Friday, July 04, 2014

The sluggish delinquency of the Crown Nominations Commission

Guildford has been without a bishop now for more than a year: since 28th March 2013, to be precise, when the Rt Rev'd Christopher Hill retired and created a vacancy-in-see. Discerning bishops is a very slow process. The diocese has to form a vacancy-in-see committee, which then has to elect six representatives to join the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC), which then has to agree dates to sit over protracted weeks to meet in secret to sift the candidates. And when you consider that the CNC includes the two Archbishops and six members of the General Synod (three clergy and three lay), the process of coinciding diary dates is fraught with complexities (as is maintaining secrecy).

Two names are typically put forward to the Prime Minister, one of which is preferred, and (usually) appointed by the Supreme Governor. As His Grace has previously observed, it is an absurdly bureaucratic process which cries out for reform. 

There was a debate yesterday in the House of Lords (Hansard) concerning the snail's-pace tendency of the Crown Nominations Committee in appointing bishops to vacant sees. It is almost comical in its observations of ineptitude and inadequacy:
Thursday, 3 July 2014.

11 am

Prayers—read by the Lord Bishop of Oxford.
Bishop of Guildford: Appointment


11.06 am

Tabled by Lord Trefgarne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Prime Minister is yet in a position to make a recommendation to Her Majesty the Queen in respect of a new Bishop for Guildford.

Baroness Harris of Richmond (LD): My Lords, on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, and at his request, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in his name on the Order Paper.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): My Lords, the Crown Nominations Commission had its first meeting in early June and will have its second meeting on 21 and 22 July. The Prime Minister awaits the nomination from the Crown Nominations Commission and will then make a recommendation to Her Majesty the Queen, with the hope of an announcement in September.

Baroness Harris of Richmond: I thank my noble friend for his reply, as I am sure the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, will. I mention my having just completed the lengthy but very successful process of choosing a new dean for Ripon Cathedral, in a new and vast super-diocese. Will my noble friend consider sitting down with the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments and the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary, both of whom do a magnificent job with very few resources, and perhaps with others who have been through this long and involved process, to review and come back with some proposals to streamline that process? Alternatively, should the church be free to appoint its own bishops? I declare an interest as high steward of Ripon Cathedral.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: My Lords, because of the age profile of the current House of Bishops, I understand that a number of vacancies and some retirements are coming along. I know that the most reverend Primate is conscious of this. The last time this was considered in 2008, the previous Government brought forward some changes to the appointments process. This Government do not have any proposals to change any further but I am sure that these matters ought to be borne in mind.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab): My Lords, perhaps I may ask the Minister a slightly broader question about public appointments which have been held up. Is he aware that since last Monday, the Science Museum Group—I declare an interest as a trustee—has been without a chairman, even though the process to reappoint the excellent Dr Douglas Gurr started as long ago as last summer? Numerous other appointments are awaiting decisions from the Cabinet Office or 10 Downing Street, of which the Science Museum is perhaps the most blatant example at the moment.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: My Lords, I very much take the noble Lord’s point. Leadership in all institutions and bodies is very important and I will take that back. Again, I am very mindful of the point that the noble Lord is making.

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, would the Minister find it helpful if the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury was made aware of the concern of the House about there being sufficient meetings of the Crown Nominations Commission, so that when there is a pile-up of episcopal vacancies, as it were, there are sufficient meetings to address that? Is the Minister also aware that we very much hope to have legislation by the end of this year so that women can become bishops?

Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

The Lord Bishop of Oxford: They would therefore be eligible, and much overdue, to come into this House.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: My Lords, what the right reverend Prelate said last is of great importance not only in this House but to the nation as a whole. I wish the deliberations of the General Synod extremely well. I know that when we had a previous exchange the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury was going to be made aware of some of the concerns, and it would be extremely helpful if a record of our discussions today were made known to him.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Con): I shall ask a slightly narrower question than the Question on the Order Paper. Is the Minister aware that Guildford is a lovely place and that the cathedral at the centre is superbly sited, although it is in need of funds for repairs? Does he agree that there ought to be a whole raft of people eager to serve in this great role as bishop of Guildford? I hope there is an excellent range of candidates, one of whom will soon be appointed.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: I agree with my noble friend. I hope the appointment will be made soon. It is very important that dioceses have bishops at the helm. I am aware that Guildford is in a very beautiful county, the most wooded county in the country. It is a fine place.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Lab): My Lords, is Guildford a suitable place for fracking?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: I am sure that when the new bishop arrives he—or perhaps, if it is some time, she—will consider these things. The important thing is that we need an energy mix in this country. Fracking could well provide that. Clearly it needs to be done carefully and sensitively, but we should not pass this opportunity.

Baroness Berridge (Con): My Lords, I expect that the winds of change will blow through the Anglican Church later this month. Will the Minister outline whether the Government will take this opportunity to look at the selection process for appointments in slightly more detail? Previously, I lived in the north-west of England for nine years. Liverpool, Manchester, Warrington, Bolton, Blackburn, Burnley, Preston and Lancashire are not currently on the Benches of the Lords spiritual but, as of right, Winchester is. That diocese includes the Channel Islands, which are not in the United Kingdom. Is it not time that we had a system of appointment that saw our metropolitan cities represented as of right?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: My Lords, I can safely say that much of this is a matter for the church. There is legislation going back to the 19th century on these matters. At some point perhaps that might be looked at.

Lord Morgan (Lab): My Lords, would it not be desirable if the Prime Minister made no suggestion about appointing the Bishop of Guildford, as would be the case with the disestablished Church in Wales? Would that not greatly liberate the church as an independent body free from the trammels of state interference?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: I am not sure that I am inclined to that view. Obviously the Church in Wales and the Church of England have taken different paths. That is a matter for the Church of England.

Lord Deben (Con): My Lords, we should be careful because the Church of Rome appoints its own bishops and takes a great deal longer than the Church of England, which is itself very dilatory. Changes do not necessarily speed up the system.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: I am a great believer that if one does not want too much change, one should have some change.

Lord West of Spithead (Lab): My Lords, the House is not sitting tomorrow. There was mention of Her Majesty. Tomorrow, Her Majesty is naming the first fleet carrier to have been built since the Second World War. It is the work of 10,000 men and women around our country—a masterpiece of engineering. Would the Minister like to acknowledge and welcome this marvellous event tomorrow?

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: My Lords, the whole nation is extremely fortunate to have a head of state who works so hard on our behalf.
The debate moves comically from the matter of the vacancy, through the beauty of Surrey, to fracking, to disestablishment, to the greater incompetence of the Roman Catholic Church and finally to the naming of a Royal Navy carrier.

There is a hope of an announcement in September. A vacancy of a year-and-a-half and only a hope of an announcement? And a "pile-up of episcopal vacancies" is imminent?

There was deadlock over the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury to succeed Rowan Williams, but still no reforms were proposed to resolve the incompetence. If a diocese can do without a bishop for two years, why does it need one at all? Has anyone in Guildford really noticed? Has ministry suffered? Is Christian witness impaired?

His Grace has said this before, but in the appointment of bishops it is time to let democracy flow like a river. It is unacceptable that the Church of England should sustain the facade of democracy through secretive committees of the elite who then introduce additional members to ‘improve’ the representative character of that committee.

Give churchgoers the vote. It might not stem the decline, but it would reinvigorate communion and the processes of participation. His Grace is aware that churchgoers are not the same as parishioners, and that this has implications for the nature of establishment, but a degree of democratic accountability would compel bishops and archbishops to focus on ministering to their sheep, instead of chasing after the Guardian-reading goats and indulging disproportionately in Thought-for-the-Day sound-bites on relatively trivial matters of gender, sexuality and fracking.

The only way of repairing the gulf that has grown between the laity and the episcopacy is for the latter to be made more accountable to the former and that means being more in communion. We are not talking about a ballot box at the altar, but of creating an inspirational culture of active participation which renders the episcopacy accountable to the clergy and both more accountable to the laity who are all accountable to God corporately.

