Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The Revd Libby Lane Announced as Bishop of Stockport

From the Church of England website

The Revd Libby Lane Announced as Bishop of Stockport
17 December 2014

Downing Street have today announced that the new Bishop of Stockport - and the first woman bishop in the Church of England - will be the Revd Libby Lane, currently Vicar of St Peter’s, Hale, and St Elizabeth’s, Ashley.

As Bishop of Stockport she will serve as a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester. She will be consecrated as the 8th Bishop of Stockport at a ceremony at York Minister on Monday 26 January 2015.

Libby Lane was ordained as a priest in 1994 and has served a number of parish and chaplaincy roles in the North of England in the Dioceses of Blackburn, York and Chester. For the past 8 years she has served as Vicar of St. Peter’s Hale and St. Elizabeth’s Ashley.

She is one of eight clergy women from the Church of England elected as Participant Observers in the House of Bishops, as the representative from the dioceses of the North West

Speaking at Stockport town hall where she was announced as the new Bihsop of Stockport Libby Lane said: “I am grateful for, though somewhat daunted by, the confidence placed in me by the Diocese of Chester. This is unexpected and very exciting. On this historic day as the Church of England announces the first woman nominated to be Bishop, I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment. But most of all I am thankful to God.

“The church faces wonderful opportunities, to proclaim afresh, in this generation, the Good News of Jesus and to build His Kingdom. The Church of England is called to serve all the people of this country, and being present in every community, we communicate our faith best when our lives build up the lives of others, especially the most vulnerable. I am excited by the possibilities and challenges ahead.”

Responding to news of the announcement the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Dr John Sentamu, said: “It is with great joy that on January 26, 2015 - the feast of Timothy and Titus, companions of Paul - I will be in York Minster, presiding over the consecration of the Revd Libby Lane as Bishop Suffragan of Stockport. Libby brings a wealth of experience in parish ministry, in hospital and FE chaplaincy, in vocations work and the nurture of ordinands. I am delighted that she will exercise her episcopal ministry with joy, prayerfulness, and trust in God.

“When the General Synod rejected the previous proposals in November 2012, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, wrote to ‘pour some balm on (my) wounded heart’. That year, he encouraged me, his province was finally celebrating the election of two women bishops. ‘Be comforted’, he said, ‘it will come.’

“When I wrote to him last weekend to offer my prayers for his battle with prostate cancer, he replied with these words: ‘Wonderful that you over there will soon have women bishops. Yippee! I know you have pushed for this for a long time. Yippee again!’

“Praise be to God in the highest heaven, and peace to all in England!”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said: “”I am absolutely delighted that Libby has been appointed to succeed Bishop Robert Atwell as Bishop of Stockport. Her Christ-centred life, calmness and clear determination to serve the church and the community make her a wonderful choice.

“She will be bishop in a diocese that has been outstanding in its development of people, and she will make a major contribution. She and her family will be in my prayers during the initial excitement, and the pressures of moving”.

The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, said: “Libby has had a varied and distinguished ministry, and is currently a first-rate parish priest. She has already demonstrated her ability to contribute nationally through her representative role in the House of Bishops, on behalf of the north-west England dioceses.

“As the first woman bishop in the Church of England she will face many challenges as well as enjoying many opportunities to be an ambassador for Jesus Christ. I have no doubt that she has the gifts and determination to be an outstanding bishop.

“I am delighted at her designation as Bishop of Stockport after a lengthy process of discernment across the Church of England and beyond.”

The nomination of Libby as the new Bishop of Stockport was approved by the Queen and announced today (Wednesday 17 December 2014). Libby succeeds the Rt Revd Robert Atwell, who is now the Bishop of Exeter.

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

Biographical Details:

Libby Lane has been the Vicar of St Peter’s Hale and St Elizabeth’s Ashley, in the Diocese of Chester, since April 2007, and from January 2010 has also been Dean of Women in Ministry for the diocese. After school in Manchester and University at Oxford, she trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall in Durham. She was ordained a deacon in 1993 and a priest in 1994, serving her curacy in Blackburn, Lancashire.

