on Wednesday, 2 September 2020 at 11.00 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion
LGBTQ Faith UK Hidden in plain site. Church clarity diocesan style
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The search for truth in the Smyth/Fletcher enquiries.
In relation to Hidden in plain site, they also ought to mention the Bishop of Bradwell, Dr John Perumbalath. I wonder whether there is other under-reporting?
Given the valuable observations of the LGBTQ Faith UK article, it is ironic that their own website seems to conceal the identity of the author and/or blog editors.
John Perumbalath, +Bradwell, has been omitted from the list of non-white bishops in the LGBTQ Faith UK article. There may well be others.
David Hamid has also been omitted – see https://religionmediacentre.org.uk/news/church-of-england-institutionally-racist/.
It’s a little unfair to Derby diocese to criticise them for no details about the Bishop of Repton since there currently isn’t one!
Having ‘an impressive array of social media accounts, his own YouTube channel, a blog as well as email and phone numbers’ doesn’t necessarily mean that a bishop is ‘accessible’ in terms of being able to get any of his time and attention. The phrase ‘never mind the quality, feel the width’ springs to mind. Isn’t it more important to ask which bishops have been present, engaged, caring and helpful at times of individual and community need? You can’t learn that from a website.
What Hidden in Plain Site also fails to mention, as it reflects on the departure of Archbishop Sentamu, is that he did absolutely nothing to promote a single priest from an ethnic minority – either within his own senior staff team throughout his 13 years as Archbishop of York, or to successfully support the appointment of an ethnic minority bishop within the Province of York. His white, male, middle-class heterosexual successor (while Bishop of Chelmsford) by contrast, not only appointed a suffragan bishop of ethnic minority heritage, but also the first female archdeacon from an ethnic minority. He has also… Read more »
Stephen Parsons’ essay is a timely reminder that Christian groups always run the risk of devolving into purity cults, of one definition of belonging to the in-crowd or another.
Am I right in thinking that Archbishop Sentamu did not appoint any minority ethnic suffragans in either York or Birmingham, when he was bishop there?
The author mentions the vanishing Bishop of Repton – the see is currently vacant, although perhaps this could have been made clear
Regarding BAME, let alone other ‘characteristics’. In many organisations monitoring would give rise to policies and procedures to deal with shortcomings. BAME under-representation has been clear for a long time. What has been done to rectify it? The CofE instigated procedures’ to accelerate women bishops into the House of Lords, so what may be seen as ‘positive discrimination’ is possible. Such under-representation may be labelled elsewhere as ‘institutional racism’.++ Sentamu became Bp of Stepney in I think 1996- that’s 24 years to consider some kind of ‘succession planning’ aka discernment.
Stephen Parsons’ article does not match his usual clarity. He begins with a heavily disadvantaged ethnic minority often facing prejudice and where there is a frequent code of not turning to the police – but this hardly seems to fit Church of England bishops amidst the privileges of establishment. This can happen in other impoverished and minority communities too, which can be problematic but unlikely to be addressed effectively without awareness of the context. He goes on to appear to equate fascism with communism, which in reality extends to people such as Rosa Luxemburg (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rosa-Luxemburg) and Antonio Gramsci (https://www.thoughtco.com/antonio-gramsci-3026471), whose… Read more »
Since there is no formal attempt to achieve a CNC which is diverse in terms of race, sexuality, gender identity, disability or social status, is it any wonder that the episcopate is none of those things too?
Many thanks! The Gardiner association was touched upon in the comments on a Surviving Church article relatively recently: http://survivingchurch.org/2019/12/03/fosters-iwerne-analysis-some-reflections-on-the-place-of-women-in-the-church/. There is, as you probably know, a tablet to Gardiner on the wall of the south aisle of St Andrew’s Fontmell Magna, as noted. However, the Kibbo Kift Kindred were not ‘pseudo-Amerindian’, and were on the left politically (being associated with C. H. Douglas’ Social Credit movement). I believe that his very distinguished son has noted some of his father’s painful associations, but nonetheless speaks of him with respect and affection. Also, I believe that I have had the great pleasure… Read more »
In Canada, at least, Social Credit of the Douglas variety, as always been associated with the far right, not the left. Although not in any way related to the Nazis, its use of “Social” has nothing to do with socialism — rather as “National Socialism” had nothing to do with socialism.
Many thanks. In the UK it was the other way around. For example, one of the main propagandists for Social Credit in Britain was the communist Hewlett Johnson, who wrote a long tract in its favour, ‘Social Credit and the War on Poverty’ (1935). I know that Clifford Douglas has been criticised for anti-semitic opinions, but these were often to be found on the Left as well as the Right, and Douglas’ barbs were directed at international finance capital. I have long seen Social Credit in Canada as a ‘prairie populism’, which was a revolt of the farmers against creditors,… Read more »
Hewlett Johnson: Another name from the past. For those who might not be familiar with the name, he was Dean of Canterbury (1931-1963) and known as “The Red Dean”. In my youth he seemed to figure prominently in the headlines for much of the time.
Many thanks! I was fortunate to meet a number of people who knew him when I was at school in Canterbury, and the common theme was that he was very dignified and had enormous presence, but also that he was extremely courteous and kind to everyone, including the many people who were in violent disagreement with his politics. It should also be noted that, despite his very naive communism, he was a very shrewd and competent man of business, perhaps a legacy of his commercial and engineering background in Manchester. Although his relations with the chapter were often extremely strained… Read more »
Utterly fascinating. The Wikipedia entry mentions Henry Balfour Gardiner – relative presumably and like Rolf a forestation enthusiast. Is this the HBG of the lush and over the top Evening Hymn beloved of church choirs, friend of Fred Delius, Percy Grainger and many more? If so, the tentacles of interest in country dancing, Morris dancing, folk song music aficionados – and now nude cavorting – would make a fascinating social history if anyone could be bothered. Maybe Thomas Beecham had inside information when he said “Try everything once, except incest and Morris dancing”.
Yes, Henry Balfour Gardiner composed the music of the famous “Evening Hymn”, beloved of church (and cathedral) choirs, a setting of the Latin Compline hymn “Te lucis ante terminum”, during a brief period (only one term, I believe, in 1907) of teaching music at Winchester College. I’m sure his life was entirely respectable. He wrote much other music, but was highly self-critical and destroyed many of the scores. He was the great-uncle of the eminent conductor and musicologist Sir John Eliot-Gardiner.
Read how black clergy have been treated for decades in the CofE
For more information on this case see https://www.lawandreligionuk.com/2015/12/07/is-a-diocesan-bishop-a-qualifications-body-ganga-v-chelmsford-dbf/