Chapter 6 - Diocesan organisation & governance
6A - Introduction
As with other dioceses, our own Diocese is structured and organised as outlined below:
The Diocese: providing the overall leadership and ministry across the diocese.
Archdeaconries/Deaneries: providing regional leadership and ministry.
The cathedral church of the Holy Trinity in Gibraltar, and the pro-cathedrals, governed by the Diocese in Europe Cathedral Statutes 1997.
Chaplaincies designated under §3b of the Diocesan Constitution providing leadership and ministry at a local level. Formally designated chaplaincies are equivalent to parishes in the rest of the Church of England, indeed in certain countries (eg, Spain and Belgium) they are officially termed 'parishes'. So far as possible Canon Law concerning parishes applies to them.
Other congregations and communities recognised by the Bishop.
Other work in the Diocese, including the work of missionary societies, in the care of ordained or lay ministers licensed by the Bishop.
The delivery of what this means in practice is through a hierarchy of ordained people supported by a clearly defined synodical structure, by permanent or short-term groups of clergy and laity, and by the Diocesan office.
This chapter explains how this works set against the requirements of the Church of England as set out in the Diocese in Europe Constitution 1995 to the Diocesan Constitution]; of which Section 25 sets out the duty of chaplaincies and archdeaconries
to conform to the domestic law of the country or countries in which they are situated;
to become legal entities in those countries.
Particular care should be taken with regard to weddings and ministry surrounding a death, as set out in sections 1.T and 1.R.
6B - The diocese
The overall leadership of the Diocese, its governance and care, is vested by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Diocesan Bishop. The Bishop is supported in undertaking this role by the following principal groups:
6.B.1 The Suffragan Bishop: undertakes specific delegated roles to provide episcopal support to the Diocesan Bishop
6.B.2 Honorary Assistant Bishops: undertake specific roles to provide further support to the Diocesan Bishop on an ‘as and when’ required basis
6.B.3 Bishop’s Council: Bishop’s Council (BC) provides general support to the Diocesan Bishop and comprises, in addition to the Suffragan Bishop, the senior diocesan clergy (Archdeacons [see 6.C of this Chapter] and the Dean of Gibraltar) together with the Chairs of the Diocesan Synod Houses of Clergy and Laity, lay and clergy representatives (NB Area Deans only if they are elected as members of the clergy) elected by the members of Diocesan Synod, and independent members appointed by the Diocesan Bishop. Support to Bishop’s Council is provided by the Diocesan Office and the Diocesan Registrar. For further information, including current membership, please contact the Diocesan Secretary.
6.B.4 The Diocesan Board of Finance: The Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF), chaired by a person appointed by the Bishop after due consultation, is responsible for the oversight of Diocesan resources especially financial matters (annual expenditure and accounts) and the employees of Diocesan Office.
The membership of the Diocesan Board of Finance (and its Directors) is set out in Section 34 of the Diocesan Constitution.
The Directors of the DBF are duly appointed ‘Charity Trustees’ for the purpose of the Charity Commission (England & Wales) and associated regulations. To comply with Charity Commission (England & Wales) guidance, the Directors, as Trustees, are asked to undergo a Safeguarding Check and undergo appropriate training (to assist them in understanding the responsibilities they are taking on) as set out in the Diocesan Safeguarding Policy. The Diocesan Safeguarding Team will make the necessary arrangements for those Directors who do not already have a current Safeguarding Check.
The directors have a primary responsibility for approving forward budgets.
The DBF is assisted in its work by a sub-committee, the Diocesan Finance Audit and Personnel Committee which is chaired by the chair of the DBF and which has a membership drawn from across the Diocese. This sub-committee provides advice to the DBF on financial and asset matters.
For further information on the DBF and the sub-committee, including current terms of reference and membership, please contact the Diocesan Secretary.
6.B.5 Diocesan Synod: Diocesan Synod supports the governance and care of the Diocese through the approval of matters of policy to be applied across the Diocese, the consideration of matters brought before it from Archdeaconry/ Deanery Synods and to address matters referred to it by General Synod [see 6.E of this Chapter].