Prior to moving to Hale, Libby was Team Vicar in the Stockport South West Team, and Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands in the Diocese of Chester, advising and supporting those considering a vocation to ministry in the church. She continues to be a Bishop’s Selection Advisor.

Libby has served in the Diocese of York, as Chaplain in hospital and further education, and as Family Life Officer for the Committee for Social Responsibility in the Diocese of Chester.

She is one of eight clergy women from the Church of England elected as Participant Observers in the House of Bishops, as the representative from the dioceses of the North West.

Her husband, George, is also a priest; they were one of the first married couples in the Church of England to be ordained together. George is Coordinating Chaplain at Manchester Airport, licensed in the Diocese of Manchester. They have two grown up children in higher education.
Her interests include being a school governor, encouraging social action initiatives, learning to play the saxophone, supporting Manchester United, reading and doing cryptic crosswords.

Resources available:

A Video statement by The Revd Libby Lane on her appointment is available from the Diocese of Chester Website here (Chester Diocese youtube channel is available here).

An audio interview with The Revd Libby Lane on today’s announcement is available as part of a Church of England podcast here.

A photostream from today’s announcement including photos of The Revd Libby lane are available here.

Announcement on the Chester diocesan website England’s first woman bishop to be Libby Lane

Announcement from Number 10 Suffragan See of Stockport: Elizabeth Jane Holden Lane nomination approved

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 10:05am GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

This is wonderful news and a very fine candidate. I have known Libby in a variety of contexts and know she will be a bishop who supports Churches, clergy and Readers drawing on her own extensive experience of front line ministry.

Many congratulations to her and to Chester diocese.

Posted by: Charles Read on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 11:12am GMT

Every blessing on this fine new bishop.

26th January very near - a Christmas bishop as we all wait on Christ's return.

Posted by: Laurie on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 12:26pm GMT

A brave step into the 19th century for our glorious church at last. Congrats to her.

Posted by: Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 12:46pm GMT

What wonderful news for the first of the Advent 'O' days!
I was accused on an earlier thread of 'simply mischief making' for suggesting that Fr Philip North might show his support for womens' ministry by indicating his willingness (or even desire) to be consecrated as Bishop of Burnley at the same time as the first woman bishop. In the light of today's news, I would observe that Burnley is no distance from Stockport, and Jan 26th is no time from Feb 2nd, and that therefore the two consecrations could, and normally would, have taken place at the same time. That would truly have been a sign of mutual flourishing!
I hope that the decision to have separate consecrations has been taken to allow proper celebration of a momentous step taking place on Jan 26th, without making Fr North seem to be a mere supporting player, and not to allow traditionalists to become even more of a 'church within a church' than they have become in the last 20 years.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 12:47pm GMT

Malcolm... agreed it seems a good appointment - though time tells as with male and female appointments...

But you say; 'not to allow traditionalists to become even more of a 'church within a church' than they have become in the last 20 years.'
I'm not one. However I think that this is partly where they have been pushed. My conversations with friends who are such absolutely confirms this. There's repentance needed on more than one side.

Posted by: Ian on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 3:57pm GMT

Is there any particular reason why Libby Lane should be consecrated so soon after the announcement of her preferment was announced? From 17th December to January 26th is a mere 40 days. I have never known a consecration take place with such undue haste coming so close on the heels of the actual announcement. This is also just 7 days prior to Fr. Philip North's consecration? May I respectfully ask who will be the Chief Consecrator on February 2nd?

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 4:48pm GMT

Is this a case of the church following the law, albeit half a century later?! The first female county court judge was also an Elizabeth Lane, appointed in 1962 and 'promoted' to be a High Court Judge (as Dame Elizabeth Kathleen Lane) in (what was then) the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division, 3 years later in 1965. Does this presage a diocesan see for Libby Lane in 2018, perhaps?

Posted by: David Lamming on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 4:50pm GMT

Father David, I remember an occasion in the Diocese of the Arctic where we elected a new bishop at the beginning of a ten day diocesan synod, and consecrated him at the end of it. But then, we had spent $150,000 in air fares bringing everyone together for the synod, so it seemed like good stewardship...!

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 5:34pm GMT

Are her views on a) matters of sexuality and b) the Five Principles known?

