Sunday, 18 July 2004

appointment of deans

Three questions were asked at General Synod in York on this subject.

Mr Anthony Archer (St Albans)
What is the process for appointing deans of cathedrals and what role, in particular, does the Archbishop of the relevant province play in that process?

Mr Geoffrey Locke (Lichfield)
What are the respective roles of the Crown and the Archbishop of the province in the appointment of a cathedral dean?

Dr Philip Jeffrey (Chichester)
What are the respective roles, in the appointment of a cathedral dean, of the Diocesan Bishop, the Crown, and the Archbishop of the Province?

Mr William Fittall, Secretary General, answered:
The process followed for Crown appointments to deaneries is a matter for the Crown. It is a matter of public record that the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary undertakes extensive soundings on the qualities and skills required within the cathedral, the diocese and the wider civic community. He then discusses potential candidates with the diocesan bishop who has a real say in the choice of names for the final shortlist. As a normal part of the process the Archbishop of the Province is also made aware of names under consideration and has an opportunity to comment should he wish. A shortlist is then placed before the Prime Minister by his Appointments Secretary. It is for the Prime Minister to decide whom to recommend to Her Majesty.

Mr Anthony Archer is also sponsoring a Private Member’s Motion on Senior Church Appointments, which will get debated in synod provided it obtains more signatures of members than other such motions. At the start of the York synod meeting it had 110 signatures and lay fifth in the list. Three items above it were debated at York, so it is likely to come up next year, unless overtaken by others.
The wording of the motion is below the fold.

Senior Church Appointments

That this Synod:

  • (i) consider that the Church should adopt an integrated and consistent method for the making of appointments to senior ecclesiastical office (other than diocesan bishops) to ensure that all appointments are transparent and encourage the confidence of the Church in the procedures that support the final selection; and
  • (ii) request the Archbishops’ Council to commission a working party (to be chaired by a person independent of the Council and the Synod) to review and make recommendations (without limitation) as to:
    • (a) the office of suffragan bishop, dean, archdeacon, and residentiary canon, and the functions, demands and requirements of these senior ecclesiastical ministries in a changing Church;
    • (b) the law and practice regarding appointments to these offices, including:-
      • (A) the role and practice adopted by diocesan bishops in the making of nominations to suffragan sees; and
      • (B) the role of the Crown in the making of appointments to the other senior church offices referred to above and how it is discharged (and in particular the possibility of seeking agreeemnt to the functions of the Ministers of the Crown either (i) being transferrred to the Archbishop of the province concerned, or (ii) becoming purely formal ones involving the submission of the advice received from the Archbishop),

and for the Archbishops’ Council to report back to the Synod within eighteen months of the date of this debate.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 18 July 2004 at 5:44 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: General Synod

The motion has now received 170 signatures and will almost certainly be debated at the 2005 February Group of Sessions of the General Synod. I will keep you informed of developments and send you relevant briefings.

Posted by: Anthony Archer at August 4, 2004 09:14 PM