Thinking Anglicans

Cathedrals Working Group

We reported here on the Bishop of Peterborough’s Visitation Charge to the Cathedral. In his charge the bishop urged “the Archbishops’ Council, the Church Commissioners, and the House of Bishops, to look at whether the current Cathedrals Measure is adequate, and to consider revising it”. In response to the bishop’s request, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today announced that they have set up a Cathedrals Working Group. Details are in this press release, which is copied below the fold.

Frank Cranmer of Law & Religion UK has posted here: Review of the governance of English Cathedrals.

The announcement was anticipated by Catherine Pepinster in yesterday’s Observer: Anglicans launch rescue bid as England’s finest cathedrals battle a financial crisis.

Ruth Gledhill writes today for Christian Today: Cathedrals in England to be given management overhaul after growing cash crisis problems.

Cathedrals Working Group
10 April 2017

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have set up a Cathedrals Working Group, CWG, in response to a request made by the Bishop of Peterborough in his January 2017 Visitation Charge on Peterborough Cathedral for a revision to be carried out of the adequacy of the current Cathedrals Measure.

The CWG will review aspects of cathedral management and governance and produce recommendations for the Archbishops on the implications of these responsibilities with regards to the current Cathedrals Measure. It will be chaired by the Bishop of Stepney, Adrian Newman, the former Dean of Rochester Cathedral, and the Dean of York, Vivienne Faull, will be the vice chair.

The Working Group will look at a number of different areas of Cathedral governance, including training and development for cathedral deans and chapters, financial management issues, the procedure for Visitations, safeguarding matters, buildings and heritage and the role of Cathedrals in contributing to evangelism within their dioceses.

The Bishop of Stepney and the Dean of York said:

“Cathedrals contribute uniquely to the ecology of the Church of England, and we are a healthier, stronger church when they flourish. We are pleased to have this opportunity to review the structures that support their ministry, in order to enhance their role in church and society Cathedrals are one of the success stories of the Church of England, with rising numbers of worshippers. They are a vital part of our heritage and make an incalculable contribution to the life of the communities that they serve. This is an exciting opportunity for the Working Group to look at the different aspects of how Cathedrals work, and to ensure that the legislation and procedures they use are fit for purpose for their mission in the 21st century.”

The Group will report back initially to the Archbishops’ Council, Church Commissioners and House of Bishops in December 2017. Full membership and terms of reference for the Working Group may be found below.

Notes to Editors

Information about the current Cathedrals Measure, passed in 1999 and specifying how Cathedrals are governed, can be found here.

Terms of Reference

The Cathedrals Working Group has been established by the Archbishops in response to the request from the Bishop of Peterborough in his Visitation Charge “to look at whether the current Cathedrals Measure is adequate, and to consider revising it”.

The Working Group will therefore review the sufficiency of the Cathedrals Measure in relation to governance structures in cathedrals, with particular reference to:

Financial management
Major buildings projects
Safeguarding
Accountability, oversight and scrutiny

The Working Group will also review:

Leadership capacity, including training and development needs for Deans and Chapters
The relationship of cathedral governance structures to other key partners, especially the Diocesan Bishop, Diocese and Church Commissioners
The planning, execution, communication and implementation of Cathedral Visitations

The Working Group will report back initially to the Archbishops’ Council, Church Commissioners and House of Bishops in December 2017, with any recommendations for the revision of the Cathedrals Measure and any other relevant findings.

Membership

Chair: Rt Revd Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney

Vice-Chair: Very Revd Vivienne Faull, Dean of York

Mrs Julie Dziegel, member of General Synod (Oxford) and of the Archbishops’ Council Finance Committee
Andrew Holroyd OBE, Executive Chairman, Jackson Canter Solicitors, Lay Canon of Liverpool Cathedral
Carl Hughes, Global Leader, Energy & Resources, Deloitte Consulting
Richard Oldfield, Chairman, Oldfield Partners
Baroness Maeve Sherlock OBE
Jennie Page CBE, Former Vice Chair of the Cathedral Fabrics Commission for England, Vice Chair, Church Buildings Council
Dr Fiona Spiers, former Regional Director for Yorkshire and Humber, Heritage Lottery Fund
Rt Hon Jack Straw MP
Rt Revd Tim Stevens, former Bishop of Leicester

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Kate
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Kate

Sensible decision but, given the uproar in York over ringers, making the Dean of York vice chair is possibly contentious.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“Possibly contentious.”

