Thinking Anglicans

LLF: further developments

Some further items to record:

Eleven members of the LLF Working Groups have written to criticise GS 2358: LLF: from Leicester to York

CEEC has issued this invitation to a “Commissioning of Overseers” service.

Neil Patterson writes in the Church Times: Called to live together, not apart

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Andrew Dawswell
Andrew Dawswell
26 days ago

By my reckoning, this is just shy of 1/3 of the participants of the leicester weekend (11 out of the 34 listed on https://www.churchofengland.org/media/press-releases/membership-llf-groups-announced )

Graham Holmes
Graham Holmes
Reply to  Andrew Dawswell
25 days ago

It will probably only add to the confusion, I’ve already seen comments from 2 other people who were there in Leicester, saying in essence that what they “agreed” would be going to the College and then House of Bishops for review, but what is going to Synod is basically what they expected.

Graham Holmes
Graham Holmes
26 days ago

Will clergy and parishioners be asking their Diocesan Bishops if they will be allowing these interlopers to minister within their dioceses, undercutting their authority and that of all who have been appointed under due process? Have any Diocesans already indicated that they will accept or reject such interlopers?

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
Reply to  Graham Holmes
26 days ago

Ah yes, the pulpit wars in Bristol during the Reformation come to mind. Guaranteed to liven up any Sunday morning service!

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
26 days ago

I am concerned for the impact on the health of a regular contributor here on all things evangelical when he discovers that All Soul’s Langham Place has a dress code.

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts
Reply to  David Runcorn
25 days ago

Birettas with red silk lining (gaiters and other dress, optional).

Ian
Ian
Reply to  Paul Roberts
25 days ago

The prospect of someone wearing a biretta and gaiters is too bizarre to contemplate, but perhaps it reflects the diversity in the CofE it provides. I do remember a previous vicar of the very anglo-catholic parish church of St Peters Horbury in the (then) diocese of Wakefield, turning up to an outside event in a soutane, trilby and paisley scarf.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Runcorn
25 days ago

M&S have a good line in Smart/Casual T-shirts and chinos which happy-clappy ministers could afford. I am utterly shocked that a clerical collar is required – particularly during hot weather when many evangelicals offset their fixed grins with a pair of shorts.

Last edited 25 days ago by FrDavid H
peter kettle
peter kettle
26 days ago

What is the job description of an ‘overseer’ in this context?

Bob
Bob
Reply to  peter kettle
24 days ago

Just check out the NT.

Benjamin Williams
Benjamin Williams
26 days ago

“Followed by a light lunch” rather undermines the sense of gravitas.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Benjamin Williams
24 days ago

You don’t have coffee and munchies after ordinations or consecrations in the UK?

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
22 days ago

I believe my ticket (age 8 days) to my father’s ordination entitled me to sherry with the bishop afterwards.

Francis James
Francis James
25 days ago

In USA it is reported that there are strong moves by those of orthodox/hardline Christian views to end ‘no fault’ divorces. Wonder how soon that movement will transfer over to UK?

Francis James
Francis James
Reply to  Dan Appleyard
24 days ago

Yes – but as yet no political traction, unlike USA where orthodox/hardline  Christian Republicans have been emboldened by over-turning Roe v. Wade & have ending ‘no fault divorce’ firmly in their sights.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Francis James
24 days ago

It’s already the law in the UK and it had nothing to do with those you call “orthodox/hardline” Christians.

Francis James
Francis James
Reply to  Bob
23 days ago

You have totally misunderstood me.
Roe v. Wade abortion right was the law, but has been struck down in USA. ‘No fault divorce’ is also the law in USA at the moment & is the next in firing line to be struck down. Some fear that Republican Christians going down road to theocracy.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Francis James
22 days ago

Apologies. Put it down to old age!

