Introduction

The Diocese of Oxford is the administrative area of the Church of England that, broadly speaking, covers the three counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

It covers 2,200 square miles - and much the same area as Thames Valley Police.

The diocese sits between the Cotswolds in the west and London to the east. It extends from tiny rural communities to the vastly different cities of Oxford and Milton Keynes.

From Chipping Norton to Slough, from West Berkshire to Newport Pagnell, there are villages and market towns, suburbs and urban areas, organised into 626 parishes.

There are 815 churches in our diocese - more than any other diocese in the Church of England. So, in many ways, the best description of the Diocese of Oxford is that it is the family of the 50,000 regular worshippers in these churches. However, the relationship between Church and state in this country means that every one of the 2.2 million or so people who live in our area has a parish church.

Through the Diocesan Board of Education, we serve 283 church schools and the wider community of parishes, clergy, children, young people and families of our diocese who have links with education.  We offer an excellent and inclusive education which is welcoming to those of all faiths and none, support our local communities to witness to the Christian gospel and enable all our pupils to have the best possible educational experience and life chances.

Christ Church, Oxford, founded in 1546 by Henry VIII, is the cathedral of the Diocese of Oxford and at the same time the Christ Church Chapel at the University of Oxford. This dual role is unique in the Church of England.

As part of the Church of England, which in turn is part of the Anglican Communion: a family of approximately 80 million Anglican Christians in more than 40 countries across the world. Oxford Diocese sits within the southern Province of the Church of England, under the care of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Bishop of Oxford is the diocesan or most senior bishop, responsible for oversight of the whole diocese. Because of its large size, the Diocese of Oxford is divided into four smaller ‘episcopal Areas’, each overseen by their own Area Bishop. These are the Episcopal Areas of Oxford, Dorchester, Reading and Buckingham.

Each area is led by the Area Bishop and the Archdeacon, who are supported by their personal assistants as well as other lay and ordained staff, including Assistant Archdeacon, Area Deans and Lay Chairs, Parish Development Adviser, Vocations Adviser and leaders of Churches.

The Bishop of Oxford is in overall charge of the Diocese. The Senior Management Group (SMG) comprising Bishop's staff and Heads of Departments meet approximately quarterly to oversee the development of the overall mission strategy of the Diocese, whilst each group meets monthly to monitor progress against strategic diocesan priorities in their respective areas of responsibilities.

Our staff employed by the Oxford Diocesan Board of Finance (85 headcount) and Oxford Diocesan Board of Education (26 headcount) work in Church House Oxford and in the four Episcopal Areas (organised in departments as indicated in the organisational chart overleaf). They support the clergy and the people in our parishes across the Diocese of Oxford in a number of ways; they help equip and resource them to carry out the mission of the Church.

We are grateful to the many passionate, creative and hardworking volunteers who enable numerous activities in churches and communities across the Diocese of Oxford including worship, education, music, children’s and youth work, a range of social projects to facilitate and enrich people’s lives with some serving on our Boards, committees and Parish Church Councils (PCCs)

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