Comments: Reactions to "headship" bishop

My word, what a Broader Church we are becoming, judging by the two opposing statements from Watch and Reform. It would seem that the consequences of the forthcoming innovations (women bishops, a non-ordaining Suffragan Bishop of Burnley and the appointment of a token Conservative Evangelical peripatetic Bishop of Maidstone) will run and run and will hardly advance Christ's Gethsemane plea for unity.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 5 December 2014 at 9:36pm GMT

"Church Society welcomes the news that a man who upholds the complementarian view of headship will soon be appointed to the vacant See of Maidstone"

And what better "compliments" male superiority, than female inferiority! *snark*

AS IF we hadn't gone through the whole "Separate But Equal" canard decades before?

If women aren't equally called to "headship", they're not equally made in the Image of God: you can't have it both ways.

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 6 December 2014 at 1:06am GMT

Good to know that misogyny is enshrined "within the legislation" to allow women bishops and will be allowed to continue to "flourish" without discrimination. Too bad about discrimination against women.

Posted by June Butler at Saturday, 6 December 2014 at 4:19am GMT

The House of Bishops say that "at least one" conservative Evangelical bishop should be appointed. Carlisle and Newcastle are a long way from Maidstone, why should the Northern Province miss out on this exciting new development? I note that within the diocese of York the suffragan see of Hull is currently vacant, surely an ideal location in which to place a second conservative Evangelical bishop who upholds the Headship position? At long last and after much pleading Evangelicals are to receive their own PEVs. I wonder upon whom the mantle of Bishop Wallace Benn will fall?

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 6 December 2014 at 5:49am GMT

I had initially hoped that there would be flying bishops rather than bishops responsible for whole dioceses to cater for those who cannot accept women priests and bishops.
This is a recipe for continuing problems, as each time an area bishop is appointed who does not ordain women or recognise their ministry, all pro-women people in his diocese feel affected by it. It will perpetuate the negativity and the sense of injustice in the CoE into the future much more than a flying bishop would have done.

And alternative episcopal oversight only ever made sense for those who believe that it is ontologically impossible for women to be priests. It never made sense for evangelicals, where wanting a bishop who agrees with you is nothing but Donatism (and thank you Tim Chesterton for saying very clearly here the other day that evangelicals have a long and proud tradition of disagreeing with their bishops).

Yesterday I heard that some people are already asking for alternative episcopal oversight because they disagree with Alan Wilson's pro-gay views. This idea that we must all have a bishop who agrees with us or else is going to cause huge problems for the CoE. Those who initially campaigned for it in order to retain orthodoxy will yet come to regret this most unorthodox redefinition of the episcopacy.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 6 December 2014 at 9:35am GMT

"In a separate development, we are keen to know whether the Archbishop of York will consecrate the newly appointed Bishop of Burnley, Rev Philip North, who opposes the ordination of women. It would seem to us bizarre if a suffragan bishop declined to be consecrated by his own archbishop and even his own diocesan bishop, because he did not recognise them as bishops." - WATCH

Why is WATCH suggesting that Fr.North is declining to be consecrated by his diocesan & ++Ebor and that he does not recognize them as Bishops?

Surely either there should be evidence of the imputations, or this is simple "stirring of the pot" and not helpful to continued flourishing together?

Posted by John UK at Saturday, 6 December 2014 at 10:35am GMT

Unusually, I agree with Erika. However, pace JCF, I wonder if there are many evos who actually believe in 'male superiority'? Isn't their problem (as with their position on gay people) that they are trying to follow Biblical teaching - as they see it?

Posted by Neil at Saturday, 6 December 2014 at 8:49pm GMT

My guess is that WATCH are alluding to a potential future situation in which the Bishop of Blackburn and Archbishop of York are both women, and how the appointment and consecration of someone of similar convictions to Fr. North would be undertaken.

Posted by Jo at Saturday, 6 December 2014 at 8:56pm GMT

In today's Times the Archbishop of Canterbury is quoted as saying- "I think realistically, we've got to say that despite all efforts there is a possibility that we will not hold together, or not hold together for a while."
He was speaking of the Anglican Communion but judging by the contrasting views being expressed above he might well have been talking about the Church of England. Surely, we have got to ask ourselves what have we done to bring about this seemingly inevitable sense of disintegration?

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 6 December 2014 at 9:30pm GMT

I agree with my namesake in his call for a northern equivalent to the new Maidstone bishop. It's not fair that only women in the South of England should be regarded as inferior. There are plenty of women in the North for an evangelical bishop to tell them how stupid they are.

