One of the church’s foundation texts is “And the Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). It refers of course to the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Words have long been the speciality of English Christian writers from Miles Coverdale and Thomas Cranmer to G.K. Chesterton and T.S. Eliot. But something called the Church of England Media Centre has just published a press release about the appointment of Christine Hewitt-Dyer as the church’s “Director of People.” This communication fails to communicate – at least with me. Can anyone tell me what it means, please? Here it is:
“Christine joins us from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) – formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government – where, as Director for People Capability & Change, she delivered a people plan encompassing initiatives on workforce strategy, reward, leadership and talent management, diversity, recruitment and people engagement. She also led MHCLG’s HR operations and oversaw their move to a new HR self-service system.
“Prior to the MHCLG, Christine was the People & Business Services Director at the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (part of the Ministry of Defence). Christine’s career has also involved a range of economic policy and HR roles in central government including the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and Acas. She is also a trustee of HCT plc, a leading social enterprise.
“Gareth Mostyn, Chief Finance and Operations Officer said: ‘I’m delighted that Christine is joining us in this key strategic role. As Director of People, Christine will be responsible for providing leadership on people matters, including the development of our people strategy and the delivery of high calibre HR operations. Christine will also lead key people programmes across the NCIs and help us to ensure we are best placed to support the mission and ministries of the Church.’
“Christine said: ‘I am very excited to be joining the NCIs. It will be such a privilege to work alongside the faith community that has been part of my life since childhood, and which continues to play an important role in our national and local community life. My first few months will involve lots of listening and learning, whilst hopefully bringing some new perspectives based on my years in a wide range of policy and HR posts within government.’
“Christine takes over from Interim Director of People, Carole Harden, in January 2019. Commenting upon Carole’s time with the NCIs, Gareth Mostyn said: ‘Carole has led the NCIs’ HR team since February 2018 and we are hugely appreciative of her contribution. She leaves with our best wishes for the future’.”
I exaggerate: this incommunicative communication does not produce in me total bafflement. I can understand that Gareth is “delighted” and Christine is “excited.”
(I’ve long noticed in these announcements about jobs in the church that those making the appointment are invariably “delighted” and those appointed are always “excited.” And I wonder, with all that floating about in ecstatic states, whether any work actually gets done?)
But what does the rest of it mean? What will Christine actually do? How will she even be able to start work in her new office which, as we can see, is knee-deep in such filthy jargon?
By God the Word was made flesh. By hell the Church of England has turned it to gobbledegook and drivel.