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Out of the question

by
13 June 2014

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Your answers

Would it be appropriate to suggest to the Bishop the name of a retired priest who has had, and still maintains, an outstanding ministry for possible appointment as a prebendary or honorary canon, or would the fact that he is retired and over 70 make him ineligible? If the latter, could his outstanding ministry be recognised in any other way?

The answer depends on the constitution and statutes of the relevant cathedral (in Durham, non-residentiary canons automatically cease to hold office at the age of 70), but also on the purpose of appointing someone a non-residentiary canon in the first place.

There are few honours a bishop can bestow on faithful and long-serving clergy; so it is perhaps unsurprising that an appointment to a non-residentiary canonry might be made as a long-and-faithful-service "gong". But the College of Canons has an important, if loosely defined, part to play as an interface between a cathedral and its diocese.

At its best, and from the cathedral's perpective, members of the College will enrich the cathedral's ministry and governance, and encourage the deaneries and parishes to join with the cathedral for liturgical and other celebrations, events and ministries.

From a deanery and parish perspective, there are plenty of examples of the involvement of volunteers and clergy from the cathedral in supporting and collaborating with parish ministry. The existence of the College of Canons is an important enabler in all this. Bishops and those they consult over the appointment of canons should probably regard this as just as important as the need to reward long service.

Nomination for an MBE or the revived BEM is perhaps an alternative to appointment as a canon for someone who has served a community faithfully for a long time. These honours also have the advantage for someone of mature years that nothing is expected in return.

Adrian P. Beney (Lay member of  Chapter, Durham Cathedral)
 

Your questions

A friend is a communicant member of the C of E on weekdays but a Nonconformist on Sundays. Is this unusual? Would anyone comment?
C. N.
 

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questions@churchtimes.co.uk

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