Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Winchester confirms his retirement

Diocese of Winchester website

The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Rev Dr Tim Dakin, has today announced his retirement, having formally notified HM The Queen of his intention to step down. He will retire as Bishop in February 2022.

Bishop Tim’s decision follows the conclusion of a series of facilitated conversations that have taken place over the summer to consider matters raised concerning leadership and governance. In a video message to the Diocese, available here, Bishop Tim said:

I have now received confirmation that Her Majesty the Queen has accepted my retirement as Bishop of Winchester. I wanted you all to hear my decision as directly as possible – and doing it this way rather speaks to our times. Some formalities and details need to be finalized but I’ll be leaving the Diocese in early February and handing over my responsibilities to others in the meantime. Please pray for all involved in this transition process.

Mahatma Gandhi said that “unity to be real must stand the severest strain without breaking.” I have always been clear that, as your Bishop, I should be there to build and foster togetherness across our Diocese, focused upon our life together in Christ, and upon our joint mission to serve Christ in our communities and to sustain Christian witness in daily life. Sadly, it seems it is no longer possible for me to fulfil this role.

The last eighteen months have brought enormous pressures to bear on us all, individually, as a country, within our families and communities, and as a Diocese. The painfully difficult financial decisions made over the last year have caused real anguish. In trying to secure a sustainable future for the growth of the Diocese, it is clear that I’ve not done enough to acknowledge what we have lost in this process. To those I’ve hurt or let down, I am sorry.

I realise that the steps taken to stabilize the finances continue to cause upset. Bishop’s Council has received full reports in recent weeks from the Diocesan auditors and legal advisers, explaining and corroborating the decisions made by the Diocesan Board of Finance. None of this makes those decisions any easier to take. Nevertheless, I hope there is some comfort in the clarity now provided, and that faith can be restored in the relevant Diocesan staff and functions as the pastoral reorganisations proceed. Please continue to pray for all those involved. Pray too for all serving in the parishes and various projects: that the church and its witness may grow in the Diocese.

I could not have come to my decision, or indeed found a way through this recent period, without the love and support of Sally, my children and close friends. While I have not seen much of what has been said about me, my family and friends have seen more, and I have seen the effect it has had on them. They are the people who know me best, of course – and I’ve drawn upon their love and their view of me during these difficult times.

It has been a privilege to serve a Diocese that has Companion links across the world. I’ve been reminded of previous ministry experience: of the need to live on other people’s terms to see the world they see and to know the Christ they follow. I hope these links will continue to grow in strength and in significance. It’s also been a great joy to be part of a Diocese where education is taken seriously at all levels, not least, Further & Higher Education. All of us are called to pray and witness in such a way that the coming generations will find fullness of life in Christ.

I will remain proud of what has been achieved across the Diocese over the past 10 years. For there to have been a record number of ordinands at the Cathedral recently is a wonderful achievement for those involved in the School of Mission and in the parishes. I believe each and every one of our new clergy – and the many lay people who’ve received the Bishop’s Commission for Mission – will have a valuable role to play in the next stage of the Diocese as it witnesses to Christ’s mission in this region, in the life of the nation and across the Anglican Communion. The new national strategy for the Church of England offers an inspirational trajectory for such future developments.

As for me and Sally, we are planning a move to Plymouth, and we’re looking forward to making new friends, as well as to visits from old friends and from our growing family. Thank you for all we have shared. We will miss you. God bless you.

The Bishop of Southampton, Debbie Sellin, will continue to fulfil Bishop Tim’s duties, following the recent announcement that he would step back until the end of August. The nomination and appointment of a Diocesan Bishop is made through the Crown Nominations Commission. Further information on the process for selecting the next Bishop of Winchester will be available following Bishop Tim’s departure.

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Michael H.
Michael H.
11 days ago

Absent but still bishop until February 2022! Extraordinary.

Fr. Dean
Fr. Dean
Reply to  Michael H.
11 days ago

Presumably all part of a package of benefits included in a ‘confidentiality agreement’ as opposed to a forbidden non disclosure agreement of course. We’ll never know of course but I wonder how Her Majesty reacted when her private secretary briefed her on the problems at Winchester that had given rise to Dr Dakin’s resignation letter. With almost seventy years on the throne there will be nothing new under the sun for Elizabeth II to have to deal with.

