New Bishop of Blackburn to break ‘pattern’ by ordaining women

01 March 2013

DIOCESE OF GUILDFORD

THE next Bishop of Blackburn is to be the Ven. Julian Henderson (right), who is currently the Archdeacon of Dorking, it was announced on Friday.

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!"

In January, more than 50 clergy from Blackburn diocese signed a letter urging the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, to ensure that their next diocesan bishop would ordain women as priests ( News, 25 January).

Archdeacon Henderson, who is 58, chairs the Business Committee of the General Synod. He has been Archdeacon of Dorking since 2005.

A message from Archdeacon Henderson will be read out in churches in Blackburn diocese, on Sunday. The message can be read here.

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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