on Friday, 14 July 2023 at 11.55 pm by Peter Owen
categorised as Church of England, News
The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, has announced that he plans to retire from the role at the end of February next year. He will have served as Bishop of Durham for 10 years.
I can’t wait to see which evangelical is chosen to fill this once great See.
Ah. Getting your revenge in first FrDavidH.
FrDavidH is like Mr. Dick in David Copperfield, who couldn’t stop himself from bringing King Charles’ head into every conversation.
It’s sad when a personal hatred is so all-consuming.
You are quite correct. Evangelical Paul Butler’s career peaked standing in Westminster Abbey next to King Charles’ head.
Paul Butler is a lovely, warm hearted, caring person who I got to know when he was Bishop of Southampton. It’s so unkind to demean his reputation with cheap comments.
An evangelical appointment would be against the current trend. Since 2017 we have had 11 liberal catholics appointed (London, Bristol, Norwich, York, Chelmsford, Portsmouth, Salisbury, Bath and Wells, Lincoln, Liverpool, Newcastle), 1 traditional catholic (Blackburn) and only 6 evangelicals (Truro, Derby, Hereford, Chester, Rochester, Winchester). But don’t let the facts get in your way……
Durham has had three evangelicals in succession. Facts aren’t getting in my way.
I would say 4 Evangelicals in Succession, Michael Turnbull, Tom Wright, Justin Welby and now at present Paul Butler. Many years going back they had an Anglo Catholic in Michael Ramsey. I remember spending a year in Durham and I discovered the City of Durham was quite an Evangelical stronghold with various shades of Evangelicals going about and not all of them Anglican, though Ii would like to think putting the City of Durham to one side that the Diocese is a mixed economy Diocese of various shades of churchmanship, and from that point of view , given the diversity… Read more »
How remiss of me to forget evangelical Justin Welby whose tenure was so short he hardly had time to unpack his furniture. The present evangelical suffragan bishop of Jarrow was a friend of evangelical Paul Butler. It was a case of jobs for the girls..
The Rt Revd Sarah Clark was appointed to Jarrow following the practice bishops are required to follow for all suffragan appointments, and which is well documented. The process was robust, to which I can testify as the External Member of the Bishop’s Advisory Group for the nomination.
God moves in mysterious ways. A friend of mine was refused a new parish by Sarah Clark because he couldn’t demonstrate numerical growth in his present post. Since Ms Clark was appointed to Jarrow, the diocese has suffered numerical decline. Sauce for goose and ganders comes to mind.
I rather hope they might consider a scholar . The bench lacks one. I know the diocese has many problems but there must be a scholar with pastoral instincts somewhere?
The diocese had an evangelical “scholar” in Tom Wright who seemed to spend most of his time lecturing elsewhere. Evangelical Michael Turnbull had a torrid time having to downplay an historical gay sex scandal. Evangelical Paul Butler’s claim to fame is standing next to King Charles at the Coronation. Which evangelical scholar do you have in mind?
On the other hand David Jenkins, though a prominent scholar, was also a dedicated and effective pastor to his diocese by all accounts, notwithstanding all the negative media attention he received.
Given that almost all Diocesans are previously suffragan, are there any outstanding scholars within that rank?
David Jenkins was immensely popular amongst most clergy and people – with some evangelical exceptions. I think his liberal views frightened the horses, so bland evangelicals have succeeded him, enabling the Diocese’s steady decline .
“so bland evangelicals have succeeded him” – do you actually think there was a cause and effect here? Would welcome a more expansive explanation of that statement. (If you can!)
Bishop of Huntingdon? Very impressive.
I agree. And my niece can testify to her pastoral gifts.
What about the Bishop of Newcastle? (Not that she’s been there very long.)
2008 Lambeth Conference – Tom Wright introduced his fringe lecture (for CMS) with ‘Since becoming Bishop of Durham this is the first time I have slept in the same bed for two weeks’. The American Bishop sat next to me said ‘How big is the Diocese of Durham that he is forced to stay away so often?’
He gave the concept of a “flying bishop” a new meaning.
