House of Laity panel upholds Synod member’s seat on Crown Nominations Commission

Apr 11, 2018 by

by Madeleine Davies, Church Times:

A REQUEST to invalidate the election of a member of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) has been rejected by an appeal panel, which has concluded that members are not required to declare conflicts of interest.

The ruling of the panel, appointed by the House of Laity, was published on Monday, after a private hearing on 26 March. It concerns an appeal made by April Alexander, a Southwark diocesan representative on the General Synod. In August, she wrote to the Clerk to the Synod to contest the election of Jane Patterson, a Sheffield lay representative and one of six Synod members elected to the CNC in July (Appointments, 11 August). Both women were members of the CNC from 2012 to 2017.

Mrs Alexander argued that Miss Patterson had “conflicts of interest which she did not declare and of which the electors might well have been unaware”. She cited Miss Patterson’s failure to disclose her positions as a trustee of Christ Church Central, Sheffield (CCC), and Christ Church, Walkley, Sheffield (CCW). She also argued that, even had these been disclosed, they would have constituted an “irreconcilable conflict of interest”. She asked that the panel either declare her election invalid or make an order removing her from her membership of the CNC.

Both CCC and CCW are members of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE), which supports churches “both within and outside present Church of England structures”. They are church-plants from Christ Church, Fulwood, in Sheffield, a prominent conservative Evangelical church where Miss Patterson is a churchwarden. In her appeal letter, Mrs Alexander described them as congregations established “contrary to the wishes of the then Diocesan Bishop”. She also noted “the sponsoring of an ordination in Kenya to a Kenyan Diocese of the pastor for the second of these, without the knowledge of the Bishops in the Diocese, in 2013”.

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