What happened at Synod with clergy pensions?

The session of General Synod this February 2024 contained a large number of contentious issues, so there was a general sense of dread as the sessions began. But there was an outbreak of unanimity when it came to discuss my Private Member’s Motion on clergy pensions.

I had been concerned for some years at both the decline in clergy stipends, and the related question of poor pension provision, and as a result had spoken against recommended provision in recent meetings of the Archbishops’ Council. (You can find the details of recent changes here, and more general discussion of the issues in thinking about stipends here.)

My motion read as follows:

That this Synod request the Archbishops’ Council, the Pensions Board, and the Church Commissioners to work together to find a way to make use of the whole range of assets and resources across the Church to enable the restoration of the clergy pension to its pre-2011 benefit level as soon as possible.

My deliberate aim was to avoid the technical complexities of pensions (my paper supporting the motion had a financial appendix added to it, and was then followed by no fewer than three papers offering technical commentary!) and also to avoid commending any particular solution—that was for others to work out. My goal was simply to say: there is a problem here that needs solving, and please can someone solve it.

Carl Hughes, the Chair of the Finance Committee of the Archbishops’ Council, proposed an amendment which changed the language to the more cautious wording of ‘seeking’ and ‘sustainable’, which I did not mind—but I insisted (in negotiation with him) that the reference to restoring the pre-2011 level of pension was retained. Importantly, Carl included reference to the National Minimum Stipend, on the basis of which the pension is calculated.

In addition, Ian Boothroyd of my own diocese wanted immediate action to remedy recent pension losses because of high inflation in the last two years. Thus the final motion read:

That this Synod

(a) request the Archbishops’ Council, the Pensions Board, and the Church Commissioners to work together with dioceses to explore ways in which the level of clergy pensions and stipends might be improved in a sustainable manner, with reference being made to the impact of changes to clergy pension benefits and the National Minimum Stipend (NMS) since 1998, including the change in level of the pension benefit from 2/3 of NMS prior to 2011; and

(b) in doing this work to have regard to the findings of the Clergy Remuneration Review (GS 2247 and GS Misc 1298) and in particular the policy that the National Minimum Stipend should, in future, on average, increase in line with inflation (as measured by CPIH) subject to three yearly reviews and the need to review this position if high levels of inflation establish themselves

and request the Archbishops’ Council, the Pensions Board and the Church Commissioners to consider what steps may be taken to remedy the fall in the real value of pensions for clergy retiring since 2021, and to avoid such a fall reoccurring in any future period of high inflation.

After a fascinating range of speeches, the motion was passed 382 votes to nil, with nil abstentions.

There is no doubt that, once enacted, this will have a major impact on clergy welfare and therefore on their morale. But there are also going to be some significant ramifications, which I had not appreciated fully before the debate.

First, dioceses will not be able to afford to pay anything additional by way of contributions to the Pension Fund because of the current state of their finances. This means that there will have to be a renegotiation of the financial relationships between the dioceses and the Church Commissioners.

This in turn raises the question of why the Commissioners’ assets continue to grow, apparently without limit, whilst other parts of the Church are struggling. We must now be clear on what the ceiling for their asset growth is, beyond which additional growth in assets should be distributed rather than being retained.

But the question this then points to is why we reached the particular settlement we did in 1998. At that time, responsibility for pensions up to the date was retained by the Commissioners, but responsibility for all consequent pension accruals was passed to the dioceses. Why was no part of the Commissioners’ asset also passed over in order to meet this growing obligation?

Additionally, there are some big questions to face about financial structural arrangements, governance, and decision making. Clive Mather, current chair of the Pensions Board, reminded Synod in his speech: ‘It is no the Pensions Board which decides the level of pension; it is Synod’. My observation is that Synod has not behaved in line with this in the past, and has accepted being dictated to by other decision makers. But this whole process also raises questions about the relationship between Archbishops’ Council and RACSC, the Remuneration and Conditions of Service for Clergy committee; in principle this is a sub-committee of AC, so is accountable to it, but again there has been a sense that they, and not AC have the final word. Are there conflicts of interest here, where concerns about diocesan finances trump questions of clergy welfare?

This is a classic case study of the complex structures of the Church of England, and the issues of governance that are raised by it. But it is also a classic study of the way that focussing on one key issue can unlock and possibly (hopefully) unravel these other questions, and provoke action that will address them.

