Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Kingston to retire

News from the Diocese of Southwark

The Bishop of Kingston, The Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham, announced today that he will be concluding his term of office on 17 October 2022, the 20th anniversary of his consecration. He is one of the longest-serving stipendiary bishops in the Church of England…

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God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
3 months ago

So how many ‘serving’ non-stipendiary or ‘self-supporting’ bishops are there, and of how many? Any ‘part-time’? Wishing all well.

Anne
Anne
Reply to  God 'elp us all
3 months ago

I am not aware of any non-stipendiary bishops,yet, but I wonder when it’ll come.

The message is that there’s a shift towards almost entirely unpaid clergy (likely ‘part-time’ as they’ll need to self-support), so why not also unpaid (‘part time’) bishops, archdeacons etc? It fits with simper, humbler, bolder…

Nicholas Henshall
Nicholas Henshall
Reply to  Anne
3 months ago

Jan, former Bishop of Repton is essentially a non stipendiary Bishop attached to Lichfield Cathedral.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Nicholas Henshall
3 months ago

I can think of another example of that. Leslie Hamilton Lang (1889-1974), second cousin of Cosmo Gordon Lang whose domestic chaplain he once was, in 1947 resigned as Bishop Suffragan of Woolwich to become Archdeacon of Winchester, a canon of Winchester and an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Winchester.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Clifford Jones
3 months ago

I remember him well, and in the 1950s with my parents several times received the Communion Cup from his hands at Winchester Cathedral.

Peter Lear
Peter Lear
Reply to  God 'elp us all
3 months ago

Years ago I volunteered to be a non stipendiary bishop – partly in jest. Got a really icy reception!

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  God 'elp us all
3 months ago

I think the description avoids offending those bishops who are active in retirement. One of them will no doubt claim the title ‘longest serving bishop in the C of E’. But who?

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
3 months ago

A good point. I do not know who would be the ‘longest serving bishop in the C of E’ at present but will inform readers of one such from an earlier generation. Robert Mounsey (1867-1952) was consecrated Bishop of Labuan and Sarawak in Lambeth Palace Chapel on Lady Day 1909. He gave up his see because of health issues in 1916. In 1924 he entered the Community of the Resurrection (CR), Mirfield, and had to take the forename Rupert as there was already a Robert in the Community. Thereafter Mounsey was an assistant bishop successively in Truro (where the diocesan… Read more »

Dan BD
Reply to  Clifford Jones
3 months ago

By my reckoning, the senior bishop by consecration among the CofE’s honorary assistant bishops would be Colin Bazley, if he still holds that licence in Chester diocese. He was consecrated Pentecost 1969.

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
3 months ago

There’s a current proposal to slim down the House of Lords on a ‘two out, one in’ pattern. I think that would be a good plan for the Church of England. Southwark isn’t short of a bishop or three if you include active retired ones in the diocese.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Toby Forward
3 months ago

Southwark is currently filling the Croydon vacancy. It is unthinkable that the Dioceses Commission will give permission to fill Kingston. The area scheme will have to be changed such that the diocese is divided into two episcopal areas, with the result that the diocesan will have to carry more responsibility.

Cantab
Cantab
Reply to  Anthony Archer
3 months ago

Given +Southwark is also due to retire imminently, Croydon is vacant, and +Woolwich frequently suffers from ill health, the whole diocese is episcopally rather precarious.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Cantab
3 months ago

Rather as +Ely is looking after Lincoln as well his own diocese. Perhaps +Guildford could take on Southwark too?

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Toby Forward
3 months ago

Did I read somewhere that they’re planning to abandon geographical areas and take on role specific titles. Bishop for Brexit etc.? It’ll surely grow like topsy if they get that through. Bishop for the car industry; perhaps a Bishop for the Border Force?

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Fr Dean
3 months ago

No, in fact the recommendation is that ALL suffragans should have a defined geographical responsibility.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
3 months ago

Thank you Simon, so it is the diocesan bishops who will shed their local responsibilities?

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Fr Dean
3 months ago

Not at all. The thrust of the argument in the report is that EVERY diocesan and suffragan bishop should have a specific geographic responsibility. And perhaps a very few might have a wider brief, such as the current Bishop of Islington.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
3 months ago

So, will it always be that the Area Bishop of Huddersfield in the current Diocese of Leeds will always carry a portfolio as Lead safeguarding bishop; and is the acting Bishop of Winchester, or formerly so acting or something also Suffragan Bishop of Southampton always going to carry Deputy Lead safeguarding portfolio. Surely these portfolios ought to be with the bishops best qualified, as I hope and trust they are, and not ‘buggins turn’. As for what the good folk of Huddersfiled, etc, need?

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  God 'elp us all
3 months ago

Not at all. Nowhere have I seen any suggestion that any “portfolio” role should be permanently attached to a particular person..

