Friday saw the publication of the report by the Independent Reviewer Sir Philip Mawer into the nomination to the See of Sheffield. It was a carefully written report which demands us to reflect on the issues with equal care.
When it was announced that I would be the next Bishop of Crediton New Directors ran an editorial which said that if any where it would be possible to appoint a Traditional Catholic Bishop it was to the See of Crediton and they got me. The Five Guiding Principles have been part of my ministry on a daily basis. When I arrived in the Diocese of Exeter I spent a lot of time meeting with those who would find my ministry difficult and my question as always “What can I do to enable your ministry to flourish?” In understanding this I believe that we have not only found a way of working but I have been blessed by the ministry of those who cannot accept mine.
This does not mean that life is always easy, I am aware that the way some women clergy have been treated is unacceptable, there are times when I have found opposition personally difficult and it has meant sacrifice. But as Sir Philip Mawer highlight in his report we are called to look not to our own interests but to the interests of others.
“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus” Philippians 2:1-5
Having read the report by Sir Philip Mawer I am more convinced that we should all ask the question of each other – what can I do to enable your ministry to flourish – not just for finding away forward in unity but for the flourishing of the Church in seeking to be more like Christ.