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Church News

Archbishop of York to oversee bishop's consecration despite suggested changes to process by Justin Welby

by Premier Journalist

A date has finally been set for the Rev Canon Sophie Jelley to be consecrated as the new Bishop of Doncaster. 

It will also be the new Archbishop of York's first consecration at York Minster. 

Jelley, who has been the director of mission, discipleship and ministry in the Diocese of Durham, and Canon Missioner at Durham Cathedral for the past four years, will be officially commissioned for the new job on Monday, 21st September. 

She will be joined by the Rev Dr Andrew Emerton, former Dean of St Mellitus College, London, who is to be consecrated as Bishop of Sherwood in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. 

Canon Sophie will be consecrated by the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, assisted by the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler and the Bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox.

Newly issued guidance from Archbishop Justin Welby stipulates that, from now on, it is no longer a requirement for he or the Archbishop of York to physically perform consecration ceremonies, and that the Archbishop will "normally ask another bishop to be the chief consecrator".

"The Archbishops will ask three bishops to lay on hands with other bishops present and associating with the ordination but not in fact laying on their hands," Welby added.

As such, for Rev Emerton's ceremony in the afternoon, the Bishop of Durham will be designated as the chief consecrator, assisted by the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham. 

"The principle we are establishing is that this ministry is shared," the Archbishop of York's office told Premier. "The Archbishop is always present and presides “from the chair“ but it doesn’t mean that the Archbishop will never be the main consecrating bishop."

In his statement on the guidance last month, Welby indicated that the provision had been made to allow those who take different views on women in leadership to be comfortable knowing that the clergy performing their consecration shared their views on the issue. He said at the time: "We are not stepping back under these new arrangements, rather we are stepping forward to work within the Five Guiding Principles and we invite all to walk with us to embrace those principles and pray for an end to the divisions which remain in our church, for which we grieves and are repentant."

Ahead of his first consecration, Archbishop Stephen said: “I rejoice and I am looking forward to the consecrations of Bishop Sophie and Bishop Andy in York Minster. May God bless these, His servants and friends, as they embark on the next stage of their vocations as Bishops in the church of God.” The Bishop of Sheffield said he was “relieved and excited” to have a confirmed date for the conversation, after the ceremony was delayed from 25th March due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

He said: “Sophie has inhabited the role of Bishop-designate to full effect, but it will be such a joy to welcome her fully into her episcopal ministry. I am especially glad that it will enable her to share collegially with me in the ordination of our priests and deacons at the end of September.

"I am also delighted that this will be Archbishop Stephen’s first consecration at York Minister and I look forward to the occasion immensely.”



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