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Review findings on diocese of Lincoln

by
05 October 2012

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From Mr Ian Newton
Sir, - I know nothing of the circum­stances in the Lincoln dio­cese (News, 28 September); nor do I wish to cast personal aspersions on any holding posts as diocesan chief executives. I do, however, think that the diocesan review puts its finger on a most important point.

In the wider world, the term "chief executive" indicates the person who leads an organisation and sets its direction. In a diocese, that has to be the diocesan bishop, who alone can give spiritual leader­ship. The widespread change in terminology from "diocesan sec­retary" to "chief executive" suggests that lay staff, crucial though they are, have authority inappropriate in a Church.

At a practical level, the practice that bishops work from home - often large homes that they are keen to make good use of - further removes them, day to day, from the centre of operations.

Both clergy and lay people need to see the diocesan bishop as the key source of authority. The present arrangement in many dioceses is rather akin to the bursar's being the chief executive of a school. The Church needs good management, but it needs management rooted in spiritual direction and leadership.

IAN NEWTON
The Vicarage, 15 Noyes Avenue
Laxfield
Suffolk IP13 8EB

From Mr Philip Johanson
Sir, - On announcing his forth­coming retirement as Bishop of Lincoln, Dr John Saxbee said in March 2010: "I believe the diocese is in good heart." He stood down as diocesan Bishop in January 2011.

In the light of the recently published report from a group set up in December 2011 was the assessment made by Dr Saxbee inaccurate, or did things go very wrong during the vacancy-in-see?

PHILIP JOHANSON
10 Ditton Lodge
8 Stourwood Avenue
Bournemouth
Dorset BH6 3PN

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