As the ninth Primate to have held the ex-officio post of President of this small, independent, but highly important part of the administrative fabric of the Church, it gives me pleasure to add a footnote to the interesting account of the Corporation's fortunes since its inception.
Over the century we have all been conscious of the bond between the Corporation and the Royal Family, dating back to 1888 when Her Majesty Queen Victoria granted the Corporation a Royal Charter. I look forward to the unveiling of a specially commissioned portrait of Her Majesty The Queen by David Poole RP ARCA.
The Corporation was conceived in a more stable age, although even in its early days there were uncertainties. Were it not for the vision of the late Bishop Frank Partridge in the 1930s it might even have foundered after fifty years. Instead, through his guidance and industry, we now commemorate the centenary. Now, once again, change is in the air.
In the recent past the Corporation has formed close links with the General Synod and its Boards and Councils and, through good housekeeping, has been able to make generous financial contributions towards their running costs The projected move of church bodies from Church House to a site at Millbank means they will in future share a location with the Church Commissioners and, subseguently, with the Church of England Pensions Board. This will give the Corporation, even if in a different form, an opportunity to strengthen its ties with all three bodies, thus ensuring that both the spirit and the letter of the original Royal Charter will be carried forward into the 21st century.
As President I would like to pay tribute to all the officials and their associates, both paid and unpaid, who have made the Corporation of the Church House a living part of the Church over the past years and wish their successors well for the future.