Vacancy in See Committee

last updated on: 23rd Feb 2015

Choosing a new Bishop of Leicester

A prayer for the process of choosing a new Bishop

Loving God,
in whose hand we are shaped and moulded,
raise up your church in this place, we pray,
and all who serve the diocese of Leicester.
Anoint your people for service
as you call another to be their bishop.
Pour out richly your gifts of unity and fellowship,
that we may glorify your name,
grow deeper in your love
and see your kingdom come.

Why do we need a new Bishop of Leicester?
Bishop Tim has announced that he will be retiring as Bishop of Leicester on 11 July 2015 after sixteen years in post.

How will a new Bishop be chosen?
The process for choosing a diocesan bishop begins in the diocese. However, because of the variety of roles which diocesan bishops have, not only within the Church of England but also in the local community and the nation at large, the choice is not made by representatives of the diocese alone. Diocesan representatives (known as the ‘Vacancy in See Committee’) work with representatives of the wider Church of England, under the presidency of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

How do I make my views known?
In order to hear the views of people in the Diocese, there will be four open consultation meetings:

In each case the meeting will run from 7.00 for 7.15 to 8.45.  All are welcome, whether or not you are currently involved in the life of the Church.

At each meeting, members of the Vacancy in See Committee will be present to listen to your views on questions such as:

  • What are the key challenges and opportunities for the Church in Leicester and Leicestershire in the next 5-10 years?
  • What are the qualities we should be looking for in our next Bishop?

You will also be able to ask any questions you may have about how the process of choosing the next Bishop works.

If you are unable to attend any of these meetings, or would like to submit your views in writing, please email the Secretary of the Committee, Jonathan Kerry or write to Jonathan Kerry, St Martins House, 7 Peacock Lane, Leicester LE1 1SY, to arrive no later than 27th March 2015.

All the feedback from the consultation meetings and correspondence will be used by the Vacancy in See Committee to draw up a profile of the Diocese that will be used during the appointment process.  This will include a description of the Diocese and its thoughts on the qualities needed in the next Bishop of Leicester.

In addition, as part of the broader consultation, and because the Bishop of Leicester has a national role, the Appointments Secretaries (Caroline Boddington for the Archbishops and Edward Chaplin for the Prime Minister) will visit the Diocese  in  May 2015, meeting a wide range of groups, both church and non church based, to gather their views.

There will be an open meeting with the Appointments Secretaries on Tuesday 19th May, from 7.30-9.30 pm in the Grand Hall, St Martins House, Leicester 

What does the Vacancy in See Committee do?
The role of the Vacancy in See Committee is as follows:

  • to prepare a brief description of the diocese and a statement setting out the desired qualities of the new Bishop. This is called the Statement of Needs.
  • to elect six diocesan representatives to the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC)

The Committee met for the first time on 7th February 2015.  Future meetings will take place on Saturday 28th March, Saturday 18th April and Wednesday 20th May. Its discussions will be kept confidential.
The first meeting was aimed at members getting to know one another and for the committee to elect a deputy chair. On 20th May, the national Appointment Secretaries will attend to clarify the process and answer any questions members of the Committee might have.
At this meeting the Committee will elect the six members to serve on the CNC of which at least three must be lay people. Only one member of the Bishop’s senior staff team may be elected. After the meeting, the Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary will brief the diocesan CNC representatives on the next steps.
The description of the Diocese and the Statement of Needs prepared by the Vacancy in See Committee will be considered by the CNC together with feedback from the Appointment Secretaries on the consultation process and information about the needs of the national church. The CNC will meet twice (11th September and 8th-9th October 2015), and on the second occasion will interview potential candidates.

Who is on these committees?
The Vacancy in See Committees Regulations 1993 requires that there shall continue to be in existence at all times a Vacancy in See Committee. In the Diocese of Leicester the members of this committee are:
Ex officio members
The Assistant Bishop: Bishop Christopher
The Dean of Leicester: David Monteith
The Archdeacon of Leicester: Tim Stratford
The Archdeacon of Loughborough: David Newman
General Synod member House of Clergy: vacant
General Synod member House of Clergy: John McGinley
General Synod member House of Clergy: John Plant
General Synod member House of Laity: Shayne Ardron
General Synod member House of Laity: Stephen Barney
General Synod member House of Laity: Anne Bloor
Chair of the House of Clergy: Peter Hooper
Chair of the House of Laity: David Wilson (Chair)

Elected, nominated and co-opted members
Elected House of Clergy: Rob Gladstone
Elected House of Clergy: Barry Naylor
Elected House of Clergy: James Shakespeare
Elected House of Laity: Brian Allard
Elected House of Laity: Gordon Arthur
Elected House of Laity: Angela Hunt
Bishop’s Council nominee: Chrispal Anand
Bishop’s Council nominee: Judith Ellis
Bishop’s Council nominee: Philip O'Reilly
Bishop’s Council nominee: Blossom Thompson

The CNC consists of the two Archbishops (as Chair and Vice-Chair), six members of the General Synod (three clergy, three lay), six members elected by the diocesan Vacancy in See Committee (at least three of them lay), and two Appointments Secretaries (as non-voting members). The Archbishop of the Province presides, although he may delegate presidency of all or part of a meeting to the other Archbishop.

When the process is completed and the preferred candidate has accepted the nomination, the Sovereign formally nominates him or her to the See. The College of Canons of the Cathedral then meets formally to elect the person nominated by the Crown. In electing the person nominated, the College of Canons expresses the consent of the diocese to the outcome of the process of discernment described above, in which the diocesan representatives will have played a full part.

What is the timescale?
The Vacancy-in-See Committee met for the first time on 7th February 2015 and it will need to have completed its part of the work by May 2015, when the two Appointments Secretaries will visit the diocese to consult church and community stakeholders. It is expected that the CNC will consider the vacancy at two meetings in September and October 2015. It is then expected that a new bishop will take up office in the Spring of 2016.

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