on Wednesday, 8 September 2021 at 10.55 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Church of England
News from the Diocese of Southwark:
The Bishop of Croydon, The Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, announces departure from the Diocese of Southwark
The Bishop of Croydon, The Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, announced today that he will be leaving the Diocese of Southwark on March 21, 2022 – exactly 10 years to the day of his consecration as Bishop…
Hekky thump! They’re all heading for the hills!!
There’ll be lots sharpening their pencils for their job applications to fill their shoes.
I enjoyed the recent discussion on this website about the gender of the Holy Spirit. – I’d like to reflect upon Alison’s comment about Bishop Jonathan ‘heading for the hills.’ Orkney is not particularly hilly though one hill is about 500 feet higher than the English SE. We’re all grateful for Jonathan’s efforts. Ministry is tiring work. Climbing hills will have been a regular part of his workload. Perhaps a change is necessary! The Bishop trained at Trinity College and became a part of the Society of Catholic Priests. I’d like to read more about his faith journey. I’d also… Read more »
To be honest – who would want to be a bishop in today’s church?!
Regularly reading this page, there can be little incentive for anyone to step forward and take the flack – especially those godly people who we perhaps need most…?
I believe it has always been a vocation that, properly speaking, ought to drive people away. Once upon a time, the expectations of hard work were front and center. Bright people preferred to stay in the cloister, monks were the exemplary soldiers in the 10th-12th century, arguably more powerful than a Pope ensconced in Rome with huge admin duties. At some point in time, we confected special shirts, accoutrement, chauffeurs in the CofE, and on it goes. I confess I find this close to a disease of worldliness. I know there are exceptions (ACoC will chime in). But rarely do… Read more »
The stipends of CofE bishops seem pretty huge from my point of view, given that they get accommodation provided and certain bills paid, along with what is still (as I understand it) a final salary pension scheme. I don’t know how much TEC provides for its Bishops, but given the differences in costs of living and what is provided for by the public purse vs private provision in each country I’m not sure what the purpose of the comparison is other than you getting a dig in at TEC.
I am in no way a bishop – and any prospect of such a chalice would cause me much trouble (fortunately something I suspect I shall never have to worry about). However, the reality is that even when accommodation is taken into account the stipend and other payments of a bishop (and their pensions) is significantly below that of the level received by many middle and senior managers in the average secondary school – and far below that of most headteachers. If I were to be blighted by becoming a bishop I would still be receiving a little less that… Read more »
A dinner discussion with a lawyer, a bishop and an MP recently left me in no doubt that bishops, like parish clery, are exhausted at the moment. The bishop among us said that 10 years of episcopal ministry is more than enough for any sane human being – and anyone who wants to be a bishop is either mad or sad. I have absolutely no idea what lies behind Jonathan Clark’s decision, but I would be hugely surprised if there was not even a small element of recognition that you only get one shot at life and that being a… Read more »
I’m genuinely puzzled as to what is so exhausting. Exhaustion can be caused by several things; physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. We’ve more bishops than ever before so I imagine it’s not a ‘resource too thinly stretched’ problem. Did your dinner guest say if it was dealing with decline or conflict that made it so enervating? Bishops have large staffs to assist with the practical and administrative things in their life, they also have access to a large peer group and other professional support. If the role is as onerous as you indicate surely only they can bring about the… Read more »
Dean writes of “unrealistic expectations placed upon me by bishops, their senior staff and the people at the diocesan office”. My impression when I was in the Diocese of Derby was that the bishop(s) had no idea what their apparatchiks demanded in their, the bishops’, names. Were the bishops aware of the number of large brown envelopes from Church House that thudded so often on the porch floor? Did they keep their eyes on what their staff were doing? Did they ever try to understand what it felt like to be an incumbent receiving these requests and instructions? Did they… Read more »
I understand how galling it must be for parish clergy to hear about episcopal exhaustion. I know only too well that drained look from my own vicar after 18 months of Covid-related demands. I can only speak of what I heard and that gave me the distinct impression that a general institutional neurosis about conflict, money and decline, coupled to relentless demands from the top of the food chain, are zapping what little energy, creativity and vision some bishops may have had. Constant fire-fighting sounds like not much fun to me in any sphere of ministry.
I see from the Church Times Report that Bishop Jonathan is to retire to the Isle of Orkney on retirement. He needs to be very careful he does not in retirement get roped into being some kind of Honorary Assistant Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney and pulled into the politics of the present situation of the Diocese by the present, if the present Bishop feels isolated by this situation of her making and is looking for support, the temptation to involve a Retired Bishop moving into her Diocese in Retirement by inviting him to take on a Honorary Assistant Bishop… Read more »