Never again must we have a committee which is deadlocked leaving ordinary Anglicans to #prayfortheCNC (which leaves the majority twiddling their thumbs). If the Archbishop of Wales can be elected by an electoral college; if the Pope of Rome can be elected by a Conclave of cardinals; if the Pope of Alexandria can be shortlisted by 2,000 ordinary members of the Coptic Church of Egypt (and the final one selected by a child), it is utterly reasonable (not to say a procedurally imperative) for the bishops and archbishops of the Church of England to be democratically elected.

This would have the effect of binding the laity closer to the clergy and the episcopacy. As democratic politicians know, when the grassroots are involved, they feel valued. When they feel valued, they work better. It’s just love in action, you see. When you ask Anglicans to pray for a secret committee meeting at a secret location, they are blind and directionless, like sheep without a shepherd. When they know for whom they are praying and why, they discern wisely and respond to the shepherd’s voice (or, if necessary, the sheepdog’s growl).

His Grace knows that this ‘modernisation’ won’t go down too well in some corners. But the Early Church upheld the principle of Vox Populi, Vox Dei – the voice of the people is the voice of God. One can better lead a divided church when one is both gifted by God and empowered by God’s people to lead it.


Blogger Shadrach said...

Your Grace,
Before John Richardson died, on his Blog 'The Ugly Vicar' he wrote 'The Church of England has only consecrated one Conservative Evangelical bishop of 'complementarian' views since 1997. Since he retired in October 2012, it has been without ANY of that persuasion'
I am sure that he as indeed do I have no doubt that we are unlikely to see any change in that situation in spite of ++Canterbury's own evangelical beginings.

4 July 2014 at 10:28  
Blogger PD said...

Your Grace, this is entirely apposite for those of us in the beautiful Diocese of Hereford, who are still waiting for the interminable CNC process to issue in an announcement of our next Bishop. Names have apparently been agreed and forwarded to No.10 and her majesty, but it will be at least a year from our previous bishop's well-deserved retirement until our new bishop is able to take up the post - and probably longer. Our suffragan bishop and archdeacon are wonderful, and we thank God for them, but the burden they are carrying is huge.

4 July 2014 at 10:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A pile-up of episcopal vacancies

My Lords, has this pile-up blocked both aisles of the Cathedral and will it possible to clear a path for procession with minimum inconvenience?

4 July 2014 at 10:35  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"If the Archbishop of Wales can be elected by an electoral college..."
We should take that as a terrible warning.

4 July 2014 at 11:28  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 July 2014 at 11:35  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Lord Deben made the point that “the Church of Rome appoints its own bishops and takes a great deal longer than the Church of England, which is itself very dilatory.” In practice, however, Catholic dioceses are not often left for very long without a bishop. The incumbent who has requested his retirement on reaching 75 is usually left in place until the selection procedure is complete. The most recent bishop of Brentwood, for example, Thomas McMahon, who had been in the post since 1980, tendered his resignation in June 2011 on reaching the age of 75, but his resignation was not formally accepted until nearly three years later, in April of this year, when it was announced that Alan Williams had been selected to succeed him. Williams was duly ordained bishop earlier this week, so that the diocese was actually left for less than three months without a bishop at all.

4 July 2014 at 11:42  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Come on, all candidates names in a hat then pick one out, God's choice.

4 July 2014 at 11:50  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

There are two reasons why CoE Bishops aren't elected: the reason that's given is that, as a branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church alongside the RCC and Orthodox, Anglican Bishops too must be chosen by the Church to follow on in Apostolic Succession, rather than by the laity as the out-and-out Protestants would do. This has been used since the 19th century Catholic Revival to replace the original reason, which was that as the Church of a Protestant Commonwealth the CoE got lay representation in Episcopal appointments from the Crown in Parliament.

The real reason is that the House of Bishops has not been able to figure out a subtle enough way of rigging the result to ensure that no one who isn't a middle of the road liberal catholic with evangelical sympathies, or even a liberal evangelical with catholic sympathies, can possibly win.

