The Church Commissioners is a body managing the historic property assets of the Church of England. It was set up in 1948 combining the assets of Queen Anne's Bounty, a fund dating from 1704 for the relief of poor clergy, and of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners formed in 1836.
The Church Building Act of 1818 granted money and established the Church Building Commission to build churches in the cities of the Industrial Revolution. These churches became known variously as Commissioners' churches, Waterloo churches or Million Act churches. The Church Building Commission became the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1836.
An earlier Ecclesiastical Duties and Revenues Commission had been set up under the first brief administration of Sir Robert Peel in 1835 with a wide remit, “to consider the State of the Established Church in England and Wales, with reference to Ecclesiastical Duties and Revenues” (Minutes of the Commission, 9/2/1835); this body redistributed wealth between the dioceses and changed diocesan boundaries, and the permanent Ecclesiastical Commission was formed the following year.
The value of the Commissioners' assets was around £5.5 billion as at the end of 2012. Most of the income is used to pay clergy pensions.
The Commissioners also oversee pastoral reorganisation, the consent of the Commissioners being required for establishing or dissolving team and group ministries, uniting, creating or dissolving benefices and parishes, and the closing of consecrated church buildings and graveyards.
- The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury (Chair)
- The Most Revd and Rt Hon John Sentamu, Archbishop of York
- The three Church Estates Commissioners, who represent the Church Commissioners in General Synod – the Second Commissioner is a Member of Parliament and answers to Parliament for the business of the Commissioners
- Four bishops elected by the House of Bishops
- Three elected by the House of Clergy
- Four elected by the House of Laity
- April Alexander
- Lay Canon Peter Bruinvels
- Sally Muggeridge
- Jacob Vince
- Two elected by the deans
- Three nominated by the Queen
- Harry Hart
- Ian Watmore
- John Wythe
- Three nominated by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
- Simon Picken QC
- Jeremy Clack
- Mark Woolley
- Three nominated by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York after consultation with the Lord Mayors of the Cities of London and York and the Vice-Chancellors of Oxford and Cambridge Universities
- Hywel Rees-Jones
- Six ex officio members
- The Rt Hon David Cameron, Prime Minister
- The Rt Hon Nick Clegg, Lord President of the Council
- The Rt Hon Chris Grayling, Lord Chancellor
- The Rt Hon Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport
- The Rt Hon John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons
- The Rt Hon The Baroness D'Souza, Lord Speaker
The Secretary (i.e. chief executive) of the Church Commissioners is Andrew Brown