Interestingly at Winchester during the 20th century that role was more often filled by the Dean. In succession Gordon Selwyn 27 years, a former Warden of Radley; Norman Sykes, Cambridge Dixie Professor, sadly too briefly, dying in office within three years; Michael Stancliffe, 17 years; Trevor Beeson, nine years, and happily still with us. During the same period, bishops would include Alwyn Williams, who made the unusual move from Durham to Winchester, and John Vernon Taylor. All outstanding men, both scholarly and pastoral.
I fear running a cathedral these days is such that we have probably seen the end of scholarly deans. It would be good to have residentiary Canon Theologians who could have a significant teaching role in the diocese.
Can Sam Wells be persuaded out of London? Andrew Rumsey strikes me as erudite and parish focussed.
His wife did train in the city after all!
AR, kyrie eleison.
Jo B-W is based in Lambeth now I think. Not near Durham
Couldn’t agree more but I look in vain for a Michael or an Ian Ramsey to succeed to the See of Durham.
Had it not been for Ian Ramsey’s tragically early death, Michael Cantuar might well have been followed by Ian Cantuar.
Instead he was followed by a distinguished Hebrew scholar, former theological college principal, and chairman of the joint committee that produced the NEB and REB translations.
I have written in another TA post that Donald Coggan was nominated for Archbishop of Sydney in 1958. He was not quite fifty then, and it seems to me that if he had been elected to Sydney a translation back to England would have taken place sooner or later. York in 1961 would perhaps have been too soon.
Had he been appointed to Sydney he might
have imported some of their wonderful liturgical practices, like removing the York Minster altar, replacing it with a big cinema screen, and preaching in a lounge suit. What a great loss to York!
I think if you read his bio, FrDavidH, you would realise that even in 1958 he would not have fit the Sydney model. I would highly recommend ‘Donald Coggan, Servant of Christ’ by Margaret Pawley. I would encourage you to read it before you make any more sweeping assertions about the sort of Anglican he was.
FrDavidH, you may not be aware that when Donald Coggan returned to the UK in the 1950s after his stint at Wycliffe College in Toronto, he was invited to renew his association with InterVarsity, but declined to do so because he felt he could no longer sign their statement of faith—in particular, the article affirming the inerrancy of scripture. In some people’s eyes today that would call into question his evangelicalism, and yet he continued to be described as an evangelical throughout his ministry. Far from being a screen user and lounge suit preacher, on his translation to York he… Read more »
I was taking a cheap shot at Sydney Diocese, not Donald Coggan.
I do not understand this comment. I have studied the list of nominees for Archbishop of Sydney in the 1958 election*. It includes Maurice Wood who was to become Bishop of Norwich (and in the early ’70s preached at the annual National Pilgrimage to Walsingham) and John Tiarks who was to become Bishop of Chelmsford. Also on the list was the Bishop of New Guinea, Philip Strong. Why would they have been more compliant with the ‘Sydney model’ than Coggan was? Geoffrey Fisher when informally consulted strongly favoured Tiarks.
I have read the biography of Coggan by Pawley.
Clifford, if you look carefully you will see that my comment was directed at FrDavidH, not you.
By 1958 Coggan no longer affirmed the inerrancy of scripture. I suspect Sydney would have seen him as a liberal evangelical because of that. But TBH I’m hazy about the chronology of Sydney’s conservatism. My objection was to FrDavidH lumping them all in together because of the dreaded E-word.
