Sunday, 16 December 2012

Philip North Withdraws From Bishop of Whitby Post

Updated yet again 7 pm

Father Philip North Withdraws From Bishop of Whitby Post

Father Philip North, who earlier this year was appointed to be the new Bishop of Whitby in the Diocese of York, has announced he is withdrawing from the role. He has notified the Archbishop of York and his current bishop, the Bishop of London, of his decision. He will now remain as Team Rector of the Parish of Old St Pancras in North London.

Philip North commented, “It was a great honour to be chosen for this role and I had been very much looking forward to taking up the position. However, in the light of the recent vote in the General Synod and having listened to the views of people in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland, I have concluded that it is not possible for me, at this difficult time for our Church, to be a focus for unity. I have therefore decided that it is better to step aside at this stage.

“I have reached this decision after a time of deep reflection and feel sure that it is for the best. I now look forward to refocusing my energies on the pastoral needs of my Parish.”

The Bishop of London added, “I can understand the reasons for Philip’s decision. He is a gifted and energetic priest and I am glad that he remains in this Diocese to continue his outstanding work in Camden Town.”

The original news of his appointment was (rather belatedly) reported in this news item with a headline about a quite different appointment.

Ed Thornton at the Church Times has a report of what is meant by “the views of people in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland” see “I would not be a focus for unity”: Philip North withdraws from Bishop of Whitby post.

…The churchwarden of St Oswald’s Church, Lythe, in Whitby, John Secker, wrote a letter to the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, dated 28 November, which gathered a number of signatories.

The letter said: “We are puzzled, dismayed and very disappointed that for the third time running we have been assigned a Bishop of Whitby who does not accept the ordination of women priests. . .

“We are aware that some parishes, some clergy, and some of the laity in the Whitby bishopric do not accept the validity of women priests but, as in the rest of the country, a substantial majority of us do. So why should we have to have a bishop who does not accept them? We assume that there must be some sort of rationale behind the decision, but you should be aware that many of us feel aggrieved and overlooked.”

In a reply, dated 6 December, Dr Sentamu wrote: “Whatever fears there may be about Revd North’s ability to work with all in the Archdeaconry [of Cleveland], I am confident that he will not only live up to Bishop Martin’s example, but also go beyond it in his valuing of the ministry of his female colleagues.

“Clearly the appointment of Revd North has also been made as part of our accommodation for our petitioning parishes in this diocese. The fact is that the vast majority of our petitioning parishes are in the Cleveland Archdeaconry and so the see of Whitby is the obvious choice for such episcopal provision where the diocesan bishop is an outspoken advocate of women’s ministry. . .

“I deeply regret that this appointment should be seen as in any way indicating a lack of respect and value for women’s ministry in this Diocese and in the Church as a whole. I would hope that my words and actions elsewhere would be ample proof to the contrary.”

The Evening Standard has Clergyman says he will not take up bishop job, as Church of England crisis deepens

The Diocese of York has now issued this announcement: Fr Philip North withdraws from Bishop of Whitby post

…Yesterday, Archbishop Sentamu wrote to all clergy and Readers in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland to say, “It is with sadness that I have heard from Revd Philip North of his decision to withdraw his acceptance of the post of Bishop of Whitby.

“This has come as a great disappointment to me personally and I am sure to many in the wider church, the Diocese and the Archdeaconry of Cleveland.

“Philip North is not a single-issue priest. As a gifted pastor-teacher he is deeply committed to the flourishing of the diverse ministries of all God’s people - lay and ordained. His dynamic vision for making Christ visible in mission and ministry, as well as serving the poor, would have been a great asset to us all.

“I am returning to the Diocese later tomorrow, having been in Uganda to attend the Installation of the new Archbishop.

“The question of the appointment of a new bishop will be first referred to the Dioceses Commission. As many of you may know, the Dioceses Commission will be reviewing our Diocese, its structures, boundaries and delivery of mission. As to the timing of when this will happen, the Dioceses Commission will let us know.

“Please pray for Philip and all those in the Cleveland Archdeaconry at this time.”

John Bingham at the Telegraph has Priest forced to stand aside as bishop over traditionalist view on women.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 16 December 2012 at 11:51pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

This is a shame. Even those of us who disagree with Fr North on the matter of women bishops were convinced that he would make a fine bishop himself, and would represent the conservative Anglo-Catholic position in that role with his usual humanity and humour.

Posted by: rjb on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 1:01am GMT

Translation for an Ignorant Yank, please?

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 8:20am GMT

A 'Man of Principle', like the one who he attempts to follow.

Whitby's loss is London's continuing gain.

Posted by: David Johnson on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 8:29am GMT

Somewhat opaque.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 8:46am GMT

"However, in the light of the recent vote in the General Synod and having listened to the views of people in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland, I have concluded that it is not possible for me, at this difficult time for our Church, to be a focus for unity."

Is Father Philip North a member of General Synod? If so, which way did he vote in the House of Clergy?

The Archdeaconry of Cleveland seems to include Thirsk--represented in Parliament by Anne McIntosh, who has been outspoken on the Tory benches in favor of women bishops. Presumably Ms. McIntosh would not be energetic on this issue if she did not think that her constituents would welcome her activity.

One wonders what the "views of people in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland" are, and how the "people" have expressed themselves.

Was there a deanery synod recently?

Or have the people of the archdeaconry found some other way to express displeasure at the recent vote?

If it is the views of the people to which Father North is responding, this again suggests that the situation has changed on the ground, and that Church members are no longer willing to tolerate discrimination. Pyrrhic victory indeed.

(I say "if" because he may also be responding to his own sense that bishops who oppose women bishops, or who want more provision to be made than was provided in the defeated measure, will face a difficult time in the House of Bishops over the next six months.)

Posted by: Jeremy on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 10:15am GMT

Whatever the merits of Fr North and his ability to 'value the ministry of his female colleagues' (whom he presumably is unable to regard as priests), I wonder whether this isn't the voice of a quiet majority finally being heard over the sound of dissident fellow anglicans.

Posted by: Tony Phelan on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 10:21am GMT

Simon, the update explains much. Thank you.

Posted by: Jeremy on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 10:26am GMT

I hope the Churchwarden and other signatories feel ashamed at their actions as Christians causing, as they have, a man of integrity and honour to step down. It is nothing less than a witch hunt.

Posted by: Benedict on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 10:33am GMT

Revd North!!!

Posted by: Perry Butler on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 10:49am GMT

Quite interesting is the passing mention of deferring to the DioCom on whether to reappoint: (at the end of the DoY statement) http://www.dioceseofyork.org.uk/news-events/news/news-from-the-diocese-of-york/02082.html

Posted by: Dan BD on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 11:16am GMT

Like others, I was surprised and perplexed by this announcement. Fr North has built a reputation as one of the most reasonable and eirenic representatives of the traditionalist Anglo-Catholic constituency, and his explanation asked more questions for me than it answered.
Ed Thornton's piece from the CT gives a clue to one possible explanation. I have always felt that Res. C parishes have had much more generous representation in the House of Bishops than their numbers justified, and wondered why it was necessary to have extra suffragan sees like Whitby and Fulham, over and above the official provision of PEVs, repeatedly filled by Bishops who would not ordain women. I can only sympathise with parishioners who feel that their episcopal area has been 'usurped' to support a cause they do not believe in.
And, although I do not agree with any of their unique theological perspectives, I also sympathise with conservative evangelicals, probably much more numerous than traditionalist Anglo-Catholics, who feel that they have no representation at all in the HoB. If we are to continue to make provision for these two very different extreme wings of our Church (and I'm not convinced that we should), it needs to be done on a more even-handed basis.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 11:32am GMT

What a tragic situation & clearly shows the intollerance and un Christian attitudes reflected in the views of the pro-women people.
Fr Philip North is a truly outstanding Priest & would have made a great Bishop.What a loss for the Anglican Church in the Cleveland area

Posted by: David G.Weston on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 12:25pm GMT

The issue is about collegiality. Philip North does not accept women priests let alone bishops. How can he offer episcopal oversight to those he doesn't recognise as colleagues and why should they offer loyalty and obedience to him? His gifts as a potential bishop may go to waste as a result - like those of so many women.

