Case for consecrating rural deans as bishops

by
10 June 2009

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From the Revd Philip Brownless

Sir, — The Bishop of Grimsby suggests (Letters, 5 June) that reducing the number of suffragan bishops after the increases of recent years would seriously affect the mission of the Church.

It is worth pointing out that, in the past 50 years, the big contribu­tions to the mission of the Church — the revival of the healing ministry in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, and the Alpha and New Wine movements — were started by parish clergy, not bishops.

On the question of suffragans’ needing to have a far more informed understanding and involvement, I agree with the Bishop. The solution I would suggest is that all rural deans should be suffragan bishops, and suffragan bishops rural deans, all running parishes. This would put them in much closer touch with the parishes, and ease the shortage of parochial clergy. A well-run deanery is a splendid unit in which to get things happening.

PHILIP BROWNLESS
The Hornpipe, Oak Meadow
Birdham
Chichester PO20 7BH

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