The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued the following Press Release
Wednesday 22nd January 2014
The Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, is to assume interim episcopal oversight of the work of the Church of England in the Channel Islands on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, delegated the oversight of the Islands.
The interim arrangement, which has the fullest support of the Bishop of Winchester, will be in place within a matter of weeks. The reports commissioned by the Bishop of Winchester, being conducted by Dame Heather Steel and Bishop John Gladwin in relation to safeguarding issues, will be completed in due course.
The Bishop of Dover is a former Bishop of Basingstoke in the Diocese of Winchester, and therefore has significant knowledge of the Islands. He and the Bishop at Lambeth, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock, undertook a pastoral visit to the Channel Islands in December, during which they met local church leaders and Island authorities from both Deaneries.
The interim arrangement is also entirely separate from issues to do with the Islands’ formal relationship with the Church of England. The Archbishop intends to appoint a Commission to look at the relationship between the Islands, the Diocese of Winchester and the wider Church of England.
Points to note from the Press Release are: the Bishop of Dover’s episcopal oversight over the Channel Islands will not commence immediately, but “within a matter of weeks”; the reports commissioned by the Bishop of Winchester, being conducted by Dame Heather Steel and Bishop John Gladwin in relation to safeguarding issues, will be “completed in due course”, but no indication is given regarding their publication; the Archbishop’s Commission to look at the relationship between the Islands, (i.e. not just Jersey), the Diocese of Winchester and the wider Church of England.
A copy of the pastoral letter to the clergy of the Diocese of Winchester announcing the delegation of jurisdiction over Jersey by the Bishop of Winchester to the Archbishop of Canterbury is published here.
It should also be remembered that the Bishop of Dover is unlike any other suffragan or area bishop because he exercises many of the functions of a diocesan bishop within the Diocese of Canterbury. He is also the only suffragan who sits in the House of Bishops ex officio.