Featured post

MARCH 5 2021 – “A SINGLE MOMENT IS WOVEN INTO A BIGGER TAPESTRY” IN THE BISHOP BELL TEA ROOMS – AN EXTRACT FROM ‘DEAR ENGLAND’ BY STEPHEN COTTRELL – ARCHBISHOP OF YORK

Photo source: Chichester Cathedral

“A single moment is woven into a bigger tapestry” in the Bishop Bell Tea Rooms

05 MARCH 2021 – CHURCH TIMES

In this extract from Dear England, Stephen Cottrell recalls an episode from his family life

Breathe deeply.

Be still for a moment.

Let the restless and impatient breakers of your mind subside.

Search deep inside yourself for those places where you feel you are most yourself: the things that make you and define you and fill you with delight and awe. Or even the dark and difficult memories — for sometimes it is in the darkness that we have the clearest sense of what the light we crave might actually be like, or at times of pain and loss that we discover just how strong love is.

IS THERE a day that, as you look back over your life, you think: that was the day when I felt most myself, most at ease, most in love, most fulfilled, most full of joy and wonder?

Or just a day that was so blessedly beautiful it is the day you would live over again if you had such an option?

Or even a day, like the day that a dear loved one died, that was the saddest one imaginable, and yet, at the same time, hallowed by unquenchable torrents of tears, a day when we truly knew that though this person had gone, love continued?

Or is there a moment when life just made sense: when your life seemed meaningful, when it had purpose, when what you said and did made a difference? Even if it was a very small thing: something that on its own seemed insignificant but
that was somehow woven into a bigger and hugely beautiful tapestry, and you saw yourself as part of it.

I REMEMBER one particular moment from my own family life. Our eldest son would have been about two years old at the time. We were living in Chichester, and often went for tea in the Bishop Bell Rooms at the Cathedral.

In the summer, there was a garden where the children could play while the parents drank their coffee. Sitting at the table adjacent to us was a woman who was obviously in some sort of disquiet, but not in a demonstrative way: we were just aware of her solitude and distress.

I think I may have even wondered about doing that very un-English thing and reaching out to her. She was carrying some burden of sadness, holding it in, but not
so effectively that we were unaware of it.

But, of course, I didn’t reach out. It’s not the polite thing to do, and, anyway, how would I know what to say?

So we sat in the orbit of her grief, but felt powerless to enter it or change it. We drank our tea. She drank hers.

But Joseph, even aged two, did do something. He was also aware of her sadness. He felt it and he received it, and somehow, however subconsciously and intuitively, he decided to do something about it.

He picked a daisy from the lawn and, without saying anything, went up and gave it to her. Watching out of the corner of my eye, I saw her receive the gift of the daisy and thank him, then press the daisy between the pages of the book she had with her.

Perhaps she has it there still.

It was a beautiful moment. Joseph doesn’t remember it. But in that moment, he was giving this woman something astonishingly precious, something that it is hard to pin down or explain.

Yet it is the most obviously wonderful thing there is: one human being, on this occasion a small child, reaching out and doing something to nurse the hurt and assuage the grief of another human being, this time a woman carrying who knows what sadness, and making a connection that spoke more in a single moment than this book, and hundreds of others, will achieve in a thousand pages.


The Most Revd Stephen Cottrell is the Archbishop of York.

This is an edited extract from his new book, Dear England: Finding hope, taking heart and changing the world, published by Hodder & Stoughton at £12.99 (Church Times Bookshop £10.99); 978-1-529-36095-0.

Interview with Stephen Cottrell

Featured post

MARCH 3 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [JANUARY 22 2018] – “BISHOP GEORGE BELL NOT TO BE CLEARED OVER ‘ABUSE'” – BBC NEWS

Bishop George Bell not to be cleared over ‘abuse’ – BBC News

Bishop George Bell not to be cleared over ‘abuse’

Published 22 January 2018

Bishop George Bell
image captionGeorge Bell was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death in 1958

The Archbishop of Canterbury has rejected calls for him to clear the name of the late Bishop George Bell, who was accused of abusing a young girl.

A review found failings in the way the Church investigated allegations against the Bishop of Chichester in the 1950s.

Supporters of Bishop Bell have called on the Most Rev Justin Welby to pronounce the bishop as innocent.

But Mr Welby said he could not rescind a statement in which he said a cloud hung over Bishop Bell’s name.

Bishop Bell’s supporters have sent three open letters to the archbishop in recent days.

They were written by a group of historians, an international group of church leaders, and a selection of former choristers at Chichester cathedral.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
image captionThe archbishop said the letter from the historians did not take into account the “realities” of past abuse in the church

But the archbishop said: “Our history over the last 70 years has revealed that the church covered up, ignored or denied the reality of abuse on major occasions.

“As a result, the church is rightly facing intense and concentrated scrutiny (focused in part on the Diocese of Chichester) through the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

“The Diocese of Chichester was given legal advice to make a settlement based on the civil standard of proof, the balance of probability.

“It was not alleged that Bishop Bell was found to have abused on the criminal standard of proof, beyond reasonable doubt.

“The two standards should not be confused.”

The independent reviewer, Lord Carlile QC, said the Church of England’s investigation into allegations against the bishop by a woman known as “Carol” were deficient.

The church apologised and compensated Carol after she claimed she had been assaulted by Bell as a young girl.

Lord Carlile said the church had “rushed to judgment”.

But Mr Welby provoked anger among the late bishop’s supporters when he said: “No human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness.”

Related Topics

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet Links

Featured post

MARCH 3 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 27 2017] – CAMPAIGN FOR THE RESTORATION OF GEORGE BELL HOUSE IN CHICHESTER [AND THE PORTRAIT IN STORAGE WITHIN THE CATHEDRAL LIBRARY]

George Bell House [before October 2015]

OCTOBER 27 2017 – CAMPAIGN FOR THE RESTORATION OF GEORGE BELL HOUSE IN CHICHESTER [AND THE PORTRAIT IN STORAGE WITHIN THE CATHEDRAL LIBRARY]

IMG_9510This Portrait is in storage within the Cathedral Library [September 9 2017] – No Public Access [except on Heritage Open Days eg September 9 2017]

The Plaque reads:

“Bishop Bell has a worldwide reputation for his tireless work for international reconciliation, the arts, education, and church unity. The House that bears his name provides a place where work in these areas can continue and prosper. The generosity of an Anglican Order, the Community of the Servants of the Cross (CSC) has enabled the purchase of the House. Canon Peter Kefford (Treasurer of Chichester Cathedral 2003-2009) was the prime initiator in establishing George Bell House as a centre for Education, Vocation and Reconciliation” 

Photograph: Howard Coster, 1953. It is the last portrait photograph of Bishop Bell.

This entry was posted in Bishop George BellGeorge Bell HouseInjusticeJustice and tagged 4 Canon Lane4 Canon Lane – Formerly George Bell HouseAnglican OrderCanon Peter KeffordChichester CathedralChichester Cathedral LibraryCommunity of the Servants of the CrossGeorge Bell Bishop of ChichesterGeorge Bell HouseHoward CosterPortrait of Bishop BellThe Community of the Servants of the Cross [CSC]The Portrait on 

Featured post

FEBRUARY 28 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [JANUARY 25 2019] – “GEORGE BELL STATUE TO GO AHEAD AS LATEST ABUSE CLAIMS JUDGED ‘UNFOUNDED'” – BELFAST TELEGRAPH

Bishop George Bell statue to go ahead as latest abuse claims judged ‘unfounded’

The cleric was renowned for his opposition to the Nazis and his efforts to rescue Jewish children from Germany.

George Bell, former Bishop of Chichester. (PA Images)

George Bell, former Bishop of Chichester. (PA Images)

January 25 2019


A statue commemorating Bishop George Bell will go ahead after an independent investigation ruled the latest abuse allegations against him were “unfounded”.

Canterbury Cathedral said a planned statue of the former bishop of Chichester, who died in 1958, will be completed and placed in one of the exterior niches in the west end of the building.

Its announcement comes the day after the Church’s national safeguarding team published findings of an inquiry which found the latest allegations against Bell were “unfounded”.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (Dominic Lipinski/PA Images)

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (Dominic Lipinski/PA Images)ADVERTISING

Bell has been praised for helping to rescue Jewish children from Germany during the Second World War and was a supporter of the German resistance.

In a statement Canterbury Cathedral said: “A statue of George Bell, a former dean of Canterbury and later bishop of Chichester, is to be completed and installed at Canterbury Cathedral.

“Bishop Bell was dean between 1924 and 1929 and during that time founded The Friends Of Canterbury Cathedral who celebrated their 90th anniversary in 2017.

“To commemorate his work whilst in Canterbury, the statue will be placed in one of the exterior niches at the west end of the Cathedral joining those of other influential figures.”

A statue of Bishop George Bell will be installed at Canterbury Cathedral (Chris Ison/PA Images).

A statue of Bishop George Bell will be installed at Canterbury Cathedral (Chris Ison/PA Images).

Canterbury Cathedral said work started on the statue in 2015.

But that year the Church paid £15,000 in compensation to a women who claimed she was abused by Bell.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby welcomed the announcement on Friday.

He tweeted: “I warmly welcome the announcement today that the statue of Bishop George Bell will in due course be completed and installed at Canterbury Cathedral, as a permanent reminder of his unique contribution to international peace and to the Church of England.

The latest inquiry was commissioned by the Church and carried out by senior ecclesiastical lawyer Timothy Briden, the vicar general of Canterbury.

It followed the Church of England handing “fresh information” to Sussex Police about Bell in January last year.

In the report, Mr Briden said his finding “excludes any reconsideration of the validity” of original allegations made against Bell and instead focuses only on the fresh information handed to police last year.

He concluded: “Concentrating exclusively upon the allegations remitted to me, I have decided that they are unfounded.”

Speaking after the report’s publication on Thursday, Mr Welby apologised “unreservedly” for “mistakes” in how the Church of England handled allegations against the former bishop.

Mr Welby said Bell was a “remarkable role model”, and added: “I apologise unreservedly for the mistakes made in the process surrounding the handling of the original allegation against Bishop George Bell.

“I recognise this has been an extremely difficult period for all concerned and I apologise equally to all those who have come forward and shared stories of abuse where we have not responded well.”

He said at the end of 2017 “several people” came forward with “further, fresh information” and after a “thorough, independent investigation, nothing of substance has been added to what has previously been alleged”.

The information was received after the conclusion of Lord Carlile of Berriew’s independent review last month into how it handled allegations made against the late bishop.

These related to a woman who claimed she was abused by Bell in the 1950s when she was aged between five and eight.

She was paid £15,000 in compensation in 2015 and received an apology from the church.

In Carlile’s report, published in December 2017, the Church was criticised for “rushing to judgment” of one of its most respected bishops some 60 years after his death.

The Church’s inquiry into the allegations was criticised for failing to adequately investigate the victim’s claims or seek witnesses who had known or worked for Bell during his tenure as bishop of Chichester between 1929 and 1958.

Lambeth Palace commissioned the review of the original investigation after Bell’s supporters said not enough was done to substantiate the complainant’s allegations.

In his latest statement, Mr Welby said: “The Church’s dilemma has been to weigh up the reputation of a highly esteemed bishop who died over 60 years ago alongside a serious allegation.

“We did not manage our response to the original allegation with the consistency, clarity or accountability that meets the high standards rightly demanded of us.”

PA

Featured post

FEBRUARY 28 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [FEBRUARY 25 2016] – “SILENCE SAYS IT ALL – YET ‘THE STILL, SMALL VOICE’ REMAINS”

This letter below has been published by Chichester Observer – Thursday February 25 2016:

Dear Editor

Bishop George Bell’s niece, Barbara Whitley, hits back at accusers:

“The history books are all going to say this man was an abuser when nothing is proved”

The Church – especially the Diocese of Chichester – would do well to ask whether or not they are breaking the ninth of the ten commandments when it comes to Bishop Bell of Chichester : “Thou shalt not bear false witness”, as well as breaching a fundamental right under English and International Law : ‘Innocent until proven guilty

Silence says it all.


Yours sincerely


Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

Featured post

FEBRUARY 27 2021 – “BISHOPS SHOULD LEAD THE WAY IN SCRAPPING CHURCH OF ENGLAND CORE GROUPS FOR GOOD” – RICHARD W. SYMONDS [BELL SOCIETY] + CORE GROUP DRAFT POLICY ANTICIPATED THIS SUMMER: “THE POLICY WILL MAKE CLEAR…IT IS NOT ITS ROLE TO TRY TO ESTABLISH GUILT OR INNOCENCE” – SIR WILLIAM NYE [SECRETARY GENERAL]

“All a person can do today is warn. ‘Deutsche Christen’ is a necessary warning. Church of England Core Groups are also a warning. These Core Groups should be scrapped with immediate effect. They are not ‘fit for purpose’. They perpetuate the twin evils of injustice and cruelty. Their continued existence will bring the Church into terminal disrepute – and inflict upon it permanent moral damage”

~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society – February 27 2021

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

After the Secretary General’s response to a General Synod question last Saturday [Feb 27], Bishops should now lead the way in scrapping Church of England Core Groups for good – and pioneer genuine independent oversight on Safeguarding matters

~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)

Q25 In answer to a supplementary question from me in July 2020 relating
to Q.20, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, stated “the
NST is currently reviewing the functioning of core groups with a view
to revising the guidance and clarifying their operation,” and in answer
to a supplementary question by Mrs Kathryn Tucker (Q.23) he said “it
is vitally important that the respondents should be properly
represented, they have full understanding of the allegations made
against them and they have opportunity to respond to those. That is a
basic issue of justice… respondents must be properly represented in
order that they have a full chance to respond to any allegations.”
(Report of Proceedings, July 2020, pages 25-27). Dr Gibbs further
stated in answer to a supplementary question from the Revd Canon
Rosie Harper, “we are proposing to introduce fairly soon new
guidance on the conduct of core groups.” (ibid, page 28). Further, in
the written answer to a question (Q.79) from Mr Martin Sewell in
November 2020 you stated: “Work to update the core group policy
and guidance will include consideration of whether an appeal system,
or a dedicated complaint system, should be included.”
In the light of these answers, please inform Synod of the work done
(and by whom) since November to update the current core group
policy and guidance, stating what (if any) provision has been or is
proposed to be included, or is under consideration, to provide
respondents with both the right to be represented at all core group
meetings by a person of their choice and a right of appeal against
core group determinations.

