Gordon Bates

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The Right Reverend
Gordon Bates
Bishop of Whitby
Diocese Diocese of York
In office 1983 – 1999 (retired)
Predecessor Clifford Barker
Successor Robert Ladds
Other posts Honorary assistant bishop in York (2010–present); in Carlisle and in Blackburn (1999–2010)
Ordination c. 1958 (deacon); c. 1959 (priest)
Consecration 1983
Personal details
Born (1934-03-16) 16 March 1934 (age 83)
Denomination Anglican
Parents Ernest & Kathleen
Spouse Betty Vaux (m. 1960)
Children 2 daughters
Profession Youth chaplain
Alma mater Kelham Theological College

Gordon Bates (born 16 March 1934) was the eighth Bishop of Whitby.[1]

Bates received his ecclesiastical education at Kelham Theological College, being ordained deacon in 1958 and priest 1959. After a Curacy at Eltham he served as a Youth Chaplain in, firstly, the Gloucester and then the Liverpool Dioceses. From 1965 he began a long association with Liverpool Cathedral, becoming in time a Canon Residentiary, Precentor and finally Director of Ordinands.[2] From 1983 he was a Suffragan Bishop,[3] a post he held for 16 years. He retired to Carnforth and is now an honorary assistant bishop within the Carlisle diocese.[4] Towards the end of his episcopate he stated:

The Church has got to realise its missionary responsibilities. We live in a society, whether that be urban or rural, which is now basically second- or even third-generation pagan once again; and we cannot simply work on the premise that all we have to do to bring people to Christ is to ask them to remember their long-held, but dormant faith … in so many instances we have to go back to basics; we are in a critical missionary situation.

— CA News, April 1998[5]

On 11 February 2017, fourteen retired bishops signed an open letter to the then-serving bishops of the Church of England. In an unprecedented move, they expressed their opposition to the House of Bishops' report to General Synod on sexuality, which recommended no change to the Church's canons or practices around sexuality.[6] By 13 February, a serving bishop (Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham) and nine further retired bishops — including Bates — had added their signatures;[7] on 15 February, the report was rejected by synod.[8]


  1. ^ The Times, Friday, 10 June 1983; p. 16; Issue 61555; col C New Bishop of Whitby
  2. ^ ‘BATES, Rt Rev. Gordon’, Who's Who 2012, A & C Black, 2012; online edition, Oxford University Press, December 2011 [1], accessed 8 July 2012
  3. ^ Crockfords, (London, Church House 1995) ISBN 0-7151-8088-6
  4. ^ Listed as such
  5. ^ Mission shaped church
  6. ^ Retired Bishops' Letter — The Letter (Accessed 11 February 2017; the fourteen bishops were David Atkinson, Michael Doe, Tim Ellis, David Gillett, John Gladwin, Laurie Green, Richard Harries, Stephen Lowe, Stephen Platten, John Pritchard, Peter Selby, Tim Stevens, Martin Wharton, and Williamson.)
  7. ^ Retired Bishops' Letter — New Signatures (Accessed 17 February 2017; the nine bishops were Gordon Bates, Ian Brackley, John Davies, Peter Maurice, David Rossdale, John Saxbee, Martin Shaw, Oliver Simon, and David Stancliffe.
  8. ^ The Grauniad — Church of England in turmoil as synod rejects report on same-sex relationships (Accessed 17 February 2017)
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Clifford Barker
Bishop of Whitby
Succeeded by
Robert Ladds