Posted by FrDavidH at Saturday, 6 December 2014 at 10:06pm GMT

As the previous PEV's were consecrated by +Rowan & +Justin (who as far as I know both ordain women to the priesthood) it seems unlikely they'd suddenly object to +Sentamu.

Posted by Anon at Saturday, 6 December 2014 at 10:41pm GMT

Once again, WAY too much emphasis on bishops, from all sides.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Sunday, 7 December 2014 at 12:24am GMT

It would be so nice to hear Church Society express a commitment to the flourishing and respect of all in ordained ministry rather than just expecting provision for their own needs. Something 'beyond toleration and tokenism' makes demands on them too surely? Once again the 'two integrities' language here is wholly focused on the convictions and conscience of one group.

Posted by David Runcorn at Sunday, 7 December 2014 at 6:29am GMT

The churches are quickly becoming the last western institutions to give space and sanction to sexism. In church, conservatives, usually male conservatives in holy orders, are cut a lot of slack because they are, after all, male. Basically the situation is a kind of subterfuge, with sexism dressed up as "theology". Anglicans are especially vulnerable on this one because the mantra of "unity in diversity" or the "via media" is trotted out. While these notions may be useful in parsing competing ecclesiologies, they are inappropriate for dealing with justice issues in the church. Whether someone else believes in seven sacraments or only two does not impact me very much. However I am implicated when the organisation I belong to baptizes sexism and discrimination.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 7 December 2014 at 3:38pm GMT

Anybody in that camp holding out for a creationist bishop?

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Monday, 8 December 2014 at 11:21am GMT

It is interesting that of all the possible interpretations of scripture, the one that the Church of England is now catering to, and is making a permanent institutional accommodation for, is the interpretation that discriminates against women.

"Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 8 December 2014 at 2:11pm GMT

Daniel Berry - very few of 'that camp' are creationists so I doubt it. (I'm told it's an interesting historic difference between North American & English evangelicals)

Charlie

Posted by CharlieS at Monday, 8 December 2014 at 6:26pm GMT

USA folk don't get the nuances of conservative evangelicals in the UK. They aren't six day creationists, nor are they necessarily religious right in politics, nor are they vehement on the issues of "right to life" in the way US evangelicals are (though most would be concerned about abortion/euthanasia issues). They tend not to believe in bishops at all, seeing the presbyter/bishop NT blurring in the Pastoral Epistles as normative (a 2 fold ministry really). Having one of their kind as a bishop is more about representation (an iconic irony, as far as catholics are concerned) and about having a voice in the College of Bishops. It's also about having a bishop who believes ex animo the stuff about subordination in the Trinity and (contra mundum) male headship as a given in creation. They are a small minority among evangelicals in the CofE, but they talk up their numerical strength. Most evangelicals in the CofE hold (on the grounds of scripture - which is important from our point of view) that their position is not theologically tenable. But we have agreed (for better or worse) to give them space and a bishop who believes what they do. So we're going to do it. It was part of the deal. And we'll try to make it work.

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Monday, 8 December 2014 at 11:38pm GMT

@ Pete Broadbent, re the UK evangelicals that are said to be so enigmatic to outsiders, I think we do understand the politics of patriarchy.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 1:01am GMT

Pete Broadbent. You wrote (about UK Conservative Evangelicals) "their position is not theologically tenable. But we have agreed (for better or worse) to give them space and a bishop who believes what they do. So we're going to do it. It was part of the deal. And we'll try to make it work."

That was part of the deal, and Archbishop Justin is moving with great speed to make it happen.

But what goes around comes around. As part of that same deal should those of us who support equal/gay marriage as a Christian institution, (almost a majority of church-going Anglicans according to Linda Woodhead) similarly expect to be given space for our beliefs, and a bishop to support us, with equal alacrity? A certain Jeffrey John comes to mind as the ideal candidate, but I am sure there are others.

Best wishes

Simon

Posted by Simon Dawson at Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 10:01am GMT

Usually I agree with Pete Broadbent a a matter of principle....

But I don't think in GS we agreed to anything about subordination in the Trinity, ontological, functional or otherwise. We agreed (some of us reluctantly) to let the House of Bishops find a way for the 'headship' voice to be heard in the college of bishops. Questions were asked about what if such a person changed their mind - that is always the danger of appointing someone just because they hold one view on one issue. Nevertheless we offered this to try to keep the conevos on board, knowing that many of them don't feel over-committed to staying on board (but some do).

