The Communications Office of the
Archbishops’ Council – an overview
The Church of England is a Christian presence in every community.
It plays a vital role in the life of the nation, proclaiming the Christian gospel in words
and actions and providing services of Christian worship and praise.
Its network of parishes covers the country, bringing a vital Christian dimension, as
well as strengthening community life in numerous urban, suburban and rural
settings. Its cathedrals are centres of spirituality and service, and its network of
chaplaincies across continental Europe meet important local needs.
The Church of England plays an active role in national life with its members involved
in a wide range of public bodies. Twenty-six bishops are members of the House of
Lords and are engaged in debates about legislation and national and international
For key facts about the Church of England, see:
The Archbishops' Council
The Archbishops’ Council exists to 'co-ordinate, promote, aid and further
the work and mission of the Church of England'.
It seeks to do this by:
giving a clear strategic sense of direction to the national work of the Church of
England, within an overall vision set by the House of Bishops and informed by
an understanding of the Church's opportunities, needs and resources;
encouraging and resourcing the Church in parishes and dioceses;
promoting close collaborative working between the Church's national bodies,
including through the management of a number of common services
(Communications, Human Resources, IT etc);
supporting the Archbishops with their diverse ministries and responsibilities;
engaging confidently with Government and other bodies.
More information at: http://www.churchofengland.org/about-
The Archbishops’ Council – Communications
The Communications Office serves the Archbishops’ Council, the General Synod, the
House of Bishops, the Church Commissioners and the Pensions Board, and liaises
closely with the communications staff who work in the dioceses, and those who work
with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
It provides media relations, internal communications and website communications. It
also provides support for diocesan communicators, and a wide range of
communications training. It co-ordinates a range of communications-led mission
projects, leads the Church’s representations on media policy and runs a public
The Office is taking forward a concept of ‘Mission-shaped Communications’
identifying the team’s key relationships and roles, and seeking to make each activity
mission-oriented, professional, proactive and integrated.
M ed ia R e la t ion s
The Communications Office adopts a proactive approach to media communications,
combining close co-ordination with the work of the diocesan communicators and
seeking coverage for the Church’s national role and influence in society. This involves
working with a wide range of media from national newspapers, to web and broadcast
journalists and magazine feature writers.
The work includes raising the profile of the Church’s engagement with government
on a range of issues e.g. equality, embryology, environment and education; and
promoting the work of the bishops in the House of Lords. The Office also cooperates
closely with Church House Publishing in supporting the launch of their publications,
including the creation of podcasts for use in publicity.
An important strand of the media work involves the promotion of ‘everyday faith’,
such as publishing prayers for use at work, when facing exams or when under
financial pressure and growing the Church’s involvement in digital media.
Communications provides a daily press cuttings service to dioceses and an e-mailed
morning briefing to senior staff and clergy across the Church of England advising
them of current issues and media coverage.
There is a high level of media interest in the Church, and the Office operates a 24-
hour media response service throughout the year, working closely with the dioceses,
and the offices of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
All news releases issued by the Communications Office are available at the Church of
England website’s media centre: http://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre.aspx
The texts of all speeches made by bishops in the House of Lords, and the Second
Church Commissioner’s Parliamentary Questions are issued to the media by the
Communications Office, which also compiles weekly lists of clergy appointments for
use in the national and church press.
In addition, the Office advises drama, documentary, educational and quiz broadcasts
on issues relating to the Church’s activities.
I n t er n a l C om m u n ic a t io n s
This covers communications to the 1.7 million people who attend a Church of
England church each month. We also have responsibility for communications with the
staff of the National Church Institutions (NCIs).
‘Communications Update,’ a regular e-mail newsletter carrying news of ‘national’
Church activities and events is available on free subscription via the CofE website
and is issued to all recipients of the e-mailed daily press summary, General Synod
members, NCI Staff via the ‘All Staff’ bulletin, to diocesan communicators for onward
distribution, and on the CofE website. It is also accessible to more than 4,000 parish
magazine editors via a web-based syndication service.
‘In Review,’ is a twice-yearly four-page insert in the church press, with the
material also being offered via e-mail and the Church of England website. This
features a range of articles about the work of the Archbishops’ Council and the NCIs
generally. The next edition will be published in December 2011. A review of the
publication’s format is currently being carried out.
Podcasts and videocasts have been launched on the Church of England website, and
via iTunes. These feature the wide range of people who form today’s Church of
England and highlight events in the Church’s life.
The weekly intranet staff magazine, ‘All Staff’, forms part of an intranet service to
NCI staff. This has been redesigned as part of a significant upgrade of the intranet.
The Communications Office is also involved in supporting campaigns such as the
Church of England’s Shrinking the Footprint environmental project, and other
The development of increasingly effective communications between the NCIs and the
wider church at all levels is an important focus for the Communications Office.
W eb s it e
The Church of England’s website (www.churchofengland.org) attracts around two
million visitors each year and was relaunched at the beginning of 2011. They visit the
site to obtain worship, prayer and liturgical resources, to find out how to plan a
church wedding, funeral or baptism, to read the latest press releases behind
headline-making stories – or simply to find a church near them.
