In this past week Anglican Taonga has reported on two significant episcopal developments in our church, both relating to senior bishops. First the sad news that Archbishop Sir Paul Reeves is retiring from public life in order to fight a cancer and to spend time with his family. Although Sir Paul was last an active, licensing bishop in our church some 26 years ago, he has been a towering and influential figure in our life, called upon to take on challenges in our three tikanga church which require the leadership of someone able to transcend our cultural differences. Most recently Sir Paul headed up a commission reviewing our theological college and made the presentation of their report at General Synod 2010 one of the highlights of that synod. Secondly the not unexpected news that at the age of 68 Bishop Tom Brown, Bishop of Wellington, will retire in January 2012.
With these two senior figures moving out of episcopal duties (Bishop Tom is making it clear that he envisages a quiet retirement in respect of episcopal activity) there will be a changing of the guard in the ACANZP House of Bishops. The young turks are on the rise! The two bishops in the Auckland Diocese, for instance, will have a combined age of less than 100 :)
Our church is very, very different to the one Sir Paul was ordained a bishop in (early 1970s), and very different to the one +Tom was ordained a bishop in (early 1990s). What will it be like when Bishops Ross and Jim in Auckland retire?