From Dr D. W. Williams
Sir, - In the recent Church Commissioners' statement on Wells
Palace, the Commissioners stated that "the ministry of the new
bishop should not be encumbered or restricted by being housed in a
place with a high level of public access which is guaranteed and
even encouraged in relation to which he might be expected to fulfil
a significant role"; and, also, "the Bishop will need to develop a
new and less demanding relationship with the Palace Trust in order
to be able to focus better on the life of the wider diocese."
I take very strong exception to those statements as not being in
any way relevant to the decision to relocate the incoming bishop
away from the Palace apartment.They imply either that the previous
Bishop was not spending enough time and energy on the diocese, or
that the newly elected Bishop will no thave the capacity to do
justice to both the Palace and the diocese.
Having chaired the Bath & Wells Diocesan Board of Finance
from 2006 to 2012 and attended throughout that period the Bishop's
staff meetings, as well as the diocesan-synod meetings, I can
attest that the first of those implications regarding the previous
bishop is wholly unfounded and farcical. Although I have not met
the newly elected Bishop for some years, I cannot believe that the
second implication is soundly based, either.
Nevertheless, if the Commissioners believe their own arguments,
I would now expect to see the removal of all bishops from their
historic residences, including those at York and Lambeth.
As for the house that the Commissioners now intend to be the
Bishop's residence, the diocese divested itself of that very
property several years ago because it was far too expensive to
maintain. I am at a loss to fathom any sensible reason behind what
appears to me to be a flawed decision.
D. W. WILLIAMS
Rhos Colwyn, Welsh St Donats
The Vale of Glamorgan CF71 7SS