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
"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
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
Bishop of Oxford: why the wait? -