James Watson
James Watson
11 days ago

This is good news for the Diocese (though I am in no doubt that the challenges for the immediate future remain huge). I hope it is good news for Bishop Tim and his family – not least in the recognition that being Bishop of Winchester is not where his skills were deployed to best effect and that other opportunities for him to flourish in a different context (and with appropriate support) will emerge. I am sorry that he has chosen to insist that ‘the last eighteen months’ seem to be the focus for what has led to this decision (like… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  James Watson
11 days ago

Might I respectfully suggest for this bishop that the “other opportunities for him to flourish in a different context” are easy. It’s called Retirement.

Adrian
Adrian
11 days ago

I am sure that this announcement will bring mixed emotions to many. I would like to acknowledge the depth of those emotions and wonder whether this episode gives any lessons for the wider relationships between diocesan bishops and their synods, including the house(s) of clergy.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
11 days ago

No comment about the status or future of the bishop of Basingstoke.

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Simon Dawson
11 days ago

And nothing on the diocesan website as at 7.30 pm Friday.

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
11 days ago

Bishop Debbie writes: Dear Friends   I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God Ephesians 3: 17-19   You will have seen the announcement from +Tim that came out earlier today and I am aware that this will have raised further questions for you, so I wanted to write to you as soon as possible. +Tim… Read more »

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
Reply to  Rev James Pitkin
11 days ago

I think I did suggest in an earlier tweet that it was all being timed so that +Thornton was free to be shoehorned into the situation. Meanwhile, my betting (assuming this is an appointment that needs someone with diocesan experience) is… 2/1 Treweek 5/1 Jackson – sorry, Hereford, but if I were looking for a pragmatic, pastoral and intelligent bishop who will inspire confidence and tend to peoples’ wounds, he’d be my choice from the available pool. 6/4 Chessun (as a short-term steady hand on the tiller who can hand the Diocese on in a few years time in better… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
11 days ago

The Bishop of Dorking would be a good each way bet. Winchester get their pastor, the wider C of E gets a theologian, Lambeth stands proudly by.

Fr. Dean
Fr. Dean
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
10 days ago

What about the Bishop of Ely? He’s been in his current post for some time now and also has an interest in education. He was a suffragan in nearby Salisbury and so presumably would have a feel for that part of the world.

Alwyn Ladell
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
10 days ago

The timing may have had more to do with being the day AFTER St Swithun’s Day to avoid upsetting or upstaging the Patronal Festival of the Cathedral and Diocese.

Dan Barnes-Davies
Reply to  Rev James Pitkin
11 days ago

The Dean of York will have done 3 years by Feb ’22…

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  Rev James Pitkin
11 days ago

A recently retired diocesan bishop will be supporting the diocese during this time = Bp Richard Frith (retired from Hereford in 2019)

Simon W
Simon W
11 days ago

Not a particularly contrite statement. Defiant, in places.
A friend who worked in the diocese for years, now retired, has suggested that the Saviour (2011) has become scapegoat (2021).

Anon
Anon
11 days ago

Let me get this straight. He is being paid and retaining his position till Feb 2022. But other people are either doing/helping to do his work for him, on top of their own work; or volunteering; or doing it but being paid a stipend/other remuneration. So the work is being paid for twice over. After the long run up to it all. Very poor show.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Anon
10 days ago

Fortunately, the Church of England has limitless money and therefore no need to worry about such trivialities as paying large sums to senior managers. The limiting factors, and passengers, are not bishops.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Interested Observer
10 days ago

“The limiting factors, and passengers, are not bishops.”

They never are, it seems.

Ruth
Ruth
Reply to  Interested Observer
8 days ago

“Limitless money” – tell that to the congregations in the diocese who are losing a vicar….

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  Ruth
8 days ago

The money for the Bp of Winchester will come from the Church Commissioners rather than the congregations in Winchester Diocese.

