A North Yorkshire churchwarden has described his sadness and anger at the decision to hire an advisor for the Archbishop of York on a £90,000 salary.
We reported on Sunday how Stephen Cottrell’s office at Bishopthorpe Palace was advertising for a chief of staff on £90K, to be ‘be the archbishop’s chief companion, support and critical friend’.
This has caused widespread anger among clergy and churchgoers.
Robert Beaumont is churchwarden of St John’s Church, Minskip, near Boroughbridge.
“Being brutally honest, I feel this is terribly ill-advised as some churches in our Boroughbridge Parish, including ours, are really struggling to survive and paying a massive Parish Share each month,” he told YorkMix.
“Ours is nearly £400 per month, which is incredibly burdensome and unfair for a little church with an average congregation of 15 or so.
“The pandemic has meant no services and no money in so we have had to organise on-line quizzes, book sales etc to keep going. We do all this willingly and free of charge. The C of E is weighed down by bureaucracy and has, I feel, got its priorities all wrong.”
‘Completely the wrong message’
Robert, who runs the Robert Beaumont Associates PR company, said it showed the Church of England hierarchy were out of touch.
“Surely it is more important for our churches to survive and become an integral part of their communities than pay massive amounts of money for ‘friends and advisers’ to bishops?” he said.
“It shows how out of touch the some senior bishops are. Utterly wrong to do so now. What were they thinking? It sends out completely the wrong message.”
He said the vicar at Minskip church does “amazing work on the ground, to spread the Christian message in a friendly, loving and accessible way. This is the way forward for the Church of England”.
Robert added: “Ultimately I feel deeply sad, as well as angry. In a predominantly secular world, the Church of England, whose message of peace and love is more important than ever, seems to have lost its way.
“In the same week when the Archbishop of Canterbury calls ‘for a better life for all, not the rich few’, the Archbishop of York advertises for what sounds like a non-job with a rich man’s salary attached. At best that is confusing, at worst, hypocritical.”