Patronage and suspensions

The exercise of Patronage, ie the right to present a priest to a particular benefice, is an historic foundation element of the Church of England carried over from the preReformation Church.  Every benefice has a patron.

The patron may be the Crown, the Lord Chancellor, the diocesan bishop, an individual, the Diocesan Board of Patronage, a college, a society or (usually in the case of a team ministry) a group of individuals/bodies or a special board of patronage.  If more than one person or body is involved, patronage is either exercised jointly or by turns depending on the provision of the pastoral scheme that created the benefice.

Suspension of Presentation

Suspension of presentation means the temporary removal of the right of a patron to present an incumbent for appointment to a benefice.  The Bishop remains responsible for the cure of souls during the suspension, which he will normally exercise by the appointment of a priest in charge.

A vacancy can give the opportunity for discussions about the future pastoral care in the benefice and possible pastoral reorganisation.  The Area Mission and Pastoral Committee will review the vacancy and may recommend suspension if there is possible pastoral reorganisation.  In this case, consultation about suspending the presentation will take place at the start of the vacancy.

The effects of suspending presentation are often misunderstood at a local level. Please see this leaflet answering Frequently Asked Questions about suspension (also to be found in the Guidance Notes section).

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