Mr William Nye Secretary General:

Two workstreams are underway:
The revision of the Responding to, assessing and managing
safeguarding concerns or allegations against church officers
guidance which sets out the core group’s role. The NST, in
consultation with representatives from dioceses and a cathedral,
is exploring the questions posed through a series of workshops,
involving representatives from dioceses and cathedrals.
The undertaking of two workshops involving the Legal Office, the
NST and a Bishop’s Chaplain to specifically review the function
of core groups in the kinds of cases the NST works with.
We anticipate that draft policy should be ready by summer 2021 for
wider consultation. It will address how core groups may better factor
in the respondent’s views and concerns taking account of the group’s
role. The policy will make clear that it is the role of core groups to identify,
mitigate and manage the risk in any situation; it is not its role to try to
establish guilt or innocence.

CHURCH TIMES

“With that said, he [Lord Carey] makes telling points about the arbitrariness and cruelties of the present system. “I am not the only one experiencing these unjust measures. Last year, it was reported that many clergy were left feeling suicidal by the way they were treated during the Church of England’s disciplinary processes. . . The current Bishop of Lincoln, Christopher Lowson, has been suspended since May 2019 [his suspension was lifted this week]. What monstrous system of justice leaves a bishop in such a difficult quandary for so long? In contrast to these cases, and mine, recent safeguarding complaints about both the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have been closed quickly with judicious speed and finality”

It all brought to mind some lovely lines of Auden: “But hear the morning’s injured weeping and know why: Ramparts and souls have fallen; the will of the unjust Has never lacked an engine; still all princes must Employ the fairly-noble unifying lie”

Andrew Brown – Church Times – February 5 2021

QUESTION [AND ANSWER] ON CHURCH OF ENGLAND CORE GROUPS AT GENERAL SYNOD – FEBRUARY 27 2021

Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Secretary
General:


Q25 In answer to a supplementary question from me in July 2020 relating
to Q.20, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, stated “the
NST is currently reviewing the functioning of core groups with a view
to revising the guidance and clarifying their operation,” and in answer
to a supplementary question by Mrs Kathryn Tucker (Q.23) he said “it
is vitally important that the respondents should be properly
represented, they have full understanding of the allegations made
against them and they have opportunity to respond to those. That is a
basic issue of justice… respondents must be properly represented in
order that they have a full chance to respond to any allegations.”
(Report of Proceedings, July 2020, pages 25-27). Dr Gibbs further
stated in answer to a supplementary question from the Revd Canon
Rosie Harper, “we are proposing to introduce fairly soon new
guidance on the conduct of core groups.” (ibid, page 28). Further, in
the written answer to a question (Q.79) from Mr Martin Sewell in
November 2020 you stated: “Work to update the core group policy
and guidance will include consideration of whether an appeal system,
or a dedicated complaint system, should be included.”
In the light of these answers, please inform Synod of the work done
(and by whom) since November to update the current core group
policy and guidance, stating what (if any) provision has been or is
proposed to be included, or is under consideration, to provide
respondents with both the right to be represented at all core group
meetings by a person of their choice and a right of appeal against
core group determinations.

Mr William Nye to reply as Secretary General:


Two workstreams are underway:

  1. The revision of the Responding to, assessing and managing
    safeguarding concerns or allegations against church officers
    guidance which sets out the core group’s role. The NST, in
    consultation with representatives from dioceses and a cathedral,
    is exploring the questions posed through a series of workshops,
    involving representatives from dioceses and cathedrals.
  2. The undertaking of two workshops involving the Legal Office, the
    NST and a Bishop’s Chaplain to specifically review the function
    of core groups in the kinds of cases the NST works with.
    We anticipate that draft policy should be ready by summer 2021 for
    wider consultation. It will address how core groups may better factor
    in the respondent’s views and concerns taking account of the group’s
    role.
    The policy will make clear that it is the role of core groups to identify,
    mitigate and manage the risk in any situation; it is not its role to try to
    establish guilt or innocence.

INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING STRUCTURES FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – PROPOSED INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS – 2021 [PHASE 1]

Page 17

  1. Independent roles in Core Groups
    The Survivors’ Focus Group noted that survivors have felt disadvantaged and unrepresented on Core Groups and that this constitutes an imbalance of power. A review of Core Groups is currently being undertaken, which will include consideration of survivors’ criticisms of present practices.
    The ISB [Independent Safeguarding Board], as proposed in Phase 1, is not designed to play a direct role in Core Groups. The question of how the ISB in future could help improve the working of Core Groups requires further reflection and consultation, in the light of the findings of the review, and will be pursued at a later stage
    .

The Revd Canon Dr Malcolm Brown
Director of Mission and Public Affairs
February 2021

Synod members hear significant changes planned for church safeguarding

 by TIM WYATT 27 FEBRUARY 2021

A slide from a safeguarding presentation given by the lead bishop for safeguarding, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs (top right)

SIGNIFICANT reforms to ensure that the Church of England is no longer “marking its own homework” on safeguarding were discussed online by General Synod members on Saturday afternoon.

During the informal meeting, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, lead bishop of safeguarding, introduced a presentation updating members on measures taken to ensure independent oversight of the Church’s safeguarding provision.

Although no decision had yet been made, one option being considered for the longer-term future was to spin off safeguarding responsibility completely into an independent charity or trust. This proposal has been long demanded by some abuse survivors and campaigners, but has been resisted until now by the C of E hierarchy (News, 6 March 2018).

Many of the changes originated from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which had been “deeply shocking”, Dr Gibbs said, and “hammered home how the Church had failed victims and survivors, and the consequent need for repentance and change at all levels of the Church’s life”.

He and his colleagues were working hard, but he acknowledged that the measures were not coming as fast as some would like. They had to bring in lasting cultural change, however, rather than quick fixes to garner easy headlines. The C of E must make its formal response to IICSA’s report in March, six months after it was published (News, 9 October 2020).

The other “big-ticket item” was a proposal to establish an Independent Safeguarding Board, which would create independent oversight of the National Safeguarding Team (NST). This work was the product of consultation with survivor representatives, and had been approved by the Archbishops’ Council last week (News, 26 February).

This would mean that the Church was no longer “marking its own homework” when it came to safeguarding, Dr Gibbs said. “We need to rebuild trust, above all among victims and survivors.” These reforms would only be the first phase in the process, he assured the Synod.

Zena Marshall, the interim director of safeguarding, then explained how engagement and consultation with survivors was integral to all safeguarding reform. This included having victims and survivors on recruitment panels for senior posts in the NST.

The long-awaited Safe Spaces service (News, 16 October 2020), which offers support for anyone who has experienced abuse in the C of E, Church in Wales, and Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, had now been live for five months, she said. It had supported 95 cases in total, and on 31 January had 60 active cases. Initial feedback from the two-year pilot had been positive.

Dr Gibbs then explained how safeguarding training in the Church had been rebranded as “safeguarding learning”, to try and shift perceptions as focusing on process — “knowing what to do when something happens” — to engaging with people’s deeper values and beliefs.

This was a key part of meeting IICSA’s recommendation for cultural change in the Church. There would also be specific learning pathways for both clergy and senior leaders in dioceses and cathedrals.

Work continued at pace in rewriting central Church policies on safeguarding, he said, as well developing a national redress scheme for survivors.

A project manager for this scheme had now been hired and begun work, Ms Marshall reported. Within six months, a full proposal with timelines for when it would be ready would be sent to the Archbishops’ Council.

Canon Malcolm Brown, director of mission and public affairs at Church House, Westminster, then took over to describe the work of providing independent oversight of the NST. An Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) would be created by July, comprising a chair, a survivor-and-victims’ advocate, and a third member to lead on handling complaints.

“The independent voice will be on our backs, in a good way, as a critical friend, to enable us to come up with answers to difficult questions about the role of independence which we should not be asking ourselves,” he said. “We cannot delay any longer having that independent accompaniment to our work.

The ISB would be small but complementary and diverse, Canon Brown said. It would also supervise the director of the NST and advise on developing policies and guidance, future training programmes, and staff appointments.

An ongoing tension was about how distant safeguarding work should be from the Church, he explained. Too embedded, and it could become captured by the needs of the institution; too removed, and it would never be able to foster cultural change. For now, having an in-house NST supervised by an independent board seemed the right balance, but in the future it could be that a fully independent safeguarding team was created as a separate legal entity.

OTHER STORIES

Church’s vision is for more front-line ministry, not less, Archbishop of York tells Synod members NOTHING was being “decided centrally and kept under wraps” where the vision and strategy discussions were concerned, the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, assured General Synod members on Saturday

“To get to that step will take time, but there isn’t time to wait before we introduce any independence at all,” he said. In time, the ISB would assist the Church to consider the difficult questions around full independence for the NST, as well as how diocesan safeguarding should be managed. (A key IICSA recommendation was for diocesan safeguarding advisors to become officers instead, employed and managed independently of the bishops they would then be able to direct.)

A further level on top of the ISB, such as an ombudsman, may also be necessary in future, to be an independent accountability check on the board itself, Canon Brown said.

The House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council were both committed to not only abiding by the “letter” of the IICSA recommendations but also the spirit.

After a short screen break, the speakers answered questions sent in by Synod members during the earlier presentation. In response to several questions, Canon Brown said that the establishment of the ISB was a decision the Archbishops’ Council had to take, as it had trustee responsibility for national safeguarding; but he hoped the Synod could be involved in a second phase — possibly including making final decisions — when issues to do with diocesan safeguarding structures were debated.

He also reassured members that he had regularly consulted with survivors and victims throughout the process of writing up plans for the ISB.

Replying to further questions, Ms Marshall acknowledged that time was ticking on: it was now more than a year since proposals for a redress scheme were agreed. But “it is important to get this right”, she said. She was confident that it could be progressed in a timely manner. An interim support scheme existed for those who needed emergency intervention in the mean time.

OTHER STORIES

Archbishops’ message: Don’t be unkind to the Church or each other 27 Feb 2021

Synod Q&A: safeguarding, CDM, and the Church’s future 26 Feb 2021

Independent scrutiny for National Safeguarding Team moves a step closer 26 Feb 2021

Sex, Power, Control, by Fiona Gardner, and Going Public, by Julie Macfarlane 26 Feb

2021

NEWS

Church’s vision is for more front-line ministry, not less, Archbishop of York tells Synod members 27 Feb 2021

Archbishops’ message: Don’t be unkind to the Church or each other 27 Feb 2021

Featured post

FEBRUARY 27 2021 – ‘DEUTSCHE CHRISTEN’ – THE GERMAN CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT [1932-1945] – “A NECESSARY WARNING”

“One of the little known facts about the rise of early Nazism relates to the professions that were most represented in the rank and file of the party and movement.  By several furlongs, the answer is: academics at German universities and colleges. You may think that is shocking enough.  But be prepared for the after-shock: many academics were also members of the clergy. Why and how, you may ask, could this be so? After all, the Nuremberg trials revealed horrific war crimes on a scale not witnessed before or since.  Surely to God, intelligent academics and kind clergy could not have been party to this?  But think again”

~ ‘Anonymous’ – “Nuremberg at 75: Trials and Tribulations” – ‘Surviving Church’ – February 26 2021

“All a person can do today is warn. ‘Deutsche Christen’ is a necessary warning. Church of England Core Groups are also a warning. They should be scrapped with immediate effect. They are not ‘fit for purpose’. They perpetuate the twin evils of injustice and cruelty. Their continued existence will bring the Church into terminal disrepute – and inflict upon it permanent moral damage”

~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society – February 27 2021

“With that said, he [Lord Carey] makes telling points about the arbitrariness and cruelties of the present system. “I am not the only one experiencing these unjust measures. Last year, it was reported that many clergy were left feeling suicidal by the way they were treated during the Church of England’s disciplinary processes. . . The current Bishop of Lincoln, Christopher Lowson, has been suspended since May 2019 [his suspension was lifted this week]. What monstrous system of justice leaves a bishop in such a difficult quandary for so long? In contrast to these cases, and mine, recent safeguarding complaints about both the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have been closed quickly with judicious speed and finality”

It all brought to mind some lovely lines of Auden: “But hear the morning’s injured weeping and know why: Ramparts and souls have fallen; the will of the unjust Has never lacked an engine; still all princes must Employ the fairly-noble unifying lie”

Andrew Brown – Church Times – February 5 2021

QUESTION [AND ANSWER] ON CHURCH OF ENGLAND CORE GROUPS AT GENERAL SYNOD – FEBRUARY 27 2021

Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Secretary
General:


Q25 In answer to a supplementary question from me in July 2020 relating
to Q.20, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, stated “the
NST is currently reviewing the functioning of core groups with a view
to revising the guidance and clarifying their operation,” and in answer
to a supplementary question by Mrs Kathryn Tucker (Q.23) he said “it
is vitally important that the respondents should be properly
represented, they have full understanding of the allegations made
against them and they have opportunity to respond to those. That is a
basic issue of justice… respondents must be properly represented in
order that they have a full chance to respond to any allegations.”
(Report of Proceedings, July 2020, pages 25-27). Dr Gibbs further
stated in answer to a supplementary question from the Revd Canon
Rosie Harper, “we are proposing to introduce fairly soon new
guidance on the conduct of core groups.” (ibid, page 28). Further, in
the written answer to a question (Q.79) from Mr Martin Sewell in
November 2020 you stated: “Work to update the core group policy
and guidance will include consideration of whether an appeal system,
or a dedicated complaint system, should be included.”
In the light of these answers, please inform Synod of the work done
(and by whom) since November to update the current core group
policy and guidance, stating what (if any) provision has been or is
proposed to be included, or is under consideration, to provide
respondents with both the right to be represented at all core group
meetings by a person of their choice and a right of appeal against
core group determinations.