Posted by: Jane Charman on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 12:53pm GMT

I too am "puzzled, dismayed and very disappointed" that reaction in the Cleveland Archdeaconry has caused Father Philip North to withdraw hs acceptance of the Suffragan See of Whitby. The people of North Yorkshire have now lost the opportunity of having an exceptinally talented priest as their next bishop.
While writing may I respectfully refer His Grace, the Archbishop of York to that page in Crockford's Clerical Directory on "How to address the Clergy"? It may be The Reverend Philip North or the Reverend Mr. North but never, NEVER "Revd North"

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 1:22pm GMT

"How to address the Clergy"? It may be The Reverend Philip North or the Reverend Mr. North but never, NEVER "Revd North" Father David

Cluedo has much to answer for.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 4:06pm GMT

"Is Father Philip North a member of General Synod? If so, which way did he vote in the House of Clergy?" Jeremy

Yes, he is a member and he voted against.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 4:09pm GMT

Like others I found the article somewhat oblique. The article from The Telegraph may be as helpful to others as it was to me.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9750468/Priest-forced-to-stand-aside-as-bishop-over-traditionalist-view-on-women.html

ED: I will add this link to the main article now.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 4:20pm GMT

To be of the other tradition to one's bishop is painful from either direction. Some have had to live with this for a long time. To develop a tradition in one jurisdiction, to give two or three areas consecutive bishops of the same tradition, means that some have to actively 'respect' those with whom they disagree for a considerable period of time. I am sure that Father Philip North will be an excellent bishop at some point; it is the idea that one appointment is always of the same stance which is the problem, rather than a personal rejection of Father Philip, unless he feels unable to lead unless a significant number are of his persuasion. That brings us to the idea that some bishops are less or more a bishop in the Church of England,
A woman priest of Chichester Diocese

Posted by: sueeve on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 4:27pm GMT

As Philip North has been referred to a number of times on this thread, then the correct form is simply Mr North. Save the clerical Mr!!

As for the people of Whitby missing out on a good bishop, I am not that bothered; there are loads of good people in the C of E who never get to be bishops, women and men alike. You can't help thinking of some of the ones who do get to be bishops that they only got there to get them out of parishes - they do less damage as bishops.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 4:33pm GMT

What? Parishes choosing their own bishop? Never!!!

Posted by: Original Observer on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 4:36pm GMT

"What a tragic situation & clearly shows the intollerance and un Christian attitudes reflected in the views of the pro-women people."

So let me see how this works.

When Christians who do not agree with women's ordination ask for a Bishop who supports their views, that is OK, and we should make proper provision for that.

But when Christians who do support women bishops ask for a Bishop who supports their views, then this is intolerant and un-Christian.

Surely what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Posted by: Simon Dawson on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 4:53pm GMT

It is difficult to see how the integrity of a woman priest can be honoured when her bishop does not regard her as a priest; whereas he still expects her to regard him as a bishop with pastoral oversight over her priestly ministry. The next Diocesan Bishop to be appointed will be Blackburn, and currently Blackburn Diocese is being looked after by the Bishop of Burnley, one of the three members of the House of Bishops who voted in Synod against women bishops, and now he is having to give pastoral oversight and care to the women clergy in that Diocese! He has asked them all to a meeting in January. However watch what happens because Blackburn's 6 Vacancy in See reps include THREE members of General Synod who voted against women bishops, including the Bishop of Burnley himself. It is stacked towards the next new Diocesan Bishop appointed being a non-ordainer of women! Focus of unity? How will the press react to that? Just what the C of E needs in this climate.

Posted by: Lisa on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 5:00pm GMT

Jane, you have just made the argument for the Third Province, or some similar arrangement of parallel jurisdiction.

In truth the collegial unity of the bishops of the Church of England has been impaired since those first Bristol ordinations. If we remain committed to the view that both "integrities" are to be accepted and valued in the Anglican Communion we have to live with this impairment.

And turn the argument round: how can a priest offer canonical obedience to a person he does not believe to be a bishop? Especially given that the priest may legitimately and laudably hold that opinion.

Oh yes, it's horrible untidy, but we have to live with it, and we have to make lebensraum (living space) for each other.

Posted by: Labarum on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 5:13pm GMT

This raises important issues of principle going forward. As always (remember Reading), it is the individual concerned whose ministry is questioned and who has to suffer the consequences from what I fear was probably an unwise appointment. The Crown, the CNC and every diocesan bishop needs to take stock. London diocese seems to have succeeded with this model, but for how much longer? The principal criteria in the appointment of any bishop is the ability for him to be a focus of unity, as well as Chief Pastor etc. Given the women bishops' fiasco, it may well now be the case that new consecrations of bishops who will not ordain women as priests should only be as PEVs. The Archbishops might do well to consider the creation of one or two more such sees (not that I am hugely in favour admittedly).

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 5:15pm GMT

It is worth pointing out that Chichester has just installed the third bishop in a row who will not ordain women and that there has never been a bishop in the diocese who will. The fervent representations of those who want a woman ordaining bishop have so far gone completely unheard. Why could not the needs of resolution c parishes be met here by the flying bishops?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 5:51pm GMT

Nothing new in any of this. Opponents of women's ministry can't understand why women should mind being ministered to by someone who denies their ministry. The rest of can't understand why they can't understand.

Posted by: Jane Charman on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 5:59pm GMT

What this sorry episode shows is that bishops whose sacramental ministries are fully acceptable to C Parishes and clergy will have to continue to be appointed to the Sees of Beverley, Richborough and Ebbsfleet because the system of provision via the appointment of traditionalist bishops to Area Sees within dioceses based upon 'trust' and 'respect' is now broken beyond repair. If traditionalists can no longer be appointed to ordinary Sees within dioceses then the unity of the CofE is effectively destroyed and we are moving fast towards the one-party state so beloved by PECUSA.

Posted by: Geo Noakes on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 6:36pm GMT

Shorter Simon Dawson:

"Christians who do not agree with women's ordination/proper provision

Christians who do support women bishops/this is intolerant and un-Christian."

By Jove, I think you've got it!

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 7:41pm GMT

I am amazed this hasn't happened before.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 7:49pm GMT

This is a tragedy, especially for Cleveland. I am a 'woman priest' and know Fr Philip well. He is endlessly supportive, respectful and a true colleague. I have witnessed him stand up for women priests on a number of occasions. What a mess!

