Letter to the Editor
Bishop for Pronouns or Wokery?
Regarding your Editorial: “Time for Mutual Flourishing to Flourish”, may I ask, is there anyone anywhere, outside the episcopate, calling for individual bishops specially commissioned to speak on particular issues? During the European Union referendum, for example, I don’t recall any clamour for an oven-ready bishop to address the topic directly.
Had there been a Bishop of Brexit during the 2016 referendum campaign, what exactly would they have brought to the national debate? Given the predilections of the then House of Bishops, this Bishop might well have favoured Remain, thereby alienating the majority of voters and parishioners. In the unlikely event of a Bishop for Brexit actually being FOR Brexit, such a voice would have provoked the wrath and indignation of Remainers inside and outside the Church. If this unfortunate Bishop chose to sit on the fence, pointing out the merits of both sides’ arguments, it’s unlikely their voice would have been eagerly sought out by media outlets, so what would have been the point?
The areas suggested for these specialist bishops are amongst some of the most divisive in the UK at this time: Brexit, Covid, sexuality. Why not go the whole way and appoint a Bishop for Pronouns and Wokery? It seems highly illogical to have a bishop, an office much touted as a focus for unity, as the person spearheading the Church’s approach on these controversies. Creating bishops just to tackle every bone of contention and passing fad shows a deep misunderstanding of the Office and Work of a Bishop in the Church of God.
This plan is not a vision of the future Church; it is an exposé of the present Bench’s preoccupations. Maximum publicity at a national level and minimum involvement with churches at a local level are the priorities. Bishops for Special Topics – surely a solution in search of a problem.