No change onWells de­ci­sion

The Church of England - - NEWS -

A DE­CI­SION by the Church Com­mis­sion­ers to move the Bishop of Bath and Wells out of his his­toric palace to a fivebed­room for­mer Ge­or­gian vicarage, which has been on the mar­ket for £900,000, has been heav­ily crit­i­cised both by leading fig­ures in the dio­cese and by the wider com­mu­nity.

A state­ment signed by the Bishop of Taun­ton and the Archdea­cons of Wells, Taun­ton and Bath and Wells, the Bishop’s Chap­lain, the Dean of Women’s Min­istry, the Dioce­san Sec­re­tary and the Chair of Dioce­san Board of Fi­nance ac­cuses the Com­mis­sion­ers of tak­ing a uni­lat­eral de­ci­sion and fail­ing to un­der­take ef­fec­tive con­sul­ta­tion. They say this has ‘cast a shadow over the an­nounce­ment of our next Bishop’.

The state­ment goes on to say that the sig­na­to­ries can­not sup­port the de­ci­sion made by the Com­mis­sion­ers for which they say no ‘per­sua­sive case’ has been made.

“We call upon the Church Com­mis­sion­ers to al­low the next Bishop of Bath and Wells to be­gin his new role in res­i­dence at the Palace whilst a full and proper con­sul­ta­tion about the long-term plans for the Bishop’s res­i­dence and of­fice ar­range­ments takes place,” the state­ment con­cludes.

De­spite this un­prece­dented state­ment by se­nior dioce­san of­fi­cials, Sir Tony Baldry MP, spokesman for the Church Com­mis­sion­ers in the Commons, told a pub­lic meet­ing in Wells that the de­ci­sion to move the Bishop will not be re­scinded.

“It would be disin­gen­u­ous of me to sug­gest the de­ci­sion is go­ing to be changed,” he told a hos­tile pub­lic meet­ing at the Wells Mu­seum.

Sir Tony strug­gled to an­swer the ques­tions thrown at him.

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