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We unanimously welcome the Channel Islands

by Michael Ford last modified 20 Nov, 2019 04:48 PM

Our Diocesan Synod has unanimously welcomed the recommendation that the Channel Islands should join with the Diocese of Salisbury.

We unanimously welcome the Channel Islands

Original photo by Copernicus Sentinel-2, ESA Wikimedia Commons

While there is much work to be done before this happens, Bishop Nicholas thanked Synod for welcoming the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission’s Report and our commitment to work with its recommendations.

Read the Bishop's remarks on the Report here.

The Archbishop appointed a Commission on the relationship of the Channel Islands to the wider Church of England in 2018 and, when their report was published in October this year it concluded that, for a number of reasons - from ease of transport links to episcopal capacity for oversight - the Channel Islands would be strengthened in a new relationship with the Diocese of Salisbury.

Bishop Nicholas told Synod:

“The Church in the Islands recognises that they are stronger within the framework of belonging to a Diocese. Christian life is better together.

“It is for the Archbishop of Canterbury to accept the recommendations of his Commission. However, I am not prepared to proceed without the support of the Diocese expressed through this Synod.

"The Commission’s report will be discussed in the Deanery Synods in Jersey and Guernsey later this month and at the beginning of December, and by the Archbishop's Council in early December. The proposal will then go to General Synod and the Island authorities for consideration and recommendation to the Privy Council. Should the proposals be approved, the earliest that the attachment to Salisbury could take formal effect would be the autumn of 2020."

The Bishop said that the next task would be for “the Diocesan Secretary and myself to work with the Deans of Jersey and Guernsey on a Memorandum of Understanding setting out the respective roles of Bishop and Dean, and between Diocese and their Deaneries.

“This will need to be relatively detailed so as to ensure that this new relationship will be cost-neutral to the Diocese of Salisbury. However, I expect the Channel Islands coming into the Diocese to be a significant gift to us and to them as we grow together in the way of Jesus Christ.”

Read the Bishop's full remarks here.

There are historical links between the Channel Islands and our Diocese.

Prior to the Reformation, the Islands were part of the French diocese of Coutances: Henry VII obtained a Papal Bull from Alexander VI in 1496 transferring them to Salisbury, before a further Bull transferred them to Winchester.

When in 1818, the Bishop of Salisbury visited the Islands (the 77-year-old Bishop of Winchester being infirm), he became the first Church Of England Bishop to visit, and found himself confirming 4,000 in Jersey and 2,400 on Guernsey!

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