Chairman’s New Year message

December 31, 2019

Dear ELS member,

By custom and practice, the Chairman’s New Year message is composed in some exotic location. And this year is no exception as I find myself in Manchester for my godson’s wedding.

The past year has been highly significant for the Society, marking its transition from an unincorporated association to a CIO. This has been complex and labour intensive but the fact of incorporation renders the Society more robust to carry out its charitable objective – promoting education in ecclesiastical law.

We have seen changes in personnel with Stephen Conway becoming Vice-Chairman; Christopher Hill, President; and John Ford, executive secretary. And I am pleased to acknowledge the Society’s debt to John Rees, Sheila Cameron and Andrew Male, as well as noting the Society’s pleasure at the conferral of a CBE on Stephen Slack in the New Year’s honours.

The work of the Society continues at full pace with a Northern Province Lecture on 29 January when Peter Collier will address the complex and topical subject of safeguarding. And on 28 March we gather in Southwark for our annual conference featuring a keynote address from one of our patrons, the Archbishop of York. For our full programme of activities, see the website.

I want to record my personal thanks to all those who have contributed to the success of the Society in 2019, too numerous to mention individually. The Society is now more active than at any time in its history, with its largest ever membership. But to resource our expanding workload we need still more members. I ask each one of you please to use the opening weeks of 2020 to recruit a new member to the fold. This way, our membership will double, as will our revenue. And the outreach of the Society can be assured for the years ahead as a service to the Church of England, the Anglican Communion worldwide, and to all those who practise or study ecclesiastical law.

With my continuing thanks and with my best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous 2020.

Mark Hill

Chairman, Ecclesiastical Law Society