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Traditionalists and the see of Whitby

11 January 2013


From the Revd Valerie Haynes
Sir, - I write in response to the Revd Janet Fife's letter (4 January).

First, may I state that her views do not represent those of all other female clergy in the archdeaconry of Cleveland.

Second, it is my view and vast experience that traditionalist bishops who may, in all conscience, not recognise or accept the validity of female priestly orders have, none the less, always treated me with respect and appreciation of who I am and what I do. The former Bishop of Whitby Dr Martin Warner always accorded me the same level of pastoral care and support as he did all clergy, irrespective of gender.

He and other episcopal visitors to my parishes have always been received with respect for the authority and spirituality of a bishop, and have never been diminished in any way (and neither would I expect them to be). I have known the Revd Philip North for many years, and he would have been the same. He would have been an ideal Bishop of Whitby.

It is lamentable that those with narrow vision and little understanding of the Church of England and the diocese of York have now potentially jeopardised the see of Whitby and the appointment of another Bishop of Whitby.

The richness and beauty of the Church of England are enhanced by its diversity. It makes room for all, irrespective of theological difference. I have many traditionalist priest-colleagues and friends, and we co-exist very happily together, holding each other in mutual respect of our differences, but, most of all, always being able to embrace each other in Christian love, acceptance, and understanding.

It is high time that we all embraced these principles and made proper provision for all, that we may universally focus on what unites us, put aside that which divides us, and put Christ above everything.

19 Whernside
Skelton in Cleveland
Saltburn by the Sea
Cleveland TS12 2FP

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