EMERGING through the great west door of York Minster to be
photographed, flanked by the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, and
the Bishop of Stockport, the Rt Revd Libby Lane, the new Bishop of
Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, reflected on a "wonderful
expression of the unity of the Church".
Consecrated on Monday, exactly a week after Bishop Lane, Bishop
North is the first traditionalist bishop to be appointed since the
passing of the women-bishops Measure. His laughter with her on the
steps was indicative of a jubilant atmosphere among the many
The new Bishop spoke first of unity: "We had all the bishops
together, including Bishop Libby, gathered around in prayer for the
Holy Spirit, and I got a real sense of the unity of the Church, and
of the precedents that have been set this last week: eight
extraordinary days in York Minster, which have seen the
consecration, to great joy amongst many Anglicans, of the first
woman, and then what's happened today, which has shown that there's
a future for those who, in good conscience, can't accept that
The appointment of a traditionalist bishop had been "essential"
for Anglo-Catholics, he said. "The thing that traditionalists need
. . . is a line of bishops to whom they have access, and this is a
very beautiful covenant that the Archbishops have made with the
Church, that wing of the Church, to show that those promises will
At the beginning of the service, the Archbishop reiterated his
explanation that he would delegate the consecration itself to the
Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, with a reminder that this
decision was "mine, and mine alone".
Inthe Yorkshire Post that morning, Dr Sentamu wrote: "I
find no validation for the majority to overrule the theological
convictions of a minority, or triumph over them. . . It is my
prayer that the Church of England's gracious magnanimity,
restraint, and respect for theological convictions on this matter
may help others to substitute love for fear, and hope for
Dr Sentamu conducted the first part of the service, receiving Fr
North's oath of canonical obedience, and delivering a sermon in
which he suggested that nothing but a fresh outpouring of the Holy
Spirit on the Church could save it from its "spiritual
sluggishness, lethargy and motionlessness".
He then delegated the liturgy of ordination to Dr Warner, who
was invited to preside from the primatial chair, and lay hands on
Fr North, together with the Bishops of Beverley and Pontefract.
The deacon at the service was the Assistant Curate in the
Moulsecoomb Team, the Revd Alice Whalley, who served as a pastoral
assistant in Bishop North's London parish before he sponsored her
"It was good to have a woman very visible in that liturgy, in a
very up-front role and proclaiming the Gospel," Bishop North said.
"And that's a sign, really, of what we want, which is a Church . .
. where our unity as God's people outweighs any differences that
may be between us."
The assent to the ordination and consecration from the
congregation was resounding. After the presentation of the
episcopal ring by Dr Sentamu, the welcome was followed by a long
round of applause.
Speaking after the recessional hymn, "Sing we of the blessed
Mother", Dr Warner described the day as "a wonderful expression of
putting into practice the five Guiding Principles which are at the
heart of the House of Bishops' declaration."
Members of Forward in Faith were told at their National Assembly
recently that "for the first time in over 25 years, we won't be
entering [the General Synod] elections labelled as being
anti-everything. Let's take up the opportunity to be constructive,
positive, and let's be proud of who we are."
Asked about these comments, Bishop North said: "We are for
proclaiming Jesus in the midst of his people. Therefore, we're with
the poor and the oppressed and the forgotten; we are with local
people in local churches seeking after Jesus in the eucharist:
that's what we're for."
The Assistant Curate of Christ Church, Belper, the Revd Imogen
Black, was among a large contingent of priests who had trained at
St Stephen's House, Oxford. "I was very glad to see a
traditionalist bishop being appointed," she said on Tuesday. "I
think it's been an upsetting time for everyone, with all the
arguments about women being ordained and consecrated bishops; so
it's been affirming for everyone to see Bishop Libby consecrated,
and then someone from the other integrity, because it shows the
Church of England is committed to working with both views. . .
"Traditionalists can feel vulnerable, particularly when all this
is very new and we have to see it play out in practice; so it is a
comfort to see someone well-liked and respected being made bishop
at this time."
Speaking after the service, the Revd Dr Hannah Cleugh, Chaplain
at Durham University and a member of the Board of Affirming
Catholicism, said: "It didn't feel peculiar, or exclusive, or like
there was anything particularly strange going on. The Archbishop of
York was very clearly in charge, and there were more women stood at
the altar than there were last week.
"It doesn't mean there are no theological issues or questions
left hanging, but it actually seemed fine in the event. If this is
what it takes for us all to flourish, then I think I can live with
On Tuesday, the Bishop of Pontefract, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson,
thanked Dr Sentamu for making the arrangements for the service.
"We trust that no one imagines that the flourishing of
traditional Catholic ordinands could involve their being ordained
by bishops whose sacramental ministry they cannot receive," he
"If all the male bishops present had participated in the laying
on of hands, the Bishop of Stockport - whose gracious presence we
acknowledge with gratitude - would therefore have been alone in
having to refrain from doing so. It would be difficult to see that
as an expression of 'mutual flourishing'.
"Plainly, a future female Archbishop of York could not be the
principal consecrator of a traditional Catholic bishop. By
delegating that ministry to the Bishop of Chichester, Archbishop
Sentamu has ensured that there need be no difference between his
role on this occasion, and that of a future female archbishop. We
hope that those who support the ordination of women as bishops will
agree with us that any such distinction should be avoided."