A service to consecrate one of Lancashire’s most senior clergymen has finally taken place after it was moved due to his opposition to female bishops.
Rt Rev Philip North, who has courted controversy over this opposition to women bishops, was consecrated as the 11th Bishop of Burnley by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu at York Minster yesterday.
However, in a break from tradition, some parts of the service were overseen by the Bishop of Chichester.
Dr Sentamu said he had not led those parts of the service to “demonstrate respect” for the new bishop’s views.
The service saw the Rt Rev Martin Warner lead two other bishops in “laying hands” on the new bishop. The Bishop of Chichester also presided over the service’s Communion, at the request of the archbishop.
It comes a week after the consecration of Libby Lane as the first female bishop.
Lancashire’s most senior clergyman, The Bishop of Blackburn Julian Henderson, a supporter of women priests, welcomed the appointment.
He said: “The consecration of Philip North has been a special occasion for the Church coming, as it does, just a week after the consecration of our first woman Bishop, Libby Lane.
“As a supporter of women clergy, and in appointing Philip, I wanted to have an episcopal colleague who is from the traditionalist catholic constituency and Philip fulfils that role well. He comes to serve the whole Diocese.
“He will also have particular care for those people who cannot accept the ministry of women as bishops and priests in the Church – and he will have my wholehearted support in carrying out this important work.”
He added: “Libby Lane and Philip North’s consecrations offer a very visible sign that the Church is moving forward, having sought and found space for those in favour and those against the ordination of women to live together in the Church of England.
“I am aware the arrangements that have been put in place are difficult for some, as the Archbishop himself acknowledges, but we are all members of one body, seeking to share the good news of Jesus Christ with a needy world.”
Until recently the Bishop was Team Rector of the Parish of Old St Pancras, a large inner city parish of four churches in the Camden area of north London.
On February 14 the new Bishop will be welcomed into the Diocese in a special installation service at Lancashire’s Anglican Cathedral in Blackburn. The Bishop of Blackburn will preside at a Diocesan Eucharist, during which Bishop Philip will be given his seat in the Cathedral.