Pensions Chair receives Canterbury Cross

Archbishop awards Chair of the Pensions Board for a decade’s hard work

05/04/19

The Canterbury Cross for Services to the Church of England has been awarded to Jonathan Spencer for his work on the Church of England Pensions Board. Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby presented Jonathan with the Canterbury Cross at a ceremony at Lambeth Palace yesterday.

Board Chair since 2009, Jonathan, from Godmersham, has steered the group from the aftermath of the global financial crisis to steadier ground today.

He said: “It’s been an important part of my life for that decade. The role is voluntary, as with all 20 members of the Board, so the award is not just recognition for me, it’s for us all.

“We’re responsible for the pensions for 25,000 current and retired clergy and 10,000 or so lay members. When I took over there was £750 million in the pension fund, there’s now two and half billion. It was substantially underfunded running at about sixty or seventy per cent but today we’ve got that figure up to over ninety per cent. This is real progress.”

In the award citation, Jonathan is praised for his selfless dedication and how he has acted with grace and diplomacy during times of difficulty.

In total 27 awards were given to people from across the Church and beyond who have given outstanding service in fields including reconciliation, evangelism, the Religious life, ecumenism, supporting refugees and community building.

Jonathan spoke of the responsibility of his role. He said: “One aspect I am proud of is providing ways for investors to support and develop public policy on climate change. Through our work, with the Church Commissioners, on ethical investment generally and the Transition Pathway Initiative in particular, we work with groups like the Environment Agency and we come to the table with the backing of several trillion in sterling.

“We have been working with oil and gas companies, mining companies and others to make those changes to align with the goal of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees and drive research, shaping the future together.”