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Women bishops’ husbands

15 September 2017


Your answers

Every time a woman is made a bishop, her husband is a vicar. Is this a coincidence?


The husbands of our women bishops are not all “vicars”. A significant number, however, do seem to have been ordained. Is this a coincidence? Yes, in the sense that an ordained husband will have (please God) in no way influenced the episcopal appointment at hand.

When considering each case in turn, one will hopefully find a fulfilling and mutually supportive relationship, and a collaborative ministry that enriches the Kingdom. Taken as a trend, however, the rise of the two-clerical-collar household does raise some doubts.

Having grown up in a vicarage, I have seen the stresses and strains (alongside the joy) that come when one of your number is in full-time ministry. When you times that by two, especially two deployed in different contexts, in which one’s joy will often be hit by the other’s stress, it seems to tend toward an unbearable challenge. But maybe we privilege the clergy too much: this is the life that many households face as both partners invest in fulfilling careers?

But there is another more important question. It seems that theological college is increasingly an effective matchmaking service, as much as, if not more than, it provides a spiritual formation. We have a generation of clerics who increasingly seem best able to find someone who really understands them among that tiny handful of people who have invested in the total dedication to the Church which goes hand in hand with ordination.

That makes me wonder about their capacity to communicate the essential truths of the faith to the unchurched, everyday people in their parish.

Gwilym Stone



Female bishops married to vicars. . . I’m not!

(The Rt Revd) Jan McFarlane (Bishop of Repton)

Swanwick, Alfreton


Your questions

We moved from the suburbs to the villages several years ago. I observed: the church is always on a hill; the church has mostly older members; they can’t get up the hill to church. Anyone any bright ideas to enable access?

P. E.


According to Thomas Jefferson’s “Parliamentary Pocket Book”, “The three estates are. 1. The King. 2. the Lords. 3. the Commons. And the second estate includes the lords Spiritual as well as temporal, not as Spiritual persons, but by reason of the Temporal baronies annexed to their bishopricks.” Is he correct, and, if so, does this not fully justify the Bishops’ intervening in temporal affairs of the nation?

A. B.


My church is planning a continuous reading of the Bible as part of its 260th anniversary in 2018, and I am looking for advice on dos and dont’s; pitfalls and best practice, please.

D. A.


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