T Pott
T Pott
11 days ago

Assuming Her Majesty accepted the resignation immediately, he would appear to have resigned on the feast day of his predecessor St Swithun. The patron saint of Winchester heard the groans of his people and granted them a miracle.

Hilary Dawes
Hilary Dawes
11 days ago

I think this statement, while very welcome in providing some resolution, is a useful summary of why Tim Dakin had to go. There’s no doubting that this must have been a profoundly bruising few months for him and that is evident to anyone with an ounce of empathy watching the video. But it betrays a barely concealed insistence that he was right all along, coupled to frustration that he cannot be allowed to continue. The reasons for this don’t really appear to have sunk in and, until the time comes when he is able to recognise how his ‘reign of… Read more »

Cellariarius
Cellariarius
Reply to  Hilary Dawes
11 days ago

” … Diocesan auditors and legal advisers, explaining and corroborating the decisions made by the Diocesan Board of Finance.”

‘Corroborating’ is interesting terminology. I’m reminded of that thing we teach 8-year olds: Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should.

Jim Farley
Jim Farley
Reply to  Cellariarius
11 days ago

It’s the sentence after that which beggars belief ‘…that faith can be restored in the relevant Diocesan staff and functions as the pastoral reorganisations proceed.’

Is he still trying to control events and direct the future course of diocesan policy? May be that’s why he’s hanging on until February to watch the back of his flunkies and ensure his monster goes the full-term gestation.

I hope the Synod of Winchester will exercise its muscle appropriately and ensure that Dakin’s involvement ceases with immediate effect.

Clare Amos
Clare Amos
Reply to  Hilary Dawes
10 days ago

It is interesting Hilary – commenting on your point about the choice of the successor. At the time when Tim Dakin was selected I was working in the Anglican Communion Office – and at the outer edges of various grapevines. When various friends raised – even then – the question of TD’s suitability for the role, they were told that one of the key reasons he had been selected was that he was the definite choice of the local diocesan representatives on the CNC. If you remember it was shortly after the diocesan reps on CNCs had been upped to… Read more »

Hilary Dawes
Hilary Dawes
Reply to  Clare Amos
9 days ago

This is really helpful, Clare. Thank you. Of course, with the passage of time (and the lack of archive information on the Diocesan website) it is difficult to recall who the CNC reps were in 2011. Your recollections should, hopefully, come as a warning to those who will be involved in the forthcoming appointment process. It sounds as if a candidate had been indentified by some strongly vocal people, and no-one was willing (or able) to listen to anything beyond that. However, I don’t think what you have written absolves the non-Diocesan personnel in the appointments process for their lack… Read more »

Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
Reply to  Hilary Dawes
9 days ago

I think you are being extremely generous in your call for empathy. Hilary. I watched it and agree: the broken and contrite spirit is unmissable. However, this is not the whole story and there is another side to Tim Dakin that cannot easily be forgotten. There are too many clergy in the diocese of Winchester who have been on the receiving end of anything but a broken and contrite spirit when they have been faced with (what I can only describe as) his emotional illiteracy and (what others have described as) complete indifference to the impact of his bullying management… Read more »

Tony Bellows
Tony Bellows
Reply to  Tom Dixon
8 days ago

And clergy in Jersey have seen the other side…

Tony Bellows
Tony Bellows
Reply to  Tom Dixon
8 days ago

The premise that Covid was the trigger belies the mess over the Channel Islands which happened years before.

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  Tony Bellows
7 days ago

I am sure that the Bishop was able to write his own retirement statement. I am also sure that what he said reflected what he considered were the issues.

