Thinking Anglicans

Suffragan Bishop of Lynn

Press release from Number 10

Appointment of Suffragan Bishop of Lynn: 28 April 2021

The Queen has approved the appointment of the Venerable Dr Jane Elizabeth Steen as the next Suffragan Bishop of Lynn.

From:Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published:28 April 2021

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Dr Jane Elizabeth Steen, MA LLM PhD, Archdeacon of Southwark, in the diocese of Southwark to the Suffragan See of Lynn, in the diocese of Norwich, in succession to the Right Reverend Cyril Jonathan Meyrick who resigned on 25th January 2021.

Background

Jane was educated at Newnham College, Cambridge and trained for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge. She served her title at St John the Baptist, Chipping Barnet, in the Diocese of St Albans and was ordained Priest in 1997.

In 1999, Jane was appointed Chaplain to the Bishop of Southwark in the Diocese of Southwark. In 2005, she became Canon Chancellor at Southwark Cathedral, also serving as Diocesan Director of Ministerial Education and Canon Theologian.

In 2013, Jane took up her current role as Archdeacon of Southwark.

There are more details on the Norwich diocesan website.

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Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
4 months ago

Another episcopal appointment of someone who has never been an incumbent. Why doesn’t the C of E just have done with it and declare that it no longer regards parish ministry as important?

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
4 months ago

I once went on a ‘First Incumbent’ course, led by someone, later a diocesan bishop, who hadn’t then ever been an incumbent, and never was. I gently pointed out that although he was running a course to teach us how to be incumbents he had no experience of it himself, ‘Ah’, he said, ‘but I’ve got a lot of experience of running courses’.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
4 months ago

It’s odd, too, that Archdeacon Steen was appointed Director of Ministerial Education without having been an incumbent. How do you train people for a job you’ve never held? Ministerial education ought to be earthed in the realities of parish ministry and chaplaincy, and the experience of vicarage life.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Janet Fife
4 months ago

Another factor that can insulate clergy, especially senior clergy, from the real world is personal/family finance. To what extent can a dual income parsonage feel in its guts the tribulations of the poor and the difficulties involved in running a parish? What does the church look like to the outside world when clergy spouses – or occasionally clergy themselves – who earn eye-wateringly large salaries speak about social and economic injustice? Yes, I know clerics with families have family commitments and with the world as it is demands upon the parental purse last longer and longer, but it seems as… Read more »

Stephen King
Stephen King
Reply to  Janet Fife
4 months ago

Your comment reminds me of Sir Joseph Porter in Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, who became First Lord of the Admiralty without ever having gone to sea. In turn, the character was modelled on W H Smith, who besides being a founder of the store chain, was similarly First Lord of the Admiralty with no naval experience.

Will Richards
Will Richards
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
4 months ago

On the other hand, we have (not ‘another’) episcopal appointment of someone with a razor sharp intellect, not trained in a party Evangelical college (and certainly not associated in any way with the St Miletus franchise) who has done the hard slog of being an archdeacon among some of the most diverse and demanding parishes in the CofE. How did +Graham Norvic manage to get that one past the goalkeepers in the Wash House and elsewhere in Lambeth Palace? I’m rather buoyed-up by this announcement.

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
4 months ago

Her ‘boss’, +Graham is a very experienced parish priest. I am prepared to guess that the archdeacons of that diocese are as well. I have never met Jane, but it is clear that she is a particularly capable theologian, and having served eight years as an archdeacon probably knows a thing or to about how parishes run. It is very hard to see how her appointment could seriously be construed as the C of E declaring parish ministry as being no longer important. The vast majority of archdeacons, suffragans and bishops have been incumbents. Does Fr Bracey really think that… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
Reply to  Dominic Barrington
4 months ago

As a parish priest of almost 25 years I feel insulted that someone suggests anyone could know/understand parish ministry from being an archdeacon and a two year curacy. As I’ve posted before; I expect my consultant anaesthetist to have completed her time as a junior doctor and registrar; if I employ a QC I expect her to have considerable experience of advocacy in the courts.

Just Sayin'
Just Sayin'
Reply to  Fr. Dean Henley
4 months ago

Ah yes but sadly those who move up the greasy pole don’t really believe that those who ply their craft in the parish context in any way equate with the professions you mention. At a diocesan study day run by a bishop with the slightest parish experience my frustration got the better of me as I commented that whilst I could not do his job I was affronted that he presumed to tell me how to do mine. (At the time I had more years as a parish priest than either of our bishops and 2 archdeacons put together)

peter kettle
4 months ago

She trained at Westcott at the same time as her new Diocesan Bishop, so they will be well known to each other.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  peter kettle
4 months ago

Ah, so the diocesan bishop appointed a mate – that’s alright then!

