Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Your choice for the next Bishop of Chelmsford

So what if you didn't get along to the public consultation about the next Bishop of Chelmsford? We can hold one right here on the interweb.

The Crown Nominations Commission invites people to put forward names, so who would your choice be, and what qualities should the next bishop have? Post your suggestions and comments here.

Please note: no negative comments about any individuals will be allowed, not least because of libel laws. If you can't think of something nice to say, don't say it!

Also, for the purposes of this exercise you must give a full name (Christian or initials and surname) and your location.

Let the comments commence.


Anonymous users wishing to paste in the comments box need first to select the 'Anonymous' profile, then type in a couple of letters, select 'preview', then close the preview box and delete these letters.

When posting your comments please give a full name and location. Comments without this information WILL be deleted.

58 comments:

  1. The Bishop ought to be first and foremost a teacher of God's people, fierce in guarding the truth.

    For that reason, I nominate Rev Vaughan Roberts, St Ebbe's Oxford.

    The man is a godly humble leader and has courage in spades. He went to Winchester and Cambridge (if that bothers anybody). He has actually grown a church.

    Or, what about David Holloway from Newcastle?

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  2. I nominate my vicar, Rev Mones Farah. Yes, Michael, he is also a teacher who has grown a church. He would certainly stir things up, but John 2:17 might prove relevant!

    By the way, David Holloway is 70 this year and so too old to qualify.

    Peter Kirk, Great Baddow, Chelmsford

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  3. What about the other five vacancies for Bishops?

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  4. Church Mouse, I think there just isn't room - not that we shouldn't have a similar discussion. As a Chelmsford person, I have a vested interest, so perhaps the answer is for other blogs to do it for their own dioceses. As I recall, Julian Mann set up one specially when Sheffield was in the same situation.

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  5. Peter, J C Ryle was 64 when he became Bishop of Liverpool and 83 when he retired. Evangelicals still look back on him as one of (if not the) greatest English evangelical bishops. These days, 70 shouldn't be a barrier.

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  6. PS to Peter, the trouble with Mones, Holloway etc, is that they are not already bishops. This is why they would be very unlikely candidates for Chelmsford - even though they might be eminently suitable in other respects.

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  7. My nominee would be Jeffrey John, Dean of Saint Albans. A scholar, a pastoral priest, an outstanding dean.
    Frank Allsop. Merseyside.

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  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  9. Peter, I am sorry I have had to remove your comment. Please note, "no negative comments about any individuals will be allowed".

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  10. I didn't say anything negative about anyone! But if I am not even allowed to say that an appointment might be controversial, how about this:

    I'm sure Holloway would be a fine bishop, but there is (now) a legal retiring age of 70.

    Rowan blocked Jeffrey John's appointment as bishop of Reading and very likely also of Bangor. I'm sure he would do the same for Chelmsford.

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  11. I don't have any names to put forward, but we need someone this time who doesn't have one eye on his pension. Someone who might hang around a few years and who wants to grow his diocese rather than manage its decline. Bishop Thomas of Brentwood, for example, has been there since 1980.
    Rochester diocese has had 3 bishops in the last 47 years - some continuity there, I think. Oh, and this time perhaps he won't be named John.

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  12. We are asked "what qualities should the next bishop have?" I would say that one vital quality is that the new bishop is a focus for unity, which implies that he must be someone who has the confidence of people of all points of view in the diocese.

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  13. Chelmsford clearly needs a blogger from Essex.

    Hence I nominate Sam Norton.

    Michael Canaris
    Sydney

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  14. Obvious Evangelical candidates, Andrew Cornes All Saints Crowborough, Paul Perkins. They'll go for a non-boat rocker, who will inevitably annoy everyone, rather than someone who'll make a few brave decisions, streamline bureaucracy, fee up creative growth, invest in growth rather than chuck good money after bad in failing Churches without asking tough questions.

