Thinking Anglicans

Channel Islands Commission publishes recommendations

Press release from the Church of England

Channel Islands Commission publishes recommendations
09/10/2019

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on the relationship of the Channel Islands to the wider Church of England has published its final report, including a recommendation for Episcopal oversight of the Islands to be transferred to the Bishop of Salisbury.

In March 2014, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Dover and the Deans of Jersey and Guernsey signed an agreement to give effect to arrangements by which the Rt Rev’d Trevor Willmott, then Bishop of Dover, would assume interim oversight of the Island parishes. Following this, an Archbishop’s Commission would look at the longer-term relationship between the Islands and the wider Church of England. This followed a breakdown in the relationship between the Islands and the Bishop of Winchester.

The Archbishop’s Commission started its work last year and visited both Guernsey and Jersey, meeting with a cross-section of civic and church representatives in addition to meeting with a range of other stakeholders including representatives from the Dioceses of Canterbury and Winchester.

With this process now concluded, the Commission has today made recommendations which will allow the continued flourishing of parishes in the Channel Islands, within the wider life of the Church of England.

The recommendations of the report will now go forward to the General Synod and the Island authorities for consideration, and recommendation to the Privy Council. Should the proposals be approved, the earliest that the attachment to Salisbury could take formal effect would be the autumn of 2020.

Until arrangements are finalised, Bishop Trevor Willmott will continue interim episcopal oversight of the Islands.

The full report and recommendations may be downloaded below.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “I welcome this report and its recommendations and am grateful to all in the Channel Islands and further afield who have given of their time, energy and prayer during the consultation.

“The aim of this Commission was to identify an environment in which the Church and all who worship in the Islands can flourish together in Christ and within the wider life of the Church of England. I believe the recommendations of the report can allow for this to happen.

“My thanks also go to those who have served on the Commission chaired by Lord Chartres, and especially to Bishop Trevor Willmott for his episcopal oversight of the Islands while the Commission was concluding its task.”

The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, said: “I warmly welcome the Commission’s recommendations, particularly that Episcopal oversight of the Islands be transferred to Salisbury. Together we will explore the opportunities this new relationship brings. I look forward to getting to know the people of the Channel Islands and when we agree the next steps will welcome them into our Diocese. We will want a partnership in the Gospel that is good for all of us. A new chapter is opening in our shared life in Christ.”

The Bishop of Winchester, Tim Dakin, said: “I’m most grateful to the members of the Archbishop’s Commission for their work and their recommendations. In particular, I welcome the proposal for the Island Deaneries to be given a fresh start with the Diocese of Salisbury. I remain committed to the flourishing of the churches in the Islands, and shall continue to pray for God’s richest blessing and his grace to be known in the Islands and among their churches.”

The Dean of Guernsey, Tim Barker, said: “We look forward to exploring with the Bishop of Salisbury and his colleagues the development of our mission and ministry in Guernsey, once the Channel Islands deanery synods have accepted the Commission’s recommendations and the legal processes are under way. I am grateful to the Commissioners for their report and to Bishop Trevor Willmott and the Diocese of Canterbury for their much-valued support in recent years.”

The Dean of Jersey, Mike Keirle, said: “We are grateful for the work of the Archbishop’s Commission and we welcome their recommendations in this report. We thank the Diocese of Winchester for their care over the years and, subject to approval from the respective Synods in the Islands and Salisbury, we look forward to building new relationships with the wider Church of England and to the future flourishing of the Church in Jersey”.

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Marian BirchRowland WateridgeSimon BraverySusannah ClarkJohn Swanson Recent comment authors
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Father David
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Father David

Isn’t the diocese of Salisbury big enough already? Why not transfer the Channel Islands to the minuscule diocese of Sodor and Man, thus keeping all these offshore islands all together, united as one?

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

Father David: The Commission Report deals with your point, but its relative proximity to the Channel Islands and ease of access are the primary reasons for choosing Salisbury. The present Bishop of Salisbury is happy to take it on, and he has Suffragans to assist him on the ‘mainland’.

Kate
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Kate

That seems to be a very sensible suggestion

David Emmott
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David Emmott

Wouldn’t it make more sense for them to be in the Diocese in Europe?

Tim Barker
Guest

Two issues: (1) we can see France from Guernsey on a good day, but the transport links are not reliable except in high summer – the easiest way of reaching mainland Europe is through Gatwick airport; and (2) the parishes are very important in the CIs, which is very different to the prevailing pattern in the Diocese of Europe.

Anne Farthing
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Anne Farthing

Careful, David. Pyongyang is desperate to kick the Diocese in Europe into the long grass and pretend it doesn’t exist while the Brexit car-crash is happening, even though it is the only Diocese of the Church of England that is growing right now (London showing distinct signs of slow-down in the hostile environment). Some very imaginative mission initiatives, along with the enriching contribution of large numbers of migrants, in the Diocese in Europe is being edited-out of the C of E’s daily spin machine because the powers-that-be are terrified it might upset the Brexit-voting big noises in the Shires and… Read more »

Charles Read
Guest

I am very sorry to hear that you think the Diocese in Europe is being edited out of the visible C of E. Could you substantiate that a bit? I am happy to raise a question at General Synod about this. We delight in having European ordinands training with us at ERMC and I am a great supporter of that diocese. In addition, +Robert is one of the very few bishops making coherent theological comments on Brexit. Your diocese is an under-acknowledged gem in the CofE. You are indeed doing mission in innovative ways without resorting to the franchising of… Read more »

Simon Dawson
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Simon Dawson

Bearing in mind the tax haven status of certain Channel Islands, I suspect that many Channel Islanders are entirely happy to stay in the UK, and are looking forward to the further financial deregulation promised by certain brexiteers. The French model would be anathema.