Mr William Nye to reply as Secretary General:


Two workstreams are underway:

  1. The revision of the Responding to, assessing and managing
    safeguarding concerns or allegations against church officers
    guidance which sets out the core group’s role. The NST, in
    consultation with representatives from dioceses and a cathedral,
    is exploring the questions posed through a series of workshops,
    involving representatives from dioceses and cathedrals.
  2. The undertaking of two workshops involving the Legal Office, the
    NST and a Bishop’s Chaplain to specifically review the function
    of core groups in the kinds of cases the NST works with.
    We anticipate that draft policy should be ready by summer 2021 for
    wider consultation. It will address how core groups may better factor
    in the respondent’s views and concerns taking account of the group’s
    role.
    The policy will make clear that it is the role of core groups to identify,
    mitigate and manage the risk in any situation; it is not its role to try to
    establish guilt or innocence.

INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING STRUCTURES FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – PROPOSED INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS – 2021 [PHASE 1]

Page 17

  1. Independent roles in Core Groups
    The Survivors’ Focus Group noted that survivors have felt disadvantaged and unrepresented on Core Groups and that this constitutes an imbalance of power. A review of Core Groups is currently being undertaken, which will include consideration of survivors’ criticisms of present practices.
    The ISB [Independent Safeguarding Board], as proposed in Phase 1, is not designed to play a direct role in Core Groups. The question of how the ISB in future could help improve the working of Core Groups requires further reflection and consultation, in the light of the findings of the review, and will be pursued at a later stage
    .

The Revd Canon Dr Malcolm Brown
Director of Mission and Public Affairs
February 2021

German Christians (movement)

From Wikipedia…This article is about an Evangelical pressure group in Nazi Germany. For Christianity in Germany, see Religion in Germany. “Faith Movement of the German Christians” redirects here. For the Nazi pagan movement, see German Faith Movement. Flag of the German Christians (1934)

German Christians (GermanDeutsche Christen) was a pressure group and a movement within the German Evangelical Church that existed between 1932 and 1945, aligned towards the antisemiticracist and Führerprinzip ideological principles of Nazism with the goal to align German Protestantism as a whole towards those principles.[1] Their advocacy of these principles led to a schism within 23 of the initially 28 regional church bodies (Landeskirchen) in Germany and the attendant foundation of the opposing Confessing Church in 1934.[2]

Contents

History

Antecedents

Imperial Germany

During the period of the German Empire, before the Weimar Republic, the Protestant churches (Landeskirchen) in Germany were divided along state and provincial borders. Each state or provincial church was supported by and affiliated with the regnal house—if it was Protestant—in its particular region; the crown provided financial and institutional support to its church. Church and state were therefore, to a large extent, combined on a regional basis.[3] Monarchies of Roman Catholic dynasties also organised church bodies that were territorially defined by their state borders. The same was true for the three republican German states within the pre-1918 Empire. In Alsace-Lorraine the Napoleonic system of établissements publics du culte for the Calvinist, Jewish, Lutheran and Roman Catholic congregations and umbrellas remained in effect.

Austria-Hungary

Karl Lueger‘s antisemitic Christian Social Party is sometimes viewed as a model for Adolf Hitler’s Nazism.[4] Hitler praised Lueger in his book Mein Kampf as an inspiration. In 1943, Nazi Germany produced the biographical film Vienna 1910 about Lueger, which was given the predicate “special political value”. Anti-Semitic Christian Social Party poster of 1920, depicting a Judeo-Bolshevikserpent choking the Austrian eagle; Text: “German Christians – Save Austria!”

Weimar Republic

With the end of World War I and the resulting political and social turmoil, the regional churches lost their secular rulers. With revolutionary fervor in the air, the conservative church leaders had to contend with socialists who favored disestablishment.

After considerable political maneuvering, state churches were abolished (in name) under Weimar, but the anti-disestablishmentarians prevailed in substance: churches remained public corporations and retained their subsidies from government. Religious instruction in the schools continued, as did the theological faculties in the universities. The rights formerly held by the princes in the German Empire simply devolved to church councils.

Accordingly, in this initial period of the Weimar Republic, the Protestant Church in Germany now operated as a federation of 28 regional (or provincial) churches. The federation operated officially through the representative German Evangelical Church Confederation (Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchenbund (DEKB)); the League was itself established in 1922 by the rather loose annual convention called Church General Assembly (Kirchentag), which was composed of the members of the various regional churches. The League was governed and administered by a 36-member Executive Committee (Kirchenausschuss) which was responsible for ongoing governance between the annual conventions of the Kirchentag.

Save for the organizational matters under the jurisdiction of the national League, the regional churches remained independent in other matters, including theology, and the federal system allowed for a great deal of regional autonomy.[5]

Nazi Germany

See also: Religion in Nazi Germany German Christians celebrating Luther-Day in Berlin in 1933, speech by bishop Hossenfelder

Ideology

The Deutsche Christen were, for the most part, a “group of fanatically Nazi Protestants.”[6] They began as an interest group and eventually came to represent one of the schismatic factions of German Protestantism.[6]

Their movement was sustained and encouraged by factors such as:

The Deutsche Christen were sympathetic to the Nazi regime’s goal of “co-ordinating” (see Gleichschaltung) the individual Protestant churches into a single and uniform Reich church, consistent with the Volk ethos and the Führerprinzip.

The editor Prof. Wilhelm Knevels of the journal Christentum und Leben (i.e. Christianity and Life) also worked for the “Institute for Research and the Elimination of Jewish influence on German Church Life“—and his journal published articles like “Heroic Christianity” (“Heroisches Christentum”, 1935) and “Why not only God? Why Jesus?” (“Warum nicht nur Gott? Warum Jesus?”, April 1942).

The “Martin Luther Memorial Church” (Martin-Luther-Gedächtniskirche), which was built in Berlin from 1933 to 1935 included a pulpit that showed the Sermon on the Mount with a Stahlhelm-wearing Wehrmacht soldier listening to Jesus and a baptismal font which featured an SA stormtrooper.[8] The swastikas were removed after the war and the former church has been reconstructed as a memorial to Nazi crimes against humanity.[citation needed]

Under the authority of Alfred Rosenberg and his religious theories the Protestant minister Wilhelm Brachmann established an Institute of Religious Studies as part of the Advanced School of the NSDAP.[9]

Formation

The Deutsche Christen were organized as a Kirchenpartei (church party, i.e. a nominating group) in 1931 to help win elections of presbyteries and synods (i.e. legislating church assemblies) in the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union, the largest of the independent Landeskirchen.[6] They were led by Ludwig Müller, a rather incompetent “old fighter” who had no particular leadership skills or qualifications, except having been a longtime faithful Nazi. He was advised by Emanuel Hirsch. In 1931 the book Salvation from chaotic madness by Guida Diehl, the first speaker of the National Socialist Women’s League, got an admiring review by the National Socialist Monthly—she was praised for fighting against the “ridicule of Christ” and “showing the way for German Christians”.[10] The Berlin section was founded by Wilhelm Kube in 1932. The group achieved no particular notoriety before the Nazi assumption of political power in January 1933. In the Prussian church elections of November 1932, Deutsche Christen won one-third of the vote.[11]

Hitler was appointed Chancellor on 30 January 1933 and the process of Gleichschaltung was in its full sway in the first few months of the regime. In late April 1933 the leadership of the 1922-founded German Evangelical Church Confederation, in the spirit of the new regime, agreed to write a new constitution for a brand new, unitary “national” church, which would be called the German Evangelical Church (Deutsche Evangelische Kirche or DEK). The new and unified national DEK would completely replace and supersede the old federated church with its representative league.

This church reorganization had been a goal of the Deutsche Christen for some time, as such a centralization would enhance the coordination of Church and State, as a part of the overall Nazi process of Gleichschaltung. The Deutsche Christen agitated for Müller to be elected as the new Church’s bishop (Reichsbischof).

Bishopric

Müller had poor political skills, little political support within the Church and no real qualifications for the job, other than his commitment to Nazism and a desire to exercise power. When the federation council met in May 1933 to approve the new constitution, it elected Friedrich von Bodelschwingh as Reichsbischof of the new Protestant Reich Church by a wide margin, largely on the advice and support of the church leadership.[12]

Hitler was infuriated with the rejection of his candidate, and things began to change. By June 1933 the Deutsche Christen had gained leadership of some Landeskirchen within the DEK and were, of course, supported by Nazi propaganda in their efforts to reverse the humiliating loss to Bodelschwingh.[13][14] After a series of Nazi-directed political maneuvers, Bodelschwingh resigned and Müller was appointed as the new Reichsbischof in July 1933.[15]

Aryan paragraph

Further pro-Nazi developments followed the elevation of Müller to the DEK bishopric: in late summer the old-Prussian general synod (led by Müller) adopted the Aryan paragraph, effectively defrocking clergy of Jewish descent and even clergy married to non-Aryans.[16]

With their Gleichschaltungspolitik and their attempts to incorporate the Aryan paragraph into the church constitution so as to exclude Jewish Christians, the Deutsche Christen entered into a Kirchenkampf with other evangelical Christians. Their opponents founded the Confessing Church in 1934,[17] which condemned the Deutsche Christen as heretics and claimed to be the true German Protestant Church.

Impact

Logos used by the German Christians in 1932, 1935 and 1937

The Nazis found the Deutsche Christen group useful during the initial consolidation of power, but removed most of its leaders from their posts shortly afterwards; Reichsbischof Müller continued until 1945, but his power was effectively removed in favor of a government agency as a result of his obvious incompetence.

The Deutsche Christen were supportive of the Nazi ideas about race.[18] They issued public statements that Christians in Germany with Jewish ancestors “remain Christians in a New Testament sense, but are not German Christians.” They also supported the Nazi party platform’s advocacy of a “Positive Christianity” that did not stress the belief in human sinfulness. Some went so far as to call for the total removal of all Jewish elements from the Bible, including the Old Testament.[1] Their symbol was a traditional Christian cross with a swastika in the middle and the group’s German initials “D” and “C”.

It was claimed and remembered by the Deutsche Christen, as a “fact”, that the Jews had killed Christ, which appealed to and actively encouraged existing anti-Semitic sentiments among Christians in Nazi Germany.

Precursors

19th century

The forerunner of the Deutsche Christen ideology came from certain Protestant groups of the German Empire. These groups sought a return to perceived völkisch, nationalistic and racist ideas within traditional Christianity, and looked to turn Christianity in Germany into a reformed intrinsic folk-religion (Germanarteigene Volksreligion). They found their model in the Berlin Hofprediger Adolf Stoecker, who was politically active and tried to position the Christian working-classes and lower-middle-classes against what he perceived as Jewish Überfremdung.

The Bayreuther Blätter devoted its June 1892 issue to a memorial of Paul de Lagarde and it emphatically recommended his work to its readers. Ludwig Schemann, one of the most prolific of Bayreuth Germanics and racists, and later the author of a full-length biography of Lagarde, summarized his life and work and concluded that “for the comprehension of Lagarde’s whole being one must above all remember that he always considered himself the prophet and guide of his people — which of course he actually was.” For Schemann his legacy consisted largely of his struggle against the Jews: “Not since the days of Schopenhauer and Wagner is the German thinker so mightily opposed this alien people, which desecrates our holy possessions, poisons our people, and seeks to wrest our property from us so as to completely trample on us, as Lagarde has” It was this image of Lagarde, the anti-Semitic prophet of a purified and heroic Germany, which the political Wagnerites and the Bayreuther Blätter kept alive. Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Wagner’s son-in-law and intellectual disciple, wrote: “For us, the Deutsche Schriften have for a long time belonged to our most precious books, and we consider Lagarde’s unabashed exposure of the inferiority of Semitic religious instincts and the pernicious effects on Christianity as an achievement that deserves our admiration and gratitude.”[19]

In 1896 Arthur Bonus advocated a “Germanization of Christianity”. Max Bewer alleged in his 1907 book Der deutsche Christus (The German Christ), Jesus stemmed from German soldiers in the Roman garrison in Galilee and his preaching showed the influence of “German blood”. He concluded that the Germans were the best Christians among all peoples, only prevented from the full flowering of their spiritual faculties by the materialistic Jews. Julius Bode, however, concluded that the Christianisation of the Germans was the imposition of an “un-German” religious understanding, and that Germanic feeling remained alien to it and so should remain exempt from it.[20]

20th century

On the 400th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, in 1917, the Flensburg pastor Friedrich Andersen, the writer Adolf Bartels and Hans Paul Freiherr von Wolzogen presented 95 Thesen[21] on which a “German Christianity on a Protestant basis” should be founded. It stated:

The newer racial research has finally opened our eyes to the pernicious effects of the blood mixture between Germanic and un-German peoples and urges us, with all our forces, to strive to keep our Volkstum pure and closed. Religion is the inner strength and finest flower in the intellectual life of a people, but it can only strongly affect expression in popular culture … a deep connection between Christianity and Germanness can only be achieved when it is released from this unnatural connection, wherever it stands nakedly approached by the Jewish religion.

