Who will succeed Robin Eames…

Great form guide from Will Crawley on who is to succeed the Robin Eames as head of the Anglican Church of Ireland. Apparently the Bishop of Dublin always gets asked first… It would be great to start some informed discussion on this…

  • Joanna Meyer

    Excellent guide to the runner and riders. And hilarious too. My favourite is bishop henderson: He’s all ireland chaplain of the mothers’ union, but they dont get a vote. OUCH!

  • Harold Miller

    Who’s he calling a theological conservative? Satan DID enter the anglican communion, but vote for me and i’ll do some Ghostbusting.

  • Gonzo-schlonzo

    The leading bishop in the race is called FANTA CLARKE? Is that made up?

  • David Ervine has passed away reported by AP

    Wonder who will replace him, is there anyone who can fill this untimely vacancy.

  • Sammy Morse

    Harold’s a theological conservative alright but his real problem is his… how shall I put this… person-management skills which could do with some further development.

    The nickname “Fanta” is a reference to Bishop Clarke’s preferred beverage. I don’t know that I’d call him the “leading” candidate in the race – that might be a bit of journalistic licence on the BBC’s part. There’s no obvious matural successor.

    Personally, I’d like to see John Neill get it (he’s a liberal, he’s high church, he maintains a pattern of North:South alternation and most importantly he’s too old to be there for ever in the way that Eames was). Ken Good is the obvious candidate for next Archbishop but one and while, personally, I don’t think his lack of time as a Bishop is a problem this time around, others seem to be disagreeing.

  • Doric

    Fanta is Bishop Clarke’s ‘pet’ family name. Apparently he was a stout child and the unkind ‘Elephant’ became the more lovable ‘Fanta’. He prefers it’s use.

    My money’s on Ken Good.

  • Daniel D

    From what I can tell, Neill is likely to take the job. Apparently, the key question is whether his wife is prepared to move north. His friends say he wants the job. If he doesn’t take the job, I think it’ll be Ken Clarke. I’m surprised to hear Ken Good mentioned here by a commenter. He’s not mentioned on any list I’m aware of. Stranger things happen, of course, and those 11 men can choose whomever they like. Good is a little bland and hasn’t established much of a reputation since becoming bishop of derry and rafoe.

  • Rory

    ” My favourite is bishop henderson: He’s all ireland chaplain of the mothers’ union, but they dont get a vote. OUCH! “

    I think that a chaplain is also appointed to prisons, Joanna, but the prisoners don’t get a vote either. Perhaps, now that it’s no longer criminal to dissent, like the mothers, not all of them are Anglican.

    Art Hostage: I’m not sure where you’re going with this, Art. Are you suggesting an Anglican bishop to head the PUP? Will it matter if the bishop has no “form”?

  • Joanna Meyer

    Rory: I’m not sure what you mean. The mothers union DID elect henderson as their chaplain. I think you’re missing the joke in the article!?

  • Crumpet

    Does it really matter who the new archbishop will be? The church of ireland has lost an incedible number of members under eames leadership. He won’t mention that much. On Sunday Sequence a few weeks ago, he was asked by Crawley how MANY members the church was losing and he’d no idea. Amazing! Doesn’t even have the time to ask how many members his church has?! That’s part of the problem. They are doomed.

  • Joanna Meyer

    I take your point Crumpet. That was very strange, I agree.

    Instead of the CoI looking to select a nice man, a safe pair of hands, etc., why dont he bishops think through the challenges facing the denomination THEN select the person most likely to lead through those challenges?

    1. Moral leadership?
    2. Public communication skills?
    3. Sense of humour?
    4. Ability to sound connected to the real world?
    5. Maybe even a Christian?

    Any other suggestions?

  • Gareth English

    The church could start by sounding less homophobic! Every time I hear a church statement it’s about civil partnertships or the good and servives legislation or adoption or …. they seem obsessed with gay people. Can’t they find someone else to beat up for a change?

  • corb lund

    Steady on Joanna – If employed your 5 critera could result in the shortest of short-lists. Bring on the ghost buster.

  • Doreen

    Well, my vote is for Harold, my Bishop. We have even met in the local supermarket, where we greeted each other easily, and it is not too often that something like that happens.

