WATCH notes the announcement that Rt Rev Philip North, currently Bishop of Burnley, is to be the new Bishop of Sheffield. Whilst we acknowledge the strengths he will bring to the role, with his experience and passion for urban ministry, evangelism and work with young people, we also note his stance on the ordination of women. We are aware of the sadness felt by many in Sheffield that they will now have a Diocesan Bishop who will not ordain women. Sheffield is a diocese with a large number of women clergy and we sincerely hope that the new Bishop will promote a culture in which ordained women will feel validated and encouraged to flourish.

We also note that once again a man has been appointed to a vacant diocesan post. We have concerns that the current appointment system makes it harder for women to be appointed as diocesan Bishops. We hope that as the Church seeks to live out the 5 guiding principles the importance of Women flourishing in the church may be taken as seriously as that of the minority who remain opposed to their ordination.

Rev Canon Dr Emma Percy

Chair of WATCH