The Corporation of The Church House was founded as a charity in 1888 by Royal Charter. Based in and adjacent to Dean’s Yard, near Westminster Abbey, the building houses the National Institutions of the Church of England.
Church House was designed to be a home for the Church Assembly (now the General Synod) of the Church of England. The General Synod meets up to two times a year in London and once in York.
The Royal Charter charity is managed by a board of nine trustees, known as the Council. The Council meets four times per year ad holds its Annual General Meeting in July.
The trustee body of the Corporation is known as the Council.
It comprises nine members selected on the following basis:
2 members elected by the members of the Corporation at the Annual General Meeting.
3 members appointed by the Appointments Committee of the Church of England. These nominations are selected from the current membership of the General Synod.
Up to 4 members co-opted as trustees for specific expertise required by the Council.
Members of the Council may serve up to two 5-year terms or until they reach the age of 75 when they will be invited to retire. The current members of the Council are:
Canon Dr Christina Baxter CBE (Chair) - Elected
Hywel Rees-Jones Esq (Treasurer) - Co-opted
Canon Lucy Docherty - Elected
David Kemp Esq - Appointed
Keith Cawdron Esq - Appointed
The Venerable Jane Steen - Appointed
Chris Smith CBE Esq - Co-opted
Andrew Penny Esq - Co-opted
The is one standing committee of the Council:
The Investment Committee
Hywel Rees-Jones Esq (Chairperson)
Andrew Penny Esq
John Booth Esq (Independent member)
Since 1990, Church House has also housed the very successful Church House Conference Centre Ltd, (trading as Church House Westminster), the wholly-owned trading subsidiary of the Corporation.
Chris Palmer CBE is the current Secretary to the Corporation of The Church House.
History of Church House
The Corporation of The Church House was founded as the Church of England's permanent tribute to Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. The man who developed the idea, Dr Harvey Goodwin (Bishop of Carlisle), saw it as the national administrative headquarters and likened it to a "chapter-house for the Church of England".
Land was quickly acquired in Dean's Yard, close to the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey, but the existing tenancies meant that only a fraction of the original design could be built in the early 1890's. The original gothic-style buildings were demolished in the 1930s and replaced with the current Church House in 1937.
During World War II Church House survived a bombing and was requisitioned by Parliament to serve as an alternate location for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. In the years immediately following the war Church House was used:
By the War Crimes Commission for the preparation of evidence for the subsequent trials at Nuremberg
For the preparation of the United Nations Charter
The first sitting of the United Nations Security Council
The inaugural meeting of the United Nations Maritime Organisation, now located on the South Bank.
The Corporation of the Church House
27 Great Smith Street
020 7898 1311
The 'Parliament' of the Church of England. The General Synod usually meets twice a year to debate and discuss matters of interest and to consider and approve amendments to Church legislation.