The Portal November 2017 - Page 11

THE P RTAL November 2017 Page 11 Anglican Sir Philip Mawer’s News Sheffield Review The case is explained to us by The Revd Paul Benfield F ollowing the withdrawal of Bishop Philip North from his nomination to the See of Sheffield earlier this year, the Archbishops wrote to Sir Philip Mawer, the Independent Reviewer under the Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests, (Resolution of Disputes Procedure Regulations) 2014, asking him to address the concerns that had arisen in the Church following the nomination and Bishop Philip’s subsequent withdrawal. Sir Philp’s report was published in September. It runs to 74 pages with an additional 24 appendices. It can be read at http://bit.ly/shef-report After giving an introduction to his role, the 2014 Settlement on women bishops, the Five Guiding Principles and Mutual Flourishing of all within the Church of England, the report sets out a detailed narrative of events. The controversy surrounded the fact that, because of his views, Bishop Philip has not and did not intend to ordain women priests. He had indicated that he would ordain male and female deacons but that he would not ordain any priests. Traditionalist male clergy would be ordained by the Bishop of Beverley and other priests by the Bishop of Doncaster. The report goes on to address the core issues and, in particular, the questions raised by the Archbishops. (b) the process leading to the nomination of Bishop Philip North to the See of Sheffield; Sir Philip concludes that not enough has been done, even in Sheffield where more was done than in some dioceses. He recommends that the House of Bishops commissions a group with balanced membership to review what has been done; distil examples of good practice within dioceses; and provide resources to help dioceses, deaneries and parishes, and theological training institutions to engage in further consideration of the issues. Sir Philip concludes that the nomination of Bishop North to the vacancy in the See of Sheffield was entirely consistent with the House of Bishops’ Declaration. Sir Philip finds that the process was conducted entirely in accordance with agreed procedures. He goes on to recommend that certain issues should be considered by the current review into the operation of the Crown Nomination Commission (which nominates names of diocesan bishops to the Prime Minister). These should include the issue of the extent to which the cloak of confidentiality currently surrounding the work of the Commission can be relaxed in order to ensure the degree of preparation (a) what has been done in the Church, including in for the announcement of a nomination commensurate the diocese of Sheffield, to inform and educate clergy with the controversy it is likely to arouse. and laity about the settlement agreed in 2014, and (c) the consistency of that nomination with the the effect of the Declaration within that settlement; Declaration; He recommends that the House invites the Faith and Order Commission to examine the theological challenge which has been posed to the 2014 Settlement and that the results of this work, together with the House’s response to the pastoral challenge identified in a) above inform the ongoing process of discussion This process will require attention to two key issues. and education about the Settlement for which he has One relates to the theology underlying the Settlement also called. and the need to address criticisms of it by the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford and others. The other is (d) the reactions to that nomination in the Church the challenge, as much pastoral as theological, posed and beyond; by women clergy and lay ministers in the diocese of Sheffield as to what the nomination of a non- (e) the response of the institutional Church to the ordaining bishop as a diocesan implies for their nomination and the reactions to it. ministry including what it means for the expression `FW6RGv77VW2B6"Ɨ( 2f'6W'fF0FB֖7G'&7F6Rv&RFVBvFWBF