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The Consecration of Bishops
Posted on the 20th Jun 2014
Forward in Faith is grateful to the Archbishops for the attention they have given to the question of how bishops who will minister under the House of Bishops’ Declaration will be consecrated.
We welcome their recognition in GS Misc 1079 that special arrangements will be needed in respect of presidency and laying on of hands at some consecrations, in response to the theological convictions not merely of those to be consecrated but also of those to whom they will minister. We trust that all that is implied in the statement about the need for appropriate arrangements will be honoured.
The fifth of the guiding principles in the House of Bishops’ Declaration embodies a commitment to ‘pastoral and sacramental provision’, and paragraph 30 affirms ‘the importance of there continuing to be consecrations of bishops within the Church of England to enable such ministry to be provided’. If a female bishop were to preside or share in the laying on of hands at such consecrations, that would plainly frustrate their purpose. Male bishops who have joined in consecrating the women concerned will surely wish to show solidarity with them on such occasions.
We agree, naturally, with the statement which the Archbishops make regarding the exercise of their own ministry of ordination. We are pleased to note that the matter of presidency at ordination services has not been foreclosed, and we look forward to further consideration of this important question.
† JONATHAN FULHAM
The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker