Comments: Christine Hardman's election as Bishop of Newcastle confirmed

The use of "Lord Bishop" for Rachel and Christine at least is fairly consistent — we have had female holders of the offices called Lord Privy Seal and Lord President of the Council. The whole 'Lord' thing is unbearably, ridiculously patriarchal anyway of course.

Posted by DBD at Wednesday, 23 September 2015 at 10:20am BST

When will the House of Lords become the House of Peers; where all execute the same function, whether female or male?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 23 September 2015 at 10:27am BST

It's the Bishop of Lincoln that I feel slightly sorry for that is twice he has been episcopally leap-frogged by Gloucester and Newcastle into the best dining Club in London.

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 23 September 2015 at 1:11pm BST

Bishop of Lincoln demonstrating commendable patience! In theory, there might not be another resignation until July 2018 (the date of the Bishop of London's 71st birthday), but the likelihood is that we might see two retirements announced in the next 6-12 months. The question is then whether there are two or more further nominations of women diocesans in that period.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Wednesday, 23 September 2015 at 3:42pm BST

When will we ever give up the trappings of power? I hoped the advent of women bishops might just open a door for change for us, and get us away from theat male lust for dominance.

Posted by gerry reilly at Wednesday, 23 September 2015 at 5:35pm BST

From the photographs of today's consecration in Canterbury cathedral it looks like the Bishop of Fulham knelt alone in silent prayer as his fellow London Suffragan, the Bishop of Kensington received the laying on of hands. I wonder, did the Bishop of Gloucester exercise gracious restraint when it came to the consecration of the Bishop of Maidstone? I don't know the answer to my question but there is a pleasing photograph of Maidstone and Gloucester standing together, side by side. It is often said that the Church of England is a Broad Church, today's photographic evidence from the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion truly reveals just how broad the Established Church has become in recent months. "Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set"

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 23 September 2015 at 5:53pm BST

My uninformed guess is that the choice of a date for the confirmation of election more than two months before consecration was specifically so that it happened before the Bishop of Leicester's retirement so that we should not have to wait for a second female Bishop in the House of Lords. But those who watch such things so closely might correct me and say that this sort of gap between confirmation of election and consecration is quite normal.

Posted by Peter Mullins at Wednesday, 23 September 2015 at 8:45pm BST

Peter, you will find dates of confirmation and consecration at

Posted by DBD at Thursday, 24 September 2015 at 12:55am BST

Hurray for Bishops (like Lord Harries) when they are actually retired - and able to speak out in the House of Lords about the human rights of Gay people! Why is it that Bishops have to retire before they (most of them, anyway) dare address this contentious issue?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 24 September 2015 at 1:42am BST

I rather think that Peter Mullins means the Bishop of Lichfield not the Bishop of Leicester. Timothy Stevens has already retired on 11th July and seeing that there is no Suffragan in that particular Midlands diocese has been temporarily replaced by the Bishop of Brixworth as Acting Bishop of Leicester.

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 24 September 2015 at 5:28am BST

The Bishop of Lichfield is the one who is retiring now. The Bishop of Leicester retired in July and Rachel took his place.

Posted by Susan Cooper at Thursday, 24 September 2015 at 2:28pm BST

And who is the other bishop who was also pictured kneeling in prayer diagonally opposite + Fulham, whilst the other bishops laid hands on +Kensington? I couldn't make him out.

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Thursday, 24 September 2015 at 5:22pm BST

Along with Makcolm Dixon I too am unable to identify the non-participating kneeling bishop diagonally opposite the Bishop of Fulham but his rochet bears the frilliest cuffs that I have ever seen and he certainly out-frills all the other bishops by far! I note that the Bishop of London in company with the Bishop of Gloucester is laying hands upon the newly hatched Kensington.
Who is the priest with the goatee beard who preached the sermon?

Posted by Father David at Friday, 25 September 2015 at 5:46am BST

It is rather unusual for there to be a long gap between confirmation and consecration.

Indeed it might be considered illegal for there to be a delay. The Appointment Of Bishops Act 1533 still on the statute book, says that after the election letters are issued to the Archbishop:

"requyryng and commaundyng the seid Archebishope and Bysshoppes with all spede and seleritie to confirme the seid eleccion and to investe and consecrate the seid person soo elected to the office and dignitie that he is elected unto"

A delay of 10 weeks until the Consecration is not necessarily what one might call "all speed and celerity". Other red letter days are available for the consecration, e.g. next Tuesday 29 September, as well as a couple in October.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Friday, 25 September 2015 at 9:58am BST

Yes, Bishop Rachel exercised gracious restraint in relation to Maidstone. It accords entirely with her belief about how we should conduct ourselves in this new season (and shows her to be far more holy about it than I am!) - and the two Society bishops who were present (and therefore not participating in a laying-on of hands with a woman bishop) were Jonathan Baker and Robert Ladds.

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Friday, 25 September 2015 at 2:56pm BST

I read Pete's comment with astonishment. If Church of England bishops cannot lay hands on each other what is there that distinguishes them from being vaguely friendly "ecumenical observers" from other churches?

I think the next thing we need to sort out is re-imagining establishment so that bishops can be elected, preferably by a system of universal suffrage (all the baptised), and the Church of England can have the kinds of bishops that it wants. The present system is not fit for purpose.

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Saturday, 26 September 2015 at 9:59am BST

The Revd Dr Paul Weston who teaches at Ridley and used to be Vice Principal of Oak Hill was the preacher.

Posted by Christopher Hobbs at Saturday, 26 September 2015 at 2:28pm BST

I am afraid I don't quite understand the logic of the tainting. I certainly understand graciousness between individuals and if a candidate does not wish a particular person to participate (for whatever reason) it would be churlish not to accede. However church order only requires three bishops to lay hands for the consecration to be valid. Usually it is more but recently in Bermuda I think it was only three. However it would not invalidate the Holy Spirit and ordination if a hundred others, including some clergy and laity took part. It would surely not invalidate the actions of the valid three? Conversely if a candidate wanted someone to participate then surely it would be unreasonable to refuse - wouldn't it?

Posted by Malcolm Halliday at Saturday, 26 September 2015 at 7:01pm BST

Thank you +Pete for identifying +Robert Ladds as the other bishop not participating in the laying on of hands. I am surprised at myself for not recognising him, for it was he who preached an extraordinary sermon at my then parish 3 years ago, about the dismantling of a bicycle. It was apparently intended to be an allegory of what a certain unnamed organisation (clearly Affirming Catholicism) was doing to the Faith of our Fathers. As a member of that organisation, I concluded that, contrary to the well-known old saw, you DID have to be mad to worship there and, shortly afterwards, I took myself off to somewhere more sensible.

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Tuesday, 29 September 2015 at 1:22am BST

Good idea Jeremy; then we could do away with this insistence on national interference in the election of bishops diocesan!

Posted by DBD at Monday, 5 October 2015 at 4:33pm BST
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