The Consecration of the Bishops of Horsham and Lewes

WATCH is deeply saddened by the announcement that the two new Bishops in Chichester diocese, the Bishops of Horsham and Lewes, will not be consecrated together in one service by the Archbishop of Canterbury. 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.

It is still not clear whether the Archbishop of Canterbury will consecrate Ruth Bushyager as the Bishop of Horsham. For him not to consecrate any of these new bishops in his province has serious ecclesiological implications.

We are told by Forward in Faith that these special arrangements have been made so that The Revd Prebendary William Hazelwood can ‘experience the sacramental assurance and the joy of full communion with the bishops who ordain them.’ Apparently this rules out the Archbishop of Canterbury. The new Bishop of Lewes will not be in full communion with his Archbishop because he has ordained women as priests and bishops. This looks like a theology of taint. Although we are repeatedly told that Forward in Faith does not adhere to a theology of taint, this is exactly what the rejection of consecration by the Archbishop or any other (male) bishop who has ordained women looks like. It is, we are told a theology of impaired communion and any Bishop or Archbishop can restore the communion with society priests and bishops by repenting of their support of women’s ministry. However this arrangement  is defined, it sustains an argument that simply to lay hands on a woman to ordain her puts you outside the sacramental assurance that Prebendary William chooses to experience.

Yet again women are meant to accept this public statement about the Church of England’s ambiguous attitude to their ministry. The first and second guiding principles make it clear that the Church is non-discriminatory in terms of gender and that it has made up its mind about the full acceptance of the sacramental ministry of women. Once again, it would seem that even our Archbishops are tainted through their affirmation of women’s ministry. No wonder we are struggling to attract younger women into ordained ministry. No wonder so many women within the church describe the Five Guiding Principles and the term mutual flourishing as an open wound.

Of course, we pray that  The Rev Ruth Bushyagar and Prebendary William Hazelwood will have fruitful ministries in the diocese of Chichester and wish them both joy in their new roles. Yet, we find it tragic for them and the Church of England that even in their consecration, mutual avoidance has won out over mutual flourishing.


Revd Canon Dr Emma Percy

Chair of WATCH

New Bishop of Newcastle: Ven Christine Hardman

An image of Chrisitne Hardman, Bishop elect of Newcastle

We are delighted that Ven Christine Hardman has been appointed to Newcastle. She has worked tirelessly for women in her many roles, most recently as Prolocutor (Chair of the House of Clergy) for Canterbury Province on General Synod. She has also served on the Legislative Steering Committees that prepared both the earlier and the later successful legislation for women in the episcopate. We wish her great joy in her new ministry.

Since it became possible to appoint women as bishops last December, the Church of England has appointed 7 female and 8 male bishops.

WATCH Response to ‘Headship’ Bishop

WATCH is disappointed to read that the Church of England is set to appoint a Bishop based predominantly on a narrow theology of ‘Headship’ (ie. a Conservative Evangelical who believes only men should be in positions of overall leadership).

Evangelicalism has long been a much broader tradition than one defined by its position on the ordination and consecration of women. We believe that to choose a bishop based on one specific view, held by only a small group, can only serve to be divisive. It is likely to lead to the separation of parishes from one another within a local area and diocese, when the whole thrust of the legislative package for women to be bishops was that we would remain together in our work and mission.

In a separate development, we are keen to know whether the Archbishop of York will consecrate the newly appointed Bishop of Burnley, Rev Philip North, who opposes the ordination of women. It would seem to us bizarre if a suffragan bishop declined to be consecrated by his own archbishop and even his own diocesan bishop, because he did not recognise them as bishops.

Hilary Cotton, Chair of WATCH says: ‘We have never accepted the appointment of any bishop on the grounds of a particular minority belief: this is distinctly un-Anglican and unorthodox. This goes far beyond disagreement about the ordination of women: it is about bishops recognising each other as bishops. If we lose that, what kind of unity are we demonstrating as a national church?’



Bishop Suffragan, Heather Elizabeth Cook consecration 6th September 2014


The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland ordained and consecrated the Rev. Heather Elizabeth Cook as its suffragan bishop on 6th September during a service at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore. For the full story please click here

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori served as the chief consecrator.

The Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, bishop diocesan of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland said at Bishop Cook’s election, “This is a glorious day for the Diocese of Maryland as we welcome Heather Cook to the diocese, and I look forward to her joining with me in our Episcopal ministry.”

Venerable Jane Sinclair appointed to the Residentiary Canonry in Westminster Abbey as Canon Steward.

The Queen has approved that the Venerable Jane Elizabeth Margaret Sinclair, MA, Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey in the Diocese of Lincoln be appointed to the Residentiary Canonry in Westminster Abbey as Canon Steward. This is in succession to the Reverend Canon Jane Barbara Hedges, BA, who has been appointed Dean of Norwich.

The Venerable Jane Sinclair was educated first at St Hugh’s College, Oxford and then trained for her ministry at St John’s College Nottingham and Nottingham University.

She served her curacy as a Deaconess at Herne Hill Saint Paul with Ruskin Park Saint Saviour, in Southwark diocese, from 1983 to 1986. From 1986 to 1993 she was Chaplain and Lecturer at St John’s College, Nottingham. From 1993 to 2003 she was Canon Residentiary and Precentor at Sheffield Cathedral; and from 2003 to 2007 was Honorary Canon at Sheffield Cathedral. From 2003 to 2007 she was also Vicar of Rotherham Minster in the diocese of Sheffield. Since 2007 she has been Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey in the diocese of Lincoln.


Canon Judy French appointed Archdeacon of Dorchester

The new Archdeacon of Dorchester is to be the Revd Canon Judy French, who is currently Vicar of Charlbury with Shorthampton. Welcoming the appointment, Bishop Colin said: “I am delighted that Judy French has accepted Bishop John’s invitation to become the First Archdeacon of Dorchester.” For further details please click here.