'I'm excited but it would have been great if it was a woman' - reaction to new Bishop of Sheffield appointment

The Very Reverend Dr Pete Wilcox, the new Bishop-designate of Sheffield
The Very Reverend Dr Pete Wilcox, the new Bishop-designate of Sheffield
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The appointment of Sheffield's next bishop was today welcomed in one of the parishes at the heart of the row over women priests.

The Very Reverend Dr Pete Wilcox was this morning revealed by the Church of England as Bishop-designate of Sheffield, with the announcement taking place at St Swithun's Church on the city's Manor estate.

Parishioners of the Manor estate in Sheffield. Pictured left to right are the Reverend Julie Upton; lunch club volunteer Elaine Johnson; Coun Pat Midgley; Dawn Dale; and charity worker Craig Judson

Parishioners of the Manor estate in Sheffield. Pictured left to right are the Reverend Julie Upton; lunch club volunteer Elaine Johnson; Coun Pat Midgley; Dawn Dale; and charity worker Craig Judson

Parishioners there had been among the fiercest critics of the decision to appoint Philip North, who stepped aside last month amid controversy over his opposition to women priests.

But the church's team rector Julie Upton, who was one of Britain's first women priests, and members of the local community said they were 'excited' by his replacement.

The Reverend Upton said: "I'm excited. It sounds like he's somebody who definitely is in favour of men and women alike being ordained and someone who has a heart for communities like ours.

"It would have been great if it had been a woman bishop but I'm not disappointed because it sounds like he's a good man who's going to do lots of good things."

Sheffield's Bishop-designate Dr Pete Wilcox at St Swithun's Church

Sheffield's Bishop-designate Dr Pete Wilcox at St Swithun's Church

Manor Castle councillor Pat Midgley said she had been 'tremendously concerned and upset' about Mr North's appointment.

"Sheffield is a radical city and it seemed we were going backwards in time," she added.

But she said she had 'loved' what Dr Wilcox had to say in his introductory speech.

"It's just good to have someone who wants to work together and recognises that we're all the same," she explained.

Craig Judson helps run the youth charity MASSK and the local Scout group.

He said he had been concerned Mr North's appointment would 'undermine' Reverend Upton, whose work in the community he described as a 'real example to women in the area'.

But he said he was 'really confident' after hearing Dr Wilcox speak about his passion for supporting deprived communities like Manor, where Craig said the local foodbank was struggling to meet demand.

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