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Why Two Bishops?

The Church of England ordained its first women priests in 1994. According to acts of the General Synod passed the previous year, if a parish does not in conscience accept the ministry of women priests, it can formally request that none be appointed to minister to it. Likewise, if the local bishop has participated in the ordination of women as priests, a parish can request to be under the pastoral and sacramental care of another bishop who has not participated in such ordinations. In such a case the parish still remains in the diocese of the local diocesan bishop, at whose invitation the "flying bishop" makes his visitation.

To these ends, the act empowers the Metropolitans of the Church of England's two provinces to appoint "provincial episcopal visitors", suffragan bishops whose main purpose is to be available for such visits to parishes across the province.

Province of Canterbury:

the Suffragan Bishop of Richborough

the Suffragan Bishop of Ebbsfleet

Province of York:

the Suffragan Bishop of Beverley

Individual dioceses can also appoint suffragan bishops to fulfil this role locally; the Diocese of London, for example, has so designated the Suffragan Bishop of Fulham.   He has also been licensed by the neighbouring dioceses of Southwark and  Rochester to play a similar role in them.

Therefore we still have a legal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Manchester for all appointments, finance and Synodical Government. But our pastoral care is undertaken by the Bishop of Beverley.

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