Posted by: Vanessa Baron on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 8:31pm GMT

This is another tragic consequence of 'Two Integrities'. Rev'd Philip North has shown integrity by his decision. The Church of England has a particular role in the life of the worldwide Church. She is Catholic whist not called to adhere to the doctrine of Rome. She is not Protestant in her Creed. The Church of England is a broad church whilst, as someone joked, not fully accepting broads! It seems right and proper that her Priests be enabled to genuinely and wholeheartedly vow allegiance to their Bishop. Given the weight of their various ministries this is vital and has nothing to do with gender or personality. The majority of us affirm the spiritual power of liturgies that enable our Orders. We either believe in these Sacraments wholeheartedly as we receive them within the gathered community - Diocese, or our Orders are impaired. It seems that God Almighty does not support this impairment and has voiced this in a straightforward manner. I was ordained Priest in 1994 by a Bishop who publicly stated that he was in favour of the Ordination of ten women. However,in private he told us all angrily that he would not be appointing any of us as a Priest in Charge. Where was the integrity of his position which was in fact damaging and dis-empowering for all of us. There is only one way forward now and a previous poster, Cynthia I think, was wise in suggesting that this should be made clear to all men and women seeking Ordination in The Church of England in the future.

Posted by: Rosie Bates on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 8:58pm GMT

Of course this not such a different situation to the one Jeffrey John faced...a group wrote to the Archbishop...and he stood down.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 9:00pm GMT

A couple of points:
It is apparent that the protests of laity in the Cleveland episcopal area contributed to Fr Philip's decision. Is there any precedent for this in the Church of England? For me it's another example demonstrating why the CofE should move towards electing its bishops. This way talented people like Fr Philip can be called for their skills, rather than for ticking the conservative/liberal Evo/Catholic boxes.

Secondly, given Fr Philip's near-poster boy status for Trad Catholicism (in a sub-culture of Anglicanism severely lacking in charismatic spokesmen), does North's withdrawal work as a political move? Rather than "intolerant liberals" hounding out traditionalists, as a few have sought to portray it as, I feel it adds more to the sense of car crash in the Church of England, looking from the outside at least.

Posted by: Tim Moore on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 9:58pm GMT

"...the one-party state so beloved by PECUSA."

Use of this kind of political rhetoric about provinces that widely affirm the ordained ministries of women is pretty "rich" coming from folks who look to ROME as their major inspiration!

Posted by: WKG on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 10:17pm GMT

I'm surprised that nobody has suggested possible political positioning in all this. Are not the (rather more senior) sees of Blackburn and Europe up for grabs before long? My solution would be to appoint the only other bishop elect I remember withdrawing (Jeffrey John) because he was open about his sexual orientation (though celibate) to one of the vacancies, and Philip North, who is open about his opposition to women's ordination, to the other. Both seem to be good men.

Posted by: Neil on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 10:23pm GMT

In response to Simon Dawson's point, the difference is that in the Diocese of York as a whole, the majority of bishops are not traditionalists, and Fr North's appt was simply in accordance with the Bonds of Peace of the Act of synod, whereby a suffragan is provided for C parishes, of which, by the way, there are a significant minority in Cleveland. The reality demonstrated by the actions of those signatories is that what they want is a Church cleansed of every last remnant of those who disagree with them. Now I am coming to understand what 'respect' means, at least according to their version of the dictionary.

Posted by: Benedict on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 10:24pm GMT

There is so much truth in this, in my book.

So much.


'Nothing new in any of this. Opponents of women's ministry can't understand why women should mind being ministered to by someone who denies their ministry. The rest of can't understand why they can't understand.'

Posted by: Jane Charman on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 5:59pm

May be if we drop the word 'priest' in favour of 'minister' it could help. As a child in Liverpool we always said minster or vicar - the sky did nt fall in on us.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 10:26pm GMT

Anthony Archer makes an interesting point. It is possible that the answer is somewhat different from the one he gives - and that the unwisdom in Whitby was that a particular post was apparently being informally reserved to a particular kind of bishop in spite of the variety of people the bishop was in fact serving. If a person has the qualities and calling to be a bishop he (or she) should be able to become a bishop anywhere (no second-class bishops). Maybe there would need to be some flexibility in the application of area schemes to create some appropriate accommodation, but that could be part of local, sensitive and pastoral provision.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 10:37pm GMT

Benedict,

In reply to your comment above dated 17 Dec, 10.24.

I was not commenting on the original churchwarden's letter, or Father North's action, but rather commenting on a couple of postings on this website which I think indicate double standards. One of which was made by you.

All the churchwarden did in his letter was to point out that if Father North was appointed Bishop then a significant number of Christians in his care would have a Bishop who disagreed theologically with his views of women's ordination. And this would be the third Bishop in a row in that post with the same views. Yet that churchwarden was criticised by posters on Thinking Anglicans as somebody who should "feel ashamed at their actions as Christians" (Benedict, 17Dec, 10.33AM) and as showing " intollerance and un Christian attitudes" (David Weston, 17 Dec, 12.25 PM).

Could you please let me know what you think Benedict. Why are different standards applied?

It is OK for a Christian who does not agree with women's ordination to ask for a Bishop who supports their view. In fact it is so OK that systems have to be set up to draft in the correct sort of man.

But when Christians who do support women bishops point out that they don't have a Bishop who supports their views then, according to you, pointing this out is intolerant and un-Christian.

Do you not agree that this is double standards, Benedict. Or if not, why is one request OK and one request to be criticised?

Simon

Posted by: Simon Dawson on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 11:12pm GMT

I am deeply saddened by this development, Fr Philip North would and will be a great Bishop. He has a great passion for the Gospels and a strong devotion of prayer

The Church has no hope if they start basing preferment on what somebodies personal theological conviction is - Fr Philip would have made it work.

Many people have said that how can women priests accept the ministry of a bishop who doesn't recognise their order - The same could be said that why should a male priest accept the ministry of a bishop who believes homosexuality is wrong or Why should a priest accept the ministry of a bishop who believes their opposition to the OoW is wrong.

We are a diverse church and we need to understand that we can always have a Bishop who will meet our every needs. I am upset and saddened for the Diocese of York that they have missed such a talented and energetic priest.

The Diocese Commission should now rule that the See of Whitby should be left vacant and all those under the care of the Bishop of Whitby should be merged with the other Sees - I don't see any logical reason to appoint a new bishop to a place that are so ungrateful and would have displayed an act of intolerance.

Many people use this word and I will use it now - What the people of the Archdeaconry of Cleveland have done is un-Catholic.

Members of the Church need to sit down, look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves 'Can we truly say we are fulfilling the mission of God?'. As at this currently moment we aren't and the the moment we loose that - We lose everything

Let us pray earnestly for the spirit of Love, Understanding and Humility

Posted by: Chuchu Nwagu on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 11:33pm GMT

"...C parishes, of which, by the way, there are a significant minority in Cleveland." (Benedict)

According to the most recent C of E statistics there are 5 resolution C parishes in the whole diocese of York (452 parishes in total). There are 8 Resolution A parishes (so one assumes 3 in addition to the resolution C parishes). I assume that even if the existence of a sympathetic Bishop of Whitby meant that some parishes have not petitioned for extended oversight, they would all have passed Resolution A.

Posted by: RosalindR on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 11:34pm GMT

John sentamu seems not to have consulted about this appointment, so no wonder they feel aggrieved at its unsuitability.

Some things do not change.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 17 December 2012 at 11:47pm GMT

Can anyone suggest how, in the present climate, a woman bishop could possibly hope to be "a focus for unity"?
With regard to the future ministry of the outstandingly able Fr. Philip North - if not Blackburn or Europe - then Lewes in the Chichester diocese is currently vacant - although would that be too nepotistic if Bishop Martin Warner were to appoint his Walsingham successor as successor to Bishop Wallace Benn?