For the authors of the Thesen, the “angry thunder-god” Jehovah was the same as the “Father” and “[Holy] Ghost”, that Christ preached and that the Germans would have guessed. Childlike confidence in God and selfless love was, to them, the essence of the Germanic “people’s-soul” in contrast to Jewish “menial fear of God” and “materialistic morality.” Church was not an “institution for the dissemination of Judaism”, and they felt religious and confirmation materials should no longer teach the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments, nor even the New Testament, which they held to be of Jewish influence that had to be “cleaned” so that the child Jesus could be used as a model for “self sacrifice” and “male heroism”.

In 1920 minister Karl Gerecke published Biblical anti-Semitism in the Volksverlag of Ernst Boepple, one of the founders of the German Workers’ Party.

Dietrich Eckart, an early mentor of Adolf Hitler, also emphasized the “manliness” of Jesus Christ and compared him to the Norse god Baldr.

In 1921 Andersen wrote Der deutsche Heiland (The German Saviour), in which he opposed Jewish migration as an apocalyptic decision:

Who will win, the six-cornered star or the Cross? — The question is, for now, not yet evident. The Jew goes on his way purposefully, in any case … his deadly hatred will defeat his opponent. When the Christian Good Friday is celebrated, it should at least not weigh in his dreams; … otherwise there could come a whole lot of terrible Golgothas, where Jews across the whole world dance their jubilee songs on the grave of Christianity as heirs of a murdering people, singing to the Jahu they destroyed.

Against the “contamination by Jewish ideas”, mainly from the Old Testament, the Churches and Germany should (he argued) be “mutually benefits and supports”, and then Christianity would win back its status as “a religion of the Volk and of the struggle” and “the great exploiter of humanity, the evil enemy of our Volk [would] finally be destroyed”.

In the same year, 1921, the Protestant-dominated and völkisch-oriented League for German Churches (GermanBund für deutsche Kirche) was founded in Berlin. Andersen, pastor Ernst Bublitz and teacher Kurd Joachim Niedlich brought out the twice-monthly The German Church (GermanDie Deutsche Kirche) magazine, which in 12,000 articles advanced the Bund’s ideas. Jesus should be a “tragic-Nordic figure” against the Old Testament’s “religious idea”, with the Old Testament replaced by a “German myth”. Each biblical story was to be “measured under German feelings, so that German Christianity escapes from Semitic influence as Beelzebub did before the Cross.”

In 1925 groups such as the Bund united with ten völkischGermanophile and anti-Semitic organizations to form the German Christian Working Group (Germandeutschchristliche Arbeitsgemeinschaft). The Christian-Spirit Religious Society (GermanGeistchristliche Religionsgesellschaft), founded in 1927 in Nuremberg by Artur Dinter, saw more effect in the churches, striving for the ‘de-Judification’ (GermanEntjudung) and the building of a non-denominational People’s Church (GermanVolkskirche).

The proposed abolition of the Old Testament was in part fiercely opposed among Christian German nationalists, seeing it as a racist attack on the foundations of their faith from inside and outside. The theologian Johannes Schneider, a member of the German National People’s Party (GermanDeutschnationale Volkspartei or DNVP) (a party fairly close to the political aims of the NSDAP), wrote in 1925:

Whoever cheapens the Old Testament will soon also lose the New.

In 1927 the Protestant Church League (GermanDeutscher Evangelischer Kirchenbund) reacted to the growing radicalization of German Christian groups with a Churches Day in Königsberg, aiming to clarify Christianity’s relation to “Fatherland”, “Nation”, “Volkstum“, “Blood” and “Race”. Many local church-officers tried to delineate, such as with regards to racism, but this only served to show how deeply it had intruded into their thinking. Paul Althaus, for example, wrote:

Volkstum is a spiritual reality … certainly there will never be a Volkstum without the precondition of, for example, the blood unit. But once a Volkstum is begotten, it may exist as a spiritual reality … even foreign blood may be lent [in]to it. How great the significance of blood might be in intellectual history, but the rule is, even if one is born into a Volkstum, the spirit and not the blood.

On this basis, the radical German-Christians’ ideas were hardly slowed down. In 1928 they gathered in Thuringia to found the Thuringian German Christians’ Church Movement (GermanThüringer Kirchenbewegung Deutsche Christen), seeking contact with the Nazi party and naming their newsletter “Letters to German Christians” (GermanBriefe an Deutsche Christen).

Pagan and anti-Christian trends

Alfred Rosenberg‘s book The Myth of the Twentieth Century (GermanDer Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts) resonated in these circles and gave them renewed impetus. His polemic against all “un-German” and “root-stock” elements in Christianity was directed against the Christianity and the denominational organisations of the time. Marxism and Catholic Internationalism were attacked as two facets of the Jewish spirit, and Rosenberg stated the need for a new national religion to complete the Reformation.

The Associated German Religious Movement (GermanArbeitsgemeinschaft Deutsche Glaubensbewegung), founded in Eisenach at the end of 1933, was also an attempt to create a national religion outside and against the churches. It combined six earlier Nordic-völkisch oriented groups and a further five groups were represented by individual members. Jakob Wilhelm Hauer became the group’s “leader and representative” by acclamation, and other members included the philosopher Ernst Bergmann (1881–1945), the racial ideologue Hans F. K. Günther, the writer Ernst Graf zu Reventlow, the historian Herman WirthLudwig Fahrenkrog and Lothar Stengel-von Rutkowski.[22]

Attempts to “de-Judaize” the Bible

See also: Anti-Judaism

In 1939 with the approval of eleven of the German Protestant regional churches the Eisenacher Institute for the Study and Elimination of Jewish Influence on German Church Life (called the “Dejudaization Institute”) was founded, led by Siegfried Leffler and Walter Grundmann.[23] One of its main tasks was to compile a “People’s Testament” (GermanVolkstestament) in the sense of what Alfred Rosenberg called a “Fifth Gospel”, to announce the myth of the “Aryan Jesus”.[citation needed] It became clear in 1994 that the Testament’s poetic text was written by the famous ballad-poet and proprietor of the Eugen-Diederichs-Verlag, Lulu von Strauß und Torney. Despite broad church support for it (even many Confessing Christians advocated such an approach, in the hope that the disaffiliation of 1937 to 1940 could be curbed), the first edition of the text did not meet with the expected enthusiastic response.

After 1945

After 1945, the remaining German Christian currents formed smaller communities and circles distanced from the newly formed umbrella of the independent church bodies Evangelical Church in Germany. German Christian-related parties sought to influence the historiography of the Kirchenkampf in the so-called “church-historical working group”, but they had little effect from then on in theology and politics. Other former members of the German Christians moved into the numerically insignificant religious communities known as the Free People’s Christian Church (GermanFreie Christliche Volkskirche) and the People’s Movement of Free Church Christians (GermanVolkskirchenbewegung Freie Christen) after 1945.

In 1980, in the context of a statement entitled “Towards Renovation of the Relationship of Christians and Jews (Zur Erneuerung des Verhältnisses von Christen und Juden), the Synod of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland stated that it recognized and “confess, with dismay, the co-responsibility and guilt of German Christians for the Holocaust.” [24][25] On May 6, 2019, eighty years after the founding of the “Dejudaization Institute”, the “Dejudaization Institute“ Memorial” was unveiled in Eisenach at the behest of eight Protestant regional churches. It is intended to be understood as the Protestant churches’ confession of guilt and as a memorial to the victims of the church’s anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism.[26]

See also

Notes and references

  1. Jump up to:a b c Bergen, Doris L. (2005). Levy, Richard S. (ed.). Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution, Volume 1. Oxford, England: ABC Clio. pp. 172–173. ISBN 1-85109-439-3. Retrieved 27 February 2018. The Deutsche Christen (German Christians) were a group of clergy and laypeople in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s who sought to synthesize National Socialism and Christianity. They aimed to purge Christianity of everything they deemed Jewish and to create a German church based on “blood“. Most of the approximately 600,000 members were Protestant, although a few Catholics were involved. By mid-1933, Deutsche Christen had acquired key posts in the Protestant establishment – in national church governing bodies and university faculties of theology, as regional bishops, and on local church councils. Many kept those positions until 1945 and beyond.
  2. ^ Only in the regional church bodies of Bavaria (Lutheran)Hanover (Lutheran)Hanover (Reformed)Schaumburg-Lippe, and Württemberg had no majorities of German Christians in their synods, thus protagonists of the Confessing Church considered these church bodies as constitutionally unadulterated (so-called intact churches).
  3. ^ The ruler of each state was also the highest authority (summus episcopus) in that state’s churchSee generally the Wikipedia article on the German Empire and its constitutive states, as it existed before the end of the First World War.
  4. ^ Fareed Zacharia, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, Norton, 2003, 2007, p. 60
  5. ^ For a fuller and more detailed account, see the article on the Confessing Church.
  6. Jump up to:a b c Barnes p. 74.
  7. ^ Verses 1-7 are the most pertinent; verses 1-2 read as follows (New International Version):Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
  8. ^ Bettina Vaupel, in: Monumente Journal. Published by the Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz“Heiligenschein und Stahlhelm”. (i.e. “Halo and Stahlhelm”), August 2013 (includes a picture).
  9. ^ Ernst Klee: Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich, Frankfurt am Main 2007, p. 68.
  10. ^ Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte. Issue 21. December 1931. Editor: Alfred Rosenberg. Original in German: “gegen die Verhöhnung der Christus-Persönlichkeit”, “zeigt gleichzeitig den Weg zum deutschen Christentum”. Page 46.
  11. ^ Bergen p. 5.
  12. ^ Bodelschwingh was a well-known and popular Westphalianpastor who headed Bethel Institution, a large charitable organization for the mentally ill and disabled. His father, also a pastor, had founded Bethel. Barnett p. 33.
  13. ^ Evans p. 223.
  14. ^ The new Reichskirche (or DEK) church constitution required a two-thirds majority for the election of its bishop and no candidate in the April contest could achieve this supermajority initially. After several ballots, Bodelschwingh prevailed by a landslide of 91 to 8.
  15. ^ The entire Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union (both Müller and Bodelschwingh were members of this largest regional church, which was of course only an administrative unit after the adoption of the new constitution establishing the DEK) was placed under police jurisdiction; pastors were fired, suspended and sometimes even arrested or placed under house arrest; and the Deutsche Christen and Müller carried on a vicious campaign against Bodelschwingh. Barnett p. 34.
  16. ^ In 1933 the Protestant churches in Germany employed about 18,842 pastors (1933); 37 of them were classified by the Nazi terminology as “full Jews” (GermanVolljuden). However, before the promulgation of the Nazi’s racist Nuremberg Laws, there was no standard definition of who was a “Jew,” or which Mischling would be deemed “Jewish” for purposes of Hitlerian racial policy, so the net would certainly have swept wider than this rather small fraction. The extension of the prohibition to address the wives of German pastors was surely, to many middle-of-the-road Protestants, shocking. See Barnett p. 33-36. The Evangelisches Pfarrhausarchiv (about in English: Evangelical Archive for Pastors and their Families) recorded for all of Nazi Germany 115 Protestant pastors with one up to four grandparents, who were enlisted in a Jewish congregation. Cf. Wider das Vergessen: Schicksale judenchristlicher Pfarrer in der Zeit 1933-1945 (special exhibition in the Lutherhaus Eisenach April 1988 – April 1989), Evangelisches Pfarrhausarchiv (ed.), Eisenach: Evangelisches Pfarrhausarchiv, 1988. No ISBN.
  17. ^ The Confessing Church grew out of the Pastors’ Emergency League (GermanPfarrernotbund) founded by Martin Niemöllerin 1933. See article on Confessing Church for more detail.
  18. ^ Bergen, Doris (1996). Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-8078-2253-1.
  19. ^ Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrunderts, 5th ed. München 1904, p.lxii. This is taken from Fritz Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair: a study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology. copyright 1961 by The Regents of the University of California. ISBN 0-520-02626-8
  20. ^ Rainer Lächele: Germanisierung des Christentums — Heroisierung Christi, in: Stefanie von Schnurbein, Justus H. Ulbricht (Hrsg.): Völkische Religion und Krisen der Moderne. Entwürfe „arteigener“ Glaubenssysteme seit der Jahrhundertwende, Königshausen und Neumann GmbH, Würzburg 2001, ISBN 3-8260-2160-6, S. 165–183
  21. ^ See The Ninety-five Theses of Martin Luther.
  22. ^ Ulrich Nanko: Die Deutsche Glaubensbewegung. Eine historische und soziologische Untersuchung; Marburg: diagonal-Verlag, 1993
  23. ^ Jochen Birkenmeier, Michael Weise: Erforschung und Beseitigung. Das kirchliche „Entjudungsinstitut“ 1939–1945. Begleitband zur Ausstellung, Eisenach, 2019, p. 46-53 (in German).
  24. ^ “Judentum, christlich-jüdisches Gespräch”EKiR.de – Die besten Internetseiten der evangelischen Kirche im Rheinland – Ihre evangelische Kirche zwischen Saarland und Niederrhein (in German). Evangelische Kirche im Rheinland. 14 December 2005. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  25. ^ “Towards Renovation of the Relationship of Christians and Jews” [Zur Erneuerung des Verhältnisses von Christen und Juden]. Sacred Heart University Connecticut. Synod of the Evangelical Church of the Rhineland, Germany. 12 January 1980. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  26. ^ Jochen Birkenmeier, Michael Weise: Erforschung und Beseitigung. Das kirchliche „Entjudungsinstitut“ 1939–1945. Begleitband zur Ausstellung, Eisenach, 2019, p. 110-111.