Posted by: Richard on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 6:35pm GMT

Fr David: The Chief Consecrator for Fr North's consecration is most likely to be ++Ebor... I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be ++Ebor wouldn't be Chief Consecrator! Obviously +Stockport-Elect (Libby) wouldn't be allowed to take part in the Consecration for practical reasons.

Malcolm: Hmmm! It would be pushing it a bit far to expect Fr North and Libby to be consecrated together. Fr North's consecration will be an celebration in itself and I think it's only right that it is kept separate

Posted by: Chuchu Nwagu on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 7:01pm GMT

And here is me thinking that the reason for Libby Lane's consecration in January is that she would be available to participate with other bishops of the Northern Province in the February consecration!

Posted by: paul richardson on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 7:07pm GMT

The news that Fr. Philip was to be the next Bishop of Burnley was announced from Number 10, Downing Street on 7th November 2014. He will be consecrated on 2nd February 2015 just short of 3 months between the announcement and the consecration. Three months is also the usual length of time to give notice before moving on to a new appointment. Merely an observation.

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 7:28pm GMT

I think what you regard as undue haste has to do with making up for lost time, Fr David, and for wanting to undo as soon as possible some of the immense harm that was done to the image of our church in the secular world by the GS decision in Nov 2012.
I agree with you that it is extraordinary to have two separate consecrations in the same province within 7 days of each other, but then I suggested the obvious solution to that problem in an earlier thread (and above), and you said that I was simply mischief making and that it would certainly not happen. Seems you were right!

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 7:47pm GMT

In response to Malcolm's point, an interesting alternative would have been to consecrate +Burnley and +Maidstone together in Westminster Abbey - but I suppose that's why +Maidstone hasn't been appointed yet!

Posted by: Stephen King on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 8:56pm GMT

Malcolm,

I admire your optimism, but a quick glance at the comments in the Guardian and Telegraph articles shows that the secular world couldn't give two hoots about people who proclaim Christ, be they male or female.

Posted by: Tristan on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 9:21pm GMT

Stephen, that would be a practical solution but Burnley is in the Northern Province and Westminster Abbey (although a Royal Peculiar) is in the Southern Province, so Fr. Philip's consecration is booked to take place in York Minster just a week after the Bishop of Stockport's. How unusual is that?

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 10:11pm GMT

Fr David, I agree that the separation of the two consecrations by a week must be unusual, and that geographical considerations rule my idea out, but it would have been very interesting for two bishops who, for different reasons, oppose the ordination of women, to have been consecrated together. I say that as a supporter of the ordination of women, but who believes that both anglo-catholic and evangelical opponents are entitled to be treated fairly.

Posted by: Stephen King on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 10:35pm GMT

We had speedy consecrations of PEVs a short while back.

Posted by: Charles Read on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 12:00am GMT

TBTG! May the Rev Lane's episcopal ministry be richly blessed.

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 2:28am GMT

Welcome, Mother Church of England, to the larger sphere of the participation of Women in the Episcopate - as long practised by other Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion. Deo gratias!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 9:01am GMT

I am very seldom accused of being an optimist, Tristan, and that is one of many things about which I need to repent. But, if you stray 'below the line' into the unmoderated comment sections of the online press. you find, in my experience, a torrent of invective and extremism that I don't think is representative of the population at large. There is certainly a growing section which is implacably opposed to the Church, whatever we may do or not do, but there remains, I believe, a large group of people who, whilst not practising the faith regularly, nevertheless remain generally sympathetic to the Church and to the values which we uphold. It is that group of people who were shocked in 2012 by our apparent (to them) outbreak of misogyny and conservatism, and it is their sympathy that we need to regain.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 10:52am GMT

Now that we have got down to the nitty-gritty of who is is laying hands on whom, I have been reliably informed that +Sentamu Eborcarensis (for it is he) will not consecrate Philip North. The Five Principles allows for another bishop (or bishops) to do this. Given that Libby Lane is being consecrated before Fr North, it would be difficult for +Sentamu to be the chief co-consecrator. The date for Libby's consecration, quick as it is, has a measure of political expediency attached to it: get it done first so that it takes the sting out the Primate's willingness to stand aside for the ordination of a bishop who doesn't share his theological convictions. The question is, will Maidstone now be consecrated by Justin Welby if he has consecrated a woman first?

