Women dismayed at bishop who only believes in male leadership

By staff writers
December 16, 2014

Women and the Church (WATCH) is "disappointed" that the Church of England is set to intentionally appoint a Bishop who believes only men should be in positions of overall leadership.

The decision to appoint a bishop based predominantly on a narrow theology of ‘headship’ (a view held within some conservative evangelical circles) has also been criticised as a breach in traditional understandings of the episcopacy by critics – who say the move has purely been made to appease trenchant opponents of women bishops.

"Evangelicalism has long been a much broader tradition than one defined by its position on the ordination and consecration of women," says the pressure group WATCH.

"We believe that to choose a bishop based on one specific view, held by only a small group, can only serve to be divisive. It is likely to lead to the separation of parishes from one another within a local area and diocese, when the whole thrust of the legislative package for women to be bishops was that we would remain together in our work and mission."

In a separate development, WATCH says it is "keen to know" whether the Archbishop of York will consecrate the newly appointed Bishop of Burnley, the 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," the organisation says.

Hilary Cotton, Chair of WATCH added: "We have never accepted the appointment of any bishop on the grounds of a particular minority belief: this is distinctly un-Anglican and unorthodox. This goes far beyond disagreement about the ordination of women: it is about bishops recognising each other as bishops. If we lose that, what kind of unity are we demonstrating as a national church?"

* WATCH: http://womenandthechurch.org/

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