Wallington’s Holy Trinity Church explained it will only seek men to fill a vacancy after a church council decided the next leader should be male for ‘biblical reasons’ in a newsletter given out to church-goers.

The newsletter handed out to the congregation, on Sunday, November 20, outlines the church’s reasons to appoint a man to the position of vicar in its ‘leadership and gender roles in Christ’s church’ section of information and events page.

It reads: “At our recent open evening we explained the parish church council’s view that the position of the overall leader (vicar) should be male for biblical reasons. Thank you to all those who shared their questions, views and points.

“We have now produced a summary sheet setting out the principle reasons from scripture for maintaining the historic position of this church on this matter.”

The same newsletter also asked its members to “pray for an urgent visit by a boiler specialist”.

Wallington resident Alexa Carey, 33, of Woodcote Road, said: “I think it’s okay to have a female vicar, but if the parish aren’t comfortable with it then maybe not.

“I know if I was a vicar I wouldn’t want to come into a hostile environment. I think generally there are more open minded people but I assume there are still pockets of people that aren’t.

Women members of the Church of England have been ordained to the priest and vicar titles since 1994 and the appointment of female bishops was a key aim of Justin Welby when he became the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013 before it became law in November 2014.

Libby Lane became the first woman to be appointed as a bishop by the Church of England following her consecration took place at York Minster on January 26, 2015.

However, some branches of Christianity such as the Catholic and Orthodox churches do not appoint women into leadership positions.

Under the legislation passed by the General Synod which allowed women to become bishops, provision was made for those who for theological reasons could not accept the oversight of a woman diocesan bishop to petition for alternative Episcopal oversight.  

A spokeswoman from the Diocese of Southwark said: "Although women play a full part in helping to lead a number of activities at Holy Trinity, Wallington they have asked for alternative oversight.  

"Bishop Christopher has agreed to this and such oversight will be provided by the Bishop of Maidstone.

"This allows them to say, as a congregation, that they do not wish to receive the ministry of a woman Bishop or priest and thus to be able to advertise for a male priest."

Do you attend Holy Trinity Church in Wallington? Share your views by emailing anders.anglesey@london.newsquest.co.uk, or call 020 8722 6358.