And... before we all get steamed-up about this too much, let's not descend into collective amnesia. This is the legislation that was voted through by our Synod reps to allow women to be consecrated. This is the Five Principles in action. Let those drinking pink champagne out of plastic cups on the York campus, back in July, please note!

By the way, I wonder if Libby has had her summons to attend the new Stephen Green Ecclesio-MBA process yet?

Posted by: James A on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 4:18pm GMT

"This is the five principles in action"
No it is not. The five elements of the legislation provide for pastoral and sacramental ministry for those who in principle cannot accept such from a woman. All of our current bishops are male. All the flying bishops were consecrated by their Archbishop and co consecrating bishops regardless of whether any of them had ordained women as priests. There is nothing in the legislation that should prevent ++Ebor from being chief consecrator of either of the new suffragans to be in his province. Or stop the newly consecrated bishop of Stockport being a co consecrator at the consecration of Burnley. Sacramental assurance would be there in the hands of the male Archbishop and other male co consecrators.

Posted by: paul richardson on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 4:58pm GMT

James I find your latest comment to be most reassuring in that it points to a promise made being kept rather than broken as has often been the case in past years.
Paul, I'm sure that the next Bishop of Stockport would shew a pastoral sensitivity by not turning up at York Minster a week following her own consecration. No doubt she will be fully engaged with episcopal duties in the diocese of Chester so soon after her own big day.

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 7:15pm GMT

James,

I'm still mystified why +York wouldn't do the consecration. +Rowan consecrated +Jonathan Baker (Ebbsfleet) and +Richborough in 2011, and +Justin consecrated +Jonathan Goodall (Ebbsfleet) in 2013. Both Justin and Rowan ordain women, AFAIK. Why the objection to +York?

Posted by: Tristan on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 8:28pm GMT

I should hope that +Sentamu Ebor would be Chief Consecrator for Fr North's consecration and don't see any reason why this might be the case.

Libby will not be amongst those laying hands on Fr North; it would be unwise and insensitive to do such a thing but I think she'll probably be in attendance at the Ceremony.

+Sentamu Ebor and the other male Bishops are technically validly ordained regardless of whether they've laid hands on a female priest. Plus +Justin Cantuar and +Sentamu Ebor have both ordained Bishops who are opponents of women's ministry.

In the long run it might be something to look at in regards to selecting another Bishop to consecrate those who are opposed to women's ministry but until we have a Female Archbishop or male bishops who have have hands laid upon by women bishops; I think we're fine as we are

Posted by: Chuchu Nwagu on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 8:59pm GMT

So it's starting / continuing !

David expects the new Bishop Libby to stay way from the Episcopal Ordination at York Minister ?

Keep out ?

This is not what was agreed to.

Cause of great concern.

Though I expect few will make such demands on bishops who are women, as it happens.

Posted by: Laurie on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 9:22pm GMT

When I saw James A's 'reliable information' earlier, I wondered if it was to be taken as a concession to traditionalists, or a slight to them. Fr David takes it to be a concession but, like others who have posted since, I am puzzled and concerned, so I would like to pose three questions:-
1) What is the promise that would have been kept if ++Sentamu steps down from his normally expected role as chief consecrator of a bishop in his province?
2) If ++Sentamu was acceptable as chief consecrator of +Beverley, what has happened since to make him unacceptable as chief consecrator of +Burnley now?
3) If not ++Sentamu, then who?

