Thinking Anglicans

New Bishop of Sheffield announced

The Rt Revd Philip North, currently suffragan Bishop of Burnley, is to be the next Bishop of Sheffield. The announcement from Downing Street reads:

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Philip John North, MA, Suffragan Bishop of Burnley, in the diocese of Blackburn, for election as Bishop of Sheffield in succession to the Right Reverend Steven John Lindsey Croft, MA, PhD, on his translation to the See of Oxford on 6th July 2016.

The Right Reverend Philip North (aged 50), was educated at the University of York and trained for the ministry at Saint Stephen’s House, Oxford. He served his curacy at Sunderland Saint Mary and Saint Peter, in the Diocese of Durham from 1992 to 1996. Since 1997 he has been a member of the Company of Mission Priests.

From 1996 to 2002 he was Vicar of Hartlepool Holy Trinity in Durham Diocese and also served as Area Dean of Hartlepool from 2000 until 2002. From 2002 to 2008 he was Priest Administrator at the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham and from 2004 to 2007 he was also Priest-in-Charge of Hempton in the diocese of Norwich. From 2008 to 2015 he was Team Rector of the Parish of Old Saint Pancras in the Diocese of London. Since 2015 he has been Suffragan Bishop of Burnley.

His interests include current affairs, cycling and walking.

The diocese of Sheffield carries further details here.

Comment and welcome from the Society of St Wilfred and St Hilda is here.

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Father David
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Father David

Isn’t this just the best news and has cheered me up no end.

Michael
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Michael

I welcome this outstanding appointment. As someone from a catholic parish in a deprived council estate in Sheffield, I applaud Bishop Philip’s move to Sheffield equally because of his prophetic and outspoken concern for the marginalised and the overlooked in areas like mine as for the advancement of a traditional catholic into a diocesan see which proves the reality of mutual flourishing.There are those who will be uncomfortable with his appointment but some of these will worship in comfortable and affluent areas that have little comprehension of the reality of church life in some of the poorest and most unchurched… Read more »

John Roch
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John Roch

I have already heard that Alternative Oversight might be sought.

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Rather puzzled by John Roch’s comment.Sheffield currently has 20 parishes under the Bishop of Beverley.Presumably that arrangement will no longer be necessary.

Nancy Goodrich
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Nancy Goodrich

Bishop Philip is hugely talented and has been superb in the Diocese of Blackburn. Most people in this Diocese disagree with his views over women priests, and whilst Bishop Philip has a line, he will push ministering together with ordained women as far as possible. He has encouraged a culture of mutual flourishing, respect and trust.

John Roch
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John Roch

Oversight by a female bishop.

Father David
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Father David

Well done to the Archbishop of York for making this outstanding appointment of a highly talented and richly gifted clergyman. In a way it makes up for the Whitby debacle.
So Ebor has led the way in making a first rate appointment in the Northern Province will Cantuar follow Sentamu’s lead and make a similar, inspired appointment of a Traditionalist bishop to a diocese in the Southern Province?

Graham Williams
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Graham Williams

Presumably +Blackburn will appoint another Traditionalist to the See of Burnley. I think it will be Fr Luke Miller – Archdeacon of London, if he does.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

Whilst not gainsaying the many positive comments already made about Philip North, I am truly shocked by this appointment and my heart bleeds for the many women priests in the Diocese of Sheffield who will now have to serve under a Bishop who is at best unsure about the validity of their orders. He may ‘push ministering together with women priests as far as possible’, but he wasn’t prepared to be consecrated at the same time as the first woman bishop, or by the same (now tainted?) archbishop who had consecrated her only a week earlier. It had been thought… Read more »

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Hope fully this appointment will take the pressure of Chichester at the next vacancy here and we just might get a diocesan who ordains women.

Jules
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Jules

John Roch, a request for alternative oversight by a female bishop would not be acceptable. The reason parishes are permitted to request AEO is because the Church of England accepts that female bishops are an innovation that the Universals Church does not share, and so recognises theological convictions to the contrary. One cannot seriously entertain a request the other way round. No one would contest the validity of Philip North’s orders or seriously suggest they believe men cannot be bishops, as until 2015 only men had ever been bishops, and every female bishop has been consecrated by male bishops. The… Read more »

Richard
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Richard

Why would a female bishop need to provide episcopal care? Sounds rather sexist. I’d think it bunkum but could follow the logic of someone who would invite all clergy in the diocese to concelebrate at the Chrism Mass.

