The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, spent more than £45,500 on hospitality at Lambeth Palace last year, more than double the previous year’s total of £21,387. His overall “individual working costs” - including an official car, driver, other travel expenses, heating and cleaning - rose to £130,196 last year, up from £86,787 in 2008. Running costs for maintaining the Archbishop’s historic official residence, Lambeth Palace, and its gardens also increased sharply, from £536,914 to £622,813.

In total, Church of England bishops spent 360,674 heating, lighting and cleaning their official residences, up from 351,894 in 2008 but the overall bill for running bishops’ offices, working costs, and maintaining buildings and gardens fell slightly last year to £15.6 million.

Bishops expenses are paid from Church of England funds, which come from donations, legacies and collections from worshippers, as well as an extensive investment portfolio.

COMMENT: £15.6 million?!

That would cover the salaries and accommodation costs of over 500 parish priests. We could go back to having one priest per benefice in most of the country. Heck, they could even give me a job.

Seriously, I can see no reason why bishops should cost more than parish priests or live in better accommodation. Of course, they would need more money for travelling within the diocese and one off extra payments when they need to travel to Lambeth etc. But they need to be made to utilise modern communication technology and stopped from wasting our money on all the flying around the world they do. In other words we need to return to the Celtic church paradigm of an impoverished, sacrificial episcopacy as embraced by such saints as Aidan and Cuthbert. Bishops should lead by example, not dictate and they should get their house in order before the laity realise that the episcopacy is the most expendable part of our church order.


SAINT AIDAN WEPT — 11 Comments

  1. One wonders if Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals, Popes, and the lot have actually read the Bible: “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35 KJV)

  2. Just finished translating this stanza from Thomas a Kempis’s “Imitation of Christ”:

    Many are they who seek comfort,
    but few who look for hardship.
    Many companions manage to get to the table
    but few keep the fast.
    Everyone wants to rejoice with Christ,
    but few are willing to endure anything for him.
    Many follow Jesus to the breaking of the bread,
    but few to the drinking of the cup of his passion.
    Many honor his miracles,
    but few follow the shame of the cross.
    As long as they are not touched by adversity.
    many praise and bless him
    as long as they receive comforts from him.
    On the other hand, if Jesus hides himself,
    and leaves them for a short while,
    they fall either into complaining or into too great despair.

  3. When Moravian presbyters are elected bishop what they get is an assistant in the parish to help cover the increased workload. They do not give up the pastoral job. A model to consider.

    One reason TEC does not have archbishops is that the writers of our early documents were appalled at the feudal bishop in a castle which was the sort of thing we had just tossed aside in 1776. So, the US constitution explicitly forbids “patents of nobility,” prohibits the establishment of knighthoods and requires that US citizens not accept such from other countries. In fact accepting a knighthood from another country’s monarch revokes US citizenship.


  4. I don’t know about your bishops but ours is responsible for the upkeep of the Bishop’s Palace while living in a smallish flat within it in more moderate accommodation than some of the parish priests I know.

  5. BooCat, that’s why bishops come last in the procession into the church – because in the procession they are last, it then goes without saying they will be first in the kingdom of heaven. : <)

  6. Lois, and all this time I thought it was just so that they could make their grand entrance. It is rather like the bride at a wedding. First all of the minor players go down the aisle and finally the star arrives.