Bibliography

English

German

  • (in German) Friedrich Baumgärtel: Wider die Kirchenkampflegenden; Freimund Verlag 19762 (19591), ISBN 3-86540-076-0
  • (in German) Otto Diem: Der Kirchenkampf. Evangelische Kirche und Nationalsozialismus; Hamburg 19702
  • (in German) Heiner Faulenbach: Artikel Deutsche Christen; in: RGG [de]4, 1999
  • (in German) Rainer Lächele: Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Glaube. Die „Deutschen Christen“ in Württemberg 1925–1960; Stuttgart 1994
  • (in German) Kurt Meier: Die Deutschen Christen; Halle 1964 [Standardwerk]
  • (in German) Kurt Meier: Kreuz und Hakenkreuz. Die evangelische Kirche im Dritten Reich; Munich 20012
  • (in German) Klaus Scholder: Die Kirchen und das Dritte Reich
    • Volume 1: Vorgeschichte und Zeit der Illusionen, 1918–1934; Berlin 1977
    • Volume 2: Das Jahr der Ernüchterung 1934; Berlin 1985
  • (in German) Günther van Norden u.a. (ed.): Wir verwerfen die falsche Lehre. Arbeits- und Lesebuch zur Barmer Theologischen Erklärung
  • (in German) Marikje Smid: Deutscher Protestantismus und Judentum 1932–33; München: Christian Kaiser, 1990; ISBN 3-459-01808-9
  • (in German) Hans Prolingheuer: Kleine politische Kirchengeschichte. 50 Jahre evangelischer Kirchenkampf; Cologne: Pahl-Rugenstein, 1984; ISBN 3-7609-0870-5
  • (in German) Joachim Beckmann (ed.s): Kirchliches Jahrbuch für die evangelische Kirche in Deutschland 1933–1945. It: Evangelische Kirche im Dritten Reich, Gütersloh 1948
  • (in German) Julius Sammetreuther: Die falsche Lehre der Deutschen Christen; Bekennende Kirche Heft 15; Munich 19343
  • (in German) Leonore Siegele-Wenschkewitz (ed.): Christlicher Antijudaismus und Antisemitismus. Theologische und kirchliche Programme Deutscher Christen; Arnoldshainer Texte Band 85; Frankfurt/M.: Haag + Herchen Verlag, 1994; ISBN 3-86137-187-1

it (S. 201–234) Birgit Jerke: Wie wurde das Neue Testament zu einem sogenannten Volkstestament „entjudet“? Aus der Arbeit des Eisenacher „Instituts zur Erforschung und Beseitung des jüdischen Einflusses auf das deutsch kirchliche Leben“

  • (in German) Karl Heussi: Kompendium der Kirchengeschichte; Tübingen: Mohr, 198116ISBN 3-16-141871-9; S. 521–528

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Deutsche Christen.

Featured post

FEBRUARY 27 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [JANUARY 24 2018] – “LORDS CRITICISE CHURCH’S HANDLING OF GEORGE BELL CASE” – DAILY TELEGRAPH – PEERS CALLED ON THE GOVERNMENT TO “UPHOLD THE CARDINAL PRINCIPLE [OF JUSTICE] THAT AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVED GUILTY” – THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE

Lords criticise Church’s handling of George Bell case as Bishop of Peterborough calls for ‘a major review of anonymity’ 

In a debate in the House of Lords on Monday peers called on the Government to "uphold the cardinal principle that an individual is innocent until proved guilty".  
Peers called on the Government to “uphold the cardinal principle that an individual is innocent until proved guilty”.   CREDIT: PA ARCHIVE 

24 JANUARY 2018  

Peers including the Bishop of Peterborough have called on the Government to protect the identity of people accused of a crime after their death. 

One member of the House of Lords said Anglicans were “deeply ashamed” of the Church of England’s handling of the case of Bishop George Bell, who was accused of abusing a child several decades after his death in 1958. 

A report published at the end of last year by Lord Carlile found that the highly-respected bishop’s reputation had been unnecessarily damaged by the Church when it publicly named him in an apology to the alleged victim in 2015. 

In a debate in the House of Lords on Monday peers called on the Government to “uphold the cardinal principle that an individual is innocent until proved guilty”.In cases until there is overwhelming evidence to suggest guilt, it seems reasonable for people’s reputations not to be damaged in this public way.

Official historian of the Conservative Party Lord Lexden asked home office minister Baroness Williams whether the Government would “review the law governing the naming of deceased individuals against whom criminal allegations have been made”.

He called on the Government to review the law in order to to ensure the anonymity of dead suspects accused by “one uncorroborated alleged witness”.

Fellow peer Lord Cormack added that the case was “deeply shocking” and said “the reputation of a great man has been traduced, and many of us who are Anglicans are deeply ashamed ​of the way that the Anglican Church has behaved”.

The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister echoed the calls and added: “In all cases where the complainant has a right to be anonymous, there seems to be a case for the respondent also to be anonymous, and in cases until there is overwhelming evidence to suggest guilt, it seems reasonable for people’s reputations not to be damaged in this public way.”

However Baroness Williams said the Government “do not have plans to review the law”. 

“Any decision to name an individual where that is considered to be in the public interest will necessarily be specific to the circumstances of an individual case,” she said. 

Related Topics

Featured post

FEBRUARY 26 2021 – SAFEGUARDING AND “THE BANALITY OF EVIL” 1 – NATIONAL SAFEGUARDING TEAM [NST] AND CORE GROUPS – ‘INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING STRUCTURES FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – PROPOSED INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS – 2021 [PHASE 1]’

SAFEGUARDING AND “THE BANALITY OF EVIL” – NATIONAL SAFEGUARDING TEAM [NST] AND CORE GROUPS – “INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING STRUCTURES FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – PROPOSED INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS – 2021 [PHASE 1]

“Nuremberg at 75: Trials and Tribulations” by ‘Anonymous’

– ‘Surviving Church’

Anonymous

EXCERPTS

One of the little known facts about the rise of early Nazism relates to the professions that were most represented in the rank and file of the party and movement.  By several furlongs, the answer is: academics at German universities and colleges. You may think that is shocking enough.  But be prepared for the after-shock: many academics were also members of the clergy…

Most people might assume that faced with the shock, trauma and reality of the death camps, they might, in Old Testament terminology, “rend their hearts and garments”. Some did. But if you watch grainy old film footage of townspeople walking through their local neighbourhood death camp, marshalled by allied troops, you see other reactions too. Some hold their heads high, and look away – a proud, almost haughty posture, as though somehow they have been confronted with “fake news” and odious allied propaganda. Others, stand and stare, and weep in disbelief…

The classic study of cognitive dissonance and religion – for that is what we are dealing with here – is Leon Festinger’s 1956 epic, When Prophecy Fails.  Less well-known is Festinger’s distinctive articulation of ‘social comparison theory’.  Namely, the premise that people have an innate drive to accurately evaluate their opinions and abilities, so seek to evaluate their opinions and abilities by comparing them with those of others.

This is important in the church – and always has been – as Christian groups like to say what they are most like (comparison), but equally, that they are special, so un-like anything else. This will produce distinctive grammars and cultures.  So, in terms of safeguarding, the Church of England has ‘Core Groups’ – but not like anything else you can find on any other planet. Clergy have ‘annual appraisals’ too; but again, not like anything else you can find on any other planet.  The church runs all kinds of systems that sound as they will be comparable to their secular counterparts. They never are.

Festinger had a distinctive take on cognitive dissonance too, and at its most basic, his hypotheses went something like this.  The existence of dissonance (or inconsistency), being psychologically uncomfortable, will always motivate a person to try to reduce their dissonance and achieve consonance (or consistency).  When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance…

The banality of evil is commonplace.  ‘Banal’ means ‘common’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘shared’. Arendt’s phrase gets right under the skin of what communities, societies, groups and churches find to be so utterly normal they cannot see its actual evil.  Racism, sexism, abuse of all kinds: these are part of the ecology of churches. We have just got so used to this stuff. We no longer notice it.

But it shocks others. And when they see it, they are furious. Their anger can be uncontrollable. You can understand perhaps, just a little, why allied soldiers, when they found camp guards hiding amongst the concentration camps, mercy was in short supply. The murderous rage that the liberators felt might be in all of us, somewhere.

This is where I struggle with the Church of England, NST and safeguarding. I see only captives and the oppressed. I see no sign of any liberators.  I cannot name a Diocesan Bishop who has, so far, acted with moral courage, or acted with any moral agency to call out the abuses.  I see only process: just our numbed mitred-ones, “only obeying orders”.  The banality of evil is contagious. And compulsory.

The Catholic theologian Clemens Sedmak says that one of the primary tasks of theology is to see it as an invitation: to wake up – to be mindful and attentive.  Black Lives Matter has a slogan: “if you are not angry, you are not paying attention”. Quite.  This is what the allies did with cinemas and walkabouts in 1945.  It was a powerful poke: wake up – just look at what has happened! Yet some still could not see, and would refuse to learn…

Curiosity leads us to searching; to self-search; to probe; to wrestle; to change; to repent; to risk; to love; to sacrifice; to empower others; to be responsible; to see, judge and act; to be accountable to one another; to become like Jesus.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any of this in the Church of England’s approach to safeguarding. Ever.

Instead, I see and hear leaders saying: “this is just the way it is at the moment”; “we are on a learning curve”; “we are on a journey”; “we are doing our best” and “we’ve come a long way”. But the best the NST does is not good enough. In fact, their best is harmful. 

I say this is after reading the recent 20-page page paper ‘Independent Safeguarding Structures for the Church of England’.  A careful scan of the proposals from the NST for an Independent Safeguarding Board left me weary and demoralised. But also deeply disturbed.

Why? Well, the rhetoric is lame, and the entire document seems to contort itself around process, but one which lacks any real bite.  Let me explain.  Herewith the Missing Words Round – a pub quiz interlude in this short essay.  Which of these words is missing from the report? Could it be justice, pain, betrayal, anger, injustice, resolution, compensation, closure, healing, repentance, atonement, sacrifice, forgiveness (yours, mine, anyone else’s), pastoral, care, kindness, suffering and compassion? Or could it be shame, stigma and guilt? Or perhaps God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Yes, they are all missing words. All of them. Not one mention for any of them in 20 pages.

Amazing. Yet someone has written a theology of safeguarding for this report, but managed to miss out all of these (key?) words. How is this done? By whom? For whom? Imposing comprehensive solutions stems from superiority. It will not realize the need for collective learning via intended authentic social intercourse and deep listening. This must be rooted in ecologies of equality, with attendant humility, compassion and empathetic bridging...

It reflects a dangerous assumption on the part of those in power: that only their injection of goodness and morality can reform society and liberate others. Countless impositions of initiatives on racism and sexism suffer from this. And now safeguarding. Lies are more common in silences than words, says Adrienne Rich. Authentic listening has to be the starting point for the NST and the Church of England. But you can be sure they will not want to hear what we have to say.

In decades to come, just as people have studied the cognitive dissonance of those on trial at Nuremberg (remember, “I was only obeying orders”), I think, anthropologists will study this small tribal cult that revolves around process, but strangely has none. The god of the NST is process, and its high priests control its’ meaning. Alas, this is only a local tribal deity, and in terms of Festinger’s notion of social comparison, it bears no relation to any other ideas of process in rest of the known world. Contact the relevant tribal elders for more information: the silent ones in the pointy hats, holding the magic staffs. They will explain why process is their god.  But it is all a mystery you see; the unseen and ultimately unknowable – such is process god.

Pope Francis has a nice line on the purpose of the church. He says it is a ‘field hospital’, not a custom house or some bureaucratic tax-revenue centre.  What does he mean by this?  That the church is here to mend and heal.  Not take and tax. The church is for reconciliation, compassion and empathy.  The church is an ITU – yes, an Intensive Care Union.  We are here to bind up the broken-hearted, to set captives free, and to deliver people from the powers of darkness, their afflictions and the stigmas and demonization, and all that oppresses them.

