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I am absolutely furious this morning with Rowan Williams and with the Church of England. I don't trust myself right now to write anything about the power abuses and the blatant injustices within the organisation I work for. (Read Andrew Brown). So I just want to concentrate on the phrase about bishops being the "focus for unity"
Apparently a Bishop can only be appointed if they can be a “focus of unity” in the diocese. But how many objectors does it take to stop a bishop? And who decides? Are there any priests who could carry the whole of a diocese with them before appointment? And suppose a bishop loses the support of his diocese – should he then resign? (I can’t possibly imagine Rowan thinks that for one moment, not at present!)
“Focus for unity” may appear to be a reasonable phrase, but in fact it is meaningless; it allows the blocking of anyone as a bishop because someone doesn’t like the look of them, with no definition of who is and isn’t acceptable. All rather like the Anglican Covenant, the offence is in upsetting someone else, not in any objective and predefined behaviour.
Given that “offence” is the basis of the blocking, then perhaps we will see no more Conservative Evangelical or Anglo Catholic bishops. We can certainly be assured that if the Women Bishops legislation gets through General Synod then it will be utterly useless - because surely there will be one parish in each diocese who would claim that a woman would not be a "focus for unity".
Or perhaps we can be sensible and decide that “focus of unity” is not a job description for the bishop, but for the diocese; that it is incumbent upon all of us in a diocese to gather round and support our bishops, which doesn’t mean unthinking obedience, whether we agree with them or not.
Of all the rotten excuses for discrimination that I have heard this is by far the worst. It guarantees the status quo and the grounds for discriminating is "someone doesn't like your face".
Jesus is our "focus for unity", not the bishops! No wonder we are suffering power abuses if the Bishops have decided to put themselves in the place of God.