We shall see!

Here is the text of my speech to Synod at the beginning and end of the debate:

Members of Synod, in our deliberations on long-standing issues, we suffer from two tendencies. The first is to be trapped by things that happened in the past; the other is to forget things that happened and commitments we have made. On the question of clergy pensions, we are subject to both of these. 

Twenty years ago, there was real anxiety about the state of our national financial assets. We still lived with the memory of the poor decisions of the Commissioners in the 1980s, and the loss of significant assets then, and there was a sense of being haunted by this during the financial crash of 2008. 

The decisions made following that time could therefore be said to have some justification. In view of what looked like uncontrolled pressures on diocesan finances, because of uncapped pension demands, we took what felt like necessary steps to manage this. 

The situation was complicated by the introduction of SERPS, its later removal, and quite quickly further changes to state pension arrangements. Despite having two degrees in maths, I am not a pensions expert, and I will not attempt to guide you through the complexities of that. 

But the net result was that, with the clergy pension reduced as a proportion of the NMS, and the qualifying years’ of service being extended, the clergy pension was cut by one third in real terms. That is the bottom line. 

At the same time, the NMS has drifted down in real terms, meaning that the real effect on clergy has been even worse. 

At the same time, as we heard at the beginning of this Synod, the Church Commissioners’ assets have grown significantly, now standing at £10bn, whilst dioceses have a further £800m in assets between them.

The situation we are now in, as a church, is that our financial assets are enjoying rude health, whilst our ministerial assets—serving and retired clergy—are feeling discouraged, demoralised, and undervalued. 

Synod, this cannot be right. 

Previous questions to Synod have also established that the annual cost of restoring the value of the clergy pension back to its pre-2011 level would be in the region of £25m. That pensions amounts to 2.9% of their annual growth in assets, which would have left their net growth in 2020 9.1% overall instead of 9.4% overall. If the Commissioners took on this additional contribution for the next 20 years, then the total cost would be no more than 5% of their total asset base.

This is not a big ask—but it would make a big difference. 

It might be objected that we should consider all the priorities and demands on the church at the moment. Well, possibly. But we know from research that the single most significant factor in reversing decline and seeing our congregations grow again is the funding of motivated stipendiary ministry who are intentional about growth. What greater priority can we have in caring for such people?

It might also be objected that this is not the time to be putting further financial pressure on dioceses. I am not proposing that. In fact I am not proposing anything in terms of mechanism. 

All I am saying is that we have the assets in various places, and we have a need. I am asking that those who know how to do such things can bring the assets and the need together and resolve this problem. Perhaps we can find a magic money tree somewhere which will fund this? I didn’t quite find those words at the end of John Ball’s technical paper. Collective Defined Contribution scheme. But it is remarkable how quickly we find the money for things that we think are important. Do we think this is important? I do.

When the change was made in 2008, as a Synod we in fact committed ourselves to restore the pension as soon as it was feasible—this is part of the past we seem to have forgotten. 

…ask that Archbishops’ Council, in the event that the pensions climate improves sufficiently, to bring forward recommendations to the Synod, after consultation with the Pensions Board and the Church Commissioners, with a view to restoring pension levels.

The moment is well past. We can do this. We should do this. Synod, we must do this, and once more restore what has been taken away. 

(Following comment on all the speeches made…)

House of Laity, these are the people who have heard the call of God to be your shepherds and pastors. We might not be perfect, but we do seek to do all we can to care for you and build you up to the full maturity of the stature of Christ. As we care for you, will you care for us?

House of Clergy, you have been elected to make good decisions. Make one today. 

House of Bishops, as I am sure you know, a key part of your role is to be shepherds to the shepherds of the flock, which means ensuring that they are well fed and watered. Please do not let anxiety about money inhibit the fulfilling of your responsibility. 

I commend the motion to Synod. 

Here is my background paper for the motion. The other papers can be found on the Church of England website.

GS 2330A Clergy Pensions PMM

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51 thoughts on “What happened at Synod with clergy pensions?”

  1. Fantastic work Ian, lets hope it does lead to action rather than to 20 years of reports and working parties. I really can’t get my head around why more people aren’t nailing the Church Commissioners to the wall about releasing support for day to day costs. The rest of the church bailed out the CCs when they were in a mess back in the 1990s, its time to restore the balance.

