Updated third time Thursday morning
Yesterday, Christian Today published the following article by Ruth Gledhill: Consecration of traditionalist bishop set to highlight Church of England divisions
As the consecration of the first female bishop approaches, Christian Today has learned that at the consecration a few days later of traditionalist priest Father Philip North as Bishop of Burnley no bishop will lay hands on him who has previously laid hands on a woman bishop or priest…
And Ruth noted that:
Twenty-four hours later, there has still been no comment from any of these sources. Nor from Forward in Faith or The Society under the patronage of St Wilfrid and Saint Hilda.
There have been two blog articles though:
Archdruid Eileen has published At the Multiple Episcopal Consecration
Jonathan Clatworthy has published A woman’s touch and spiritual danger
I will add links to any further official or other statements about this that I discover.
WATCH has now issued a statement:
Press Release Wednesday 21st Jan 2015
WATCH Statement on Consecrations
Next Monday the Church of England and the nation will rejoice at the consecration of Rev Libby Lane as the first female bishop in the Church of England. That will be a great day, and nothing should detract from that moment of affirmation for all women in all walks of life.
We have known about the arrangements for the consecration of the Bishop of Burnley for some time, but have not commented publicly out of courtesy to the individuals involved. Our focus has been on the earlier consecration as the fulfillment of a long and deeply held desire by so many, and as a source of good news from the Church.
We are dismayed that it seems that the Archbishop of York will not lay hands on Philip North at his consecration as Bishop of Burnley. We believe it is unprecedented that an Archbishop should be present at a consecration in his own Province and not lay hands on a candidate, and not preside at the eucharist.
We are saddened that there will be such a powerful visual sign of a divided College and House of Bishops at the moment of consecration. The Bishop of Burnley is a suffragan bishop, and not a PEV: he is a minister for the whole Church of England in the Diocese of Blackburn and the people of that diocese are looking forward to working with him across the traditions.
We will issue a statement on the wider ramifications of this in due course.
A reader of Thinking Anglicans who had written to the Archbishop of York has received a reply from his office, which is copied in full below the fold.
Two more blog articles:
Benny Hazlehurst Apostolic Regression
Kelvin Holdsworth One step forward, two giant leaps back – the English Episcopate
Janet Henderson Woman’s Touch Not Welcome
According to the CofE Daily Media Digest, The Times [paywall] reports inter alia that:
…the church has yet to confirm whether Dr Sentamu and the Bishop of Blackburn, Julian Henderson, will join the service but adds that Dr Sentamu’s most senior aide said last night that Mr North had not insisted on the arrangement himself.
Thank you for writing about the Consecration of the new Bishop of Burnley. Arrangements have been made carefully according to the plans put before General Synod in July last year.
Paper GS Misc 1079, Women in the Episcopate, A Note from the Archbishops in paragraphs 7-8 it said:
7. Arrangements for consecration services are and will remain the personal responsibility and decision of the Archbishop of the Province, as is made clear in the Royal Mandate. After careful thought and prayer we do not believe that an attempt to offer detailed prescriptions as to how consecration services would be conducted in every circumstance would help to establish the relational framework offered by the five guiding principles.
8. The proper place for the working out of details is in conversation between those concerned, and especially between any new bishop and the Archbishop of the Province. This is in the spirit of the analogous discussions between a parish that has passed a resolution and their diocesan bishop.
9. As Archbishops we will exercise that responsibility in ways that exemplify the five guiding principles, enabling bishops to serve across the spectrum of our teaching and tradition. Any special arrangements to which we may agree in particular cases will arise out of a spirit of gracious generosity, and will involve only such departures from the norm as are necessary to fulfil the spirit and purpose of the Declaration (GS Misc 1076) and to build the peace and unity of the Church. No consecration duly performed by either Archbishop as principal consecrator would be invalid.’
As you will know the five guiding principles referred to above are:
(Extract from GS 1924 – Report from the Steering Committee for the Draft Legislation on Women in the Episcopate)
I must stress, as in 7 above, that by Royal Mandate the decision as to who lays on hands at the Consecration of a bishop in the Province is for the Archbishop alone to determine. It is the Archbishop who must, in discussion with the candidate, decide how best to proceed in each case. All those bishops present and gathered round the candidate, laying on hands or not, will be participating in the consecration, through their presence and their prayers. It is my prayer that what has been arranged will be a genuine expression both of the five principles, and of the gracious generosity upon which they depend.
When the bishops gather together for the Ordination Prayer, in close proximity around the candidate, the Archbishop will lead all other bishops present in exercising gracious restraint at the laying-on of hands, permitting two bishops, nominated by the Archbishop on the basis of terms stated in para. 5 (above), to assist in the laying-on of hands, in order to fulfil the requirements of canon C2.1. All other bishops will remain in the arc around the candidate.
Thank you for your concern, and for your prayers for all involved in preparing both for the consecration of the Bishop of Stockport and the Bishop of Burnley. May God the Holy Trinity renew his Church in the power of the Holy Spirit, uniting us in Jesus Christ and filling us with the Father’s love.
With every blessing.