I would imagine that Sheffield will follow Chichester in having a Blessing of Oils with Renewal of Ministerial Commitment. Which should ensure all but the most ardent papists in the diocese are happy.

It is a tremendous appointment for which all flavours of the Church should thank God.

Michael Mulhern
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Michael Mulhern

A sign of a mature Church, I would say. Not only talk, but action, on showing what mutual flourishing is all about. Women clergy have nothing to fear from Philip North. What a relief to know that there will be some colour and character in the House of Bishops at last after all those safe, monochrome appointments of recent years (and that includes most of the women, I’m afraid). Yah-booh Sucks to all the illiberal liberals in the Whitby episcopal area who made it impossible for Philip to serve as Bishop there.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Presumably he will now agree to ordain women as priests for the good of his new diocese, or have I missed something?

John Roch
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John Roch

I was not seeking it. It was mentioned in comments made to me.

Graham Williams
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Graham Williams

Richard Ashby – You could potentially have a Vacancy in Chichester by Summer 2018, if +Martin translates to London

rjb
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rjb

This is terrific news for Sheffield, obviously (and for the Church of England generally). Fr Philip is a very gifted priest and bishop, and his elevation is very welcome. But I can’t help but note that Bishop Philip has been in the job at Burnley for only a little over two years. I realise this may seem like an age when you consider that the present Archbishop of Canterbury was at Durham for less than twelve months, but I worry about this trend. I tend to think it’s unhelpful to shuttle bishops as quickly as possible from one diocese to… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Liberal liberal here. I disagree strongly with those who oppose equal ordination, but they’ve every right to their beliefs, and it shouldn’t be held against them. As he’s reported to treat women fairly, good luck to him.

Father David
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Father David

It would be enlightening to have a comment from Anthony Archer on this excellent appointment as I distinctly remember him confidently predicting on the TA blog that there would be no more Traditionalist bishops appointed to Diocesan Sees. Bishop North’s appointment to the See of Sheffield has gone a long way in restoring my faith in the Church of England as a truly broad and tolerant Church.

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

I wonder if Bishop North will institute women incumbents like the Bishop of London? What happens in Chichester?

John Darch
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John Darch

No worries here, Perry – he institutes (and supports) women incumbents in Blackburn diocese.

Anne
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Anne

I have been fascinated by the comments about this appointment. I had not appreciated how many readers of TA seem to be traditionalist from an anglo-catholic perspective. I am deeply saddened by this appointment and am in full agreement with Malcolm Dixon. I am sure that +Philip is a very competent person with tremendous gifts, but that is not the point. The Church of England does ordain women to all three orders and to have a Diocesan Bishop who is a traditionalist is giving the wrong message to the ordained women in the Diocese of Sheffield, and elsewhere, as well… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest

‘As he’s reported to treat women fairly, good luck to him.’ Treating women fairly is it? Finding yourself, with half the clergy in the diocese, serving under a bishop who does not believe you should be ordained at all is ‘fair’ is it? Good luck to them too then …? I know the quality of this man of God. I am committed to the guiding principles.I will pray for him and Sheffield. It is just the embarrrassing lack of imagination and sensitivity, here and elsewhere, towards those who have very good reason for feeling disappointed and let down that gets… Read more »

Richard
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Richard

Mr Archer’s prophecy was: “I don’t think every appointment should be filled by Traditionalists but if individuals were appointed to a Suffragan/Diocesan See who happened to be a traditionalist on the basis that they were the best person for the job then it will be a much welcomed.” Posted by: Anthony Archer on Sunday, 14 June 2015 at 8:03pm BST I am surprised to be reading this. The mind of the church is now settled on women’s ministry in all its forms. It is no longer incidental that a person happens to be a non-ordainer. Provision has been made for… Read more »

Jules
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Jules

Anthony Archer, I’m afraid you’ve definitely missed something. Philip North is a traditionalist, so he doesn’t believe in women’s ordination. That’s why his appointment is controversial in some quarters. If he was to ordain women he would not be a traditionalist and therefore his appointment would not be at all newsworthy. I’m surprised that this has passed you by.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

I have never claimed the foresight of a Hebrew prophet but I have to say I am hugely surprised that a non-ordainer has been nominated for a diocesan see. It is a massively retrograde step and will certainly not serve the needs of the Diocese of Sheffield, excellent priest/bishop though Father North is. However not being a member of the CNC these days I can only comment from my armchair. There is much going on in the Church of England that is far more troubling than whether certain bishops will or will nor ordain women as deacons or priests and/or… Read more »