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
4 months ago

Jane was senior student at Westcott whilst we were there. Certainly while we were contemporaries I wouldn’t have thought of Graham as a champion for diversity; in fact as the common room chair I had to censure Graham for his use of an unpleasant homophobic trope. In his defence this was 25 years ago and his views may be now rather more progressive.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
4 months ago

Yes, just as Welby appointed one of his best mates from Cranmer Hall as Bishop in Europe (the appointment is, effectively, his gift) and has gone on to push for mates from his Cranmer Hall cohort to flood the College and House of Bishops! Etonians have nepotism hard-wired into their DNA. In this case, I think the Bishop of Norwich absolutely made the right call. What’s the point of people taking to TA to lament the lack of intellectual acumen among the current bishops, every time there’s an announcement from 10 Downing Street, only for the same people to find… Read more »

Just Sayin'
Just Sayin'
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
4 months ago

So are you suggesting it might not be possible to find able theologians among long serving parish clergy who might possibly make good episcopal candidates? Or could it be that to be an effective parish priest means spending less time on the kind of committees one seems to need to support to be ‘noticed’ ?

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Just Sayin'
4 months ago

I think some ordinands are “noticed” from their youth up. In the days when I attended Advisory Panels as observer, as ADDO and later as a TI, I gained the strong impression that aspirants with medical, nursing or law qualifications, or doctorates in anything, were if not fawned over, at least highly favoured, no matter what personal characteristics they did or did not possess. This was especially likely if they were presenting for nonstipendiary ministry.  This worked to my advantage. I was initially sponsored for NS ministry and have medical degrees and a PhD in tissue biology. (I also have… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Stanley Monkhouse
Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
Reply to  Just Sayin'
4 months ago

I’m suggesting nothing of the sort. But I am saying very clearly that the paucity of intellectual clout among the current College and House of Bishops is something of a national embarrassment. In my experience, parochial clergy with intellectual ability tend to be either ignored (or feared) or take their skills into the professional academic sector because they find the CofE simply doesn’t encourage or value them. It was addressed in the O’Donovan Report, in relation to episcopacy, and absolutely nothing has been done about it. Jane Steen’s appointment is welcome precisely because she brings something to the cohort that… Read more »

Kate
Kate
4 months ago

“Norfolk’s first woman bishop has said its an enormous privilege to be “carrying the torch” for a more diverse church following the historic announcement.”
> https://www.northnorfolknews.co.uk/news/jane-steen-new-bishop-of-lynn
 
So in the week when racial diversity in senior appointments is the focus, we have two white women promoted, one of whom is saying how she is carrying a torch for diversity. There really is no hope for an organisation so tone-deaf.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Kate
4 months ago

Kate The CofE still has a long way to go when it comes to the full inclusion women. Even as bishops they are expected to work in a church that is allows legal discriminate against them on grounds of gender. No other group faces that. There is an unhelpful tendency to speak as if the church has ‘sorted’ women and must now move on to sexuality and ethnic diversity. It is not that simple. The torch still needs carrying.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Runcorn
4 months ago

Discrimination against women is not an alternative to sorting out racism and homophobia, nor even a priority. The CofE has long accepted its exemptions from secular Equality Legislation and used that to its advantage. Unlike in secular organisations, it is quite lawful for the Church not to promote people on grounds of gender and sexuality.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  FrDavid H
4 months ago

No one said women were an alternative to anything. They are still among those the Church of England has yet to fully, unambiguously include.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Runcorn
4 months ago

With regard to discrimination against women you wrote “No other group faces that”. So it is only women who are treated unfairly?

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  FrDavid H
4 months ago

No. My point was very specific.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Runcorn
4 months ago

You were. “No other group faces that”.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  FrDavid H
4 months ago

Fr David. I am talking about actual, legally sanctioned discriminatory employment practices in the church – not simply treating people unfairly. Let me put it this way. What other groups of people can a local church completely legally declare they do not want to employ as their parish priest, can request and receive their own episcopal oversight so that they can avoid such people in any other capacity too (including bishop), as far as possible, and for whom the national church has produced extended pastoral guidelines that the whole church must follow, to protect them with their particular theological convictions?    

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Runcorn
4 months ago

I understand. But some evangelicals request alternative episcopal oversight based upon their views of male headship. And they usually link that view with their opinion of partnered LGBT clergy who must, by law, declare their celibacy. The whole Church conspires to support this view. This is legally sanctioned discrimination. Some Bible-believers dislike women AND gay clergy.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  David Runcorn
4 months ago

David, that is really true. We have had the ordination of women as priests in the Anglican Church of Canada since 1978, and some of my female colleagues tell me that to this day, when they answer the phone in their parishes, there are people who are assume they are the secretary.

