michael Mulhern
Michael Mulhern
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
2 months ago

That was actually my point, Simon. We are not talking about merging two dioceses to form a single unit. The two RC dioceses I cited in Ireland remain two dioceses: they simply share a bishop and the (fairly low level) bureacracy around him.

As for denials by the powers that be…

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Anthony Archer
2 months ago

And +Birmingham is 70 in April.

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Anthony Archer
2 months ago

+Peterborough is 70 in August – and so the list goes on!

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Fr Dean
2 months ago

Perhaps a chance for Wirral to join Liverpool, and perhaps regain our postcode.

M Evans
M Evans
Reply to  T Pott
2 months ago

The Bishop of Birkenhead only arrived last year, so probably not for a bit yet!

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  M Evans
2 months ago

Its all rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. So sad. And so so sad for the church in the north east of England

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  M Evans
2 months ago

She could become a suffragan of Liverpool, or even become the new Bishop of Liverpool herself, the possibilities are endless!

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