Thinking Anglicans

Secretary General William Fittall To Step Down

Church of England press release

Secretary General To Step Down
20 February 2015

William Fittall, the Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council and General Synod of the Church of England, has today issued a statement to members of the General Synod announcing his intention to leave his post on November 30th this year.

Mr. Fittall, 61, took up the role of Secretary General in 2002 having previously worked in a number of senior posts in Whitehall. Announcing his intended departure, Mr. Fittall said:

“After a succession of demanding roles I have, with my wife, concluded that the time has come for me to retire from full time work and move to a more flexible pattern of life.

I am giving a substantial period of notice in the hope that this will facilitate a smooth and orderly transition. It is likely to take around three months for the selection process to be completed and the person chosen may then have several months’ notice to serve from their present role.”

Responding to the announcement, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:

“William has made a substantial and prodigious contribution to the work and life of the Church of England. For over a decade he has been unstinting in his efforts to ably lead the staff of the Council and professionally support the work of the Synod. He has been indefatigable in his service and I will personally miss him greatly.”

Statement from William Fittall

“This is to inform you that I have given the Archbishops formal notice of my intention to conclude my period of service as Secretary General on 30 November, immediately after the induction and inauguration of the new Synod.

By then it will be more than forty years since I started work in Whitehall and more than thirteen since my arrival at Church House. After a succession of demanding roles I have, with my wife, concluded that the time has come for me to retire from full time work and move to a more flexible pattern of life.

I am giving a substantial period of notice in the hope that this will facilitate a smooth and orderly transition. It is likely to take around three months for the selection process to be completed and the person chosen may then have several months’ notice to serve from their present role. The Archbishops have, therefore, asked that the process for securing a successor should be put in hand immediately.

When the time comes, there will be more to say about the experience and privilege of having occupied this unique role. In the meantime there is still much work to be done, not least in relation to the reform and renewal programme, the Church’s engagement with government after the forthcoming election and the preparations for a new synodical quinquennium.”

William Fittall
Secretary General

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Father David
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Father David

What a changed Church William Fittall leaves to the one he inherited when becoming General Secretary in 2002. The biggest change being, of course, the introduction of women bishops but that is not the only change. In 2002 the 5 senior bishoprics were held by those who were Catholic or broadly Catholic (Williams, Hope, Chartres and Scott-Joynt) with Turnbull at Durham being the only Evangelical. Now in 2015 there is only One Catholic among the top five – the same Chartres; with Canterbury, York, Durham and Winchester all currently being held by Evangelicals. Will a Traditionalist Catholic ever again in… Read more »

John
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John

I am quite sure Catholic or broadly Catholic and perhaps even Traditionalist Catholic bishops will return. The present regime thinks – or has persuaded itself – that it can successfully mission. It can’t – and this will be completely apparent within, say, five years (and let’s not forget that Welby has a short attention span). The church will then return to people of real theological depth, who really have the equipment to meet the challenge – as the present lot do not.

Father David
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Father David

I’d like to share your confidence John and, of course, hope is the last thing in Pandora’s Box! Actually, apart from one or two gaffs, Archbishop Welby has been better treated by the Press than any of his immediate three predecessors ever were – Archbishops Runcie, Carey and Williams. He certainly enjoyed a relatively long Honeymoon period. I, like you, would like to see greater theological depth on the Bench of Bishops but I do see hope in the aspiration to increase the number of ordinations by 50%. Whether this aspiration becomes a reality only time and the Call of… Read more »