Indeed — or worse.

If this CWG began due to financial problems in Peterborough, why is safeguarding in the remit?

Is Archbishop Sentamu using this CWG to send the 30 York ringers sacked by Dean Faull a message?

Why would he want to do that?

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

You can have all the financial management you like, but if there isn’t the money to keep the show on the road, that’s what the accounts will tell you. The real question is not how are cathedrals to be managed but what are they for, what fundraising activities might be compatible with that, and whether given those two things they are sustainable on the present basis. The difficulty is that the “what/who is it for” question is contested, and even more contested is the compatibility of fundraising activities. But these are questions being faced by parish churches the length and… Read more »

David Lamming
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David Lamming

This announcement is a welcome prompt response to Bishop Allister’s plea, and to the question I asked about it at the General Synod in February 2017. This is the question and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reply (taken from the record of proceedings): “56. Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) asked the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council: The Bishop of Peterborough, in his recent Visitation Charge to Peterborough Cathedral, concluded with “Reflections for the House of Bishops and the National Church Institutions” that included this paragraph: “I urge the Archbishops’ Council, the Church Commissioners, and the House of Bishops, to… Read more »

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

It does seem surprising that there is so little representation on that group of clerics currently in cathedral ministry.

I’m kind of hoping that the English Cathedral Deans shortly announce that they are going to have a review of episcopal ministry and announce an appropriate working group to take this forward.

Fr William
Guest

Mr Bennett hits several nails on heads. Considering large urban churches (I have two such, and a third smaller one) get no central support, I think we do pretty well to keep any sort of show on the road bearing in mind huge towers, rickety roofs, deteriorating stonework, damp, enormous barns impossible to heat, and so on. Spending what little reserves some of them have in order to pay the share is crazy. So we don’t. But I’ve never really understood money – I’m like Mr Micawber. Maybe it’s my Cumbrian rural Wesleyan upbringing in the 1950s and 60s.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

I wish the CWG well but I doubt making changes to the Cathedrals Measure will make much difference. It’s about people. Get the right people and the mission will flourish, by the grace of God. Stuff the great and good on your Cathedral Council and allow the Dean and Chapter to just hope the money will come in (I see the CWG is long on lottery expertise) is bound to lead to problems. The membership of the group seems quite long on theology (fair enough), but also with the predictable accountants, lawyer (one) and asset manager (one). Not much sign… Read more »

Sam
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Sam

Does anyone else share my fear that the conclusion of the report will be “more centralisation, more episcopal control”?

Colin Graham
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Colin Graham

This is the death knell of the unique contribution cathedrals make to the ecclesial topography of the Church of England. Mark Bennett asks what cathedrals are for. Apart from being the seat of the bishop in each diocese, and therefore central to the Church of England’s ecclesiology, they are also places of primary mission. They attract large numbers of people, notably those in their 20s, 30s and 40s who are repelled by the ‘you are very welcome on our terms’ mentality that people encounter in too many of our parish churches. They offer space, intelligent preaching, are usually staffed by… Read more »

David Lamming
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David Lamming

Actually, Anthony (post 10 April @ 8.59 pm) there are two lawyer members of the CWG: Andrew Holroyd (solicitor) and Jack Straw (barrister). Andrew’s CV on his firm’s website has this encouraging concluding comment: “Andrew welcomes the chance to solve problems at an early stage before they develop into more serious issues.” (By the way, yesterday’s announcement gives him an OBE; he was further awarded a CBE in 2008.)

Robert Ellis
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Robert Ellis

I think Sam is absolutely right in his fears….and I rather suspect that is what lies at the heart of the problem. The unique position of cathedrals is their strength….and in any case it would make a bishop’s undoable job even worse…of course cathedrals will occasionally have problems…but let the leadership support them not take them over….their independence allows them to experiment and try new things, some of which may well be controversial and the bishops can distance themselves and not have to take ownership.

