Vacancy in See Committee
last updated on: 26th Feb 2016
The Rt Revd Martyn Snow is now Bishop of Leicester. At a service in the chapel of Lambeth Palace on 22 February attended by 35 people from the diocese, using legal processes drawn from the earliest days of the selection of bishops, the Archbishop ensured everything had been done correctly.
Bishop Martyn was reminded of the requirements of a bishop to be the shepherd and chief pastor of the Diocese of Leicester. It is his duty to maintain and further the unity of the church, to uphold its discipline and guard its faith. He is to promote mission, watch over and pray for all those committed to his charge, to teach and govern speaking in the name of God. In addition he is to ordain and send new ministers and enable them to fulfil their ministry.
Bishop Martyn reconfirmed the promises he had made when he was both ordained and consecrated as a bishop, and the Bishop of London as the Dean of the Province of Canterbury led the litany.
The chapel was set as a court to "witness the formal consent of the Bishop-Elect". Until relatively recently the ceremony would have been entirely in Latin! The legal processes were carried out by the Proctor for the Canons of Leicester Cathedral , the Vicar General, a legal Advocate for the Bishop-Elect and the Provincial Registrar. The Archbishop's address spoke of the implied joy in the Gospel reading (John 15: 1-11), joy which defines the life and work of a bishop. He also described the diversity and vibrancy of Leicester, reminding Bishop Martyn that he would never be bored!
Following the service we gathered informally to welcome Bishop Martyn, Lynn and their family and it certainly was a joyful occasion.
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 Martyn to be our bishop.
Pour out richly your gifts of unity and fellowship
on Martyn, Lynn, their family and all your church,
that we may glorify your name,
grow deeper in your love
and see your kingdom come.
Bishop Martyn will begin to take up the responsibilities of his new role from mid-April, but will not undertake any public engagements until after his Service of Welcome, which will take place on the afternoon of Saturday 14 May in Leicester Cathedral. In the meantime, Rt Revd John Holbrook, Bishop of Brixworth, will continue to act as interim bishop. Full details of the interim arrangements can be found here
Why do we need a new Bishop of Leicester?
Rt Revd Tim Stevens retired in July as Bishop of Leicester after 16 years in post. Until the next Bishop of Leicester is appointed, Rt Revd John Holbrook, Bishop of Brixworth, will act as interim bishop. Full details of the interim arrangements can be found here
How was the new Bishop chosen?
The process for choosing a diocesan bishop began 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 was not made by representatives of the diocese alone. Diocesan representatives (known as the ‘Vacancy in See Committee’) worked with representatives of the wider Church of England, under the presidency of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
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.
• to elect six diocesan representatives to the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC)
The Committee held a number of meetings between February and May 2015 and also carried out extensive consultations around the diocese to inform its work on the Statement of Needs. The description of the Diocese and the Statement of Needs prepared by the Vacancy in See Committee were considered by the CNC together with feedback from the Appointment Secretaries on the consultation process and information about the needs of the national church.
Who is on this committee?
The Vacancy in See Committees Regulations 1993 require that there shall continue to be in existence at all times a Vacancy in See Committee. The Committee is reconstituted every three years. For 2016-2018 the members 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: Alison Booker
General Synod member House of Clergy: Barry Hill
General Synod member House of Clergy: Tim Stratford (dual qualification)
General Synod member House of Laity: Rhian Ainscough
General Synod member House of Laity: Shayne Ardron
General Synod member House of Laity: Jonathan Cryer
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: Jane Curtis
Elected House of Clergy: Rob Gladstone
Elected House of Clergy: John McGinley
Elected House of Laity: Brian Allard
Elected House of Laity: Margaret Terry
Elected House of Laity: John Waddington
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 Diocesan Secretary (Jonathan Kerry) acts as Secretary to the Committee
Crown Nominations Commission
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. The CNC met twice in September and October and on the second occasion interviewed potential candidates.
After this process was completed and the preferred candidate had accepted the nomination, the Sovereign formally nominated him to the See. At this point, the name of the person to be appointed was made public. The College of Canons of the Cathedral then met formally to elect the person nominated by the Crown. In electing the person nominated, the College of Canons expressed the consent of the diocese to the outcome of the process of discernment described above, in which the diocesan representatives played a full part.
Previous Diocesan Bishops:
1927 - 1940 Cyril Bardsley Translated from Peterborough
1940 - 1953 Guy Smith Translated from Willesden
1953 - 1979 Ronald Williams
1979 - 1991 Richard Rutt Translated from St Germans
1991 - 1999 Tom Butler Translated from Willesden
1999 - 2015 Tim Stevens Translated from Dunwich