From the Bishop of Dorchester
Sir, - My good friend Canon David Winter (Diary, 17
April) is characteristically generous in his appreciation of my
tenure as the Acting Bishop of Oxford. I am afraid, however, that
he may have misunderstood the reasons that the diocese of Oxford is
in search of new office accommodation.
In common with many dioceses, we have experienced the
significant reduction of local-authority education services in
recent years - in our case, across the Thames Valley. I am proud to
say that both our Board of Education and the Oxford Diocesan
Schools Trust have wholeheartedly seized the opportunity to expand
where government has retreated.
This means that our education team has grown both numerically
and in terms of the expertise that we offer to both community and
Church schools. The fact that some of the former are now looking to
us to provide what they need is a wonderful testimony to the
quality and effectiveness of our colleagues.
I repeat the point I made in my Ad Clerum. The centre of the
life of our Church lies in our parishes. Furthermore, our support
staff are employed simply to serve the mission of those
But we are in urgent need of new office accommodation so that we
can serve our parishes better. As Canon Winter acknowledges, the
diocese of Oxford is vast, which means that we benefit from some
economies of scale; but our staff are currently working out of a
converted former vicarage that is no longer fit for purpose.
We have carefully explored a number of possible alternatives,
and are currently pursuing one in particular, which, we hope, will
enable us to serve our congregations, schools, and communities
still better in the coming decades.
I look forward to welcoming Canon Winter and others from across
the diocese to our new offices when we have completed the move.
Arran House, Sandy Lane, Yarnton, Oxford OX5 1PB