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
25 days ago

The Archbishops need to respond otherwise their authority will be permanently lost.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Kate Keates
25 days ago

What an interesting term to have chosen, with a lot of unpleasant echoes of slave plantations- and on whose authority are they overseeing their charges?
Blessed are the overseers because- oh, my mistake, they aren’t there….I was just imagining there might have been something about because they root out gay sex ….
It is hard to believe that this is being proposed seriously in 2024- try selling that one down the pub

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
24 days ago

Have you read about Project 2025, the conservative plan for the USA if Trump is re-elected? (The Republicans could win the House and Senate as well.). It’s chilling and is based on Christian Nationalism. Overseers is just a small foretaste of what we might see over the next few years – and if they change the USA the right-wing here will be emboldened too.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate Keates
23 days ago

Have you ever actually met or do you know anything at all about the people involved ??

For example, Pete Broadbent. He was a Labour party councillor – in London in the 1980s.

I do not know your age or where you live, but if you think the London Labour party in the 1980s was “right wing” – you were clearly not there at the time.

Ian
Ian
Reply to  Peter
23 days ago

I can’t comment on London Labour, but as a labour member in the north,whilst Militant were riding high I can tell you they were a pretty illiberal, uncompromising lot.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Peter
23 days ago

The type of Christianity being pushed at the moment is right wing.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Kate Keates
22 days ago

I would be interested to know what left wing Christianity looks like? Or left of centre, or right of centre?

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
24 days ago

Far too ‘handmaid’s tale’ for my taste, Susanna.

As to the ‘light lunch’, Benjamin, I’m just pondering whether the ubiquitous quiche will be banned as far too iconically liberal a repast for such a gathering… Perhaps the Pulpit Wars will morph into the Great Quiche Spat of 2024.

Please don’t think my attempts at satire mean I fail to take the issues seriously. Far from it. But the level of surrealism to which all the squabbling is descending is rapidly rivalling that of the US Elections, and I, for one, am absolutely sick of it.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
24 days ago

They are translating the NT term episcopos literally as overseer. Apart from the colonialist overtones of the word which you point out, this shows what they are up to. This is creating bishops by another name – actually by the same name.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Charles Read
23 days ago

Colonialism wasn’t even mentioned.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Charles Read
23 days ago

Or perhaps the overseers that they choose will be people (men?) already in episcopal orders?

Ian Hobbs
Ian Hobbs
Reply to  Charles Read
22 days ago

Whatever they might mean… the linking of episcopos with colonialism (and, hence I guess, slavery) is totally unfounded in this context. Overseer has a wide range of possible functions. You seem to be choosing one based on the attack you have in mind. Eg. “‘Episcopos’ in ordinary Greek means ‘overseer’ or ‘watcher’, but also ‘guardian’. It is used for various organisational offices, but also for the guardian gods of a city. Its ordinary range of meaning would cover security guards on a ship, the officers of fair trading at a market, or the older woman who acts as chaperone over… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Ian Hobbs
22 days ago

I have a strong memory of a Grove book in the 1980s saying that episkopos was sometimes used for a city’s inspector of drains.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
24 days ago

Acts 20.28, Phil 1.11, 1 Tim 3.1-2, Titus 1 7-9 are all NT references to overseer. So they have chosen a NT term.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
23 days ago

‘Overseers’ is a legitimate translation of ‘episkopoi’. It’s got no more and no less to do with slave plantations than ‘bishops’ does.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
22 days ago

A competent translation takes into account the connotations of a word chosen to translate another.

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
23 days ago

Do we know the names of those who are to be commissioned as overseers? I recall reading the list of names of those who would undertake the discernment and I know Pete Broadbent was among that number, but I can’t anywhere find a list of those who have been through the discernment process and are now to be commissioned. Whilst I know that the discernment was for ‘alternative spiritual oversight’ within the CEEC can anybody explain whether there is any role in the CofE for such a ministry? This is a serious question and not a snipe. Are these people… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
23 days ago

“According to their website CEEC is (doing this) to help clergy and parishes receive spiritual oversight without having to look outside of the Church of England.” There is no evidence that parishes or even congregations will tolerate any attempt by clergy to assert authority. England is not yet a theocracy. They have held a discernment process to find out who God is calling. With reference to a separate thread, the claim that God is calling anyone to this seems to me, at least, to be nothing short of blasphemy. The word overseer is clearly intended to imply “bishop”. Perhaps few… Read more »

Ian
Ian
Reply to  T Pott
23 days ago

I mean, come on! Do you think the “people of this country” give a flying fig about this?

