The Church of England has launched an investigation into the running of cathedrals, as financial crises threaten the future of some of the country’s most cherished buildings.
As Christians prepare to mark Holy Week and celebrate Easter Sunday, Anglican leaders have become increasingly concerned about reports of staff sacked, heavy debts accumulated and assets sold off.
On Monday the church will announce the 12 members of a working party ordered by the archbishops of Canterbury and York, Justin Welby and John Sentamu, to look into the way cathedrals are governed, their accountability and how financial decisions are made. The working party will include financial specialists and other experts and will be chaired by the bishop of Stepney, Adrian Newman, with the dean of York, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull, as deputy chair.
The inquiry has been prompted by a recent report into the financial problems at Peterborough cathedral, where difficulties had led to the departure of the dean and the risk that the church might be unable to pay staff their salaries. A loan from the Church Commissioners helped deal with the immediate shortfall for the 12th-century former Benedictine abbey, housing Catherine of Aragon’s tomb, but 12 staff were made redundant.