Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wellington Episcopal Movements

Announced yesterday, Ellie Sanderson will be the new Assistant Bishop of Wellington (consecration, 2 June 2017).

But note in the article mention of another "episcopal movement" in the Diocese, the move of Diocesan Bishop Justin Duckworth to Whanganui (northern part of the Diocese). (Ellie Sanderson will be based in Wellington city).

This represents a striking initiative on the part of a Diocesan Bishop, possibly unknown in the 20th and 21st centuries in our church, to move residence from the cathedral city to another location in order to advance the mission of the church.

We keep saying if we do things the same as we have always done before we will get the same results.

While I am not entirely convinced of the truth of that statement (because faithfulness over time can lead to eventual fruitfulness, cf another mantra, vicars need to stay in their parishes at least seven years to see numerical growth  ...), I suggest + Justin is to be applauded for initiating a new direction in his episcopal leadership of the Diocese.


Jean said...

I was thrilled. Although the article focuses on Ellie's formal qualifications you would never know as much if you met her. She was one of my tutors in an EFM course at the Cathedral and exhibited a gentle yet strong sense of leadership.

I think it not unusual Bishop Justin is doing this as he had from the start mentioned a desire to set groundwork for a new way of being church in motion and then to pass the baton on so to speak, as he moves into new ground. Perhaps as he did with Urban Vision. This aside it is definitely an Interesting concept. In the early church did bishops travel and reside around their regions like the Apostles?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Jean
Not sure about the answer to your question at the end. Not least one would need to consider that early bishops seemed to be "bishops of X" rather than roving apostles. (But then not all the apostles roved!)
In my own mind when making that observation I was thinking that in the 19th century our church knew Bishop Selwyn as a bishop on the move around NZ and around the South Pacific.

Jean said...

Hmm yes true perhaps a better question is do the remote areas of the church in this sense Anglican in NZ feel any disconnect from the church at large? I suppose those Apostles who did roam did so in order to connect, encourage, work out disputes between local groups and keep Christian communities following the Way. Ideally one may assume Priests fulfill this role now or Mission Enablers but would an oversight presence for a longer stretch in different areas be beneficial...??

Peter Carrell said...

A bit irrelevant [today, 2017], Jean, but once upon a time, in the late 1980s, there was a plan to have many more bishops in our church ... including one who would have resided in the city nearest to where you live!

Jean said...

Ahh the 1980's ....

In general I agree, for most areas in kiwiland are well connected now, yet like Bishop Justin has identified there are perhaps some specific areas in regions that are geographically and thereby socially more isolated, who may benefit from the odd roaming Bishop visitation. Technology still does not replace relational bonds. I believe your own position/s as Archdeacon have contributed to a greater sense of connections with the wider Curch, and support for the Priests in the Parishes you represent. More so because you are connected to the regional HQ. Given our (generalisation here again) NZ nature of being slow to praise, I hope you are aware of how appreciated your presence is.

Father Ron said...

Hurrah. Another reminder of the Motherhood of the Chuch - as well as its endemic Patriarchy! Prayers and Thanksgiving for this felicitous appoinment!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Jean
Thank you for your kind words of encouragement!

Brian said...

Jean asked: "In the early church did bishops travel and reside around their regions like the Apostles?"

For one outstanding example, see Martin of Tours. Not only did he, as a purposeful act of difference, move out of the city of Tours, with all its Imperial associations and expectations, to live in a humble rural setting. He also refused to have a throne on which to sit when offering counsel to his people, but chose instead a portable milking stool which he took with him as he moved around his See.

Maybe our Anglican Church today needs to learn more lessons like these to earn the respect, if not win the hearts and minds, of people in our increasingly cynical world.

Anonymous said...

Peter; Fr Ron's comment shows how progressives can be (woefully) behind the times. Your Wellington electoral synod under the guidance of the Holy Spirit will have chosen the best person for the extremely difficult job of growing the Church in Wellington. Fr Ron implies that the bishop elect is a victory against patriarchy. That is probably not a compliment to the bishop elect who was no doubt elected for her skill rather than some political stunt to pacify progressives like Fr Ron.