Statement by the Evangelical group Reform on Philip North’s decision to decline appointment as Bishop of Sheffield
Reform members throughout the country are disappointed but not surprised by the news that Bishop Philip North will not be the next Bishop of Sheffield. The furor that has followed his nomination reveals the arrogance and assumptions of those who believe, “that it is not enough to assert that due process and the five guiding principles have been observed. If they have produced a situation that causes distress… then they need to be reviewed…”.
The attitude of those who have campaigned against Bishop Philip North calls into question the future of the five principles, which undergirded the settlement that allowed women to enter the episcopate. In 2014, the Archbishop of Canterbury warned us that, “… to work they depend on love and trust. The love has to be demonstrated and the trust has to be earned.”
Susie Leafe, Director of Reform, said: “I have lost count of the number of times conservatives have been asked to trust that we can flourish in the Church of England, but without solid evidence that there is an equal future for conservatives in the Church of England (beyond that of dhimmitude) it becomes harder and harder to convince talented young men and women to offer themselves to serve in this denomination or to persuade congregations to continue to finance the work.”
As we pray for Bishop Philip North we pray too for the Church of England.