Thinking Anglicans

Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments and Development to retire

News from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

Archbishops pay tribute to Caroline Boddington for 17 years of service to Church of England
03/11/2021

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have paid tribute to the service of Caroline Boddington, who has announced today she will be leaving the National Church Institutions (NCIs) at the end of 2021 after 17 years as the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments and Development.

Caroline has been a senior adviser to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York since she joined the NCIs in 2004. During this time she has transformed the process by which senior appointments are made in the Church of England – with a particular focus on ensuring greater diversity among candidates for senior roles.

As well as supporting those exploring senior leadership roles and those involved in discerning candidates for the better part of twenty years, Caroline has led the transformation of the leadership and ministerial development for bishops and deans, and for those who are thinking about wider leadership roles in the future through the Strategic Leadership Development Programme.

Caroline has led the modernisation of the processes that ensure the recruitment for appointments to senior ecclesiastical office is fair and transparent – as well as grounded in prayer and guided by the Holy Spirit. She has also overseen the induction of bishops and deans into their new roles.

As part of changes being made to simplify the structures of the NCIs and bring functions together to support the Church’s Vision and strategic priorities for the 2020s, a new expanded remit for the Ministry team will include clergy HR and aspects of senior leadership development, bringing the entire clergy and lay ministry life cycle into one team. Caroline’s decision comes in the light of those changes. The Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary role will continue to lead on senior clergy appointments.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Most Revd Justin Welby and the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, said: “It’s hard to overstate the impact that Caroline has had on the Church of England over the past 17 years – or our gratitude for her service. Inspired by her deep faith and devoted discipleship, Caroline’s leadership has been marked by a tireless willingness to ask the difficult questions and challenge our thinking and processes. As a result, senior appointments increasingly reflect the diversity of the people of God and the Church of Jesus Christ.

“Meanwhile Caroline has been committed to providing bishops and deans with continual support and development, while nurturing the next generation of leaders. These have been gifts to the Church that will bear fruit for many years to come. Caroline leaves the NCIs with our prayers, gratitude and very best wishes for the future.”

Caroline Boddington said: “It has truly been a privilege to serve the Church of England over the last seventeen years. To have been alongside individuals, dioceses and cathedrals as they have sought to discern their vocation has been a precious gift. I am very grateful for the opportunities I have had and for the creative and stimulating colleagues with whom I have worked in all sorts of teams and project groups. I will miss them greatly as I now step into my own journey of exploration as to what might be next.”

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April Alexander
April Alexander
1 month ago

What on earth is this? “Caroline has led the modernisation of the processes that ensure the recruitment for appointments to senior ecclesiastical office is fair and transparent “– No one has been able to do this, even after the recommendations of Professor O’Donovan and his group of eminent academics. It has been a spectacular failure all round and the regime remains exactly as it was when I joined the CNC in 2013 with a minor amendment to come in the pre-election regime which will still not include hustings. The CNC process is not fair and certainly not transparent and I… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  April Alexander
1 month ago

No one is under oath in the writing of an epitaph. But the self-congratulatory note still grates. Humility anyone?

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Allan Sheath
1 month ago

The tribute was not written by Caroline, so it can hardly be regarded as ‘self-congratulatory’. And it is not an epitaph. She has done a job and is moving on. That’s not unusual.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  David Exham
1 month ago

I’m well aware that the tribute was not written by Caroline Boddington, and my referring to it as an epitaph is clearly not meant to be taken literally.

Last edited 29 days ago by Allan Sheath
Simon W
Simon W
1 month ago

Why not elect bishops, as the rest of the Anglican world does? Or does that involve the ‘centre’ of the C of E devolving too much power to an electoral synod composed of lay people and clergy from each diocese?

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Simon W
1 month ago

They elect bishops in the SEC. The problems with regard to Aberdeen and Orkney suggest that this method may also have difficulties

Cantab
Cantab
Reply to  David Exham
29 days ago

Whereas +Winchester has worked out so well…

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Cantab
29 days ago

This is a rather glib response! I have not suggested that the present CofE system is guaranteed to work well. The Winchester disaster, as you suggest, shows that is not true. All I am pointing out is that diocesan electoral systems, which some comments have advocated, can also go wrong. I imagine no system is error-free.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  David Exham
29 days ago

The problems in A&O have more to do with division in the diocese. I’m not sure any method of selection would have solved that.

Lister Tonge
Lister Tonge
Reply to  Simon W
29 days ago

Be careful what you wish for.