The last thing they want is someone who believes they have a mandate to upset the "Anglican consensus" - i.e. holding endless meetings to avoid ever making a clear doctrinal decision on anything controversial until, as they believe will happen, the liberal secular consensus inevitably triumphs over outdated conservatism and renders the issue moot.

Virtually every Bishop in the CoE over the last 40 years has been drawn from a pool of Suffragan Bishops which one can only get into with the patronage of one's Diocesan Bishop. This "Episcopal Cloning" effect of producing a more-or-less uniform middle-of-the-road Episcopate has been known about for a long time, but it's so useful no one wants to do anything about it.

4 July 2014 at 12:02  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Interesting process, what !

No doubt it worked extremely well even into the 1960s. To appoint a bishop who would be in himself the embodiment of the Church of England. Of course, it was so much easier then, everybody, or at least nearly everybody, was singing from the same hymn sheet then, most of our darling peers of the realm who were interested included.

Anyway, cut to the chase...

Cranmer old fellow, have you learnt nothing from the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt ? Democracy in the church is the last thing you need there. You have doctrine and role, built up over hundreds of years. It worked then, and given the chance, it can work again. The only people who should be involved in appointing a bishop are fellow bishops. Experts in their field, if you will. Not the ignorant masses.

So, suck on that will you...

By the way, this isn’t one of your occasional mischievous posts is it ? It damn well reads like one !

4 July 2014 at 12:11  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Your Grace,

I felt a twinge of envy at the Coptic church having the final say between several candidates made by a child.

Granted that the child is a relatively normal one this seems to me a most excellent idea, for they possess an as yet untramelled instinct towards filtering out those who are not genuine; adults (myself included) are more easily fooled.

As it is Britain and a dog-loving nation might I also suggest they get passed by a dog. They too can sniff out the fake, the dodgy, the non-warm, the seriously ill, those who, horror of horrors, are not doggy, and also those enamoured of failure! And they are quick and to the point and don't have their diaries overloaded with meetings.

4 July 2014 at 12:51  
Blogger Pete Matthew said...

Just a clarification for accuracy , the previous Bishop of Guildford announced his retirement in March, he didn't actually retire until October. So we've (I am in Guildford Diocese) have had a vacancy in see since then. However, the new Bishop is unlikely to start until January 2015 so it will almost be 18 months without a Diocesan,

4 July 2014 at 12:59  
Blogger bluedog said...

Thank you, Lucy Mullen @ 12.51, at your service, Ma'am.

There is no doubt that the episcopate and the laity inhabit different universes, and His Grace's proposal is certainly one way to bridge the gap. A real power shift would occur if bishops were appointed for a fixed term by popular vote...

However, the sight of a bishop running for re-election would be slightly less than seemly.

4 July 2014 at 13:09  
Blogger r33per said...

Lucy @ 12:51

"...might I also suggest they get passed by a dog..."

This seems somewhat unnecessarily harsh on both candidate and canine.

4 July 2014 at 13:17  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Thanks for the extract from Hansard, your Grace. It reminded me of an episode of the Goon Show - The Man Who Never Was...

The similarities are uncanny, apart from the ending:-

Isn't that so, Captain Frankfurter? He's a good old sausage...

Ahh-eerrrrr, yes, ah, ahhhhhahhahh, er, perfectly correct, sir, yes, I-eerr-aahhhh, I suppose it is, yes, ahhhhh, atahhhhh, perfectly right, yes, I, I-I-I-I-I jus-yeh-I suppose, er, I-I-I-I...

If you're not sure, say so!

AHHHH! Ahhh-ahh-ah-ah-a, I'm terribly sorry, I-er-er-er, I jus-errrr, I-I-I-I-I mean that I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-ahhh-ahh-ahh-aahhhaaaahhhh-ahhh ahhhhh...



Well done, Bloodnok!

I hated to see him suffer.

4 July 2014 at 13:42  
Blogger John Thomas said...

Yes, there could be a Job Description, and a series of "xxx need not apply/will not be considered" - Personally, I'd say 'No more bearded lefties/Guardian readers!'