    • I agree with you, David, and may I echo – with enthusiasm – your thanks to Ian.

      This (potential?) change may really help me (and my spouse), and I trust will help thousands of other clergy, who knew, from ordination onwards, we would have to live very simply… but were also told that the Church would take care of us when we retired.

      Anglican clergy do not take a vow of poverty. But many retired Anglican clergy are now facing just that…

  2. Sensible, given the growth in C of E assets it is only right that some should be put back to the grassroots to support the pensions of stipendiary priests

  3. Well done Ian.

    I’m pretty free of all, this as I retired in 2015. Late changes did affect me but not in the disastrous way for younger clergy. If there’s another weakness it’s “widower/s” pensions.

    The Equitable Life disaster also affected many of us who signed up to as being the only provider offer from the CofE….. that worked well… Not.

    But PTL for his faithfulness.

  4. Sadly the Chair of the debate chose not to offer anyone on Zoom a chance to speak but had I done so I would have wanted to point out that the issues you raised are especially important to widows and dependents of any clergy who die in service since state widows’ pensions have been abolished so they may be highly dependent on the (reduced) clergy pension and, if young, may also be raising children.
    We talk at Synod a lot about inter-generational fairness but surely this must include the retired generation.
    Happily, Synod voted unanimously for your motion, signifying the level of support you have.

  5. How much do the Commissioners pay themselves, relative to the average pay of a bishop, an Archbishop,?

    And what is the average pay of a parish priest? Another word for ‘average’ is ‘mean’…

    • The Diocesan Basic Stipend varies a little bit, but is between £27k and £29k (with Blackburn at the bottom, and Guildford at the top).

      As for the Bishops – suffragans are on £38k, diocesans receive just under £47k, the Bishop of London gets £67k, the Archbishop of York £74k, and the Archbishop of Canterbury £86k.

      All set out here: https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/clergy-resources/national-clergy-hr/clergy-pay-and-expenses

      The Church Commissioners is a staff of around 500 people (with median salary of £40-70k depending on the job). The Investment Specialists are paid totally differently and back in 2017 the top earner there with salary and incentive payments received £466k. The top earner outside of that team was paid £170k.

    • I had replied with some links, but I don’t think the comments rules actually allow you to do that (I expect it’s an anti-spam device).

      Church Commissioners according to their last Annual Report paid their highest paid employee £318k. That’s on the investment management side.

      Clergy stipends are much simpler to find out.

      The Archbishop of Canterbury gets £90k, the Archbishop of York gets £77k, and the Bishop of London gets £71k. The other diocesan bishops get £49k, and the suffragan bishops get £40k.

      The Diocesan Basic Stipend varies by diocese, but is £27-30k.

      • If you put more than one link in a post then it goes to Ian for clearance, and it is helpful to give him a headsup of its existence by some means.

        Thank you for those (shocking) figures.

        • Given the £10 billion of assets the C of E now has and the healthy returns made on its investments, I would say the top paid investment manager amongst the Church Commissioners has more than earnt his money

          • He’s done a good job – especially if he’s not allowed to invest in fossil fuel companies. But how much of that increase (1) would have been got fairly easily by another; (2) is paper profit due to changes in exchange rates?

        • Thanks Ian – I thought it was something like that. Please feel free to delete the earlier post (one of the links broke anyway) and this one in order to keep a “clean” thread.

  6. Thank you very much Ian. I am personally profoundly grateful. I moved into a clergy rental property under the church’s little charmer of a scheme. I had reserved the property at the beginning of 2023. They neglected to advise me of the increase in rent during the year but have just advised me of the increase that will happen next April. Over the period of what for me is a little over a year the rent has increased by 17.5%. A shift in culture is needed. A measure of an organisation is the way it looks after its members when they no longer contribute productivity. It has been made clear to me that I am now a ‘customer’. As if I had a choice in the market place. This decision is good and right and will be of significant help. We need to press on to restore pastoral care and and arrest the businessfication of the C/E.

  7. This in turn raises the question of why the Commissioners’ assets continue to grow, apparently without limit, whilst other parts of the Church are struggling. We must now be clear on what the ceiling for their asset growth is, beyond which additional growth in assets should be distributed rather than being retained.

