Leadership and Governance

The Church is led by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and 106 other bishops. They provide guidance and direction to the churches across the country and make decisions on the Church in society. The General Synod is an assembly of bishops, clergy and laity, and creates the laws of the Church. The seven National Church Institutions work together to support the mission and ministries of the Church.
Archbishops of York and Canterbury face each out outside cathedral

The Archbishop of Canterbury is responsible for churches in the southern two-thirds of England. He also fills a unique position in the world-wide Anglican Church as spiritual leader. The Archbishop of York is the senior bishop responsible for churches in the northern third of England. Together they lead the vision and direction of the Church of England.

Each of our 42 dioceses has a lead bishop known as a diocesan bishop. Most are supported by other (suffragan or area) bishops. All diocesan bishops are members of the House of Bishops, along with a small number other elected bishops. The House of Bishops is one of the three houses of the General Synod. The General Synod is an assembly of bishops, clergy and laity, which meets at least twice a year to debate and decide the Church’s laws and discuss matters of public interest.

Our two archbishops and 24 other bishops sit in the House of Lords, making a major contribution to Parliament's work. They are known as Lords Spiritual.

Her Majesty the Queen is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. The Queen appoints archbishops, bishops and deans of cathedrals on the advice of the Prime Minister.

There are seven national administrative bodies that work together to support the mission and ministries of the Church. These are called National Church Institutions (NCIs).

Each has a role to play in helping the day-to-day work of churches across England. They serve as the Church’s central office, managing finance, education, communications, and more, to keep the Church of England growing.

They work with parishes, dioceses (regional offices), schools, other ministries and our partners at a national and international level.

The seven NCIs are:

  • The Archbishops' Council
    Leadership, strategy and executive responsibility.

     
  • Lambeth Palace
    The office and home of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

     
  • Bishopthorpe Palace
    The office and home of the Archbishop of York.

     
  • The Church Commissioners
    Manages the national Church’s investment fund and provides money to support the Church’s work.

     
  • The Church of England Pensions Board
    Provides retirement services for those who have served or worked for the Church.

     
  • National Society for Promoting Religious Education
    Our education department.

     
  • The Church of England Central Services
    HR, Finance & Resources, IT, Legal, Communications, and Record Centre.

The NCIs are separate legal entities, but they are a common employer. The present arrangements were established under the National Institutions Measure 1998.