NEW

Anglican Futures: Anglican Alphabet Spaghetti

Anglican Futures Anglican Alphabetti Spaghetti A dummies guide to the plethora of organisations and acronyms linked to faithful Anglicans in the UK and Europe. I once spent some time around military personel.  Everything had its own TLA (Three Letter Acronym) right...

Canterbury Tales: Favourite Bible Stories Retold by Archbishop Justin Welby

Canterbury Tales Favourite Bible stories retold by Archbishop Justin Welby The Good Samaritan A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead, halfway...

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) met in Synod on 18 June.  While there, they elected two suffragan bishops to aid Bishop Andy Lines in providing episcopal oversight for the overall work.  Bishop Lines also...

Pride Flags Causing Conflict at Christian School

Pride Flags Cause Conflict at Christian School Conflict has broken out in a Christian school in Oxfordshire over the display of “Pride” flags. The institution in question is Kingham Hill School.  The same Trust (Kingham Hill Trust) oversees Oak Hill College, an...

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers The Prayer Book Society, which will soon celebrate its 50th Anniversary, is raising funds to put a special edition BCP into the hands of junior choristers around the nation.   The idea came to...

Book Review: Reimagining Britain by Justin Welby

Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope Justin Welby Bloomsbury, 2018, new edn. 2021 (ISBN: 978-1-4729-8497-5, 322pp, £12.99) The Archbishop of Canterbury has made several notable political interventions recently, including over ‘partygate’ and the Rwanda deportation...

Birthday of Anglicanism in America

Birthday of Anglicanism in America By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins June 16, 1607 was the birthday of Anglicanism in America. On this day Captain John Smith and 104 others celebrated the Lord’s Supper when they arrived safely in Jamestown, Virginia. Jamestown was the...

Barnabas Fund Report: Two ChiBok Girls Found

Barnabas Fund Reports Two Chibok Girls Found After 8 Years 24 June 2022 Two women, who were among hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from the Nigerian town of Chibok eight years ago, have been found. Hauwa Joseph was discovered among a group of other...

New Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory

Church of Ireland News New Bishop Elected for Cashel, Ferns & Ossory The Church of Ireland diocese of Cashel, Ferns, and Ossory now has a bishop-elect.  The Venerable Adrian Wilkinson, Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross was elected to succeed the Rt Revd Michael...

Editorial: Lessons to be Learned from the American Pro-Life Movement

Editorial Lessons to be Learned from American Pro-Life Movement Friday, 24 June 2022, the Feast of St John the Baptist, will be a date which will live in infamy amongst the supporters of abortion.  On that date, the US Supreme Court, overturned the precedent set by...

Editorial: Bishops of the Bubble

Editorial

Bishops of the Bubble

This edition of the English Churchman marks one full year since your Editor has been in the job.  It has been a challenging time and will no doubt continue to be so.  Ecclesiastes 1:9 finds itself writ large: “no new thing under the sun.”

The Church of England remains in turmoil. Churches in the other parts of the UK, in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland face issues of doctrinal and moral uncertainty, as the church has from its beginning.

However, the novel ideas said to be emanating from Lambeth Palace may well have been predicted by that wily old mandarin Sir Humphrey Appleby, of Yes, Minister fame: “nowadays politicians want to talk about moral issues, and bishops want to talk politics.”

Last weekend, The Times ran a story about a document they had seen indicating the direction of travel desired for the Church of England by the episcopal residents of Lambeth Palace, Bishopthorpe and the Old Deanery, London.

If adopted, these plans would see the Archbishop of Canterbury form a type of Shadow Government.  Bishops who would not wish to serve a geographical diocese “could be appointed spokesmen on ‘special topics’ about which they have a ‘very particular passion and knowledge’,” reported The Times, “The church could expand the number of ‘non-territorial bishops’. Such roles “could be fixed term.  Examples might have been the appointment of a Brexit bishop or a Covid bishop.”

A Bishop for Covid? A Bishop for Brexit? A Bishop for Environmentalists? A Bishop for any cause deemed worthy? A Bishop for special interest groups, for special pleading, for kudos from Guardian editorials?

Lord, have mercy!

Who determines which special interests merit a bishopric? Who pays? If the Brexit debate revealed anything about the Church of England, it was that the Bishops were almost solidly Remain whilst parishioners were more likely to vote leave. In the passion of today’s culture wars, would such positions not drive a further wedge between the Bench and the Pew? Would it not become more apparent how remote some bishops are from the concerns of the general population? 

Would a specialist Bishop simply represent the Church’s position on an issue to the wider world, or might they become an advocate for change within the Church in favour of particular interest groups, possibly at variance with the Bible?

We live in times when the parish is perceived as being under threat, or at least not looked upon sympathetically by the central church ‘Blob’. These specialist bishops, operating in a void outside a diocesan or parish structure, may become more detached from the life and concerns of the ordinary worshipper. A Bishop of the Bubble? 

Why do spokespersons have to be episcopally-ordained to issue a press release on behalf of the church anyway? Short-term advisors could be found to speak on issues as required and advise the Bishops who sit in the House of Lords. Would that not be cheaper and less bothersome than foisting on them a purple shirt and the laying on of hands (not to mention a bishop’s stipend)?

If we are now to have non-territorial bishops, how about Bishops for Evangelism and Discipleship? For Teaching and Defending the Faith? For Growth and Vocations?

What a great place to start.  These bishops would have to have a credible profession of faith in manner of living and in what they have been teaching.  Those that act and believe as mere ecclesiastical historical re-enactors (wearing quaint costumes and playing a part) should be passed over for those who have a demonstrated desire to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness.

Previous

Next