William Chapman writes:
ANTHONY SADLER, who died from cancer on 1 October, a day before
his 76th birthday, was the Archbishops' Secretary for Appointments
between 1996 and 2003. In this capacity, he served three
Archbishops: George Carey, David Hope, and, more briefly, Rowan
Williams. He was also secretary to the Crown Appointments
Commission and of its successor body, the Crown Nominations
These posts are of considerable significance and influence in
the Church of England. The holder provides key advice on senior
appointments, both to the Archbishops, and to the House of Bishops
generally. During Tony's time, no fewer than 26 diocesan bishops
were appointed. His office also handled numerous other
appointments, including those of suffragans.
Tony also worked to good effect behind the scenes, notably in
the negotiation, with others, in connection with the deanery of
Lincoln in 1997, and in working to expand and enhance the training
offered to senior church leaders.
The post of Appointments Secretary calls for a number of
attributes: tact, discretion, and good judgement; patience, but an
ability quickly to get to the heart of things; occasional
toughness, but consistent sensitivity to others. Possession of a
thick skin, and a sense of humour, are also an advantage. The
post-holder must ride above the politics of the Church, while
navigating their twists and turns. He or she has to become used to
the inevitable criticism of this or that appointment, from those
who think a choice misguided and the secretary's fault. Tony
brought to the task all these gifts, and more.
He had the endearing habit of marking the end of a round of
diocesan consultations, on returning to the office, with a
celebratory glass of sherry. Sometimes this may have been
necessarily restorative, after consultations in which a higher than
usual number of consultees had pinned a perhaps excessive
importance to the next bishop's having a nice wife and children,
and/or had repeated the somewhat threadbare "joke" that what was
wanted was the archangel Gabriel.
Tony played a key part in the implementation of some important
reforms, notably after the Perry review. He played a full part in
the review, although he found painful some of the doubts wrongly
cast on the integrity of the appointments process during the
associated discussions, and he did not totally agree with the
conclusions. None the less, he loyally ensured their
implementation, once agreed.
He himself always respected the confidentiality of the process.
He found the occasional leaks from the Commission and elsewhere
He was also responsible, with the Prime Minister's Secretary for
Appointments, for co-ordinating the work leading to the appointment
of a new Archbishop of Canterbury. This was notable, among other
things, for a more extensive involvement than hitherto of leaders
from the Anglican Communion. In many ways, he probably regarded
this as the culmination of his work in the Church.
Tony was educated at Bedford School, and Magdalene College,
Cambridge. He brought 30 years' experience in human-resources
management to the Church, having served at senior levels in large
businesses. He was awarded Companionship of the Chartered Institute
of Personnel and Development for distinguished service to the
Tony also contributed to the wider community. In 1993, he
chaired the successful Centenary Appeal for Southwark Welcare,
which helped mothers and young children in need throughout
Southwark diocese. He was invited by the Bar Council, in 2002, to
be the lay member of a working party to respond to the Lord
Chancellor's consultations on judicial appointments. He was
churchwarden of St Luke's, Kew.
Tony took a proper pride in all his work. But, first and
foremost, he saw himself as a servant of the Church, and, beyond
that, of the communities which it served. He was always, and
rightly, keen to keep the focus on the outward-facing nature of
Church leadership. Upon his retirement, he was appointed CBE.
Tony retired to France, to the Île de Ré, with his wife
Marie-José. She survives him, as do his three daughters. A memorial
service will be held on Saturday 22 November, at 2.30 p.m., in St
Anne's Church, Kew.