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Vacancy in See

Vacancy in See

‘Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.’

Ephesians 3.20-21

Final Message from the Committee Chair

View the Statement of Needs.

On Monday 5 December the Vacancy-in-See Committee (ViSC) met for the fourth and last of our in-person meetings, during which the Committee approved the Statement of Needs unanimously. We also elected six of our number to serve on the Crown Nominations Commission. With that, our work is finished.

Since 1 September the ViSC has been hard at work. In addition to our full meetings, the seven who formed the drafting group had many further in-person meetings and Zoom calls to produce the text; I am immensely grateful to them for their outstanding work. Thanks also to a number of individuals across the diocese who produced individual paragraphs on specific aspects of our diocesan ministry and mission. Thanks also to Jemima Lewis and Jess Gwynn, who formatted the document and inserted the images. Huge thanks are also due to Colin Harbidge, who served as Secretary to the ViSC; without Colin’s quiet efficiency and good humour our work would have been immeasurably harder.

This has been quite a task: now it is done. I commend this Statement of Needs to you on behalf of the whole Committee.

I want to thank you all for your prayers. As the process now moves away from the diocese, please go on praying for the continuing search for the next Bishop of Winchester.
Charles Stewart

Our CNC Representatives

Here are our six reps who will now join the Crown Nominations Committee (CNC) in the next stage of the discernment process for the Bishop of Winchester. Please continue to pray for them in this important role.

Niv Lobo is curate at Highfield Church in Southampton and part-time Chaplain at the University of Southampton, as well as being involved in the vocations process as a UKME vocations champion in the diocese – helping our diocese represent and cherish the diversity of the ‘every nation’ multitude which will worship God forever (Revelation 7:9).

Ian Dighe has sat on many Christian organisations boards over the past 35 years, including New Wine, Westminster Theological Centre and the Bible Society. Of Anglo-Indian heritage, he chairs the Nominations Committee of the Bible Society with specific responsibility for the composition and diversity of the board of trustees.  He lives and serves in a rural parish, Milford on Sea, in the New Forest.

Eve Paterson works for Tearfund and is currently working towards an MA in Media, Campaigning, and Social Change, having previously worked for the mission team at the Evangelical Alliance. She worships at St Mary’s Andover where she and her husband host a home group, and where he also is the worship pastor.

Catherine Ogle is the Dean of Winchester since 2017 and relishes the challenges and opportunities of leading the Christian life and mission of this great Benedictine foundation cathedral. She is the former Dean of Birmingham and Vicar of Huddersfield, having been amongst the first women to be ordained priest in the Church of England in 1994.

Gwilym Stone is part of Swaythling Parish, Southampton, where he has been leading a “Threshold” service, having completed the Bishop’s Commission for Mission course in Pioneering.  Before coming to Southampton he spent three years working in University Chaplaincy and now works at the Maritime & Coastguard Agency as Deputy Director for Regulations and Standards.

Alison Coulter is one of our General Synod reps and member of Archbishops’ Council & Vice Chair of the House of Laity for General Synod. Alison is also a Director within the ‘People Team’ for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight NHS ICB and she worships at Christ Church, Winchester.

The process so far…

On 1 September 2022 our Vacancy in See Committee held its first meeting to begin the process for discerning and appointing our next Bishop of Winchester. The Committee asks all members of our Diocesan Community to support this important task through prayer and reflection.

The Vacancy in See Committee exists to assist in the national process of discerning and appointing a new Diocesan Bishop. All dioceses are always required to have a Vacancy in See Committee in existence, but the Group only meets when a vacancy in the diocesan bishop post arises.

The process for discerning and appointing a new diocesan bishop in the Church of England includes a range of tasks and responsibilities at both a diocesan and national level. To find out more about this process please review the national guidance which is available to download here:

Download more information about the Vacancy in See process Download

Our Vacancy in See Committee was first convened in September 2022 at the request of the Archbishops’ Appointment Secretary.

