An MP since 1997, Dame Caroline became the first woman to hold the post – which involves speaking for the Church of England in the Commons – four years ago. She has held the post under three successive Prime Ministers.
Dame Caroline is active in the local church in her Meriden constituency as well as the fellowship organisation Christians in Parliament. She has spoken publicly of how her faith is central to her role in public life.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “Dame Caroline Spelman has been an extraordinary public servant for many years.
“She has shown huge commitment to the vibrancy of the Church and wider civil society. In following Jesus’s example of servant leadership, she has shown integrity, wisdom and humility.
“In her role as Second Church Estates Commissioner, Caroline’s advice and support have been unfailing and invaluable, her political courage and determination outstanding.
“She will be deeply missed from her current role, and we will value her contributions until the next election.”
The First Church Estates Commissioner, Loretta Minghella, said: “It is with sadness that all of us at the Church Commissioners for England have heard of Dame Caroline’s decision to stand down from the House of Commons at the next election, at which point she will relinquish her post as Second Church Estates Commissioner, a post she has held since 2015.
“During her tenure she has been a tireless and energetic advocate for all that the Commissioners do, exercising her role in Parliament with energy and passion.
“In the last four years she has continually raised the profile of the Church and its role in a modern society across a range of issues including modern slavery, rural schools and the persecution of Christians.
“She has worked closely and tirelessly with her fellow commissioners and trustees on questions and issues relating to the Church Commissioners’ land, property and investments, promoting a high level of transparency whilst being an indefatigable supporter of our work and mission.
“She will be greatly missed by all of us at the Church Commissioners – her contribution as an advocate of the work of the Church and as a colleague has been outstanding.”