    I would wonder at any criticism of his “man management skills”. He is a most personable, easy-going and approachable person, and I am thoroughly in accord with all the positive things that William Crawley had to say of him.

    It seems to me that Bishop Harold could bring a caring, sensitive, lively (as in alive and living) and down-to-earth approach to the Archbishopric.

    I most certainly wish him well.

  • Sammy Morse

    the key question is whether his wife is prepared to move north

    I thought she was from Ballymena (although I may have picked up wrongly on that) so it may not be an issue? Or maybe that’s precisely why it is an issue.

    Good is a little bland and hasn’t established much of a reputation since becoming bishop of derry and rafoe.

    That’s a fair point although he hasn’t been there for a long time. As I said he doesn’t seem to be garnering much support this time but watch for him as the next Archbishop but one, especially if John Neill does get it an therefore will only be serving 5 years or so. He may not have established much of a reputation in his time in Derry & Raphoe but he was rector of Lurgan Shankill, one of the biggest parishes in the C of I, for a long time and was generally held to have been a very good one.

    It seems to me that Bishop Harold could bring a caring, sensitive, lively (as in alive and living) and down-to-earth approach to the Archbishopric.

    Well as a gay member of the Church of Ireland I don’t want the House of Bishop’s No. 1 homophobe as Primate, given the state of Anglicanism globally, no matter how great a sense of humour he has. Sensitive is not the adjective that comes to mind when one thinks of Harold’s attitude to his brother and sister Christians who happen to be gay!

    Harold is a great preacher, great at pressing the flesh in parochial halls, very ecumenical, an Evangelical who likes high-church worship, an undoubted Northern Prod who has lived in and understands the South, etc., etc. From a distance (and maybe from the shopping centre) he looks like the dream candidate for everyone. The problem with Harold is that those who know him best seem to have least regard for him. That sounds like a bit of a character assassination, I know, and I wish the man no ill, but I only know I repeatedly hear a slightly different version of the Harold story than the public one.

    The church of ireland has lost an incedible number of members under eames leadership.

    Um… except in the South where it has grown for the first time in over two centuries. The future for the CofI is going to look very different from the past one. Immigration in particular is changing the face of the Church profoundly and so are the people moving over from Catholicism . There are lots of immigrants who are cradle Anglicans in Africa or members of Churches we are in full communion with in Latvia and Estonia.

    Less people are going to Church as an assertion of ‘cultural Protestantism’ – it’s an increasingly meaningless term in the South and you hardly need to go to Church to assert it in the North. At the same time, more people are becoming members of the Church of Ireland by choice. There are an ever growing number of people who are at least nominally Anglicans/Lutherans living in overwhelmingly Nationalist areas of the North where the CofI could barely function during the troubles. Are any of our leaders North of the border even aware of this let alone thinking about how we meet their pastoral needs and minister to them?

    Lots for the new Archbishop to think about whoever he is. (Maybe by the time of the next election we’ll have a she or two in the House of Bishops?)

  • Crumpet

    I take your point Sammy. Harold Miller would be the nail in the coffin for the church of ireland. Maybe that’s what it needs, though you are a member and are probably keen to keep the doors open. I just ask you, if you are a gay man why stay in a homophobic institution like the church of ireland. If Miller got the job would you leave?

  • belamy

    [play the ball, bellamy – edited moderator]

  • + Rowan Williams

    Can I ask any bishops reading this to please avoid making my life any more difficult. If you vote for Harold Miller, you will be electing an Irish equivalent of Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria. In fact, Miller could give Akinola a run for his money. At the least Lambeth conference, Akinola attempted to exorcise the leader of the gay campaign group. Now Miller says Satan was there. Can you imagine how Miller would behave across the Anglican communion if he’s elected? Give me one more pro-gay primate please? John Neill would be ok, since he’s avoided having a view on this all his career. That’s quite impressive, actually.

  • Doreen

    It should be Harold Miller. He really stands out from the rest and does seem to waken people up. He gives rise to debate and makes people think. Perhaps we could do with that in Church.