Oh and James, I think you meant Eboracensis, not Eborcarensis.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 1:13am GMT

Chuchu is perceptive in saying that it would be "unwise and insensitive" for the newly consecrated Bishop of Stockport to attend the Bishop of Burnley's consecration. Laurie is also correct in expressing this to be a "Cause of great concern" but come the dawning of A. D. MMXV that will be the new reality. What will be happening in York Minster early next year will symbolise the deep divisions within the State Church when two diametrically opposed bishops are consecrated within a week of one another. That, I'm afraid, is indeed the new reality. Just as we have had to learn to live with divisions within the priesthood for the last 20 years - now, and much more seriously, we shall have to learn to come to terms with divisions within the episcopate thanks to the decisions made by the General Synod of the Church of England in steering away from that which Scripture and Tradition loudly proclaims. Learning to live with the new reality will inevitably involve compromise but that, mercifully, is something the Established Church is rather good at.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 5:09am GMT

Father David,
the new reality is that there will be women bishops and that provisions are made for those who cannot accept that.
It would be wrong to present this as if there were two 50% equal strands in the CoE.
Your views will be catered for but that cannot mean that validly consecrated bishops should exclude themselves from being in the congregation.
That would send out entirely the wrong signals.
Bishop Libby needs to be there and needs to be very visible, while honouring the CoE agreement by not participating in the actual consecration.
Her presence does not risk your sacramental assurance and if your theology depends on women not even being present at your services, it deserves no respect at all.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 9:03am GMT

Father David misrepresents Chuchu, who said that 'laying hands' would be unwise and insensitive but that she'd probably be there. From everything I''ve read, North has no, as it were, 'physical' aversion to women priests. I agree with Erika, Libby should be there and should be respected by all but should not participate in the actual consecration. Should she be there in full kit? Yes, I think so. The way to make things work is to blur everything as much as possible while maintaining the distinctions which allow Traditionalists to remain on board (albeit sometimes in a separate cabin).

Posted by: John on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 9:45am GMT

Spot on, Erika. And when, Fr David, did 'mutual flourishing' turn into 'diametrical opposition'?
Many people spoke in these pages, at the time of Fr North's appointment, of his warm and positive attitude towards women clergy, and I am sure that +Libby will be wholly supportive of all her fellow bishops, so who exactly is going to be diametrically opposed? Certainly not the two bishops!

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 9:52am GMT

Malcolm's three questions can easily be answered as follows:-
1) the fifth of the "Five Guiding Principles" guarantees pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the C of E and the "Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests" is specifically designed to sustain the diversity of the C of E and the mutual flourishing of its constituent parts. Hence there will be special arrangements provided for the future consecration of Traditionalist bishops.
2) What will have happened between the consecrations of +Beverley and +Burnley will be the consecration of +Stockport. The happening due to take place on 26th January 2015 will be that the present ++Ebor will participate in an act in direct contravention of Our Blessed Lord's specific choice of the original Apostolic Twelve. He will also break with centuries of Tradition thus further separating us from the Great Churches of East and West and placing yet further obstacles in the way of any hope of ecumenical unity which again is contrary to Our Lord's Gethsemane command, divine will and prayer.
3) if not ++Sentamu, then who? The obvious answer would have been his immediate predecessor, Lord Hope of Thornes, who preached a Mighty Word at the consecration of +Beverley. Alas, since then David Hope has withdrawn from public ministry over the unfortunate and reprehensible Robert Waddington affair - following the publication of the report commissioned by his present day successor. Could he possibly be persuaded to come out of retirement in order to perform one final act of service for the Church he served so well and so faithfully? I hope so.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 11:07am GMT

John, is your use of the word "blur" a euphemism for sweeping all differences under the carpet? Suggesting that Traditionalists remain "on board" albeit "in a separate cabin" reminds me of nothing more than Mr. Farage's recent comment about the breast feeding lady in Claridge's that she should go away and do it "in a corner"

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 11:18am GMT

Once more: we did not agree at GS to separate arrangements for consecrations. Such things were rejected in the working party. If Sentamu stands aside for Philip North, this will reinforce a theology of taint and be a slight against all women in the church (and many of us men!)

Posted by: Charles Read on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 12:23pm GMT

Traditionally, the Archbishop of the province has ben the presiding bishop at the consecration of bishops in his province. If he is for some reason prevented from being able to do so, then his commissary would be his senior bishop -- London in the southern province and Durham in the northern. If they are unavailable then I would expect Winchester to be the next choice in the southern province. After that then presumably a senior diocesan bishop would be the commissary.

Is there any precedent for a retired bishop (even one formerly an archbishop and primate) being the presiding bishop at an episcopal consecration? I'm not sure about the ecclesiology of that!