    Darren Moore
    Tranmere

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  15. I would nominate Bishop Bob Evens of Crediton. Unfortunately he is too well loved and needed by the people of Devon for us to let him go.
    Paul Perkins
    David HollowayJThe Rev J.P.Richardson
    Rev Richard Coekin

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  16. Donald Alister (adn Chester)
    Tony Porter (if he wasn't new to his current post)
    We had a great public consultation in Carlisle Diocese recently and the Appts Committee really listed. So it is possible.
    Stephen Griffiths, Cumbria

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  17. John,
    If I've read correctly the post needs to be filled by a Bishop. How about Wallace Benn or Pete Broadbent? I have limited knowledge of Bishops in England. Maybe that's the problem?

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  18. Pete Broadbent would be my choice too. He has years of experience, he is an evangelical, and he understands the position and needs of those who are unable to accept the ordination of women and the consecration of women bishops.

    He is also someone who would provide a strong lead.

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  19. David Thompson of Woodford Green.

    I would also endorse the choice of The Rt Rev Peter Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden.

    My second choice, for a younger man, is The Rt Rev Dr Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon.

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  20. Are you the same Reverent Johnson who assisted in sacking a dinner lady for protecting a child from bullies, if so shame on you.

    Phil Medway Singapore

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  21. I'm ignorant of the whole "field", but I'd be very positive about such names as Pete Broadbent, Mike Hill and Tony Porter. I do think that if (as seems likely) the appointee is
    an "open evangelical", they should have a track record of being able to work with those who would not so describe themselves, and in Chelmsford that includes conservatives of various kinds.
    Andy Griffiths
    Galleywood

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  22. Phil Medway - you mean this story: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article6846672.ece

    Nothing to do with me! That's at Great Tey http://www.greattey.com/ where I have a namesake.

    BTW, it is John Richardson, not Richard Johnson, though you'd be surprised how many people make that mistake as well!

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  23. Peter Kirk, it is a sad fact that the state of the Church of England today means that no appointment will be without its opponents. Pete Broadbent would also be unacceptable to some in the diocese, as would all other candidates. For that reason, I think the best person for the post should be appointed. So, my choice would still be Jeffrey John. He would be able to serve both the diocese and the church at large, and his appointment would be a prophetic statement that all are called to serve God.
    Frank Allsop. Merseyside.

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  24. Well, then Broadbent it is! Great choice. Slightly maverick. Experienced. Believes in God even. Didn't go to Lambeth because it was a yawn fest. Didn't go to GAFCON either!

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  25. Hands off Tony Porter. I want him for Rochester! A clear evangelical bp who is a gifted evangelist and passionately committed to evangelism, with a track record of working with non-evangelicals. Actually, I'm not sure he'd be willing to leave the Grim North.

    Matthew Mason
    Tunbridge Wells

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  26. Wallace Benn or Pete Boradbent sound good -though would like Wallace Benn to go to Rochester.

    What about Richard Coekin?

    The very fact that Vaughen is doing such a good job as an expository Bible teacher week in week out at St Ebbes is why I wouldn't like to see him as a Bishop (although admittedly I'm not much in favour of the role as it exists anyway! Personally I'm glad John Stott never became an actual Bishop

    Dave Williams, London

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  27. I will try again to see if I can make the point I tried to make before, to give a proper balance to this discussion.

    I make no criticism of Jeffrey John or anyone else. I simply observe that his appointment to Chelmsford or any other diocese would be sufficiently controversial, in view of recent events especially last summer, that it would tear apart not only the diocese but the Church of England and the entire Anglican Communion. That is not least because it would go against commitments already made by the Archbishop of Canterbury. As Rowan is an honourable man I think we can reasonably rule out Jeffrey John.

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  28. Fr Nick De Keyser SSC24 September 2009 at 18:23

    Pete Broadbent. He would also be fair to and supportive of orthodox Anglo-Catholics. He is on the Revision Committee for the Women Bishops Legislation and I understand he wants to see provision made for A-Cs who cannot accept Women in the Episcopate

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  29. Peter Kirk, please can you say what it is about Jeffrey John that would be unacceptable, apart from the divisiveness which candidates like Peter Broadbent would also bring? After all, Peter Broadbent made himself very unpopular by refusing to attend the Lambeth Conference. Jeffery John is a senior priest in good standing.
    Frank. Merseyside.

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  30. Frank, do you really not know? Or are you just trying to get me into trouble with John Richardson by mentioning issues that he doesn't want brought up on this thread? I will just repeat the link I gave in a previous comment. If you really want to find out why some people would strongly object to Jeffrey John, read that and follow up the links there.

