Thinking Anglicans

Church Commissioners Written Questions

Tony Baldry MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner, answered five Written Questions from Diana Johnson MP in the House of Commons yesterday (23 June).

They covered the length of time to appoint and then consecrate new bishops, the ratios of bishops to parishes and the powers of PEVs.

The full text of the questions and answers from Hansard is reproduced below the fold. The not entirely appropriate headings are Hansard’s.

Church Commissioners Bishops: Public Appointments

Diana Johnson: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what the average length of time between announcing the retirement or resignation of a bishop and announcing the successor was in the latest period for which figures are available; what the period was in respect of the two provincial episcopal visitors who were recently appointed; and if he will make a statement. [61012]

Tony Baldry: There are several factors which affect the period taken to fill an episcopal vacancy, the principal ones being the amount of notice, if any, that a bishop gives of his intention to leave office and, in the case of diocesan sees, the number of vacancies with which the Crown Nominations Commission is already dealing. Because of a peak of diocesan vacancies over the past three years the length of diocesan vacancies has been unusually long.

The following table contains data in respect of eight recent vacancies for diocesan sees, 10 for suffragan sees, and two (which occurred at the same time as each other) for the suffragan sees occupied by provincial episcopal visitors. All answers are in days and are for the period between the announcement of the intention to leave office and the announcement of the appointment.

  Average time taken Actual time taken
Suffragan 233
Diocesan 395
PEVs 178

Diana Johnson: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what average time elapsed between the announcement of the appointment and the consecration of suffragan bishops in the latest period for which figures are available; what the period was in respect of the two provincial episcopal visitors who were recently appointed; and if he will make a statement. [61013]

Tony Baldry: The table gives the period, in days, between the announcement of the appointments and the consecration dates in relation to 10 recent vacancies in suffragan sees and the two recent provincial episcopal visitor appointments:

  Average time taken Actual time taken
Suffragans 79
PEVs 42

Church of England

Diana Johnson: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what the ratio is of Church of England parishes which have passed Resolution C to provincial episcopal visitors. [61014]

Tony Baldry: The 2010 figures show that out of 12,614 parishes 363 parishes had petitioned for extended episcopal oversight, 802 had passed resolution A (under which a woman may not preside at Holy Communion) and 966 resolution B (under which a woman may not be incumbent of the parish). Under the Act of Synod the three provincial episcopal visitors have a spokesman and advisory role in relation to all those unable to receive the ministry of women priests as well as a direct oversight role for many of the 363 parishes who have petitioned for extended Episcopal oversight. For some of the 363 parishes oversight is provided by diocesan or other suffragan bishops who do not ordain women.

Church of England: Bishops

Diana Johnson: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what the ratio is of Church of England parishes to serving bishops. [61015]

Tony Baldry: The most recent figures (2009) show that in the 43 dioceses of England and the Isle of Man there were 12,614 parishes and 110 bishops, of whom 43 were diocesan bishops. This gives a ratio of 115 parishes per bishop, though the actual ratio varies significantly between dioceses.

Churches: Visits

Diana Johnson: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what limits there are on any structures that provincial episcopal visitors are permitted to establish. [61016]

Tony Baldry: Provincial episcopal visitors are suffragan bishops within the dioceses of Canterbury and York and have no authority to establish any structures separate from those of their dioceses.

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Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

None the wiser but far better informed.

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

I couldnt work out how many of the parishes that passed resolutions A and B overlapped.how many have passed A, how many B and how many both?

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Thanks Peter..I imagine those who have passed only B are most probably conservative evangelical who dont really mind who celebrates ( and like Sydney would be happy enough with a deacon presiding or even the lay reader!) but on headship grounds will only have a male incumbent.Quelle eglise! as dear old Cheslyn Jones used to say.

Sir Watkin
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Sir Watkin

“I think it is safe to assume …”

You may think so, but it isn’t.

I know of two parishes who passed A, but not B. Presumably there are others.

Their line of thinking was that being incumbent was a purely administrative matter (and thus could in theory be done by anyone, including a lay person), but celebrating the Mass was a matter of Apostolic Order.

A J Barford
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A J Barford

A Venn diagram might help…

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

How many parishes are actually under the PEV’s? In Southwark and Rochester any C parishes are looked after by +Edmonton. Chichester and Blackburn presumably have no C parishes. Whitby looks after any in York, Pontefract in Wakefield, Plymouth in Exeter (and Truro?) I have heard Bishop Baker hopes to remain as Principal of Pusey House..which rather suggests one of his jobs is half time!.

Malcolm French+
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That would be +Edmonton, Suffragan to London and not +Edmonton, the nice lady from Canada.

A J Barford
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A J Barford

“the nice lady from Canada” – Malcolm French

Yes, for the avoidance of confusion Malcolm!

Malcolm French+
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I just love life’s little ironies.

A J Barford
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A J Barford

“I just love life’s little ironies.” – Malcolm French

His seat was vacant at yesterday’s Sung Eucharist for Peter the Apostle.

perry Butler
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perry Butler

I gather +Ebbsfleet is staying on as Principal of Pusey for another year….pretty rum business it seems to me. Not least as the present chair of the governors is a RC layman and former anglican bishop. What would Pusey / Charles Gore or Darwell Stone make of it? but i gather Mary Mags gets a lot more students these days!