Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Dorking to become Bishop for Episcopal Ministry in the Anglican Communion

Press release from the Anglican Communion Office

Bishop for Episcopal Ministry appointed to build on successful Lambeth Conference

A new post of Bishop for Episcopal Ministry in the Anglican Communion has been created to build on the success of this year’s Lambeth Conference. The Right Revd Dr Jo Bailey Wells, currently Bishop of Dorking in the Church of England’s Diocese of Guildford, has been appointed to the post and will begin her new role in January 2023…

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Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
1 year ago

What is this for? Do we really need more episcopal posts?

Martin Hislop
Martin Hislop
1 year ago

Yet another example of jobs of the episcopal girls and boys to the detriment of front line ministry

Bob
Bob
1 year ago

Can someone explain in simple terms what is “episcopal ministry”?

David Foster
David Foster
1 year ago

And the funding comes from? Must be better ways of spending.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
1 year ago

An outrageous slap in the face for clergy and parishes facing endless reorganisation and consolidation. Episcopal orders seems to have become a gravy train.

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

If only parochial appointments could be treated in the same way as episcopal appointments. Parishes are not normally allowed to start discussions regarding a new incumbent until the previous person has moved to a new post or to retirement. It would appear not to so with bishops.  There was an advertisement in the Church Times last week which stated that the See of Bolton will fall vacant on 28th February 2023. Those with suggestions regarding the post and/or suggested names should contact the diocesan bishop by 6th November 2022.  It is fairly obvious that a new bishop will have been appointed before… Read more »

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
1 year ago

Not another one?

Which ‘successfui Lambeth Conference’ was that, and why, if ‘needed’ at all, a CofE bishop?

Any scope for ‘efficiency savings’, or is another bishop to be appointed to that role?

Lister Tonge
Lister Tonge
1 year ago

Who funds this? Or will she simply be paid in airmiles?

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
1 year ago

A loss for the English House of Bishops, someone with a theological and pastoral contribution to make.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 year ago

I wondered about that, Stephen. Where does she become ‘canonically resident’ with this appointment?

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

There probably is a mechanism for co-opting +Jo into the CofE’s College and/or House of Bishops if ++Justin wants to. If resident in London, then she could become an Honorary Assistant Bishop in London Diocese, but I don’t think that is a route into the College/House.

DBD
DBD
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 year ago

Bailey-Wells being only 57, not likely a permanent loss. Indeed this will position Welby’s former chaplain for a diocesan role even after he has retired.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
1 year ago

A Bishop for Episcopal Ministry? Really? Is it 1 April?

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Speaking up for Bishop Jo as an individual, I have found her responsive and sympathetic. What the new role will involve, I am not sure (beyond what I can read in the press release), but I wish her well.

Simon Reynolds
Simon Reynolds
1 year ago

From the information given in the statement from the Anglican Communion Office, this role raises substantial questions for me. What is the theological rationale for this role – and who were the theologians in the room when it was being proposed, discussed and defined? Who initiated those discussions and drove them forward? What support did they have – and what was the theological basis of that support? What are the expressed needs from across the Anglican Communion to which the creation of this role is specifically responding? How is the bishop who occupies this role any different from an episcopal… Read more »

David James
David James
Reply to  Simon Reynolds
1 year ago

I’m afraid that the days when we were able to deduce any kind of theological rationale for ecclesiastical developments have long gone

Graham Watts
Graham Watts
1 year ago

How is it that there is always further fundling for the next imaginary role?
Further demonstration of the detachment from people in the real world with their almost impossible daily struggles, and that is just in this country.

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
1 year ago

Reminds me of the Ministry for Silly Walks

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
1 year ago

My immediate thought was this: “Naming a woman bishop to such a role in a communion where many of the provinces do not accept that a woman can even BE a bishop?”

pastoral evangelist
pastoral evangelist
1 year ago

and the job of course was widely advertised, job description circulated, pay disclosed, several candidates interviewed, accountability explained,,,, and of course it won’t cost the C of E a penny more as there’s no money to pay more clergy…. or am I living in the real world??