    Ian, thank you for spreading a really good piece of news from Synod and in a very worthy cause as others have commented.

    You ask some questions here and I hope I can fill in some of the gaps.

    “Why do the assets continue to grow?” The simple answer is that the Commissioners have an excellent Investment team who manage the portfolio very well. Some years ago, I used to see copies of the Investment reports and I was always struck by the asset classes used. The year on year performance figures were enviable and this appears to have continued to date.

    “We must now be clear on what the ceiling for their asset growth is…” The answer to this is found in Trust law and the duty of Trustees in terms of managing their assets. Over the last century there have only been three major pieces of Trust legislation, the Trustee Investment Act 1925, 1961 and 2,000. All of these confirm the duty of care that Trustees must apply: there can never be a ceiling put on growth of assets for at least two reasons and arguably more.

    First, all investment carries a degree of risk of either returns of capital growth and income. Market values move continually to reflect a wide variety of factors. Returns can never be guaranteed.

    Second, Trustees must obtain the best returns they can, given the parameters for investment that they agree amongst themselves.

    The final point about distributing excess assets is one surely that the Commissioners must make.

    • Ian was not advocating a ceiling on profits from investment, to which the legislation you quote applies (“no ceiling”) but a ceiling “beyond which additional growth in assets should be distributed rather than being retained” (his words – to which the legislation does not apply).

    • Thanks. Actually I don’t. Because this motion has come from the convergence of a number of people working together, there is a multi-pronged approach. The archbishops are both fully behind it too, so I am confident we will see significant change quite soon.

      • That is very good news, Ian, and I, like many others, are so grateful for your persistent advocacy on this. The situation really does need addressing sooner rather than later. When I compare my estimated clergy pension benefits (currently with some 25 years of service) with what I am already getting from my 8 years in the teachers’ pension scheme, the contrast is shocking. I know that the teachers’ scheme is gold plated and its annual rises are determined by the September inflation rate but I cannot help but think what my retirement would look like if I had not been ordained and stayed in teaching. And that’s not even thinking about housing – I am one of those who were told in no uncertain terms to sell their property on being recommended for training. As someone at Synod said, that was the worst piece of final advice I have ever been given!

  8. Thank you for your hard and faithful work in this, Ian. It isn’t right that people who have

    I think it is also notable that the average (mean) age of ordination to a stipendiary post is now over 40 (and to non-stipendiary posts about 55), so people may be leaving employment at their peak earnings to train for a (paid) ministry that will last no more than 25 years. As the age profile of the clergy workforce is getting older, is the C of E going to see a sharp contraction in its clergy numbers in the next few years? Given the age at which people enter the ministry, almost nobody is going to qualify for a full pension. Contrast that with teaching, where the full pension is usually payable after 37 years.

    • Oopos, posted before finishing. I meant to say: ” people who have worked long hours on low wages throughout their professional lives should face penury in their old age.”

      • And that means the Church will be even more dependent on its retired clergy than ever before and why they should have decent pensions and, where needed, support with retirement housing, the provision of which has been cut back with the abolition of the shared equity option and is going to be further cut back with the Enabling Choice proposals!

    • If they join ministry only in their 40s then they are likely to also have contributed to a pension in their former workplace in the previous 20 years

  9. Out of interest, how much does the ‘average’ coe clergyman/woman receive per year from their work pension? Or how is it worked out?

    In my view the public sector has also been treated badly. In one swipe, retirement age was raised from 60 to at least 67 and the pension scheme was changed from a final salary to career average scheme. This was just forced through. Because the old schemes tended to favour older employees and gave them higher pensions, a judge and fireman took the government to court and won their case based on age discrimination against younger employees. Though that only extended the old schemes by 7 years; after that all are in the new scheme. Typically the old scheme gave you a pension based on 1/80th of your final leaving salary for every year worked, up to a maximum of 40 years, ie 40/80 x final salary. Plus a lump sum. The new scheme is based on 2.32% of salary for each year worked, and no lump sum. Then they wonder why public sector staff are disillusioned, as well as clergy.

    • Let me see…
      2.32% of salary for each year worked for 40 years works at 40×2.32 = 92.8% of your average salary. For those only contributing in their early career, that sounds better. After all, since you and your employer contribute in proportion to your salary, it seems fairer that your pension should relate to your contributions, rather than some of those early contributions being used to fund the higher pensions of those retiring on a high final salary.

