Female first for Norwich Diocese Chancellor post
The Diocese of Norwich has installed its first-ever female Chancellor, who is also believed to be the youngest Diocesan Chancellor in the country.
Ruth Arlow (pictured right) was installed by the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James at Norwich Cathedral on January 27.
Miss Arlow succeeds Judge Paul Downes who retired in November. Aged 37, she is thought to be the youngest Diocesan Chancellor in the country and her aim is to encourage parishes in imaginative and appropriate use of their church buildings.
The chancellor is the judge in the Diocese’s ecclesiastical court, much of who’s work is centred on the exercise of faculty jurisdiction, which allows work to be carried out on consecrated churches and churchyards.
Commenting on the appointment, the Bishop of Norwich said: “Ruth Arlow is one of the ablest of the younger generation of ecclesiastical lawyers. I am delighted that she is to be installed as the next Chancellor of the Diocese of Norwich.
“Her knowledge of the law and her understanding and commitment to the Church in preserving its great heritage of buildings and using them wisely in contemporary mission and ministry means that she has much to offer us. It is an added pleasure that Norwich has, we understand, the youngest Diocesan Chancellor in the country but Ruth has a wise head on her young shoulders. I am delighted to welcome her to the Diocese.”
Miss Arlow has been a barrister since 1997 and in 2000 was awarded a Masters degree in Canon Law from Cardiff University. She has been involved in the establishment of the Ecclesiastical Law Collection at Middle Temple Library and she has been Case Notes Editor for the Ecclesiastical Law Journal since 2001.
She has served as Deputy Chancellor of the Diocese of Chichester since 2006 and Deputy Chancellor of the Diocese of Norwich since 2008.
Ruth said, “I am delighted to be appointed as Chancellor of the Diocese of Norwich. My experience as Deputy Chancellor in two dioceses has taught me a great deal about the privilege and responsibility borne by the Church of England both in its mission to the nation as a whole and as caretaker for a substantial part of the nation’s historic and architectural heritage.
“My roles as parishioner, Sunday School leader and Chair of Governors of a Church of England School have taught me about the pressures and joys of daily parish life and the experience of the faculty jurisdiction from both ends of the telescope.
“I believe it is the duty of a Diocesan Chancellor to encourage parishes in imaginative and appropriate use of their church buildings, and I count myself privileged to have been called to use my professional skills in the service of the Church in the Diocese of Norwich with its 648 active church buildings across Norfolk and north-east Suffolk.”
Every diocese in the Church of England has an ecclesiastical court, known as the Consistory Court, whose judge is the Chancellor. The Bishop appoints the Chancellor by Letters Patent, following consultation with the Dean of the Arches and the Lord Chancellor.
After appointment, the Chancellor becomes an independent judge. The Consistory Court is one of the Queen’s Courts and the authority of the Chancellor derives not from the bishop but from law.
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