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The See of Sheffield - Update
Posted on the 16th Mar 2017
The See of Sheffield – Update
The predominant responses to last week’s news regarding the See of Sheffield have been dismay at the nature of the campaign that was mounted against the outcome of the Church’s process for discerning God’s call to the See of Sheffield, and sorrow at the result of that campaign.
We are encouraged that so many – women and men; bishops, clergy and laity; liberals, evangelicals and catholics – have gone further, pointing out that, as the Archbishop of York said in his statement, what has happened "clearly does not reflect" the 2014 settlement that paved the way for women to be ordained as bishops while securing an honoured place within the Church of England for those who, for theological reasons, are unable to receive their sacramental ministry. This strong and widespread affirmation of the 2014 settlement gives us hope that, in the providence of God, some good may yet come out of an awful situation.
In his statement, Archbishop Sentamu stressed that when we disagree, we should "disagree Christianly, remembering at all times that our identity is in Christ alone". The response of the clergy and people of The Society in the Diocese of Sheffield to the provocation they have experienced has been exemplary. We wish to assure them of our full support at this difficult time. We are grateful to all of the bishops of The Society for their ministry in building up those of their clergy and people across the Church of England for whom this has been a bitter blow.
The need now is to build on the growing consensus in support of the Five Guiding Principles. The statements made by Archbishop Sentamu and a number of other diocesan bishops are very helpful indeed. In due course they will need to be accompanied by action to restore confidence in the House of Bishops' Declaration and to correct definitively the false statements that have been made about the Declaration, the Five Guiding Principles, and the beliefs of traditional catholics. The Executive Committee of Forward in Faith has begun to consider what actions need to be taken, and by whom. We are engaged in discussions with others and will report further as plans develop.