Graham Watts
Graham Watts
Reply to  Ian
23 days ago

The people of this country of all faiths and non, and probably a majority of those in CofE congregations largely won’t give a flying…..
However I would suggest that those driving this are not considering what the ‘people of the country are thinking’. They are doing the thinking on the behalf of the people as the denomination has been trusted to them and they are not planning on letting the Bishops damage it further. They know themselves to be in the right and following biblical writing and centuries of faithful adherence. Simples!

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Ian
23 days ago

I fear they currently have no idea what is going on. I am confident they have no wish to be overseen by clergy of any kind and that any who try to claim authority will be ignored.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
23 days ago

Andrew, If I might offer an answer to your question – though I do not, of course, speak for CEEC. The legal position of the bishops of the Church of England is explicitly acknowledged by CEEC. Clergy and Churches are and will continue to be affirmed in their compliance with all legal duties and obligations to the Diocese and the Bishops. Spiritual oversight is a different matter. Orthodox clergy (and PCCs) will be able to look to CEEC overseers for support. To that extent your “spiritual director” label is a pretty good approximation. I think the reason that label is… Read more »

Lizzie Taylor
Lizzie Taylor
Reply to  Peter
23 days ago

Using the term overseer means they anticipate trying to invest these men with some authority, rather than simply putting them forward for the more advising/accompanying approach of a spiritual director.
So ultimately it looks to be about power and control.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Lizzie Taylor
22 days ago

Oversight is a perfectly straightforward component of the New Testament Lexicon.

You are shoe horning your own prejudice into the word

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Peter
23 days ago

Isn’t it presumptuous, however, for clergy to seek a spiritual director other than by asking their bishop?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate Keates
22 days ago

Obviously not, if their bishop is no longer trustworthy. And yes, I know you think they are trustworthy. That is not the point

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
23 days ago

There is a lot of information here.

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
23 days ago

The role description is here: https://ceec.info/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/Oversight-Ministers-Role-Description-March-2024.pdf Explicitly not claiming to be episcopal. A group of existing bishops and priests to relate to clergy and parishes who no longer trust their revisionist bishops. The liturgy is one of commissioning them for this role, with the aim of preventing people from leaving the CofE. I expect that the liturgy will be made public, along with the list of those being commissioned, though there are some who are concerned that they will face discrimination and reprisals from their bishops.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
23 days ago

Pete,

I imagine you have been called a lot of things in your time. In might amuse you to see, above, that you are now to be castigated for being right wing.

Like you, I was an resident of Islington in the 1980s. I must say, you kept your right wing views to yourself back then !

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  Peter
23 days ago

I am looking forward to the decimation of the Tories on Thursday…

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
23 days ago

I suspect you would actually be very disappointed if the Tories were decimated on Thursday.

A decimation, being a reduction of 10%, would still leave them easily the largest party in Parliament. Most pundits expect much worse (i.e. worse for them) than decimation.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
22 days ago

I am resisting the temptation to ask if you have placed a small wager on the outcome.

I imagine the gambling commission are too busy to notice at the moment.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
23 days ago

Explicitly not claiming to be episcopal“, but surely by choosing to use the title “Overseer” they have made that implicit claim and connection.

My on-line etymology guide says “Old English biscopbisceop, via Latin from Greek episkopos ‘overseer’, from epi ‘above’ + -skopos ‘-looking’”

To quote Diarmaid MacCulloch’s words related to a different topic:

“it is difficult to avoid applying . . that useful variant of Ockham’s razor: ‘looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck – can it be a duck?'”.

Last edited 23 days ago by Simon Dawson
Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  Simon Dawson
23 days ago

Clergy with lay leadership teams in the parish oversee them. Team Rectors oversee the work of the Team. Threefold ministry wasn’t fully developed in the New Testament – the words for elders/presbyters/bishops are used interchangeably (though the CofE is glad to see the threefold order emerging from the NT writings – and so am I!). It seems to me more that people who want to accuse us of schism or inventing a new episcopate are determined to make episkopos have a single meaning that it didn’t bear in scripture. Spiritual oversight is about giving clergy the benefit of relationship with… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
22 days ago

‘when their designated Ordinary has walked away from Anglican orthodoxy’. It all hinges on that very particular interpretation of what is going on, doesn’t it Pete? – as you well know. If you urge us here to use language of ministry more carefully, may we urge you to do the same with the word ‘Orthodox’? https://www.inclusiveevangelicals.com/post/on-the-use-and-abuse-of-the-term-orthodox.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
22 days ago

Thanks Pete.

I am aware of church history. But the point I am making is etymological not ecclesial.

Of all the words that could have been chosen to label this role – counsellor, spiritual advisor, director, elder – they have chosen the specific, slightly archaic word, whose exact equivalent/translation is bishop. So if they’re is confusion (and suspicion) that confusion is understandable.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Dawson
19 days ago

Might there be a touch of Janus in the choice of the term, which is rooted in the Greek word widely applied to bishops in our tradition? Is it part of a process of pressure and warning? ‘For now, these commissioned people will just be acting as spiritual directors. But if we are forced to self-assert further, then they are in place to act as bishops in an ‘orthodox’ Church of England, in communion with the wider Anglican Communion of the future.’ Read that way, the choice of term has implicit warning of things being taken further, if the so-called… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Simon Dawson
23 days ago

And, if it isn’t episcopal in nature how does it meet the claimed need?

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Simon Dawson
23 days ago

I read this quickly after a long day out and began to imagine Ockham and his razor in pursuit of ducks and/ or bishops…. Which cheered me up because what seems to be unfolding is the most unedifying power struggle of the not-quite-first trying to become first and seize medieval levels of power over an ever dwindling church

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
22 days ago

That’s Diarmaid MacCulloch for you. He is a fascinating writer, but you will get taken on some strange and wonderful metaphorical journeys.

Lizzie Taylor
Lizzie Taylor
Reply to  Simon Dawson
22 days ago

As you say Simon, it’s even openly called a duck.

Peter
Peter
22 days ago

Too much is being made of the notion that overseers are a way of CEEC introducing bishops by underhand means.

CEEC could not have made themselves clearer. They want legally consecrated orthodox bishops.

They also have a responsibility to meet the pastoral and spiritual needs of many clergy and congregations. That is what they are doing by affirming leaders to care for groups of congregations.

There is plenty of real disagreement. Let’s not start inventing it.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Peter
22 days ago

They already have orthodox bishops, they just refuse to recognise them as such. What they want is bishops who will agree with them / affirm their prejudices. If CEEC didn’t want to be seen as creating their own pseudo-bishops then maybe they should have picked a less obviously loaded term.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Jo B
22 days ago

My bishop does his best to follow Jesus as a growing disciple. I care far more about that than I do whether or not he meets someone else’s definition of orthodoxy.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Peter
22 days ago

There are many different political opinions in the CofE so I suggest it’s time for bishops to oversee Labour and Tory members to keep everyone separate and happy. Christians who don’t like LGBTQ people could have a Reform bishop – this would also help to keep immigrants out of the Church . It would also help evangelicals who have their own bishops since no one would need to talk to them .

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  FrDavid H
22 days ago

I don’t think we could have generic Labour bishops. I demand a Corbynite bishop!

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Jo B
21 days ago

Tory Evangelical Anglicans would then demand Cameron, May, Johnson, Truss and Sunak bishops. The divisions are endless.

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