Patronage

This has to be dealt with, but I’m glad it comes well down the alphabet!   It has been a source of concern within the Church of England for more than a century, but is quiescent at the moment.    Patronage is essentially the exercise by the patron of his right to present the new incumbent of a parish for appointment by the diocesan bishop.   A revision in 1980 of the arrangements then in force resulted in new arrangements that have proved more satisfactory in practice, not least in the involvement of the parish in the appointment process.   Probably the more important gain is the requirement that, unless the patron is a communicant member of the Church of England or of a church in communion with it the patron must appoint someone who meets this requirement to act for him.  There has been a widespread view that the whole ethos of patronage is out-dated (certainly if one were devising today a system for appointing clergy to parishes one would be most unlikely to arrive at the current system).   The problem has always been to come up with any new arrangement that can command the support it would need to be accepted.   Although it can no longer be sold, as it once could, the right of patronage is treated from a legal standpoint much like property; it can, for example, be bequeathed.   See Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986.

« Return to listing.