frgavin on September 15th, 2011

Joe Wilson at the BBC

A Lancashire bishop has urged the Church of England to “be careful for one another” as they make decisions about the acceptance of women bishops.

The Bishop of Burnley, the Right Reverend John Goddard, said he wants them to “seek out God’s will.”

Bishop Goddard is opposed to the introduction of women bishops into the church.

He was speaking to the BBC on the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

He said: “I’m not asking people to put their convictions to one side, what I am asking is they make room for other peoples’ opinions.”


The Church of England’s ruling body has already decided that women bishops should be allowed, but now the measure must receive approval from a majority of the church’s 44 diocesan synods, before returning to the general synod later this year.

It must then receive a two-thirds majority at the general synod before receiving parliamentary approval and the Royal Assent.

There had been speculation in church circles, denied by Bishop Goddard, that he may be prepared to leave the church on the issue.

He said: “I am looking for compromise as long as you see compromise as a strong and not a weak word.

“You should go with your convictions and share them with other people. Listen to other people and what they have to offer. You don’t approach what they have to see with easy flip away answers.

“You really try to search to know the person, what their needs are and what they are trying to say to you. Then you try to respond to the person.”

In a wide-ranging interview with BBC Radio Lancashire to mark his anniversary, Bishop Goddard, who has been the Bishop of Burnley since 2000, said he had “fallen in love with the county.”

“I find there’s a warmth, if sometimes bluntness, in the people. I would hope they would continue to be as open as they have been with me. I have learned so much from the people of Lancashire.

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