      The pension age is a contentious issue. However, we do need to take into account demographics. The state pension age for men started at 65, when the life expectancy for men was 66. The median age of death for men in the UK is now about 80. So, working for 40 years and retiring at 60, you need a pension for 20 years – half your working life. If your pension is to be funded basically by your contributions, and to be 50% of your average gross salary when working, you need to set aside 25% of your gross salary for your pension.

      You might say “but are not pensions paid out of income from investing the pension money?” That does make a contribution. However, a medium risk investment strategy – not ideal for providing a steady pension income – might be hoped to give a total return of 4% above CPI. With this, if you hope that your pension will last and go up with inflation, you need a total sum invested which is 25 times the pension you will draw. You could draw capital out as well as taking the total return above inflation. However, then you run the risk of living a long time, and running out of money.

      With a defined contributions scheme, you have typically purchased an annuity which pays out until your death. The provider is using the lumps sums from a number of people in order to balance paying out to people who live longer than expected with money which they don’t have to pay out for those you die younger that expected. Rates have recoved from a couple of years ago. I seem to find perhaps an income which is about 10% of the lump sum – for a level sum single life, with no increase to allow for inflation, nor any spousal benefit. 3% inflation would reduce the effective value by 25% in 10 years and 45% in 20 years.

      When you consider the issues with getting a pension by a defined contribution mechanism, you can see why defined benefit schemes have problems.

  10. Here is discussion of Ian’s motion on this week’s ‘Anglican ~Unscripted’ at about 17 minutes.
    Also some very unflattering comparisons on clergy salaries with the United States and some choice words about the ‘Maxine Waters’ of the Church of England (ha!), how the C of E has £100 million for “reparations” and how non-clergy posts have proliferated in the C of E, squeezing clergy salaries even further:


    • Of course you can make big money in the US as a tele-evengelist with a megachurch and TV and radio show and youtube channel and donations flooding in. Hence some evangelist preachers in the US have their own private jets, huge mansions with pools, limos etc. However that is not really the Anglican way of doing things.

      I agree we need more frontline clergy posts and less backroom non-clergy posts in the C of E though and the best ‘reparations’ would be funding community work in inner city parishes

        • Not quite, I have yet to see Justin Welby with his own private jet and limo, even if he does have a historic palace to live in

          • Justin Welby doesn’t have a private jet but I understand that British Airways gives him free business class flights for his international travel (they probably see this as a charity write-off). Justin also has a nice house in Normandy, presumably from his days working for Elf.
            Can’t begrudge him that – although it is strange that the Church Commissioners, the source of clergy pensions is forbidden from investing in fossil fuels (which still produce enormous profits), while Justin owes his house and a good chunk of his pension to oil.
            The spaffing of £100 millions on “reparations” for what some clergymen did 250 years ago in the West Indies is an outrage and, according to Anglican Ink, is a sop to “Maxine Waters”. “Maxine” is also a fanatical supporter of LLF. She has tried four times to become a diocesan bishop but has been rejected each time because she is widely seen as a bully who tries to throw people out she disagrees with, especially evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics. St Margaret’s Westminster wouldn’t have her either.

          • She’ll make it under Welby’s successor (Mullally?)

            The Church of England can be as coercive and unpleasant as it likes inside itself. But this isn’t the Tudor or Stuart era, and it cannot prevent people disillusioned with it from leaving and going elsewhere. This freedom was hard-won in the 17th century, and is probably to the private chagrin of committed ‘liberal’ theologians.

          • Anton: I don’t think so, ‘Maxine’ is 63 now and Welby may hang on for a couple more years. Sad to say, lacking theological qualifications (not even an undergraduate qualification) and pastoral success, she owes her position entirely to patronage and intersectional identity politics.
            When she was in the Westminster village, the canons prevented her becoming (as was the centuries-old custom) also the Rector of St Margaret’s and her four attempts to get a diocesan bishopric have been rebuffed. Lacking ability, what else can one do but bully?

