Lancaster Priory Seal
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Diocese of Blackburn clergy write to the Archbishop of York
The following press release has been received:
22 January 2013
Lancashire clergy write to the Archbishop of York
Over fifty clergy from the Diocese of Blackburn have written to the Archbishop of York, urging him to ensure that the next Bishop of Blackburn will be prepared to ordain women as priests, and fully affirm their ministry.
The letter was co-ordinated by the Vicar of Lancaster, the Revd Chris Newlands, and has been signed by fifty-five clergy from across the diocese who are keen to see a supporter of women’s ministry appointed as Diocesan Bishop.
Mr Newlands said, “Many churches across the diocese have been greatly enriched by the ministry of women, and we believe that to fulfil his calling as a focus of unity, the next Bishop of Blackburn should affirm the ministry of all the priests in the diocese who hold his licence.”
The Crown Nominations Commission will be meeting at the end of January to choose the name that will be submitted to the Queen who formally makes the appointment. An announcement is expected within the next weeks.
The last two diocesan bishops have not accepted the ordination of women as priests and the signatories to the letter have urged the Archbishop and members of the Crown Nominations Commission to ensure that the 9th Bishop of Blackburn is a supporter of the ministry of women priests in the church.
For further information please contact:
The Revd Chris Newlands, Lancaster Priory.
The first meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission for the See of Blackburn was held on 10 January. The second meeting is due to be held on 30/31 January.
In an initiative that counters the procedure of the election of the Bishop of Chichester, (Dr.Martin Warner, who will not ordain Women Clergy in his diocese) ; 55 clergy of the diocese of Blackburn – having worked previously under a similarly motivated Bishop – are petitioning the Archbishop of York to request that their next Bishop be a person in favour of Women as priests, and who affirms the ministry of Women in the Diocese.
There has been at least one person, blogging at ‘Thinking Anglicans’, who objects to the process of clergy of the Diocese of Blackburn petitioning their Archbishop to provide a Diocesan who will agree to the ordination of women in the diocese However, the choice of Doctor Martin Warner for the Diocese of Chichester was just such a preferment – of a person thought suitable, in that instance, on the grounds of his opposition to women being ordained to the priesthood – even though there are women clergy in his diocese.
Until the Church of England gets rid of the facilitation of contrary views on who can exercise authority in the Church as one of its bishops, the iniquitous business of endemic discrimination against women clergy on account of their gender will no doubt continue.
This is not only insulting to the many women clergy already active in the ministry of the Church of England. It is also a denial of the integrity of canonical Holy Orders as a focus of unity in the Church.