Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Hereford to retire

The Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Revd Richard Frith has announced he is to retire in the autumn. His public ministry will end with a service at Hereford Cathedral on Saturday 23 November at 11am. The diocesan press release is here.

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David Richards
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David Richards

Consultations about +Richard’s successor and Diocesan days of prayer next February are a good foil to what will inevitably be the appointment of a ‘soft’ evangelical woman who can be relied upon to toe the line over sexuality, balance the books, chuck loads of money at HTB-sponsored church plants, and burden the rest of us with ill-considered initiatives for growth. It’s all one-way traffic (cf Derby) as the haemorrhaging gathers pace, and the Church continues to withdraw ever-inward to pursue its fantasy of reversing decline.

Nick
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Nick

The bigotry and generalisation here is comical – if feelings are so strong, why is the opposition to this so ineffective in fielding other credible candidates? It isn’t – to my knowledge – a big conspiracy, perhaps there are sound and spiritual reasons why such bishops are being appointed? Or are you saying the CNC process is completely biased and ineffective? And by the way, the use of the word “soft” in this context is sexist and telling – the answer to why you are not being heard and are not getting the appointments you would like may rest in… Read more »

Bill Broadhead
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Bill Broadhead

Bigotry is a bit strong, Nick. What I read in David Richards’ post is a statement of the bl**ding obvious. After all it is entirely true to the spirit of the outcome of recent CNC deliberations. Where there seems to be a change of direction is Deans. The most recent (Salisbury, Portsmouth and York) have shown a refreshing willingness to think outside the box of prevailing orthodoxy. As for fielding other credible candidates for Hereford, are you familiar with the machinations of the Wash House?

David Richards
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David Richards

Nick is entitled to his view, even if he does misinterpret the essence of my comment. It is worth saying, however, that my use of the word ‘soft’ has absolutely no gender-specific overtones. I used it to denote the opposite of ‘hard line.’ Steve Croft and Graham Tomlin are as much ‘soft’ evangelicals as Libby Lane and Sarah Mullally – but not Rod Thomas or Julian Henderson, of course.

Father David
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Father David

If “mutual flourishing” is anything other than a fantasy, I look forward to a Traditionalist being appointed as the next Bishop of Hereford, although, I’m not holding my breath!

Michael
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Michael

Much as I would like to see the continuing appointment of some traditionalist bishops within the Church of England, this would hardly be the best diocese for it. I understand Hereford has the highest percentage (47%) of female clergy of any English diocese and there are no parishes affiliated to the Society. It could hardly work.

Father David
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Father David

Michael, as we would both like to see the continuing appointment of traditionalist bishops – which would, in your opinion, be “the best diocese” for such a future appointment? if not Hereford where? If we are to see no such appointments to diocesan posts in the future then “mutual flourishing” becomes simply farcical. For, as we all know well actions speak louder than words and “warm words butter no parsnips”!

Michael
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Michael

Father David, I suspect we are both, whether futilely or not, “singing from the same Hymn Sheet!”.There may not be a “best” diocese unless Chichester in the future continues to have a traditionalist bishop. I suspect any appointment to a diocesan post of a traditionalist will lead to a severe reaction. After all, Sheffield has a substantial number of catholic parishes and look what happened there. I would hope, however, that traditionalists could still be appointed to suffragan posts and that this could be accepted by all as being in the spirit of mutual flourishing. It would cerainly help in… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Seeing is believing and apart from the nomination of Philip North to the suffragan see of Burnley I don’t recall any other traditionalist being appointed anywhere else as suffragan bishop? It’s all rather pathetic that in a relatively short period of time we are reduced to a single solitary traditionalist bishop i.e. Chichester. Philip North would make a first rate diocesan.

Michael
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Michael

Yes he would and our church is the poorer that it hasn’t happened.I do wonder if present trends continue whether we have too many dioceses anyway?

Michael Mulhern
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Michael Mulhern

Agreed with my namesake about a traditionalist in Hereford. But that doesn’t preclude the nomination of someone outside the current box, who will bring intellectual rigour to the role, and show that there are more imaginative and rooted ways to do mission and evangelism than the favoured formula. But like David Richards, I fear that this will be a classic case of ‘more of the same.’ Unless, of course, those from within the Diocese are prepared to do what they did last time, and delay a nomination in order to avert a potential disaster.

John Wallace
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John Wallace

Given that so much of the Anglo-Catholic community has been anti-women for a long time, it is not surprising that there are no episcopal ‘candidates’. As we get a wider range of women’s experience, I hope and pray that there will be more diversity in appointments. However, those of us in the non-evangelical sector, need to up our game and push vocations. Theological colleges in that tradition need to be more assertive in recruitment.

Stephen King
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Stephen King

I am a supporter of the ordination of women to the episcopate, but I entirely agree that traditionalists appear to be overlooked and that more of them need to be appointed to the episcopate. I know nothing about the make-up of the clergy of the Diocese of Hereford, but as most dioceses have at least two bishops, is it not possible for a diocese to have at least one bishop who would ordain women, and at least one who would not?

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

I would not be expected to comment on the Crown Nominations Commission-related comments on this thread, save to say that the Central Members of the CNC, joined as they will be by the soon to be elected Diocesan Representatives from the Diocese of Hereford, will meet to discern whom God might be calling to be the next Bishop. I would however, as a former member of the Dioceses Commission, like to pick up on Michael’s comment that there are too many dioceses in the Church of England. The creation of the new Diocese of Leeds, which I supported (but which… Read more »

Michael
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Michael

Thank you to Anthony Archer for picking up on my comment.I defer to someone obviously so much better informed than I am in this matter but I am intrigued to note that within some dioceses,as I have heard tell, there are moves to rationalise and reduce the number of deaneries

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Thanks. Deaneries are important mission units, which if organised properly can resource constituent parishes. Some dioceses are working to review their structure (e.g. Derby) but I am not sure enough energy is going into such endeavours.