I was simply challenging the comment to the effect that Coggan would not have been a suitable Archbishop of Sydney in 1958. I never imagined that it was directed at me. I should like to endorse Froghole’s statement that Donald Coggan was a nice guy. When his daughter graduated in medicine at Leeds (Coggan was at York at the time) a member of the university administration met him and Mrs Coggan at the entrance to the hall where the degree ceremony was to take place and offered them seats at the front. Donald immediately said that he was ‘just here… Read more »
In retirement Archbishop Coggan moved to Winchester and lived in St John’s Charity, an ancient religious foundation hospital (not of the medical kind) where, for a brief period, I played for services during the illness of the organist and then, sadly, for her funeral. Archbishop Coggan was also ‘honorary organist’ of the tiny church of St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate – except that St Swithun’s doesn’t possess an organ. The Archbishop accompanied services on the piano, and by all accounts kept the singing congregation on their mettle. Surely the only former Archbishop of Canterbury to have done so. His funeral was held in… Read more »
Thank you. I can’t remember (given how senile I am becoming) if I have mentioned this several years’ ago, but, as you may know he remained in Kent as an assistant bishop for about a decade after retiring, taking services in several churches in the vicinity of his Sissinghurst home. He did expect people to sing out. For instance, I was told at Frittenden that if he did not think the singing was adequate, he would shout: “Stop! We will start again.” I can only assume that this is what you mean by keeping people ‘on their mettle’. He was… Read more »
I once had occasion to visit Bishopthorpe (outside York) and was glad to see a fine painting of Donald Coggan (along with other former ABY, of course). I don’t remember the exact wording, but the caption under the painting included words to the effect that he is especially remembered ‘for his tireless visiting of parishes up and down the diocese.’ Not a bad legacy, I think. I should also add that in 1958, when he was Bishop of Bradford, he wrote a very fine little book (128 pages if I remember correctly) about preaching, called ‘Stewards of Grace.’ I’ve read… Read more »
In late 1974, just before his move from York to Canterbury, Coggan gave a lecture* about the well known Canon Peter Green of Salford, who had died in 1961. Coggan said: ‘Good and great men are quickly forgotten and he [Green] died 13 years ago, and that at the age of 90.’ Coggan retired from Canterbury over 40 years ago and died over 20 years ago, yet a thread apropos of him has featured in TA over the last day or two. Michael Ramsey died in 1988 and Geoffrey Fisher in 1972, so they like Coggan are still within living… Read more »
I vaguely knew about Donald Coggan, but didn’t really pay much attention until a friend directed my attention to ‘Stewards of Grace’ in the mid-1980s. After that, I paid a lot more attention and tried to read everything he had written.
Obviously time for writing was very limited when he was an archbishop. His post-retirement books include a biography of Cuthbert Bardsley, published by Zondervan in 1989.
Also a very good book!
Your memory is very good: 127 pages, Hodder & Stoughton 1958, according to Amazon UK who are offering hardcopy and paperback for £6.45 and £4.76 respectively.
I don’t think that St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney was like that at the time when Coggan was in the running for Archbishop, though it was certainly ‘low’. There is a widely circulated anecdote that when Michael Ramsey went there in the 1960s he turned to reverence the altar on his way to the pulpit and was nonplussed by the absence of a cross. But there was an installed altar. I have written in previous posts of Christ Church St Laurence (CCSL) in Sydney, which is very much in the Catholic tradition. In circa 1990 the Rector of CCSL, Austin… Read more »
Many thanks, as ever. The conservative evangelicalism of Sydney perhaps dates from the time of William Saumarez Smith (1890-1909), who had received the preferment at a time of considerable economic stress in NSW and when there was great animosity between protestants and catholics within the colony. The latter had been led since 1884 by the highly energetic Francis Moran (former bishop of Ossory and future cardinal), the first Irish appointee, and the leading authorities (the Tory colonial secretary Knutsford, the Liberal governor Carrington and the premier Harry Parkes, struggling with a large deficit at a time of depression) felt that… Read more »
Thank YOU. You mention G-G Lord De D’Isle. He and Archbishop Gough’s wife were cousins.
I never met De L’Isle, although I saw him once at Penshurst, and knew contemporaries of his at school and university. As you will know, he was appointed because Menzies needed to find someone quickly when ‘Shakes’ Morrison (Dunrossil) died suddenly. Menzies was fixed on someone British: he had made a great fuss over Chifley appointing McKell, arguing that it was degrading to replace a royal duke (however thick and nearly useless; the ‘forgotten soldier’) with a Sydney boilermaker. It was becoming increasingly hard to get the ‘right sort’ to go out to Australia, and it is clear that De… Read more »
The G-G’s name was Lord De L’Isle.
Sorry – I should add that the reason why I mention Saumarez Smith and not Frederic Barker (who had been inspired by Simeon and, of course, founded Moore College in 1856) is that the College was not educating the majority of Sydney clergy until the end of the 19th century, and because it was Smith who appointed Nathaniel Jones in 1897. It was perhaps Jones who appears to have made the crucial difference. Alfred Barry, the last crown appointee, interposed between Barker and Jones, was somewhat liberal. I do note, however, that Barker had been bishop of Chester at a… Read more »
Barker was never Bishop of Chester.
