Comments: New bishop for Ely

Vice president of Affirming Catholicism! This looks like some good news.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 6:59pm BST

And a signatory to the Open Letter to the Leadership Team of GAFCON - -
better still!!

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 8:32pm BST

Why does Downing Street announce something that the Queen has done? Next the PM will be reading the Speech from the Throne at the opening of Parliament!

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 9:06pm BST

I see that one our Suffragans here in Chichester is on the list of addressees. Any response from him I wonder?

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 31 August 2010 at 9:50pm BST

"Stephen has been a spiritual director and soul friend to clergy and lay people since he was a curate. Prayer and worship are at the heart of everything. He has been formed principally within the Anglican catholic tradition, shaded by positive experience of other traditions throughout his ministry like the charismatic movement. He is committed to being a bishop for the whole Church, regardless of tradition."

- Ely Diocesan Bio. of Bishop Stephen -

Sounds a pretty good all-rounder to me - Keble College, Oxford; a Methodist Sunday school childhood; ecumenical connections; Vice Chair of Affirming Catholics; Man of Prayer, & Single to boot! Couldn't be better. May God use Bishop Stephen as a promotor of Inclusive Church in the Church of England. His influence is sorely needed there. Prayers & Blessings from New Zealand!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 7:02am BST

In answer to Mr Dilworth - this is a long-standing practice rather than a recent innovation. Those things The Queen does as Head of State are not personal decisions for which she is responsible, but the responsibility of Ministers who recommend them. While The Queen approves the appointment of Bishops (and Ministers, and other public office-holders), Ministers make the recommendations on which she acts and are accountable for their advice - hence, I think, the announcement comes from Downing Street. Similarly, while the Speech from the Throne is read by the Monarch, it is written by the Government and the Government (not the Monarch) is accountable for its contents.

Posted by Philip Hobday at Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 2:28pm BST

Thanks, Mr Hobday. I knew that the Queen's Speech is written by the government. I was just noting the inconsistency of UK practice - sometimes you keep up the appearance of royal agency more than at other times.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 4:12pm BST

My limited analysis of such an appointment:

Posted by Pluralist at Wednesday, 1 September 2010 at 6:05pm BST

"That means that Anglo-catholics who are standing for election for the General Synod, or voting in General Synod elections, are standing, or voting, to defeat the women bishops’ legislation."

- Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Pastoral Letter 2 -

This is where I get confused with the exclusive use of the term 'Anglo-Catholics' by the F.i.F. crowd.

Bishop Stephen, Bishop-elect of Ely, will in all probability not vote "to defeat the women bishops' legislation" (hopefully, being vice-Chairperson of Affirming Catholics who want women bishops); so why do 'Forward in Faith' continue to arrogate to themselves alone the title 'Anglo-Catholic'?

In fact, if that is the only reason for the anti-women bishops people to put themselves up for election, then God help the Church of England, and the rest of us who still look to Canterbury for inspiration in our Anglican pilgrimage.

The are many Anglo-Catholics, like myself, and I suspect the Bishop-Elect of Ely and 'Affirming Catholics', who feel that the only way forward for the Church to grow is to allow women to be called by God to fill the role of Bishops in the Church.

This one-cause entity that calls itself, rather amusingly 'Forward in Faith' would seem to be anything but that. Rather, 'Backward in Despair' might be a more fitting title for their desire to live in the past. May Our Lady of Walsingham add her prayers to those of us who want to honour those of her gender who are called to episcopate.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 2 September 2010 at 4:16am BST

Calls itself, rather amusingly, FiF-UK, Fr. Ron.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 2 September 2010 at 8:42am BST

Yes, I admit I wickedly think of it as 'Backward in Doubt'.

But it can be a hoot *(despite itself!) - so that is an unintended plus point.(Laugh and thw world laughs with you.)

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 2 September 2010 at 6:03pm BST

He sounds an excellent chap. And - o joy! -a further excuse for those of us in Cambridge to look down our collective nose at our fenland friends in Peterborough.

Posted by rjb at Friday, 3 September 2010 at 8:17am BST

Fr Ron. Is it appropriate to call upon the help of Our Lady of Walsingham when her Shrine doesn't allow women priests to celebrate mass or be priest associates? Or may be you are right and she could be very helpful. Could be a wonderful Damascus Road conversion, just imagine it!

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 3 September 2010 at 10:18am BST

When I saw he had come in for some stick on a less pleasant US site, his stock rose in my eyes !

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 3 September 2010 at 12:51pm BST

Richard, I have noted that the Administrator and the Council of the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham do not presently 'allow' a woman to celebrate Mass at her Shrine in England. Perhaps there needs to be a new attitude towards the dignity of women in that place, which comemmorates a mere woman as being the Mother of God. What more dignified title could be given to a woman who, if one can believe her 'Catholic' protectors, has already attained to that state of grace that the Angel Gabriel attributed to her on the occasion of the Annunciation - and of her recognition by Elizabeth the mother of John Baptist? "Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you; Blessed are you among women and Blessed is the Fruit of your womb, Jesus!"

If bringing Christ's presence to the Altar at Mass is the prerogative of the Priest, then it should be realised that Mary, in bringing Christ into being in her womb was performing a priestly act. What then should prevent a woman (of her gender) from presiding at Mass?

If "In Christ, there is neither male nor female" - St. Paul - what's the problem? The humanity of Christ (and his act of redemption) was not limited by his adoption of the masculine form. Jesus' humanity was universal, covering both male and female of the species. This is why both share a common Baptism 'en Christo'

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 4 September 2010 at 4:07am BST
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