Like others, I don't see why the Archbishop should not preside, certainly while that office is occupied by a man. (Obviously things would be different if and when the office of Archbishop is held by a woman.) The Archbishop has ordained women as priests, so I don't see there is any sacramental difference once he has consecrated a woman priest as bishop.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 12:23pm GMT

Father David,

A lot of charity is extended to you here, and it is very meagrely reciprocated.

You don't answer to the fact that you did misrepresent Chuchu (herself, I think, 'traditionalist').

My use of 'blur' does not remotely imply what you suggest, as the following 'while' phrase makes absolutely clear.

Both clarity and charity are required of you.

And by the way, how do they order things in Bexhill?

Posted by: John on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 12:39pm GMT

Fr David,
your point 2 above has nothing at all to do with sacramental assurance.
It is pure Donatism and must be rejected.

I agree that rejecting it is difficult, because the church has just signed up to the idea of headship bishops which is purely based on the idea that bishops must not be false teachers.

But I measure evangelicals according to their theology and Anglo-Catholics according to theirs.
And by that measurement, that a bishop has done something you disapprove of does not invalidate the sacrament. Every single currently consecrated male bishop is therefore acceptable for Anglo-Catholics worried about sacramental assurance.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 1:12pm GMT

Simon, you claim that there has never been a precedent set for a retired bishop if even a retired Archbishop to preside at a consecration, similarly there has certainly not been a precedent for any bishop or Archbishop of the Established Church to consecrate a woman to the episcopate. We are on virgin territory here and the New Reality calls for imaginative and innovate solutions.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 2:13pm GMT

"Once more: we did not agree at GS to separate arrangements for consecrations. Such things were rejected in the working party. If Sentamu stands aside for Philip North, this will reinforce a theology of taint and be a slight against all women in the church (and many of us men!)"

Very glad to hear that. Thank you for that bit of information, Charles.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 4:09pm GMT

Thank you Fr David for answering my questions, and thank you Charles for keeping us on the straight and narrow.
What Fr David is asking for is indistinguishable to me from a third province, with a separate 'taint-free' Abp to look after it. Such ideas were postulated in the very early days of this debate, but they were ruled out then and have never been on the table since. What has been denied by law must not be allowed to happen by stealth.
From all that has been said above, it has to be ++Sentamu. He is the right and proper person, and there is no legitimate reason to prevent him. If he doesn't want to (or worse, thinks that he is doing the Church a favour by stepping aside on this occasion) ++Justin needs to draw himself to his full height as Primate of ALL England, and direct him to.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 4:28pm GMT

It's rather novel to be labelled an heretic when I hold fast to that "Faith which has been believed everywhere, always and by all". Surely it is the Church of England itself which is fast heading towards heterodoxy? However, by God's good grace there will remain within it pockets of Orthodoxy and the Gates of Hell will not prevail against it.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 19 December 2014 at 11:06pm GMT

Father David, if you do not wish to be labeled a heretic, maybe you could explain to us why the presence of a woman bishop in the congregation and a validly consecrated Archbishop consecrating a new male bishop are a threat to sacramental assurance?

Why is rejecting an Archbishop because he does and believes something you don't not Donatism?
Thee are genuine questions.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 20 December 2014 at 6:06am GMT

I seem to remember that Our Blessed Lord once said "Thou Art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church" He did not say "Thou Art Petra and upon this rock I will build my Church"
May I courteously and respectfully remind correspondents that for one Christian to call another Christian a "heretic" is one of the most heinous utterances a Follower of Christ can throw at another.

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 20 December 2014 at 9:01am GMT

As a resident of the so-called 'secular world' may I say that this is 'angels on a pin' stuff at its most ludicrous and unattractive.

Surely Philip North can cope with the very small risk of catching 'girl fleas' from Bishop Libby's mere presence in the building - or perhaps they can leap from her without any hand contact? Then again, there's still the danger of some Elnett being on Sentamu's hands from her consecration. What a terribly serious problem it all is. And Christians talk of the 'Good News' - I see none of it here, just pettifogging ritual.