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 12:26am GMT

Isn't the point here that if three bishops in a row, each of whom is opposed to women as bishops, are appointed to a particular see, then that see begins to resemble a "no go" area for women priests?

Judging from the experiences in other provinces, schismatic tendencies arise when a see becomes confirmed in its minority theology, and sees its minority view reflected, or even entrenched, by a succession of like-minded bishops.

That experience would suggest that the next appointment to Whitby (or, for that matter, Chichester) should be a proponent of women priests and bishops.

As for Mr. North, and those of similar mind, if the descriptions of him above are accurate, then why could he not serve as bishop in a see that has a strong tradition of female clergy?

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 12:40am GMT

I notice that there is a cleric at St. Oswald's church, Lythe, near Whitby called the Rev Josephine Evetts-Secker. The Churchwarden who organised the letter which assisted in bringing about Fr. Philip North's withdrawal of acceptance of the Suffragan See of Whitby is John Secker. I wonder if by any chance they are related?

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 12:45am GMT

Please pardon the second post in rapid succession.

But I think a more concise way of phrasing what I said before is this:

"Honoured place" does not mean the _same_ honoured place.

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 1:25am GMT

"What a tragic situation & clearly shows the intollerance and un Christian attitudes reflected in the views of the pro-women people."

Amazing. Misogyny is inherently intolerant. Horrifically so, and about as un Christian as one can be, unless of course one is also racist and homophobic. It's oppressive. Does that sound like Jesus?

Good for the people who want a bishop who isn't an oppressor. By the way, is it true that in the UK dioceses don't get to choose their bishops? Really?

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 4:49am GMT

I'm still amazed that Anglo-catholics continue to think they are welcome to remain in the Church of England. Wake up!

Posted by: Jonno on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 8:59am GMT

One wonders about the appointment process. How much appropriate lay representation in the interview process?

Posted by: PSB on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 9:43am GMT

Jonno, There are many Anglo Catholics who welcome and affirm women priests. So it is not as simple as your stereo typing indicates.

Posted by: Plear on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 10:04am GMT

"I wonder if by any chance they are related?" Father David

I can't see that it matters either way. I'm sure each is capable of independent thought.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 10:13am GMT

Whilst Philip North's withdrawal from the See of Whitby is sad it is simply not the car crash that some are making it out to be. His decision to withdraw was his and his alone, attempting to make it into a bigger issue is dangerous as we do not know all of the details behind it.

I find it rather amusing that people think he will now be a bishop elsewhere. His copybook is now blotted and his reasons for turning down this post ask incredibly deep questions about why he is an Anglican at all.

I would not be surprised, however, were he to be an RC bishop in 10 years time.

Posted by: James on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 10:18am GMT

"....there are 5 resolution C parishes in the whole diocese of York (452 parishes in total). There are 8 Resolution A parishes (so one assumes 3 in addition to the resolution C parishes)."

Thank you RosalindR for giving us a proper perspective on this. The pattern is repeated in diocese after diocese. Tiny numbers hold the rest of the Church to ransom.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 10:39am GMT

Jonno -

(a) there are "Anglo-catholics" who strongly support the ordination and consecration of women;

(b) I find it rather astonishing that any Anglo-catholics in the Church of England would want to mess around with the catholic order of the church to create their own cadre of effectively second-class bishops. When we talk about "our bishops", the "we" should be the whole church and not just a part of it.

I think the challenge we face is to take the catholic order of the church a a gift, perhaps recognising it as God's gift of grace by which our differences and disagreements are contained, and learn to live with each other in spite of the difficulties. Women who are appointed as bishops are going to face challenges of their own as well.

And as for the bishop as a focus for unity, which has also been mentioned above - unity does not necessarily mean agreement - a bishop can lead by exhortation and example in calling God's people to prayer, mission and service in the world. These things are realised differently in our different contexts, but are nonetheless real, and part of a glorious whole (the catholic ideal again).

The focus on words and rules has led us down a blind alley, and serves to remind us that the letter kills but the Spirit gives life, and if it has taken us this long to face that reality, so be it - but let's learn the lesson and move on.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 10:51am GMT

Does no one else find it extraordinary that twenty years down the line the C of E still thinks it ok to be appointing (as usual, without proper consultation) new bishops who do not recognise the right of a woman to be a priest?? (Never mind a bishop!) To a diocese (according to RosalindR's post) that has only 8 Resolution A parishes out of 452! I applaud Mr. Secker, he has nothing to apologise for. It seems the days of bending over backwards to placate the implacable may be over at last!

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 10:52am GMT

Some stats:

ABC parishes in York: 14 (12 in Cleveland, 2 in York)

AB (not including ABC) 8 (3 in Cleveland, 5 in East Riding, 1 in York)

26 no where the parish priest has said women will not celebrate the sacraments (8 of which in Cleveland)

That's 23 parishes out of 185 in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland and 48 in the Diocese whose people and/or priests would value a bishop who shares their theology and conscious conviction.


(Stephen Morgan: no one has a "right" to be a priest, male or female)

Posted by: James Humphreys on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 11:14am GMT

I don't know which year's statistics Caroline used (11.34 pm yesterday). According to http://bit.ly/WmcWRA at the end of 2009 there were 13 C parishes in York diocese. 28 had passed Resolution A and 32 Resolution B meaning they would not accept a woman in pastoral charge.

Posted by: Roger Stokes on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 11:22am GMT

Stephen, I don't find it extraordinary in the least "that twenty years down the line the CofE still thinks it ok to be appointing new bishops who do not recognise the right of a woman to be a priest". What I do find extraordinary that after twenty centuries the CofE is seeking to appoint a woman bishop - thus putting us out of kilter with the rest of Apostolic, Catholic and Orthodox Christianity.

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 11:22am GMT

Maybe Mark is right.

Neither women bishops, nor traditionalist bishops, nor male bishops who ordain women can be a focus of unity. Let's face up to that reality then and ensure that traditionalists and women as well as all the other traditions within the CofE are appointed to mainstream episcopal posts.If additional episcopal ministry consequently needs to be provided (from within the broadly based CofE episcopal college)for those who are unable to fully accept the ministry and oversight of their local bishop then so be it.And let it be done joyfully and generously.

Posted by: Geo Noakes on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 11:25am GMT

I do Stephen Morgan.

The Church of England movers and shakers seem unable to learn -too arrogant or what ?

Posted by: Quiet American on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 11:51am GMT

And no insight or thanks shown. Just that sense of entitlement that informs so much of the words and actions of FiF etc.

E.g. using Roman missal with impunity, etc.

'Thank you RosalindR for giving us a proper perspective on this. The pattern is repeated in diocese after diocese. Tiny numbers hold the rest of the Church to ransom.'

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 10:39am GMT

And then we have REFORM ....

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 11:57am GMT

'...then Lewes in the Chichester diocese is currently vacant...'

Should such a thing happen there will be a serious revolt in this diocese against the foisting on us of another non woman ordaining bishop. Besides Bishop Martin has indicated that this will not happen.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 12:02pm GMT

There is a difference, Simon, between asking for a bishop of your own tradition prior to his appointment and requesting this, backed up by a mischievous petition, after the appointment has already been made. We were told time and time again before the legislation fell that we could "trust" others to do what was right, that we would be afforded "respect". The letter and attached petition demonstrate quite clearly that such undertakings were mere words designed to pacify those who are seen as an irritant in the Church. I make the point again, that in York, there are already suffragans who ordain women to the priesthood, as well as the Archbishop himself, so where is the largesse in seeking to eradicate the only provision there was in Whitby, which provision is determined by the Bonds of Peace and Act of Synod anyway? What is really going on here amounts to nothing more than the taste of sour grapes.

