Boy Bishop

The diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania has itself a new bishop, consecrated early last month. So far, so pedestrian. But, at just 32 years of age, the Right Revd Sean W Rowe is now the youngest member of the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church (proprietor: Mrs K J Schori). Crumbs!

One so very young must be very special indeed, particularly as he was easily elected on the first ballot from a slate of four candidates. No doubt his qualities will make themselves felt in due course – particularly, one imagines, the extensive ministerial experience he will have gained since his ordination as deacon way back on 27 May, 2000, and since his priesting on 2 December that same year.

Toast in Ohio

30Days’ invitation to the centennial celebrations of Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, Ohio seems unaccountably to have been lost in the post. According to the news release, all sorts of fun and games were being planned for the big day on 30 September.

At the morning Festival Eucharist, the preacher was slated to be the Dean, the Very Revd Tracey Lind, and, afterwards, the congregation was due to gather for a group photograph taken by ‘acclaimed Cleveland photographer Jennie Jones’, after which there was to be the sealing and burying of a 50-year time capsule and a reception!

According to the cathedral website, the ‘diverse’ congregation numbers 700, so Jennie will certainly have her work cut out if they all turn up! In fact, so vibrant is the cathedral’s life that not only do they have two Eucharists each Sunday – they also have one during the week! (Thursday lunchtime, if you’re really interested.)

Not only that, they also have a weekly labyrinth walk every Tuesday evening! No wonder, then, that Dean Tracey is a candidate for election to be Bishop of Chicago. She is naturally ‘honored and humbled’ to be a candidate, so it’s a shame that folk have been calling her candidacy into question for no other reason than her lovely partner, Emily.

However, by the time you read this, The House of Bishops of TEC (proprietor: Mrs K J Schori) may have rolled over at its meeting taking place in New Orleans from 20 to 25 September and heeded the Archbishop of Canterbury’s counsel that there must be no more out gay bishops, in which case, of course, Tracey (not to mention Emily) will be toast.

Here’s hoping that the magical centennial celebrations (and photograph) are in no way spoilt and that the diocese of Chicago eventually gets a bishop really worthy to be a successor to the luminaries who have gone before – such as Frank T Griswold III (whatever became ofhim?).

Hell, no!

Full marks, or perhaps the dunce’s hat, to the Head of St Peter the Apostle Catholic Primary School in Melbourne, Australia, a Mr Michael McGrath, who refused entry to the school to a child because of his unsuitable surname. Five year old Max probably enjoyed all the media attention, but his Dad, Alex Hell, understandably feels rather got at. Mr Hell explained that he had Austrian heritage and that the name means “bright”. (Sadly, though, not bright enough to think of changing it!)

Charm offensive

A reader writes to say that he thought George Austin hadn’t gone far enough in his critique of the Pensions Board’s retirement housing scheme – CHARM -in these pages last June. On the grounds that anyone who thinks that Fr Austin is guilty of being over-generous must by definition belong in the world of 30Days, we are happy to provide a platform for him here:

“The Scheme charges 4% interest which increases each year as the clergy pension increases. This is little better than most fixed rate mortgages. Further, the scheme retains a percentage interest in the houses. Most of us would not mind investing our money in order to get a better rate of interest than we get in the building society, allied with very substantial capital growth. And retired clergy are not even allowed to put their own guaranteed annuity into their house purchase] Most of them would have done much better with a fixed rate mortgage from a bank or building society.’

George Austin also reported the sale by the Church Commissioners of their financial interests in the mortgage loans granted under the CHARM scheme by the Pensions Board. Given that the sale price was a cool £134.46 million, our correspondent wonders what was the value of the original loans and what the yield has been in terms of interest over the years?

Presumably, Grainger Trust plc would not have stumped up quite so much loot if the whole scheme were not a very nice little earner indeed! Hopefully, a member of General Synod will have the wit to table a question asking just to what extent the clergy – retired and soon to retire – have been the milch cow in all this.

Onwards and upwards

Warmest congratulations to FiF member Fr Antony Homer on his recent Institution and Induction to the FiF parish of Holy Trinity, Winchmore Hill, in succession to Fr Malcolm Gray. And warmest thanks too to the observant member of the congregation that evening who has supplied 30Days with a copy of the Order of Service, from which we were much diverted to read that, prior to taking the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Canonical Obedience, Fr Homer apparently made The Declaration of Ascent. Quite how Fr Homer plans to take the parish further up the candle than his illustrious predecessor remains to be seen.

Copy for 30 Days should reach FiF office by the 10th day of the month: 30days@forwardinfaith. com