It is possible to argue for male headship on a variety of grounds without invoking the Trinity. I am told by a member of the Church of England Evangelical Council (what a misnomer!) that conevo members of CEEC do in fact all sign up to some form of 'headfship in the Trinity' view. They don't have to go that way. (And i don't find these other ways of arguing for headship convincing but I don't think they are as theologically dodgy as messing with the Trinity!).

GS will be dischuffed if we find subordinationism has been imported by this route.

Posted by Charles Read at Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 11:08am GMT

It is quite a shock to hear it said / alleged that some Evangelicals do not hold to the orthodox view of the Trinity and the Person of Christ.

Hard to take from Evangelicals in the Church of England.

Posted by Laurie at Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 1:01pm GMT

Perhaps this bishops Chair could be left in position but empty ?

I think the symbol is what really counts here.

Posted by Laurie at Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 1:12pm GMT

Looks as though anti-discriminatory pressure will have to come from Parliament again.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 1:51pm GMT

@ Simon, "That was part of the deal..."

What a great deal, a bargain, a Faustian bargain.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 3:53pm GMT

In the light of the above comments ironically some conservative evangelicals think that other evangelicals have lost their way on the Trinity! Let's be careful not to misrepresent each other, to understand each other properly, not to call each other names ... and not to boo! Here is a fuller discussion of these issues.

http://chelmsfordanglicanmainstream.blogspot.co.uk/2008/01/bishop-benn-how-egalitarian-tactics.html

Grace and peace to you all.

Posted by Bob Marsden at Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 6:51pm GMT

I'm confused again. All these comments about what GS might think, Kelvin's question to Parliament, questions whether the Government will accept institutionalised discrimination...

Isn't Pete Broadbent right - this is what has been agreed? By General Synod and accepted by Parliament? There are to be institutionalised provisions for Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals who cannot accept women priests?

If so, what are we discussing now?
If we're just sighing "I wish it wasn't like that, we don't like the theology"... ok... but as John said somewhere, that's not really terribly helpful, seeing it's what Synod agreed. And agreed for the very good reason that it would simply not have been able to win the vote on women bishops without it?

Or am I missing something again?

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 9:27pm GMT

I think what you are missing is that it a question of what grounds are used to support the headship line. If the grounds are to do with subordination in the trinity, then we may well be in serious doctrinal trouble and GS certainly did not agree to this detail. In any case, the five principles we agreed to rule out saying women have not been ordained so there are issues about how the appointee will handle the brief to represent headship people while not crossing this line.

Posted by Charles Read at Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 11:51pm GMT

The position is surely this. There have historically been those in the CofE who hold beliefs about tactile apostolic succession, sacramental assurance and headship which are not required to be believed by Anglicans (and indeed which many of us think are untenable because of our understanding of scripture - I am unconvinced by all three doctrines). How people arrive at those understandings will arise from a mixture of motives (following Roman Catholic teaching, reading what they believe scripture to teach, desiring ecclesial clarity about who is or is not a priest). As Charles says, there are some of the headship folk who appear to have a skewed view of Trinitarian theology. It's not the only reason why the headship view is propounded - though a recent speech in General Synod put it in the spotlight. It seems to me to be in error, but that doesn't mean that all the headship types believe it.
We have agreed, within the 5 principles, that the flourishing of those who hold what in shorthand terms are RC or Free Church evangelical views on ministry and leadership is to be enabled. Hence the PEVs and the headship bishop.

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Wednesday, 10 December 2014 at 8:34am GMT

"Once again, WAY too much emphasis on bishops, from all sides." - Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Sunday".

It would seem, Tim, that on this matter at least you have right on your side. Especially when we hear that the Bishops of the Church of England take up 31% of the resources available for ministry (Oxford Debate)!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 10 December 2014 at 9:18am GMT

Charles,
throughout the debate conservative headship evangelicals have located their belief in subordination in the trinity as well as in St Paul's writings. Some in one, some in the other.
I'm not aware that Synod considered the grounds of evangelical objections to women priests but that it simply dealt with the reality of them.

And if I thought I had understood anything about this debate, it was that conservative Anglo-Catholics believe that women "have not been" ordained because it is an ontological impossibility, whereas conservative evangelicals have always accepted that women have been ordained, they just wish they hadn't because they believe it to be against God's will.

