New Provincial Registrar of Canterbury Appointed

The Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed Darren Oliver as Provincial Registrar of Canterbury, on the retirement of Canon John Rees. He takes up his duties on April 21.

Both Darren and John are well known in the Diocese of Oxford for their wise counsel and expert advice and registry service. The Registrar is a vital part of the life of a diocese and advises on diverse legal matters concerning buildings and people, sensitive matters such as safeguarding and church discipline, and the legal process of putting bishops, clergy and others, including church wardens, into office.

The Registrar of the Province of Canterbury provides legal advice to the Archbishop of Canterbury in his provincial jurisdiction in the Church of England, in relation to his direct legal jurisdiction in a number of overseas dioceses and as necessary in conjunction with his wider role in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

“I am pleased that Darren Oliver, who has served as John’s deputy, will be taking up the role of Provincial Registrar, bringing with him a wealth of experience and expertise. My prayers will be with him as he steps into his new role providing valuable advice and support and I look forward to working closely with him.” – Archbishop Justin

A debt of gratitude to Canon John Rees

Canon John Rees, who is retiring aged 70, has been Provincial Registrar since 2000 and has advised on Anglican Communion matters for more than 30 years. Throughout this time, he has also maintained a priestly ministry alongside his legal career.

Paying tribute to his service, Archbishop Justin said: “He has done so much within the world of ecclesiastical law and has always been willing to give advice and considered contributions to difficult questions. John has brought a care and pastoral heart to all his work.

“He has an extraordinary memory and an eye for detail and at the same time is always concerned to set each case within the wider picture and concern for the people involved. His advice has always been wise and well thought through, and I have very much appreciated all that John has given to the Church.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to John and I will miss my encounters with him very much. I pray for him and Dianne that they will enjoy retirement and spending time with their family. I am sure that John will continue to live out his discipleship and thank God for his faithful and wise ministry over such a long period of time.”

Photo: Licensing prior to an ordination service at Christ Church Cathedral

Earlier this month, Diocesan Synod said a fond farewell to John. In the meeting, Bishop Steven gave thanks on behalf of the Synod and diocese for John’s decades of service as Diocesan Registrar and Deputy Diocesan Registrar before that. “John has served in these roles with great creativity, immense wisdom, astonishing patience and great love,” said Bishop Steven. “He knows the clergy and parishes of the diocese and their history probably better than anyone now living or serving in the diocese. He is held in great love and respect by all across the diocese.”

Responding, Canon John said; “It has been an enormous honour to have had a ringside seat as this remarkable diocese has developed and changed over the last 35 years. It has been a privilege to have worked with so many talented people; four diocesan bishops, 15 area bishops, a dozen archdeacons, five chancellors, three diocesan secretaries and nearly 2,000 church wardens and PCC secretaries, who are all key players to keeping this all on the road.” Canon John also thanked his colleagues in the registry office and his family for their grace in supported this work over many years.

In closing, John offered his successor Darren Oliver ‘a single, hard-won insight, central to my working life’: “Remember that nothing is quieter than the sound of hair turning grey.”