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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 May, 2003, 05:25 GMT 06:25 UK
Wanted: Bishop, no experience needed
Bishop of Hereford, John Oliver
The present bishop is known for visiting on his motorbike
The Church of England has advertised for a new bishop in the small ads at the back of two church newspapers.

And there do not appear to be any restrictions on who can apply for the 33,000-a-year post.

The successful applicant will replace present Bishop of Hereford John Oliver in December, reports the Sunday Times.

The See of Hereford comes with a rent-free 18th-century house near the cathedral, a gardener, a chauffeur and office staff.

It is the first time in the church's 470-year history it has issued a job advertisement.

In the past, appointments have been made behind closed doors by senior church people in the Crown Appointments Commission.

This is part of a deliberate attempt to demystify and open up the process
Prof Michael Clarke

Chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury, it is so private candidates are not even interviewed.

However a recent committee on appointments recommended that they should be done more openly, and called for job interviews.

The Hereford advert is seen as a nod towards those recommendations.

Professor Michael Clarke, head of the appointments committee, told the Sunday Times: "This is part of a deliberate attempt to demystify and open up the process of appointing bishops."

Women need not apply because they are barred from becoming bishops.

But there is nothing to stop a non-ordained person being considered.

St Thomas Becket, for example, who is considered to be the greatest archbishop of Canterbury, was not a priest when he was appointed.

However it is unlikely someone unconnected with the church would be appointed.

Bishop of Hereford retires
09 Mar 03  |  England
Bishop's 'open churches' plea
19 Mar 03  |  England

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