Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bishop of Rochester to step down

It is cruel twist of fate. The day after Bishop Michael was praised so fervently in Parliament for his unwavering commitment to sound doctrine, he announces that he is stepping down early as Bishop of Rochester.

As a convert from Rome with strong views on Islam, he was never going to be appointed to Canterbury in this age of hypersensitivity to all things politically correct. But he will be a very great loss indeed. He will leave a vacuum in the church's understanding of 'multiculturalism' and its grasp of Islamic theology and scholarship. He has been the voice of common sense on so many pressing issues, and has trodden where no other Anglican bishop has dared to. He will be sorely missed.

A spokesman for the bishop said that he wants to turn his attention to working with the persecuted church.

Cranmer wonders therefore why he is stepping down now - ten years before he might be expected to - at a time when Christians in the UK are marginalised, mocked and derided for any public expression of their faith.

Last year Bishop Michael warned of parts of the country being turned into 'no-go areas' for non-Muslims and he confronted head-on the assertion by the Archbishop of Canterbury that the introduction of shari'a law into the UK is 'unavoidable'. As a result of these interventions, he received death threats which said he would 'not live long' and would be 'sorted out' if he continued to criticise Islam.

His diocesan website carries the following message:

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali will stand down on 1 September 2009. He will have been Bishop in the Diocese for nearly 15 years and during this time has played a major part in the life of the church.

The press release from Rochester this morning says: 'Bishop Michael is hoping to work with a number of church leaders from areas where the church is under pressure, particularly in minority situations, who have asked him to assist them with education and training for their particular situation. Details of this arrangement are still being worked out.'

Bishop Michael, who will be 60 in August, is the 106th Bishop of Rochester. He is originally from Asia and was the first non-white Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England. He was appointed to Rochester in 1994. Before that he was the General Secretary of CMS from 1989-1994 and before that Bishop of Raiwind in Pakistan and theological Assistant to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Since 1999 he has also been a member of the House of Lords where he has been active in a number of areas of national and international concern.

Bishop Michael says, “We thank God for his blessings and for friends we have made in the Diocese in the past 15 years. I am so grateful to God for the friendship and loyalty of those around us and ask for people’s prayers as we take this step of faith ‘not knowing where we are going’ (Heb 11:8).

The Archbishop of Canterbury says: 'Bishop Michael's decision to undertake this new and very challenging ministry will leave a real gap in the ranks of English bishops. His enormous theological skill, his specialist involvement in the complex debates around bioethics, his wide international experience and his clarity of mind and expression have made him a really valuable colleague, and he has served the Church and the wider society with dedication and distinction.

'In his new work with churches in minority situations, he will need all our prayer and support. It is a courageous initiative and a timely one. I am personally very glad that I shall still be able to draw on his expertise and friendship, and wish him every strength and blessing in his work.'

The Bishop of Tonbridge, the Rt Revd Dr Brian Castle says: “Bishop Michael has had a distinguished ministry locally, nationally and internationally. He has been a true prophet in the way that he has courageously spoken out against both injustice and compromising the Word of God. His talks and statements, always prayerfully conceived, are listened to carefully, even by those who disagree with him. His Presidential Addresses at Diocesan Synod merit publication. Bishop Michael, so faithfully supported by Valerie, has exercised a leadership which inspires, challenges and takes full account of the complexities of contemporary culture, ensuring that the structures of the diocese serve its vision. He will be greatly missed by Rochester whose people he has faithfully loved and nurtured over the years.”

The Dean of Rochester, the Very Revd Adrian Newman, says: “Bishop Michael has exercised an influential and high profile ministry within and well beyond the Diocese of Rochester. His passion for making Christ known is matched only by his ability to communicate across cultural divisions, and this has opened doors of influence that he has always been courageous enough to walk through, often at personal cost. It has been a privilege to serve alongside him within the Diocese, and I am delighted that his unique gifts will continue to be offered to the wider life of church and society.”

