Comments: Bishops’ office and working costs

Couldn't we get a rather less inept leadership for 15.9 million quid?

Posted by Fr Mark at Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 12:18pm GMT

Quite an area for rationalisation and cost cutting, then.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 3:48pm GMT

I see Jeffrey John's behaviour several years ago as admirable, he "gave up the honours that had been thrust upon for the good of the Church" just like one of my heroes, St. Chad. Chad was quite a guy. The then AbpofC demanded he buy a horse, because he though it beneath the dignity of a bishop to walk, and he wasn't going to have it said that one of his bishops walked around his diocese. Chad relented and bought the horse, but walked along by its side as his chaplain rode along to the next parish. We need more like him.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 5:04pm GMT

By American standards, even calculated at the current rate with a weak dollar, this does not seem excessive. Indeed that is why the Episcopal Church is seen as rich by other Anglican churches. Unfortunately, the generosity of TEC is now seen as a negative by some of those who have been and continue to be its beneficiaries, and have become obsessed with one unimportant diocese that happens to have a gay bishop. I think the CoE is getting pretty good value for money.

Posted by Andrew at Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 6:30pm GMT

Do these figures include the cost of the spine removal surgery?

Posted by JPM at Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 6:36pm GMT

What a ridiculous waste of money.

Why do you need all this myriad of bureaucracy?

Andrew: I honestly don't think many in the UK would agree! I think that there could be a cutting of the number of dioceses for a start

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 8:52pm GMT

UKP 40,000 per bishop for salary (average) doesn't seem excessive.

UKP 100,000 for support staff and other overhead seems a bit much.

And why are there 2.5 bishops per diocese?

Posted by dave paisley at Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 11:54pm GMT

The published figures go back to 2000, during which the number of bishops has declined by 1 (less than 1%) whilst the number of clergy overall has declined by 10%.

The total costs for the bishops, including housing, have risen from £15.8m to £24.5m in that time.

Posted by david keen at Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 9:04am GMT

David K: Yes, one can see this as another example of the current Anglican obsession with making everyone a general, whether or not there are any footsoldiers left. I think if you looked at figures over, say the last century, they would show a massive decline in Anglican church attendance in England, but a relentless increase in the number of bishops. An intelligent review of leadership might come up with some radical solutions to cut the top-heavy nature of the C of E. This top-heavy view of leadership is what leads to the idea that church is all about high-level agreed documents/covenants/policies, and has precious little sense of the pastoral reality of the outworking of its policies, which are currently so inhuman and illogical when applied on the ground to gay people.

Posted by Fr Mark at Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 9:46am GMT

I did a story on these as well, thought they were quite interesting. See:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3048227.ece

Posted by Ruth Gledhill at Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 5:13pm GMT

Thanks for the link, Ruth, that's an interesting story. I've got to the point where I could happily see the lot of them packed off to semis on council estates!

Posted by Fr Mark at Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 9:49pm GMT

Let me shoot a few fish out of this particular barrel.

There has no way been a 10% reduction in C of E clergy since 2000. The posting may have mistaken clergy numbers for the number of stipendiary clergy (pretty insulting to the increasing band of non-stipendiary and self-supporting priests and deacons). Nor, I suspect has the figure taken account of House for Duty priests and retired clergy licensed under seal (and hence VERY active in ministry). The mixed economy of paid and unpaid, ordained and lay ministers (Reader numbers are also buoyant) takes at least as much oversight if not more than the traditional model of a stipendiary priest doing all.

Since 2000 we have also had much more rigorous Child Protection procedures, Data Protection legislation has come into force, we have a new (and at last workable) Clergy Discipline Measure and a continuing need to promote Pastoral Re-organisation plans in order to meet the mixed economy's needs. Clergy move post more often than before, and every single recruitment requires a highly consultative and interactive process to be overseen. Clergy demands (and legitimate expectation) for more frequent and more purposesful Ministerial Review have come on line ahead of them being made compulsory under the Common Tenure proposals.

It would be good to hear from other provinces as to whether they are managing on a higher number of parishes per bishop. I suspect England has (one of?) the lowest proportion of bishops to parishes across the communion.

David P asks why 2.5 bishops per diocese. I think this is a consequence of the C of E ceasing to create new dioceses from about 1920 onwards. It has proved more efficient to stay at sub-regional size (the same as the number of police forces) but to create additional episcopal posts within existing dioceses to meet the needs. In my own case two bishops allows a more continuous episcopal care to be offered whilst allowing for vacancies, holidays, illness, general workload and duties outside the diocese.

David (a snip at about 34K office and staff costs if I've added the figures correctly)

Posted by David Walker at Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 9:25am GMT

David W - my apologies, it's stipendiary clergy that have reduced (according to the 'Sheffield formula' figures), not clergy overall, though since Bishops are stipendiary clergy too, I still think it's a fair comparison. If the whole paid/unpaid thing really doesn't matter that much, then why not apply it to episcopal ministry as well as parish ministry?

Posted by David Keen at Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 12:14pm GMT

This document doesn't seem to tell us what the various bishop£s stipends are. Where is this info published?

Posted by Neil at Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 1:01pm GMT

Bishops' stipends in 2007/08 are

Archbishop of Canterbury £67,790
Archbishop of York £57,210
Bishop of London £55,380
Other diocesan bishops £36,230
Suffragan bishops £29,560
Full-time assistant bishops £28,610

These figures can be found in the annual report of the Church Commissioners. The report can be downloaded from here:
http://www.cofe.anglican.org/about/churchcommissioners/annualreport/

Posted by Peter Owen at Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 6:03pm GMT

Thanks for this. I noticed some figures appearing recently in the post Christmas press.

Posted by Neil at Friday, 28 December 2007 at 11:32pm GMT
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