No #mitregate for woman bishop at Southwark in 2002

Mark Harris has received this message from the Rt. Rev. Ann Tottenham Area Bishop of the Credit Valley Diocese of Toronto :

“For the record, I celebrated and preached at Southwark Cathedral on November 9, 2009 [sic - correct year is 2002] with the permission of the Powers-That-Be in the C.of E. in the presence of the Diocesan Bishop and fully vested including mitre. It was a public service to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood in the C. of E. The only restriction place on me was that I was not to “perform an episcopal function”. As I was not planning either a confirmation or an ordination this was not a big deal, though the whole process was aggravating. To my mind this makes the insult offered to the Presiding Bishop even more gratuitous. +Ann”

Emphasis added.

The Bishop of El Camino Real in America, Mary Gray-Reeves, and the Bishop of Western Tanganyika in Africa, Gerard Mpango, are visiting The Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Revd Michael Perham. Did +Mary and +Gerard both pack the mitres? Addendum from the comments: “I am happy to report that +Mary did wear a mitre.”

Thinking Anglicans points that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wore a mitre when she preached at Salisbury Cathedral in 2008.

#mitregate

Category : The Lead

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4 Comments
  1. Jeffrey L. Shy, M.D.

    Yesterday, I was foolish enough to chime in at Titusonenine over this issue, and a poster reporting he was from the UK made it clear that it was “normal protocol” by C of E regulations. The wearing of the miter by ++Frank Griswold in 2006 was suggested as being a case perhaps that “they were too polite to tell him” that he should not. It was opined that ++Katherine as a woman could not wear a miter as she could not “function as a bishop” in the C of E and that such “function” included presiding at the Eucharist if done in Episcopal regalia. I had put in that presiding at the Eucharist is not a function as a bishop but a bishop exercising his/her ministry as a priest and that ++KJS was not ordaining, confirming or doing any specifically “episcopal” function in simply preaching and celebrating. The editor of the blog (I assume Dr. Harmon) deleted that part of my post. (Oh well, what was I doing there anyways). This seems to make it pretty clear that it was a selective application of the rules to ++KJS. It was petty rudeness, but I think that we’ll get over it. I would suspect that ++Katherine is not losing too much sleep over it.

    I must admit, however, that the experience in a conservative debate setting can be a bit rough. I think that we have a somewhat more positive tone at The Cafe, although we did finally break through and have some real and not-always uncivil discussion at Titusonenine. I do find it refreshing that we do not allow anonymous posts at The Cafe (not required to give real names at Titusonenine, although I did so). I think that it promotes better behavior in the otherwise often “mean” environment of internet debate. In a time when incivility seems to be making an ugly appearance in the Church, I think it important that we all be on our best “church” behavior. Thanks, John for this article!

  2. Dr. Shy,

    Had a very similar experience at T1:9 a few weeks ago, so I sympathize and heartily agree with your conclusions!

    Yes, I’m sure ++KJS isn’t losing much sleep over this slight — but it does demonstrate a level of rudeness that is — to employ good old British understatement — less than helpful!

  3. I hope we can all agree that Mitergate is not about hats but about the inhospitality of Lambeth toward the PB, which embarrassed Dean Slee of Soutnwark Cathedral, by its rudeness.

    June Butler

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