Church of England Mourns Death of Sir Derek Pattinson

The Church of England this week is mourning the death of Sir Derek Pattinson, who has passed away at the age of 76.

As Associate Secretary General, Sir Pattinson helped to oversee the establishment of the General Synod of the Church of England in 1970.

The General Synod is the national assembly of the Church of England, which came into being under the 'Synodical Government Measure 1969', and replaced an earlier body known as the Church Assembly.

Sir Pattinson then went on to serve as the Synod's Secretary General from 1972 till 1990.

William Derek Pattinson was born in Cumbria in 1930, and was educated at Whitehaven Grammar School and The Queen's College, Oxford, and entered the Home Civil Service working in the Inland Revenue and in the Treasury Office.

In his spare time, Derek was much involved with the Church. He was asked to serve as a member of the Chadwick Church and State Commission, 1966-70, where he took a vigorous and radical line. This brought him to the attention of those seeking a successor to Sir John Guillum Scott, then Secretary to the Church Assembly.

In 1970, the General Synod was to replace the Church Assembly and a dynamic Secretary General was needed. Pattinson was asked to apply and was appointed, taking over from Sir John in 1972.

During his years some very high profile debates took place on various issues such as: a possible Anglican/Methodist Reunion, the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission statements, the televised Ban the Bomb debate and debates on women and the priesthood.

The 1970s and early '80s were a significant time of legislative reform and development, including the Endowment and Glebe Measure, the Vacation of Benefices Measure, the Worship and Doctrine Measure, the Patronage (Benefices) Measure, the Dioceses Measure, and legislation concerning the care of churches, cathedrals, and parochial registers and records, as well as the legislation that gave birth to the Diocese in Europe. In addition, liturgical reform was a dominant theme in the Synod's agenda, culminating in the Alternative Service Book 1980.

On retirement as Secretary General, Pattinson was knighted and then entered priesthood. He was ordained priest in 1992, serving in the Parish of St Gabriel, Pimlico.

Sir Pattinson passed away on 10th October 2006.