Yes, sorry, a false and silly memory from a thesis I read a while back. However, I note Barker was at Edge Hill (West Derby township), which was one of the sectarian front lines, at a time when the likes of George Wise or John Kensit could whip up an Orange mob in an instant, and when the cry was ‘no popery on the rates’, and clergy from each side were periodically targeted. That experience must have sunk deep.
I had a twice daily reminder of Barker when for over eight years I worked at the University of New South Wales. At that time the main entrance to the campus for vehicles was on Barker St., named after Bishop Barker. Barker St. links the suburbs of Kingsford and Randwick, and is steep hill. The Bishop’s residence in Barker’s time was in or near Randwick, which is so named after the small town in Gloucestershire.
There are just so many statements about Sydney in these comments that I should question. E.g. Sydney’s evangelical tradition began way back in the 19th century, with its second bishop, Barker, succeeding the high church, Bishop Broughton. Things could have been different ! Some of our archbishops have been liberal evangelical (such as Barry and Wright, and one whom I for one greatly admired, Archbishop Gough. Late in life he wrote to me, in his then fragile hand, saying that what Sydney needed – and he put it in capitals – was TOLERANCE. All Sydney bishops, whether conservative or liberal… Read more »
I seem to remember John that the ‘old fashioned, strong, broad church, lower middle class BCP parish’ which you led for 22 years was Chester Hill in Sydney’s west. Correct me if I am wrong.
How likely is a bit of ‘succession planning’? Perhaps the next +Dunelm might be the next ++ABC-to-be, whatever ‘caste’, ‘hue’, ‘tradition’, ‘training’ or ‘wing’?
You surely don’t think the next +Dunelm will have chance to get used to Durham before the ABC moves on (bets on ABC resigning before Durham is filled!)
Certainly the present system does make succession planning difficult.
Retirements and appointments here always throw up a familiar line of thought – its about then and now, and I detect it in myself. Do you suppose every generation, at a certain stage of life, pines for an age past when leaders/bishops were profound and gifted, and laments the contrasting poverty of the present crop? How would we know? More to the point, where does it get us?
I don’t think future generations will look back pining for profound and gifted leaders like Liz Truss and Boris Johnson. Sometimes the State and the Church are served by a poor crop.
‘… future generations ….’ – that’s probably in the script too.
I didn’t know anyone was writing one.
Well it was yours that kicked this discussion off.
That would require you to know what sort of political leaders the future generations will have. If you’d told me a few years ago that the day would come when I would speak a kind word about George W. Bush, I would have questioned your sanity. But, seen from the perspective of four years of Trump, and his continuing attempt to become president again, GWB seems a lot more moderate than he used to.
I don’t believe Mr Runcorn’s suggestion that we always look back with yearning for the good old days when leaders were profound and gifted. George W Bush is a political giant compared with Trump who sadly hasn’t gone away. I’ve no doubt that the future will one day yield some gifted leaders who will be admired. I don’t think people will look back on Trump and Putin as leaders for whom, in Mr Runcorn’s words, pine in an age past.
I am not the one who introduced politcians here. But this discussion thread is full of looking back to a time when Bishops were Scholars and Leaders etc – compared to now. You began the discussion yourself by speaking of Durham as ‘this once great See’ now declining under the baleful influence of a tradition you have (for reasons unknown) such an unrestrained and intense loathing of.
These TA digressions can be enjoyable (no specific reference here to exchanges with Fr David H: surely by now he expects us to take much of what he says with a pinch of salt).
I introduced the subject of scholarly deans at Winchester, possibly outnumbering their bishops – rose-tinted spectacles? But I decided to explore further about Alwyn Williams, the bishop who confirmed my late wife, also the first Bishop of Winchester I personally remember. He was, indeed, a most distinguished scholar and, something I did not previously know, had been Dean of Christ Church, Oxford before his two bishoprics.
Some people on here will be pleased to note the new Dean of Durham is an evangelical. Surprise surprise!
