For the first time I will shortly take part in the process of selecting a new bishop. Tonight at our Area Council we will start the discussion by looking at the qualities we’d look for in a bishop.
I have worked under 3 Bishops: +Richard Holloway; +Michael Henley; and +Brian Smith. I have also worked closely in parish work with a few retired bishops: +Michael Hare-Duke; +Douglas Cameron and +Alan Smithson. And really you couldn’t get more diverse people than those six. Each has particular gifts and strengths, some led from the front and others from the rear, and they were a good mix of introverts and extroverts.
So let’s start off this discussion with what qualities I’d like to see in my new Bishop:
- I think I need a Bishop who is approachable. Someone I wouldn’t be afraid to go to speak about problems or to explore new ideas.
- I’d like my Bishop to have plenty (diverse if possible) parish experience so they are aware of the problems we face in the front-line.
- And I think a Bishop shouldn’t be afraid to admit their weaknesses and delegate certain parts of the job if they are not up to it.
- In my dreams I would like my new Bishop to be a woman but gender (or sexuality) are as irrelevant as hair colour. However, I do need my Bishop to be affirming of gender and sexuality issues.
- When I met a Swedish Bishop recently I asked her if she missed parish work and having a little flock to tend. She said that all the diocesan clergy were now her little flock. So I would like a Bishop who is pastoral and really cares about her/his clergy.
Over to you now. What qualities do you look for in a Bishop?