Susannah Clark
Guest

I understand the anxieties being expressed by some people here about reducing cathedrals’ autonomy and a feared drift towards overbearing episcopal control. However I suspect that the Working Group will operate in a more nuanced way. It is altogether reasonable to want to financially safeguard what are both primary communities of mission and priceless treasures of heritage. That does not mean ‘bolting on’ an evangelical or HTB modus operandi via episcopal interference. What probably will be really important for this Working Group is that they seek out, reach out and listen to the people already deep in the heart of… Read more »

Fr John Emlyn Harris-White
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Fr John Emlyn Harris-White

Kelvin you hit the nail on the head. It is the English college of Bishops that should come under investigation, and the present managerial roles of the present Archbishops. Plenty of management, but lacking spirituality, and theology.
The usual story of episcopal jealousy of effective cathedrals.
By their fruits ye shall know them.

Fr John Emlyn

David Lamming
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David Lamming

I wonder if John Emlyn has read Bishop Donald Allister’s Visitation Charge, which prompted the appointment of the CWG. This is not about “episcopal jealousy of effective cathedrals” but a response to proper concerns about some cathedrals (not just Peterborough) that are not fully effective and thereby risk prejudicing Church’s mission. To address these concerns is a joint responsibility of the Bishop, Diocese, and the Cathedral Chapter. It is worth quoting what Bishop Allister said in paragraph 4 of his Visitation Charge: “I believe it right, mutually beneficial, and in accord with the Christian Gospel, that Bishop, Cathedral, and Diocese… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“concerns about some cathedrals . . . that are not fully effective”

Hang on. “Effective” and “in annual financial surplus” are not the same thing.

If “effectiveness” is the issue, then how is the CWG to measure that?

Let’s all remember that when a charity is looked at by people whose primary business is money, those people tend to focus on the metric that they can grasp most readily.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Andrew Holroyd is a former President of the Law Society of England and Wales and known to me. He is a good person. However, as to his honour, gone are the days when there was an automatic knighthood on offer!

Michael Mulhern
Guest
Michael Mulhern

Unfortunately, Welby and Sentamu cannot use this ruse to deal with their bête noir. Christ Church, Oxford is not only NOT subject to the Cathedrals’ measure of 1999 – the CWG won’t get within miles of Tom Quad. Martyn Percy is as safe as houses (or The House, to be precise). He must be the only dean laughing about this inquisition.

Kate
Guest
Kate

With the Dean of York as Vice Chair, I don’t think this is a land grab by the bishops as some suspect. Why would the bishops want to become responsible for the financial mess some cathedrals are in? Any new restrictions will be in the measure explicitly rather than moving any control to the bishops. After the Guiding Principles, the appalling Bishops Reflection Group and the fiasco in Sheffield, I know people are suspicious of the bishops’ motives – understandably so – but in this case I don’t think that there are hidden agendas. I think the CWG is probably… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

We Anglicans, in Christchurch, New Zealand, have a somewhat different ‘Cathedral’ problem. With the earthquakes, which partially destroyed our ‘Cathedral in The Square’, our diocesan authorities quickly realised that replacement would be a fiscal impossibility. After due process, our diocesan synod decided to demolish the badly damaged building and replace it with a modern, less expensive (to meet the insurance $40 million payout) safer, more worship- convenient and quake-proofed building. However, local heritage interests – not necessarily Anglican worshippers – decided to pursue relentless litigation to prevent the Church from doing what it deemed best to replace a structure that… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

I had better start with a confession. I am a member of the Chichester Cathedral Council and chair of the Cathedral Community Committee. My comments are my own and I have not discussed the establishment of this Working Group or my views with anyone. While there have been two recent Visitations which have resulted in the resignations of Deans and other clergy can it really be the case that the other 40 English cathedrals are all in such a state as to require this sort of enquiry? I have to ask, why have the remarks by the Bishop of Peterborough… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Kate, are the bishops in some sense responsible because they have visitation rights? (Regardless of whether the bishops end up exercising those rights?)

It’s possible that this review will result in more day-to-day control by the bishops, so that the more drastic remedy of a visitation becomes less necessary.