Jules
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Jules

Richard, the commitment to mutual flourishing means that traditionalists will still have to be considered for diocesan appointments and, shock horror, sometimes be appointed. This development means that there is now a traditionalist diocesan in both provinces and, though I don’t see that increasing, it will probably mean this arrangement is for the long term. Again, it’s important to point out that Bishop North and all those in the CofE who oppose the ordination of women do not hold to a way-out or bizarre doctrine unknown to the apostolic Church. It is the view of the universal church of east… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Doesn’t this suggest that a traditionalist might also become an archbishop? Where would we be with a traditionalist Archbishop of Canterbury?

Adam
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Adam

Is Richard correct in saying half the clergy in the Diocese of Sheffield are female? If so I am very shocked.

Philip Hobday
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Philip Hobday

I strongly support the ordination of women to all three orders of ordained ministry. But in bringing that (in my view wholly desirable) possibility to reality, the Church of England’s governing bodies agreed to maintain an honourable place for those who disagreed with that decision. The logical outcome of that decision – again, a decision I support – is that there will be parishes, clergy, and bishops who disagree with the ordination and / or consecration of women. Given that commitment to ‘mutual flourishing’ it cannot be right to bar those opposed from senior posts particuarly if – as seems… Read more »

Jules
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Jules

Kate, it’s probably for that reason we will neither have a woman nor a traditionalist male as ABC. If one isn’t in communion with Canterbury how can one still purport to be an Anglican? So I think we’ll continue to have compromise candidates when it comes to that.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

No, Jules, it’s you who are missing things. You missed a very clear piece of irony in Anthony Archer’s first post and, on the main issue, you have missed the point completely. Like it or not, the C of E has firmly decided that women may be ordained as deacons, priests and bishops and that, when so ordained, they are in every way equal to men in the same positions. By appointing a non-ordainer as a diocesan, the powers that be have disregarded this decision and given a kick in the teeth to all the women priests in Sheffield diocese… Read more »

Mark Hart
Guest

No, half the clergy in the Diocese of Sheffield are not female. The figures for 2015 in the ministry statistics published last year give:
Full time stipendiary:
30 female, 98 male
Part time stipendiary:
2 female, 3 male
Self supporting:
16 female, 20 male
So for stipendiary full time that’s 23% female in Sheffield, compared with 15% in Blackburn and 25% nationally.

James Byron
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James Byron

David, when equal consecration was being debated, traditionalists expressed fears that they’d be discriminated against, placed in a holding pen until they could be pensioned off, and ultimately driven from the church. They were assured it wouldn’t happen, and they’d remain valued members.

So yes, of course this burdens many women. I’d rather the traditional position were as dead as the Curse of Ham. But it isn’t, and in a broad church, won’t be anytime soon. Tolerance is hard, but, if the breadth of the church is to remain, inescapable.

Father David
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Father David

The retirement of the Evangelical Bishop of Bristol has garnered just a single solitary comment whereas the appointment of the Catholic Bishop of Sheffield has, to date, amassed no fewer than 32 comments. This only goes to shew what a live issue this still is within the Established Church. In his short ministry as Bishop of Burnley Philip North has shewn a deep commitment to mutual flourishing and for this I think we should all rejoice that such a valuable asset is soon to join the ranks of our Diocesan Bishops. What a healthy addition his appointment is in contrast… Read more »

Cathy
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Cathy

As an ordained woman I want to say thank you to Malcolm and to David R. It is people like you who keep me in this damaged Church.

Fr David, if he was catholic and liberal I’d agree with you. But he isn’t…

Philip North and his ilk deny who I am and what I’m called to do.

More than that, I’m obviously less than fully made in the image of God in his eyes, whether he admits it or not.

And it hurts.

I thank God I’m not in Sheffield – and I pray for my sisters who are.

Chuchu Nwagu
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Chuchu Nwagu

I desperately feel that some contributors on TA should consider getting a hobby – I honestly don’t see why we should be dwelling on the appointment of excellent individual who doesn’t ordain women; when the real task at hand as disciples and followers of Jesus Christ is spreading the good news, proclaim the faith a fresh in every generation and through our actions to bring people to know the living God. The God, I and all of us believe in is a God of inclusivity and a gracious God – It is God who calls us all (despite our beliefs)… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest

Thank you Mark I stand corrected. Was confusing different sets of figures and muddled how to say it too. Rather than explain I will just shut up. Apologies.

