Select Committee on Constitutional Affairs Written Evidence

Evidence submitted by Church of England Evangelical Council

  I realise I am probably too late to submit anything further on the issue of where the Lord Chancellor's Patronage rights might go if the Office is to be abolished, but I am involved with patronage within the Church of England and would like to throw in my pennyworth. I have been a Patronage Trustee with the Church Pastoral Aid Society for eight or so years. Through the three trusts which make up its patronage work, CPAS is responsible for some 500 parishes finding new vicars when they fall vacant. We have considerable experience.

  I would be keen to see the Chancellor's rights not given to Diocesan Bishops or to Diocesan Patronage Boards. There is already too much centralisation in this way, and frankly Bishops are too busy to do this work well. Inevitably they are agenda'ed to see things from an episcopal/diocesan point of view both as opposed to the local church vantage-point (where the coal-face for mission and ministry, people and money are) and as opposed to a national dimension (eg drawing people from all over). There are well established Patronage bodies on both evangelical and catholic wings of the C of E, though naturally I am considerably more in touch with those affiliated to the EPCC (Evangelical Patronage Consultative Council) of which CPAS is by far the largest. These bodies are experienced, well-networked around the country, independent in the best sense, but with a profound sense of serving the local churches that go to make up the Church. I would have so hesitation in offering CPAS as a worthy recipient of the Chancellor's rights of patronage, esp of those parishes in a historically evangelical tradition, since CPAS is itself thoroughly representative with the whole spectrum of evangelical Anglicanism.

Revd David Banting

Vicar of St Peters, Harold Wood

CPAS Patronage Trustee

General Synod

Church of England Evangelical Council

January 2004

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