The crisis of episcopal leadership in the Church of England

Posted on January 13, 2024 
Filed under Church of England, Opinion

“We have a serious crisis in the episcopal leadership of the Church of England. It has more than one dimension to it, and, as with any crisis, it has been a long time coming. If your ceiling caves in because a water leak has weakened the structures, you can be sure that the water has been leaking for some while (as we found out in our kitchen a couple of years ago!). The dimensions of this crisis include questions of role, training and education, and selection and appointment—but also more fundamentally of theological vision.

These questions have been brought into sharp focus by the news, leaked to the BBC, that Paula Vennells, chief executive of the Post Office during the Horizon scandal when 700 postmasters were wrongly convicted of fraud, was shortlisted for the role of Bishop of London, historically the third most senior post after the two archbishops. …

She trained part-time on what was then the Oxford and St Albans course, and appears to have undertaken no further theological study. The idea that someone with so little theological understanding, and absolutely zero experience in stipendiary ministry, could be considered as a candidate for the third most senior position in the Church, is quite astonishing. It indicates a complete loss of faith in the importance of either ministerial experience or theological depth on the part of someone. And it does seem clear that she was put on the short list by Justin Welby…”

– Ian Paul pulls no punches at Psephizo.

Image: Ian Paul speaking at the Church of England’s General Synod in February 2023.