T Pott
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T Pott

The Channel Islands, like the Isle of Man, are not in the UK.

Marian Birch
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Marian Birch

The report gives good reasons viz the chaplaincy rather than parochial model of the Diocese in Europe why that would not be an easy fit. With which as a parishioner of the Diocese in Europe I would agree.

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

Kate and David Emmott: The Isle of Man and the Diocese in Europe are both referred to in the report which is lengthy but worth reading. Neither are felt to be suitable. Apparently the Channel Islands and the Bishop of Salisbury are happy with the idea.

Father David
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Father David

Probably, but the Diocese in Europe is already vast stretching from Gibraltar in the East to Vladivostok in the West. I’m sure that the Bishop in Europe could quite easily shelter the little Channel Islands under the shadow of his wings but that might make a political point of which the Channel Islanders may well not approve.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for the United Kingdom to REMAIN in the European Union?

Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

“the Diocese in Europe is already vast stretching from Gibraltar in the East to Vladivostok in the West”

Um… wait…

Marian Birch
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Marian Birch

Actually the diocese in Europe extends considerably further WEST than Gibraltar as it includes the Canaries and Madeira.

Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

Not to mention the Azores which lie further west than both of those.

Though all things are relative. New Caledonia is technically European territory, even though it lies just north of New Zealand, and from that perspective Vladivostok really is west and Gibraltar is east.

And is Greenland (Danish protectorate) European or American?

My head hurts.

Marian Birch
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Marian Birch

Aah but there isn’t a chaplaincy of the Diocese in Europe in the Azores, New Caledonia or Greenland. There is in the Canaries and Madeira. We have probably done this thread to death!

James Pitkin
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James Pitkin

That is covered in the report – Channel Islands have parishes rather than chaplaincies and need a Registrar for legal advice (the one in Salisbury Diocese also covers Winchester so there is a body of knowledge and experience)

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

I ought to add that Chichester and Portsmouth were both also ruled out. For people interested in all this, it really is necessary to read the report in order to understand the reasons.

Marian Birch
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Marian Birch

The report is too tactful to spell this out explicitly but it is clear that the ‘issue’ for the Channel Islands is not the Diocese of Winchester per se, but rather the current Bishop of Winchester (who for all the report’s attempt at evenhandedness seems clearly to have been largely responsible for the ‘crisis’). So would not the ‘obvious’ course be for the current Bishop of Winchester to resign rather than be responsible for destroying a 400 year old relationship?

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

I would have favoured retention of the Winchester link. But the Commission have spelled out in the clearest language why they rule this out and why they recommend Salisbury. They have consulted an enormous number of people: Church, laity and legal, taking account of the special circumstances in the Channel Islands. Everyone, please do take the trouble to read the report and the appendices instead of putting forward pet theory alternatives. This was a very high-powered Commission and the report answers all of the hypothetical alternative choices which people are putting forward above. A quite distinct matter, the Report mentions… Read more »

Marian Birch
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Marian Birch

I did read the report carefully before I made that suggestion (and indeed the other comment I made above).

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

Sorry, I wasn’t suggesting otherwise in your case. I specifically mentioned in a separate paragraph the alternative suggestions to Salisbury being made by people who clearly cannot have read the report. I didn’t take your own suggestion that the Bishop should resign to be in that category, but I can see that you might have interpreted my post to mean that – not intended at all.

Father David
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Father David

Will the Salisbury link be permanent or temporary and will the Channel Islands revert back to the diocese of Winchester once the current Bishop of Winchester retires?

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

The present Bishop is 61. One shouldn’t rule out the possibility of translation to another See. He ranks second, after London, in the Southern Province.

The Commission Report actually mentions the Channel Islands’ appreciation of the fact that he could raise CI matters in the House of Lords (I have no idea whether he has ever done so). He is the official Church spokesman for Further and Higher Education in the HL. I would not have thought that he is likely to resign, or for there to be any currently-known reason for him to do so.

Tim Scholes
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Tim Scholes

Marian’s nailed it. To be fair, I think the current occupant of the See she mentions (and where I live) is slowly but surely learning some lessons and recognising that he can only lead by bringing people with him; as well as realising that other insights that may challenge and question his assumptions might just have something to contribute to the mission of the Diocese. But it has taken some time, with significant casualties along the way. It didn’t help of course that, in the early days, when the Channel Islands situation first erupted, the Bishop had the C of… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Ah, John V Taylor, a truly great Bishop. I’ve just taken down a book from the bookshelves by David Wood, an appreciation of Bishop Taylor’s ministry, entitled “Poet, priest and prophet” – a fair summary of a highly imaginative and significant contributor to the ministry and mission of Christ’s Church.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

The first priest to be directly appointed Bishop of Winchester since 1595 without already having been a bishop. The present Bishop, Timothy Dakin, is the second, and both were missionaries beforehand.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

There was also another Bishop John Taylor, of St Albans, who was a scholar with a deeply pastoral heart – a kind and lovely man.

John Swanson
Guest
John Swanson

Reading the Report, it is clear that part of the origins of the problems lie in the individuals concerned, but part lie in the Islands being an anomaly in CofE structural and organisational terms, and some people either not recognising that or not being willing to adapt to it. The trend in the CofE at the moment seems to be to remove anomalies and individuality and to impose standardisation. I therefore think it is a very welcome breath of fresh air, that this Commission makes no attempt to alter the basic anomaly: indeed, it seems to rejoice in the unique… Read more »

Simon Bravery
Guest
Simon Bravery

Interesting choice of Lord Chartres. His love of history is evident in the report.