From my understanding, a headship bishop has no problem at all to recognise that women are ordained, whatever theological reasons he may have to believe in headship.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 10 December 2014 at 9:59am GMT

I'm torn on this one, as a supporter of equal ordination (in all respects) because I find WATCH's reaction extraordinary: both in terms of its lack of generosity; and for its theologically sloppiness. I am left wondering whether this is just sour grapes, having finally achieved the realisation of women bishops, over how much had to be conceded to do so. I also think, along with WATCH, that some contributors to this thread need to do some homework on the nature of the Elizabethan Settlement as a founding characteristic of the Church of England. Unity never was uniformity for English Anglicans except, perhaps in the one Use of the BCP). I'll never be Justin Welby's greatest fan, but he has shown himself to be a focus of unity by keeping his promises to all shades of theological conviction and giving us all an equal place at the table.

It's something of an irony that while FinF are now committed to channelling all their energy in to mission and outreach, WATCH are beginning to appear like an un-inclusive rump who seem to resent the diversity which has always been the hallmark of the C of E. Isn't it time that WATCH recognised that the battle - which they won - is over, disband and focus their energy on supporting projects which enable the Church to be a positive presence in the public square?

Posted by James A at Wednesday, 10 December 2014 at 10:34am GMT

To Erika:

Yes, you are right. It is FinF types who have to wrestle with the issue of whether women have been ordained or not, though I can see how some headship evangelicals might have a version of this about whether women are in leadership or not.

In GS debates, though, evangelical opposition has focused on headship in general terms. We have had maybe one speech per debate that raised the Trinity issue as a basis for male only headship. We have not therefore taken this view seriously in explaining why some of us don't buy into headship. I can say for example that WATCH has not really paid enough attention to this (we will now!)

There's a bigger story about how and why the Trinity stuff has come to prominence....

Posted by Charles Read at Wednesday, 10 December 2014 at 12:25pm GMT

Charles,
thank you. The debate where the Trinity issue was raised was the first one that was lost, wasn't it? There was a stream of articles and blog posts afterwards engaging with the issue. One that sticks in my mind was a post by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes (http://mirandathrelfallholmes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/my-reaction-incredulity-hurt.html)
Most people rightly dismissed it as unorthodox and a fringe view.
It is still an unorthodox fringe view, that hasn't changed.

I'm not sure what WATCH could have done about it. The provisions were a thoroughly practical arrangement in order to get women bishops through GS. And it wasn't up to WATCH to ensure that no-one had any heretical beliefs about the Trinity.

To my mind, the whole problem stems from the fact that the church accepted the dubious idea that parishes must be able to choose a bishop who shares its beliefs.
That parishes must have validly consecrated priests was never in doubt, so when conservative Anglo-Catholics said that they did not believe that women could be priests, it made sense to make special provisions for them.
But that parishes must have priests and bishops who agree with them on this, that or the other hot button issue is genuinely new and un-Anglican. Those who negotiated the provisions must have known that and it was easy enough to foresee the long term consequences.
One of them, as I’ve been told, being that conservative evangelical parishes in Buckinghamshire have already started a petition for alternative episcopal oversight because of Bishop Alan Wilson’s pro-gay views.

I always assumed that this was very clear to everyone but a price the church as a whole paid in order to get women bishops through.
It will come to bite the church in the future, no doubt. But I still don’t see what else could have been done.
The surprise here now really does surprise me.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 10 December 2014 at 1:42pm GMT

"[H]e has shown himself to be a focus of unity by keeping his promises to all shades of theological conviction and giving us all an equal place at the table."

Pardon me while I burst out laughing.

Equal marriage, anyone?

I seriously doubt that Jeremy Pemberton thinks he has an "equal place at the table."

Posted by Jeremy (non P) at Wednesday, 10 December 2014 at 2:12pm GMT

@ James A, "some contributors to this thread need to do some homework on the nature of the Elizabethan Settlement as a founding characteristic of the Church of England ..."

Actually, a good understanding of The Elizabethan Settlement and the via media could lead one to conclude that its application with regard to gender equality is completely inappropriate. Its subsequent application to new problems has been controversial in the past. For example, when the Tractarians tried to read the thirty-nine articles in contradiction to their original meaning, rather than make a case for their revision or abolition, they were soundly rebuffed by evangelicals as having crossed a line. Likewise, when women were first ordained in North America, evangelicals and right wing Anglo-Catholics rejected the argument that such a development is tolerable on the basis of via media.

