Comments: Staff changes at Lambeth Palace

Very, very good news. This is a very good move, structurally, and Bishop Nigel is a very good choice.

Posted by Jonathan Jennings at Tuesday, 25 June 2013 at 2:49pm BST

Thank you, Jonathan, for your input (if I may).

We had heard there would be some major changes, including a serious staff reduction.

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 25 June 2013 at 4:38pm BST

Now let's see. So Canterbury has a "super-suffragan" in charge of his diocese and a "super-diocesan" to oversee the bishops in his metropolitical jurisdiction. That should leave him plenty of time to head up the Anglican Communion.

There is something of a difference here with Francis who has embraced his function as Bishop of Rome and teaches from that perspective. My old friends in Rome say it is driving the Curia nuts!

But others tell me this is a great turnabout. They say that when Rowan Williams arrived at Lambeth he went alone and was not allowed to make any changes or take his own staff. Is this true?

Posted by Fr Alan-Bury at Tuesday, 25 June 2013 at 10:45pm BST

'But others tell me this is a great turnabout. They say that when Rowan Williams arrived at Lambeth he went alone and was not allowed to make any changes or take his own staff. Is this true?'

I have heard that, but who didn't allow him to make changes? Justin is clearly a very different personality and is clearly not intimidated by the Lambeth curia.

Posted by Susan Cooper at Wednesday, 26 June 2013 at 12:29am BST

Thank you Susan Cooper, I had thought the Jennings who welcomed the appointment above was the one who was at Lambeth Palace then

Well, my informant tells me it was the bishop at Lambeth, Richard Llewellin, who told Williams he had to accept what he found. Williams never replaced him.

Wasn't the original idea for this bishop at Lambeth post to bring someone from outside the wider Anglican Communion into the heart of the administration?

I see there is an article in the Telegraph saying Welby will be cutting out some more advisors who are blamed for making Williams look so wimpish.

Posted by Fr Alan-Bury at Wednesday, 26 June 2013 at 9:55am BST

Really good appointment. I was a central member of the CNC at the time! The Bishop at Lambeth model worked well and I could never quite work out why it was abandoned after +Llewellyn. ++Cantuar needs more than a Chief of Staff. Having said that Chris Smith has served three archbishops with distinction. He deserves an Honour. Kay Brock no slouch either. Sorted and modernised Mansion House.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Wednesday, 26 June 2013 at 12:22pm BST

Chris Smith served two Archbishops - Williams and Welby - and was indeed awarded a CBE.

Posted by Jonathan Jennings at Wednesday, 26 June 2013 at 8:47pm BST

'Sea (sic) of Dunwich' - never fails to crack me up!

Posted by Fr Paul at Thursday, 27 June 2013 at 8:17am BST

It would be good to have some background information on the fairly recently introduced Bishop at (not "of") Lambeth post. For example - where can one find a list of those who have held this prestigious post. From memory I can recall Ross Hook, John Yates, Frank Sargeant (all with Lincoln connections) and Richard Llewellin but were there others?

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 27 June 2013 at 12:47pm BST

Here's a list:

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Thursday, 27 June 2013 at 5:19pm BST

Does anyone know why Williams did not appoint a successor to Llewellin?
Did he want to stay fully accessible to his fellow bishops?

It would be good to find someone who has some real knowledge ......

Posted by Fr Alan-Bury at Thursday, 27 June 2013 at 8:52pm BST

Thank you for the list Laurence - I'd forgotten Ronald Gordon but I note Ross Hook isn't included thereupon? Surely he was the first Bishop at Lambeth . Appointed by Robert Runcie who translated him from Bradford to be Chief-o-Staff at Lambeth?

Posted by Father David at Friday, 28 June 2013 at 5:49am BST

The change from Bishop at Lambeth to a lay Chief of Staff came as the direct results of the implementation of the Hurd review, To Lead and To Serve conducted in around 2001. Its conclusion in relation to the Chief of Staff role was as follows (page 73):
We recommend that:

a) The work of the Lambeth Palace staff should in future be coordinated by a Chief of Staff with authority to ensure that policy preparation is fully coordinated within the Palace and between the Palace and the National Church Institutions, the Anglican Communion Office and Bishopthorpe;

b) To that end, the Chief of Staff should establish more collective working methods (for example, the weekly senior staff meeting, chaired perhaps monthly by the Archbishop) where policy work is debated and coordinated. The objectives should be clarity in long-term planning, and clear and effective lines of communication;

c) The Chief of Staff should be responsible for overall staff and resource management at Lambeth Palace and for the oversight of remaining Metropolitical business and should be directly responsible to the Archbishop for the management of the Archbishop’s diary;

d) The occupant of the post should be a person (probably lay) with considerable private or public sector management experience, a track record of achievement, and high intelligence and energy. It follows that that person should be paid at a commensurate level.

Interestingly, the impetus for a lay chief came from the consultation itself (page 69):

"The principle of coordination has never been in question. There has, however, been some perplexity over the years about how best it should be carried out. For some years now there has been a post of ‘Bishop at Lambeth’ designated as ‘Chief of Staff’. Whilst this initiative undoubtedly improved day to day management at the Palace and has protected the Archbishop from unnecessary involvement in detail, it has not yet evolved into the kind of strong coordinating post that now seems desirable. The present Bishop at Lambeth has recommended change in that direction, and observed that the post does not have to be episcopal.

We favour a Chief of Staff to run Lambeth, with strong administrative ability and experience. Such a background may be easier in practice to find among lay men and women, though there need be no rule to that effect."

The new arrangements now proposed keep the lay chief of staff but restore the bishop function which will undoubtedly extend the Archbishop's ability to engage with and get the best of the House of Bishops and also give proper shape to the structure, especially in relation to the ordained members of staff.

Posted by Jonathan Jennings at Friday, 28 June 2013 at 8:58am BST

Thank you Jonathan Jennings.
Very helpful

Posted by Fr Alan-Bury at Friday, 28 June 2013 at 12:32pm BST

It is surely a cause for regret that Ross Hook isn't included in the Wikipedia list of Bishops at Lambeth. Bishop David Say wrote the following about him in his obituary in The Independent:- "The fact that the office of Bishop at Lambeth is now an accepted position on the Archbishop's staff, is due in no small measure to Hook, who had the grace to relinquish the independence of a diocesan bishop to serve the Archbishop as his "Chief of Staff" and as an assistant bishop of Canterbury. His soundness of judgment as well as his refusal to be fussed or appear to be over-busy, meant that when he retired from Lambeth it was to everyone's regret"( 4th July 1996) With such a glowing tribute to the man and to the office it would seem to be both good and wise that Archbishop Justin has now reinstated the post.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 28 June 2013 at 2:42pm BST
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