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What, exactly, are the expectations concerning a 'Bishop in Mission'?

02 November 2006


From the Rt Revd Dr Colin Buchanan
Sir, - With reference to making Prebendary Sandy Millar a bishop, I think the Revd Dr Giles Fraser ( Comment, 4 November) is on the wrong tack, as there has clearly been an agreement between the Bishop of London and the Archbishop of Uganda, which would not be the case with his hypothetical bishops of Clacton and Melton Mowbray.

But the point at which Dr Fraser comes across as genuinely innocent (unless he is being rhetorical) is when he says, "If London needs a new bishop, why doesn't the Church of England do it?"

As I understand it, we are here back at the Seabury question in 1784: the Church of England episcopate can lawfully consecrate only for sees (including suffragan ones) to which Her Majesty has given her recognition or blessing. The Archbishop of Uganda, on the other hand, can simply consult his fellow-bishops, ensure he has no financial responsibilities, and then say: "Sandy is a friend - I'll be glad to help the state-shackled Church of England."

I think the question ought to be one of job description. What are the expectations of what this man will do? It would certainly be sad if anyone thought he would simply do what he is already doing, but with some extra "oomph" by becoming a bishop. Adding gongs to people we already have: red cassocks for Royal Chaplains, Lambeth degrees, and I know not what else - the episcopate must surely not get into that category.

I, in the most friendly way possible (knowing and deeply respecting all the parties concerned), would like to know the expectations about episcopal ministry.
(Hon. Assistant Bishop in the diocese of Bradford)
21 The Drive, Alwoodley
Leeds LS17 7QB

From Mr Martin Culverwell
Sir, - I am intrigued by what I have read and heard of the consecration of Prebendary Sandy Millar as a "missionary bishop". Potentially, this gives him a remit wider than that of any diocesan or suffragan to go into any diocese for the purposes of mission.

Has the Church of England found a way out of the constraints of establishment? Could not this approach be used to overcome the problem of territoriality more generally?

And at what point do dioceses decide for themselves whom they want as a diocesan, and, if the establishment does not play ball, get him or her consecrated by another province?
The Old Ebenezer
High Street
Rode, Frome
Somerset BA11 6NZ

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