AN ARCHBISHOP’s Commission examining the relationship between the Channel Islands and the Church of England will issue its final report later this year, after completing a consultation on the islands.
The body, led by the former Bishop of London Lord Chartres, was established by the Archbishop of Canterbury last summer, after the Channel Islands effectively severed their centuries-old connection with the see of Winchester.
The breakdown in relationship between the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, and the islands was sparked by a controversy over the handling of a safeguarding complaint, in 2008, by the then Dean of Jersey, the Very Revd Bob Key.
An investigation commissioned by Bishop Dakin concluded that no disciplinary action should be taken against any member of the islands’ clergy (News, 29 November 2013), but, nevertheless, Bishop Dakin agreed to hand over episcopal oversight to Archbishop Welby in 2014 (News, 24 January 2014).
He then delegated this to the then Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott. Although Bishop Willmott retired from the diocese of Canterbury last month, he has agreed to continue as Bishop to the Channel Islands, and as an assistant bishop in the diocese of Winchester.
The Commission, led by Lord Chartres, recently visited both Jersey and Guernsey and met a “cross-section of civic and church representatives”, a Church House statement said. It is due to meet senior figures from the dioceses of Winchester and Canterbury.
The term of reference of the body included consulting with ecclesiastical and civil authorities in the Channel Islands, and reviewing all constitutional, legal, and financial governance in the deaneries of Jersey and Guernsey.
It is also asked to consider what kind of relationship, either separately or together, the two islands should have with the rest of the Church of England, and which diocese they should come under.
Lord Chartres said: “Our main task is to look forward and make recommendations for the future that will best enable the flourishing of the church on the islands.”
His Commission will “reflect” on the views that it has heard before submitting a report to Archbishop Welby later this year.