Vacancy in See Committee (ViSC)

The Vacancy in See Committee (VISC) is responsible for:

  • Preparing the Diocesan Statement of Needs. This is in two parts:
    1. a description of the Diocese and its mission and ministry
    2. reflections on the challenges for the Gospel and the Church across the diocese and the communities it serves and, in the light of these, hopes for the ministry of the next bishop and the gifts they might bring to the role (role profile and person specification)
  • Electing the Diocesan representatives to the Crown Nominations Commission (done via a Single Transferable Vote from among the Vacancy in See membership)

In addition, the Committee is charged to consider the issues

  • Whether they wish to express a view in the Diocesan Statement of Needs as to whether the next Diocesan Bishop should ordain women or not [(GS 1076) Women in the Episcopate: House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests].
  • Whether they wish to make their Diocesan Statement of Needs public or confidential to the appointment process

Early in its life the Committee will also need to consider issues of representation and so it is charged to

  • Review, at its first meeting, whether it considers itself to be representative of the whole diocese, so that the Chair of the Committee can share the conclusions of this review with the Bishop’s Council as they determine how to allocate the nominated places.

Formation of the Committee

  • The Vacancy in See Committee is a Standing Committee, which is reconstituted after the election of a new Diocesan Synod. Its membership comprises
    • Ex-officio members
    • Elected members
    • Members nominated by the Bishop’s Council

The legal framework for the operation of the Vacancy in See Committee is set out in the Vacancy in See Committee Regulation as Amended July 2021

The current membership of the (Diocese of Ely) Vacancy in See Committee is shown below.

  • Chair (Elected) of the Vacancy in See Committee: Very Revd Mark Bonney, Dean, Ely Cathedral
  • Secretary (endorsed) to the of Vacancy in See Committee: Canon Paul Evans, Diocesan Secretary


  • The Bishop of Huntingdon (Suffragan)
  • The Dean of the Cathedral: Very Revd Mark Bonney
  • The Archdeacons (2 seats maximum)
    • Ven Richard Harlow
    • Ven Dr Alex Hughes  
  • Proctors elected by the Diocese to the Lower House of Convocation of the General Synod (currently 4 seats)
    • Revd Canon James Blandford-Baker
    • Revd Canon Nick Moir
    • Revd Canon Simon Talbott
    • Ven Dr Alex Hughes (note: also present as Archdeacon of Cambridge)
  • The members of the House of Laity of the General Synod elected by the Diocese (currently 3 seats)
    • Canon Dr Felicity Cooke
    • Mrs Rebecca Cowburn
    • Mr Christopher Townsend
  • The Chairs of the Houses of Clergy and Laity of the Diocesan Synod (2 seats)
    • Clergy: Revd Canon Sarah Gower
    • Laity: Canon Simon Kershaw
  • Clergy (minimum 2 places):
    • Becky Dyball (HW)
    • Simon Scott (Cambridge)
    • James Shakespeare (Cambridge)
    • Jessica Martin (HW)
    • Simon Taylor (Cambridge)
    • Dr Mark Smith (Dean, Clare College, Cambridge)
  • Laity (minimum 2 places)
    • Dr Ugochukwu Ajuwudike (Cambridge)
    • Dr Alice Gilbert (HW)
    • Lizzie Taylor (Cambridge)
    • Peter Maxwell (Cambridge)



Page last updated: Monday 20th November 2023 5:30 AM
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