Posted by: Benedict on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 12:13pm GMT

'I would not be surprised, however, were he to be an RC bishop in 10 years time.'

A quick search at Google turn up this.

http://www.theanglocatholic.com/tag/fr-philip-north/

Is this just ordinariate mischeif making?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 12:13pm GMT

""I wonder if by any chance they are related?" Father David

I wonder if by any chance people who are related to people who suffer discrimination must often bear some of their relatives' burden.

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 12:13pm GMT

By the way, Father David, I think you are right in assuming that the Seckers are related. They are husband and wife, I believe. Now there's a surprise!

Posted by: Benedict on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 12:16pm GMT

It is self-evident that gender differences are matters of behaviour, variably understood by contrasting generations, societies, and indeed individuals; and that gender differences are not the same as biological or sexual difference. Those who deny the priesthood of all ordained women must do so by discriminating against their bodies, and so by ignoring their personal and spiritual lives, mustn't they?

Posted by: Su Reid on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 12:22pm GMT

"....there are 5 resolution C parishes in the whole diocese of York (452 parishes in total). There are 8 Resolution A parishes (so one assumes 3 in addition to the resolution C parishes)."

Thank you RosalindR for giving us a proper perspective on this. The pattern is repeated in diocese after diocese. Tiny numbers hold the rest of the Church to ransom.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 12:28pm GMT

The most up to date stats are here:
http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1477827/2010_11churchstatistics.pdf

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 12:30pm GMT

It's perhaps worth noting that, precisely because of the recent history of appointing bishops to the See of Whitby who were against women's ordination there may well be parishes in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland which have not passed a so-called "Resolution C" because they had been satisfied with their local area bishop. This does not however explain the remarkably low number of Resolution A or B parishes in the entire Diocese of York, which the latest national official statistics report, linked above by Andrew Godsall, dated in this case 1 January 2012 (Table 16) shows to be a mere 8 and 15 out of 452. A parish which was against WO and did not pass Resolution A and/or B would be open to legal action if it then failed to consider women applicants for a vacant post.

And it's also pertinent to observe that in the Province of York there is an additional suffragan Bishop of Beverley whose sole purpose is to minister to Resolution parishes.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 12:43pm GMT

As a woman priest in Cleveland Archdeaconry I find it hard to recognise the descriptions of our people as narrow-minded, intolerant, and deserving of having no bishop at all. They speak their minds, certainly, but I believe that is allowable in England.

The problem, as previous comments have said, is firstly the assumption that a minority of parishes dictate that we always get a bishop with extreme views, and from the same camp.

Secondly, you have to bear in mind the practicalities of having a bishop who does not recognise your vocation and your sacramental ministry. I was licensed as priest in charge by a bishop who refused ever to use the word 'priest' during the licensing service. He had to go through considerable verbal gymnastics to achieve this feat! We are expected also to undergo regular ministry reviews from someone who does not recognise that we are priests at all - how is that supposed to work? And there are women here who have never had experience of working with a bishop who accepted that they were genuine priests.

It's no wonder that some of the laity, valuing the ministry of their priests and disliking the way they have been treated, chose to express their views. But it is clear from Mr. North's statement that this was not the only reason for his withdrawal. We wish him well for the future.

Janet

Posted by: Janet on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 2:48pm GMT

Jonno - You should feel ashamed of yourself for the comment you made, you have no respect.

Like many people have said there are members of the CofE who are part of the Lib Cath and Affirming Cath wing who are in support of the ministry of women.

Why would you think you should remain in the Church of England with such views on Anglo-Catholic? - We are both Catholic and Reformed, regardless of theological/sacramental difference we all form the CofE

Christ never instituted the Church only for people who all agree on one thing, neither was the CofE formed to cater for all opposed or all in support - The church was formed to reflect the Kingdom of God in heaven, to further the mission of God and proclaim the Gospels to all nations.

On Sunday I'm guessing you are going to church, in which you will profess the Catholic Creeds, affirm belief in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic church, receive the blessed sacrament - All of which makes the CofE Catholic, Anglo-Catholic practice nothing different than that.

It's not why Anglo-Catholics think they can remain in the CofE but whether the CofE is still Catholic - The CofE is still Catholic regardless of what's happening but our sense of Catholicism has been re-defined.

If you have a problem with the Catholic heritage of the CofE and all those who choose to practice the Catholic faith within it - I think you are in the wrong place.

Posted by: Chuchu Nwagu on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 2:54pm GMT

A quick scan of table 16 in the official statistics suggests that there are 93 parishes receiving extended episcopal care from +Beverley, and just 5 more under +Whitby. 98 would not be an excessive number of parishes for one bishop to cover, even allowing for the greater geographical spread, and is far less than many other bishops already have.
If giving the PEVs more parishes to look after meant that they had less time to organise 'the priests and people of their sees' (cf +Ebbsfleet's claim in an earlier thread) and lay on great jamborees for their faithful adherents to celebrate their apartness and thumb their noses at their proper dioceses, so much the better!

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 4:13pm GMT

Perhaps Fr North's appointment would have been less of a problem had those parishes in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland that support women's ministry been able to receive oversight from Selby or Hull.

Posted by: Peter Elliott on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 4:24pm GMT

While I do not want to use the strength of language used by Chuchu Nwagu above I am really saddened by Jonno's remark. I don't think it's helpful for Anglo Catholics trying to find our way through things at the present time.

Needess to say I am very sad about Philip North withdrawing in this way (as I am equally saddened by women not being able to become bishops for the present time).

Caricuturing Catholics isn't going to help matters - we are already enemies in the dispute and at the vote but we need to hold more clearly to the ties that bind.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 4:24pm GMT

Lets stop being inward looking and focus on our mission.

Posted by: Charles Elliott on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 4:33pm GMT

I would like to support those who point out that while it is OK for those against the ordination of women to seek 'proper provision', these same people think that it is inappropriate and un-Christian for those who support women's ordination to seek 'proper provision' in their turn. The former group are clearly not following through the logic of their position but simply support double standards.

Equally, this process shows how an appointment process for bishops which does not take into proper account the wishes of the people in the see concerned is deeply flawed. I deeply regret that, in our free society, people are seeking to muzzle those who exercise their right to express their views. Seemingly, it is alright to protest against Jeffrey John's appointment after the fact but not to protest Father North's appointment. It is surely wrong that the person appointed to a see should always simply replicate the views of their predecessor. There should be a diversity of viewpoints and a change of viewpoints. I earnestly pray for a new Bishop of my own Diocese of Blackburn to be someone who will ordain women as priest after a two bishops who would not do this. The election of Bishops as in other Anglican churches is surely the way forward.

I am not, as a liberal Catholic, to be put off by the cries that this is the liberals' backlash or that we are being hysterical and that the proponents of women's ordination are being excessive in their views. It is simply that the liberals are now standing up to be counted rather than lying low in the face of FiF and Reform's more aggressive tactics.

What possible relevance is it that Mr Secker may or may not be married to a woman priest? Might he and the other signatories not be entitled to have and to express views of their own, regardless of whom they are married to? Of course, those who hold to the male headship argument can only approve of Mr Secker as a man expressing his views.

