THE next Independent Reviewer for the House of Bishops on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests is to be Maggie Swinson, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York announced on Tuesday.
Ms Swinson served as a member of the General Synod for 30 years and was closely involved in the arrangements and drafting of legislation for the ordination of women as priests and bishops in the Church of England. She is currently Vice Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council.
Her appointment as Independent Reviewer was made with the agreement of the chairs of the Houses of Clergy and Laity. It is a part-time and unpaid post, with the possibility of appointing one or more Deputy Reviewers.
She succeeds Sir William Fittall, who held the post from 2018 until his death in March, aged 68 (News, 18 March).
Mrs Swinson will rule on concerns and disputes over the operation of the Bishops’ Declaration on the pastoral care of those who, on theological grounds, are unable to receive the ministry of women as bishops and priests. She was part of the group led by Sir William that worked on the facilitated conversations, declaration, and legislation that was approved in 2014 for the consecration of women to the episcopate.
She paid tribute to his “painstaking and brilliant work” in drawing up the legislation and arrangements, and to his work subsequently as the Independent Reviewer.
“The House of Bishops declaration commits the Church of England fully to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender,” she said. “It also makes it clear that the Church of England remains committed to the flourishing of those who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests.
“I am passionate about the principle of ensuring that there is respect for all and that the Church of England upholds the principles of the declaration.”
Mrs Swinson is an accountant by training, and currently works in corporate governance and regulation for a social enterprise in the health care sector. She is also a lay leader at St Matthew and St James, Mossley Hill, in Liverpool.
Archbishops Welby and Cottrell said in a joint statement: “We are delighted that Maggie has agreed to take up this role. She is a faithful servant of the Church of England with a heartfelt commitment to the mutual flourishing of all in the Church. Her in-depth knowledge and experience as a General Synod member on this issue is unsurpassed.”