Thinking Anglicans

Women Bishops Consultation – WATCH responds

Women and the Church (WATCH) has made a formal response to the consultation.

The main body of the response is in this document (PDF):
The WATCH response to GS Misc 1042 Women in the episcopate: a new way forward.

Or it is available here as a normal web page.

There are several appendices:


proposed new diocese for West Yorkshire

Updated Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening

The final version of the proposal to replace the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds, and Wakefield by a new diocese of Leeds (or West Yorkshire and the Dales) was discussed by the three diocesan synods this morning.

Bradford voted in favour.
Voting: 90 for, 4 against, no abstentions

Ripon & Leeds voted in favour.
Voting: 70 for, 18 against, 2 abstentions

Wakefield voted against.
Voting: 40 for, 76 against, 4 abstentions

The Church of England quickly issued this press release after the votes.

Results of vote on new single diocese for West Yorkshire
02 March 2013

Bradford and Ripon & Leeds dioceses today voted in favour of a scheme from the Dioceses Commission to reorganise Church of England structures in West Yorkshire and the Dales. Wakefield diocese rejected the scheme.

The neighbouring dioceses of Blackburn and Sheffield receiving six and two parishes respectively from the area of the proposed new single diocese also need to vote on the scheme: Sheffield gave its consent on 16 February; Blackburn votes on 13 April.

The overall proposal is to replace the existing dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield and create a new single one.

Now consent has not been given by at least one of the dioceses, it is up to the Archbishop of York to decide whether to allow the scheme to go forward for debate at General Synod (possibly in July). This could happen if he is satisfied either that

(a) the interest of the diocese is so small that the withholding of consent should not prevent the scheme being submitted to the General Synod; or

(b) there are wider considerations affecting the province or the Church of England as a whole which require the scheme to be submitted to the General Synod.

The Archbishop won’t be in a position to announce his decision until after Blackburn diocese’s vote is known in mid-April.

Speaking today after the votes, Chair of the Commission, Professor Michael Clarke said: ‘It is good to know that the Dioceses of Bradford and Ripon & Leeds support the Commission’s proposals. Looking at the voting in Wakefield, there is significant support there, even though the vote was lost.. The process, however, continues. Blackburn votes next month. It will then be for the Archbishop of York to decide how to take this forward.’

The three diocese have also issued their own press releases.

Bradford votes for new, single diocese
Ripon and Leeds approves plans for a new diocese
Wakefield says No to Dioceses Commission Draft Plan for new single diocese

Sunday update

The Radio Leeds Johnny I’Anson programme gave extensive coverage at intervals to this story this morning. This included interviews with Nick Baines, the Bishop of Bradford, (starting at 1 hour 9 minutes) and Stephen Platten, the Bishop of Wakefield, (starting at 2 hours 7 minutes).



Miranda Threlfall-Holmes writes for The Guardian that Justin Welby has already signalled his faith in women’s ministry.

Marc Handley Andrus (the Bishop of California) writes for The Washington Post about The Episcopal Church’s gay rights pilgrimage.

These articles look ahead to the next pope and what awaits him.
Religion & Ethics Newsweekly carries this interview: New Archbishop of Canterbury on New Pope.
In The Guardian there is this video: Diarmaid MacCulloch on the next pope: the Catholic church is in crisis – it has avoided reality for too long
and Andrew Brown writes about The new pope’s three key challenges.

Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that We cap benefits but not bonuses. How on earth are we ‘all in this together’?

Peter Graystone writes In praise of wishy-washy Christians for the Church Times.

Also in the Church Times Angela Tilby writes about A profession that needs to earn respect.


Julian Henderson named as new Bishop of Blackburn

From Downing Street:

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Julian Tudor Henderson, MA, Archdeacon of Dorking, for election as Bishop of Blackburn in succession to the Right Reverend Nicholas Stewart Reade, BA, on his resignation on the 31st October 2012…

From the Diocese of Blackburn:

From the Diocese of Guildford:

From the Church Times:

…Unlike his two predecessors – the Rt Revd Nicholas Reade, who retired on 31 October; and the Rt Revd Alan Chesters – Archdeacon Henderson is willing to ordain women as priests. He said on Friday that he was “in favour of women serving as bishops”, although he voted against the draft women bishops Measure in November ( News, 23 November).

Archdeacon Henderson said in a statement issued by Church House: “Let me be clear, I am in favour of women serving as bishops and will want to introduce a change in the current diocesan pattern by ordaining women as deacons and priests.

“But I hope my vote at General Synod last November will be a reassurance to those opposed to this development, that I want to be a figure of unity on this matter and will ensure there is an honoured place for both positions within the mainstream of the Church of England. Might Blackburn be a model for the rest of the Church of England!”