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Person SpecificationAnd that final paragraph is heart-warming. I'm so pleased to belong to a diocese that may well have a male bishop later this year, but clearly wants one who is open to a successor being female, and is a diocese committed in favour of women's ministry.
We seek a diocesan bishop who will lead us and work with us to ‘Grow Communities of Faith and Engagement’. We believe such a person will have and be able to demonstrate the following qualities:
4.1 A deep and confident personal faith Our new bishop will have a presence which makes the living God real. Love of God, humility and a life of prayer will equip the bishop as a godly and courageous leader. Theologically literate, and confident in scripture, our bishop will be a clear teacher of the faith, valuing and delighting in the differing traditions within the Church of England.
4.2 A clear commitment to mission and growth The new bishop will have demonstrable experience of leading effective mission, characterised by sustained new growth. The bishop will be committed to working with and building on existing initiatives, as well as offering fresh insights, challenging where necessary. An understanding of and empathy with parish life is seen as essential; experience as an incumbent is desirable. The bishop will affirm and encourage the development of the work of schools, chaplaincies and other sector ministries.
4.3 An ability to lead and to manage change creatively
We are looking for a creative leader, ambitious for the gospel, who will seek to inspire and enable rather than to direct, and to work collaboratively, sharing episcope. The bishop will have the breadth of vision to engage with those outside the ‘walls of the church’, as well as recognising how the diocese and the national church can reinforce and enrich each other. The bishop will be able to think about mission strategically, with experience of turning thinking into effective action. Senior staff experience (not necessarily as bishop, dean or archdeacon) is desirable.
4.4 A confident and competent communicator The bishop will be comfortable engaging with a wide cross-section of people, at ease with new forms of technology (including social media), and able to connect with young people and the 21st century world. Able to communicate in a compelling way with those who worship regularly, as well as those of other denominations and faiths or none, the bishop will need to work with the media and be a clear thinker with a warm and engaging delivery. Experience in working with the media is desirable. The bishop will be able to engage in dialogue across difference and to interpret one to the other.
4.5 A gifted pastor to clergy and laity A person of wisdom and integrity, the new bishop will be able to listen to and get alongside both laity and clergy. We look for a bishop who will encourage, motivate and empower others, building up confidence and self-esteem, and affirming them in their ministries, whilst expecting high standards and challenging complacency. The bishop will be able to recognise and utilise the talents and significant abilities of clergy and laity, supporting and encouraging vocations to all forms of ministry, fostering innovation where appropriate.
4.6 In favour of women’s ministry The diocese will welcome a woman as bishop when that becomes possible, although a small number of people and parishes would find this difficult to accept. The majority of people in the diocese hope that our new bishop will be unreservedly in favour of women’s ministry at all levels of church life, whilst maintaining the highest possible degree of communion and contributing to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England.
Dear friendsSo as a "good evangelical" I would need to push the candidates that would be against women's equality, against women bishops, and against anything else that doesn't fit their narrow worldview. Because if you don't, the Church of England will fracture, and who will be doing the fracturing? Yes, evangelicals.
The Church of England is often described as ‘episcopally led and synodically governed’. So it is in the Synodical structures that evangelicals must champion evangelism, advocate good strategy and contend for the gospel.
It is likely that – in the next couple of years – decisions are going to be made in synods of a magnitude which may either threaten or fracture both the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. It is therefore imperative that evangelicals participate at every level in the Synodical structures.
In April 2014 at APCMs in each and every parish lay representatives for deanery synods will be elected. They in turn will elect the lay membership of General Synod in 2015. On behalf of the EGGS committee can I therefore encourage you to nominate and support good evangelical candidates for these forthcoming lay deanery positions and thereafter encourage those elected to consider standing themselves in the 2015 General Synod elections.
Synods may not have the obvious ministry appeal of running Christianity Explored or praying for healing on the streets, but Synodical decisions do have the potential to build a church and culture in which these things are both supported and expected to be part of normal church life. It is also through involvement in the Synodical structure that evangelicals can influence the planning for and financing of church planting, the future shape of ordination training and the election of Crown Nomination Commission representatives who appoint diocesan bishops. In other words, there is much to be gained by full engagement with the Synodical system.
If however standing for deanery, diocesan or General Synod is not for you, we nonetheless ask for your prayers for those for whom it is appropriate to do so.
Yours in Christ
The Rev John Dunnett
Chair of EGGS (Evangelical Group on General Synod)
On behalf of the EGGS committee