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A new diocesan headquarters for Oxford

24 April 2015


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 parishes.

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

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