Was Tim Dakin made Bishop of Winchester without being validly ordained priest?

May 30, 2021 by

by Archbishop Cranmer:

There is something very peculiar going on in the Diocese of Winchester (which may or may not have spent £500,000 on NDAs). Not only has its Bishop ‘stepped back‘ or ‘stepped down‘ “for six weeks” after being threatened with a vote of no confidence, but there is some grave doubt about whether he should ever have been enthroned as the 97th Bishop of Winchester at all. If so, that temporary stepping back or stepping down may become rather more permanent.

Setting aside whether Tim Dakin was ever suited by temperament for the office of bishop (he has variously been called a ‘bully’, a ‘megalomaniac’, and a ‘sociopath’ by people who worked with him or crossed him [sometimes couched as an “abrupt management style” in public]), there are some very serious questions raised by ‘gaps’ in the CV, and unanswered questions about his education and ordination. Stephen Parsons observes at his Surviving Church blog:

Whenever a public figure is questioned over their ability to do a job, there will always be someone who goes back to look at the appointment process to see if all protocols were followed. It has been widely commented on that +Dakin had no parish experience in the Church of England and that has come to be a important issue in the discussion about his suitability to be appointed as the bishop of a diocese in 2011. A second area of query is his formation and training for the priesthood and his other academic qualifications. There are various breaks in +Dakin’s published CVs which have not been accounted for. His first BA degree is from a University in Plymouth followed by a MTh in 1987. The MTh was obtained from King’s College London and, according to Wikipedia, this was linked to ‘ordination training’. As far as I know the days of ordination training at Kings were long over by 1987. Students who studied at Kings went on elsewhere to complete training. Even if that year in London was counted for full time training, it was a very short period. Most ordination candidates were then required to do at least two years. The missing period between 1987 and 1993 also needs clarification. What was the young Dakin doing at that time? The published account on the Diocesan website refers to him being in Oxford doing doctoral research with no dates given. Did this time of study in any way link with ordination training or formation?

The circumstances of his ordination, already discussed on Thinking Anglicans, need to be explained further. The account that is given suggests that the ordination was in 1993 when he took up the job of Principal of Carlile College in Nairobi. Was this ordination authorised by an English bishop issuing what I believe are called ‘letters dismissary’? Had he passed through an English selection conference which could then be activated in Africa? Was anyone in England involved with his ordination in Africa? The Crockford entry we have, also seems to suggest that the curacy at Nairobi only came into operation the year after he was made Deacon – in 1994. In short, the ‘title parish’ seems only to have been added to the process of his ordination as a kind of afterthought.

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