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Service underlines unity within the Church

Opponents of women bishops and supporters of the idea have shown that they can work together at a groundbreaking service held in the Durham Diocese.

The Revd Carl Peters was Licensed by The Right Revd Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow and Right Revd Glyn Webster, Bishop of Beverley, also Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Durham, with a supporting congregation from all traditions as well as priests from parishes both with and without women priests.

The Licensing took place at St John The Evangelist, Brandon, Durham, after the vote allowing women to finally become Bishops was taken at General Synod. 

The Revd Carl Peters will be responsible for St John’s Brandon (with St Catharine’s New Brancepeth), and also St Luke’s Ushaw Moor.

St Luke’s Ushaw Moor is a parish from the Anglo-Catholic tradition operating under special arrangements which allows the Bishop of Beverley to provide for its pastoral and sacramental oversight. The parish does not support the ministry of women as priests or Bishops. 

St John’s Brandon used to operate under special arrangements parish like St Luke’s but now accepts the ministry of women priests and so it’s pastoral and sacramental oversight is provided by the Bishop of Durham. 

Bishop Mark said: “This is a real example of how the new order could work throughout the Church of England with people of all traditions working together for the common good and for flourishing of our communities - wherever they are and what ever tradition that they come from. No matter if their local parish preference is for women incumbent or not, the important point is that we can work together and this is a great example of that happening. 

“The vote to allow women to enter the episcopate taken at the General Synod in York, signifies the start of the new order - one that has been in a state of flux for years whilst this situation was debated over and over. 

“This coming together to share in the licensing of a new priest in the Diocese of Durham, where all traditions celebrate without reference to their theological leanings is a real sign of the new path, one that I am sure will bring positive outcomes right across the Church.” 

Bishop Glyn said: “The vote and this Licensing gives me hope for the future and for our honoured place as Catholics with the life of the Church of England. Even more importantly I continue to trust in Christ's Lordship over His Church.”

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