The membership of the Diocesan Synod is set out in Section 34 of the Diocesan Constitution.
Diocesan Synod is supported in its role by the Diocesan Office (the Diocesan Secretary is the Secretary to the Synod) and the Diocesan Registrar, who provide legal advice.
The Standing Orders for Diocesan Synod can be found by clicking here.
For further information, including current membership and the numbers of elected members to be elected from each Archdeaconry see here.
6.B.6 Diocesan Synod Standing Committee: The Diocesan Standing Committee assists the Diocesan Bishop in:
Addressing matters requiring urgent action that arise during periods between the Diocesan Synods
Advising on the matters for the agenda of diocesan Synod.
The membership of the Diocesan Synod Standing Committee is set out in Section 38 of the Diocesan Constitution.
For further information, including current membership, please contact the diocesan office.
6.B.7 The DBF staff provide support to the Diocesan Bishop and to the Diocese as a whole in respect of specific functional requirements. Led by the Diocesan Secretary (also referred to as the Chief Operating Officer) at the diocesan office in London, the key functions are in respect of:
Finance: You can find an outline of how the Diocese manages its finances by clicking here. For further information please contact the Head of Finance in the Diocesan Office.
Safeguarding: You can find the Diocesan Safeguarding policy, and how it is implemented across the Diocese, by clicking here. Safeguarding within the Diocese is the responsibility of everyone, subject to the arrangements put in place and administered by the Diocesan Safeguarding Team. Furthermore, the overall Diocesan approach to Safeguarding is subject to independent review by The Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Committee (DSAC). DSAC (which is independently chaired and includes independent members as well as Diocesan clergy, laity and staff) provides review and advice to the Diocese on all matters of safeguarding.
For more details please contact the Head of Safeguarding, or the Safeguarding section of this handbook.
Communications: A designated team of communications professionals ensures that all matters relating to internal and external communications are managed and delivered. Diocesan Head of Communications is editor of all publications. For further information please contact the Diocesan Head of Communications: email@example.com.
- Supporting the Diocesan (Clergy) Appointments Process: For further information please contact the Appointments Secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org
6C - Other key diocesan roles & teams
6.C.1 The Diocesan Ministry Team: coordinates and supports all who carry major responsibilities at the diocesan level for ministry, vocations and training (whether in an ordained or lay capacity). For further information, including current terms of reference and membership, please see here.
6.C.2 Dean of Women’s Ministry: together with the Assistant Dean of women’s ministry, this role promotes the ordained ministry of women in the diocese. Contact details available here.
6.C.3 Diocesan Director of Ministerial Development: The Director of Ministerial Development is responsible for the planning and oversight of training programmes for curates, IME Phase 2 (Post Ordination Training), CMD for clergy, and advises the bishops on matters related to all post- ordination formation, education and development. The DDMD oversees the Diocesan Course on Spiritual Direction and supports those elements of the Diocesan Strategy which relate to ministerial development. For details see the Ministry Team page.
6.C.4 Racial Justice Advisor: across the Diocese, the Bishop’s Advisor for Discernment’s role includes the raising of awareness on racial justice matters, such as, diversity and inclusion. (Contact details are available from the Bishop's Office.)
6.C.5 Spirituality Advisor: The Diocesan Spirituality Advisor (contact details available from the Bishop’s Office) can provide advice and guidance on a range of issues embracing: identifying individual spiritual directors to work with individuals; encouraging retreats and quiet days and promoting everything associated with spiritual growth and development.
6.C.6 Diocesan Environmental Officer: Will encourage and support chaplaincies in their work towards becoming Eco-Chaplaincies and the goal to be ‘net zero carbon’ by 2030. The aims of the projects will also be anchored in the training programmes of the Diocese, for example in the preaching and mission sections. See the 'caring for creation' page.
6.C.7 LGBTI Liaison Officer The person in this post provides the bishops with information about the concerns and needs of LGBTI people within the diocese, and acts as a point of listening and reference, promoting careful understanding and reconciliation. The current post-holder may be found here.
