Jersey

Channel Islands and Winchester diocese split details released

Open bible and candle Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption A commission is due to be set up to decide the future relationship between the church and islands

The Diocese of Winchester retains oversight of Church of England legal matters in the Channel Islands, despite the islands splitting from it.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, ended a 500-year-old relationship when he moved the islands from Winchester to his own diocese.

Details of the interim arrangement have now been released.

The Canterbury diocese has taken responsibility for finance, ministry and training and safeguarding.

The changes mean the Winchester diocese will keep legal responsibility for administrative affairs, for example issuing licenses for new clergy, however, appointments would be overseen by the Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Wilmott, who is the archbishop's representative.

'Interim arrangements'

The money sent from churches in the island, known as the share, will not be sent to Canterbury, but will be held separately from its other finances, said the Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, and Bishop Wilmott in a joint letter.

They said: "We believe that it's important to keep such separation of accounts precisely because these interim arrangements do not create a legal separation.

"[They] will only run until such time as any recommendations from the archbishop's commission, yet to be established, are brought forward, considered and subsequently implemented."

The aim for the new arrangements was for them to begin on 1 January 2015, but the bishops said "there may be some issues" that needed "further conversations".


Timeline of diocese split

March 2013 - Bob Key, the Anglican Dean of Jersey, has his commission withdrawn by the Bishop of Winchester Tim Dakin over concerns about his handling of a parishioner's complaint about abuse in 2008. It followed the publishing of a report by the Diocese of Winchester's Safeguarding Panel. An inquiry into the handling and another into how Anglican churches in the diocese protect vulnerable people begin.

April 2013 - Dean Key is reinstated after apologising for anything he might have got wrong in the handling of an abuse complaint.

August 2013 - Concerns are raised by Anglican church members in the Channel Islands about their relationship with the Church of England.

November 2013 - Inquiry into the handling of the complaint recommends no disciplinary action should be taken against any Jersey Anglican clergy member and finds no evidence of wrongdoing by Dean Key. The final report is kept confidential on legal advice.

January 2014 - The breaking down of relations between Dean Key and Bishop Dakin leads to the Archbishop of Canterbury temporarily moving oversight of the islands to the Bishop of Dover Trevor Wilmott, who is based in the Diocese of Canterbury, in a split in the 500-year-old relationship.

March 2014 - Concerns are raised by church goers that money continues to be paid to the Winchester diocese.

July 2014 - The Church of England reveals it has spent £190,000 on handling the split, while a lay members suggests it has cost more than £600,000.


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