Rejection of women as clergy is rejection based on a rejection of one's concept of self, of person hood. Dressing it up as solely a matter of theological opinion simply gives credence to gender bias. Gender bias and discrimination cause harm. It's harmful to the persons discriminated against, and harmful to the community that tolerates it. Human rights are not a matter of adiaphora.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 10 December 2014 at 4:32pm GMT

In reply to James, who wrote:
"It's something of an irony that while FinF are now committed to channelling all their energy in to mission and outreach, WATCH are beginning to appear like an un-inclusive rump who seem to resent the diversity which has always been the hallmark of the C of E. Isn't it time that WATCH recognised that the battle - which they won - is over, disband and focus their energy on supporting projects which enable the Church to be a positive presence in the public square?"

1. Women as bishops has only ever been one of WATCH's objectives. We are now beginning to focus on lay women in the Church and their role etc. as well as on e.g. feminist theology
2. The clue is in the name. We are concerned to monitor how women bishops works out. Hence our concerns over the issues in our statement. It is not so much the appointment of e.g. Philip North as how this works - hence concerns over how he will be ordained.It is no good having women bishops if we are, at the same time, doing things that undermine them (and women in general).
3. I am perplexed as to why you think this in not a mission issue. First, it is a matter of justice, which is integral to mission (see the Five marks of Mission) and second our inability to be positive about women harms our presentation of the Gospel - we won't get a hearing in the public square by being seen as misogynist.
4. FinF - according to their magazine - are still busy finding ways of saying that women are not 'really' ordained.

Posted by Charles Read at Thursday, 11 December 2014 at 9:32am GMT

@Charles Read: perhaps FinF are still busy saying that "women are not really ordained." It's a point of view (and one that would be shared by the majority of the world's Christians). I don't agree with them one bit; but they are entitled to their opinion. My question remains, therefore: why is it, having won the argument over women bishops, WATCH is continuing to pick over old wounds, and seems unable to live with difference and diversity? The manner of Philip North's ordination and the appointment of the Bishop of Maidstone is not going to impact on the episcopal ministry of women, so why issue such a mean-spirited and theologically questionable statement? Negative campaigning rarely captures hearts and minds and this particular supporter of the ordination of women (and other minorities) is sick to death of listening to WATCH's whingeing. It's time to move on and recognise that none of us can have the church on our exclusive terms alone.

Posted by James A at Thursday, 11 December 2014 at 12:20pm GMT

A few thoughts. The WB measure passed, and the Trad Caths have generally accepted it and are moving on. Hopefully with Philip North there will be some dynamism and push for mission - we know that we need it. The ConEvo's and CarisEvo's will have their bishop, and strengthen their evangelism, and we all know that they are a growing section of the CoE. I think a concern for the LiberalCaths / ModernCaths or whatever name we call ourselves will be the first WB. Will she be a worthy or someone with get up and go? Over the years I've listened to quite a few sermons from male and female clergy and some were interesting and some boring - gender was irrelevant. I've listened to a few worthy bishops who were 'boring old farts' and I just hope that the first WB isn't one. Final point - is the relationship by the RC church to our orders the same as the Trad Caths to female clergy. Not recognized but respected.

Posted by Henry Dee at Thursday, 11 December 2014 at 3:00pm GMT

@ Henry Dee, "the relationship by the RC church to our orders the same as the Trad Caths to female clergy. Not recognized but respected." Which means, in both instances, there is a measure of chauvinism. At least, that has on occasion been my experience, when welcomed to ecumenical events as one of the "separated brethren".

Posted by Rod Gillis at Thursday, 11 December 2014 at 6:01pm GMT

Doesn't this appointment undermine the theology of episcopacy which undergirds the Porvoo Agreement? I hope we may hear what our Nordic brothers and sisters make of it

Posted by Perry Butler at Thursday, 11 December 2014 at 6:39pm GMT

This question remains - for the Church of England: "When is a bishop not a bishop?"