I have spent years now listening to those abused: the sexually abused, and the falsely accused.  And yet as I read ‘Independent Safeguarding Structures for the Church of England’, and what do I find? No heart or soul. The language of dull, dead process. It is a form of anaesthetic for the pain that the abused still bear.  You will recall Marx’s aphorism: religion is an opiate for the people.  It relieves their pain, but does nothing to alleviate the causes of their suffering and misery.

The trouble is, there is no other care or cure for the victim or patient of abuse from the NST. Now, “a patient of abuse” works pretty well as a term for our purposes here. We wait in hope. But in vain. The NST is, meanwhile, the weirdest field hospital. It bears no social comparison to any other healing institution. 

All that ever happens is this. On the ward rounds you are assessed, and promised prompt treatment.  But nothing else happens.  Your pain increases, and your anxiety too.  You feel forgotten.  So, you scream loudly, for a very long time.  Oddly, this makes the medics run away.  Eventually, they promise to operate.  But only if you calm down.  Nothing happens when you do.  So you keep screaming, and eventually the noise for everyone is so unbearable, they take you for surgery.

But then it is strange, for they ever do is gas you: they sedate you. You wake up, and they ask if you are feeling better? You say you do not. So they say they might need to repeat this procedure several times. It never works. So they discharge you, and explain your pain is all in your head. This is now your fault.

You are referred to Out-Patients in future, which alas is only open on alternate rainy days in any month beginning with an ‘R’. In the meantime, new patients arrive at the field hospital. The sedatives are in plentiful supply. Or you can just read the latest policy documents. They have the same effect.  The opiate of religion is a way of avoiding the causes of pain and disease. It ignores the poverty and social causes of the disorders and inequalities in society.

Seventy-five years ago, some people were traumatised by what the allies showed them. Some looked, and turned away. Those on trial were just running a process, and had the right moral reasons for doing so – or so they thought.  The banality of the evil was that no-one running the processes or obeying the orders exercised any moral courage or leadership.  And so the pogrom continued.  Because the cognitive dissonance was always in place.

Theology is an invitation to wake up. Abused lives matter too.  If you are not angry, indeed boiling with righteous rage and faithful fury with the proposals in the latest ‘Independent Safeguarding Structures for the Church of England’ document, then you are clearly not paying attention.  Actually, you are not awake. What would it take, I wonder, to get our church leaders to sit up, take notice, and begin a journey of real com-passion with us?  Those not just abused or falsely accused; but also those abused each and every day by the devoted disciples who belong to the tribal cult that worships this little god of process? 

The banality of evil is not waking up to the pain of your neighbour, and not being able to hear the cries and screams of the victims.  That was the education project we now refer to as Nuremberg. I long for the day when we can lead our bishops past the heaps and piles of atrocities that they have ignored for so many long, long years. 

But I know already what will happen. Some will stand and weep with shame. Some will look away, and claim no responsibility. Others will say they never knew anything about this. A few will flee with in the face of the trauma of what they have just seen and witnessed. Yet none, not one, will take responsibility. Because, as you know, the mitred-ones were just following a process; just taking orders; just a cog in the machine.  Such is the banality of evil.

“EMPOWERMENT AND DISEMPOWERMENT – THOUGHTS ON PROPOSED CHURCH INTERIM SAEGUARDING ARRANGEMENT” BY STEPHEN PARSONS – ‘SURVIVING CHURCH‘ – FEBRUARY 27 2021

EXCERPT

In the last day or two I have been wrestling with a document put out by the Church of England on the setting up of an independent safeguarding structure.  This will oversee the work of the National Safeguarding Team and other national bodies in the safeguarding realm.  Such structures are, no doubt, necessary.  Nevertheless, the document is written in such a way that one feels that the only people who will engage with the process will be people who are already familiar with the heavily formulaic patterns of church-speak. Somehow the whole safeguarding world seems to reflect the world of lawyers, managers and bureaucrats.   I already have to use Janet Fife’s useful glossary of acronyms to remember the different groups doing work in this area.  One more will confuse me, and no doubt others, who are trying to negotiate the labyrinthine world of national church organisations.  I ask myself the question.  Is this document another attempt by the Church to cling on to power to manage itself free of secular scrutiny?  How much independence is being proposed?  Is it writing documents that will exclude most ordinary Christians who should be there to respond to survivors?  What the survivors have to offer is the passion for justice, the longing for reconciliation, the prophetic challenge and the transparency of truth.   Survivors have been doing this work for years and church organisations have seldom been able to keep up.   The Church trundles along, producing more of the same and now it proposes another level of bureaucracy to face this enormous challenge of putting right past evils.  Of course, survivors are being welcomed into this new structure, but it is not one they have set up.   Will the survivors have the necessary stamina to sit with church-appointed officials and argue their case in such a way that the church will respond fairly and openly.  My problem is that after reading the 20 pages of church management speak, I am really none the wiser as to how this is going to make any difference to what goes on in the Church.  It will give Janet Fife one new acronym for her glossary.  Meanwhile, where is the Church realistically going to find a survivor or two able to give this time and stamina?    We do need more of the passion that survivors can bring to the table, but is this the right way to tap into it?

Tomorrow (Saturday) General Synod has an online session to discuss this document among other pieces of business.  I am not sure what I hope will come from that discussion.  I just know that I would like to see some of the passion for the Kingdom of God come into the exchanges.  In the Church of England we need the longing for peace, truth, righteousness and justice to be injected somehow into the process of safeguarding.   The right way forward is not moving the Titanic chairs around, but the waiting on and acting with the power from on high.   That power can indeed ‘ransom, heal, restore and forgive’ the Church and allow it to find new ways of moving forward in the realm of safeguarding.   The Church must find the way of empowering survivors and victims, having for so long disempowered them in an attempt to protect its power.

“PROPOSALS ON NST INDEPENDENT OVERSIGHT PUBLISHED” – ‘THINKING ANGLICANS’ – COMMENTS

Richard W. Symonds

Here is a link to the copy that includes the cover page (total page count 20).

Page 17 – 5. Independent roles in Core Groups The Survivors’ Focus Group noted that survivors have felt disadvantaged and unrepresented on Core Groups and that this constitutes an imbalance of power. A review of Core Groups is currently being undertaken, which will include consideration of survivors’ criticisms of present practices. The ISB [Independent Safeguarding Board], as proposed in Phase 1, is not designed to play a direct role in Core Groups. The question of how the ISB in future could help improve the working of Core Groups requires further reflection and consultation, in the light of the findings of the review, and will be pursued at a later stage.

I find it beyond disappointing, and more than disturbing, that Core Group reform is being delayed yet again: “the question of how the ISB in future could help improve the working of Core Groups requires further reflection and consultation”

Church of England Core Groups should be ‘at the very top of the list’ for immediate reform.

As the introductory quote says on page 1 of the new book ‘Sex, Power, Control – Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church” by Fiona Gardner:

“Why has everyone involved been so inept, had no sense of urgency, given their rhetoric on safeguarding” – A vicar, quoted in ‘Private Eye’

Kate

Kate 

Awful, simply awful. It fails to make the NST operational structure independent which is the critical step. It fails to remove the risk of political involvement in the safeguarding process, both to proceed with complaints for potentially political reasons or alternatively to block them. Removing responsibility for Core Groups from the independent body is equally disastrous. This looks like an attempt to claim independence of safeguarding while retaining full political control in practice.
 
At a secondary level, too little thought has been given to the risk of part time posts. Postholders may need to find appointment for the remainder of the week which can compromise their independence – a contentious chair would, for instance, find it hard to secure work from dioceses.
 
All of this pales into insignificance in the face of the failure to specify that the ISB, and not the Church of England, should be responsible for the appointment of successors to the ISB. This is exacerbated by the failure to commit to the permanence of the posts and to long term funding.
 
This is not independent safeguarding, nor even independent oversight of safeguarding. A complete whitewash.

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds

I am reminded of the words of Rosie Harper – Vicar of Great Missenden, Chaplain to the Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson and Canon of Christ Church, Oxford – in Fiona Gardner’s book ‘Sex, Power, Control” [p 4]:

‘Everyone “is working very hard to produce new systems and more training and issue more apologies. It is hard to see this as anything other than moving the chairs around on the deck of the Titanic”‘

Judith Maltby

Judith Maltby

I cannot comment on the 20 page paper yet as it only arrived yesterday evening and, I suspect like most people, I have a pretty full day at work. But I will read it this evening as this is a matter of great importance.
Will there be a chance for discussion at Synod on Saturday or is this paper a basis for a presentation without discussion/debate/comment/questions? I confess I am slightly confused by just what an ‘informal’ meeting of Synod actually means.

Ellen

Ellen

Independence is dead easy. You set up a foundation, and give it sufficient endowment to get on with the job. That was mentioned in the bowels of this 20-page paper, but will predictably be ignored. IICSA’s final report on the CofE next summer will almost certainly recommend taking safeguarding out of the hands of the Church entirely and vesting it in a new statutory body — with the Church required to pay its share of the costs.  

Helen King

Helen King 

Typos can be revealing. Is this an example? On the ‘club mentality’ of the C of E we read that this “is exacerbated in an institution where ordination conveys authority which can leads to a culture of clericalism in which challenging the authority of the ordained becomes a kind of spiritual offence.” To me that suggests one draft with “leads to” and then someone objecting and asking instead for “can lead to”. But maybe I spend too long analysing texts… 

INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING STRUCTURES FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – PROPOSED INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS – 2021 [PHASE 1]

1
Independent Safeguarding Structures for the Church of England
Proposed Interim Arrangements – 2021 (Phase 1)


Introduction


The Archbishops’ Council has approved the next steps in independent oversight of the
National Safeguarding Team (NST), with the first phase to be implemented by the summer.
The Archbishops’ Council originally voted on independent oversight in December 2020.
The paper below by Revd Dr Malcolm Brown on the proposed interim arrangements will
form part of the presentation to General Synod members on Saturday. MACSAS (Minister
and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) and members of the Survivors’ Reference Group formed
a Focus Group and considered an early draft of the proposals and their report offered
numerous comments and suggestions, with as many as possible incorporated into this
paper.
The proposals for this new structure were presented to an informal meeting of the House of
Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council on 23rd February. During the meeting members noted
the importance of being able to review the structure after a set period and further detail
needed on Phase 2 once the Board was in place. Council members approved the proposals
in the paper.


2
A. Rationale

  1. Introduction
    The IICSA Report emphasised the importance of introducing an independent element into
    safeguarding arrangements in the Church of England (“the church”) (Recc. D.4). Conscious of the
    need to improve the culture of safeguarding across the church, the Archbishops’ Council and House
    of Bishops had already agreed to develop an independent structure to deliver professional
    supervision and quality assurance across its safeguarding activities. The IICSA Report gives new
    momentum to this decision.

    This would be a complex and time-consuming exercise if every aspect had to be finalised before
    anything happened. In the meantime, the lack of an independent element would become
    increasingly evident as the need had been acknowledged but not yet delivered, leading to
    understandable criticism.
    The Archbishops’ Council and House of Bishops have therefore decided to put the initial element of
    independence in place at the earliest opportunity, recognising that some questions, especially those
    involving legislation or other complex structural changes, will be addressed later. This has the
    advantage that independent wisdom can be captured at each stage. It has the disadvantage that a
    degree of uncertainty will remain for those involved in areas of safeguarding where key questions
    remain to be addressed, which includes concerns of victims and survivors. It is therefore imperative
    that progress is maintained after this interim arrangement is in place.
    This paper proposes Phase 1 of a process that will take further steps to complete. The first step is
    to appoint an Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) and the paper shows how the ISB would relate
    to different safeguarding activities and especially to areas of weakness and the need to drive culture
    change.
    The paper then gives an outline of important themes that cannot be addressed in Phase 1.
    The proposed Independent Safeguarding Board would accompany the church in shaping the tasks in
    Phase 2 and deciding how they can best be delivered.
    a) Theological Grounds for Independence in Safeguarding
    Although this proposal paper does not include a theological section, the project began with
    a theological rationale for establishing an independent element in safeguarding.
    This sought
    to establish that the proposals were not driven by managerial or presentational concerns
    but were grounded in an understanding of the relationship between the church and the
    world which could frame the independent oversight of safeguarding.
    The initial work focussed on independence as a theological concept, but as further work is
    being done on a theology of safeguarding, it makes sense to bring them together later in a
    more detailed way. Arguments about theology could also distract from the substantive
    proposals, therefore the early theological work has not been included at this stage.
    b) Involvement of Survivors
    Thanks are due to MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) and nine members
    of the Survivors’ Reference Group who acted as consultants to this project. Together, they
    3
    formed a Focus Group convened by MACSAS, and considered an early draft of the proposals
    in a meeting planned for two hours but lasting well over three. Their report, amounting to
    some 28 pages with additional documentation, offered numerous comments and
    suggestions, and as many as possible have been incorporated into this paper. They also
    raised three fundamental questions which will be of ongoing significance:
    i. There is a danger that the proposals will stall once Phase 1 has been implemented.
    Is there really the will within the church to commit energy and resources to work
    with the ISB to implement key changes in Phase 2?
    This is a crucial question, but not one that can be answered on paper. The House of
    Bishops, Archbishops’ Council and General Synod must recognise that the current
    proposals for Phase 1 are only the beginning of a more far-reaching process and that
    their ongoing commitment to this – in public and on the record – is essential.
    ii. Are the roles of the ISB members achievable in the time given them?
    The proposed time commitment of ISB members was considered against their remit
    by the NCIs Director of People and judged to be roughly appropriate, with the proviso
    that additional time may be needed at the start and possibly less at later stages. The
    wording of the proposed time commitment was adjusted to reflect this, and the
    question specifically noted for review once the ISB was established.
    iii. Survivor representation and involvement should be improved further.
    The short time frame for this project prevented it being an exercise in co-production
    rather than consultation on an already-drafted proposal. Survivor involvement has
    been strengthened in the current proposals and it is recommended that the work
    streams of Phase 2 be approached through a co-production methodology.
    c) Internal Consultation
    The proposals have been reviewed by: The Interim Director of Safeguarding; the Lead
    Bishop for Safeguarding; the Chief Legal Adviser; the Chief Operating Officer; the Head of
    People and the Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, all of whom have made
    helpful comments. There has also been liaison with other members of the Safeguarding
    Team, bishops with relevant responsibilities, and senior staff at Lambeth Palace and
    Bishopthorpe on specific aspects. Progress reports to the National Safeguarding Steering
    Group (NSSG), the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops enabled ideas and
    comments to be fed into the process.

