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Bishop of Winchester retires following concerns about his leadership

by Cara Bentley

The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Rev Dr Tim Dakin, has announced his retirement, following concerns about his leadership and governance.

Bishop Tim took a step back from his duties in May following a threat of a vote of no confidence in his leadership due to the fact that many clergy lost their jobs, alleged poor financial management and a lack of faith in the Diocese that he could lead with openness and transparency.

In a video message to the Diocese of Winchester, Bishop Tim said:

“I have now received confirmation that Her Majesty the Queen has accepted my retirement as Bishop of Winchester. I wanted you all to hear my decision as directly as possible – and doing it this way rather speaks to our times. Some formalities and details need to be finalised but I’ll be leaving the Diocese in early February and handing over my responsibilities to others in the meantime. Please pray for all involved in this transition process.”

 

Bishop Tim used to have oversight of the Channel Islands but supervision was moved to the Bishop of Salisbury in 2019 because of a safeguarding case which saw Bishop Tim suspend a Dean over a parishioner's concern about his handling of it. Many questioned whether the bishop was right to suspend the Dean, Very Rev Bob Key, who was reinstated and apologised for any mistakes. However, it opened a debate about the islands' relations with the diocese. Archbishop Justin Welby then apologised in 2016 to the Dean for the probe. 

Bishop Tim continued in his statement: “I have always been clear that, as your Bishop, I should be there to build and foster togetherness across our Diocese, focused upon our life together in Christ, and upon our joint mission to serve Christ in our communities and to sustain Christian witness in daily life. Sadly, it seems it is no longer possible for me to fulfil this role.

“In trying to secure a sustainable future for the growth of the Diocese, it is clear that I’ve not done enough to acknowledge what we have lost in this process. To those I’ve hurt or let down, I am sorry.

“I realise that the steps taken to stabilise the finances continue to cause upset. Bishop’s Council has received full reports in recent weeks from the Diocesan auditors and legal advisers, explaining and corroborating the decisions made by the Diocesan Board of Finance. None of this makes those decisions any easier to take. Nevertheless, I hope there is some comfort in the clarity now provided, and that faith can be restored in the relevant Diocesan staff and functions as the pastoral reorganisations proceed. Please continue to pray for all those involved. Pray too for all serving in the parishes and various projects: that the church and its witness may grow in the Diocese.”

He thanked his family for their support and said they will be moving to Plymouth.

He ended: “I will remain proud of what has been achieved across the Diocese over the past 10 years.”

The Bishop of Southampton, Debbie Sellin, will continue to fulfil Bishop Tim’s duties, as she has been since Bishop Tim stood back.

The nomination and appointment of his successor will be made through the Crown Nominations Commission.

 

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