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General Synod digest: appointments

18 February 2022

Clive Mear/Church of England

Archdeacon Spiers contributes to a Synod debate

Archdeacon Spiers contributes to a Synod debate


THE Archbishop of York moved “that the appointment of the Venerable Pete Spiers as Chair of the Appointments Committee be approved”. Archdeacon Spiers, Archbishop Cottrell said, was “a massively valued member of Synod, member of the panel of chairs, who has guided us at times through very challenging debates and has always shown good humour, fairness, impartiality, but neither any fear in challenging where necessary. These characteristics have also been put to use during his time as a central member of the Crown Nominations Commission.”

The Archdeacon had shown an ability “to leave your preconceived ideas at the door and collectively seek to discern ‘what is God saying to us?’” Archbishop Cottrell and the Archbishop of Canterbury had consulted widely particularly with members of the Appointments Committee.

The Synod carried the motion.

The Archbishop of Canterbury moved “that the appointment of Dame Caroline Spelman as Chair of the Dioceses Commission be approved”. This was a reappointment, after she had been appointed in April 2021 for a time-limited period. “Her almost unique set of talents and experience includes the last major local-government reorganisation, which will prove invaluable to the Church and the Dioceses Commission as it seeks to discern a way forward,” the Archbishop said.

Three members spoke to in support of the appointment. The Revd Paul Benfield (Blackburn) was vice-chair of the Diocesan Commission and had served in an interim capacity before the appointment of Dame Caroline as chair. He praised her “skill and dexterity”.

Canon Joyce Jones (Leeds) asked whether the Commission’s agenda for the next three years would include the amalgamation of dioceses and whether the lessons “both positive and negative” learned from the creation of the diocese of Leeds would be taken into account.

Stephen Hogg (Leeds) was aware, he said, of the Commission’s current workload, and expected more demands on it in the future. “It strikes me the Commission could be overwhelmed by demands and I wonder what plans are in place to cope with that requirement, both of members and of staff?”

Archbishop Welby thanked Fr Benfield for his work on the Commission, to applause. In response to Canon Jones, he stated that the Commission was an independent body that would choose its own agenda. In response to Mr Hogg, he said that staffing was a matter for the Secretary General and Central Support. They would do all they could to ensure that the Commission was adequately resourced.

The motion was carried.

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