From the Bishop of Burnley to SSWSH North West

As the Church of England wrestles with the issue of ordination of women to the Episcopacy, those of us with conservative evangelical or catholic convictions, who cannot accept such ordinations, realise that unless the proposed legislation, which will come before General Synod in July 2012, is changed, there will be no abiding place in which we can flourish within the Church of England.

In Blackburn Diocese, we vote in October on this issue and I hope we will be able to influence our brothers and sisters that it is still possible to put in place provision which will maintain the ‘honoured’ position promised for us both by the Lambeth Conference and General Synod, and thus promote unity and avoid division. To this end the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda, ‘The Society’ has been evolved.

The aim of the Society is to seek for the needful and appropriate provision for those of us who do not and cannot accept the ordination of women to the orders of episcopacy and priesthood. Neither the present legislation nor a code of practice will do. We require other provision, incorporated within the measure, which will allow orthodox bishops to be maintained, around whom the traditional believers will be able to gather.

Such bishops would need to be given full jurisdiction, thus securing sacramental assurance and the continuance of an apostolic and catholic ministry, doctrine and faith. The Society is an essential building block for such provision to be enacted. I encourage all of you, lay and ordained, who would wish to support such provision to join the Society now. Time is short. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on 1 December at Preston Minster at 7.30 for the inaugural Mass of The Society in the North West.

Yours in Christ,

X John