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Bishop attacks Wells palace move as church split opens

By journalwells  |  Posted: January 24, 2014

  • The Bishop's Palace

  • Bishop of Taunton Peter Maurice

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The Diocese of Bath and Wells has slammed the decision of the Church Commissioners to house the new Bishop of Bath and Wells away from the Bishop's Palace.

In a forthright statement, signed by most of the Diocese big guns, including the Bishop of Taunton the Archdeacons of Wells, taunton and Bath and Bishop's chaplain, the diocese say that the commissioners have not consulted them about the move and say they don't support it.

The statement reads: “The Diocese wishes to express publicly its opposition to the Church Commissioners’ decision that the next Bishop of Bath & Wells will not live at the Bishop’s Palace in Wells.

Despite ample time and opportunity, the Church Commissioners have failed to undertake effective consultation at a local level. Instead they have taken a unilateral decision which has, sadly, cast a shadow over the announcement of our next Bishop.

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Based on the scarce information made available to us by the Commissioners, the Diocese cannot support their decision. If there is a persuasive case for the move, it has yet to be made.

We call upon the Church Commissioners to allow the next Bishop of Bath & 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 was signed by:

Rt Revd Peter Maurice, Bishop of Taunton

The Ven Nicola Sullivan, Archdeacon of Wells

The Ven John Reed, Archdeacon of Taunton

The Ven Andy Piggott, Archdeacon of Bath

Revd Preb Stephen Lynas, Bishop’s Chaplain

Preb Dr Catherine Wright, Dean of Women Clergy

Nick Denison, Diocesan Secretary

Harry Musselwhite, Chair of the Board of Finance

The decision to move the new Bishop, The Right Rev Peter Hancock, to a house in Croscombe caused a storm or protest and has been discussed in the House of Commons.

The inetrvention comes as the commissioners representative in the House of Commons Sir Tony Baldry is due to attend a public meeting in Wells to listen to concerns about the Church Commissioners’ decision to move the new bishop’s living accommodation away from the city.

The meeting will be held at Wells Museum, on Saturday, January 25, between noon and 1.30pm.

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