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  pastoral evangelist
1 year ago

The Press Release from the A.C.C dated 17th October, stated that “The new post, Bishop for Episcopal Ministry in the Anglican Communion, was agreed by the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee when it met in London last week.”  The Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee did meet in London but from 26th to 29th September not “last week”.  I am informed by a member of that committee that there was a discussion about an appointment however a name was not mentioned. It is obvious the appointment was made outside of that committee and possibly even before the meeting took place. It suggests no advert, no… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
1 year ago

Surely the theological justification for this role is the greater glory of the so-called Instruments of Communion.

John T
John T
1 year ago

I doubt if the role is funded directly by the C of E, but is probably shared across the Communion. But it is another sign of +Welby wanting to cement a way of working in the Anglican Communion before he retires, which won’t be long now. The appointment of his successor will involve five members of the AC (making the next ABofC more likely to be internationally facing), and here is a structural position to draw the AC closer together. Add in the Lambeth Conference being over, the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, the coronation next May, not to mention… Read more »

Kate
Kate
1 year ago

My concern is different to those expressed by others. It feels odd to me that a white bishop from the declining Church of England is selected as the Bishop for Episcopal Ministry over bishops from one of the many churches in the Anglican Communion which seem to be more successful at mission. Why not a bishop from Kenya or Nigeria for example?

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Presumably because all of the former and most of the latter won’t talk to several churches in the communion.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Professor Wikipedia tells us that she and Welby were students together at Durham, and that she served as Welby’s chaplain from 2013 to 2016. That may, or may not, explain the reason for her appointment.

David James
David James
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 year ago

Sheer coincidence 😀

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
1 year ago

Yay! Another bishop without a diocese! Just what we need…

A managerial appointment with a mitre taking up the funding for several parish priests.

It also sounds like Bishop Jo was doing a good job where she was presumably interacting with ordinary lay members of the church on occasions. Moving her into a role where it sounds like she will be just flitting between churches in the Anglican communion trying to keep various bishops onside is a waste of talent.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
1 year ago

This is a perfectly sensible appointment and if it means that ++Cantuar can spend more time on the real day job (including LLF, the Coronation, and preparing for the publication of the Makin Review), then that is a good thing. I forget how much the CofE contributes to the funding of the ACC, but would be surprised if it was more than 2p per week, per parishioner, if that, even in days of declining congregations!

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

That sort of contradicts the reason given for members of AC to form part of the next Canterbury CNC. Surely if Cantuar was intending to make an appointment to reduce his time commitment to AC, he should have informed General Synod?

Dave
Dave
1 year ago

Fr Dexter Bracey makes an interesting point – of how this Bishop is very well known from the past by Justin Welby.

Surely all the more reason then that there be transparency about how the appointment was made – where was it advertised, who was on the interviewing panel, what is the salary and ongoing costs, and who pays them etc.

And if these points are not made public that raises the very important point – why not.

Much greater transparency and accountability is needed from Church of England bishops.

Rosyfair
1 year ago

Hi there. I can understand the thought processes and the huge task. But this issue won’t be solved until we disentangle the primacy of the English church from that of the Anglican communion. This is the key step of moving to a post-colonial more federal church which would help us find greater unity – just as we need to take this step with a more federal UK to preserve the Union. iI think it’s the step which would make most theological sense of episcopacy. I do agree that there are too many Bishops overall and an incredibly poor level of… Read more »

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
Reply to  Rosyfair
1 year ago

What primacy? I thought that ++Cantuar was primes inter pares only and all churches in the communion are already autocephalous? I don’t think the issue here is devolution of powers but more about how to remain in communion when there are fundamental differences in opinion between the various national churches on how to deal with sexuality and gender. I do struggle to see how the CofE can build a sustainable and relevant future in England and appease members of the Anglican Communion that do not want to accept a more inclusive approach to gender and sexuality. It is a square… Read more »

Rosyfair
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 year ago

Primates are primates, gorillas or archbishops! And the differences are within national churches as well as between. I guess what I’m advocating is a lower bar for the ‘Anglican communion’ (as you are hinting at) and that the detaching of England from the Communion enables the CofE to build a sustainable and relevant future and the ‘Communion’ to feel freer to decide where the AofC comes from.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rosyfair
1 year ago

