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Boards, Councils and Committees

A key part of the Diocesan administration is the work undertaken by various Synods, Boards and Committees and Working Groups. Membership of these bodies is drawn from parishes, clergy, advisers and Bishop's staff. To find out more follow any of the following links: 

Advisory Committee for the Care of the Churches
Bishop's Council
Board of Education
Church Buildings Panel
Clergy Retirement Officers
Diocesan Synod
Durham - Lesotho Diocesan Link
General Synod
Liturgical Committee
Readers' Council 
Closed Churches Uses Panel 
Vacancy in See Committee

Click on the year to download the full list of Committee dates for that year

Synodical Bodies
(Addresses not shown are available from our 'Find a Person' database, please click here)

General Synod
Members of Convocation

The Archdeacon of Durham
The Revd D Brooke
The Revd G Buttery
The Revd Dr M Threlfall-Holmes
The Revd J S Bellamy

Members of the House of Laity of General Synod
Dr A Goudie, 197 Gilesgate, DURHAM DH1 1QN
Dr J H Harrison, 5 Dunelm Court, South Street, DURHAM. DH1 4QX
Mrs H M Smith, 30 St Cuthbert's Way, Sherburn Village, DURHAM DH6 1RH
Ms H Jones, 108 Church Road, Low Fell, GATESHEAD NE9 5XE

Diocesan Synod
President: The Bishop of Durham

Vice Presidents:
Chair of House of Clergy -
The Revd D R Tomlinson
Chair of House of Laity - Mr F A Rogers, 19 Trentbrook Avenue, HARTLEPOOL TS25 5JN

Secretary: Andrew Thurston, Diocesan Secretary, Diocesan Office

The Diocesan Synod is the third link in the Synodical Government chain of Parish; Deanery Synod; Diocesan Synod; General Synod. Lay members are elected by the Houses of Laity of the Deanery Synods, and clerical members are elected by the Houses of Clergy of the Deanery Synods, as representatives of the deanery. Elected members hold office for a period of three years commencing on 1 August in the year in which elections to the Diocesan Synod take place. Members of Diocesan Synod become ex-officio members of their Deanery Synod and Parochial Church Council. They are expected to report back to their Deanery Synod on the work and decisions of the Diocesan Synod, and to represent the concerns and interests of their deanery at the Diocesan Synod. The Diocesan Synod meets twice a year, in May/June and November. Meetings usually take place during daytime on Saturdays.

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Bishop's Council  
(Bishop’s Council/Diocesan Board of Finance/Mission & Pastoral Committee)


Ex officio: The Bishop of Durham
The Bishop of Jarrow
The Dean of Durham
The Archdeacon of Sunderland
The Archdeacon of Durham
The Archdeacon of Auckland
Chair of the House of Clergy
Chair of the House of Laity
Chair of the Diocesan Board of Finance

Clergy Revd Canon S J Bamber
Revd Dr N R Shave
Revd D M Brooke

Laity: Mr M Banks
Dr A Goudie
Dr J H Harrison
Mrs H Hopper
Mr B Kirton
Mr N Wyrley-Birch
Mr S Pickering
Dr A C Price
Mrs F Stenlake

In Attendance: Adviser in Women’s Ministry
Director of Mission, Discipleship & Ministry
Bishop’s Chaplain

Secretary: Mr A Thurston, Diocesan Secretary, Diocesan Office


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Diocesan Boards, Councils and Committees

Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches (DAC)

The Archdeacon of Sunderland
The Archdeacon of Durham
The Archdeacon of Auckland (Chair)

Mr D Beaumont
Revd R J Cooper  
Mr C Downs 
Mr R D Hird 
Revd Canon R K Hopper 
Mr J B Kendall 
Dr D Mason 
Mr N Moat  
Mr I Ness
Mr R C Norris
Mr M Roberts
Mrs S Robertson
Mr A Rogers
Mrs B Roff
Mr R Sansom
Mrs J A Stokes
Revd M Worthington

Secretary: Mr G W Heslop, Care of Churches Secretary, Diocesan Office

The DAC advises the Chancellor on all applications for permission to carry out works on/to churches and churchyards. Parishes are encouraged to contact the DAC via the Secretary at the Diocesan Office prior to making any application for faculty or other permission.  The members of the DAC are experts in some relevant discipline relating to historic buildings, or have a particular interest in the care or use of church buildings. As such the DAC is well able to offer helpful advice to parishes seeking to maintain their properties or to adapt, extend or improve them. Members serve on the DAC without payment and advice is free to parishes.