4 July 2014 at 13:43  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

“Man who never was” eh, Rasher.

One doeth believe we are witnessing the airbrushing of Rolf Harris. By the time they’re finished, he will never have been.

Is this right we ask ourselves. Is it not human to err, and then be forgiven, if forgiveness is sought by the man, and offered by his victims, that is...

4 July 2014 at 14:07  
Blogger Athanasius said...

Strictly speaking, the Coptic Pope is selected by the Holy Spirit (as Copts hold) operating though a blindfolded boy who picks one of three names out of a glass. Things Alexandrian have a significance for me.

4 July 2014 at 14:11  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Athanasius.

Well, I think they are doing better than us, and that would seen significantly to shorten the process. Maybe that lops off a couple of months umming and aahing and shuffling copious wads of paper.

I would like to see a process that gives the intuitive person equal weighting to those who thrive on and get elected onto endless committees. It is a matter of balancing personality type and leaving things open to the inspiration of the Spirit.

At times the C of E has descended to Buggin's turn, whereby the same man has been touted all round the country, and urban dioceses are told he is an urbanite, and rural ones that he is a rural man, and of course suburban ones that he is really a deeply suburban type of guy, until a group of lesser sophisticates falls for it. This is clearly no way to proceed and can lead to disastrous consequences.

The initial vibrant early church was not set up by people with a natural character disposition to endure endless tortoise-type meetings, and indeed that type of person is unlikely to enable the church to grow or to choose leaders who will. Something has to change.

4 July 2014 at 14:26  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

So they're holding off to appoint a woman bishop. Is that not in anticipation of the CofE democratic will as expressed through Synod (well, in a bit)? Have we not constantly been told that this will renew the country's passion for the CofE, and that revival is only around the corner of a more shapely cassock?

Why not add "Synod's Got Talent" to that mix. Scripture has already been downgraded, and Satan's already been airbrushed out, so it can't do any more harm, I suppose.

"We are not talking about a ballot box at the altar, but of creating an inspirational culture of active participation which renders the episcopacy accountable to the clergy and both more accountable to the laity who are all accountable to God corporately."

With respect, Cranmer, whilst I am in no doubt that this is what you are talking about, and how you would go about approaching such a vote, we are talking about a ballot box at the altar (rail). That's exactly what would result in many of the churches where, already, there are "atheist Christians" serving as deacons etc. Overwhelmingly, each congregation will choose its own poison to represent itself, and you will still be getting the usual suspects vying for control.

What is needed is revival led by the Holy Spirit, and a culture of spiritual discipline. Neither are currently evident in the hierarchy of the CofE.

4 July 2014 at 14:32  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Rasher Bacon

Life imitates art.

4 July 2014 at 14:54  
Blogger Len said...

AIB ' What is needed is revival led by the Holy Spirit'
Amen to that..
The Power of God will fall when His people cry out to Him to heal our land and to convict sinners of their need for a Saviour..

(What we don`t need is another dusty old cleric or a 'new age' Bishop)

4 July 2014 at 15:14  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Bluedog

Your services are clearly required.

I think a Krypton Factor with spiritual tests as well could be a good idea.

Stick them in the middle of a maze blindfolded and whoever gets out first will get an ice cream- and an option on a mitre!! That success might be down to a direct line to the Almighty, or to the kindly ministrations of a blue (or other coloured) dog using its intuition as to who is a godly man worthy of the odd nose nudge in the right direction. It must be ensured that it isn't down to cheating by having the blindfolds very tight and wiggle proof!

Problem sorted, and low tech at that!!

4 July 2014 at 15:41  
Blogger Len said...

Perhaps I should explain what I meant by a 'new age' Bishop @15:14(hopefully without going off thread?)
There is a movement amongst Christianity called 'Progressive Christians' who are forging ahead with some 'radical ideas'..
I wonder how many denominations are going to fall for this all inclusive 'another Gospel' conceived by man( probably with the best of intentions? Some already seem committed)
This is what they believe and there is just enough truth mixed with error to make this' gospel' appeal to many;
Here we go;

1,"The teachings and life of Jesus provide them with a path to God.