I have great respect for Father North's integrity in standing down.

Daniel Lamont

Posted by: Daniel Lamont on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 5:44pm GMT

'They speak their minds, certainly, but I believe that is allowable in England' - Janet

Fr Philip has taken the course of least resistance, but should he have done?

As John Richardson points out (http://ugleyvicar.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/whitby-another-fine-mess.html) it is against the 1993 Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod to discriminate against someone holding traditional views about women's ministry.

It seems in this case the people of Cleveland may have over-stepped the mark in their efforts at positive discrimination.

Posted by: Jonathan Edwards II on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 10:10pm GMT

I wonder how rigorously previous Bishops of Whitby have challenged any sexism in Section 12 meetings of parishes who pass Resolutions A,B or C? Do PCC resolutions really have theological integrity? Do some PCCs vote for resolutions simply to be kind to one or two outspoken members? Do those minority members have theological integrity or are they sexist?
Bishops can make provision for deeply held theological views, but bishops should not make provision for sexism. Sexism has been overcome through parishes experiencing women's ministry. Resolution parishes can't overcome sexism through experience, and won't unless they are challenged on it theologically. Traditionalist area bishops who allow the Resolutions through section 12 with a nod ensure they have a local constituency, but where is the theological integrity? If so, maybe the previous Bishops of Whitby; Chichester; Burnley etc have themselves been partly the cause of their area's high number of Resolution parishes through unchallenged sexism?

Posted by: Lisa on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 10:20pm GMT

Well said Daniel Lamont - I completely agree. I too pray that your next Bishop may be open to ordaining women. There really can be no justification for repeatedly saddling certain dioceses and suffragan sees with dissenting bishops, just because they happened to have a dissenting bishop when this sorry business began.
I really hope that we are moving towards a situation where all provision for dissenting parishes will be via the PEVs, and that ALL dioceses and other suffragan sees will be filled by bishops who recognise and affirm women priests. We owe nothing less to the faithful women priests who have served for so long under bishops who deny the validity of their orders.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 11:25pm GMT

The Diocese of York gave me these figures tonight for Resolution parishes in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland.

A 4, B 4, C 4.

I do not understand the other figures quoted above by James Humphreys. If a parish priest cannot persuade his PCC to pass any resolution, what does that mean?

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 11:31pm GMT

Malcolm Dixon - I am quite alarmed when you say "ALL dioceses and other suffragan sees will be filled by bishops who recognise and affirm women priests" - This is not what the CofE is about, if people keep thinking that, they must be in the wrong sort of church.

The CofE is Catholic and Reformed, it caters for Trad Caths, Affirming/Liberal Caths, Evo's - We are such a diverse church but we live and work together in faith.

A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight - 'entrusted with a position of authority and oversight' this means anyone can be entrusted not only people who assent to everything the CofE says.

What you have just said is exactly what the CofE don't want to happen, when we start barring people from decent preferment on the basis of their theological conviction.

As long as the CofE remains the CofE and continues to profess the Catholic creeds - We will have Traditionalist clergy appointed to Diocesan and Suffragan See's

Posted by: Chuchu Nwagu on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 1:12am GMT

I suppose we can just about allow the Archbishop of
York to use the phrase "the vast majority of our petitioning parishes", as 4 is a vast majority of 5......but really, it's not a very sensible use of that kind of language is it?

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 7:39am GMT

The FIF website gives higher figures Simon..but perhaps they dont update their site often enough.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 8:27am GMT

Chuchu 'The CofE is Catholic and Reformed, it caters for Trad Caths, Affirming/Liberal Caths, Evo's ...'
So the church is in the catering trade is it? We can all just choose our preferred dishes from the menu and sit at reserved tables with our chosen friends ...?
Do you really find this vision of the church in the New Testament?
Did the NT 'cater' for a traditionalist Jewish believers by giving them their own oversight leadership and allow them to exist and worship separately without risk of taint by Gentile Christians who were not 'real' Christians in their eyes?

Posted by: David on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 8:50am GMT

I am a woman. I am a priest. It is who I am. I am not a theory. I am not a position. I am not a belief. I am not an idea. I am a person. I find it deeply hurtful to read that I am a theological side of a disagreement. I am not simply a thing the C of E says, I may have been theoretical a generation ago, but not now. I am a living , breathing priest. How can I have a bishop who says that I am not?

Posted by: Lisa on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 9:19am GMT

After the success of the Cleveland campaign perhaps it's time to look at the appointment of the new Bishop of Fulham?

Posted by: Jonno on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 9:30am GMT

Please examine the FiF website and check out how many parishes have never signed any of the resolutions, yet are listed as FiF parishes. Why? Because they have been afflicted with the pastoral oversight of an FiF priest. I have done research on this in the Diocese of Chichester. The resulting count was 29 of 90 parishes had signed a resolution against women priests, so 61 had not. Our parish treasurer was horrified when I asked whether he had paid a subscription to FiF; he hadn't realised our parish had been tarred with this brush.

Posted by: Rosina Elston on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 9:53am GMT

It would be interesting to know how the Archbishop approached this appointment. The procedure inter alia requires that prior to the completion of the role specification, the members of the Advisory Group (assuming there was one) or the [Arch]bishop should consult in order to capture the full complexities of the role and the key challenges facing the appointed candidate. The list of those he should consult is extensive and would certainly have included clergy and laity in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland. This process ought to have been capable of anticipating some of the issues that have now surfaced, unless one takes the view that the reaction to the vote on women bishops could not have been foreseen (which I doubt).

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 10:31am GMT

"A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight - 'entrusted with a position of authority and oversight' this means anyone can be entrusted not only people who assent to everything the CofE says." Chuchu Nwagu

Anyone apart from women, or celibate gay priests who haven't 'repented', or gay priests in monogamous relationships.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 10:41am GMT

I note in the official figures that the percentages of ABC parishes (in fact A and AB and ABC) is diminishing over time. What was arranged (foolishly, in my GRAS supporting view)in 1993 seems now hardly to be justified. The numbers in Cleveland could be added to those pastorally cared for by +Beverley, surely.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 11:11am GMT

After the success of the Cleveland campaign perhaps it's time to look at the appointment of the new Bishop of Fulham?

Why? +Fulham is a quasi-PEV who only deals with Res-C parishes.

Posted by: Original Observer on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 12:41pm GMT

Jonno,

Given that the Bishop of Fulham is appointed specifically to minister to parishes that oppose WO, I doubt that there will be a groundswell of opposition from the Fulham clergy and people against the appointment!!

The House of Bishops is united in the belief that the new legislation must clearly embody the Lambeth Conference teaching that those who dissent from the ordination of women are loyal anglicans. I guess that makes traditionalists and conservative evangelicals officially 'welcome' as part of the CofE and that their theological position needs to be reflected in a truly catholic and
comprehensive CofE episcopate.

