Over fifty clergy from the Diocese of Blackburn have written to the Archbishop of York, urging him to ensure that the next Bishop of Blackburn will be prepared to ordain women as priests, and fully affirm their ministry.

The letter was co-ordinated by the Vicar of Lancaster, the Revd Chris Newlands, and has been signed by fifty-five clergy from across the diocese who are keen to see a supporter of women’s ministry appointed as Diocesan Bishop.

Mr Newlands said, “Many churches across the diocese have been greatly enriched by the ministry of women, and we believe that to fulfil his calling as a focus of unity, the next Bishop of Blackburn should affirm the ministry of all the priests in the diocese who hold his licence.”

The Crown Nominations Commission will be meeting at the end of January to choose the name that will be submitted to the Queen who formally makes the appointment. An announcement is expected within the next few weeks.

The last two diocesan bishops have not accepted the ordination of women as priests and the signatories to the letter have urged the Archbishop and members of the Crown Nominations Commission to ensure that the 9th Bishop of Blackburn is a supporter of the ministry of women priests in the church.

The first meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission for the See of Blackburn was held on 10 January. The second meeting is due to be held on 30/31 January.