Me? I prefer Donutism, usually mid-morning.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Saturday, 20 December 2014 at 10:33am GMT

Don't believe for a second that Jesus approves of such posturing antics. Erika and Malcolm are absolutely right. There are 'Tradtionalists' whom one respects and whom it is one's duty to protect. Then there are the other sort. Warner certainly seems to me to fall into the former category. So, hitherto, has North. Presumably, he himself could resolve this question by making it publicly clear that he's happy with Sentamu.

Posted by: John on Saturday, 20 December 2014 at 11:20am GMT

I do often wonder if a lot of heartache - and the losses of the laity and clergy to the RC Ordinariate - could have been avoided by the formation of the Third Province (which I guess would have been more or less an Ordinariate within the CoE.)

It probably would have avoided any future difficulty over the appointment of an Archbishop, too.

Tragically the liberal movement has very rarely been generous in this regard.

Posted by: Tristan on Saturday, 20 December 2014 at 12:17pm GMT

Fr David,
are you're willing to answer my question?

That's a shame, because I would really like to understand how you square not wanting a female bishop present at a consecration and not wanting a sacramentally assured Archbishop to perform the consecration fits in with traditional orthodox doctrine about the character and actions of an ordained priest not affecting the efficacy of the sacraments.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 20 December 2014 at 12:20pm GMT

"Simon, you claim that there has never been a precedent set for a retired bishop if even a retired Archbishop to preside at a consecration".

Actually, I didn't say there was no precedent: I asked whether there was such a precedent.

I thought it unlikely that there is such a precedent; but I don't keep records of such things, so maybe it has happened at some point. Hence the question.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Saturday, 20 December 2014 at 2:59pm GMT

Well, if Laurence and John wish to treat the Apostolic Succession with such flippancy, then so be it. All I can say is that I wish them and all others who have responded to my comments a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in this Season of Goodwill to all men (or should that be people? I rather think that it should!) God Bless us, Everyone.

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 20 December 2014 at 4:00pm GMT

"for one Christian to call another Christian a "heretic" is one of the most heinous utterances a Follower of Christ can throw at another."

It's not that heinous. We don't burn heretics anymore! In fact we make a special place for them in the College of Bishops.

That whole bit about "taint" goes against centuries of doctrine, that says that the character of the priest or bishop doesn't impact God's Grace in the sacraments.

God chose Peter over Petra because Petra got sold into marriage at the age of 12. But if you want to consider that "revelation" and ignore Mary Magdalene and company...

What disturbs me most are the folks who are pro LGBTQ issues in the church, or maybe just G, but anti women. Scripture goes both ways on both issues. A certain amount of choice and discernment are required to come down on any side. I prioritize the acts of Jesus over the words of Paul, for example. And I consider the highly patriarchal culture of the time, when women were basically chattel. The fact that there were female early church leaders, like Phoebe, is astonishing. Of course, Phoebe was rich, and apparently the rules have always been different for them... (a whole new can of worms!).

The pro LGBT but anti women position seems questionable. In fact, it seems to be a very good example of the brokenness of us human beings in how we are selective in our compassion, and we ALL are selective. I just wish we could settle this and move on to compassion for the poor and vulnerable. Those dying so we can have oil, diamonds, gold, etc.


Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 20 December 2014 at 7:08pm GMT

Fr David,
I really must press you on this.
John and Laurence aren't treating your problem with apostolic succession with flippancy. Especially John has consistently supported the full inclusion of anti women priest Christians in the CoE, often in the face of a huge amount of criticism.

But what you are now asking for has nothing to do with apostolic succession.

I ask again - why is the presence of a woman bishop in the congregation an apostolic succession problem for you?
And why is the laying on of hands by a validly ordained and consecrated Archbishop an apostolic succession problem for you?

And if they are not apostolic succession problems, then what are they, if not Donatism?

You may well have a perfectly acceptable answer to this and I would really like to hear it and to understand.

But in the absence of an answer, I suspect there isn't really one. None that squares with orthodox theology.

Please prove me wrong.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 20 December 2014 at 8:30pm GMT

Personally, I'm completely fed up with the constant misrepresentation and dishonesty. I am writing a formal letter of protest to the Bishop of Chichester.

