Next Bishop of Tewkesbury to be Robert Springett

Press release from Number 10

Suffragan Bishop of Tewkesbury: Robert Wilfrid Springett
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
First published: 25 July 2016

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Robert Wilfrid Springett to the Suffragan See of Tewkesbury.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Venerable Robert Wilfrid Springett, BTh, MA, Archdeacon of Cheltenham, in the Diocese of Gloucester, to the Suffragan See of Tewkesbury, in the Diocese of Gloucester in succession to the Right Reverend Martyn James Snow, BSc, on his translation to the See of Leicester resignation on the 22 February 2016.

Notes for editors

The Venerable Robert Springett (aged 53), studied at Nottingham University for his BTh, and then at London University for his MA. He trained for the ministry at Lincoln Theological College. He served first as curate at Colchester in Chelmsford diocese from 1989 to 1992 before moving to be curate at Basildon from 1992 to 1994. From 1994 to 2001 he was Priest in Charge at Belhus Park and South Ockendon. He was Rural Dean at Thurrock from 1998 to 2001. From 2001 to 2010 he was Rector at Wanstead in Chelmsford diocese and was Area Dean of Redbridge from 2008 to 2010 and Honorary Canon at Chelmsford Cathedral. Since 2010 he has been Archdeacon of Cheltenham.

Robert has also held a wider role locally and nationally over the past six years. Locally these include being the Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education, a Trustee of All Saints Academy and a member of the Council of the University of Gloucester. Nationally Robert is a Bishop’s Advisor for the Church on the selection of men and women for ordination and a member of the National Archdeacons Forum.

Robert is married to Helen, who is a primary head teacher and they have two daughters, Charlotte aged 22 and Alice aged 17.

His interests include the churches ministry in education and wider relationships within the Anglican community.

Announcement from the Diocese of Gloucester

10 comments

  • Chuchu Nwagu says:

    Prayers assured for Ven Robert Springett! He is a nice man

  • DBD says:

    As a member of the ‘Crown Nominations Commission’ [Springett] was one of the representatives the charged with making [Treweek’s] appointment.

    Outside the church, this would be downright bizarre, wouldn’t it?

  • NJW says:

    ‘As a member of the ‘Crown Nominations Commission’ [Springett] was one of the representatives the charged with making [Treweek’s] appointment.
    Outside the church, this would be downright bizarre, wouldn’t it?’

    Not in a world where consultation with the workforce is encouraged and quite often potential colleagues (and subordinates) are involved in the selection process – in fact in my experience (in more than one company) it was quite normal for someone you manage or oversee to have been involved in your appointment.

  • Anthony Archer says:

    The composition of the diocesan representatives elected by and from the vacancy-in-see committee of the diocese does get discussed from time to time. The situation with the bishop’s senior staff team (suffragan bishop, assistant bishop, archdeacon and dean of the cathedral) is that only one of their number may be elected to the CNC, a comparatively recent change. DBD seems to be suggesting that no-one should be a member of the Commission if they themselves (in secular parlance) might end up ‘reporting’ to the new bishop, on the basis that you should not choose your own boss. The fact is that senior staff team members do have much to bring to the workings of the Commission, particularly in terms of the needs of the diocese, and, with only one of them capable of being a member (with only their one vote), their presence can hardly be considered a conflict. I know neither Bishop Rachel nor Bishop-elect Robert, but it seems clear that he was considered the best candidate for the post having been seen ‘in action’ so-to-speak since the new bishop arrived in the diocese. It is very positive for clergy to see appointments to suffragan sees being made from within a diocese. The process is now very rigorous and transparent. Gone are the days when these posts were filled by bringing in ‘friends’ from other dioceses!

  • Kate says:

    Anthony you write a great deal of sense but I am not sure how many people would agree with you that the process is particularly transparent.

  • Anthony Archer says:

    Thank you Kate. How long have you got? I have spent much of my career advising on appointments and also being a thorn in the side of bishops who might not, shall we say, have proper regard for process! My Private Member’s Motion at General Synod in 2005 led to the first Pilling Review, Talent and Calling, and resulted in some improvements to the system. The starting point of course is that appointments to suffragan sees remain Crown appointments under the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534! However, the convention for over 100 years has been that the Church makes the appointment (or at least the diocesan bishop concerned does) and he or she then has to secure the support of the relevant Archbishop for the nomination to be forwarded to Downing Street. By transparent I mean transparent as to process and transparent as far as the candidates are concerned, for it is clergy in particular who deserve to know and have confidence in the system generally. The process is documented at https://www.churchofengland.org/media/1321282/appointment_process_for_suffragan_bishops.pdf It might be time for there to be a review of some of these appointments to check that the bishops are actually behaving themselves but it doesn’t look to me as though this appointment to the See of Tewkesbury is anything other than an entirely proper and good one!

  • Stephen says:

    One would hope the new PM would know the difference between the plural and possessive form of church. Out of interest, is there an Anglican position on when ‘The Church’ should be capitalised?

  • David Lamming says:

    Stephen: also, “on his translation to the See of Leicester resignation on the 22 February 2016.” Translation or resignation? It would seem that there has been some “cutting and pasting” from an earlier announcement in the PM’s office, but not enough cutting!

  • David Lamming says:

    Stephen: also, “on his translation to the See of Leicester resignation on the 22 February 2016.” Translation or resignation? It would seem that there has been some “cutting and pasting” from an earlier announcement in the PM’s office, but not enough cutting!

  • Kate says:

    Anthony, thank you – someone needs to be a thorn in the side. I would still argue that the process is structured but not transparent.

    For instance there seems to be little transparency in terms of reasons for long-listing. At a minimum every candidate not long-listed should be told in writing which aspects of the person or role description they don’t meet.

    For shortlisting, there should be a formal scoring system and unsuccessful candidates should be given their score sheet and told the threshold score for interview.

    Both of these would also allow aspiring candidates to consider their personal development.

    Next, in terms of diversity if someone from each non-religious protected characteristic is not long-listed then the bishop should be required to publish a justification. At the end, the diversity profile of each stage should be published as part of the announcement.

    Likewise, how the panel is selected lacks transparency.

    So for me the two big gaps are that the written procedure should mandate detailed feedback to unsuccessful candidates, diversity statistics should be published and any lack of diversity justified, and, but less importantly, the process for selecting the panel should be clearer.

    Just my thoughts.

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