I find it incredible that members of the C of E think they have too many bishops. Our Diocese of Edmonton in western Canada has about 50 parishes, and with all the jobs on his plate, it’s hard enough to see our bishop as it is. I dread to think what it would be like if he had 450 parishes in his diocese, like so many in the C of E. I have been very fortunate to spend almost all of my parish ministry in dioceses small enough for me to know and be known by my diocesan bishop. And… Read more »

Rosyfair
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

Leeds Diocese has 462 parishes, many of which are part of shared benefices, and 5 Bishops – the Diocesan, and 4 Area Bishops . So that’s nearly approx Bishop per 112 parishes ( as the Diocesan is relatively hands off at Area level, – I couldn’t say what the staffing works out per parish but there are a lot of multiple benefices. The Area Bishops have an extra layer of Diocesan staff meetings and business to deal with, which leaves them with less time for contact within their own Areas. I think it is the fact that extra Bishops are… Read more »

Geoff M.
Geoff M.
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

But this doesn’t seem like a role that’s going to involve visiting parishes. It’s not a diocesan or suffragan appointment but a kind of “themed” at-large bishopric. If it were meant to meet the needs of parishes I doubt there would be much objection. As it is it looks like a make-work project.

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

Geographical distances is an important distinction here. There maybe more parishes in an English diocese but they are much more densely packed. The reason why many ordinary parishioners think we have too many bishops is that they do such a terrible job of being visible in their dioceses. They also see increasing demands for money without getting the diocesan support they feel they need. Instead we get more focus on pet projects, bureaucracy, more well-paid diocesan jobs and our parishes having to share an incumbent with an increasing number of others. There has been an exponential growth in jobs for… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 year ago

The next Archbishop of Canterbury will need to be very strong willed to dismantle the machine currently sucking clergy and money into ‘senior’ and ‘central’ posts. It will take ten years to undo what has been ten years in the making. I believe the diocesan trend towards centralised jobs is a reaction to what has happened at Lambeth/Church House Westminster, as dioceses scramble to keep up with the workload imposed from above, and bend to pressure to represent new initiatives, mostly unapproved by diocesan synod, on the diocesan payroll. So someone with a vision for a well resourced front line… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 year ago

“too many bishops…do such a terrible job of being visible in their dioceses.” That may be the case, but how often do parish priests invite their Bishop to preside and preach at their Parish Eucharist? Whenever I’ve done this I’ve found bishops not only willing to oblige but also relieved to get away from being only wanted when hands are to be laid on.

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
Reply to  Allan Sheath
1 year ago

Do Bishops need to wait to be invited by their busy multi-parish leading priests who are getting fewer and busier by the year? Leadership is not about waiting to be summoned.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 year ago

In 44 years of ministry I have worked in five Canadian dioceses. In almost all of them, the bishops did not force themselves on their parishes, but waited for an invitation (confirmation services, special events etc.). The exception was the Diocese of the Arctic, where extensive plane travel was involved in parish visits and it was not economical to only visit one parish at a time in a general area.

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 year ago

Maybe I am speaking out of turn here but I know that any of our Bishops would be warmly welcome to attend any of our services at any time and to minister in any of those services. The idea that Bishops in England are not visiting their parishes because they are worried of being seen as overbearing unless they have a specific invitation is rather odd. Far less believable than the reality that they do not instigate regular visits to parishes across their diocese because they believe they have more important things to do. Parish priests, church wardens and PCCs… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  A not so humble parishioner
1 year ago

I wonder whether there is scope for a flatter structure in the CofE: more bishops, but all diocesan and with much smaller dioceses, maybe as small as a deanery, and they can be the servant of all – covering holidays and interregnums, and periods of illness, and providing pastoral care to the priests of their diocese. No need for an increased stipend, or a palace, just a normal vicarage and perhaps an annexe with an office and a decent sized meeting room. Centralise the provision of housing and other things that simply lead to duplication of staff and expertise between… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Jo B
1 year ago

Yes, there is clearly scope but turkeys don’t vote for Christmas so little chance of such a major change. With members of the Anglican Communion helping chose the next Archbishop of Canterbury we should expect the appointment of another centraliser so probably little chance of positive change in the foreseeable future.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Kate, I am a ‘member of the Anglican Communion’, and I do not see why you think I would have an interest in voting for ‘another centraliser’.

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