Thursday, 27 April 2017

Habemus episcopam

Naturally, there's been a fair amount of speculation this past few uncertain weeks about when we'd hear of the appointment of a new Bishop of Llandaff. I'd discussed this on the phone and by text message with my friend Martin, last night, and was quite surprised mid morning to receive from him a text that was simply the name of someone I didn't know 'June Osborne', but before I could get around to asking him why, I had to leave for the midweek Eucharist at St John's. Over a cup of coffee after the service, I looked at Twitter on my phone, and realised this is the name of our new Bishop, just announced. What a surprise! Given the disappointment surrounding the failed episcopal election and painful controversy over the way the Bench of Bishops dealt with the aftermath, their choice was quite unexpected. 

She is one of the CofE's senior and most gifted cathedral Deans not to have been made a Bishop, just like Jeffery John, asked for by Llandaff electors, but ruled out of further consideration by the Bench. Both have contributed significantly to Anglican debate on faith and sexuality during their careers. Back in 1989, she was commissioned to produce a report for the Archbishops of Canterbury and York when she was an Oxbridge college chaplain. Today the Osborne Report would be regarded as respectable liberal mainstream, but back then, it was distinguished because it was suppressed, generating its own kind of controversy at the time. It wasn't finally published until 2012. To some in the higher echelons of today's Established CofE, she would perhaps still be regarded as too liberal to be Bishop material. But not it seems, too liberal for appointment to the diocese of Llandaff. 

Appointing a female Bishop will no doubt precipitate a crisis of faith for traditionalists of evangelical and anglo-catholic conviction, but for the majority, hopefully, this is hardly a problem, and the fact that she comes to the diocese with such a good reputation as an inspiring church leader is most encouraging. Let's hope and pray that she can connect well with those electors whose hopes were dashed, who were left feeling hurt, frustrated and disregarded by the way the final decision was reached.

After lunch I had a GP appointment, to try and figure out the reason for a late night reaction last Sunday evening to something I'd eaten earlier in the day. It was very similar to the incident I had on a Sunday morning after breakfast when I was serving the Malaga chaplaincy last September, a sudden rise in blood pressure, pulse and temperature, lasting about half an hour and diminishing as quickly as it arrived, leaving no after-effect, apart from concern, as if my body had eliminated a poison. 

Anyway, the doctor didn't think it was an allergic reaction, as this tends to happen soon after eating something the body doesn't like. So, a few blood tests and another ECG were ordered, so see what, if anything, has changed in my metabolism. The more I thought about it, the one thing that was different about the day's food was, unusually I'd eaten nuts at each meal, peanut butter for breakfast, walnuts with cheese for dessert after lunch, the last of my birthday Simnel cake for tea with almond based marzipan. None of these affect me normally, but I started to wonder if my ageing digestive was reacting to being overwhelmed with an excess of nuts, though not with the usual form of indigestion.

I remember being told by an acupuncturist several years ago that the digestive system weakens with age, can cope with less and works slower. I can't complain, it's stood me well for three score years and ten, plus. Time to review accepted healthy eating habits, just in case I'm overlooking something that's less than beneficial.

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