Charles Read
Reply to  Kate
4 months ago

First of all this appointment was made some time ago and was only announced today. Second, we have no other female bishops in this diocese nor have we ever had so yes this appointment does make our episcopal team more diverse.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Charles Read
4 months ago

Can you really not see that a middle-aged, white, straight, cis woman who was educated at a private school (Old Palace) and the University of Cambridge announcing that she is a torch-bearer for diversity when she becomes a bishop makes ethnic minorities, LGBTI Christians and those from working class backgrounds feel that the Church of England hasn’t listened this week? That what was said when the race report came out was empty words. Again.

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
Reply to  Kate
4 months ago

I agree Kate. I actually looked up the meaning of diversity just so I was clear how this made someone a torch bearer for diversity. Other than being female I couldn’t see anything else that fitted – may be rather than just saying it some detail needs adding? Everything else – colour, education, background, sexuality etc – seems to look like business as really. Oh dear……. what a surprise – not.

Charles Read
Reply to  Kate
4 months ago

Look at what I said. Look too at what David Runcorn said above. The bishop of Norwich is very keen to promote racial justice though I was not involved in this appointment so Do not know who else was interviewed. The racism report came out long after this appointment was made. And my eyesight is generally good thanks….

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Kate
4 months ago

Point taken, but wouldn’t appointing someone from an ethnic minority to such an ethnically monochrome diocese look a little like virtue signalling? Is it necessarily a bad thing if bishops, like police, are representative of the communities they serve?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Allan Sheath
4 months ago

So you want to put white bishops in nice, affluent white areas and ethnic minority bishops in areas like inner cities which are ethnically diverse?

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Kate
4 months ago

You are mistaken if you think that areas with overwhelmingly white populations are automatically “nice and “affluent”. There are areas of real deprivation in Norfolk.

Allan Philip Sheath
Allan Philip Sheath
Reply to  Kate
4 months ago

Kate, I fervently wish – as doubtless you do – that the whole Church catholic could do much better as “a torch-bearer for diversity.” But I’m also aware of the danger of tokenism, particularly as it can come with all the outward show of diversity but little of the substance.

RobT
RobT
Reply to  Kate
4 months ago

I enter with considerable reluctance this debate. Kate has identified many qualities that make up a person. How many of these need to be ‘non-majority’ to be a diverse appointment? If the appointment had been of a black man (all other qualities being the same), would that be diverse, as I bet there would be people going “Oh look, another man appointed as a bishop,” or “What a shame, another Cambridge graduate,” in that case. Should bishops be appointed on what is the most underrepresented group in the episcopacy at the moment? It sounds like, to misquote Sir Humphrey Appleby,… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Kate
4 months ago

A diocese known to me has a diversity panel made up entirely of white women. Who says the Church of England doesn’t do irony?

Stephen King
Stephen King
4 months ago

Another episcopal appointment, this time in the RC Church, of someone who had never run a parish, was Cardinal Basil Hume. Despite, or because of, that deficiency, about which nobody seemed to mind, he was very widely admired and respected.

Adrian
Adrian
4 months ago

This comment was missing this morning on my other computer… I pondered asking about her credentials as a parish priest but decided against it.

David Emmott
David Emmott
4 months ago

I’m mentally comparing two bishops under whom I have served as a parish priest. One who made a great deal of his experience in a large ‘successful’ suburban parish; one who had never been an incumbent and had spent his ministry in academic or ‘advisory’ contexts. Of the two, the second was the one with more empathy and who better understood the pressures on clergy on ordinary parishes.

Father David
Father David
Reply to  David Emmott
4 months ago

I recall that when Douglas Feaver aka “The rudest man in the Church of England” retired from the Bishopric of Peterborough he paid tribute to his two Archdeacons “One made much of little and the other made little of much!”. He left it to his hearers to decide which was which?

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
4 months ago

Another appointment confirming that the evangelical takeover that many commenters on here talk about is a myth

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Sam Jones
4 months ago

Why does the appointment of one woman disprove an evangelical takeover?

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
Reply to  FrDavid H
4 months ago

It doesn’t. The appointment of another liberal catholic following ++ York, +Chelmsford and +Norwich himself does.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Sam Jones
4 months ago

Does the appointment of Stephen Cottrell to York challenge the current assumptions of the evangelical high command in the C of E? I don’t recall him lamenting the planned cull of parish clergy in Chelmsford whilst he was there, and he is heading up the Vision and Strategy Group that published the report Perspectives on Money, People and Buildings which seems to confirm the C of E’s direction of travel away from parish ministry towards a network of well-resourced mission hubs. Don’t let a bit of liberal catholic window dressing confuse you as to whose priorities are firmly established.  

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