Thinking Anglicans

Bath & Wells: Church Commissioners lose their case

Updated again Tuesday morning

Press releases from Church House, Westminster:

New Bishop of Bath and Wells to live in cathedral city

Archbishops’ Council committee upholds objection to moving residence of Bishop of Bath and Wells

The Committee appointed by the Archbishops’ Council to hear an objection to a Church Commissioners’ decision to move the residence of the diocesan bishop of Bath and Wells has upheld this objection from the Bishop’s Council. This means that the the exchange of residence from the Palace in Wells to The Old Rectory in Croscombe will not now go ahead.

The committee, which met in Wells from 28-29 April, issued its ruling today, having considered the grounds of objection, and all relevant circumstances, to the Church Commissioners’ decision to move the residence.

It was for the Commissioners to satisfy the committee that the objection should not be upheld and the ruling today stated that the Commissioners failed to do so. “The Old Rectory cannot be considered as providing accommodation which is reasonably suitable as a residence for the Bishop, even on a temporary basis.”

But in its determination the Committee stated it did not accept that the relevant legislation required a presumption to be made in favour of the status quo – living in the Palace. It simply stressed that the overwhelming weight of evidence showed that it is necessary for the Bishop to live in the City of Wells in order to exercise his ministry effectively…

Joint statement on the housing of the Bishop of Bath and Wells and this can also be found here with the title: Bishop of Bath & Wells to live at the Bishop’s Palace

The Church Commissioners for England and the Diocese of Bath and Wells have today issued a joint statement following the publication of the decision of the committee of the Archbishops’ Council…

The full determination with reasons can be found here.


The Bishop’s Palace website had this:

An historical day; Church Commissioners’ decision to re-house Bishops of Bath & Wells overturned

The Palace Trust, who manage The Bishop’s Palace, is delighted with today’s news that the Archbishops’ Council have overturned the Church Commissioners’ decision to house the next Bishop of Bath & Wells outside of the Palace.

The decision made by the Church Commissioners in December 2013, was met with immediate public outcry and the subsequent development of Diocese opposition reaching question time in the House of Commons.

“The decision delivered today to allow the next Bishop of Bath & Wells to reside on site is very welcome” says Rosie Martin, Chief Executive of The Bishop’s Palace.

“This reversal of such a major decision is unheard of, it’s a first, and there is a palpable sense of excitement this afternoon at The Bishop’s Palace. We can now plan a very warm and very genuine welcome to Bishop Peter Hancock and his wife, Jane when they arrive in June at their new home; The Bishop’s Palace. We sincerely look forward to our on-going and future relationship with the Church Commissioners”…

The Telegraph has this report: Bishop restored to palace after downsizing debacle

Church of England officials are facing humiliation after controversial plans to stop a bishop living in the medieval palace occupied by his predecessors for centuries were overturned…

The Church Times has this: Joy in Wells as decision to move bishop is reversed

Law & Religion UK has Accommodating bishops and the Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure 2009


Modern Believing explores same-sex partnerships and marriage

Announcement from Modern Church:

Leading theology journal challenges church leaders on same-sex partnerships and marriage

One of the most respected scholarly journals in the religious world is presenting a positive case for gay marriages and same-sex partnerships.

Amid controversy in church and society, marriage equality is taking effect not only in Britain but in many parts of the world. The latest [April] issue of Modern Believing offers an in-depth exploration of the theological questions raised. This issue is guest-edited by Savitri Hensman, an Ekklesia associate, and contains six articles by theologians presenting a positive response to the growing public acceptance of same-sex partnerships.

There will be a launch event to publicise this, details are over here.

The contents of the issue can all be found on the website of the Liverpool University Press.

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