Simon W
Simon W
Reply to  Lister Tonge
29 days ago

I took part in two electoral synods in another province Lister, and both of those appointments turned out fine. One of the bishops elected would never have made it near a slate of candidates in the C of E but they were clearly the right person at the right time for our diocese.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Simon W
28 days ago

That’s an important point: election alone changes little if the slate of candidates remains controlled.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
1 month ago

I did not know Caroline Boddington, nor the detail of her role, nor what she did. I note that she has 3 jobs listed on her Linkedin profile; hopefully her well-placed connections will find some preferment for her. I recognise it as conventional, and proper, to eulogise as we may say, to praise Caesar. The skeptic in me thinks readily in terms of ‘letting people go’ and ”was she pushed’, face no longer fitting, resisted something or someone, an ‘agenda’. I will take this opportunity to relate this to so-called ‘governance’ and ‘new team at the top’, hoping it may… Read more »

Jeremy Ames
Jeremy Ames
1 month ago

Curiouser and curiouser.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
1 month ago

I’ve just played Handel’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus’! This should have happened a long time ago – and you only need to look around you to see the sorry spectacle of most of the occupants of the House (and College) of Bishops to appreciate how one person has been able to inflict so much havoc on the Church of England. No wonder we lack clear, cohesive, theologically-informed leadership. Her occupation of this role, as the wife of a serving bishop for most of the time, was a clear conflict of interest. She has effectively black-listed certain categories of people from senior appointments… Read more »

Clare Amos
Clare Amos
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
29 days ago

if indeed Justin Welby did say at the time of his appointment as bishop to Durham ‘That dreadful woman’ I would find that deeply concerning and it calls into question his own role in a church in which women and men were and are supposed to be treated with equal dignity. In my experience certain kinds of people are far more ready to say ‘that dreadful woman’ rather than ‘that dreadful man’. It may be unconscious but it is still a pretty blatant form of sexism. (And I am not intending via this post to make any judgement positive or… Read more »

Evan McWilliams
Evan McWilliams
Reply to  Clare Amos
29 days ago

In my experience, referring to ‘that dreadful woman’ is a rather more polite turn of phrase than those typically reserved for men in similar positions.

Jeremy Ames
Jeremy Ames
Reply to  Clare Amos
29 days ago

I really do wonder whether ‘That dreadful woman’ is truly different in kind from ‘That dreadful man’? Where does gender blindness begin?
A stab at that might be rather a good thing!

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
1 month ago

Well, I for one am glad she is going. Whether she was good, bad or indifferent, I think it has been a disaster to have such an eggtimer shape to access to senior roles. The homogeneity of the bench of bishops, the lack of serious theologians, the over-emphasis on one tendency has led us to the brink of crisis. And she is responsible.

Simon Kershaw
Simon Kershaw(@simon-kershaw)
Admin
1 month ago

Whatever one’s views on Ms Boddington’s tenure (and I only had dealings with her over one appointment), I am sure it is not good for one person to hold this role for 17 years. 5 years perhaps. Or maybe 4 years renewable for a further 2. Or something like that.

Father Ron Smith
29 days ago

My question, as a member of the New Zealand Anglican Church (ACANZP) is why, in this modern day and age, the Church of England should have to defer to the Monarch and his/her advisors (including politicians, who may not even be members of the C. of E.) in the choice of bishops? The majority of Anglican Churches around the world (including our own here in Aotearoa N.Z., which was one of the first to initiate the synodical process involving the Faithful laity, and to ordain women in the Anglican Communion) have long since trusted both clergy and laity of the… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by Father Ron Smith
Simon Kershaw
Simon Kershaw(@simon-kershaw)
Admin
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
29 days ago

The simple answer is that it is the Crown Nominations Commission which chooses diocesan bishops, not the state, and not polticians. The job of the politicians (the Prime Minister, or where legally required another minister), is to receive the advice of the CNC and to advise the Crown accordingly. The CNC has some members centrally appointed, by the General Synod, and the others are appointed by the diocese whose see is vacant — from its “vacancy in see committee”, which consists of its senior clergy, and members elected by and from the diocesan synod.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
29 days ago

Could you please clarify one thing. Can the CNC only choose candidates for bishoprics from a list supplied by Ms Boddington, or can they go off piste and add who they want to the list of candidates to be assessed for a specific diocese?

