The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, has paid tribute to the Diocesan Chancellor, the Honourable Mr Justice Eyre, who will step down after more than ten years in the role on 1 September.
Stephen, who was born in the Black Country, has been Chancellor in the diocese since February 2012. He is resigning following his appointment as a High Court Judge in 2021.
The Diocesan Chancellor acts as the independent Judge of the Diocesan Consistory Court, overseeing legal issues relating to the use of and reordering of church buildings and land, applications for grave reservations, exhumations and other legal matters. They work closely with the Diocesan Registry, local archdeacons and the Diocesan Advisory Committee.
Bishop Michael said: “As a chancellor acts in a judicial capacity, they must make judgements based on sound legal principles and precedent. However, Stephen always recognised that the decisions he made were of huge significance and impact to individuals, parishes and the overall mission of the church. His legal opinions were always crystal clear but overarching them was great pastoral insight and care for all those involved in the process. I am very thankful for his service, diligence and commitment to the diocese.”
Stephen said: “It has been a great honour and a great blessing to have been able to serve as Chancellor of Lichfield. I have been repeatedly impressed, moved, and humbled as I have come across so many examples of faithful and prayerful service to our Lord and to the work of his church across the whole diocese and from those in many different roles. Time after time I have been inspired by the prayerful approach and the real dedication shown often in the most difficult of circumstances.”
The Deputy Diocesan Chancellor, Dr Anthony Verduyn, will become Acting Diocesan Chancellor until a permanent replacement is announced in the coming weeks.