Froghole
Froghole
11 days ago

“The Bishop of Southampton, Debbie Sellin, will continue to fulfil Bishop Tim’s duties…“. If that is the case, why the extra seven months in office, as if on a protracted gardening leave? I appreciate that he will need to find other accommodation before quitting Wolvesey, but he doesn’t necessarily need to remain in office whilst doing so. Moreover, there will presumably be an interregnum even after February 2022. Most of us don’t get seven months’ of paid leave (nine months, if the current absence is counted). This savours of free riding, and it spoils what might have been a relatively… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Froghole
11 days ago

For those who don’t know Winchester, Wolvesey has been the site of the Bishop of Winchester’s palace since the late 10th century. The present house built by Bishop Morley in the 17th century is just the ‘rump’ of a much larger one; a surviving single wing of originally three. I know nothing about the present occupancy but parts of the house were being used as offices, I imagine rented, by others under previous bishops. The bishop’s adjoining private chapel is very large – easily the equal of many parish churches and dates from the 12th to 15th centuries (Pevsner). The… Read more »

David Foster
David Foster
Reply to  Froghole
11 days ago

Wolvesey is used extensively by the school of mission and for training. Their offices are located there. Your comment about the seven month periid before retiring comes across as mean minded.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  David Foster
11 days ago

Is it mean minded? I doubt that the parish clergy who have been made redundant will have had seven months notice to remove themselves from their vicarages, though I am happy to be corrected if I am wrong.

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
10 days ago

Those who have been made redundant may well be subject to an NDA for their settlement. Many redundant clergy are staying on in their vicarages – some for up to a year – but they ‘can’t talk about it’! It may well be that the retiring Bishop has an NDA in his settlement agreement – but he won’t be able to talk about it either.

Roger Hill
Roger Hill
11 days ago

How tone deaf of the CoE. People will just conclude we are awash with funds. Perhaps we can all suspend our direct debits to.our places of worship till the end of February 2022?

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  Roger Hill
10 days ago

I think that the Bishop’s stipend is funded by the Church Commissioners rather than the Diocese. I am encouraging people to keep on giving – and perhaps give even more to get Winchester out of our financial crisis (described as being a £2M shortfall). If we increase our giving by 20% the shortfall will be no more. (And I do know that is a ‘big ask’!)

David Richards
David Richards
11 days ago

I’ve already said enough on previous threads and don’t really want to add any more to the anger and frustration that this situation has given rise to.

I just want to ask a simple question. Will the Diocesan Board of Finance now rescind the NDAs (or ‘confidentiality clauses’ call them what you will) as part of the process of healing and reconciliation? Until this can happen, and until the whole truth is told, the diocese cannot move on and trust will never be rebuilt.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
Reply to  David Richards
10 days ago

For that to happen, David, the all-powerful and all-pervasive Luther Pendragon will need to be sent packing from its involvement in Winchester’s communications function. Like all reputational management outfits, they will fight any such proposal like cornered rats. Not unrelated is that, if I’m right that the ‘recently retired diocesan bishop’ who will be involved in WInchester’s woes for the coming months is +Thornton, he has reputational management hardwired into his DNA. But, as a point of principle, you are absolutely right. It seems to me that something like a C of E Truth and Reconciliation Commission needs to be… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
10 days ago

According to the Revd James Pitkin (see above) the “recently retired diocesan bishop [who] will be supporting the diocese during this time = Bp Richard Frith (retired from Hereford in 2019)”. Which is correct? Presumably not both. As a (largely uninvolved) layman of the Winchester Diocese, I’m slightly amused to see all the TA contributors’ suggestions for the next occupant of the see of St Swithun (or St Amphibalus and St Birinus for people familiar with the earlier patron saints of the ancient diocese of Winchester), also taking on the role of bookmakers for their preferred candidates, and even suggesting sale… Read more »

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  David Richards
10 days ago

The NDAs do include protection for the individual as well as the Diocese. It would need the agreement of both parties to ‘rescind’ the confidentiality clauses. I would not encourage individuals to reveal the content of the NDA – unless they really wanted to!

David Richards
David Richards
Reply to  Rev James Pitkin
8 days ago

Thanks for that clarification, James.

I still cannot see why, if the individual concerned were given the option, there could not be a blanket agreement from the Diocese of Winchester, to any individual who chose to, to reveal the content of the NDA. THose who chose not to would still have the protection not to disclose their agreement.

Until the truth is out, and the extent of the suffering and managerial shenanigans known, this pattern could continue to be repeated for years to come right across the C of E.