But I’m going to show my ignorance and ask a more basic, background question.

As matters currently stand, whether under this Measure or other law, is each cathedral required to make its annual financial statements public?

henry dee
Guest
henry dee

The problem with future maintenance and upkeep of Cathedrals and especially listed Parish Churches is an issue that needs addressing now. How many parish churches will have to be closed and mothballed in the next 10 years? We all know it’s inevitable with falling numbers and the CofE can’t afford it. I know in France it’s the Government that has responsibility, but in this country would the same be true??

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Jeremy wonders “whether under this Measure or other law, is each cathedral required to make its annual financial statements public”. Yes they are. They must be displayed in a public place (section 27(3)(b) of the Measure). Other than that they are required to present their financial statements to the Cathedral Council, the College of Canons and the Church Commissioners, under the Measure (sections 3(6)(c), 5(4)(a) and 27(3)(a) respectively). Section 27(3)(a) also provides that a copy must be sent “to any other person who requests it”. The Measure does not apply to “the cathedral church of Christ in Oxford”, but the… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Thanks, Simon Kershaw. Very informative.

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

Isn’t part of the reason for the stalemate over cathedrals because of this strange Anglican (or just English?) idea that the bishop is just a visitor to his/her cathedral and not its chief pastor? How did this tradition arise and when does it date back to? If bishops saw their role as analogous to a parish priest: the normal liturgical president of the community and hence its pastor, instead of a distant administrator/manager, lots of problems might be solved.

Verulamius
Guest
Verulamius

The annual report and financial statements for St Albans Cathedral are published on their website: https://www.stalbanscathedral.org/community/organisation/cathedral-annual-reports-and-statutory-accounts

I am not sure about other cathedrals.

Commentator
Guest
Commentator

Isn’t the Diocesan bishop automatically on the Cathedral council? That’s the body which has final scrutiny of a cathedral’s finances and proposed budgets. If a cathedral has gone wrong financially the Diocesan bishop has failed in his duty of scrutiny as a member of the Council. The checks are already in place. They’re simply not properly used by those to whom they are entrusted, notable amongst whom is the bishop

Simon Kershaw
Admin

The bishop is not technically a member of the Cathedral Council, but he “is entitled to be present and speak, but not to vote, at meetings” (to quote the 1999 Measure).

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

So is this an attempt by bishops to get the right to vote at Cathedral Councils?

The question then becomes: Is there any history of bishops raising concerns, but not being able to act on them (or not being able to convince the Council to act on them), due to lack of voting power?

Seems unlikely.

To draw an analogy to arts organisations: Are bishops more like executive directors–the green-eyeshade, managerial types?

Or are bishops more like artistic directors–the people who want to spend money on unquantifiably valuable things?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Having reviewed the Measure a bit more closely, I’m beginning to think that cathedral governance does need a review. In particular I wonder whether section 1–the purpose of cathedrals–is too narrowly drawn. To be the seat of the bishop and a “centre” for worship and mission? What kind of duty is that? I don’t know what that means–and I expect that Deans and Chapters do not either. So they run their cathedrals for their own convenience. But that is wrong. Aren’t cathedrals supposed to serve the public? Shouldn’t this principle be written into the measure? And to whom are chapters… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin

There is a difference between the older cathedrals and the newer ones. The old cathedrals (those that were cathedrals before 1836) never had parishes, and there are no parishioners’ rights. They exist to be cathedrals, to be the seat of the bishop, and their deans and residentiary canons are appointed by the Crown and by the bishop. They have legal title to the property (though most of the historic property and assets outside the close have long since been transferred to what is now the Church Commissioners). Cathedral Councils were created to keep an eye on the Chapter, to represent… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“They exist to be cathedrals, to be the seat of the bishop, and their deans and residentiary canons are appointed by the Crown and by the bishop.”

Am I the only one who thinks this is a problem? Seems like
Deans and Chapters are private religious clubs, accountable to no one.

And this is how the cathedrals of an established church are run! It’s positively mediaeval.

Cathedrals should be more like parishes–that way chapters will be accountable to the communities they are meant to serve.