New Independent Reviewer announced for House of Bishops Declaration
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York with the agreement of the Chairs of the Houses of Clergy and Laity have announced that Maggie Swinson has been appointed as the next Independent Reviewer.
The long-serving former General Synod member, who is now Vice Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, takes up the post left vacant following the death earlier this year of Sir William Fittall. She will work with a Deputy Independent Reviewer to be appointed early next year.
The ombudsman-style role rules on concerns and disputes over the operation of the House of Bishops declaration on the ministry of bishops and priests.
The declaration, drawn up in 2014 ahead of legislation paving the way for the consecration of women as bishops, sets out the arrangements for parishes that seek the priestly or episcopal ministry of men on grounds of theological conviction.
Mrs Swinson brings more than 30 years of experience as a General Synod member to the post of Independent Reviewer. She was closely involved in the arrangements and drafting of legislation for the ordination of women as priests and bishops in the Church of England.
Most recently she was part of the group led by Sir William that worked following 2012 on the facilitated conversations, declaration and legislation that was approved in 2014 for the ordination of women as bishops.
Mrs Swinson said: “I would like to pay tribute to the painstaking and brilliant work of Sir William in drawing up the legislation and arrangements for the ordination of women as bishops and his role after retirement as Secretary General as Independent Reviewer.
“The House of Bishops declaration commits the Church of England fully to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender. It also makes it clear that the Church of England remains committed to the flourishing of those who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests.
“I am passionate about the principle of ensuring that there is respect for all and that the Church of England upholds the principles of the declaration.”
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York said: “We are delighted that Maggie has agreed to take up this role. She is a faithful servant of the Church of England with a heartfelt commitment to the mutual flourishing of all in the Church. Her in-depth knowledge and experience as a General Synod member on this issue is unsurpassed.”