The website’s content management system enables more than 25 specially-trained
staff to monitor and refresh their web pages as necessary. The site embraces new
technologies including video footage and podcasts and uses RSS feeds and social
book-marking tools to allow users to access content in a range of ways.
The Communications Office keeps a close watch on the trends in key ‘searchwords’
and pages visited to ensure that the site continues to meet the needs of visitors. A
rolling programme of improvements is being undertaken.
M ed ia p ol ic y
The Communications Office co-ordinates the Church of England’s role in encouraging
the accurate coverage of faith issues, and supporting religious broadcasting. The
Office supports bishops and others who are involved in media policy issues,
particularly the work of the Lords Communications Committee.
It also co-ordinates the activities of groups such as the General Synod ‘Religion in
Media’ network, and the Church of England’s support for the ecumenical Church and
C om m u n ic a t ion s t r a in i n g
The Office’s Communications Training programme consists of two elements, both of
which aim to encourage the church to use a variety of communication tools as
There is a popular public programme of courses, held in Church House, Westminster,
which provide training in everything from blogging and online communities to TV and
radio interviews. These courses are specially designed to meet the needs of the
Church at every level, from the local parish to the national institutions.
In addition, the Office has developed bespoke training, so that dioceses, bishops’
offices, theological colleges and other organisations can receive a course that is
specially adapted to their own needs, and is delivered to them at their location. This
includes special training sessions organised for General Synod members. This
approach has been extended to include media training for bishops, which is provided
both at appointment and before the bishop takes up his post in the diocese, and is
focused around the ministry of each individual bishop.
The content of our courses is constantly under review, and a new programme has
just been launched. Full details of the public programme of courses are available at
P r o jec t s
The festivals of the year and the big events of life (birth, marriage, death) give the
Church regular and recurring mission opportunities to ‘reimagine’ Christian messages
for contemporary culture.
New streams of work are emerging around these opportunities with a project focus.
Current live projects include Lent, Advent, Harvest and church weddings. Some of
these start locally, like Love Life Live Lent (50 simple actions to transform your
community), which began in Birmingham diocese, and are then commended,
developed and supported through the Communications Office for the Church
Back to Church Sunday – one Sunday of the year to invite a friend back to Church –
is a communications and mission innovation from Manchester, centred around
Harvest, offering resources to facilitate the local church’s invitation and welcome.
The Weddings Project, an initiative to attract and welcome more people for a church
wedding, resulted from research showing 53% of the general population believe
church is the ‘proper’ place for a wedding. This piece of work developed innovations
to support the local church in its marriage ministry, as legal changes came into effect
that make a church wedding more possible for more people. The Project is now in its
second two-year term, rolling out the results and materials developed across the
Church. More information at: www.yourchurchwedding.org
D ioc es a n L ia iso n
The Communications Office works closely with the dioceses on communications
issues, liaising with them on national initiatives and planned announcements, and
providing advice including a secure online system for resources held in common:
factsheets, guidelines, contacts, artwork, bulletin board and prayer calendar. The
Communications team seeks to work collaboratively with diocesan communicators on
all strands of the Office’s work.
A panel of diocesan communicators, convened by the Office, and twice yearly
network days for diocesan communicators provide a means of sharing best practice
and working in partnership on continuing professional development.
The Office also offers consultation and support in selecting and training diocesan
communicators and in carrying out communications reviews.
We also maintain close contact with communications staff from the Anglican
Communion Office, other British Anglican provinces, other denominations and
P u b l ic Af f a ir s a c t iv it y
As well as dealing with media policy matters, Communications is also involved in
work in support of the Church’s public affairs initiatives, ensuring that the Church’s
position on a range of issues is clearly understood and reports and submissions
produced by the Archbishops’ Council and other bodies are widely distributed and
C h u r c h H ou se P u b l i sh i n g
Church House Publishing (CHP) is the official imprint of the Archbishops’ Council.
Since 2006 the Direct of Communications has had responsibility for the work of CHP,
which has established itself as a significant and distinctive voice in UK Christian
publishing, notably since 2000 when it published the first Common Worship
Church House Publishing aims to equip the Church of England’s local ministers and
active churchgoers for worship, ministry and mission. Alongside indispensible liturgy
and reference resources (such as Common Worship and crockford.org.uk), CHP aims
to lead the way in providing practical and inspiring tools for promoting mission and
church, ministry at major life, celebrating Christian seasons and nurturing faith and
discipleship with all ages.
Under an agreement signed in July 2009 with Anglican charity Hymns Ancient &
Modern Ltd, the Council continues to publish a range of titles to support the Council’s
aims and objectives in its own name under the CHP imprint, with HA&M acting as its
production and marketing arm. A Publishing Manager, supported by a part-time
Finance Officer, manage the relationship with HA&M. More information at:
E n q u i r y S er v ic e
The Communications Office answers enquiries from all over the world on a wide
range of subjects, by letter, by telephone and by e-mail. Many of these are
concerned with finding a local place of worship, arrangements for church weddings
or clarification about church activities.