London rector withdraws from top post over women bishops row

10:42 17 December 2012

Members of the General Synod of the Church of England voted against approving legislation introducing women bishops. File picture: PA Wire

Members of the General Synod of the Church of England voted against approving legislation introducing women bishops. File picture: PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A London team rector will not be taking up a post as a bishop because of the row over women taking the roles in the Church of England.

Anglo-Catholic Father Philip North, based Old Saint Pancras Church said he was withdrawing from the role of Bishop of Whitby following the General Synod vote last month over women bishops.

He was among a group of General Synod clergy members who voted against giving final approval to legislation introducing the first women bishops.

The legislation failed by just six votes to achieve the necessary majority from the General Synod, plunging the Church of England into crisis and recriminations.

Fr North said in a statement on the Diocese of London website: “It was a great honour to be chosen for this role and I had been very much looking forward to taking up the position.

“However, in the light of the recent vote in the General Synod and having listened to the views of people in the archdeaconry of Cleveland, I have concluded that it is not possible for me, at this difficult time for our Church, to be a focus for unity.

“I have therefore decided that it is better to step aside at this stage.

“I have reached this decision after a time of deep reflection and feel sure that it is for the best. I now look forward to refocusing my energies on the pastoral needs of my parish.”

Bishop of London the Rt Rev Richard Chartres said: “I can understand the reasons for Philip’s decision. He is a gifted and energetic priest and I am glad that he remains in this diocese to continue his outstanding work in Camden Town.”

Downing Street announced in October that Fr North had been appointed to the suffragan post as Bishop of Whitby, replacing Martin Warner, who is now Bishop of Chichester. Fr North was due to be consecrated as Bishop of Whitby in March.

The Bishop of Whitby takes his title from the town of Whitby in North Yorkshire and traditionally helps in ministering to parishes which are unable to accept women priests.

Martin Dales, spokesman for the Catholic Group on the General Synod, said: “Philip North’s decision to withdraw from acceptance from becoming Bishop of Whitby is his personal decision.

“We offer our prayerful support for him and his parish at this time.

“We also pray for the diocese of York and the archdeaconry of Cleveland where he would have served and the Archbishop of York as he seeks to make another appointment.”

Latest Stories

The man is seen without his wig, walking on the opposite side of the road (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

A brazen thief donned a ‘Rastafarian-style’ dreadlock wig and hat before running up to a woman on a street in north east London, stealing her handbag and leaving her with a broken arm.

Read more
Fancy somewhere different for dinner? [Photo courtesy of Events In The Sky]

This new London restaurant in Canary Wharf perched high in the sky lets diners experience Michelin-starred food from 100ft up.

Read more
11:51
The killer shark lurking among the fish in the Islington shop

An animatronic shark was installed in a fishmongers in Islington to scare the hell out of customers and promote unlikely sequel Sharknado 2.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

But which London?! [Photo courtesy of Basher Eyre]

Yoou might know London like the back of your hand, but how well do you know the other Londons - and London landmarks - across the world?

Read more
The prize is glory (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

It used to be Manhattan that was famous for its majestic skyline, but now our fair city is catching up. Do you know your Shard from your Heron Tower?

Read more
Test your London musical knowledge with our album quiz (Images via Getty)

Does your music knowledge stretch from The Rolling Stones to Rudimental, Spandau Ballet to Siouxsie and the Banshees? If so then test it out with our London bands quiz:

Read more