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  David Richards
8 days ago

I suppose that is possible but because the individuals agreed to sign they may not be happy for the details to be shared. (I think that most would fall into that category – if I had received a ‘payout’ I would not want my daughters to see how much I had received!) We are expecting a process to be set up which provides independent ‘listeners’ for those who have been harmed/damaged.

Michael Mulhern
Michael Mulhern
11 days ago

As a complete outsider with no right to comment on the events that have led to this situation, I would simply say that it could not have come at a worse time for the C of E as a whole. There are seven vacant sees (or about to become vacant), including two of Winchester’s neighbouring dioceses (Portsmouth & Salisbury), along with Liverpool, Rochester, Lincoln, Bath & Wells, as well as Winchester. With the exception of Liverpool, none of them could be described as being traditionally ‘Eveangelical’ or ‘Low Church’ dioceses. Though doubtless many people will rush to tell me that… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Michael Mulhern
10 days ago

And several bishops approaching 70. Newcastle, Birmingham.Peterborough

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
Reply to  Michael Mulhern
10 days ago

This is a very good point. A significant number of dioceses will be without a diocesan bishop for a long period of time. The CNC should accelerate its processes and perhaps interview candidates for multiple positions. Or perhaps suffragans within the diocese could be fast tracked?

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Sam Jones
10 days ago

Perhaps now is the time for a cull of episcopal sees: translate suffragans into the vacant and soon-to-be-vacant diocesan sees and leave the suffragan sees in abeyance. Of course, I expect to be disappointed in this.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Sam Jones
10 days ago

It’s not possible to interview candidates for multiple positions since each gathering includes, alongside the national members, the members elected by the vacancy in see committee of the specific diocese concerned. And not any representatives of other dioceses.

Jeremy Pemberton
11 days ago

This is a remarkable moment for another reason. This is the first time in living memory – perhaps ever – when the other bishops and clergy of a diocese have effectively driven an unpopular diocesan from office. It isn’t quite like that of course, and you can rewrite it in anglican, but that is what it boils down to. I am sure the House of Bishops will be fully alive to the need to think rather carefully about management style in difficult times. People can only be pushed so far. Worms turn. If it can happen in Winchester, it can… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton
11 days ago

Yes, this is a moment of constitutional significance for the Church of England. Does it mean that from now on a diocesan bishop only remains in office at the pleasure of their diocesan synod?

Dan Barnes-Davies
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
11 days ago

What interesting times these are!

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
11 days ago

Winchester Diocesan Synod has not met to offer an opinion on whether the Diocesan Bishop should remain. The Synod has no power to remove a Bishop from office?

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Rev James Pitkin
10 days ago

Nonetheless, the threat to hold a vote of no-confidence, and the presumed likelihood that it would attract a substantial number of votes, was enough to cause the Bishop to “step back” and ultimately to resign. The synod may have no legal power to remove a bishop from office, but my suggestion is that we might have moved to a time where a diocesan bishop cannot remain in office if they lose the confidence of their diocesan synod, or even of a substantial minority of that synod. Such a loss of confidence is indicative of a severe breakdown in pastoral relationships… Read more »

Rev James Pitkin
Rev James Pitkin
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
10 days ago

Yes, Simon, any motion that is viable for debate at Synod needs 25 or 30 supporters from Synod. As this is about one-third of the voting people it is indeed significant and likely to be passed in most of the Synod houses. Some Bishops may feel able to continue despite a vote of ‘no confidence’. Also, please note that the Bp of Winchester has announced his retirement, not his resignation. I am not aware of any CDMs relating to any pastoral breakdowns between the Bp and his cure (but then I wouldn’t!)

Labarum
Labarum
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
10 days ago

Just as the Sovereign reigns only at the pleasure of Parliament.

There are occasions when the performance of “the principal” becomes such a matter of concern that “”the council” may exercise its exceptional right to remove “the principal”. This is not a constitutional novelty for England, even if it has happened but rarely.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Labarum
10 days ago

It is, I suggest a constitutional novelty within the English Church. Bishops may have lost their sees because they lost the favour of the monarch (Becket, Laud, Fisher, Cranmer et al come immediately to mind); they may have been deprived by parliamentary action (such as the abolition of episcopacy under the Commonwealth, or the deprivation of the non-juring bishops). But has any diocesan Bishop hitherto lost their see because their diocese expressed dissatisfaction?

