After Chrism Masses, Benefice Appointments – CofE Independent Reviewer’s Second Report

Second report of the Church of England’s Independent Reviewer, Sir Philip Mawer

As part of the settlement by which the Church of England agreed to the ordination of women as bishops in 2014, it agreed to an ombudsman-style procedure by which those with concerns about the operation of the new arrangements could appeal to an Independent Reviewer. On 31 July, Sir Philip Mawer, the Independent Reviewer appointed by the Archbishops in relation to resolving disputes arising from the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests (GS Misc 1076), issued his first report, on a complaint by Hilary Cotton, Chair of Women and the Church (‘WATCH’) about the fact that a number of chrism masses were to be held in 2015 at which bishops of the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda would preside. Sir Philip concluded that the masses are not in themselves a breach of the principles set out in the House of Bishops’ Declaration.

“Rather they are a consequence of the underlying division and of the pastoral arrangements the Church has thought it right to make for those who hold the minority view. Provided the masses continue themselves to be conducted within the spirit of the Five Principles, with due sensitivity to the feeling of others, and with full regard to the lawful authority of the relevant diocesan bishop” [42].

On 10 August 2015, Sir Philip issued his second report following a letter from Dr Colin Podmore, Director of Forward in Faith, enclosing an expression of concern about the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration in respect of the Parish of All Saints, Cheltenham in the Diocese of Gloucester. He states Continue reading