Church of England

Female priest: It was wrong to push Bishop Philip North out of Sheffield

Fri 10 Mar 2017
By Premier Journalist

A female priest says that Rt Rev Philip North would have made a "supportive" and "passionate" Bishop of Sheffield after news emerged that he turned down the role on Thursday evening.

Rev Canon Fleur Green, who worked with him in the Diocese of Blackburn, told Premier News Hour that his decision to reject his nomination as the Bishop of Sheffield was met with great sadness.

She said: "Having worked with him for the past two and a bit years, I've always found him to be so supportive.

"The things that the people of Sheffield were looking for he would have worked really hard at; pastoral care for the clergy, the people, working with the poor and those on the margins of society are all things he is very passionate about.

"I think he would have brought great skills and gifts to the diocese of Sheffield."

Church of England


Since his nomination was announced in January, Bishop Philip had been under pressure to reject the role by critics including MP Louise Haigh.

In an open letter to the bishop, the Sheffield Heeley MP said she was concerned about his "troubling" views.

Bishop Philip is known for his refusal to ordain female priests.

But Rev Canon Fleur told Premier that she has found Bishop Philip supportive while working with him in his current role as Bishop of Burnley.

"People of a different view can find a way of working together.

"When I wrote the letter of support [for him], I had a number of emails back from the women clergy in our diocese with personal stories of why they wanted to support Philip because he'd been so supportive of them both pastorally and in their ministry."

Church of England

Bishop Philip North and Bishop Libby Lane


In a statement released on Thursday night, Bishop Philip said: "The highly individualised nature of the attacks upon me have been extremely hard to bear.

"If, as Christians, we cannot relate to each other within the bounds of love, how can we possibly presume to transform a nation in the name of Christ?"

In 2012, Bishop Philip withdraw his acceptance of the role of Bishop of Whitby over the same concerns about his position on female ordination.

Listen to Aaron James speaking to Rev Canon Fleur Green here:

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