Bishop of Salisbury to officially oversee Jersey and Guernsey parishes

The Anglican Church in Jersey and Guernsey are to be managed by a new diocese, following a historical fall-out over the handling of a safeguarding complaint.

For the past five years, the islands have been managed by Dover, on the instruction of the Archbishop of Canterbury, following the dispute with the islands' original 'home' diocese of Winchester.

From next year, Guernsey and Jersey will fall under the domain of Salisbury.

I warmly welcome the Commission's recommendations, particularly that Episcopal oversight of the Islands be transferred to Salisbury. Together we will explore the opportunities this new relationship brings. I look forward to getting to know the people of the Channel Islands and when we agree the next steps will welcome them into our Diocese. We will want a partnership in the Gospel that is good for all of us. A new chapter is opening in our shared life in Christ.

Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, The Bishop of Salisbury

Timeline of events:

  • 2013 (March): Concerns raised over the Anglican Dean The Very Reverend Bob Key's handling of a complaint from a parishioner about abuse she claimed she suffered at the hands of a senior figure in the church. The case was then formally investigated.

  • 2013 (November): No disciplinary action is taken against Dean Bob Key and the report into the his handling of the claim is kept confidential.

  • 2014: The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Dover and the Deans of Jersey and Guernsey signed an agreement which gave Rt Reverend Trevor Wilmott, then Bishop of Dover, oversight of the Island parishes.

  • An Archbishop's Commission then looked at the longer-term relationship between the Islands and the wider Church of England.

  • 2016: The Archbishop of Canterbury apologised to Dean Bob Key and his wife Daphne for the hurt they faced. The Bishop of Winchester issued an apology to the alleged abuse victim for everything they were put through.

  • 2018: The Archbishop's Commission started its work and visited Jersey and Guernsey meeting with civic and church representatives, including representatives from the Dioceses of Canterbury and Winchester.

  • 2019: The Commission makes recommendations which will allow the continued "flourishing" of parishes in the Channel Islands with the wider Church of England. If these recommendations are approved by the General Synod, the Islands authorities and the Privy Council, the oversight by the Bishop of Salisbury would take formal effect by autumn next year (2020).

  • Until arrangements are finalised, Bishop Trevor Willmott will continue to oversee Jersey and Guernsey.