Following the announcement that Rt Revd Philip North has declined his nomination as the next Bishop of Sheffield, Prof Martyn Percy, Dean of Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford, and Vice President of Modern Church, has issued the following statement:

‘I have written to Bishop Philip privately in the light of this very difficult decision. My thoughts are with everyone involved at this testing time. Bishop Philip and the people of Sheffield Diocese will continue to remain in my prayers.’

The Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, has invited the Bishop-designate of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Philip North, to decline his nomination to the See because of his opposition to women's ordination. 

The Very Revd Prof Martyn Percy has made a case against the elevation of the Rt Revd Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley, in an article published on the website of Modern Church, a society promoting liberal Christianity, of which Prof Percy is a Vice President.

Professor Percy argues in the article 'Questions of Ambiguity and Integrity?' that the logic of Bishop North’s theological position makes it impossible for him to affirm and receive the ordained ministry of all his female clergy. Moreover, the same would apply to any male ordained by a female bishop. Women account for around one-third of the clergy of Sheffield diocese.

Modern Church welcomes the result of the vote in General Synod this week not to 'take note' of the House of Bishops report on Marriage and Same Sex Partnerships after the Shared Conversations.

By rejecting the motion to take note of this report, the General Synod has sent the Bishops back to the drawing board.

Most telling among the many reflections leading up to and during this landmark debate were these:

As the Church of England’s General Synod gathers this month, a senior cleric has highlighted a connection between the ongoing debate over same-sex relationships and marriage, and the latest scandal over historic abuse.

The Very Revd Prof Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, has made the link in an article published on the website of Modern Church, a society promoting liberal Christianity, of which he is a Vice President.

The former General Secretary of Modern Church has called on the House of Bishops to offer an alternative way forward on marriage and sexuality as it gathers for General Synod next week to debate its latest report on the ‘apparently never-ending’ issue of same-sex relationships.