If the former, then to say that the CNC chooses bishops is not strictly correct, surely Ms Boddington chooses bishops, the CNCs task is limited to subsequently allocating successful candidates to their diocese.

Simon Kershaw
Simon Kershaw(@simon-kershaw)
Admin
Reply to  Simon Dawson
29 days ago

I am not in a position to authoritatively answer that question. Perhaps someone who has served on a CNC can give us some insight. The information that is publicly available, however, includes this https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/diocesan-resources/archbishops-advisers-appointments-and-development/senior-appointments#diocesan-bishops There is more information on the appointment of suffragan bishops. Of course, these are not nominated by the CNC, but this document does discuss the addition of names to the long list and what happens when they are not on the central list. I cannot comment on whether the same process applies to diocesan bishoprics. https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-11/Nomination%20Process%20for%20Suffragan%20Bishops.pdf The key sentence in this respect is “If a candidate… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
28 days ago

From recollection when serving as a diocesan member of the CNC in 2007, we were provided with a list of over 50 ‘initial names’ and were able to specify ‘mandatory’ names for inclusion in the long list considered at the first meeting, together with discretionary names. I don’t now recall whether we able to or encouraged to submit a name or names not on the initial names list, but it was not my experience that Caroline Boddington was influencing the discernment process of the CNC members,

Ian Hobbs
Ian Hobbs
Reply to  Simon Dawson
19 days ago

Unless it’s changed, from my Diocesan V in S experience ..

They can indeed go “off piste”. I don’t think there is any restriction… though centrally potential candidates are “on file”.

Blaming Mrs B lets the vacant diocese off the hook… Assuming any blame is justified and not merely a complaint that we didn’t get someone we preferred…

Barrie McKenzie
Barrie McKenzie
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
28 days ago

And of course ACANZP shines as a light on the hill for the rest of the Anglican Communion…

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
29 days ago

Read it and weep tears of laughter. For this press release is surely written very much with tongue firmly in cheek. ‘Diverse’? A few token BAME candidates, only one out gay bishop, I can’t think of a senior cleric who describes themselves as disabled. No serious academic theologian on the bench of bishops. Bishops who are all fur and no drawers when it comes to mission and church growth.

RogerB
RogerB
Reply to  Fr Dean
29 days ago

You really could not make up the fact that the House of Bishops needs a ‘Theological Advisor’.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  RogerB
29 days ago

Why do you need to? Theology is pretty core to the task of Christian leadership is it not?

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  David Runcorn
29 days ago

I think that is the point – a House of Bishops worth its salt, with the number of Bishops the CofE has, should be capable of doing its own theological heavy lifting.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Jo B
28 days ago

I think any leadership team worth its salt knows how to draw on wise and informed voices to guide their thinking and work.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Runcorn
28 days ago

It’s a bit like the Royal College of Physicians appointing a Medical Advisor.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  FrDavid H
28 days ago

And I hope they do.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  RogerB
28 days ago

And therein lies a problem; is the advice unwelcome, not sought or discounted?

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Fr Dean
28 days ago

I thought this website was “Thinking” Anglicans – not Bitter Anglicans. Every organisation is on a journey towards diversity. The news appears to be better from those coming through selection – who are also from diverse social backgrounds which is vital as well. So that is encouraging. I go back to the comments about the pool which senior leadership is fishing from. It is changing, but perhaps too slowly. And please do not patronise non-white people in senior positions as “token” – they are there on merit – nothing else. The church has a conscious and unconscious bias – just… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
28 days ago

I rather pride myself on self awareness and I don’t recognise any bitterness in my posts about the CofE and Anglicanism more generally. My response I think comes from incredulity at the repeated blunders of the CofE’s senior leadership; I believe that I’m being objective when I say that they quickly lurch from one disastrous PR fiasco to the next. So for example: the broken promises for the victims of their safeguarding failures; The Very Revd Prof Martyn Percy highlighted that the recent Governance report that the House of Bishops wishes to expedite through General Synod had barely any reference… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Fr Dean
28 days ago

The question is why any serious academic theologian would consider accepting the position of bishop. I say this as a person who knows both serious academic theologians and bishops.

name withheld for this post
name withheld for this post
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
28 days ago

Peter Selby did – working as Bishop of Worcester 1997 – 2007, after 5 years working in academia, before that Suffragan Bishop of Kingston. Was he the last?

