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Four new suffragans include Whitby

09 May 2014

SAM ATKINS

"No divisions": the Ven. Paul Ferguson

"No divisions": the Ven. Paul Ferguson

THE new Bishop-designate of Whitby, the Ven. Paul Ferguson, has said that there are no divisions to be healed, two years after the previous Bishop-designate, the Revd Philip North, withdrew, after a row over his traditionalist position on the ordination of women.

Archdeacon Ferguson, who is currently Archdeacon of Cleveland (above, at a foodbank at Holy Trinity, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough), said that he did not think the archdeaconry was split between those opposed and those in favour of women priests and bishops, and insisted that he did not need to build bridges.

"The bridges are already there," he said last Friday. "It wouldn't be right to see this as people who are split. People have convictions, but I see, day to day, the way that people co-operate."

The suffragan see of Whitby, in the diocese of York, has continued to be vacant for 18 months, since Fr North, Team Rector of the Old St Pancras Team, in London, withdrew his acceptance of the post in 2012, after protests from some local clergy and laity at his position on women's ordination ( News, 14 December 2012).

The new Bishop-designate said that he had always believed that God called both men and women to all orders of ministry in the Church, but that he would be a bishop for all. "It is my conviction that the Church of England is right in saying that both supporters of women's ministry and those who cannot in conscience be reconciled to such ministry have a place in the life of the Church. That's something I have always sought to promote, and will continue to do so as Bishop."

Archdeacon Ferguson, who is 58, was Chaplain and then Precentor at Westminster Abbey between 1988 and 1995. He was then a Residentiary Canon and Precentor at York Minster, before becoming Archdeacon of Cleveland in 2001. He is married to Penny, and they have three grown-up children.

The next Suffragan Bishop of Selby, also in the diocese of York, will be Canon John Thomson, it was announced on Friday last week. Canon Thomson is director of ministry in the diocese of Sheffield.

After serving a curacy in Eccleshall, Sheffield, he worked in South Africa from 1989 to 1992, both as a theology lecturer and as a parish priest in Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape. Before becoming director of ministry in 2001, he was Vicar of St Mary's, Doncaster.

Two other suffragan bishops were also announced by Downing Street last Friday. The Archdeacon of Nottingham, the Ven. Peter Hill, will become the Bishop of Barking, in the diocese of Chelmsford. Archdeacon Hill served in the diocese of Southwell & Nottingham from 1983 to 2004, before becoming diocesan chief executive.

The Ven. Roger Morris will be the next Bishop of Colchester, also in the diocese of Chelmsford. He has been Archdeacon of Worcester since 2008. Before this, he was director of parish development and evangelism in the diocese of Coventry. He also manages the Canopy Stage at the Greenbelt festival.

An evangelist and former actor, the Revd Rob Gillion, has been elected the new Bishop of Riverina, in New South Wales, Australia. Mr Gillion, who is currently Rector of Holy Trinity and St Saviour, Upper Chelsea, is a member of the Archbishops' College of Evangelists, as well as a contributor to the BBC's religious programming, including Pause for Thought on Radio 2.

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