Senior bishop taking break after threat of vote of no confidence

One of Church of England’s most senior bishops is stepping down for six weeks after he was threatened with vote of no confidence over his leadership

  • The Right Reverend Tim Dakin stepping back from role as Bishop of Winchester
  • Comes after a threat of a vote of no confidence by the priests and worshippers
  • Six-week break comes as rebels are said to be unhappy with ‘management style’

Rebelling priests and worshippers have forced one of England’s most senior bishops to stand down for several weeks amid threats of a vote of no confidence.

A group of about 30 are understood to be unhappy with the management of Bishop of Winchester, the Right Rev Tim Dakin.

Local reports say he is stepping down for six weeks because of the discontent.

The Rt Rev Deborah Mary Sellin, Suffragan Bishop of Southampton, said in a statement: ‘Bishop Tim has today informed me he will be stepping back from his role as Bishop of Winchester for the next six weeks, so that he can focus on discussions about future leadership and governance reform in the Diocese.

Bishop of Winchester Tom Dakin is stepping back from his duties for six weeks amid concerns from worshippers and priests

‘I fully support his decision. Bishop Tim and Lambeth Palace have requested that, over this period, I temporarily take responsibility for the Diocese and I shall be working with the team at Wolvesey to ensure full continuity.

‘I realise that, even before today’s news, this has been an enormously challenging 15 months for us all as a diocese and as a church – as it has been for the entire country. On behalf of Bishop Tim and the team, I wanted to thank you once again for all you have been doing for your parishes and your communities, in such trying circumstances.

‘As the country begins to emerge tentatively from the long shadow of Covid-19, our anticipation continues to be tempered by necessary caution. 

The Bishop’s residence at Wolvesey Palace, near Winchester

‘We will, of course, continue to be led by Government and National Church of England guidance, so that we can all stay as safe as possible.’

The Church Times says between 20 and 30 senior church figures in the diocese, clergy and laity, had threatened at the diocesan synod to pass a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

A spokesperson for the Church of England said ‘As the diocese of Winchester has already announced, Bishop Tim Dakin has stepped back for a period of six weeks, so that issues raised re: leadership and governance reform in the diocese can be addressed.

‘This process is now under way.’

In 2019 the bishop was removed from his role overseeing churches on the Channel Islands following a dispute with the Dean of Jersey.

The Bishop of Winchester, The Right Reverend Dr Tim Dakin (right) and Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Patrick Cunningham (left)

The standing committee of the Deanery of Guernsey wrote to the Archbishop’s Commission set up to examine the affair, saying ‘While the handling of the Jersey safeguarding issue may have been the trigger for the current position, it is not the only matter which has so seriously strained the relationship.

‘Bishop Timothy has consistently been resistant to the Islands’ special relationship to the diocese, and his apparent wish to treat Guernsey and Jersey as English deaneries is unacceptable to both the secular authorities and the church communities in the Islands.’

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