On 3 June, the Church of England issued a press release on the work of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on the Relationship of the Channel Islands to the Wider Church of England, as follows:
“In March 2014, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Dover and the then Deans of Jersey and Guernsey agreed arrangements for the Bishop of Dover to assume interim oversight of the Island parishes. This temporary arrangement was made on the basis that an Archbishop’s Commission would look at the longer-term relationship between the Islands and the wider Church of England following a breakdown in the relationship between the Islands and the Diocese of Winchester.
The Archbishop’s Commission started its work last year and has recently visited both Guernsey and Jersey, during which it met a cross-section of civic and church representatives. The Commission wishes to express its thanks to all those who have been involved in the consultation on the Islands. It is also meeting with a range of other stakeholders including representatives from the Dioceses of Canterbury and Winchester.
The Commission intends to reflect on the views it has, or will have, received before submitting a report to the Archbishop of Canterbury later in the year.
The Commission is grateful to Bishop Trevor Willmott following his recent retirement as Bishop of Dover for agreeing to extend his episcopal oversight of the Islands as previously announced by the Diocese of Canterbury.
Lord Chartres, Chair of the Commission, 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.’
The Commission’s Chair is Lord Chartres (formerly Bishop of London), assisted by Sir Christopher Clarke, Baroness Wilcox, and two consultants from the Islands – Sir de Vic Carey, former Bailiff of Guernsey, and Mr Mark Temple QC, HM Solicitor General for Jersey.”
The terms of reference of the Commission are as follows:
- For the purposes set out below, to consult with the relevant bishops, deans, synods, councils, the civil authorities on the Channel Islands (including the States of Jersey and Guernsey) and the Crown;
- To review the constitutional, legal, financial and other structural mechanisms which currently govern the status in the Church of England of the deaneries of Jersey and Guernsey, and their relationship with the wider Church of England;
- To consider the most appropriate relationship between the deaneries and the wider Church of England, and to consider whether the deaneries should be treated together or separately, and to identify the changes in constitutional, legal, financial and other structural matters which would be needed to give effect to that relationship;
- In any event, to identify such changes to the current constitution, canons, and wider legal framework of the deaneries as may be necessary or desirable for the mission and good order of the deaneries (including consideration of extending Church of England Measures that do not currently apply);
- In the event that the recommendation is that the relationship between the deaneries and the wider Church of England is best expressed in a connection with a diocese of the Church of England, to review the relationship which exists between the deaneries and the Diocese of Winchester and is presently mediated through the oversight of the Bishop of Dover with the agreement of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and to consider to which diocese the deaneries ought to be related, whether Winchester, Canterbury or any other diocese, and what form that relationship should take;
- To propose a timetable to bring about any such changes.
- To report to the Archbishop of Canterbury as expeditiously as possible.