Thinking Anglicans

new director of the Central Secretariat and Clerk to the Synod

The Church of England has today announced the appointment of Dr Jacqui Philips as Clerk to the Synod in succession to Colin Podmore.

Church announces new director of the Central Secretariat and Clerk to the Synod
11 March 2013

The Church of England today announced the appointment of Dr Jacqui Philips as Clerk to the Synod in succession to Colin Podmore, who steps down on 31st March.

Dr Philips will take up the role on 8th April and will be acting Clerk to the Synod pending the approval of her appointment in July at General Synod.

The role of Clerk to the Synod is one of the responsibilities of the Director of the Central Secretariat who, as well as managing the team that supports the General Synod, Archbishops’ Council and House of Bishops, also oversees the Church’s safeguarding, research and statistics work and ecumenical affairs.

Announcing the appointment, the Secretary General of the Church of England, Mr William Fittall, said: “Jacqui brings to the role a wealth of experience and a wholehearted commitment to the work of the Church of England. There was a strong field of applicants for this senior post and we are delighted that as the outstanding candidate Jacqui has accepted this role.”

Responding to the news of her appointment, Dr Philips said: “I am excited at the prospect of taking up this post and contributing to the work of the Church of England. I am looking forward to enabling and celebrating the work of the Church at a national and local level during these times of both opportunity and challenge for the Church of England.”


Jacqui Philips (41) studied English at Cambridge, did an MA in seventeenth century studies at Durham and then obtained an Oxford DPhil on the literature of John Bunyan. After a year as a parliamentary researcher, she became Public Affairs manager for the Bio Industry Association. Following spells on public policy issues for Barclays Bank and in the CBI Brussels office she became Head of Public Affairs for the Royal and Sun Alliance in 2005. She moved from there in 2008 to become Director, European Government Affairs and industry Relations at MetLife, a major US company with growing operations in Europe. In 2012, she took a short career break to explore opportunities in the not-for-profit-sector and to study for a Certificate in Theology course at St Mellitus College.

Under Standing Order 123A, the appointment will be subject to the approval of the General Synod in July.

Synod members have been sent a note (GS Misc 1043) giving more details of the recruitment process.

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Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
11 years ago

Welcome, Dr Philips.

I note that she has an impressive CV and no experience of churchy things much – possibly a good thing. Her St Mellitus connection does make me wonder if she is from an HTB background – and are we therefore going to be served by someone with a theologically conservative commitment? Does anyone know anything about her?

11 years ago

Is Jacqui’s doctorate, which is mentioned, more weighty than Dr Colin Podmore’s, which isn’t? !!

11 years ago

Jeremy, whether or not she is from an HTB background, I’m sure that she will show the same impeccable impartiality as Colin did, serving the whole Church by servicing it.

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
11 years ago


I am asking about her background. It might have not made any difference with Colin, but she is not Colin. And I am not saying that it will necessarily make any difference with Jacqui Philips – though I think it is obvious that, for instance, it makes a huge difference with William Fittall.

What I am asking is, what does anyone know about this person and her church background?

Sean Doherty
11 years ago

It is worth noting that, whatever Jacqui’s church background, being part of St Mellitus does not mean being part of HTB. St Mellitus is an initiative of the bishops of London and Chelmsford bringing together the old RTP (NTMTC) with SPTC, which is associated with HTB. We therefore have students from a wide variety of backgrounds. If anything, students from theologically conservative backgrounds find studying with us to be more of a challenge and stretch to their views.

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