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General Synod - Appointed Member of the Archbishops' Council

Wednesday 15th February 2017

On Wednesday 15 February, the Archbishop of York moved item 11 at General Synod (GS 2053) - the appointment of Mark Sheard for membership of the Archbishops’ Council. The speech follows...

Thank you, Chair.


For the benefit of new members, the Archbishops’ Council was established by the National Institutions Measure 1998. I’m sure you all have a well-thumbed copy of it by your bed! (And if not, why not?!). When the Synod was debating that legislation, it agreed that 10 of the 19 places on the Council should be filled through various synodical elections; 3 – the Archbishops and one of the Estates Commissioners – should be ex officio members; and 6 should be for the Archbishops to appoint with the approval of the Synod.


Why with the approval of the Synod? Because these 6 appointed members become ex officio members of the Synod, so it doesn’t seem unreasonable that the Synod should have the opportunity to approve their appointment. I may be tempting Providence, but fortunately for the Archbishop of Canterbury and I, the Synod has never refused to do so.


18 individuals have served in these 6 appointed roles since 1999, each of them bringing distinctive skills and experience to enrich the diversity of the Council. The five present appointed members are Mary Chapman, Matthew Frost, Rosalyn Murphy, John Spence and Rebecca Swinson.


The current vacancy arises from the retirement of Philip Fletcher after serving for the maximum 10 years as a member of the Council, for the last 5 years in the extremely busy role of Chair of the Council’s Mission and Public Affairs Council.


GS 2053 sets out the recruitment process we have followed. It is worth noting that we were not simply recruiting someone to serve on the Archbishops’ Council, but also to serve as Chair of the Mission and Public Affairs Council. On this occasion, the Archbishop of Canterbury and I decided that we wished to place particular emphasis on the Mission aspect of the role, though we were also looking for a clear aptitude for picking up and running with the Public Affairs aspect of it.


The Archbishop of Canterbury and I, and those who advised us on the appointment, believe that Mark Sheard’s varied and interesting career provide what we are looking for and we are fortunate to have secured someone with Mark’s skills, experience and deep Christian commitment for membership of the Archbishops’ Council.


Mark’s commitment to Christian witness in the UK and beyond through his voluntary work is evidence of his commitment to mission. His professional career has been focused on working with organisations to help them communicate and engage with the wider world both in terms of public affairs and messaging. We will now benefit from that experience. Mark also has the experience of chairing and governance that the role requires.


As we continue through a period of significant change and development, his knowledge and wisdom will be invaluable resources.


I commend the motion standing in my name.

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