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
10 days ago

Indeed. Or they have been suspended, because they fell out of favour (Edmund Grindal), or because of manslaughter (George Abbot), or deprived on account of heresy (Reginald Pecock) or simony (Thomas Watson). Incompetence and/or unpopularity have not hitherto been grounds for suspension or deprivation as far as I know. This really is breaking new ground (as has been discussed on a previous thread). Personally, I have strong misgivings about bishops being seen as holding office at the fiat of their synods. To begin with, diocesan synods are even more of a selectocracy than General Synod. Also, transfers of power from… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton
11 days ago

“If it can happen in Winchester, it can happen anywhere”

It could happen in Chichester, where the present Bishop’s intransigence regarding the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell has caused incalculable damage in the Diocese – and continues to do so.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
10 days ago

What’s he meant to be doing about Bishop Bell?

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Peter
9 days ago

Removing the “significant cloud” hanging over his head.

Dave
Dave
11 days ago
  1. In what other institution would a settlement be reached that someone remain in post for six months +, on full pay, but not be doing their job. Far better he takes part of the salary and leaves asap.
  2. Surely the message has now to be very clearly heard that bishops have to be far more accountable within their dioceses, and publicly answerable. Diocesan synods need to call diocesan structures to account far more than they do – and that includes the Bishop too.
Lizzie Taylor
Lizzie Taylor
Reply to  Dave
10 days ago

If this is really the situation, perhaps he’ll have a re-think and won’t feel he should carry on for six+ more months taking pay and benefits for the work he is not doing, work that others are doing in his place. Especially in light of the wider financial situation.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
10 days ago

Pay-offs may be larger than six months’ pay, but presumably the person concerned was out of the door and (where relevant) replaced.

Kate
Kate
10 days ago

Firstly, I wish Bishop Tim a fulfilling retirement.   Secondly, I am uncertain that this is an entirely positive development. Taken together with the Sheffield dëbacle with Philip North which was what really set a precedent, widespread popularity has effectively become a requirement. So what happens if a bishop comes out as gay? Can evangelical parishes now force them out as has happened to Bishop Tim? Certainly, it has shown that if Bishop Philip had toughed it out in Sheffield, even installation wouldn’t have been enough to secure his position. So minority candidates are no longer safe and, presumably, CNC… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Kate
Anthony Cross
Anthony Cross
Reply to  Kate
10 days ago

Philip North did not support the ordination of women to the priesthood. At the time approximately 1/3 of the clergy in the Diocese of Sheffield were female, which would have created a very difficult situation both for him and them. You seem to be implying that it is the “evangelical parishes” who are responsible for “forcing out” +Tim. Whilst universal popularity will never happen, a Bishop requires the support of a majority of the Diocese for matters to work. They also require the humility to listen and change direction if what they are suggesting is not supported. +Tim lacks the… Read more »

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
10 days ago

Noting Micheal Mulhern’s observation that ‘there are seven vacant sees (or about to become vacant), including two of Winchester’s neighbouring dioceses (Portsmouth & Salisbury), along with Liverpool, Rochester, Lincoln, Bath & Wells, as well as Winchester; and Perry Butler’s ‘several bishops approaching 70: Newcastle, Birmingham.Peterborough’ … The Archbishop of York noted at the recent General Synod the appointment of the former MP Caroline Spelman as the head of the Dioceses Commission with the possibility of a review of dioceses. I look forward to this opportunity being taken/ nettle grasped. If it was in order for the Bishop to the Armed… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  God 'elp us all
10 days ago

Blackburn, Carlisle, Exeter, in the next 2 or 3 years too.

