Mutual flourishing in Sodor and Man

This morning (4 May 2017) the Prime Minister’s Office announced that the Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Peter Andrew Eagles QHC, BA, MTh, AKC, Deputy Chaplain-General HM Land Forces; Archdeacon for the Army, and Honorary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral, for election as Bishop of Sodor and Man in succession to the Right Reverend Robert Mar Erskine Paterson, MA, on his resignation on 11 November 2016.

The Diocese of Sodor and Man issued further details including a Personal Statement on Vocation, Episcopacy, and Mutual Flourishing by The Venerable Peter Eagles. With regard to Mutual Flourishing, he states [emphasis added]:

“My understanding and interpretation of matters of faith and order must now be set within the context of God’s call to lead this Diocese in mission at this time.  I understand and believe that God has called me specifically to be the Bishop of Sodor & Man.  Among other things, this clearly requires me to ensure the concept of Mutual Flourishing as outlined in the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests (GS Misc 1076) of 2014 and the accompanying Five Guiding Principles, and to do so in a diocese in which there is no other resident bishop.

Therefore, as the sole bishop in this diocese (and consistent with Paragraph 11 of the Declaration), and trusting in the grace of God to sustain the increasing number of vocations, I will ordain all who are called to be deacons and priests.  The Church of England is committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all while ensuring that those who cannot receive the ministry of women priests or bishops are able to flourish, and petitioning parishes within the Diocese of Sodor & Man will of course be able to request the ministry of the Bishop of Beverley or the Bishop of Maidstone.  I am entirely supportive of this Declaration, which enables women to exercise a full ministry as priests and bishops.  The Declaration also allows for a traditionalist who does not ordain women to the priesthood to be a diocesan bishop in any diocese where there is a suffragan to ordain women as priests, and where the will of the diocese for such an appointment is reflected through the Crown Nominations Commission and the consultation process.  We are therefore able to look forward to the continuing flourishing of understandings of faith and order which differ but which respect each other.  Most of all, I look forward to leading the Church’s mission on the Isle of Man, and to building on the work of my predecessor Bishop Robert, of our Archdeacon and Dean, and of all who worship and minister on the Island.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Mutual flourishing in Sodor and Man" in Law & Religion UK, 4 May 2017, http://www.lawandreligionuk.com/2017/05/04/mutual-flourishing-in-sodor-and-man/

One thought on “Mutual flourishing in Sodor and Man

  1. An interesting reading of the Declaration, which is not law and does not, of itself, ‘allow’ anything. Paras 11 and 12 provide that IF there is a diocesan bishop who does not ordain women, then the church must arrange that there is in that diocese a suffragan who does ordain women. The defining characteristic used is whether or not the diocesan bishop will or will not ordain women. Unfortunately, the Declaration does not explicitly address the situation of how a diocesan bishop who does not accept the ordination validity of a proportion of his clergy can, with integrity, act in all ways as their diocesan bishop. This is what needs to be properly resolved, although sadly the recent referral to the Independent Reviewer seems to have sidestepped this specific point.

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