But then anyone who knows him will also know that he exercised a pastoral and prophetic episcopal ministry – and in retirement still does.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  name withheld for this post
27 days ago

What about Rowan Williams? Was he not a ‘serious academic theologian’? Tom Wright had serious academic qualifications, although more of a NT scholar than theologian, maybe. But many would argue (and I would not disagree) that he ought to have stayed in academia, which aligned much more with his gifting. But my tongue is not in my cheek. Every bishop I know is running ragged between pastoral and leadership and managerial stuff. And every year that goes by we ask more of them. Most of the hue and cry about how the church has not done a good job of… Read more »

Michael Mulhern
Michael Mulhern
Reply to  name withheld for this post
24 days ago

Geoffrey Rowell was the last Bishop with an Oxford DPhil (he retired just a few months after +Rowan). He was tireless in engaging with his Diocese (from Madeira to Vladivostok) which was also one of the few growing dioceses in the CofE. But he could also be deployed to engage effectively with ecumenical partners because he had the theological issues at his fingertips, knew the language, understod the culture and had wide sympathies. Barely a year before his untimely death, he had led the CofE’s conversations to resolve difficulties with the Oriental Orthodox churches over issues of Christology. Which of… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Michael Mulhern
24 days ago

Oxford DD: the highest of all degrees, and now as rare as it was once common.

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Froghole
24 days ago

I wonder if the church needs more Greta Thunbergs?! Do we really think that Oxbridge DDs are going to redeem a dying church? Looking to talented bishops is not the answer. Looking to recruit more talented prophetic, missional clergy and laity surely is the answer – overseen by decent bishops. We are still not discerning, recruiting and training for the role that now exists on the ground and seem to hanker after a bygone age of priests from another generation. Its a bit like climate change. The time for talking is at an end. We know the mission neglect of… Read more »

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
23 days ago

Homeless Anglican is obviously bringing his/her own brand of populist ‘theology’ (I use the word advisedly) to this thread, but I think a bit more attention to the theological and ecclesial character of the C of E, its history, and the nature of the society it is there to serve might enable some us to take future comments with a greater degree of seriousness.

Maggie
Maggie
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
20 days ago

You miss the point. Poorly theologically trained clergy become poorly theologically trained bishops, and everyone loses, as we can see from our increasingly empty pews. For example the standard of preaching is abysmal in the C of E at a parish level, with a few notable exceptions. Who wants to come to church to listen to banal A level sermons? Who wants to be led by bishops who are still paddling in the shallows of theological thought? For sure, mission must be at the forefront. But a fish rots from the head.

Jeremy Ames
Jeremy Ames
Reply to  Maggie
14 days ago

As Archbishop Runcie was wont to say,
‘All the noise comes from the shallow end.’
How very true.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Froghole
20 days ago

Academic snobbery knows no bounds. What else have they got to do? The High Tables of Oxford noted that their new Bishop, in 1997, was a DD, but not from Oxford!

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
28 days ago

Erm, I thought the premise was that people respond to a call from God?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate
27 days ago

So maybe God has stopped calling serious academic theologians to be bishops?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
26 days ago

I doubt it. More likely the “discernment process” actually centres human priorities rather than listen to God.

Froghole
Froghole
29 days ago

I do not know Ms Boddington, and I am sure that she has done what she could within the limits of her office. I also suspect (and hope) that she will have operated within those parameters, which is perhaps more than can be said for the prime minister’s patronage secretary in days of yore, who presumably had far greater autonomy (given the trivial nature of the task relative to other prime ministerial concerns), and *might* therefore had relatively greater latitude for the expression of personal preferences. Yet despite Ms Boddington’s efforts one thing is clear: the prestige of the bench… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by Froghole
Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Froghole
29 days ago

You’re certainly on to something Froghole about the core skills of the clergy. I got chatting to a young woman after a funeral who worked in a large English cathedral in a junior management role. I asked her about her working life and she said that the Dean & Chapter made everyone’s job more difficult. They liked to think of themselves as being in charge but avoided conflict at all costs leaving it to the Chief Officer but then muddied the waters with the parties involved often undermining the CO’s leadership. The clergy scolded staff if they were seen bringing… Read more »

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
29 days ago

Actually – I think she has done a pretty good job. I think she has brought some sadly lacking HR and Personnel skills to the role, and has taught the church a great deal. Episcopacy seems to me to be a pretty thankless vocation right now. And Ms Boddington was Secretary for Appointments – not the appointee. You cant blame her for duff appointments. I wish her well for her well earned and deserved retirement.

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