The Diocesan Secretary, Canon Louise Gilbert, says: “Bishop Michael’s tenure has been characterised by a determination to see some significant Diocesan challenges through to successful conclusion. Through his leadership we now have a senior staff which operates as a cohesive body following a comprehensive Diocesan structures review. This is of benefit to the entire Diocese. In addition, we have reformed partnerships with neighbouring Dioceses. Rochester Cathedral is now positively flourishing thanks to Bishop Michael’s keen interest and thoughtful appointments. His considerable gifts leave the Diocese with a legacy of exemplary arrangements for pastoral care, teaching and a positive environment in which faith can flourish. We will miss his guidance and on a personal note, I wish him every joy and fulfilment in his new role.”

Bishop Michael’s farewell service for the Diocese will be held at Rochester Cathedral on 12th September 2009 at 3.15 p.m. and further details will be circulated at a later date. Details about the process of appointing a new Bishop and the arrangements during the interregnum will also be published later.

27 Comments:

Anonymous Joshua said...

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace--only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.

Anne Lamott

28 March 2009 at 12:53  
Anonymous Born Again said...

Cranmer wonders why he is stepping down now. Because now is the time for action, now is not the time to dwell amongst the self righteous and stale and decomposed pews of the dead. "Follow me and let the dead bury their own dead"

Go and preach the Kingdom of God and tell of the only true means of atonement, faith alone in Christ. Let the bones of your dead father’s ancestors gather his bones and place them in an ossuary. "You follow me!

28 March 2009 at 13:35  
Blogger Theo said...

Michael Nazir-Ali should not be having to play by the rules of the prince of this world as Rowan Williams does. His frustration must be immense.

The Church will be a poorer place without him but the benefits of having a man of his abilities being able to speak his mind outside the confines of the man made strictures of his church will be a blessing to all with whom he comes into contact.

May God bless him mightily; he has been a faithful servant of the gospel.

The Church of England is moribund and will hopefully hasten to a speedy demise in order that we may soon see the green shoots of new life of the true church of the risen Christ.

28 March 2009 at 14:11  
Anonymous len said...

Theo,
I will say Amen to that!

28 March 2009 at 15:03  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

According to the Guardian, he now plans to work on 'education and training projects.'

Not one word about the persecuted church! I wonder why?

28 March 2009 at 15:10  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

According to the BBC, he 'wants to work with a number of church leaders after he retires.'

Again no mention of the persecuted church!

28 March 2009 at 15:28  
Anonymous Yokel said...

I, too, think that Dr Nazir Ali must have concluded that the Church of England is incapable of reform from within. Incapable of reform to become again what God wants it to be.

Every other God-fearing member of the Church of England should follow his lead and get out now; the CofE is no place for the followers of Christ.

28 March 2009 at 15:42  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Thus does the Anglican church stand even more diminished. As others have pointed ou, it seems a strange choice for Bishop Michael to make at a time when the Church is under attack from many quarters and needs defenders of his calibre. It begs the questions; why now and who will benefit?

28 March 2009 at 15:49  
Anonymous judith said...

Perhaps after 15 years in the same area, and whilst he is still in good health (hopefully) this excellent man wants a fresh challenge?

28 March 2009 at 16:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you seek out ways to do good, the happiness will come. And God will be with you, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

Ecclesiastes 3 (KJV)

1.To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2.A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3.A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4.A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5.A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6.A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7.A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8.A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

9.What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

10.I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

11.He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

12.I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

13.And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

14.I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

15.That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

16.And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.

17.I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

18.I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

19.For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

20.All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

21.Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

22.Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

PSALM 49

28 March 2009 at 17:17  
Anonymous Sabina said...

Well that's just great. There goes the last great hope of saving the Church from that idiot Rowan Williams and his dhimmi attitude.

28 March 2009 at 17:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are so few proper Christians in the Anglican church in this country that the loss of Bishop Nazir-Ali will have a profoundly detrimental effect on its ability to defend the faith against the onslaught of the demonic islamification of the country. I am sorry he has chosen (or been persuaded) to stand down but hope he will still be around to speak up for Christians.

28 March 2009 at 18:06  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

28 March 2009 at 18:15  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Adrian P,

His Grace has politely asked you on a number of occasions to stop hyperlinking to whatever random sites please you.

You have persistently ignored him.

If you do not desist from using His Grace's august blog as a means of promoting your own obsessions, he shall bar your IP address permanently.