6.C.8 Retirement officer: The Diocesan Retirement Officer (contact details available from the Bishop’s Office) is available to provide support and guidance to clergy who are approaching retirement in addition to the guidance available from the Diocese in addition to a useful guide on this matter available here.
6.C.9 Additional support and guidance is provided by groups charged with addressing specific one-off issues (eg developing a policy for, or approach to, a specific matter). For information on current ad hoc groups please contact the Diocesan Secretary who will direct you to the Chair of the appropriate group.
6D - Archdeaconries
6.D.1 The Diocese in Europe is currently divided into seven Archdeaconries as follows:
Germany & Northern Europe
Italy & Malta
The seven Archdeaconries are served by four Archdeacons. An Archdeacon is a senior member of the clergy and is an administrative servant of the bishop, with responsibility for a specific geographical area as follows in the current (2023) arrangements
Eastern, and Germany & Northern Europe
France, and Switzerland
Gibraltar, and Italy & Malta
6.D.2 The Archdeacons are assisted in undertaking this role by the Diocesan support mechanisms outlined above together with:
Area Deans: Appointed by the Bishop, Area Deans combine their Chaplaincy Ministry with the important role of supporting their Archdeacon in their roles. They may take specific responsibility for oversight of pastoral and related care matters within specific chaplaincies on behalf of their Archdeacon.
Archdeaconry/Deanery Synods: The role of Archdeaconry Synods (or in the Archdeaconry of Germany & the East, Deanery Synods) is to act as a means of promulgating Diocesan policy and considering matters referred to it by Diocesan Synod together with addressing matters referred to it by Chaplaincies.
Archdeaconry/Deanery Synods comprise the Archdeacon, Chaplains and lay representatives elected by each Chaplaincy within that area. The number of lay representatives to be elected from each Chaplaincy is determined by resolution of the Diocesan Synod (please contact the Diocesan Secretary for the current formulation to be used).
Importantly, members of the Archdeaconry Synods form the “electorate” for General Synod elections: each member has a vote, although it is not required that each candidate for the General Synod be already a member of an Archdeaconry or Deanery Synod.
It is a matter for local agreement within the Archdeaconry/Deanery Synod as to what formal arrangements should be in place to assist in the organisation and running of the local Synods. Assistance on the matters for consideration can be found here. For further information, please contact the relevant Archdeacon.
Archdeaconry/Deanery Standing Committees: Archdeaconry/Deanery Standing Committees assist the Archdeacon in:
Addressing matters requiring urgent action that arise during periods between the Archdeaconry/Deanery Synods
Organising the Archdeaconry/Deanery Synods and assisting in the smooth delivery of those Synods.
Membership of the Archdeaconry/Deanery Standing Committees will normally comprise the Archdeacon, one or more Area Deans, and the Archdeaconry/Deanery Lay Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.
6E - Chaplaincies
Chaplaincies are the basic building-block of our diocese; all our work depends upon the proclamation and ministry of Word and Sacrament in these congregations. Detailed information is provided in Chapter 2 of these Protocols ‘Lay Ministry’.
6.E.1 New chaplaincies come into being in different ways, with or without the help of other churches or agencies.. Cooperation with mission agencies is governed by specific guidelines,
6.E.2 Section 3(a) of the Diocesan Constitution makes provision for the Diocesan Bishop to designate (ie establish) or dissolve (ie close) a Chaplaincy after due consultation. Further detailed information on the diocesan process for this is given here.
6G - The Church of England's Synodical structure
All Church of England Dioceses operate a synodical structure as set out in the Church Representation Rules. This comprises a General Synod, Diocesan Synods, Archdeaconry/Deanery Synods and local Chaplaincy Councils.
6.G.1 Any elected member of a Synod is automatically a member of their own Chaplaincy Council and is expected to report back on Synod proceedings.
6.G.2 For information, General Synod is responsible for the overarching legislative approach within the Church of England (canons, ‘measures’ etc.) which govern how the Church operates. It also provides the basis for important matters of specific policy to be adopted across the Church (for example on environmental matters). The Diocese is represented at General Synod by the Diocesan Bishop, and clergy and laity elected from across the Diocese. For further information please consult the Diocesan Constitution and the Church Representation Rules.