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UK >

Blackburn clergy write to Sentamu

Ed Thornton

by Ed Thornton

Posted: 25 Jan 2013 @ 12:16

MORE than 50 clergy from the diocese of Blackburn have signed a letter to the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, urging him to ensure that their next diocesan bishop will ordain women as priests.

The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC), which Dr Sentamu chairs, met on 10 January, and is scheduled to meet again on 30 and 31 January, to nominate candidates for the see of Blackburn, which has been vacant since the retirement of the Rt Revd Nicholas Reade, in the autumn. Bishop Reade and his predecessor, the Rt Revd Alan Chesters, did not ordain women as priests.

The letter to Dr Sentamu, which has been signed by 55 clerics, was co-ordinated by the Vicar of Lancaster, the Revd Chris Newlands. "Many churches across the diocese have been greatly enriched by the ministry of women," he said, "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."

A spokesman for Forward in Faith said: "Forward in Faith expect a candidate's views on the ordination of women to play no part in the search for the right bishop with the right gifts, in accordance with the Act of Synod."

Last month, the Revd Philip North, Team Rector in the Old St Pancras Team Ministry, in London, withdrew his acceptance of his nomination as Bishop of Whitby after protests at his opposition to ordain women as bishops. He would have been the third opponent in succession to hold the appointment ( News, 21 December).

The CNC is scheduled to meet on 11 March and 25/26 April to nominate candidates for the see of Manchester, left vacant after the retirement of the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch; on 8 May and 6/7 June to nominate candidates for the see of Durham, left vacant after the appointment of the Rt Revd Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury; and on 18 July and 5/6 September to nominate candidates for the see of Bath & Wells, which will be left vacant when the Rt Revd Peter Price retires in June.

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