Friday, May 6, 2011


I ask all readers of this blog - whatever your ecclesiastical allegiance and on whichever side of the Tiber you may be! - to pray daily for the two new PEVs . . . as well as for the Bishop of Beverley. Pray, too, for the new Bishop of Fulham (whoever he might be!) These men have a daunting task ahead of them. But their appointment is a sign of hope and a cause of great rejoicing. Is it too late for some other provinces of the Anglican Communion to recognise the need for such episcopal ministry?

I share with you these two important statements:

Downing Street has today announced the appointment of the Reverend Jonathan Baker as Bishop of Ebbsfleet and the Reverend Norman Banks as the Bishop of Richborough, both of whom will be consecrated at a service at Southwark Cathedral on 16th June.

In line with the 1993 Act of Synod, the Archbishop of Canterbury has commissioned the Provincial Episcopal Visitors to work with the diocesan bishops to provide extended pastoral care and sacramental ministry, as well as acting as spokesmen and advisors, to ensure that ‘the integrity of differing beliefs and positions concerning the ordination of women to the priesthood should be mutually recognised and respected’.

The Revd Jonathan Baker who is currently Principal of Pusey House succeeds Bishop Andrew Burnham as Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

Commenting on his appointment, Jonathan Baker said:

‘The appointment of two new PEVs for the Southern Province is a real sign of commitment by the Church of England to the growth and renewal of every aspect of its common life, particularly its catholic tradition which I know and love. I look forward immensely to serving as Bishop of Ebbsfleet and to leading the clergy and lay people in my care to have confidence in their faith and in proclaiming the Gospel to all.’

The Revd Norman Banks who is currently Vicar of Walsingham, Houghton and Barsham, succeeds Bishop Keith Newton as Bishop of Richborough.

Commenting on his appointment, Norman Banks said:

‘One of the real pleasures and privileges of being Vicar of S. Mary’s is getting to know so many of the people who visit Walsingham regularly and make the Parish Church part of their pilgrimage.

'I am both delighted and honoured that for those in the Richborough area I am about to have the opportunity and privilege of becoming their bishop and visiting them where they regularly worship. From the many recent conversations I have had, I believe that there is real desire across the Church of England to find a way for us to hold together with integrity and generosity. I hope the appointment of two new PEV’s will be seen as both ‘gift’ and ‘sign’ at this crucial time in the life of our Church.’

Welcoming the news, Dr Williams said:

‘I am very happy to welcome two such faithful and gifted priests as colleagues. They are taking up a very demanding pastoral ministry at a time of much upheaval and uncertainty, and will need our prayers and friendship as we work in the Church of England for a future in which there is full mutual respect and constructive work in mission to be undertaken together.

'I am deeply grateful to those who have exercised pastoral care for traditionalist priests and parishes in recent months, especially Bishops John Ford, Mark Sowerby and Lindsay Urwin.

The Society of the Holy Cross is delighted by the appointment of two of its Brethren to the vacant sees of Ebbsfleet and Richborough. Both priests, Fr Jonathan Baker and Fr Norman Banks are men of the utmost integrity and have been both in their different ways in the forefront of our catholic witness in the Church of England. We look forward to welcoming them wholeheartedly on 16th June at the Ordination in Southwark Cathedral. Their appointments will bring joy and a renewed sense of confidence to many, who will look to them to give to the whole of the Church of England an understanding and recognition of its Catholic identity.

We are grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury for all the trouble and care he has taken over recent months to secure this happening. The Church of England will indeed be fortunate to have two such good pastors in its episcopate.

Prebendary David Houlding SSC


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