Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Dean of Christ Church Oxford to be Martyn Percy

Number 10 has announced that the next Dean of Christ Church, Oxford is to be the Revd Canon Professor Martyn Percy.

Deanery of Christ Church, Oxford: Reverend Canon Professor Martyn Percy

The Queen has approved that the Reverend Canon Professor Martyn William Percy, BA (Hons), MEd, PhD, Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon, be appointed Dean of Christ Church, Oxford in succession to the Very Reverend Christopher Andrew Lewis BA, PhD, on his resignation.

Professor Martyn Percy

Professor Martyn Percy was educated at Bristol University, Sheffield University and at King’s College, London. He trained for the ordained ministry at Durham University. Since 2004, he has been the Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon. The College also incorporates the Oxford Ministry Course, the West of England Ministerial Training Course, and the Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology (a research and consultancy centre).

Professor Percy is a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford, Professorial Research Fellow at Heythrop College, London and Visiting Professor of Theological Education at King’s College, London. He is an Honorary Canon of Salisbury Cathedral, and a former Canon Theologian at Sheffield Cathedral. He has served as Curate at St. Andrew’s Bedford, and then as Chaplain and Director of Theology and Religious Studies at Christ’s College, Cambridge. From 1997 to 2004 he was the Director of the Lincoln Theological Institute for the Study of Religion and Society.

Martyn has served as a Director and Council member of the Advertising Standards Authority, and as a member of the Independent Complaints Panel for the Portman Group (the self-regulating body for the alcoholic drinks industry). He is currently a Commissioner of the Direct Marketing Authority as well as an Advisor to the British Board of Film Classification. Since 2003 he has co-ordinated the Society for the Study of Anglicanism at the American Academy of Religion. He writes on Christianity and contemporary culture and modern ecclesiology. His recent books include Anglicanism: Confidence, Commitment and Communion (2013) and Thirty-Nine New Articles: An Anglican Landscape of Faith (2013). Professor Percy is 51, and married to the theologian the Revd. Dr. Emma Percy, who is Chaplain and Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. They have 2 sons.

This is a unique appointment, combining as it does the headship of an Oxford College and the deanship of a cathedral. Christ Church has its own announcement as do the Diocese of Oxford and Ripon College Cuddesdon.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 11:20am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Congratulations to the new Dean a very deep and profound thinker whose writings are always food for thought and thought provoking.
It would seem from the photograph on the Oxford diocesan website that goatee/Vandyke beards are now invading our Deaneries as well as our Episcopal Palaces.

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 12:30pm BST

This is an excellent appointment for a priest who has extensive knowledge of Anglicanism and has always confidently and articulately put the liberal cause. Not mentioned in his CV is that he was a one-time editor of 'Modern Believing' the Journal of Modern Church.

Martyn Percy could become what we are currently missing since the sad demise of Colin Slee of Southwark, a 'big name Dean' who is listened to at a national and international level.

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 2:04pm BST

There goes my suggestion that he be appointed to one of the currently vacant Bishoprics. A great appointment.

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 10:07pm BST

Great appointment for Christ Church, the diocese, Oxford - and the wider church. Interesting that the process for this post was not run by the CofE or CNC. Makes you wonder what the CNC and CofE think they have been up to of late, in missing out securing Canon Percy for other vacancies.

Posted by: Rev Barbara Evans on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 at 12:45pm BST

Edward Prebble is quite correct, Principals of Cuddesdon quite often get a tea-cosy. Off the top of my head I can think of John Garton, David Wilcox and Robert Runcie, all of whom became bishops; I'm sure there must be others to add to the list. However, it's rather good and makes a nice change that the present Principal is going to a highly significant and influential Deanery.

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 at 3:01pm BST

The question of the appointment of the Dean of Christ Church is a kind of 'how long have you got?' one. Christ Church is not technically a Royal peculiar, more a non-royal peculiar. The Queen is the Visitor. The appointment of Dean remains a Crown appointment, hence the press announcement from Downing Street. However, unlike the appointment of the Very Revd Christopher Lewis as the current Dean in 2003 when my understanding is that the Prime Minister's Appointments Secretary was very involved, this time the new convention has been adopted by which the first name nominated is accepted. The process for deciding that name was largely in the gift of the Governing Body of Christ Church, having consulted with the Bishop of Oxford. It remains also the case that the Dean must be a clerk in holy orders of at least six years' standing, somewhat narrowing the field! It would not be entirely straightforward to remove that requirement, although there must be some dons who would wish to do so for the future. As for Revd Canon Professor Martyn Percy, his appointment is inspirational. He would of course have been papabile in CNC terms to be a diocesan bishop but I have no doubt his appointment as Dean is of far greater benefit to the CofE and academia.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 at 7:45pm BST