Froghole
Froghole
10 days ago

Noting the remarks about numerous vacancies in sees, it seems to me that this could be an opportunity for a long-overdue shake out of dioceses. Frankly, I think that the diocese is probably the one tier within the administration of the Church that is crying out for redundancy, although I acknowledge that there are many vested interests keen on its preservation. I would not favour complete abolition, but only that the financial and administrative arms of dioceses are eliminated, so that they are left as purely pastoral agencies. With respect to Winchester, the concurrent vacancies at Winchester and Portsmouth seem… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Froghole
9 days ago

I felt I had to defend Wolvesey from ‘privatisation’! I know most of those other places you list very well. Owslebury, or rather Marwell, was the home of the Seymours and Edward VI presented a communion cup to the church, still used, in memory of his mother Jane Seymour. There’s a local tradition of a ‘Lorna Doone’-type murder there of a priest while saying Mass in Latin post-Reformation being shot at the altar. Apparently Merdon Castle (almost on my doorstep) was demolished after three hundred years of occupation as there had never been a licence to crenellate! In the back… Read more »

David Foster
David Foster
Reply to  Froghole
9 days ago

Old Alresford Place is for sale though as yet I believe there is no buyer.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Froghole
9 days ago

A second reply: If, and a very strong if, Wolvesey Palace were let commercially, where would the Bishop (and family) live? He or she (she must clearly be be a possibility) could hardly be expected to live in less style than the Dean! The Deanery and remaining canonical residences all vest in the Dean and Chapter. I believe there were as many as fifteen prebends at Winchester before the ‘great’ reforms. I have no idea how much say (or if any at all) the Commissioners have on matters inside The Close!

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 days ago

Many thanks to you, Canon Foster and Notagoose for that very useful information, and I apologise for having been out of date. If the offices are all to be consolidated in one building then that is all to the good, although the disposal of Old Alresford Place, with its Sumner associations, is regrettable (as mentioned, I am all for arrangements short of divestment). I am currently between services on the Radnorshire/Shropshire border, so lack access to books, but if I recall the number of prebends for the ‘new foundation’ at Winchester was 12 plus the dean, and that was reduced… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Froghole
9 days ago

I was equally unaware of the intended fate of Old Alresford Place which I thought in the past had been used for residential (?) retreats, but I am clearly out of date again. Number 1 The Close (I hope I am right about this) was the home of the Sumners and that fact is recorded on the building. I have seen photographs of the Sumners in the garden there. I’m sure your memory will be correct about the Henrician foundation. Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought I recollected a mention of a fifteenth prebend, but it was… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Rowland Wateridge
Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 days ago

Canon Bussby’s book is within armreach of where I am reading TA. I can’t see any mention of 15 prebendaries. He lists the 12 who with the dean formed the New Foundation chapter. After 1840 they were suspended as they fell vacant leaving the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 9th and 10th, of which the 2nd was suppressed in 1930, leaving 4 residential canonries, as of 1979.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
9 days ago

Thank you. I accept that my memory is not infallible. I hadn’t seen Canon Bussby’s book for very many years. This subject arose in the context of the reduction mentioned by Froghole in the number of canons’ houses. Trevor Beeson in his Dean’s Diary bemoaned that the one now occupied as the Judges’ Lodging had been let on a peppercorn rent and would otherwise have yielded a handsome income to the Chapter.

David Foster
David Foster
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
7 days ago

You are right it was used for residentials for many years then the bedrooms were refurbished and reduced in number when the Diocesan office staff moved from the Close in Winchester to occupy part of the building. Residential retreats continued though with a smaller capacity. Some years ago (can’t recall when) the School of Mission (formerly Discipleship& Ministry) moved to the top floor in Wolvesey. I recall many wonderful training weekends and retreats at OAP so it will be sad to see it go even though I now live over the border in Portsmouth Diocese. I can understand the financial… Read more »

Notagoose
Notagoose
Reply to  Froghole
9 days ago

As I have already said in an as yet un moderated comment. It would seem the diocese is ahead of you on the single office plan and Wolvesey will be the sole diocesan office going forward. OAP has been on the market. The BoW occupies a small flat within Wolvesey.

The school of mission is one team within the offices, and is analogous with Ministry/mission /Vocations teams elsewhere. (Hardly surprising that a diocesan is closely associated with their Ministry and Vocations dept though.) My understanding is that all teams will be based at Wolvesey.