The Vacancy in See Committee is required to meet at least twice, but our Committee has chosen to hold four meetings between September and December 2022.  A summary timetable for the process can be downloaded here:

Download a summary timetable here: Download

The Committee has two tasks specified in the legislation:

  • To prepare a Statement of Needs giving a brief descriptive overview of our diocese and a statement setting out the desired profile and qualities of our new Bishop.
  • To elect 6 diocesan representatives to the Crown Nominations Commission to assist in the selection and interviewing of all potential candidates.

The membership of a Vacancy in See Committee is governed by legislation. The membership is made up of a mixture of ex officio members (such as our General Synod representatives) and members of the Bishop Staff.

Chair Charles Stewart Elected Clergy
Vice-Chair Simon Clift GS Lay Rep
Ex officio Alastair Barron Chair of House of Laity
Andrew Micklefield Chair of the House of Clergy
David Williams Suffragan Bishop of Basingstoke
Debbie Sellin Suffragan Bishop of Southampton
Catherine Ogle Dean of Winchester
Richard Brand Archdeacon of Winchester
Alison Coulter GS Lay Rep
Julie Maxwell GS Lay Rep
Andrew Orange GS Lay Rep
James Pitkin GS Rep Clergy
Ben Sargent GS Rep Clergy
Elected Sarah Boothman Elected Laity
Gwilym Stone Elected Laity
Angie Smith Elected Clergy
Co-opted Ian Dighe Co-option
Sarah Duck Co-option
Eve Paterson Co-option
Nived Lobo Co-option
Liz Stuart Elected Clergy
Secretary Colin Harbidge In Attendance

If you would like to know more about how the members of the group are elected and appointed, please review the national guidance available here:

Download Download more information about how the members of the group are elected and appointed Download

To facilitate the work of the Committee, the members have opted to appoint some of their members to smaller task groups to focus on particular elements.

The Statement of Needs Drafting Group will be responsible for producing the text setting out the qualities we seek for our new Bishop, for approval by the full Committee in December. Their work will be informed by the consultation responses from across our diocese.

  • Charles Stewart
  • Simon Clift
  • Liz Stuart
  • Andrew Micklefield
  • Catherine Ogle

A small group tasked with drawing together a factual description of our Diocese, its current priorities, opportunities, challenges and key data.

  • Alastair Barron
  • Sarah Boothman
  • Colin Harbidge

Every response made to the consultation will be read by at least 3 members of the Committee (including the Chair). The Consultation Responses Analysis Group will collate and review all responses to help inform the drafting of the Statement of Needs.

  • Angie Smith
  • Gwilym Stone
  • Alison Coulter
  • Ian Dighe
  • Julie Maxwell
  • James Pitkin

All Diocesan Bishops in the Church of England have both a diocesan and national role.  In light of this, there are two distinct consultation processes required to help discern the qualities, experience and skills needed for the role.

The Diocesan Consultation will help to guide and inform the Vacancy in See Committee in their tasks. Our Committee has requested that we consult widely across our diocese, parishes, institutions and communities.  To facilitate this, the Committee have commissioned a short consultation questionnaire which they are inviting as many people as possible to complete. If you would like to participate, please use the link at the top of the page.

To enable the Committee to assess responses to feed into their work, we ask all responses be completed no later than the 10th October 2022.

The Archbishops’ Appointment Secretary and the Prime Minister’s Appointment Secretary will be conducting an additional consultation as part of the wider national discernment process. This consultation will include the following:

  • The Appointment Secretaries will spend 4 days with our Diocese in early November meeting with individuals and small groups representing various aspects of life, ministry and society across our diocese.
  • The Appointment Secretaries will be holding a public consultation meeting on the evening of 2nd November 2022 on Zoom.  Further details to follow.
  • An advert will be placed in the Church Times (date to be confirmed) inviting anyone to suggest names of potential candidates for the next Bishop of Winchester to the Appointment Secretaries.

Contact Us

If you have any queries or comments please feel free to email:

    Or email us directly: vacancyinsee@winchester.anglican.org

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