    Yes, I accept that Pete Broadbent may have lost his chance of preferment by not attending Lambeth. That certainly made him unpopular at Lambeth Palace, but I doubt if many other people care. And he is an excellent candidate in every other way. So my guess is that if he is strongly preferred by the people of this diocese he has a chance of being accepted.

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  31. OK, enough already with the "Why not Jeffrey John?" Frank, you've made your (positive) points ("A scholar, a pastoral priest, an outstanding dean"), Peter rightly recognizes that this isn't the place for negatives - which might easily become libellous.

    I have to add that one of the reasons why public debate about candidates for episcopal posts seems to be discouraged is precisely that it so easily descends into negatives, not positives.

    Personally, I'd rather be persuaded that x has more good points than y, than that y has fewer bad points than x.

    The real surprise to me at the moment is the sheer lack of suggestions!

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  32. John,
    I think, well at least for my part, I suggested only two for the post of +Chelmsford (Pete and Wallace) is because I know so little of whose of who is eligible and who isn't for such a post. So it could be ignorance on my part but I also think that we Evangelical types may have a poor ecclesiology and poor or wrong view of the role of bishops. Or maybe we are so used to duff bishops any bloke with a cloak will do! (Isa 3:6-7!)

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  33. Richard, surely anyone is technically eligible, at least if they are male and between the ages of 30 and 70. At least these are the legal restrictions I know about. They don't even have to be a priest or even a Christian as in principle someone can be baptised and ordained deacon, priest and bishop on the same day.

    More to the point is whether a person is likely to be chosen. As John has pointed out, it is unlikely that anyone will be appointed to this very large diocese without already being at least a suffragan bishop.

    Another good evangelical candidate would be Graham Cray. But I would hate to see him taken away from his Fresh Expressions work. Also at 62 he is a little on the old side.

    They do things differently in Scotland - they are advertising for a new Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway in today's Church Times!

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  34. my understanding, in the role I have, is that there are so many vacancies currently in Diocese around the country that there will have to be new Bishops consecreated to fill all the gaps...so anyone is possible. I don't however think Chelmsford will get a 'new' Bishop as we are the second biggest Diocese in the country, but there might be some interesting shifting around of the current Bishops and Archdeacons...

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  35. Just in case anyone is wondering re the posting policy on this thread (proper full name and location), if you click on 6p00d8341c05c753ef's link above, you'll find she is "Alice Smith, Essex, wife to Andy, mum to Matilda Grace, currently youth adviser for the anglican church, loving life and tea and all that God brings!"

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  36. Tom Tarling, Southampton25 September 2009 at 13:04

    Hi,

    I'd like to suggest me Vicar.

    I think my Vicar would make an excellent Bishop (but would probably dislike me saying so, at least publically, so blame me)

    My Vicar is the Rev. Sarah Chapman ... oops

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  37. I'm still rather keen on Sam Norton, who seems an all-round decent fellow with a few ... interesting ... perspectives (in retrospect, perhaps he's too decent to accept.) Admittedly, my involvement with Chelmsford so far has largely been limited to visiting various blogs from its vicinity.

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  38. For the record, Michael Canaris is in Sydney (see above).

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  39. And Woody is Richard Wood, Leyton.

    Why don't people read the instructions??

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  40. Alice Smith for Bishop, now there's a thought. Well-known in the diocese (at least in my part of it), full of life and with lots of good ideas - a veritable John Sentamu! (I have heard it said that all dioceses in need of a Bishop want another John Sentamu).

    However, more realistically it's Bishop Pete. Of course there would be those who disagree - a lot would have disagreed with the last Bishop John, but he was still appointed. Bishop Wallace Benn has the staggering disadvantage of actually being a parish priest for 25 years before his consecration, but he's now 62 and has one eye on his pension. Even Bishop Pete is 57, but he could give us 13 years before the axe finally drops. I also like the idea of Michael Lawson, but he's only an archdeacon at the moment.

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  41. If we want to go for a blogger as Michael suggested but also think an existing bishop is to be preferred, we could consider Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham (54 this year and apparently my contemporary at Cambridge, though I don't remember him), or Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon (52 this year). Both are suffragans of the right sort of age and experience (both consecrated 2003). And both have an evangelical background.