Paul Ellis
Paul Ellis
9 days ago

And within the Diocese, parishioners continue with God’s work to the best of their ability. I’m not sure that many know, or even care about what is happening in Winchester.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
Reply to  Paul Ellis
9 days ago

That’s absolutely right, Paul. In fact, a bishop of my acquaintance was ruefully reflecting very recently, in the aftermath of the last General Synod, that the current meltdown in the C of E is not so much happening at parish level as at diocesan level – with the diocesan machines inflicting their dysphoria on the parishes. This suggests it’s time for thinning down at the top. If you ask me the ‘passengers’ in the C of E at the moment are not in parishes: they in diocesan offices and sat around the table at diocesan leadership meetings. Perhaps a new… Read more »

Graeme Buttery
Graeme Buttery
Reply to  Michael Dawson
9 days ago

Ah yes, but the standard reply to such slimming down is always too great a workload, we need sufficient capacity to deal with it all!
Graeme Buttery

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Graeme Buttery
8 days ago

Ah yes, or no? Do less, or even nothing. A book coming to mind:
Do Nothing to Change Your Life: Discovering What Happens When You Stop, Cottrell. More than fine words?

Last edited 8 days ago by Simon Sarmiento
Charles Read
Reply to  Michael Dawson
9 days ago

Norwich has made 10% of diocesan posts redundant. I won’t comment on whether some of these needed to go. I will point to the human cost. Post COVID many dioceses will be doing the same.

Last edited 9 days ago by Charles Read
Paul Ellis
Paul Ellis
Reply to  Michael Dawson
8 days ago

My parish is truly blessed with “retired” clergy whose knowledge, experience and pastoral skills assist the congregation in so many ways. Together with SSMs, trainees etc., we have a full clergy team: we should not, however, have to rely upon goodwill. We could use the Parish Share (or whatever it’s called this month) so much more efficiently.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Paul Ellis
9 days ago

Spot on. We had a notice this morning about the bishop stepping down and that was it. Winchester is more than an hour away and apart from when the bishop visits or it’s confirmation time, parishioners don’t give him much thought.

For the clergy having to deal with the diocesan structure, I’m sure it’s different.

Charles K
Charles K
7 days ago

As a left-field and contrary speculation… how about a new Bishop of Portsmouth – which has been hailed as a pastoral, creative and supportive diocese – being appointed with a view to managing a merge between Portsmouth and Winchester Dioceses? They share officers and ministry already and it would make logical sense. This would also subvert the “big historical” diocese taking over the smaller diocese. (echoes of the Magnificat here!). Right now, Portsmouth looks like the more attractive proposition to build a Diocesan around the existing two suffragans, and that would not be much more cost to national or local… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Charles K
5 days ago

I think we need to clarify immediately. Would your suggestion be a Bishop and a Diocese of Winchester and Portsmouth? On first reading I assumed you meant a takeover of Winchester by Portsmouth. That is being highly provocative! Even in Winchester’s present tribulations I never expected to read anything, at first sight, so dismissive of our ancient diocese founded circa 660 (or earlier in 634 AD depending on whether you count the years at Dorchester before St Birinus moved his See to Winchester where it has remained ever since). The dioceses of Portsmouth and Guildford are both ‘children’ of Winchester.… Read more »

Charles K
Charles K
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
5 days ago

My dear Rowland – I never meant anything so provocative!!… just musing on whether a smaller and more integrated and united diocese might be a great gift to the undoubted glorious history of Winchester, and would enrich that said history. Neither was i suggesting a take-over, but rather building on the existing partnerships in Education and Finance and other areas. Challenging times often call for creative thinking. Size isn’t everything! And sometimes, children can teach adults rather a lot as they grow and mature in their different ways. Perhaps in order to attain “full glory”, the sum of unexpected additional… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Charles K
5 days ago

Relieved to hear it, but you appeared to have joined Froghole in wanting to sell off Wolvesey. He has since relented.

Stanley Monkhouse
5 days ago
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
5 days ago

Also interesting that this interview was recorded at Old Alresford Place which we are now told is on the market for sale.

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