New Living in Love and Faith appointment after bishop's resignation

A new interim theology adviser has been appointed to the House of Bishops following the recent resignation of the Bishop of Newcastle as co-lead of Living in Love and Faith (LLF) in the Church of England. 

Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley was co-lead alongside Bishop Martyn Snow but stepped down from the role following the appointment of conservative vicar, Dr Tom Woolford, as interim theology adviser. 

In a statement announcing her resignation from LLF, the bishop expressed "serious concerns" about the process to appoint an interim theological adviser to the House of Bishops and said that it had had "a critically negative impact on the work Bishop Martyn and I were seeking, in good faith, to do".

"My role as co-lead bishop for the LLF process is now undermining my capacity to fulfil my primary calling, to lead and care for the people and places of the Diocese of Newcastle," she said. 

At the time, Bishop Snow said that the co-lead bishops for LLF "must be involved in the appointment of future theological advisers". 

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York yesterday announced that the Rev Canon Dr Jessica Martin, of Ely Cathedral, has now been appointed to work alongside Dr Woolford. 

"In the last week, there has been a lot of public commentary about the appointment of the Interim Theology Adviser to the House of Bishops," the Archbishops said. 

"This has required care to resolve, not just for individuals involved or affected by this appointment, but for the wider LLF process.

"We are grateful to Jessica and to Tom for their willingness to work together as interim Joint Theology Advisers.

"We remain concerned about the negative tone of debate in some parts of the Church, especially on social media.

"We must all do our utmost to disagree in a manner which shows the love of Jesus Christ to every person we encounter, especially those with whom we disagree.

"We are confident that Tom and Jessica will model this in their new roles and support the bishops in our work."

Dr Jessica Martin said: "It is a great pleasure to fulfil this interim role, working alongside Dr Woolford in the service of the whole Church, and modelling a mutual charity within difference in the advice he and I offer together to support the bishops and FAOC."

Dr Tom Woolford said: "I understand the vital importance of ensuring that trust in the LLF process is maintained and I welcome the appointment of Dr Martin as Joint Theology Advisor.

"I intend and anticipate that we will both individually, as well as together, strive to provide advice in a neutral manner, and I look forward to our working together in support of the bishops and FAOC."