2,They recognize that others follow 'their own paths' to God which are equally true for them.

3,They view the sharing of bread and wine in Jesus' name to represent "an ancient vision of God's feast for all peoples."

4,All are welcome to become involved; persons of all genders, sexual orientations, traditions, races, etc.

5, How people treat one another is the "fullest expression" of their beliefs.

6, They find more grace in searching for truth than in accepting certainty.

7, They form communities to support each other in their quest for peace, justice, a restored environment, and to provide hope.

8,Following Jesus involves a personal investment in "selfless love, conscientious resistance to evil, and renunciation of privilege

(I see Welby and Pope Francis moving in this direction)

4 July 2014 at 16:08  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Lord Morgan should reflect on the fact that the disestablished Church in Wales has become a one-man-band under the 'leadership' of ++Barry and his bench sitters who are now engaged in a process of joining with nonconformists to share unordained 'bishops'.

Whatever the failings of the Church of England the Church in Wales is hardly a good example to follow unless the Church of England also wants to detach herself from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

4 July 2014 at 16:59  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...


Apparently there's a contract out for a non-feminist bishop. The feminist sniping has started already (Linda Woodhead), so it'll be a brave man who tries it. It wasn't until today that I realised this is at least a partial step towards the late Ugley Vicar's frequent request.


I think everyone (quire rightly) wants to distance themselves from Rolf, which is always more noticeable when someone has been a celebrity. The question in my mind, is what sort of society is it where so many of its prominent people have turned out to be guilty of sin? I think we're all filthy sinners, and have come short of the glory of God, but some people still want to alter the emerging picture so we can't 'see what it is yet'.

4 July 2014 at 17:09  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! Electing one's bishop? Stuff and nonsense. Things are one properly here in Barchester, where my Lord was elevated to the see after I had a quiet word with my Uncle, the Earl of Mountwarlock, who in turn went to school with Lord Aberdeen. Simples! I believe electing bishops and priests was one of the ideas introduced during the French Revolution (dread words on several fronts!) and look where it got them. As for the notion of Bishopesses, balderdash and poppycock. I note that the see of Brighton is due to fall vacant...I do think Mr Slope would fit in rather well down there...

4 July 2014 at 18:56  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

...' done properly...'

4 July 2014 at 18:57  
Blogger Irreverent Sue said...

I would vote for Jeffery John. I always thought the church knew what it was on about until I heard him speak. Now I wonder if perhaps our Lord knows what He has in mind when he calls someone to lead. As for fracking; a plague on both houses...

4 July 2014 at 21:55  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Unable to sleep, I found myself reading this post and thread which I thought would be boring but is not and has many fascinating responses. My fellow communicants including lurkers who rarely comment are clearly thoughtful people.

My thought for what it is worth is that I remember at the time (and I was a registered Anglican parishioner then) how much I wished I'd been able to vote for Michal Nazir Ali as Archbish.

The appointment of the liberal Rowan Williams instead was to me as big a dissapointment as David Cameron's appointment over the far better David Davis.

As Aslan said to Lucy 'Child, no-one is ever told what would have happened'. But despite Dr Williams many admirable personal qualities, I fear that he was the wrong man for the job and Nazir Ali was the right man. And I think he would have won in a better more open appointment process with the broader church membership and activists having more of a say.

5 July 2014 at 01:31  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack notes those are "The Centre for Progressive Christianity" (TCPC) Eight Points on an approach to life. And yes, many of them are infecting the orthodox Church.

Of great concern is 'The Christian Left', best exemplified by Rev. Scotty McLennan in "Jesus Was a Liberal: Reclaiming Christianity for All."

Key points:

- There are many roads to the top of the spiritual mountain, and Christianity is only one of them.

- Jesus primarily a spiritual and ethical teacher and less as being identical with God.

- Living a fulfilled and ethical life here and now is more important than speculating on what happens to us after we die.

Should the selection of Bishops become a democratic process, how long before those left activists, skilled in manipulating these processes. install yet more liberals with these views in the hierarchy?

