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Oxford cathedra still empty as CNC fails to agree

22 May 2015


Vacant seat with ecclesiastical outlook: Oxford will be without a diocesan bishop for at least another year

Vacant seat with ecclesiastical outlook: Oxford will be without a diocesan bishop for at least another year

OXFORD will have to wait at least another year for a diocesan bishop after the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) failed to agree on who should fill the vacant see.

On Thursday last week a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the diocese was published, in which he revealed that no candidate received enough votes to secure the nomination.

"I am writing to advise that the Commission has been unable to discern the candidate whom God is calling at this stage to be the next Bishop of Oxford," Archbishop Welby wrote, adding that the CNC would be unable to resume the search until February and March next year.

"Please take this as a sign of the CNC's commitment to finding the right person to be your next bishop," he said. The last Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, stood down in October last year.

The Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, will, meanwhile, continue as acting diocesan bishop. In a statement on Thursday, he said: "While it is clearly disappointing that the vacancy is being extended . . . it is of course vitally important that the right appointment is made. We continue to commit the process into God's hands."

The last CNC that failed to make a nomination was the one called in March last year to fill the then-vacant see of Hereford.

One of the diocese of Oxford's lay members of the General Synod, Dr Anna Thomas-Betts, who was also part of the CNC, told BBC Radio Berkshire on Sunday that, while the Commission was disappointed it could not agree on a single candidate, there was also a feeling that the right bishop who was supported by a majority was "worth waiting for".

'The next Bishop of Oxford: why the wait? -  Letter

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