Anglo-Catholic bishop-elect has promised to ordain women clergy
The next Bishop of Sodor and Man will be The Venerable Peter Andrew Eagles, Downing Street has announced today. Aged 57 he is currently Archdeacon for the Army and also Deputy Chaplain-General of the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department.
Commenting on his appointment he has said, ‘I am both thrilled and deeply honoured to be coming to The Diocese of Sodor & Man. My hope is that I may support the people of the Isle of Man in their spiritual and historic identity and in looking confidently to the future. Among many other tasks, the bishop is to be chief pastor, a focus of unity, and a leader of mission. I therefore hope to encourage all Christians on the island, to support everyone who lives here, and to lead the Church in its work of caring for people in every community.’
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: ‘I am delighted that the Venerable Peter Eagles has been nominated to serve Bishop of Sodor and Man. Peter brings a wealth of experience in parish ministry and in army chaplaincy, and has many spiritual gifts to help him lead the church forward in the mission of God in the diocese to which he has been called. The Diocese of Sodor and Man can look forward to working with a bishop who will lead in the way of Christ with insight and oversight with a readiness to lead and be led. My prayers are with Peter and his family as they prepare to move to the Isle of Man. May they know the grace and power of the Holy Spirit strengthening them for all that lies ahead.’
The Right Revd Nigel Stock, Bishop at Lambeth and Bishop to the Forces, said: ‘Peter Eagles has been a superb colleague over the time that I have been Bishop to the Forces. Always considerate he has been a great support to his fellow chaplains as Archdeacon to the Army. His learning is worn lightly but is very impressive. He is a man of prayer with a pastoral heart, but unafraid to face challenges. I know that he will be a highly effective bishop and that the people of Sodor and Man will be very well served.’
The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, said: ‘Peter Eagles is a distinguished Army Chaplain, and a Canon of Salisbury Cathedral who has helped to make strong links between the Army and the Diocese. He is a prayerful priest fully alive to God in Jesus Christ.
The pastoral and practical skills he has developed in army chaplaincy will equip him well in the new setting of Sodor and Man. I am delighted by his appointment and look forward to working with him in that new context.
The Bishop-Designate will spend his first day in the Diocese meeting with the present Bishop’s Leadership team for Morning Prayer followed by breakfast. The day will continue with a meeting with His Excellency the Governor, Sir Richard Gozney at Government House before a brief visit to Tynwald, the Island’s parliament to meet with senior ministers.
He will then meet with staff and pupils at King William’s College in Castletown before travelling north to Andreas to meet with the staff and pupils at Andreas School. He will end his first day in the diocese with Evensong at the Cathedral, Peel commencing at 4:30pm.
Notes for editors
The Venerable Peter Eagles has been ordained for 27 years and has been Archdeacon to the Army since 2011, and Deputy Chaplain General since 2014. He trained at St Stephen’s House, Oxford after completing a degree at King’s College, London. After serving as a curate in Middlesex he became an Army Chaplain in 1992. In 2013 he was appointed as an Honorary Chaplain to the Queen and in 2015 was appointed Honorary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral.
He is married to Gail and they have one adult son.
A Personal Statement on Vocation, Episcopacy, and Mutual Flourishing
The Venerable Peter Eagles
I am both thrilled and deeply honoured to be coming to The Diocese of Sodor & Man. It is one of the ancient Celtic dioceses of the British Isles, which received its first Christian missions from Ninian and Patrick early in the fifth century. It is the ancient kingdom of Mann, once part of the Province of the Christianised Norse, which retains in its title the Sudreyjar, the southern islands of Scotland, and which has in the Tynwald the oldest parliament in the world with an unbroken existence.
It is a modern and vibrant and dynamic community which faces all the opportunities and challenges of today’s world. My hope is that I may support the people of the Isle of Man in their spiritual and historic identity and in looking confidently to the future.
Among many other tasks, the bishop is to be chief pastor, a focus of unity, and a leader of mission. I therefore hope to encourage all Christians on the island, to support everyone who lives here, and to lead the Church in its work of caring for people in every community.
It is a source of great joy to me that the Diocesan Coat of Arms of Sodor & Man portrays Mary, the Mother of Our Lord, the first Christian, and Mother to all Christians. I call to mind her own response to the vocation set before her by God: ‘Be it unto me according to Thy Word’ (St Luke 1: 38). I take this as the text for my ministry, and I ask Mary, our Holy Mother, Our Lady of Mann, to be the Patron of my Episcopate.
My understanding and interpretation of matters of faith and order must now be set within the context of God’s call to lead this Diocese in mission at this time. I understand and believe that God has called me specifically to be the Bishop of Sodor & Man. Among other things, this clearly requires me to ensure the concept of Mutual Flourishing as outlined in the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests (GS Misc 1076) of 2014 and the accompanying Five Guiding Principles, and to do so in a diocese in which there is no other resident bishop.
Therefore, as the sole bishop in this diocese (and consistent with Paragraph 11 of the Declaration), and trusting in the grace of God to sustain the increasing number of vocations, I will ordain all who are called to be deacons and priests. The Church of England is committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all while ensuring that those who cannot receive the ministry of women priests or bishops are able to flourish, and petitioning parishes within the Diocese of Sodor & Man will of course be able to request the ministry of the Bishop of Beverley or the Bishop of Maidstone. I am entirely supportive of this Declaration, which enables women to exercise a full ministry as priests and bishops. The Declaration also allows for a traditionalist who does not ordain women to the priesthood to be a diocesan bishop in any diocese where there is a suffragan to ordain women as priests, and where the will of the diocese for such an appointment is reflected through the Crown Nominations Commission and the consultation process. We are therefore able to look forward to the continuing flourishing of understandings of faith and order which differ but which respect each other. Most of all, I look forward to leading the Church’s mission on the Isle of Man, and to building on the work of my predecessor Bishop Robert, of our Archdeacon and Dean, and of all who worship and minister on the Island.
For all of us, I ask your prayers.
Peter Andrew Eagles
4th May 2017