See also Care of Church Buildings

Durham Diocesan Liturgical Committee
Chair:  Revd Canon Dr D J Kennedy
Treasurer: Revd M G T Gobbett

Bishop’s Council Nominees:
: Revd Canon D C Glover, vacancy, vacancy
Laity: Mr A Robinson, Mrs C M Robinson, vacancy

Mrs H Stokes, vacancy,vacancy

Dean & Chapter Nominee: Canon J Lancelot

Revd Dr G Lloyd

The principal aims of the committee are as follows:

  • To help the people of the diocese towards an effective use of the liturgical opportunities open to them
  • To monitor the use of liturgy within the diocese and to advise the Bishop and parishes on liturgical matters
  • To draft services for diocesan use and offer training in leading worship
  • To liaise with General Synod’s Liturgical Commission and with the parishes in discussion of proposals, introduction of new material and assessment of patterns of worship

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Church Buildings Panel
Chair: Mr G Taylor

Ex-officio Members:
The Archdeacon of Sunderland
The Archdeacon of Durham
The Archdeacon of Auckland

Revd S Aston
Mr A K H Leech
Revd M G T Gobbett

Secretary: Mr G W Heslop, Care of Churches Secretary, Diocesan Office
The Church Buildings Committee is a sub-committee of the Pastoral Committee. It makes grant and loan facilities available to parishes to assist with the cost of repairs, renovation, re-ordering and improvement of church buildings; it also makes small grants towards the cost of quinquennial inspection of churches. Assistance cannot be given for church contents or church halls. Application forms are available from the Diocesan Office.

See also Care of Church Buildings 

Diocesan Readers' Council

The Rt Revd M W Bryant, Bishop’s House, 25 Ivy Lane, Low Fell,
GATESHEAD NE9 6QD     Tel (0191) 491 0917(0191) 491 0917

Sub Wardens:
Sunderland Archdeaconry
: Mrs H Avent, Mob (07870) 501629(07870) 501629 E-mail
Durham Archdeaconry: Mr I Boothroyd, 1 The Paddock, Sunniside, BISHOP AUCKLAND DL13 4LN
Tel (01388) 730443(01388) 730443 E-mail
Auckland Archdeaconry: Mrs H Hopper, 3 Dorchester Court, Marlborough Drive, 
DARLINGTON DL1 5YD    Tel (01325) 460999(01325) 460999

Mrs C A Lawes, ‘Netherwood’, St Mary’s Avenue, CROOK DL15 9HY   Tel (01388) 76658(01388) 76658

The DRC under the direction of the Warden and the Assistant Directors are responsible for the selection, training and ministry of Readers in Durham. It also works in association with the Central Readers’ Council to advise on Reader ministry in the diocese.

The Council consists of Warden, Sub Wardens, Secretary and representatives elected by deanery.

A group of Readers are available to give a short presentation to deaneries/parishes or to meet individually with anyone wishing to explore this area of ministry. Please contact either the Warden or Secretary to arrange this.


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Closed Churches Uses Panel

The committee is a body under the auspices of the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee whose task is to seek alternative uses for consecrated church buildings that have been closed for regular public worship.


Vacant (Chair)
Diocesan Secretary
Mr J Kendall
Archdeacon of Auckland
Revd Canon A J Harding
Revd S J Pinnington

Officers Mr C Gillhespy (Agent)
Ms E Cosgrif (Church Commissioners’ Representative)
Mr G W Heslop (Secretary)


If you have any queries regarding closed churches matters please contact the CCUC Secretary, Mr Bill Heslop at the Diocesan Office in the first instance.Diocesan Office, Auckland Castle, BISHOP AUCKLAND. DL14 7QJ Telephone: 01388 66000101388 660001  E-mail:

See also Care of Church Buildings

Vacancy in See Committee

The Bishop of Jarrow
The Dean of Durham
Two Archdeacons (appointed by their own number)
The four Proctors in Convocation elected by the diocese
The four elected members of the House of Laity of General Synod
The Chair of the House of Clergy of the Diocesan Synod
The Chair of the House of Laity of the Diocesan Synod (Chair)

Mrs P Davison
Canon F M Wood

Revd Canon S J Bamber
Revd J Hirst
Mrs H Hopper
Ms M Vaughan

Secretary: Andrew Thurston, Diocesan Secretary, Diocesan Office


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Other Diocesan Groups

Durham - Lesotho LINK
The Bishop of Durham

Executive Officer:
Revds M R & R F Bianchi, 8 Lindisfarne, Biddick, WASHINGTON.  NE38 7JR (0191) 417 0852(0191) 417 0852 E-mail 

Chair: Mr Alex Nelson, Wheldon House, 32 Front Street, Pelton, DH2 1LX

Treasurer: Mr Antony Friswell, St Peter’s Rectory, Byers Green, Spennymoor DL16 7NL

LINK Officers: Durham Lesotho: Revds M R & R F Bianchi

Lesotho Durham: Revd. Joseph Morenammele:

The LINK works to promote and enhance the ties between our two dioceses through individual, church and community based activities. Through the exchange of ideas, experience and personnel, the LINK strives to enhance the livelihoods of both communities through self-help programmes.  With an active exchange programme in place both dioceses benefit from the rich spiritual and cultural inheritance of their different situations. The Executive Officer is pleased to present an illustrated talk on the work of the LINK and Lesotho. For all communications please contact the Durham Executive Officers, the Revds M R & R F Bianchi.

For more information visit the dedicated website here

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 DIocesan Clergy Retirement Officers
: Revd Canon K I Woodhouse

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