  1. Dilemmas of Independence
    The purpose of introducing an independent structure for the church’s safeguarding work is twofold:
    to ensure good safeguarding and to challenge the internal cultures of the Church of England which
    too often have resulted in preventing best practice. A problem with all forms of culture change is
    4
    that, if the drivers of change are located too close to the organisation, they become absorbed into
    the culture themselves – but placed too far away, they have insufficient traction to effect the desired
    changes. The wisdom from business and commerce is that there is no single “right” answer to this –
    the relationship between the culture and the drivers of change must be reviewed and adjusted from
    time to time. The proposals in Phase 1 will provide experience to enable the distance between
    church and independent body to be refined in further Phases.
    Another level of ambiguity arises because, whilst IICSA has pointed to the desirability of having an
    independent safeguarding role, enacting that objective is the responsibility of the church itself. An
    independent body will also need to be funded by the church. This is not a case of an external body
    imposing control, but of the church delivering its legal responsibilities by vesting a new,
    independent, body with authority over the church itself.
    An independent body will have considerable moral authority. It has the power to blow the whistle
    publicly and expose resistance or backsliding on the church’s part. But there are many contexts
    where friction and resistance from the church could undermine the independent body. What is
    needed is a structure which the church may put in place, but which it cannot frustrate.
    As the church will be paying for this structure, the funding arrangements must not be usable as a
    lever to prevent the independent body doing its job. On the other hand, giving out blank cheques
    creates moral hazard – it is not in the interests of the independent body to have power to demand
    unlimited resources since that militates against operating efficiently and, ultimately, effectively.
    There is a tension between the statutory role of Trustees and the desire for safeguarding to be
    wholly the responsibility of an independent body. On the one hand, the Archbishops’ Council
    remains the responsible Trustee body for the Church of England’s national safeguarding work and
    can delegate, but not slough off, this responsibility. The Archbishops’ Council’s role in this area is
    subject to the regulation of the Charity Commission which is already interested in ensuring that the
    Council and its trustees exercise that responsibility. The Council could not give up that responsibility
    except by legislation to pass it elsewhere – and the Charity Commission is likely to want to be
    consulted on that move. On the other hand, if independence is secured by setting up a separate
    charitable body, there are restrictions on the circumstances in which Trustees can be remunerated.
    Given the quantity of work that we envisage falling to an independent body, its members will
    require proper remuneration. An independent charity could therefore necessitate both Trustees and
    staff – in addition to the National Safeguarding Team (NST) – introducing a new layer of nonproductive management and bureaucracy.
    Given the church’s past failings and present weaknesses in safeguarding, the bias in the proposals
    that follow is toward emphasising the independent function. The proposals give a starting point with
    this emphasis, and provide a platform for more long-term structures and resilient independence.

  1. Management and Authority
    Strong but conflicting views have been expressed about line management of safeguarding staff.
    These views are often expressed in zero-sum terms – if X is Y’s line manager, then power over Y lies
    exclusively with X. But if we look at the question of authority, line management clearly does not
    confer every kind of authority necessary for professionals to do their jobs. For example, lawyers may
    be employed and line-managed by an organisation, but their line manager cannot dictate what legal
    advice they give. In the church, healthcare chaplains are employed by, and line managed by, NHS
    5
    Trusts – and are under NHS discipline for many aspects of their job. But their judgements as religious
    professionals are not, and cannot be, dictated by NHS line managers. If a chaplain falls foul of Canon
    Law, for instance, the question is one for the church, not the NHS. In many professions, standards
    derive from the relevant professional body, not from internal line management.
    The Church of England, recognising the professional integrity of safeguarding staff, should be able to
    work comfortably with independent oversight of professional safeguarding standards alongside its
    own line management structure.
    The Phase 1 proposals leave line management of the NST with the Archbishops’ Council whilst
    drawing a clear distinction between oversight of professional safeguarding practice and
    management of the NST’s connections into church structures – the latter aimed at maximising its
    impact on the organisation. Maintaining this distinction will be vital. Decisions about whether the
    NST later becomes employed by, and wholly managed by, an independent structure – and if so, what
    kind of structure – will be addressed as a priority in Phase 2.
    There are existing models for a wholly independent charitable body to handle safeguarding.
    Exploring a variety of models, and assessing their applicability, will be undertaken in Phase 2.

  1. Independent roles in distinct areas of Safeguarding Work
    Safeguarding is not a single activity and the application of the principle of independence
    needs to add value in different ways to the distinct elements.
    Therefore, the ISB should have an Executive function for some purposes and an Advisory
    function for others. The division between the two functions set out below represents a
    starting point and this is an area that should be reviewed regularly.
    a) Areas where the ISB should have an Executive function.
    • Case work which has been passed up to the ISB by the NST.
    • Responding to complaints concerning alleged mishandling or maladministration of
    cases and procedures.
    • Determining how the church should respond to the needs of victims and survivors
    and other affected parties such as the families concerned in safeguarding cases.
    • Ensuring the involvement of victims, survivors and others who have suffered through
    poor handling of processes, in the development of safeguarding practices and
    policies through Phase 2.
    A strong independent element is required in the supervision and quality assurance of case
    work and the handling of complaints because they are the principal areas where trust in the
    church’s own mechanisms has been forfeited.
    An independent role in relating to victims, survivors and others impacted by a case, is
    essential. They are currently putting themselves in the hands of the very organisation
    through which the initial abuse was able to occur, or by whom they are accused, so the
    church’s response must be reinforced – and seen to be reinforced – by a structure that is
    independent of the church and its cultures. Others, such as the families of victims and of
    6
    accused persons, are often forgotten as processes unfold and the ISB should have the power
    to address their concerns where they have not been satisfactorily dealt with elsewhere.
    All these roles need to be developed in ways which reflect the different roles and levels of
    responsibility held by the ISB, the Archbishops’ Council and the Charity Commission. The
    Charity Commission guidance on safeguarding roles should be the basis for developing these
    relationships (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-duties-for-charity-trustees. )
    b) Areas where the ISB should have an Advisory function
    • Development of Policies and Codes of Practice and other initiatives addressing
    culture change within the church
    • Future development of training curricula and programmes across the whole church.
    • Staff appointments and development
    In advising on Policies and Codes of Conduct, an independent body has an important role in
    ensuring that uniform standards consistent with best practice are drawn from the whole
    safeguarding world, not just the religious sector. This must reach across dioceses.
    Patchy quality of training practice and delivery across the dioceses has been identified as a
    key failing. Raising standards to a uniformly high level cannot be done without the
    involvement of the church’s own structures, nationally in dioceses and in parishes, and the
    independent role will be most effective in helping to set and monitor standards rather than
    in direct delivery where differences in local conditions need to be accommodated.
    As part of giving professional supervision to the NST through the National Director, the ISB
    will advise on the kind of staff who should be appointed and on staff development. NST staff
    will continue to be appointed and managed through the NCI structures (HR etc.) on the
    advice of the ISB.

