The Archbishop of York has been criticised for 'sending out the wrong message' by advertising for a new £90,000-a-year chief of staff.

The advertisement on the Charity Job website says the position offers a 'competitive salary in the region of £90,000 per year' and will involve helping Stephen Cottrell, who became the Church of England's second most senior clergyman when he was enthroned in October, 'conduct his ministry within the life of the nation'.

"You will be the archbishop's chief companion, support and critical friend for developing and refining this vision, aligning his work with the dioceses and central structures of the Church of England, ensuring his time is used effectively and strategically, and making it happen," it added.

Will Pearson-Gee, Rector of Buckingham parish church, told The Sunday Telegraph he was 'dismayed' by the advert.

"We should be spending that money on clergy posts.

"Surely the archbishop could get a 'critical friend' for a lot less than that.

"It's sending out the wrong sort of messages at a time of huge financial pressure," Mr Pearson-Gee said.

But a spokesman for the Mr Cottrell's office said today: “The Chief of Staff is the most senior role within the Archbishop’s staff team and focusses on the missional opportunities and priorities of the Church of England and the northern province. 

"The role has been vacant since December and a competitive process is underway to fill this vacancy.  Remuneration for the role has been benchmarked against similar senior roles within the charitable sector and has been agreed centrally.” 

Mr Cottrell, 62, said in February the church should have a louder political voice.

The father-of-three has been a longtime advocate for the church's participation in social causes.

Since 2011, he has served as chairman of the board of Church Army, an organisation based in Sheffield committed to evangelism and social justice.

The chief of staff's role is understood to involve working with central government, local authorities, and other statutory and voluntary bodies, as well as dioceses and cathedrals across the Northern Province and 'relevant education institutions, business and media organisations'.

In his Easter sermon published in The Press today, Mr Cottrell talks about the message of Easter and the fact that 'God’s door is always open'.