After some concern about a dearth of women’s appointments across the diocese, a question in the name of Rev’d Stephen France and signed by over 50 members of Diocesan or Deanery Synods of the diocese asked:
Question – To the President of the Chichester Diocesan Synod
Recognising the significant and well-received ministry that women
priests bring to this diocese, and in light of a recent review of
serving clergy across the diocese which showed that at least half
were in favour of women priests, it is disappointing that there is no
female priest serving in the offices of Archdeacon or Rural Dean, on
the Cathedral Chapter, or as an officer at Church House. What plans
are there to offer these opportunities to women priests in future?
Answer from the Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Rev’d John Hind, as President of the Diocesan Synod:
In the Diocese of Chichester all priestly appointments are open to presbyters regardless of gender, subject to the restrictions imposed by the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993
I shall answer the questions concerning specific offices in turn.
There are no vacant archdeaconries at present. When a vacancy occurs I would seek to appoint the priest who most closely fitted the description of the needs of the archdeaconry in question. I should say in passing, that I think it unfortunate that Archdecons have to be in priest’s orders. I am one of those who argued from the mid-eighties that deacons should be eligible, which might have meant female archdeacons fifteen years earlier than actually happened.
Rural deans are appointed following consultation wit the deaneries concerned. All clergy are candidates, whether beneficed, licensed, or retired with Permission to Officiate. Normally the priest with the largest number of votes is appointed; hitherto no female priest has been proposed by a deanery. The remedy to the problem described lies with he clergy and the lay chair of the deaneries as vacancies occur.
Appointments to the Dean and Chapter are made either by the Crown in the case of the Dean or by consultation between the Bishop and the Dean and Chapter in the case of other Dignitaries; the “commissioners canons”, Precentor and Chancellor, are advertised and shortlisted in the usual way. All these posts are of course equally open to all priests. During the past two years I have appointed two female priests to canonries.
Advisors and officers employed by the Diocesan Board iof Finance are usually appointed after advertising and competetive interview. Currently one female priest serves as a vocations officer.
Finally, I shoud add that one member of the Bishop’s Staff Meeting is a female incumbent.
There were no supplementary questions or answers.