CONSERVATIVE Evangelicals have welcomed the announcement that
the see of Maidstone is to be revived for a bishop who holds the
conservative view on male headship.
Such a bishop was promised by the House of Bishops during the
debates over women bishops, to reassure conservative Evangelicals
who opposed the change that they were still welcome in the Church
The Dioceses Commission agreed unanimously on Thursday of last
week with a proposal from the Archbishop of Canterbury that a
conservative Evangelical bishop be appointed to the see of
Maidstone, which has been vacant since 2009.
In a statement last Friday, the director and chairman of the
conservative Evangelical group Church Society said: "[This] is an
important step in . . . rebuilding trust in the family of the
Church. We wish to stress that this is but a first step - for
flourishing, rather than mere toleration and tokenism, more surely
needs to be done." It also wanted another "headship bishop" for the
Province of York.
The pressure group Women and the Church (WATCH) said that they
were "disappointed" at the announcement, which they said would be
Hilary Cotton, who chairs WATCH, said: "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?"
The House of Bishops' declaration to the General Synod in July
accepted that there needed to be at least one "headship bishop" to
sustain "the necessary climate of trust".
The new Bishop of Maidstone, who has yet to be appointed, will
undertake episcopal ministry in both Provinces for churches that
pass a resolution requesting oversight from a male bishop, with the
consent of the diocesan bishop.