5 July 2014 at 02:10  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"(I see Welby and Pope Francis moving in this direction)"

Naughty - ever the opportunist. You should get an eye test and change your specs.

5 July 2014 at 02:14  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

It's an interesting theoretical argument, but electing Bishops in the CoE isn't going to happen this side of disestablishment. Pretty soon it is going to be overrun with brand new women bishops who think orthodoxy is something they learned in their geometry lessons. The CoE is pretty much shot to Hell. There isn't much that can be done for it anymore.


5 July 2014 at 04:27  
Blogger Father David said...

I am intrigued to read of Mrs. Proudie's mention of the See of Brighton, of which until recently I have never heard before. I know that the R Cs refer to a south coast diocese as "Arundel and Brighton" but never until very recently have I come across an Anglican diocese of Brighton. I know that Archdeaconries are vastly proliferating and there is to be an Archdeaconry of Brighton within the Chichester diocese (some want to add "and Lewes" as the ancient county town of East Sussex to "Brighton"). Motoring through Rye last week I stopped off at that lovely, quaint south coast town to see the filming of the re-make of F. E. Benson's magnificent "Mapp and Lucia". I noticed from the mock up church notice board that St. Mary's, Tilling is in the diocese of Brighton, so perhaps I am mistaken or dreaming that there is such an entity but why, pray, Mrs. Proudie would your husband's former Domestic Chaplain be a suitable candidate to be the next Bishop of Brighton? I am intrigued to know why!

5 July 2014 at 06:08  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Ah Father David, you question the existence of the see of Brighton but accept that of Barchester? How simply splendid...

5 July 2014 at 09:52  
Blogger Martin said...

So why bother with bishops? The Free churches manage remarkably well without them.

5 July 2014 at 10:23  
Blogger Martin said...


(I see Welby and Pope Francis moving in this direction)

Could they move any further in that direction?

5 July 2014 at 10:41  
Blogger Cam Ma said...

It could not be easier - let the Diocesan Synod hold an election, like the Church does in the USA. The winning candidate is then consecrated by the relevant archbishop. Cuts out many tiers of bureaucracy and secret plotting in tea and cucumber sandwich-filled retreat houses.

5 July 2014 at 12:46  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

The Jackster @ 02.10

Nice one.

I noted some time ago that if one substituted the word 'communist' for the word 'progressive' in any given phrase, the sense was clarified.

Although I used to be a big fan of Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Yes, Soft Machine and other 'progressive' rock bands of that ilk, I have come to detest the word and distrust its users.

Interestingly (and see C S Lewis' essay 'Funeral of a Great Myth') the idea of 'progress' ties in with evolutionism, the philosophical idea that things have a tendency to get better over time. Conservatism of course tends to think thst moral and religious truth at any rate are immutable and need to be grasped and held on to, not progressively evolved.

Lewis also attacked 'progress' in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader ....

.....'Progress? Development? I have seen both in an egg. In Narnia we call it going bad'.


5 July 2014 at 18:40  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

In my neck of the woods Rambling Steve, we call it something similar but Jack will not type the word as its rather rude.

Apparently, Happy Jack is a "radical conservative", according to a personality profile conducted a couple of years ago. He hasn't yet worked out what this means but he likes the sound of it!

6 July 2014 at 01:14  
Blogger Father David said...

Dear Mrs. Proudie, I also accept the existence of the diocese of St. Ogg's as I've seen it on the telly! Likewise I've seen on the goggle box your own dear husband's great cathedral. Doesn't Bishop Donald Allister now sit on its cathedra as Dr. Proudie's successor? But I must admit that I've never seen any televisual or photographic evidence to persuade me of the actual existence of Brighton cathedral.

6 July 2014 at 07:46  
Blogger Father David said...

Well in the Chichester diocese the appointment of Archdeacons happen in the twinkling of an eye. The last Archdeacon of Horsham had his farewell service last Sunday on St. Peter's Day and his successor has already been announced a week later! Is this a record?

6 July 2014 at 20:59  

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