Posted by: Geo Noakes on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 1:47pm GMT

ChuChu Nwagu - what you are calling for is essentially the status quo, the uneasy compromise that we have lived with for the last 20 years. But, although this compromise has enabled most traditionalist catholics to remain within the CofE, it has caused pain to many, most of all to women priests who have been asked to serve under bishops who deny the validity of their orders, as numerous heartfelt testimonies in this thread attest.
The consequence of the GS vote in November has been to awaken the hitherto silent majority, who have known of the pain and injustice but have chosen not to speak out about it for fear of provoking disunity. But they have now realised (to quote from another post in this thread) that a tiny minority has been holding the CofE to ransom. The tide is turning, and Fr North's decision may be the first sign.
As has been pointed out many times before, the CofE cannot at the same time be a church that believes that women can be priests (and bishops) and a church that believes they can not. The uneasy compromise has been broken and the outcome is unpredictable.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 2:38pm GMT

There was no campaign to force Philip North to step down; there was simply a protest at the assumption the Bishop of Whitby would always be someone who did not recognise the orders of the women priests serving in this archdeaconry. Several websites have printed the whole of John Secker's letter; a Google search will soon find the text.

Peter Elliott was right in saying there might have been no problem if women and parishes in Cleveland Archdeaconry had had pastoral support provided by a bishop sympathetic to their views, as has been demanded by traditionalists. Several of us questioned Archbishop Sentamu about this but he did not see the necessity of providing such support, though he had been eager to provide it for women priest's opponents.

Some of you might want to ask yourselves how you wold feel if you knew that all your suffragans were going to come from St Andrews Chorleywood, or St Helens Bishopsgate?

But we're losing sight of the fact that the first reason Mr North gave was the recent vote on women bishops in General Synod. Since that vote was the one he wanted, I suspect he actually means 'the reaction to the vote', or 'the reaction to my speech in the debate on women bishops'. It was certainly not the speech of man who saw himself as a future focus of unity.

Janet

Posted by: Janet on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 3:40pm GMT

This is so true that I want to point it out. The behaviour of PEVs -especially Ebbsfleet has been shocking. NB All but one became RCs having received CofE stipends and homes up to the very last moment. Quite shocking. And now monsignori ! Have they no shame or insight ?

'If giving the PEVs more parishes to look after meant that they had less time to organise 'the priests and people of their sees' (cf +Ebbsfleet's claim in an earlier thread) and lay on great jamborees for their faithful adherents to celebrate their apartness and thumb their noses at their proper dioceses, so much the better!'

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 at 4:13pm

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 6:32pm GMT

Re +Fulham, although it is true that he has hitherto ministered only to dissenting parishes in London, Southwark and Rochester, +London said at the time of the previous +Fulham's departure that, although he would in time appoint a successor, he would require him to play a greater role within the Diocese. I hope that he has made this clear to +Ebbsfleet when agreeing his translation!

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 6:40pm GMT

Being listed, without resolutions, on the Forward in Faith website has never meant that the parish is necessarily inclined that way; it has listed those parishes where the parish priest has said that he will not invite female priests to celebrate the Eucharist.

Posted by: Richard on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 9:16pm GMT

Thank you, Janet, that's very helpful info.

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 9:45pm GMT

'Being listed, without resolutions, on the Forward in Faith website has never meant that the parish is necessarily inclined that way; it has listed those parishes where the parish priest has said that he will not invite female priests to celebrate the Eucharist.'

Posted by: Richard on Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 9:16pm GMT

Then surely they have no right to be listed on the FiF website ?

Can it be legally and morally right for Incumbents to over-rule their parishoners and PCCs ?

I hope there will be a move from electoral roll members, PCCs and Readers and church wardens to look into their own parishes being listed without their consent; and take steps to have your parish romoved.

It can only bolster the minority, who have chosen to use this subterfuge.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 12:15am GMT

In what way is it subterfuge? It's up to the parish priest whom he invites to celebrate.

Posted by: Richard on Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 8:16am GMT

For my former diocese (Derby), the FiF website is over a decade out of date in several places in respect of names of incumbents and resolutions passed. Some of the A/B parishes listed now have a female incumbent/p-i-c. One draws one's own conclusions.

Posted by: stanley on Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 9:13am GMT

So there is an informal provision, both at parish and diocesan level, of no-go areas for ordained women which far exceeds the provision enshrined in the Act of Synod. This provision works out to be very favourable numerically to those people who want to avoid the ministry of ordained women - in that they get more bishops and more parishes catering for their particular needs per capita than the rest of us.

Is the 'proper provision' that is being sought intended to make it legally binding for the C of E to provide what is currently available informally? Ie flying bishops plus other bishops who don't accept women's ordained ministry, resolution A/B/C parishes plus the right for any ordained man to exclude ordained women from the parish church if he so wishes without having to get the agreement of his parishioners (and apparently without having to explain himself to his bishop?)

Plus similar legally binding arrangements for those who want to avoid women from a 'headship' point of view, who have also been excluding ordained women from their churches?

The fact that this informal network of exclusion has been allowed to flourish up till now is very disheartening. I don't see how anything like this could be guaranteed legally because it takes away too many resources from the mainstream. It's starting to look as if the ' church within a church' has already happened and that is what's really at stake.

I don't see how this level of provision can possibly be guaranteed without it becoming clear that there is an inequitable distribution of resources and support for parishes and people who won't work with ordained women.

Posted by: Pam Smith on Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 9:55am GMT

It is up to the parish priest as to who s/he invites to celebrate - that's the case in all parishes, from stratospherically high to subterranean low and all shades in between, of whatever theological persuasion. I genuinely don't see how that's in the slightest bit controversial.

As to the FiF website being out of date, it may well be. The webmaster lives in Scotland - unless people tell him of changes, why should he know what's happening in St John's, Blogtown.

Posted by: Richard on Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 9:29pm GMT

"It is up to the parish priest as to who s/he invites to celebrate"

Unless he/she is ill or on sabbatical, in which case I believe it's the PCCs responsibility to ensure that the Services are covered.

I would find it truly astonishing if a parish priest put his parish on the FiF register without full PCC approval.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 10:02pm GMT

I think what Pam Smith has written here is very important. And shocking.

This must stop !

These 'no go areas' are illegal, moral and wrong.

I am amazed that bishops are appointed who will not have anything to do with their vicars etc who are women. The PEVs alone should and must suffice. That is already too much (in a church which has chosen to have women minsters, over twenty years ago.) Ask yourself what 'provision' was made for us after the ordination of women was voted down in Synod ? Yes, that's right - no provision. Go hang head in shame...

Is it the case that legally the vicar can dictate the genders of visiting clergy? Have the Annual Meeting and PCC no say, no rights? And what of the church wardens?

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 10:09pm GMT

Hm, 24 parishes in this diocese (Lincoln), representing seven parish priests. Less than 5%, that's for sure. And only a half-dozen of those parishes have populations above 1,000.

And yet the persecuted minority are permitted to maintain an absolute ban on women presiding in the only Regional House (for which read 'spirituality centre') we have in the diocese, since it's within an ABC parish and FiF priest. Funny sort of persecution....

Posted by: david rowett on Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 10:22pm GMT

"Is it the case that legally the vicar can dictate the genders of visiting clergy? Have the Annual Meeting and PCC no say, no rights? And what of the church wardens?"

It most certainly is the case. See Canon C8, paragraph 4:

"4. No minister who has such authority to exercise his ministry in any diocese shall do so therein in any place in which he has not the cure of souls without the permission of the minister having such cure, except at the homes of persons whose names are entered on the electoral roll of the parish which he serves and to the extent authorized by the Extra-Parochial Ministry Measure 1967, or in a university, college, school, hospital, or public or charitable institution in which he is licensed to officiate as provided by the said Measure and Canon B 41 or, in relation to funeral services, as provided by section 2 of the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure 1992 or in the case of a bishop's mission order to the extent authorized by section 47(11) of the Dioceses, Pastoral and Mission Measure 2007, read with section 47(14) of that Measure."

