Revd Canon Ian Black
Vicar of Peterborough, Canon Residentiary Peterborough Cathedral
Rural Dean of Peterborough
Proposed by: Revd Canon Tim Alban Jones (Bishop’s Chaplain & Acting Dean)
Seconded by: Revd Jackie Bullen (Vicar of Longthorpe)
I have been ordained for 24 years, first batch of the new normality of men and women being trained and ordained together. I have served in Dioceses of Canterbury, Ripon & Leeds and Peterborough. A life-long Anglican, the Church of England is in my blood and I believe passionately in its vocation and commitment to being at the heart of all communities.
I have served in town and city centre, market town, village and scattered rural communities, suburban major city and three cathedrals (Canterbury, Ripon & Peterborough), prison chaplaincy and numerous schools.
My current role brings frequent contact with civic decision-makers for a unitary authority, practitioners, civic officers and leading business chiefs, as well as the street cleaners, homeless and traders.
I have two degrees – BA in Education and Religious Studies; Master of Divinity.
My books of prayers are widely used across the Church and ‘Follow me: Living the Sayings of Jesus’ was published in July 2017 – an exploration of what it means to put Jesus’ teachings into practice in daily life.
I am committed to the breadth of the Church of England and have been shaped by Evangelical biblical focus, Catholic sacramental spirituality, Liberal Critical Reasoning. I am not tribal, more of a hybrid. My theological approach is guided by Richard Hooker’s three pillars of Scripture, Tradition and Reason held in a dynamic relationship through the Theology Cycle, where experience also comes into play.
Purpose of the Church: I am clear that the church exists to proclaim the love of God in Jesus Christ and to draw others to follow him. Everything else flows from this.
A few issues in front of Synod:
Mission: All mission is a response to the love of God, who calls us and shapes us for service. It means sharing faith and putting it into practice. Churches need to grow in faith, grow in service, grow in numbers. I don’t believe the church is about to disappear. Vibrant, engaged witness attracts and connects. From that faith is nurtured. I’m under no illusions, though, of the challenge, not least in some places where hard questions and challenges have to be faced. But I trust God.
Same Sex Relationships: I came to the conclusion a long time ago that people do not choose who they love and sexuality is not a life-style choice, but who people are. Marriage has changed over the centuries, as has the church’s stance on other things – credit cards, slavery, charging interest, roles of women and men – and it is time for the church to embrace a broadened understanding of marriage and bless partnerships. I appreciate that not everyone agrees with this and am sensitive to that. We have a conscience clause for further marriages and I would expect the same here. I expect that this will come; the critical unknown is when.
5 Principles: Mutual flourishing begs a serious question about what it means to flourish. This comes under Christ who calls, challenges, confronts, celebrates and commissions. There is a struggle here to hold integrity as a community, to hold the bonds of familial identity – we belong together in Christ – and honour the dignity of each person. I have worked with male and female colleagues for decades and regard all-male teams as impoverished (the same would apply for all-female ones). I am delighted that the Cathedral is about to have this rectified when Sarah joins us. I know colleagues whom I am glad we found a way to keep within our family and fellowship and we would be impoverished without.
Liturgy: I have an interest in Liturgy and it being rooted in both deep spirituality and the reality of life viewed through the lens of eternity.
Governance – fit for purpose: I have reflected deeply on governance over the past few years with the Cathedral’s difficulties. It has reinforced the importance of leadership to set the tone and direction of a community, of holding one another to account and of transparency. Money, Management and Mission belong together: without the cash we don’t have the resources to do what we are called to do; without the mission we don’t have a reason to raise money. Good management ensures that we stay on track and are fit for our purpose: to follow Christ and draw others to become disciples of Christ. But as TS Elliott observed, structures alone cannot make us good, so it is important to keep before us whose kingdom we seek – God’s.
If any of this resonates with you, I would be honoured to represent this Diocese at General Synod.
With my prayers and good wishes