Michael Morris gives some good advice
on getting the best out of your PEV
FLIGHT CONTROL of commercial aircraft is designed to minimise the risk of their bumping into each other in the air. Flight control of Flying Bishops is intended to reduce the likelihood of any one bishop meeting himself coming back in the opposite direction!
Since our integrity was allowed the privilege of PEVs, first two, and now three of them have been rushing about all over their areas, a crisis here, a confirmation there, and Chrism Masses everywhere, and there has been very little consideration given to planning on any scale to make life more manageable for them – except in the Diocese of Canterbury, where my predecessor wisely established a pattern of inviting our PEV to visit the diocese for two blocs of five days each year.
The beauty of this system is that the bishops stays usually in one house for his visit, giving some stability. The FiF clergy are invited to “bid” for his time during his stay. He may be asked to confirm in one or two parishes, make parish visitations, have a meal with clergy and their families with PCCs, or indeed have a pub lunch with clergy and wives on a “day off”. Building a “day off” into a PEVs visit might make sure he has one!
It is usually possible to arrange for lunch and dinner to be provided by different families, taking the burden of most of the catering from the host family, but the fact of having a room in one place throughout a visit makes it more likely that the PEV will be able to relax for some of his stay in a diocese.
I know that there will always be occasional emergencies which make it necessary for a bishop to fly from one end of his patch to the other, but it should not be the norm. It may be that the Regional Deans should make bids for blocs of time for PEV visits at one of their meetings each year, and that Diocesan Chairmen should then arrange the timetable of the visits in consultation with the FiF clergy and the bishop concerned. We are well cared for by our bishops, we should not be reckless with our use of them. If we do not look after them, you can be sure that no-one else will!
Michael Morris is Diocesan Chairman Canterbury Diocese