Wide-ranging address from Bishop Holtam *Updated

by Michael Ford last modified 07 Nov, 2012 12:55 PM

The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, today urged his Diocese to look clearly at the personality and character of the Church in Dorset and Wiltshire as they engage in ministry and mission in local communities.

UPDATE: Gallery here

Speaking at a meeting of the Salisbury Diocesan Synod to an audience of bishops, clergy and laity Bishop Holtam used his Presidential Address “to issue an invitation to the Diocese for us to talk, engage, think and articulate our priorities as local churches.”

He added: “To grow in number and depth we know we need to be innovative. This part of re-imagining ministry and mission is about seeking to proclaim the Christian faith afresh in this generation. Similarly, I am convinced that what is needed at this stage in our Church’s life are energetic, controlled experiments from which we can all learn.”

The Bishop also acknowledged that  “there is a strong commitment within the Church for social justice as well as charity. Today’s presentation from Christian Aid about Tax Justice is part of this. This work takes place primarily in the local contexts but probably needs more coordination as a diocese.”

Amongst the other issues addressed by Bishop Holtam were the 40th anniversary of the Salisbury-Sudan link (coming up next year) and the debate at General Synod in London later this month on proposals to allow women to be ordained as bishops.

“Next year is the 40th anniversary of the Salisbury-Sudan link and we are making plans for an event which will celebrate the partnership that has grown between us,” said the Bishop.

And, on the issue of women bishops, Bishop Holtam acknowledged that “it is high time we got on with this. Our credibility as a Church, particularly as the national Church, is on the line.”

He explained: “The earliest possible date for the consecration of the first woman bishop in the Church of England will be 2014 and with the great majority of this Diocese I look forward to this. As a Diocese we are also committed to care for the small minority who are unable to see this as a welcome development and have promised a generous and gracious working of the implications and Code of Practice in this Diocese.

Finally, on the question of Dr Rowan Williams’ successor as Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Salisbury said: “The process for the appointment of our new Archbishop has been widely reported. I know no more than is public. This is not a job to be sought but there is an important job to be done. We look forward to hearing who is appointed and to working with them. Archbishop Rowan said whoever is appointed will need the constitution of an ox and the hide of a rhinoceros! They will face a heavy burden of expectation from the Anglican Communion as well as the Church of England and Diocese of Canterbury and we will want them to play a significant part in our national life.

He added: “There is no question that organisational reforms are needed and, in my opinion, these will have to extend to the Church has a whole and not just the office and role of the Archbishop. I am grateful to a number of people in this Diocese who are contributing to the thinking about this and I hope that thought will eventually lead to action.”


Bishop of Salisbury
About Diocesan Synod
The Sudan Link

Further Information
Contact the Revd Rob Marshall, Media Adviser to the Bishop of Salisbury:
07766 952113

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