In Questions to the Church Commissioners in the House of Commons today, Michael praised the work of Adrian Dorber, the Dean of Lichfield Cathedral and Chairman of the Association of English Cathedrals, who has announced he will be retiring after 17 1/2 years at the end of March 2023.
Michael first asked Andrew Selous, representing the Church Commissioners, whether he has held recent discussions with the Chair of the Association of English Cathedrals on the maintenance costs of historic cathedrals.
Andrew Selous replied: “My Hon Friend continues to be an exemplary advocate for Lichfield Cathedral, and I would gently encourage other colleagues with cathedrals and major churches to stick up for them in the way that the Hon Member for Lichfield does!
“I can tell him that I have spoken at the AGM of the Association of English Cathedrals, and I have also asked the Government to respond to the independent review into the sustainability of church buildings published by Bernard Taylor. This matters for many reasons, not least the £55 billion of social value generated by cathedrals and churches in the UK according to the House of Good report by the National Churches Trust, and they use Treasury Green Book guidance to get to that figure.”
Michael then said : “I am grateful to my Hon Friend, particularly for his very kind words about me – that is very decent of him!
“He will know that the chair of the Association of English Cathedrals is the Dean of Lichfield Cathedral, Adrian Dorber, and rather sadly to the community in Lichfield, he is going to retire in March after 17 and a half years’ service. He not only has skills which are theological, but also he has raised millions of pounds, his organisational and management skills are wonderful, as are many deans, but Adrian in particular, does he not think that when people retire there could possibly be more use made of them by the Church of England, and that they shouldn’t just disappear completely along with all their skills?”
Andrew Selous answered: “I would also like to thank Adrian Dorber very much indeed for everything that he has done as a highly effective Dean of Lichfield, and not just for Lichfield, but for the city and for the wider church as well. His chairmanship of the Association of English Cathedrals has been outstanding, and I know that if he wants to continue to serve the Church after his retirement in March, then I am sure that his wisdom will continue to be very much appreciated.”