We don't often see or hear much from the Bishop of Winchester - but he or she is the senior leader of the Diocese of Winchester, of which we are part. So they directly influence quite a lot of what happens in Shirley.
The post of Bishop of Winchester is currently vacant - and the diocese are asking us what we'd like in a new bishop, as they prepare to draw up a person specification etc. So ... this is your chance to influence the appointment of the next Bishop. If you want to have your say, read on ...
The team heading up this stage of the appointment process is known as the 'Vacancy in See committee'. Simon Clift is part of this committee. They have written to all parishes as follows:
On Thursday 1st September the first meeting of the Vacancy in See Committee of the Diocese of Winchester took place. The Committee is a group of 21 representatives elected and appointed from across our diocesan communities. Their task is to help feed into the discernment and appointment process for the next Bishop of Winchester.
Working in conjunction with the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments and the Prime Minister’s Appointment Secretary, the Committee is responsible for preparing a document that sets out qualities and skills needed in our next bishop in the context of the current state of the diocese. This document is known as a Statement of Needs.
At our meeting, the Committee was reminded that the Statement of Needs must be underpinned by two things. The first is listening. To this end, we want to hear from as many individuals, groups and communities across our diocese as possible.
Specifically, we invite you to complete a short questionnaire which has been designed to help us all articulate what we hope for in our new bishop. A link to this can be found here but please do contact us if you have any challenges accessing it.
Every response received to the questionnaire will be read by at least three members of the Committee (including the Chair), with answers collated and analysed to help inform the Statement of Needs. Short and concise answers to the questions are requested, please.
The death of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has meant that this consultation is beginning later than we had planned. Please may we ask you, therefore, having considered the questions and prayer about your response, to complete and return the questionnaire no later than the 10th October 2022. The sooner we have your responses, the sooner the analysis can begin.
Over the coming weeks and months, we aim to keep the diocesan community updated on the work of the Committee, whilst recognising the strict confidentiality that the process requires. Further details of the process will be shared on our website in the coming days, with regular updates shared through our weekly newsletters and social media channels.
The second vital ingredient at every stage of this process is prayer. Please pray for the Committee in the coming weeks and months, as they undertake this important task for us all.
‘Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.’ (Ephesians 3.20-21)
With all good wishes
Charles Stewart, Chair of the Vacancy in See Committee
Colin Harbidge, Secretary to the Vacancy in See Committee