*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

When does the Holy Spirit get a look in?

by
25 April 2012

iStock

From the Bishop of Antsiranana

Sir, - In his interview with the Press Association, the Archbishop of Canterbury was asked whether he had a personal preference for his successor. "Yes - the person God wills." But the question that Simon Parke implicitly asks (Comment, 13 April) is: where is the space to listen to what God wants in the prescribed and technocratic appointments process that the Church of England has fallen into - certainly for parish clergy?

 

As someone who has been on both sides of the interview, I recog­nise that those who are called upon to decide the outcome are usually people who take their respons­ibilities seriously and prayer­fully - though I deplore the unprofession­alism of those senior clergy who sometimes speak inappropriately and cavalierly of their experiences.

 

The failure to weigh what Parke said suggests that the priority of the parish profile, or personal assump­tions about what is required, trumps other insights that might, conceivably, be God's. Those who are interviewed have the right to expect that they will get an open and sensitive hearing - even one that encourages the kind of frank­ness which helps the discernment process - and, yes, one that recognises the needs of introverts.

 

The present system is far from perfect, and not helped by loading the burden of such discernment on over-busy and probably weary shoulders.

 

When God does get a word in edgeways (such is my experience) it is often a subversive, counter-intuitive one. I rejoice that those of us who have been rejected more often than not, and who carry the pain of such rejection, nevertheless can and do flourish. "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" comes to mind.

 

OLIVER ANTSIRANANA
Evêché Anglican
BP 278, 4 Rue Grandidier,
201 Antsiranana, Madagascar

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

The Church Times Podcast

Interviews and news analysis from the Church Times team. Listen to this week’s episode online

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four* articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)