01 May 2002
Paula Griffiths has been appointed as the Church of England's top national official with responsibilities for church buildings. She will become concurrently Secretary of the Council for the Care of Churches and Secretary of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England. Ms Griffiths will take up her appointment at the end of July.
The new appointment follows the departure of Dr Thomas Cocke, Secretary of the Council for the Care of Churches, to take up a new post in 2001, and the forthcoming retirement of Dr Richard Gem as Secretary of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission.
Paula Griffiths has been with English Heritage since 1992 and is currently Assistant Director of the East of England Region. She has been deeply involved in English Heritage's relations with Church bodies. Previously, she was with the Department of the Environment (subsequently Culture, Media and Sport).
On her appointment, Ms Griffiths said: "I very much look forward to this exciting opportunity. The Church of England is responsible for a wealth of beautiful and fascinating buildings, and this post provides great scope for encouraging their best use."
The Church of England is responsible for more than 16,000 parish churches and 41 cathedrals, forming the centres for the Church's worship and its mission to the community. These buildings and their contents represent 14 centuries of religious architecture, art and history, in continuous and continuing development. They are one of England's greatest cultural and community treasures, including more than 13,000 listed buildings cared for mostly by local volunteers.
The Council for the Care of Churches (chaired by the Very Revd Raymond Furnell, Dean of York) is the Church of England's national advisory, grant-making and educational body supporting dioceses and parishes in the care, use and development of parish churches, their contents and churchyards.
The Dean of York, welcoming the appointment, said: "The Council is delighted that Paula is joining us. Her long experience of working with heritage buildings, and with churches in particular, and her appreciation of the balance between conservation and mission, means she is ideally placed to take on this challenging new role at an important time for church buildings nationally."
The Cathedrals Fabric Commission (chaired by Professor Averil Cameron, Warden of Keble College, Oxford) is the central planning body with advisory and regulatory functions in relation to the fabric, contents, setting and archaeology of the Church of England's cathedrals and their precincts.
Professor Cameron, welcoming the appointment, said: "This is a most important post that will greatly help the Church of England in all aspects of its work with cathedral and church buildings. I am very pleased indeed that Paula Griffiths has accepted it."
As Secretary of the Council and of the Commission, Ms Griffiths will lead a newly unified staff supporting these two bodies, and will take overall responsibility for their statutory and other work relating to parish churches and cathedrals. Ms Griffiths will also work with a wider circle of staff with other responsibilities for church buildings and heritage issues at the national level, co-ordinated in the Church Heritage Forum (currently chaired by the Bishop of London).