    Who knows anything about the rest of the candidates except that one is called Fanta and another presided over a rector who having preached the resurrection every Easter Sunday for years eventually got round to admitting that he did not believe in it.

    What a motley crew.

  • Daniel D

    Doreen, that may be unfair to Richard Clarke. He challenged Dean Andrew Furlong and took him through a trial for heresy. That’s hardly lilly-livered. Clarke is also a PhD in theology and an author on religious life in Ireland. He gets my vote as an intelligent commentator. He’s pro-gay (I think?) and would lead the church in the modern world.

  • Sammy Morse

    Crumpet

    I just ask you, if you are a gay man why stay in a homophobic institution like the church of ireland.

    If you are a gay man, what did you do when every institution in society was homphobic? Withdrawing from the world changes nothing, engaging with it can achieve anything. And as far as churches go the Church of Ireland is by far the best of an admittedly bad bunch.

    Doreen

    What a motley crew.

    Bit sweeping aren’t we?

  • Doric

    The choice of Archbishop is surely, like every thing else, in the hand of the Almighty so will be the best person for the job no matter what happens – or what we think about it!

  • Dan

    Are you THAT naive doric? Is every appointment to any office God’s choice? So God chose Hitler? Saddam? Blair? Rowan Williams? The whole lot???????

  • Doreen

    I did not mean to be unfair to anyone, especially to Richard Clarke, who is my second favorite. Of him at least we have heard though I do not think that we actually did the heresy trial.

    I still favour Harold Miller. He is not homophobic. He just thinks that homosexuality is wrong, as does the Bible and as do I. There is nothing to do with fear in this.

    I have met Bishop Miller lots of times and found him to be very personable and caring, a man who has got his hands dirty in Northern Ireland (East Belfast) and a man with a very good sense of humour. I do regret to say that I have never met any other Bishop, and perhaps that is why that I , a long-time member of the CoI referred to the rest as a motely crew: I do not even recognise some of the names.

    Bishop Harold stands out with both fun and authority.

  • Dr Doolittle

    Right Doreen, Harold is a lot of fun. He says Satan has gripped his opponents on the gay rights debate. That’s hilarious!

  • Gareth English

    I doubt the new guy will have any clue about how to save the church of ireland from statistical oblivion. he will just load up new titles and dress up at services like nothings wrong. instead he should ask what is the point of the church of ireland today?

    i see that the new guy will be announced wed at 4pm.

  • Sammy Morse

    I still favour Harold Miller. He is not homophobic. He just thinks that homosexuality is wrong, as does the Bible and as do I. There is nothing to do with fear in this.

    Oh, come on, don’t hide behind this ‘there is nothing to do with fear’ line. You know what homophobia is as well as I do and it may have little to do with fear but it has a lot to do with irrational dislike and hiding behind Christianity to legitimise legalised discrimination against gay people. Look at the role of the churches, all of them, in the debate on the Sexual Orientation Regulations.

    I actually don’t think Harold meant to say that Satan was entering the Anglican Communion through his opponents in the gay debate; I do think he phrased himself rather clumsily and sounded like the Peter Akinolas of this world who do think that. However, if you’re going to cast the word ‘satan’ about like a two bob bit then you’re going to end up making little errors like that.

    As for the bible saying its wrong, it’s interesting that we don’t have any record of Jesus saying anything on the matter. Oh well, that’s another debate that I’m sure won’t get us anywhere.

  • Sammy Morse

    Alan Harper has it – http://www.ireland.anglican.org/pressreleases/index.php?p=815

    Good call from the Bishops. Glad his Englishness did not count against him.

  • Pam

    Brilliant news – Alan Harper was my rector in Christ Church Derry ( my home parish ) and prepared me for confirmation back then as a teenager. He is such a lovely genuine man and he will be an excellent choice. It leaves an interesting vacancy in Connor too …

  • Sammy Morse

    Yes, Alan is one of life’s all round nice guys. Sorry to see him leave Connor (although to bigger and better things) wonder who his replacement might be?

  • pam

    now I can say that I was baptised by someone who went on to become a Bishop ( Brian Hannon ) and prepared for confirmation by someone who went on to become Archbishop of Armagh. Not many can claim that.