Clergy: Ordination

Church Commissioners written question – answered on 23rd June 2009.

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Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what procedure the Church of England follows to seek approval by the Prime Minister of candidates for senior clergy appointments to be recommended to Her Majesty the Queen.

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

For diocesan bishoprics, the Archbishop of the Province sends to the Prime Minister the name of a candidate chosen by the Crown Nominations Commission (which consists of the archbishops, six members elected by the General Synod, six members elected by the Vacancy in See Committee of the vacant diocese, and the Prime Minister's Secretary for Appointments and the Archbishops' Secretary for Appointments as non-voting members).

For suffragan bishoprics, the Archbishop of the Province forwards the diocesan bishop's nomination to the Prime Minister. At present two candidates must be nominated, though by convention the first is always chosen. A measure which will be presented to the General Synod for Final Approval this July (and if approved will be presented for parliamentary approval and Royal Assent in the usual way) will change the law so that in future only one candidate will be nominated. The process leading to the bishop's nomination includes interviews by an advisory group.

For deaneries, the Archbishop of the Province forwards to the Prime Minister the name of a candidate chosen by a selection panel of five voting members, chaired by a lay person appointed by the archbishop and including the diocesan bishop, a lay member elected by and from the bishop's council, a member of the college of canons elected by and from the college, and a priest with experience of cathedral ministry. The Prime Minister's Appointments Secretary and the Archbishops' Secretary for Appointments are non-voting members of the panel.

For residentiary canonries, the diocesan bishop sends to the Prime Minister the name of the candidate chosen by him after a selection process which follows guidelines adopted by the House of Bishops.

The Prime Minister advises Her Majesty either to nominate those concerned for formal election by the college of canons of the vacant diocese (in the case of diocesan bishoprics) or to appoint them to the suffragan see, deanery or residentiary canonry concerned.

Further details of the processes involved may be found on the Church of England website at:

www.cofe.anglican.org/info/asa/senappt

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