From Canon Judith Maltby
Sir, - Rumours circulating before Christmas (
News, 23 January) are now confirmed: the Archbishop of York, Dr
Sentamu, will not be the chief consecrator and eucharistic
president at the consecration of the new Bishop of Burnley.
Not only does this depart from the usual custom of archbishops'
consecrating all bishops of their province, including the
Provincial Episcopal Visitors: the Five Guiding Principles state
emphatically that "pastoral and sacramental provision for the
minority within the Church of England will be made . . . in a way
that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and
contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of
It is hard to see how "the highest possible degree of communion"
is maintained or "mutual flourishing" is fostered if the archbishop
of the province in which any new bishop is to minister and whose
episcope he or she is to share, was considered in any way
to be inappropriate as the chief consecrator and celebrant.
Potential ordinands and ordinands in training are now being
required to assent to the Five Guiding Principles as a condition of
selection and ordination, as are those in consideration for
episcopal diocesan ministry. Are they being asked to assent that
this particular interpretation is encompassed within the Five
I have no doubt that the Archbishop is acting as he thinks
right. But I also have no doubt that the Burnley Interpretation of
the Five Guiding Principles is one to which the considerable
majority of the Church of England, the General Synod, laity,
ordinands, clergy, and the College of Bishops would not be able to
give their assent: at the first real test, the Five Guiding
Principles have fallen.
Synod member (Universities)
Corpus Christi College
Oxford OX1 4JF
From Celia Bush
Sir, - I hope that members of WATCH who are trying to stir up
trouble about the forthcoming consecration of Fr Philip North as
Bishop of Burnley will read with care the admirable statement
issued by the Archbishop of York on his website,
www.archbishopofyork.org, and that they will hang their heads in
shame. Having rushed in to criticise, they have also by implication
insulted the first female bishop to be consecrated, by implying
that the Archbishop is not playing fair over consecrations.
Sadly, it shows that acceptance of the inclusive Church that has
been promised is not even skin-deep in some quarters. But why am I
169 Humber Doucy Lane
Ipswich IP4 3PA