28 March 2009 at 18:35  
Anonymous Preacher said...

I personally will be sorry to see this strong man of God leave the Anglican communion. But knowing Him I feel that we have not seen or heard the last of Him. I trust His timing & feel that He will scale even greater heights when unencunbered by the pressures of His present position. God go with you brother & Bless you in your new work.

28 March 2009 at 20:46  
Anonymous Chris A said...

Thank God the bigot is going

28 March 2009 at 22:55  
Blogger jailhouselawyer said...

Just at a time when it was suggested he would support the Prisoners Votes Case. There will be media coverage in at least the Telegraph and Guardian to mark the 5th anniversary of the case and the governments continued abuse of human rights.

28 March 2009 at 23:27  
Blogger Red Squirrel said...

I am really glad that I called in here, I was despairing, but the uplifting comments on here have given me hope.
thank you.

29 March 2009 at 00:30  
OpenID BL@KBIRD said...

There is nothing like death threats to urge a man onto fresh pursuits. If he stayed he could possibly wind up like Wilders needing constant protection. That would not look good for the church and it might enrage Muslims more to think the kuffar would think they would threaten a kuffar cleric.

Besides this man spoke his mind and the truth which will not do in todays sophisticated and suicidal Britain.

Your Grace could take up the mantle of Islamic scholar for the church quite simply. Spend a weekend with the sacred Qur'an and keep in mind your Grace that YOU are the unbeliever so frequently mentioned.It isn't Islamic rocket science to discover the nature and needs of Allah your Grace and would certainly remove your puzzlement at it's escapades.

29 March 2009 at 04:54  
Anonymous len said...

Anyone who stands up for Gods truth will attract the attention of satan.
The apostle Paul was constantly harassed by a demon who followed him around( his thorn)The desciples all(except John ,I believe )were executed.There is also a long list of martyrs.
However ,
perhaps if the Anglican church changed its name to The Church of Jesus Christ and invited the Holy Spirit to take over.?
Too much to ask perhaps?

29 March 2009 at 11:29  
Blogger Malthebof said...

The overwhelming silence from the CofE to persecution of Christians in The West Bank, Egypt, Iraq & Iran has been deafening

29 March 2009 at 11:40  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

It would be prudent and popular for David Cameron to offer Bishop Michael a continued seat in the House of Lords so that he may continue to offer his clarity of vision on a number of issues where others are too timorous

29 March 2009 at 12:18  
Anonymous Joshua said...

Martin Sewell

What a refreshing thought of pure genius! But alas, would the Bishop be interested? I like to think not.

29 March 2009 at 16:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A loss to the C of E that they can not afford but a blessing to the persecuted church, however we will soon see the church persecuted within our own country as we continue the journey towards becoming just like the former Soviet bloc of the 60/70/80's.

29 March 2009 at 21:41  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

Your Grace, I had no Idea I had to spell it out to you, these were not links to some Porno Sites.

Perhaps your grace may like to look into the Communist Manifesto, part of which advocates the undermining of the church, marriage and the promotion of diverse cultures, radical feminism, etc.
Everything you see going on around you, practically everything you have ever blogged on ALL goes under the General term of Subversion.

Western society is under attack.

29 March 2009 at 21:47  
Anonymous Joshua said...

Adrian

Do you believe in God Almighty, the creator of our glorious universe? The solitary human is no spontaneous accident, such a notion is not only absurd, but childish arrogance.

Consider the vastness of the universe and all the different solar systems. Consider the the make up of our solar system and the unique and specific life giving qualities and dimensions; an random occurrence? - A ridiculous notion. The odds of all this throwing its self together out of mere chance exceeds the probability of the highest possible mathematical calculation which could ever exist in the realms of the entire cosmic soup of possibilities.

Therefore we are subject to the divine. Amen

We already know of the adversary and his subversive mission. What we need is faith in our own mission to bring light into the dark places. We need reform in our church: a new relationship between God, church and nation. We are subject to the divine, and only when we walk in the light of truth will we be able to move forward along the path of intended progress.

This is your mission Adrian, should you choose to accept it: to bring light to dark places and illuminate the path of righteousness so that we can all move forward together.

29 March 2009 at 22:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1165719/MELANIE-PHILIPS-When-bishop-leave-Church-England-stand-Christians-hope-left-Britain.html

30 March 2009 at 14:04  

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