It may be worth noting that the advertised remuneration for this rather extraordinary post seems to be the highest in the Church of England - unless others know different.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Thursday, 15 May 2014 at 12:07am BST

Nevertheless Anthony Archer, had Martyn Percy been given a diocese it would have given the Bench a much needed scholar bishop to add lustre to all the mission minded men currently being consecrated in droves. However, I think he will have much more influence as Dean of Christ Church than he would chasing round the countryside with crook, cope and mitre laying hands upon the Brycremed heads of callow youths.

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 15 May 2014 at 5:01am BST

Of course, there might be mission-minded scholar clerics. Even in the current House of Bishops.

Posted by: Charles Read on Thursday, 15 May 2014 at 9:25am BST

I agree with Fr David, above. A great appointment and wise use of a fine scholar, and who has clearly run a complex college already. Yet I still can't figure out why the CNC and CofE passed over him. It is not as if the bench of bishops is flush with talent these days. Most of the recent appointments have been very bland. But Canon percy is still young, so our hope is not yet lost here.

Posted by: Rev. Barbara Evans on Thursday, 15 May 2014 at 9:27am BST

Does the Dean of Christ Church receive a greater stipend than Cantuar then (he asked in all innocence!)? I seem to recall from the dim and distant past that the Feoffes (who are the Patrons of the Living) used to remunerate the Vicar of Spalding with an enormous stipend, more than the Bishop of Lincoln received in his monthly pay packet. I don't know if this still applies or has it be rationalised (i.e. greatly reduced) by the Church Commissioners.
Of course, Dean Christopher Lewis was, in fact, Vicar of Spalding, there followed stints at Canterbury and St. Albans, prior to taking up the Decanal post at Oxford. I further note that the good Dean has been one of the few clergymen in the Established Church to reach the compulsory retiring age of 70, before throwing in the towel. I wish him a long, healthy, happy and wealthy retirement.

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 15 May 2014 at 9:29am BST

£85,000 for the Deanery of Christ Church.

Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of York
Bishop of London

Diocesan Bishops
Suffragan Bishops

Assistant Bishops (full-time)

Residentiary Canons
Regionally adjusted

All "stipends", apparently. (from http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1910519/gs%20misc%201065%20-%20csa%20report%202013.pdf )

Posted by: Richard on Thursday, 15 May 2014 at 4:47pm BST

The Dean of Christ Church receives a "stipend" (it is really a salary) in line with the responsibilities and market for a Head of House of an Oxford college. The range is very wide, being currently approximately £75,000 - £135,000.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Thursday, 15 May 2014 at 8:13pm BST

Holy Poverty is not exactly reflected in this list of (Archi) Episcopal stipends. Sounds more like the current emoluments culture of civil C.E.O.s

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 16 May 2014 at 1:23am BST

I doubt that the stipend was a factor in Canon Percy going to Christ Church. Of more concern to me (here I speak as a non-conformist minister) is why someone with a clear vision for public theology, and who can make a weighty theological and Christian difference to our national life, was basically ignored by the CofE and CNC. But thankfully Christ Church did not fail to look this particular gift horse in the mouth, so good for them.

Posted by: Rev Barbara Evans on Friday, 16 May 2014 at 9:52am BST

Charles Read "Of course there might be mission- minded scholar clerics. Even in the current House of Bishops."
Name, rank and serial number please Charles?

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 16 May 2014 at 10:04am BST

I'm sure the CNC has considered Prof Percy for some of the bishoprics that have been filled lately. He simply didn't get the necessary votes when it came to it. One of the problems with the CNC is the increased representation from the diocese, to 6. The H of B could do with some theologians...but I suspect dioceses are somewhat wary....

Posted by: Perry Butler on Friday, 16 May 2014 at 7:11pm BST

"Sounds more like the current emoluments culture of civil C.E.O.s" Fr. Ron Smith

Only if you add several zeroes! Their salaries are similar to NHS middle managers or secondary school headteachers. Whatever else one can criticise the Archbishops for, they are hardly doing it for the money.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Friday, 16 May 2014 at 7:39pm BST

Father David is misinformed about the wealth of the Vicar of Spalding. The 17th century founding scheme to administer the charity was revised a few years ago during my tenure of the office - it was incompatible with small matters such as income tax. Nothing to do with the Church Commissioners, but a pragmatic, and much needed, reform by the excellent local feoffees.

