One of the things about moving house is the way you end up reading five year old copies of the News of the World as you wrap the china. There is a timelessness to smut.
I don’t quite know why I ended up last week reading the Church Times of July and, in particular, its ‘How Bishops are viewed’ feature. It seemed to me to be a rather strange piece – the options offered, for example, did not include ‘Leader of Mission’ and invited people to explore what I believe to be false oppositions such as, ‘The Church’s main building block is not diocese but parish’
Be that as it may, I was interested to find tucked away somewhere below the coffee mug stain this rather remarkable statement: ‘ … it is time to turn the deanery of 25 to 35 into a diocese. We must leave behind all the expensive and irrelevant trappings …. and instead make the episcopal task more manageable and realistic so that practical demonstration may be given to the essential warmth and care of the episcopal shepherd who is meant to mirror the Good Shepherd himself’
So welcome to the Scottish Episcopal Church – and indeed to many other parts of the Anglican world. I think there is a lot of truth in that. As always, there is a Goldilocks principle in there. Close enough to be a pastor but not unhelpfully close. I don’t hear much concern from our clergy that my time may be a bit less directed towards the diocese … we need constantly to negotiate what is ‘just right’