Posted by: Stephen Marsden on Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 11:43pm GMT

Now that Cleveland has lost the opportunity to have a first rate gifted and talented Suffragan Bishop - I wonder who will be appointed to fill the place first offered to Father Philip North? Whoever it is he will have to be a pretty courageous person in order to fulfil the needs and desires of Churchwarden John Secker and all those who signed his petitioning letter seeking a bishop who "agrees with me"!
A not dissimilar situation arose when Rowan caved into pressure and forced the resignation of Jeffrey John as prospective Bishop of Reading (I recall that Dr. Giddings had quite a role to play in that debacle) and the lot fell to Stephen Cottrell - who after the November vote described the Church he ministers in as "a national embarrassment". Who, I wonder, will be the one next chosen to enter the lions' den of Cleveland? Perhaps it would be a good move to rename the Suffragan bishop - from Bishop of Whitby to Bishop of Cleveland - for this change would well reflect the split of opinion currently abroad in the national Church - a Church which is completely being split asunder by this divisive issue.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 21 December 2012 at 8:55am GMT

Do you keep a tally of the number of comments on your posts, Simon? At 109 this one must be a record, or nearly so!

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Friday, 21 December 2012 at 9:58am GMT

"Do you keep a tally of the number of comments on your posts, Simon? At 109 this one must be a record, or nearly so!" Richard Ashby

I've noticed on previous occasions that - irrespective of the importance of the topic of any particular post - the number of comments rises in inverse proportion to the number of posts above it!

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Friday, 21 December 2012 at 1:05pm GMT

Richard says:

"It is up to the parish priest as to who s/he invites to celebrate - that's the case in all parishes, from stratospherically high to subterranean low and all shades in between, of whatever theological persuasion. I genuinely don't see how that's in the slightest bit controversial."

Of course vicars choose who to invite to cover services in their absence, but vicars don’t have the right to take decisions about the shape of worship or worship policy without the support of the PCC. A theologically based decision to exclude all women clergy from presiding on principle does seem to me to be a major decision about the provision of worship in that church. This is presumably why the Act of Synod requires the PCC to pass resolutions A/B/C and does not allow clergy to apply for them unilaterally. It assumes that any vicar who holds a deep theological conviction that women should not preside should be able to put this to his PCC and enlist their support in passing the appropriate resolutions.

The reason this matters is that it is starting to look as if what is meant by 'proper provision' is more like this informal network of exclusion and discrimination rather than the sort of formalised structure envisaged by the Act of Synod whereby specific *churches* decided not to accept the ministry of ordained women. What has developed is a network of *people* who are working to exclude ordained women from places where they are legally entitled to preside and where parishioners have no objection to women presiding (and indeed may actively wish to see women preside).

This informal exclusion works against the spirit of the Act of Synod which requires churches to be intentional about excluding women. It would also be illegal under the Equality Act.

It is ironic that those who are seeking ‘proper provision’ are now talking of being ‘forced out’ and ‘deprived of their birth right’. From where I’m standing, it doesn’t look like supporters of the ordination of women who are working hard to exclude other people. I’m not sure any legal structure will be enough for people who want to see a wide and ever widening network of exclusion.

Posted by: Pam Smith on Friday, 21 December 2012 at 2:30pm GMT

'And yet the persecuted minority are permitted to maintain an absolute ban on women presiding in the only Regional House (for which read 'spirituality centre') we have in the diocese, since it's within an ABC parish and FiF priest. Funny sort of persecution....'

So where the anti-WO folk are in Charge this is what happens. But when expedient they ask for 'respect', 'dialogue' and other improbables given their own conduct.

I thank Stephen Marsden for quoting chapter and verse too, above, that the Canon puts the gender of visiting clergy in the gift of the Incumbent.

This MUST be changed asap !

I am very concerned that cabals of misogynist and/or homosexual clergy work together, collaborating to exclude women from minstry within their parishes, or in the case above 'a regional spirituality centre'. Nothing is ever said of this, due to what ? - 'political correctness' ? But the time has surely come to speak of such problems. Because of the way they block others, keep them out; and demean women.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 21 December 2012 at 4:31pm GMT

Pam Smith has written another key comment. She enunciates what I was struggling for in my mind, but could not fully express. It cannot be right for a Vicar so to dominate his or her parish. It is usually a 'him'.

What Pam Smith says about informal networks of exclusion is very important. The bishops, PCCs and synods need to have the courage to stand up to this. And my word, it would take courage for some of us, perhaps many of us, to take on some tough cookies in the clergy. In another comment I have spoken finally, of the cabals that network to exclude women ministers wherever they possibly can. We cannot allow political correctness, expediency or funk from holding back this unacceptable state of affairs, any longer.

Permit me to quote a vital paragraph from Pam Smith now - something has to be done asap :
'It is ironic that those who are seeking ‘proper provision’ are now talking of being ‘forced out’ and ‘deprived of their birth right’. From where I’m standing, it doesn’t look like supporters of the ordination of women who are working hard to exclude other people. I’m not sure any legal structure will be enough for people who want to see a wide and ever widening network of exclusion.'
(Posted by: Pam Smith on Friday, 21 December 2012 at 2:30pm).

'Let right be done.'

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 21 December 2012 at 4:44pm GMT

Laurence, it might be men dominating the parishes now, but the opposite can apparently happen as well. A year or so ago, when the Code of Practice etc. was being discussed, there was a letter in the Church Times written by the neighbor of a couple of elderly shut-ins. They wanted a priest to come see them, but didn't want a female priest. Their parish priest was a woman and she wouldn't allow a male priest in visit them. So apparently discrimination can go both ways. Or should people born and raised in the church when it said women couldn't be priests be denied a priest? Being a woman doesn't stop a person from being power hungry or too busy with their own importance to help others.

Posted by: Chris H. on Saturday, 22 December 2012 at 2:02pm GMT

Congratulations to the parishioners of Whitby who are fed up with being represented by a bishop who rejects women's ministry and decided to speak out rather quietly acquiesce.
In contrast to resolutions A-C, I cannot accept the authority of a Bishop who denies the legitimacy of women's ordained ministry, and it is high time that proper provision was made for parishes like mine.
Perhaps it is time for the new affirmative Resolution ' D' to enable the majority of us to express our support for our sisters in Christ called to ministry and priesthood.

Posted by: Clive on Sunday, 23 December 2012 at 7:58am GMT

As a supplementary to my post about the 'persecuted minority', there is a plangent letter from the parish priest concerned in this weeks Church Times, telling us how nasty we all are.... *sigh*

Posted by: david rowett on Sunday, 23 December 2012 at 11:37am GMT

As a former priest in the York Diocese, ably supported by Rt Rev Gordon Bates when first ordained, I found it possible to maintain my own pro stance on the ordination of women, over against my Bishop's oppposing view, without any great stress or strain ( and I felt strongly enough in favour of women exercising a priestly ministry that I had advised my bishop that i would resign if General Synod had not voted in favour. But once it became clear that the Bishop Of Whitby's post would always be likely to attract opponents of the priesthood of women, that became a factor in my desire to leave the Diocese. I have a lot of sympathy with those on the ground who have said, in effect, "what about what we think?" This is less about the issue of who is ordained, and more about the local politics, and it seems only fair that the folk who stump up the money and put in the hours should have a say in the matter, isn't it?

Posted by: Trev the Rev on Sunday, 24 November 2013 at 7:58pm GMT
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