Diocesan Changes Passed By House Of Lords

Plans to bring the Diocese in Europe more into line with the other 43 dioceses of the Church of England were approved in the House of Lords on Thursday 14th March 2013.

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Rev Martin Wharton (pictured) asked the House to present the Diocese in Europe Measure to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent. He said there were two main reasons for the Measure.

First, it would widen the discretionary powers of the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops' Council to make grants to the Diocese in Europe. It will enable the diocese to become eligible to receive grants for the same range of purposes as our other dioceses in England. (One of the effects of this would be to allow the Diocese to appoint full-time Archdeacons instead of the present arrangement where Archdeacons also have parochial church responsibilities.) Bishop Martin said “If the Measure is passed, the level of any grants to be made to the diocese will be determined as part of the usual wider discussions on the distribution of money available from the Church Commissioners' funds. The first occasion on which that could happen would be when spending plans for 2014 to 2016 are discussed later this year.”

The other reason to bring Europe into line with other English dioceses is because when the diocese was established there was no diocesan synod and legislation was the responsibility of the Bishops’ Council. “However, the Diocese in Europe has now had its own diocesan synod for a number of years, and therefore it seems very appropriate to amend the legislation to bring the procedure into line with the other dioceses in England.”

Lord Lloyd of Berwick supported the move quoting Diocesan Bishop, Rt Rev Geoffrey Rowell, commenting that the diocese “Can be regarded, in many ways, as a success story. It now has, as has been pointed out, a diocesan synod that meets in Cologne, and that makes it possible, therefore, to bring this diocese more into line with the other dioceses of the Church of England. The Ecclesiastical Committee had no difficulty in finding the Measure expedient.”

Lord Judd added his support with a further tribute to the Diocese in Europe; “I think that it has done some excellent work, and we should put on record that it is recognised by people probably of all faiths that it has done a good job, and I am glad that we are strengthening its position for the future.”

The Measure now goes to the House of Commons for further approval before being given Royal Assent.