Jules
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Jules

I’m afraid I have to disagree with you Malcolm. Yes, the CofE decided to allow women bishops, but it was not as unequivocal as you suggest. The preservation of an indisputably Catholic and apostolic lineage of bishops safeguarded through the laying on of hands by the bishops of the Society of SS Wilfrid & Hilda mean that the CofE has rather hedged its bets. But more than that, the CofE does not live in a vacuum. We simply cannot act as though we are a church independent of the rest of Christianity. One Church, one Faith, one Lord and all… Read more »

David Castle
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David Castle

I’m simply dismayed and disappointed that in this day and age we now have a bishop that effectively doesn’t recognise the legitimate role that women priests have in the CoE. To have a bishop that refuses to ordain women is a shocking inditement of the church, and sends a very clear message to the world that discrimination is live and well. How must women priests now feel to now have to work for a boss that doesn’t accept their validity? and where would the church be with fewer and fewer men coming for ordination? It’s about time some people faced… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

Quite a lot of comments in favour from people who style themselves Father X. I think the only woman who has posted in support is from the diocese he is leaving… I gave up on ordination ages ago: it is still too complicated for an LGBTI woman in the Church of England. How could I explain to my partner how much +she+ would be required to give up? But speaking as a woman nonetheless, my concern about this appointment is that it comes on the heels of the regressive report from the House of Bishops on same sex marriage. The… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

“Bishop Philip’s appointment is a calling from God through the working of the Holy Spirit and this has been seen and confirmed by members of the church… If you’re not happy about the appointment then take up with God; unless we’re now saying that God does not call people to various ministries and roles” Presumably God also calls paedophile priests too? Why does He do that? Are victims then to blame God? Or maybe, is it that people making such decisions aren’t all that good at listening to God? Is it that many great candidates – perhaps the candidate God… Read more »

Peter S
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Peter S

There is another way of looking at this appointment, quite apart from the merits of the Bishop-elect and the needs of the particular diocese: Bishop North was the first bishop consecrated after the ordination of women as bishops in the Church of England. That means that lack of experience may no longer be used as an excuse implicitly or explicitly for not appointing women as diocesan bishops. We might reasonably expect some of the half a dozen female suffragan bishops appointed in the same year this candidate was consecrated to become diocesans in the next year or two. That’s good… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

How many traditionalist Anglo-Catholic bishops does it take to make sure that the flourishing of the small group of traditionalist worshippers is sufficiently guaranteed?

David Castle
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David Castle

Kate, I agree. Either God is giving different messages to everybody, or people are picking up different meanings from them. What I want to know is “Who knows what God is really saying?”. Seems to me he’s having a laugh.
Time for some new tablets of stone….

Nancy Goodrich
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Nancy Goodrich

I was at Bishop Philip’s consecration in York and many there (including the Bishop of Chichester) had little connection with the Northern Province or the Diocese of Blackburn, and were deeply celebrating something that the women priests of this diocese felt decidedly unsettled about. I still think that it was right to be there and take part and it has been right to support Bishop Philip, that’s what mutual flourishing means. The Diocese of Blackburn has been strengthened and enriched by his ministry here. He has given a lead and a model particularly for petitioning parishes and catholic parishes of… Read more »

Laurence Cunnington
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Laurence Cunnington

“What I want to know is “Who knows what God is really saying?””

That’s easy : Caroline Boddington.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

Please don’t beat yourself up, David Runcorn, over your error about the proportion of women priests in Sheffield diocese. Your incisive comments are equally valid whether the proportion is 50%, 23% or even just one women priest. And I thank you for them, as I am sure do all the women priests in that diocese and beyond.

Chuchu Nwagu
Guest
Chuchu Nwagu

Kate – Now you’re just picking at straws! God calls all people to ministry – It’s a calling from God. What you do within that call is completely different. God delivers the calling but we’re the physical manifestation of that calling – So no God doesn’t call paedophile priests but he calls men, if they decide to act in such a horrible way then God can’t be blamed because of the gift of free will

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

Sorry Jules but you really do need to wake up and smell the coffee, because things really changed in November 2014 and they are not as you describe. I refer you to the first two of the ‘five guiding principles’ (to which even FiF and SSWSH allegedly subscribe), as follows:- • Now that legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops the Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are… Read more »