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Monday, 11 March 2013


On Thursday 7 March over 80 personal assistants and secretaries of bishops of the Church of England gathered at Lambeth Palace for a development day.

I was invited, along with one of my brother bishops, Alan Winton of Thetford, to be a speaker and a participant in what was termed a "grill-a-bishop" session. Someone did a calculation: in the Great Hall at Lambeth Palace there was a total of 439 years of experience in being an assistant to a bishop. Not surprising that the discussion and questions were lively and stimulating. The collective wisdom of these servants of the Church was only matched by their enormous patience in working for very difficult people. The grilling was not too hot!

We were joined by Mr Ben Yallop who is the Private Secretary to the President of the Queen's Bench Division. There were remarkable parallels between his job of supporting one of the most senior judges in England and Wales and that of a bishop's assistant or secretary. And not just because bishops and judges both wear funny clothes!

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