I’m not on Ian Paul’s Christmas card list and haven’t been for years, but I notice he is not allowing pseudonymous comments on his website Psephizo as from 16 August. Might TA introduce the same rule? It really is quite tiresome to continue to have to read predictable and partisan comments from the same folk hiding beneath the parapet. I tend not to respond to them if I can avoid it. In some cases I know who they are, but in most not.
Tiresome it might be Anthony, and for that I apologise. But when, like me, you have been a victim of Church related abuse, and re-abused by members of the hierarchy who have mishandled my case or just been well meaning but incompetent, but you are still a priest whose living and family home depends on not becoming a target for vindictiveness, the parapet becomes the only option other than being forced into silence yet again.
So I hope TA does not ban we tiresome people.
Anthony, I’m not seeing that notice on Psephizo. Where did you find it?
It’s at the bottom of his introduction to Fractures and Fractiousness at General Synod (July 14) which elicited 450 comments, including many by a very tedious ‘S’.
Ah, I see it. It’s not quite as you describe:
‘NOTE: I am giving notice that from 16th August I will no longer allow anonymous comments. All are welcome to publish under pseudonyms if you wish, but you will need to make yourself known to me from then if you wish to continue commenting.’
I like FrDavid H’s billets doux. Great fun. They expose the absurdity of an argument carried to its conclusion and they poke pomposity. As to pseudonymity I don’t care one way or the other. If there were a Pseuds’ Corner he would not be in it. Others would. In my humble opinion of course.
Why be so nosey? Why do you need this information and importantly…. What are you going to do with it when you identify the name? Ah….Ah…ah…you want to check the Bar Standards Board, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, LinkedIn, Crockford’s clerical register and a few other sites to check our pedigree. Surely, the content is the important element. It’s a fine group, varied folks, and the total joy of all of us being united recently in our condemnation of the AC in its abysmal handling of Safeguarding matters and survivor justice has been superb. We have 3 splendid Moderators/facilitators who know… Read more »
Dear Mr Archer I confess I didn’t know who you were until you posted your complaint and I googled you (I assume you are the lawyer and not the organic farmer from Ambridge). As a relative newcomer to this forum (even more recently adding a surname to avoid confusion with another Mark) I’m not sure whether I am one of those whose comments qualify as ‘tiresome’ in your judgement, but if so I do not apologise; you hardly ‘have to’ read them, as you put it. There are only three people who do, and they are the very generous moderators… Read more »
I didn’t think your reference to “leaders” applied solely to the Church.
I wish we could stop defining ourselves positively and negatively as Catholic, Liberal or Evangelical. Do we not want leaders who transcend this… those who can appeal to all, and who can above all be the leaders that God wants at a particular time in a particular place? Sometimes we define a person by their CV rather than their ministry. More often than not, should we not rejoice and be surprised that they have moved and changed and grown. Surely that is a good sign of intellectual and spiritual growth – that there are “many rooms in my Father’s house”… Read more »
It would be nice if people stopped defining themselves as Liberals, Catholics or Evangelicals etc. But in my experience, those who define themselves as simply “Christians” are the most insufferable of all!
Thank you for this comment, Tim. I agree. As another post on this site says ‘we are all chipped cups’. There is comfort in being among the like minded, though it increases the chances of falling into the same hole. Of course taking a pop at someone we disagree with is sometimes fun, but viewed from outside it must be an odd advertisement for our faith. ‘See how they love one another’. Public debate is very rancid nowadays, so I suppose we can’t be completely immune, (‘this animal is vicious, when attacked it defends itself’ comes to mind), but it… Read more »
The issue is not how we define ourselves, here or on any social media – but how we define, label and discuss the faith of others.
The subject of this thread is “The Bishop of Durham”, more specifically his retirement. No doubt there will be prayers, and, one hopes, Christian comment when his successor is announced. Meanwhile to newcomers to TA, can one gently suggest that they test the waters for a while before issuing blanket condemnation of fellow contributors? TA is a blog for all sorts and conditions of men and women, and the editors generously permit comment by non-Anglicans. I find some contributions infuriating, although not so personally offensive as when I first ‘joined’. In time you get to know the foibles, strengths and… Read more »