Posted by: Tim Barker on Friday, 16 May 2014 at 9:28pm BST

Perry Butler is exactly right. ++Rowan was concerned that the CNC system, especially when diocesan representation was increased from four to six (Revd Stephen Trott in the relevant debate wanted the number increased to eight - enough said), would give the diocese too much influence. There is now no way that a +Sykes or +Selby will get nominated. Dioceses come to the CNC, as they have for nearly 10 years, with the realisation that the church is struggling and that the sole focus is on mission. I don't necessarily disagree with that. Whether or not Professor Percy was considered for recent diocesan vacancies only he can admit, assuming he was interviewed. At the end of the day, candidates need to get a 2/3 majority in the CNC. There are many who are never preferred to a diocesan bishopric. Another structural reason for that is that the CofE is a very flat structure.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Friday, 16 May 2014 at 10:46pm BST

£85,000 may sound a lot of money to a poor parson struggling on a meagre stipend but it is considerably less than many Head teachers of large Comprehensive Schools receive as their annual remuneration.
Anthony Archer's latest Comment must surely start alarm bells ringing. If all the current system is producing is mission minded clones, then any sense of balance and variety among the Psaltery will soon be lost and that will surely be to the detriment of the national Church. Recent comments have described the emerging episcopate as "bland" and made up of "company men" which is far from encouraging. If there is no hope that we shall appoint a +Sykes or a +Selby, what are the chances that we shall ever appoint again a ++Ramsey or a +Bell? Probably Nil!

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 17 May 2014 at 8:00am BST

I agree with Fr David, above. The managers run the show in the CofE now, and they don't want theologians asking deep, risky, awkward or intelligent questions about faith and public life. If I was the Archbishop, I'd have a Stewards Enquiry on why the CNC didn't take Canon Percy when they could. Great that Christ Church did, but what excuse have the CNC got? I suppose that the CNC is also quite managerial these days, and that this explains the rather bland, uniform appointments made to the episcopate over the last decade. So, there will be no more +Selby's or +Sykes - until you change the CNC system and the managers running it. It's not my denomination, as I say, so not my problem. But actually, this sort of thing does matter quite a lot to people (and Christians) who are not in the CofE. So could the CNC please have a go at selecting some interesting bishops, for a change?

Posted by: Revd Barbara Evans on Saturday, 17 May 2014 at 6:21pm BST

Neither of the archbishops needs to hold a Stewards Enquiry into the CNC, as both of them are members of it (and one or other them is always the chairman of it, depending where the vacant see is located).

And, I am not quite clear why Stephen Sykes is being held up as a super model of a diocesan bishop. What did he do, qua bishop, that was so wonderful?

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 17 May 2014 at 10:57pm BST

I'm starting to feel rather worried, if not threatened, as the words "I agree with Father David" have appeared no less than three times in recent comments!
I remember that in the 2010 General Election leaders debate between Brown, Cameron and Clegg the words "I agree with Nick" kept emanating from Gordon and David's lips and look what has happened to poor Cleggers since then!
What was so wonderful about Stephen Sykes, Simon asks? Well, for a start, having been Principal of Theological College he brought a certain gravitas to the Bench with his fine academic mind. I notice the same question isn't being asked about the two examples that I personally cited - Michael Ramsey who, quite simply, was one of our great and wonderful Anglican saints and George Bell who had the courage to speak out against the Government in time of War and was also a great advocate for Christian Unity.

Posted by: Father David on Sunday, 18 May 2014 at 6:39am BST

Responding to Simon, am I right in saying that the Archbishops have a vote each at CNC, so only two out of fourteen? So whether or not they want a Selby, Sykes, Bell, Ramsey, Robinson, Jenkins or other, they ain't necessarily going to get one. What is so good about these scholars and thinkers as bishops? Well, they were 'Thinking Anglicans'. So very good for the rest of the church, and better still for those of us who are not Anglicans, and for national life more generally, because they open up the church, faith and theology to the public. Today's managers, with their focus on mission, alas, do no not. Enough said, I think. But i do agree with David!

Posted by: Rev. Barbara Evans on Sunday, 18 May 2014 at 10:01am BST
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