God forbid the answer should be: When she's a woman

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 11 December 2014 at 11:23pm GMT

Fr. Ron, I think Our Lord's choice of the all male Apostolic Twelve, 2000 years of Christian Tradition and currently the Great Churches of East and West would arrive at your God forbidden answer.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 12 December 2014 at 10:21am GMT

Good point, Perry, but I fear our leaders' eyes are turned more to the (global) south rather than to the north and east.
As others have said, this was part of the deal which has been approved by GS and Parliament. Those of us who don't like it much will have to accept that it was a necessary compromise to achieve the greater good of allowing women bishops. And we will have to hope that the person chosen does not take us further down the road to heresy.
What matters now is how the new arrangements are handled, particularly with regard to consecrations. The worst thing that happened 20 years ago was allowing separate Chrism masses by the PEVs to occur, and the equivalent disaster now would be allowing separate consecrations for bishops who still don't think women can be bishops, despite the 5 principles.
I note that the new Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has said that he hopes he may be consecrated at the same time as the first woman bishop. Fr Philip North could go some way to meeting the near-hagiographical descriptions of his attitude to women in ministry, which were posted on an earlier thread, if he were to say the same.

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Friday, 12 December 2014 at 12:39pm GMT

The flaw in Malcolm Dixon's plea is that the new bishop of St Edmundsbury will be consecrated in Canterbury province, but the new bishop of Burnley in York. But if the nominators of Southwell & Nottingham choose a woman, then game on.

Posted by cryptgram at Friday, 12 December 2014 at 6:02pm GMT

I think we can be fairly certain the headship bishop wont be celebrating a chrism mass for his constituency,Martin. But seriously I wonder why the C of E bothers with ecumenical dialogue since their fruits don't seem either to inform or reform C of E practice.

Posted by Perry Butler at Friday, 12 December 2014 at 7:31pm GMT

Any bishop deserving his job would want to get working rather than sit on his backside waiting for the appointment of a WB, which will be God only knows when. Makes you wonder how committed the new Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich is then to his new flock if thats really his attitude. There's a lot that needs doing out in the real world and Successful Mission needs leaders. Hopefully after his consecration in February, Fr Philip North will do this as there's a lot of work to be done in Lancashire in the towns ( Burnley, Blackburn, Preston, Morecambe etc )with high levels of social deprivation.

Posted by Henry Dee at Friday, 12 December 2014 at 7:50pm GMT

To suggest that Fr. Philip North be consecrated at the same time as the first woman bishop is simply mischief making and it most certainly won't happen.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 12 December 2014 at 9:01pm GMT

I don't think that the new Bishop of St E & I was suggesting for a moment that his consecration should be delayed (and I certainly wasn't). I took it that he was just hoping that the first WB would be appointed quickly, in time to be consecrated at the same time as him (province permitting of course).

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Saturday, 13 December 2014 at 11:49am GMT

My comment may seem mischievous to you at present, Fr David, and I see that you are to get the separate consecration you desire at Candlemas, but it will quickly become a very real issue. As WBs are appointed, using positive discrimination to move us towards equality within 10 years as has been suggested, there will, sooner rather than later, arise an occasion where it would be expedient to consecrate a WB at the same time as a traditionalist bishop. How that is handled will be a litmus test of how the new measure is working. If traditionalists were to be allowed to insist on a separate 'taint-free' consecration for 'their' bishop, it would appear wholly to contravene the first of the 5 principles at a stroke, and should not therefore happen.

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Sunday, 14 December 2014 at 5:58pm GMT

The CofE needs to plan out the next 10 years to account for the decline in aging congregations, and the inevitable need to merge parishes, and close churches. Check what the RC's are doing. Just looking round my church on a Sunday morning I think in 10 years we will be down by nearly 50%, and I can't see them being replaced. Then once we start this process do we need the same number of bishops because there will be a need to save money. Any bishop appointed will have to have a fairly ruthless streak to lead in the future, and it will have to be the best person for the job irrespective of gender. Positive discrimination wouldn't work. If you look back to Margaret Thatcher we know that some women have a greater strength to do the job than a man.

Posted by Henry Dee at Monday, 15 December 2014 at 1:49pm GMT

There now, Fr David: Stockport isn't very far from Burnley, and Jan 26th isn't very far from the feast of Candlemas. The new suffragan Bishops of Burnley and Stockport could, and should, have been consecrated together. Now that would have been a sign of mutual flourishing!
On the other hand, the media scrum sure to take place at York on Jan 26th would have been unfair to Fr North, which I guess is why they are being consecrated separately.

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 12:14pm GMT

It appears that details have been sent to northern province bishops concerning Philip North's consecration. Would anyone care to make these details public so we may be reassured that this consecration will indeed carried out in a way that respects the integrity of those who support women's ordination? (I understand the details are not embargoed or confidential so there is no reason not to make them known more widely surely?)

Posted by Charles Read at Monday, 12 January 2015 at 11:00pm GMT
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