Georgia on her mind
'Episcopal Church head to visit Georgia next month' screamed the headline which we spotted online whilst surfing the internet during our 30Days holiday last month. Visions of Russian troops fleeing in terror from the litigious one quickly came to mind, along with a reluctant admiration for the lady: one might even go so far as to admit that she perhaps has more balls than most bishops.
Thankfully, though, our admiration was short-lived, as we read the pedestrian story which followed. Apparently, she's off no further afield than Augusta, Savannah and Statesboro - all, of course, in the Diocese of Georgia. (Just north of Florida, for those who weren't paying attention in Geography all those years ago!)
After all, what possible reason can there be for a bishop to indulge himself (or, we suppose, herself!) in monogamy?
Talking of The very wonderful Episcopal Church, we were much diverted recently by one of its websites - <www. collegeforbishops.org> - where there are details of all the hard work done there in the formation and support of bishops. For example, each January, a 'New Bishops' and Spouses' Conference' takes place - designed for 'new bishops and bishops-elect within 6-9 months of election and their spouses'.
The five day conference provides 'an opportunity for reflection and support during this important time of transition for the bishop and the spouse'. Well! What sort of church has The very wonderful Episcopal Church turned into? Spouses? They don't seriously expect these newbishops to be married, do they? Whatever next!
The very wonderful Episcopal Church may indeed expect its baby bishops to be married, but it seems not to have the same expectations of its older models. The College for Bishops also offers a regular 3-5 day course for bishops 'within 2-3 years of planned retirement and their spouse/partner'.
That's better! Much more like the very wonderful church we all know and love!
Extraordinarily, this news item in the Liverpool Daily Post failed, as far as we know, to make the front page of any of the national dailies, still less the six o'clock news. Under the headline Bishop overwhelmed on his first flower show visit, readers learned that the Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, had visited the South-port Flower Show, where he commented: 'I'm so impressed with the creativity and talent I've seen here.' Apparently, he also pointed to Thorn Cross Young Offenders Institution's entry to the bedding plant competition as 'an example of the importance the show had for Merseyside'.
30Days is delighted, not to say overwhelmed, that Bishop Jones was overwhelmed by the horticultural excesses of Southport and counsels him to develop his interest further - it's so much safer than Mariology! (See New Directions, passim.)
Who's in, who's out?
It's good to see that, post-Lambeth, some of our old friends are getting back into the swing of organising the purge. The Feminist Theology Group at South-wark Cathedral is hosting an evening entitled WOMEN INCLUDED? An introduction to Inclusive Church in the Garry Weston Library at Southwark Cathedral on Wednesday, 24th September, at 6.30pm.
All are welcome, men and women!' trumpets the poster, and those lucky enough to be there will get the chance to sit at the feet of Giles Goddard and Clare Herbert of Inclusive Church, Rosemary Lain-Priestley, the Dean of Women's Ministry across the river in London, and (naturally!) Christina Rees, the Chairman of WATCH. All are welcome - the poster says so - so why not go along and hear just how inclusive their church is going to be.....?
Further and better particulars needed ...
Meanwhile, 30Days dropped in on the website of Affirming Catholicism (sic) to see if the page headed 'What we think' was still 'under construction'. Needless to say, it is. So then we went to the website's News pages, to check out their take on all the latest goings-on - only to find that silence has reigned since before the July sessions of General Synod. And then we noticed that the full-time Director, Richard Jenkins, who was appointed in 2005, seems no longer to be thus employed. And then we noticed that the website proclaims that Affirming Catholicism is registered as a Charity. The organisation is governed by a board of Trustees, chaired by the Revd Nerissa Jones, MBE.' And then we noticed, as we passed by the website of the Charity Commission, that there seem to be only two trustees, neither of which is called Jones. Rather, there is a Mr Peter Beesley and a Mr Howard Dellar - both of whom would seem to be partners at Lee Bolton Monier-Williams, the well known legal practice situated just next to Westminster Abbey, and around the corner from the national headquarters of Affirming Catholicism (sic) at St Matthew's House, in Great Peter Street. And then we noticed on the Charity Commission website that Affirming Catholicism (sic) was only registered as a charity on 21st February this year. And then we noticed that it has a subsidiary charity, bearing the same name, which was registered only on 29th July this year and which is governed by a 'Trust Deed dated 18 December 1991 as amended by Supplemental Deed dated 30 June 2008 as affected by a Uniting Direction letter dated 29 July 2008'. And then we wondered what on earth has been going on......
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