Posted by: John on Saturday, 20 December 2014 at 9:15pm GMT

It is unfortunate, to say the least, that this thread, which started as a paean of praise and thanksgiving for the appointment of Libby Lane, has turned into an intense and sometimes ill-tempered argument about a different consecration (although whether the two consecrations really need to be separate is still to me an open question). I rather regret my role in it, since I first linked the two issues.
However, the post which really ignited the discussion was James A's, who had been 'reliably informed' that ++Sentamu would not be consecrating Fr North. As far as I know, there has still not been an official announcement about who will preside on Feb 2nd, so this debate has been based on hearsay, however reliable.
As John says (and thank you for your support, John), Fr North could end the argument by saying that he would be happy to be consecrated by ++Sentamu, but ++Sentamu or his staff could also end it by stating ex-cathedra that he will preside.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Sunday, 21 December 2014 at 12:51am GMT

"He did not say "Thou Art Petra and upon this rock I will build my Church""

Am {{{cringeing}}} in gobsmacked embarrassment.

And, as I said earlier (comment got lost?)

"Wonderful that you over there will soon have women bishops. Yippee! I know you have pushed for this for a long time. Yippee again! Praise be to God in the highest heaven, and peace to all in England!"

'Peter has spoken through' Our Desmond! ;-D

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 21 December 2014 at 1:46am GMT

Thank you, Erika. Your understanding means a lot to me. I hope you and your wife and family have a very Happy Christmas.

Posted by: John on Sunday, 21 December 2014 at 9:30am GMT

Part of the announcement which is not quoted above


Responding to news of the announcement the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Dr John Sentamu, said: "It is with great joy that on January 26, 2015 - the feast of Timothy and Titus, companions of Paul - I will be in York Minster, presiding over the consecration of the Revd Libby Lane as Bishop Suffragan of Stockport. Libby brings a wealth of experience in parish ministry, in hospital and FE chaplaincy, in vocations work and the nurture of ordinands. I am delighted that she will exercise her episcopal ministry with joy, prayerfulness, and trust in God.

"When the General Synod rejected the previous proposals in November 2012, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, wrote to 'pour some balm on (my) wounded heart'. That year, he encouraged me, his province was finally celebrating the election of two women bishops. 'Be comforted', he said, 'it will come.'

"When I wrote to him last weekend to offer my prayers for his battle with prostate cancer, he replied with these words: 'Wonderful that you over there will soon have women bishops. Yippee! I know you have pushed for this for a long time. Yippee again!'

"Praise be to God in the highest heaven, and peace to all in England!"

Posted by: John Roch on Sunday, 21 December 2014 at 1:10pm GMT

I hope some women bishops from elsewhere have been invited to participate in the consecration.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Thursday, 25 December 2014 at 7:52am GMT

Malcolm Dixon is right to say we need clarification about the 2nd February Consecration of Fr North because, until there is, people could (understandably) assume I'm being mischievous (which I'm not); and that John Sentamu is employing tactical slight-of-hand and keeping quiet until he needs to say something (probably after the Libby Lane Consecration the previous week). I was also told, only this morning, by someone who is in a position to know (let the reader understand) that the presiding bishop will be from the Southern province, assisted by two suffragans from the Northern province and only they - and no others - will lay hands on Fr North. As you say, it's time for Bishopthorpe to come clean. After all, there should be nothing to hide if this is an outworking of the Five Principles.

Posted by: James A on Friday, 2 January 2015 at 8:33pm GMT

Thanks, James for your further 'inside information'. In the continued absence of an official announcement, and the imminent disappearance of this thread into the archive, I am tempted to speculate from what you say that the presiding bishop will be + Chichester, and the suffragans +Beverley and +Pontefract.
If so, this would set a disastrous precedent for 'taint-free' consecrations, from which it would be difficult, if not impossible, to row back. This is not what was agreed, and should not be allowed to happen.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Monday, 5 January 2015 at 4:38pm GMT

This is what I've been told, Malcolm - and from more than one source. None of them with any connection to Bishopthorpe, of course!

Posted by: James A on Thursday, 8 January 2015 at 7:42pm GMT
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