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  42. Oh, as we're only dealing in positives, I'd like to add that Jeffrey John is celibate,and that would be a great witness to the world.
    Frank, Merseyside.

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  44. I would happily welcome Nick Baines or Alan Wilson, as per Peter's suggestion. Both understand a great deal about how to make the Gospel intelligible and in a fractured, mass-media-but-niche-marketing world... such communication skills are vital across our large and diverse Diocese, also.
    And one more from me...how about Stephen Cottrell? An Essex boy coming home?!?...grew up in Leigh, where his parents are still faithfully working in street projects and campaigning for justice for many...

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  45. Richard Frith, currently in Hull? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Frith
    He was Bishop of Hull during my time in parish youth ministry 2000-2003 and I think he has great qualities. He's also been in Hull since 1998 and may look for a move before retirement? Who knows...anything to deflect attention!

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  47. Anonymous - interesting suggestions about names from Bas[ing]stoke but, no full name and no address, and as I've said, without these I won't accept the comment.

    Frank, I've been trying to avoid people discussing what they don't like about proposed candidates. Let's stick to positive proposals here. Negatives can come later.

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  48. Richard Frith is an interesting suggestion. He is a remarried divorced man, married to a remarried divorced woman. I would have no problem with someone in that marital arrangement. Would it be divisive in the diocese? I only ask this because the issue of divisiveness has been raised, not to cast any slur on the bishop or his wife. If it would not be divisive, then where is the line to be drawn. If it would be divisive, then who will escape whipping in these puritan times?
    Frank. Merseyside.

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  49. I'm lost here. What have I said that is negative? This is a serious question. If you mean my post about Richard Frith. I made it clear that I did not think anything I said was negative, though others might. His marital state is part of his CV. It is of no concern to me, I only raise it in the context of the discussion about divisiveness, and for the light it might throw on that issue.
    Frank. Merseyside.

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  50. Frank, thanks for that clarification. I took it as a potential negative, but clearly it wasn't meant that way.

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  51. I think it's clear from my first mention of it that it was not meant in any way to be negative. I said, 'I only ask this because the issue of divisiveness has been raised, not to cast any slur on the bishop or his wife.' But thank you for your apology.
    Frank. Merseyside.

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  52. Having heard both Pete Broadbent and Wallace Benn speak at conferences I would be very happy with either. Michael Lawson would also be a good choice.

    But please leave Vaughan Roberts at St Ebbes where he is doing a fantastic job - as Dave Williams says, it has been a great gift that John Stott was never made a bishop.

    David - Parish of the Icknield Way

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  53. David, I am trusting you are David Brock (as full names are required in this thread)!

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  54. Your trust is not misplaced John.

    David Brock

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  55. As paid-up evangelicals, we are inclined to look at Anglos like Stephen Cottrell with a small amount of suspicion. Apart from that, he has most of the right credentials - aged 51, already consecrated, a local lad from Leigh-on-Sea, not afraid to speak out (even if it's only about Marks and Spencer) and a devotee of the ukulele. What more could we want?

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  56. Either +Stephen Cottrell or +Pete Broadbent would add a welcome emphasis on mission to the dicoese. I'm guessing that +Pete would be more sympathetic to those opposed to the ordination of women, but that +Stephen might be better at winning over the "floating centre" of the dicoese to mission
    What about Archdeacon Bob Jackson - there's someone with an interesting persepctive on mission...
    Also what about +Lindsay Urwin - a man with an incredible passion for evangelism

    (Fr) Edmund Cargill Thompson

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  57. I'm sure +Wallace Benn would have a lot to offer back in his old stamping ground. If the clergy of the Lewes & Hastings area will let him go, that is... Current elongation of retirement ages for clergy make it a realistic possibility.

    I would consider many of the names previously suggested as quite inspiring. A mission-minded Anglo-catholic bishop can be an inspiration for evangelicals too, as +Lindsay Urwin demonstrated at Horsham.

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  58. Good luck with this, John. The Sheffield blog was your idea and by God's grace the appointment has been positive. May Chelsmford get a good Evangelical man with the heart for Christ's mission in the frontline of the parishes.

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