  11. Blessed are the poor – but more blessed are those with a spare £1000.
    Coming hard on the heels of the £30 Rave in the Nave with expensive booze on tap comes …

    The Canterbury Cathedral £950 a head Three Course Meal Luxury Lent Retreat with ‘Access to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean”!
    Cash for Confessions? Sale of Indulgences?
    I always thought Lent was about self-denial, not being in denial …
    This was an amusing read – and drew some comment at General Synod by our esteemed blogmaster:


  12. Ian, thank you for your continuing efforts on this.
    As you have observed, the Church Commissioners being relieved of responsibility for clergy pensions in the late 90s has had a huge impications beyond the question of pension provision. I was a church warden of a small parish in the late 90s, and the changes in pension arrangements saw our parish share double in the space of 4 years. I could now name several parishes which were solvent thirty years ago but which now function on a hand-to-mouth basis as they have been drained of financial resources by ever-increasing parish share demands. That has a massive knock-on effect on mission.
    But as that has happend the Church Commissioners have built up ever mor reserves. I don’t understand how the Charity Commission has allowed that to happen. I know of other, smaller, charities that have been warned by the Charity Commission that they must use their funds for their charitable objectives rather than build ever greater reserves. Perhaps the Church Commissions are just too big for the Charity Commssion to challenge.

    • Sorry, mate, there’s no money for luxuries like parish churches and vicars. But fortunately the Church of England has found £100 million for ‘slavery reparations’ because sometime in the 18th century Queen Anne’s Bounty had some shares in the South Sea Company and of course, the Church of England did NOTHING at all to help folk (no schools, churches, clinics – nothing at all for 200 years!) in the West Indies:


      If you can find someone with a genetic link, maybe you could apply for a share of this money?

      • That’s not even the half of it.

        The only reason Queen Anne’s Bounty had shares was because the government forcibly converted their bonds into South Sea shares.

  13. Thanks Ian, I hope something comes of your efforts before too long. There has already been drift. I think for those who need retirement housing the ending of the Charm scheme is a worrying development. The ideas about it’s replacement seems very vague and for clergy retiring in the next couple of years a cause of much anxiety I imagine.

  14. Thank you Ian. As someone who has only been in stipendiary ministry since 2014 & only because of redundancy from my dream job and who has no real savings, I am concerned about all of this and having to trust God’s plan for my retirement whatever that is! I’m having to work til 2027 when I reach 70 years of age, the church pensions at this moment in time ( CinW) and Cof E combined might pay for a couple of months rent/ bills but not much else. I have a small pension from the dream job but not a lot and so now am having to save every penny of my state pension until 70 to give me some savings to live on and pay rent/bills!

  15. Thank you Ian so much for your work on this.

    Given your original motion was for ‘restoration’ I am wanting to better understand why you supported Carl Hughes’ amendment which includes a lot of non-quantifiable weasel words “explore”, “improved”, “sustainable”?

    I know you say your reason was because you “insisted (in negotiation with him) that the reference to restoring the pre-2011 level of pension was retained.” – but the actual amendment does not reference a restoration of the pension to the pre-2011 level. It simply says that they will “explore… with reference being made to the impact of changes to clergy pension benefits and the National Minimum Stipend (NMS) since 1998, including the change in level of the pension benefit from 2/3 of NMS prior to 2011”.

    There is a difference between making reference to something and restoring something. The word restore is not in the amendment.


    • Thanks. Carl and I negotiated on this. I didn’t mind those terms being included, since they are standard ones to work with.

      But I said to Carl that mention of 2011 is non-negotiable. That needs to be our benchmark in terms of real value.

      The great benefit of his amendment is that it integrates the restoration of NMS into the restoration of the pension, which will bring significant benefits.

  16. Thanks Ian.

    I wonder if an additional benefit of this amendment is that it opens the possibility of a ‘better than restoration’ outcome!

    Even restoration is a pretty paltry amount.

    Or am I just dreaming 🙂

  17. When I was ordained (over a quarter of a century ago) I worked out that the maximum contributory years’ service would have been reached some time *before* I got to 65 AND there’d be cheap, subsidised retirement housing AND the pension would be 2/3rd stipend. Now none of those things is true.

    Retired clergy can (and do) spend their entire church pension on rent.

    But on the other hand the church — by design or accident — is creating a pool of supernumerary clergy who will be needing to take the 0.5 / HfD posts that the church is increasingly relying on.

    It will be interesting to see how many clergy start applying for PTO after their 70th birthday — and how many Bishops will grant it, out of necessity on both sides.


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