Bp. North Called to Sheffield

Adapted from the Diocese of Sheffield

The Rt. Rev. Philip North, who does not believe women should be ordained as priests, will become the ninth Bishop of Sheffield in June.

Such an appointment is not unusual in the Church of England. The Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres, who retires this month as Bishop of London, entrusted all priestly ordinations to his suffragan bishops.

North, 50, has served as Suffragan Bishop in Burnley, within the Diocese of Blackburn, since 2015.

He studied history at the University of York, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1988 when he started to explore a vocation to priestly ministry. He spent a year working as a pastoral assistant in Redhouse, Sunderland, before preparing for ordination at St. Stephen’s House, Oxford.

He graduated from the University of Oxford with a bachelor’s degree in 1991 and was ordained as a priest in 1993.

The Bishop of Sheffield leads the Church of England in Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster, and Goole.

The Diocese of Sheffield was formed in 1914 and is in the Northern Province of York. It has a population of approximately 1.2 million people, 140 stipendiary clergy, 174 parishes, and 213 churches.

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Harriet Sherwood writes for The Guardian:

His opposition to women priests prompted criticism of the appointment. Emma Percy, the chairperson of Watch (Women and the Church), acknowledged North’s strengths in urban ministry and with youth, but added: “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.”

In 2012, North accepted the post of bishop of Whitby but two months later stepped aside after protests over his opposition to women in the ministry.

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