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Norfolk vicar is named as new 'flying bishop' 

NormanBanks410Downing Street has today (May 5)announced that a Norfolk vicar is set to become a “flying bishop” – the next Bishop of Richborough. Keith Morris reports.
The Revd Norman Banks, Vicar of Walsingham, Houghton St Giles and the Barshams, Rural Dean of Burnham and Walsingham and Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen, has been appointed as the next Bishop of Richborough by the Archbishop of Canterbury. He will be consecrated at Southwark Cathedral on June 16.
 
Flying Bishops were introduced to the Church of England by an Act of Synod in 1993, at the time of the approval of the ordination of women to the priesthood.   Their official title is “Provincial Episcopal Visitors”.  
 
Under the arrangement, individual parishes are allowed to resolve not to accept the ministry of women priests and not to accept as their bishops any who were prepared to ordain women.   Their pastoral oversight was to be provided by bishops whose episcopal care was exercised on a parish by parish basis rather than geographically.
 
Diocese of Norwich director of communications, Rev Jan McFarlane, explained: “Flying Bishops work with the diocesan bishops to provide extended pastoral care and sacramental ministry, as well as acting as spokesmen and advisors, to ensure that the integrity of differing beliefs and positions concerning the ordination of women to the priesthood should be mutually recognised and respected.”
 
Commenting on his appointment, Norman Banks said: “One of the real pleasures and privileges of being Vicar of St Mary's in Walsingham is getting to know so many of the people who visit Walsingham regularly and make the Parish Church part of their pilgrimage. I am both delighted and honoured that for those in the Richborough area I am about to have the opportunity and privilege of becoming their bishop and visiting them where they regularly worship.
 
“From the many recent conversations I have had, I believe that there is real desire across the Church of England to find a way for us to hold together with integrity and generosity. I hope the appointment of two new PEVs will be seen as both 'gift' and 'sign' at this crucial time in the life of our Church.”
 
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James said: “Norman has been an outstanding Vicar of Walsingham.  His considerable pastoral and teaching gifts mean he has been well equipped by God for the work of a bishop.  He has a great ability to relate to all sorts and conditions of people, and I am sure those to whom he will minister as Bishop of Richborough will quickly come to appreciate his care for them”.
 
Welcoming the news, which includes the appointment of the Revd Jonathan Baker from Oxford as the next Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “I am very happy to welcome two such faithful and gifted priests as colleagues. They are taking up a very demanding pastoral ministry at a time of much upheaval and uncertainty, and will need our prayers and friendship as we work in the Church of England for a future in which there is full mutual respect and constructive work in mission to be undertaken together.
 
“I am deeply grateful to those who have exercised pastoral care for traditionalist priests and parishes in recent months, especially Bishops John Ford, Mark Sowerby and Lindsay Urwin.”

Pictured above is the Rev Norman Banks, vicar of Walsingham.

 


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