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  God 'elp us all
3 months ago

It is not the case that the Bishop of Huddersfield will ‘always’ carry the portfolio as lead safeguarding bishop. These responsibilities are allocated on a personal, not a diocesan basis. Thus, Jonathan Gibbs’s two immediate predecessors in the role were Peter Hancock (Bath & Wells), who served as lead safeguarding bishop for 4 years (but for IICSA it was intended to be only 3 years), and Paul Butler (Durham). Similarly, Rachel Treweek, the bishop of Gloucester, is the current Bishop to HM Prisons, but her predecessor was the recently-retired bishop of Rochester, James Langstaff.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
3 months ago

I’m puzzled, how does this differ from the current arrangement? +London deals with medical matters and sexuality; +Ely looks after church schools; +Exeter liturgy; +Birmingham the rota for the House of Lords etc..

Father Ron Smith
3 months ago

Your idea resonates, Simon. A bishop’s role is primarily pastoral, surely!

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
3 months ago

Father Ron, I seem to recall there is (was?) a workstream relating to the purposes/ roles etc of bishops. What are they for? Is there a ‘template’ for a ‘job description’, ‘person specification’?

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  God 'elp us all
3 months ago

‘Bishop’ is of course an order, not a post. That is why a bishop who becomes a dean or archdeacon continues to be Rt Rev, not Very Rev or Venerable respectively. That point was missed by the South African journalist who, dismissing Bishop Ambrose Reeves’ invocation of the term ‘Bishop in the Church of God’, said ‘To call Dr Hewlett Johnson a Dean of the Church of God would not make him anything other than the Communist that he is’. (Peart-Binns J.S. ‘Ambrose Reeves’ Gollancz, London, 1973).

Peter Mullins
Peter Mullins
3 months ago

Mouncey’s impressive 44 years as a Bishop may well have made him the longest serving when he died in 1953. Donald Arden (consecrated for Nyasaland 1961 and still active in parishes in London over fifty years later) must have been a strong candidate when he died in 2014. John Habgood (consecrated for Durham in 1973) had been a Bishop 46 years (longer than Mouncey, but not as long as Arden) might have been a candidate when he died in 2019. Robert Mercer (also CR as it happens, consecrated for Matabeleland in 1977 which is 45 years ago, but he has… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Peter Mullins
3 months ago

John Daly, born in 1901, was consecrated Bishop of Gambia and Guinea in 1935. I recall attending the 40th anniversary celebration in 1975, as he was by then an assistant bishop in the diocese of Coventry, and vicar of the neighbouring parish to us. He lived another 10 years to celebrate the jubilee of his consecration. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Daly_(bishop)

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Peter Mullins
3 months ago

Donald Coggan was in the 45th year of his episcopal consecration when he died.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Peter Mullins
3 months ago

According to the Guinness Book of Records:

The longest tenure of any Church of England bishopric is 57 years in the case of the Rt Rev. Thomas Wilson, who was consecrated Bishop of Sodar and Man on 16 Jan 1698 and died in office on 7 Mar 1755. Of English bishoprics, the longest tenures — if one excludes the unsubstantiated case of Aethelwulf, reputedly Bishop of Hereford from 937 to 1012 — are those of 47 years, served by Jocelin de Bohun of Salisbury (1142-89) and Nathaniel Crew or Crewe of Durham (1674-1721).

[Their mis-spelling of “Sodor”.]

https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/65285-longest-serving-anglican-bishop

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
3 months ago

Does the Guinness Book of Records have an entry for the most elderly bishop at the time of his enthronement? Robert Stopford, former Bishop of London, was enthroned as Bishop of Bermuda in 1976 at age 75. It was his fifth episcopal post.

Edward Prebble
Edward Prebble
Reply to  Clifford Jones
3 months ago

Archbishop Brown Turei was still serving as Pihopa o Aotearoa, one of the three co-equal primates of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, new Zealand and Polynesia when he died aged 92.
When his fellow archbishop, Jabez Bryce of Polynesia died a few years earlier, he had been serving for 35 years. They were reputed to be at that time, respectively the oldest, and the longest-serving bishops in active service in the Anglican Communion

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Edward Prebble
3 months ago

Thank you. I have a happy personal recollection of Bishop Bryce, who took me out to dinner at a restaurant in Suva on New Year’s Day 1984 whilst I was holidaying in Fiji. I wrote and thanked him once I was back in Australia and had a reply signed Jabez Polynesia. Happy days!

Neil J
Neil J
Reply to  Peter Mullins
3 months ago

John Bickersteth (Warrington, then Bath/Wells) racked up 48 years before his death in 2018. His family may also hold a record for successive generations as CofE clergymen. His son, now nearing retirement, is the 8th, possibly more, generation, from father to son and including some uncles.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Neil J
3 months ago

Interesting. One might also consider the Woods family. Theodore Woods was Bishop of Winchester and his brother Edward Woods was Bishop of Lichfield. One of Edward’s sons became Bishop of Worcester and another Archbishop of Melbourne. They were descended from Elizabeth Fry.

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Clifford Jones
3 months ago

Robin Woods’ (Bishop of Worcester) daughter Rachel is a priest.

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  peter kettle
3 months ago

As is Frank Woods’ daughter Clemence.

Gerald Beauchamp
Gerald Beauchamp
Reply to  Neil J
3 months ago

And let’s hear it for Dr Elfride Bickersteth (not quite such how she fitted into the Bickersteth clan), a much loved member of the Theology Department at Hull University, who taught me ethics and Byzantine church history in the 1970s. She was a committed member of her local parish church and a wonderful example of what it means to be a Christian.

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