Bishop of Chichester now in the spotlight

Recently, I dwelt on Christina Rees and other less-well-known clergy responses to the Bishop of Chichester's refusal to ordain women. He refuses to appoint a suffragen bishop who believes in women's ordination. The status quo will therefore be maintained in that Chichester diocese is a no-go zone for womwn called to ordination. Christina Rees said: 'We have serious concerns that the eventual outworking of the Bishop’s proposed policy would be to create a diocese which is cut off from the rest of the Church and which would be virtually a separate church.'

It now appears as though the National Press have caught up with the situation and are reporting on it this weekend in the Telegraph.


jody said...

the doctrine of 'taint' is really quite a sickening one imho - that to even believe that women can be ordained is enough to make someone a heretic in the eyes of this bishop........

Alastair Cutting said...

Rachel, Jody, I'm not sure that is quite right, and as a member of the Bishop's Council in Chichester for a number of years, perhaps I could comment.

Firstly, there is a lengthy explanation of the legal side of things in the various replies in this thread on TA:
I think Simon Kershaw has his facts right.

Secondly, Chichester is not a no-go area for ordained women. There are dozens, including a number of women vicars with freehold; there are several women in my deanery, and one in training for ordained ministry in my parish. These are all appointed by the diocesan bishop, who gives them their licenses and institutes them.

The bishop also ordains all the new deacons, male and female. It is just that +JH will not ordain women to the priesthood, nor will his suffragans. He asks an assistant bishop (retired, but appointed by +JH) to do so.

With the up-coming +Horsham vacancy, +JH says the new bishop will not be permitted to ordain women priests, but may possibly be in favour of their ordination.

I don't think 'taint' is the right word here (though it may be in some areas around these issues). There are many in the CofE who (still) feel that we did not have the right to change a pattern of 2000 years on our own. It is a legitimate and proper position to hold within the CofE post the General Synod 1992 vote and legislation.

I hold the position that women may be ordained to the priesthood and to the episcopate; but this does not make me a heretic in the eyes of my diocesan bishop. We agree to differ on this issue, but still hold each other in respect.

Rachel said...

imho (had to look up that acronym) - yes - the dreaded infection (can't help but use such a word - just discovered my eldest has chicken pox which also explains why the youngest has been poorly for a week.)

It's all such hard work for traditionalists - they're going to have to flock to Chichester to avoid putting churches through their purity test, which goes something like this:

To test the purity of a church for a traditionalist, he would need to ask the priest:

(1) - have you ever received communion from a woman?
(2) - were you confirmed by a female bishop?
(3) - were you confirmed by a male bishop who:-
(a) - was confirmed by a female bishop?
(b) - was ordained by a female bishop?
(c) - was ordained at a service where women were also being ordained?
(d) - was consecrated at a service where a female bishop was present or laying hands?
(e) - has ever received communion from a female priest or bishop?
(f) - has ever ordained a female priest?
(g) – has ever participated in the consecration of a female bishop?
(4) -If you answered 'no' to (3(a) to (3)(g)) above, repeat each step (a) to (g) in relation to:-
(i) the bishop who consecrated the bishop who confirmed you
(ii) the bishop who ordained the bishop who confirmed you
(iii) the bishop who confirmed the bishop who confirmed you

etc etc etc Ahhhh!!!

Rachel said...

Thank you for your comments, Alistair. I was aware that there were ordained women in the diocese. I still think it must be very painful for women discerning a calling to the priesthood in Hind's parish. Do you really think we changed the pattern of 2000 years 'on our own' or was there something more supernatural going on? I like to think God was involved. Thanking you for your contribution and admitting that my post here didn't do all of the research that it perhaps should have done.


jody said...

yes, having now read the piece, it does seem that he won't allow his suffragans to ordain women, rather than consecrating suffragans who don't believe in the ordination of women.

still, like you say rachel, it seems like it would be a bit painful to present yourself to your bishop for sponsorship, knowing that they don't believe you should be there.....

Alastair Cutting said...

All the more reason for some of us to stay and make sure that women ordinands and priests are well supported by colleagues in the diocese then!


Rachel said...


ps Love the look of the gardens on the website about your church - the labyrinth in particular.

Have a lovely Christmas.

Alastair Cutting said...

If you are at St John's, R, then this is the Strang's 'sending' church...


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