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Archbishops delegate consecrations in line with Five Guiding Principles

16 July 2020

Since Wednesday, only three bishops are to lay on hands

Diocese of Chichester

The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomes the Revd Hugh Nelson (left) and the Revd Ruth Bushyager (right) and their families to Lambeth Palace Chapel before their consecrations by the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, assisted by the Bishops of Guildford and Dover

The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomes the Revd Hugh Nelson (left) and the Revd Ruth Bushyager (right) and their families to Lambeth Palac...

THE Archbishops of Canterbury and York will no longer consecrate bishops, it was announced from Lambeth Palace on Wednesday.

The announcement came as three new suffragan bishops were consecrated on Wednesday in the palace chapel at two separate ceremonies.

“We have agreed that the Metropolitan will normally ask another bishop to be the chief consecrator. Three bishops are required to consecrate a person as bishop. From now on the Archbishops will ask three bishops to lay on hands with other bishops present and associating with the ordination but not in fact laying on their hands,” the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement says.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, assisted by the Bishops of Guildford and Dover, consecrated the Revd Hugh Nelson for the see of St Germans, in Truro diocese, and the Revd Ruth Bushyager, for the see of Horsham, in Chichester diocese.

In a separate service, the Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Revd Norman Banks, assisted by the Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Fulham, consecrated the Revd Will Hazlewood for the see of Lewes, also in Chichester diocese.

The Archbishop preached at both services, gave the new bishops their ring, pectoral cross, and staff, and pronounced the blessing. The Bishop of London, as Dean of the Province of Canterbury, welcomed the new bishops at both services.

“As Metropolitan, I will receive the oaths from all three people to be ordained bishop showing jurisdiction over them,” Archbishop Welby said. “Having received the oaths, I will then lead all present in a prayer of penitence given our divisions and the sadness that we go on being divided as a Church.”

Diocese of ChichesterThe Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Revd Norman Banks, assisted by the Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Fulham (left and right), consecrates the Revd Will Hazlewood for the see of Lewes

The new arrangements were “made in the awareness of the sad reality that not all in the Church of England agree on issues of ordination, and yet all are committed to upholding the Five Guiding Principles.

“We are not stepping back under these new arrangements, rather we are stepping forward to work within the Five Guiding Principles and we invite all to walk with us to embrace those principles and pray for an end to the divisions which remain in our church, for which we grieve and are repentant.”

Bishop Hazlewood’s appointment is the first, since 2015, of a traditionalist on the ordination of women. In a joint statement with Bishop Bushyager, he denied reports that he had refused to be consecrated by the Archbishop.

“The arrangements for consecrations are the sole responsibility of the Archbishop: we are thankful for the distinctive arrangement he has made for a traditionalist provision. The Church of England’s Five Guiding Principles recognise that the theological discipline of those who are unable to receive sacramental ministry from ordained women has a recognised and respected place within the spectrum of our practice.

“We will also be recognising that the consecration of Will takes place through the Archbishop’s free and generous exercise of that jurisdiction in delegating the act of consecration to one of the Archbishop’s suffragan assistants under the Five Guiding Principles. The Archbishop’s decision to make a distinctive arrangement for that consecration is consistent with other examples of provision that the Archbishop makes under the Five Guiding Principles.”

The traditionalist group Forward in Faith welcomed the arrangements for Bishop Hazlewood’s consecration. In a statement, it said: “For slightly over 25 years, in the period since the admission of women into the priesthood by the Church of England, provision has been made for traditional Catholic candidates for the priesthood to be ordained by bishops with whom they are in full sacramental communion.

“It is fitting that this well-established practice is being adopted as the norm for the consecration of traditional Catholic bishops, now that women have been admitted into the episcopate by the Church of England.”

Canon Emma Percy, who chairs the campaigning group Women and the Church (WATCH), said, however, that she was “deeply saddened” that the two Chichester suffragans would not be consecrated together. “Had there been a joint consecration, even with some special arrangements, there would have been a clear witness to the stated aim of the fullest possible communion which is central to mutual flourishing in the Five Guiding Principles.”

The arrangements were also described by the Archbishop as made “in the light of the pandemic”.

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