  1. What would Culture Change Look Like?
    Culture change is not the only solution to the church’s failures but without it there is no way
    forward. The Survivors’ Focus Group observed that talk of culture change is not always
    accompanied by any clarity about what it would look like or how one would know the
    culture had changed appropriately. The following four points give some indicators of culture
    change in the church’s approach to safeguarding. They are not comprehensive.
    a) Alertness to disparities of power becomes instinctive in all relationships. Abuse is
    rooted in the conscious or unconscious manipulation of power for personal
    advantage. Safeguarding failures can be caused or exacerbated by failure to
    understand imbalances of power, often because those with power fail to recognise
    the powers they have or allow their own vulnerabilities to obscure the power they
    have. Power comes in many forms and clergy are often ill-equipped (theologically,
    organisationally and psychologically) to recognise the power they possess, both
    personally and by virtue of their office. Better training and mentoring/supervision
    7
    can help here. There may be learning to share from the Archbishops’ Task Force to
    Combat Racism and the Living in Love and Faith process. Both are challenging those
    who have power to recognise how their power disadvantages others. There will also
    be much to learn from those outside the church.
    b) Group-think and tribalism are challenged effectively from outside the “club”.
    Professions and institutions breed a tribal or club mentality. Trust flows between
    “people like us” and identifying with one’s peers excludes and marginalises others.
    This is exacerbated in an institution where ordination conveys authority which can
    leads to a culture of clericalism in which challenging the authority of the ordained
    becomes a kind of spiritual offence. The hierarchical structure of the church can also
    lead to inappropriate deference which deters honest encounters. When someone
    from outside the culture challenges the status quo they go unheard and may be
    undermined. Both clericalism and the culture of deference have been exploited by
    abusers for their own ends. Systems intended to address abuses and failures may be
    designed and operated to respond more to internal anxieties than to criticism from
    outside. An independent function which will challenge the institution – publicly if
    necessary – thus becomes essential to the church’s integrity.
    c) Responsibility is clearly attributed and shared.
    Part of the role of an independent element will be to ensure that systems and
    structures enable all who hold responsibility to discharge their responsibilities
    properly and without confusions about their roles. A good independent element will
    ensure that there is accountability at all levels. It will be important to move beyond
    structural accounts of how responsibilities are held and promote a culture in which
    safeguarding is the concern of everyone, wherever formal responsibility lies. There
    should be no room in the church for anyone to say “safeguarding is not my concern”.
    d) Systems respond to failures by holding those responsible to account and changing
    to prevent recurrent failure.
    Prompt implementation of on-going learning is a hallmark of a responsive and selfaware culture.
    8
    B. Phase 1 Proposal
    The first steps to establish an effective level of independence in safeguarding in the
    Church of England, shall be the appointment by early July 2021 of:
  2. An Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB)
    Purpose: Professional Supervision and Quality Assurance, and consisting of:
    a) An Independent Chair – a remunerated post averaging c. 3dpw (more may be
    needed in the initial stages: possibly fewer hours later. The time commitment will be
    reviewed at key stages) with high-level experience in safeguarding or a closely
    relevant field.
    b) A Survivor Advocate –Leading liaison with survivors to ensure they are involved
    across the work of the Board and to help design the work streams of Phase 2 with
    survivors where possible. The ISB would benefit considerably if this member was
    themself a survivor of abuse within a church context and thus able to bring wisdom
    from that experience. A remunerated post of c. 2 dpw.
    c) A Third Independent Board Member with a key role in handling complaints.
    Selected to complement the other members in terms of diversity, background and
    safeguarding specialisms. A remunerated post of c. 2 dpw.
    Plus, dedicated administrative support for the ISB – Up to 1 fte post separate from the
    NST staff.
    It will be desirable to appoint a person with direct experience of setting up a regulatory function in
    other institutions, either as one of the initial three members of the ISB or available to the ISB
    through a consultancy role.
    Outline person specifications are appended in section D. The precise distribution of responsibilities
    within the ISB will be determined by the members themselves under the leadership of the Chair.
  3. Remit
    (See the summary of Executive and Advisory roles in Section A, 4 (a) and (b) above)
    In Phase 1, the ISB shall:
    a) Provide professional supervision to the Director of Safeguarding who will be
    accountable to the ISB for matters of professional conduct for themselves and all
    NST staff.
    9
    b) Responsibility for ensuring best practice in handling case work and for managing
    cases that are escalated to the ISB from the NST.
    c) Receive complaints referring to the NST’s handling of cases investigate the complaint
    with support from the National Church Institutions, and decide the appropriate
    response. (Exceptions would include complaints about legal advice given to the NST
    and other matters outside the ISB’s professional competence).
    d) Quality assure national safeguarding practice requirements issued by the House of
    Bishops under the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016.
    e) Ensure that victims and survivors, and all others who are affected by safeguarding
    cases, are heard and enabled to inform policy and practice.
    f) Make any recommendations the Chair deems necessary to enable the Church of
    England to prevent safeguarding lapses and ensure that processes for responding to
    allegations and complaints are just to all involved, timely and in line with best
    practice.
    g) Advise on the continuing development of a core curriculum for training undertaken
    by dioceses.
    h) Advise on good practice models which will set the standard for the work of Diocesan
    Safeguarding Officers (with particular emphasis on enabling the conceptual shift
    from Adviser to Officer status), support DSOs in applying these principles in their
    local context and intervene on behalf of DSOs if dioceses do not enable DSOs to
    discharge their responsibility for directing safeguarding activities in the diocese.
    i) Accompany the relevant parts of the church to advise on the development from
    Phase 1 to more long-term measures in subsequent Phases, including working with
    the NSSG and NSP to draw on their wisdom and define their future roles in relation
    to the ISB in Phase 2.
    j) Hold the church publicly to account for any failure to respond to the ISB’s
    recommendations.
  4. Resourcing
    The Archbishops’ Council will immediately commission the drawing up of a draft budget for
    the work of the ISB enabling the process of appointing the Chair and members of the ISB to
    go ahead.
    10
    The budget for the ISB should be agreed at a minimum level for an initial period of three
    years, recognising that the developments in Phase 2 may necessitate additional budget lines
    during this period.
    In addressing the issues to be resolved in Phase 2, it may be necessary for the ISB to
    commission research into (e.g.) other existing models. It may also, from time to time, need
    to seek independent legal advice. A budget for these items could either be allocated to the
    ISB or to the NST provided the ISB was able to determine its deployment.
    The ISB will need assurance that resources for the NST can be counted upon. It is therefore
    recommended that the Archbishops’ Council commits to a five-year budget for the NST. The
    ISB may, during that time, approach the Archbishops’ Council for such additional resources
    as it may deem necessary for the NST to fulfil its role.
    The overall budget (ISB and NST) will need to be reviewed if, under later proposals for Phase
    2, the employment of the NST is moved to a newly constituted body.
  5. Appointment of ISB Members
    The appointment process for ISB members needs to communicate the commitment of the
    Church of England at the highest level to the principle of independence and, at the same
    time, demonstrate that the appointment process is not being manipulated in favour of
    “safe” candidates.
    It is therefore recommended that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York nominate two
    persons, chosen for their understanding of the principle of independent oversight, to join an
    appointment panel comprising:
    • A nominee of the Archbishop of Canterbury
    • A nominee of the Archbishop of York (or the Archbishops may make two joint
    nominations)
    • A person with extensive safeguarding experience (not directly involved in the
    work of the NST)
    • Two representatives of survivor groups, including at least one who is a survivor
    of abuse in a Church of England context.
    The panel must include both women and men.
    It may be advisable to run a search through a suitable agency to maximise the field of
    potential candidates for the ISB.
  6. Operational Relationships
    a) The Director of the NST
    11
    In Phase 1, the Director of the NST will be accountable to the Chair of the ISB for the activities of
    the NST as noted in the ISB’s list of Executive functions (Section A, 4. (a)). The Director will not
    be a member of the ISB but will attend its meetings at the invitation of the Chair.
    In Phase 1, the Director of the NST will continue to be line-managed by the Secretary
    General of the Archbishops’ Council on matters which do not touch on professional
    safeguarding decisions, with a particular focus on ensuring good collaboration across the
    NCIs and providing the NST with the resources and access within the church that are
    necessary for its proper functioning. In any dispute about what constitutes a
    professional safeguarding decision, the Chair of the ISB will decide the question.
    The members of the ISB will have the right to call for reports on all safeguarding work
    that comes to the attention of the NST. On cases involving senior clergy, or of particular
    complexity, the Director of the NST will pass full details to the Chair of the ISB as a
    matter of course. On other cases which the Chair of the ISB regards as particularly
    significant (for whatever reason) the Chair of the ISB may require the Director to share
    all relevant information.
    Other staff of the NST may relate to the members of the ISB for particular purposes in
    any way which the Chair of the ISB and Director of the NST consider appropriate.
    b) The Lead Bishop(s) for Safeguarding
    In Phase 1, the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding will work closely with the Chair and
    members of the ISB, attending meetings of the ISB at the invitation of the Chair.
    The Lead Bishop will have a particular responsibility to advise the ISB, at the request of
    the Chair, on questions about the structures and cultures of the Church of England in
    order to enable the ISB to be most effective.
    In partnership with the NST, the Lead Bishop, supported by the Deputy Lead Bishops,
    will be responsible for ensuring that policies and decisions on safeguarding are
    disseminated to all bishops and that bishops understand the extent and limits of their
    responsibility. The Lead Bishop and Deputies will be responsible for ensuring that all
    bishops are properly supported to handle safeguarding issues and to understand their
    relationship to the ISB. The Lead Bishop will present and explain safeguarding policy
    questions to the General Synod and may share this responsibility with the Deputies.
    At present, one of the Deputy Lead Bishops is a member of the Lords Spiritual, it would
    be helpful for there always to be a Lord Spiritual nominated as the Church of England’s
    spokesperson on safeguarding in the Parliamentary context.
    c) The House and College of Bishops
    The lead bishop will ensure that all bishop (the College) are aware of how the
    introduction of the ISB impacts upon their roles and responsibilities with regard to
    12
    safeguarding. The lead bishop will work especially closely with diocesan bishops to
    ensure that they are aware of how their overall responsibility for safeguarding in their
    diocese will be affected by the advent of the ISB, and will work with the House of
    Bishops to monitor the way the relationship with the ISB is developing over time,
    feeding back the views of the House to the ISB Chair.
    The point may need to be stressed that the purpose of the ISB is to enable the bishops
    to discharge their safeguarding duties and responsibilities better – primarily by giving
    the ISB the authority to intervene on complex cases and set handling protocols, thus
    freeing bishops to do what they are best equipped to do, which is to be chief pastors to
    the clergy and people of their diocese. In Phase 1, the bishops will retain legal
    responsibility for safeguarding in their dioceses (this may be reviewed in subsequent
    phases) but by placing themselves under the authority of the ISB for advice and policy
    guidance, they will have a clear line of defence that currently does not exist.
    d) The Archbishops of Canterbury and York
    The Chair of the ISB will ensure that the two Archbishops receive regular overviews of
    the ISB’s activities and that any areas of concern are communicated directly to the
    Archbishops. At the outset, it is suggested that this should take place in a quarterly
    meeting between the Chair and both Archbishops. This arrangement to be reviewed in
    the period between Phases 1 and 2.
    Where the Chair of the ISB has specific concerns about the church’s response to
    safeguarding issues, it shall be the responsibility of the Archbishops to work with the
    Chair of the ISB, the Lead Bishop, the Director of the NST and (where appropriate) the
    Secretary General to identify how the issues will be addressed.
    e) The Archbishops’ Council
    The AC has trustee responsibility for the church’s national safeguarding arrangements.
    Policies regarding safeguarding are currently agreed between the Council and the House
    of Bishops and involve the coordination and development of safeguarding policy across
    the Church, the management of national safeguarding activity, and ensuring the
    application of safeguarding policy including quality control, across the Church.
    Introduction of the ISB means that, whilst the Council will retain its Trustee
    responsibilities, it will deliver its responsibilities under the oversight of the ISB who will
    also provide professional supervision and guidance to the NST. In order to deliver its
    legal responsibilities, the Council will delegate authority to the ISB for the oversight of
    safeguarding policy and professional supervision of its safeguarding staff.
    The Archbishops’ Council will remain responsible for ensuring that the NST is adequately
    resourced for its work and that the views of the Chair of the ISB on resource levels are
    13
    taken into account. The Council will assist the ISB to work across all the structures of the
    Church of England, national and diocesan. In Phase 1, the Archbishops’ Council will
    remain the employer of the NST but will hand responsibility for professional supervision
    and oversight to the ISB. The Archbishops’ Council will receive reports from the ISB as a
    standing item on every agenda, and will accede to any requests from the Chair of the ISB
    for additional agenda time at the Council’s meetings to raise matters the ISB may wish
    the Council to attend to in particular detail.
    f) The Dioceses
    The ISB will relate to diocesan safeguarding work at three levels:
    • Diocesan Safeguarding Officers
    In Phase 1, DSOs will continue to be employed by Diocesan Boards of Finance whilst
    relating to the ISB via the NST.
    In order to give substance to the shift of emphasis recommended by IICSA, from
    Advisers to Officers, the ISB may from time to time issue practice guidance, propose
    best practice models and offer general guidance to DSOs. DSOs may seek specific
    guidance and support for their decisions from the ISB and appeal to the ISB should
    difficulties arise within the diocese which compromise their effectiveness.
    • Improving coordination of safeguarding between dioceses and provinces.
    The ISB will work with the NST, the Archbishops’ Council and dioceses to determine
    the best way to ensure coherence of practice between dioceses and how the Church
    of England’s safeguarding structures can work most effectively to ensure good
    coordination with the structures in the other Anglican churches, especially the
    Church in Wales, Church of Ireland and Scottish Episcopal Church.
    The ISB, working with the NST, lead bishop and others, will consider whether a
    regional model is the right way forward for the whole Church of England and
    whether to pursue this model in Phase 2. In the meantime, the ISB should consider
    whether dioceses where safeguarding practices are currently strong should be
    encouraged to share resources and work collaboratively with neighbouring dioceses,
    and how dioceses where there are concerns about the robustness of safeguarding
    arrangements can draw on support from other dioceses. In Phase 2 or subsequently,
    the safeguarding arrangements for Lambeth and Bishopthorpe Palaces should also
    be addressed.
    • Support for Diocesan-level training in safeguarding.
    Much work in this area has been done already by the NST and the National
    Safeguarding Steering group. The ISB will have an advisory role, working with and
    through the NST and NSSG, to ensure that practices at diocesan level are robust and
    14
    DSOs properly equipped for their training roles. Building on existing work, the ISB
    will oversee the future development of national training curricula to be delivered in
    all dioceses, leaving scope for local variation in delivery methods and additional
    content. This is the baseline for establishing common understandings of
    safeguarding and of proper procedure across the whole Church of England and
    preventing clergy and others from dropping between separate systems when moving
    between dioceses. The survivors’ focus group commented that much diocesan
    safeguarding training is both expensive and ineffective when it mainly trains clergy in
    processes and not in the causes and nature of abuse. Similar criticisms come from
    some clergy. The ISB should advise on the aims and objectives of training as well as
    on its content.
    g) Existing Safeguarding Committees and Structures
    In Phase 1, existing bodies such as the National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG),
    National Safeguarding Panel (NSP) and other bodies will continue to exist. Because the
    imperative is to introduce the first elements of independence (the ISB) quickly, the
    working relationship and division of responsibilities between these bodies and the ISB
    will be worked out “on the ground”. Close liaison between the Chairs of the existing
    bodies and the members of the ISB will be essential. As part of the transition to Phase 2,
    the constitutions and remits of groups that predate the ISB will be reviewed. It has been
    suggested by the survivors’ focus group that the ISB might become responsible for the
    NSSG and NSP and this should be one option for consideration. In the meantime, in any
    dispute about which areas of work lie within the remit of which body, subject to the
    relevant legal responsibilities, the decision of the Chair of the ISB will be final.
    h) Public Profile
    To ensure maximum transparency, the ISB should establish a website, serviced by the
    administrative officer, on which all its reports, formal minutes etc. are posted. There
    should be a clear link to the ISB website from the Church of England’s own website.
  7. Review
    The Archbishops’ Council and House of Bishops will receive regular reports from the ISB and
    teething troubles, or the need to for urgent review of the ISB’s remit and relationships,
    should be raised through this mechanism. As the ISB Chair will have direct access to the two
    Archbishops, this will provide a higher-level channel for raising concerns.
    At the end of two years, a formal review should be undertaken between the ISB and the
    Archbishops’ Council (with the involvement of the NST) to assess progress and determine
    whether the ISB’s remit needs redefining as Phase 2 develops. This may be combined with a
    review of budgets and resources. In order that the independence of the ISB is fully
    scrutinised as part of that review, the review should either be led by an external agency or
    involve a substantial external input.
    15
    C. Key Topics for Phase 2 and Beyond
    The following are areas where no consensus has been reached about the changes necessary
    to achieve the desired outcomes or where the organisational implications are likely to be
    especially complex and challenging.
    Following the appointment of an ISB as Phase 1, the Archbishops’ Council and House of
    Bishops will work with the members of the ISB to follow up the possible lines of
    development below (and such others as may arise) in order to bring forward detailed
    proposals for Phase 2 and possible subsequent Phases.
  8. The Future Structure of the ISB.
    Having put an ISB in place, more work is needed on the nature of the relationship between
    the ISB and the Church of England, and its governance structure.
    One model would be to incorporate the ISB as an independent charitable body, funded by
    grants and possibly fee income from the Church of England. This might, potentially, be a
    free-standing organisation to oversee safeguarding, not only for the Church of England but
    also for other churches and/or faith communities. A drawback of this model would be that
    an independent charity could no longer draw, as a matter of course and without direct cost,
    upon shared services from the National Church Institutions, such as legal advice or handling
    subject access requests and privacy notices, which currently support the NST directly.
    The model adopted by churches in Australia (https://www.kooyoora.org.au/) would be
    worth considering in detail. A judgement would have to be made whether the time it would
    take to negotiate the establishment of an ecumenical/multi-faith agency would be justified
    by the enhanced authority, and perceptions of independence, such a body would carry.
    The survivors’ focus group noted that an independent body along these lines might be more
    effective as a foundation funded through an endowment than as a charity, as there would
    be an inherent conflict of interests in a charity dependent on the churches for donations or
    fee income. This point should be explored further in Phase 2.
  9. An Ombudsman Role?
    It has been suggested that the ISB would be strengthened by introducing the role of a
    Safeguarding Ombudsman/Ombudsperson. However, it was not clear what the relationship
    with the ISB would be. Some saw the role as a first point of contact for complainants,
    deciding what went forward to the ISB – but this could compromise the ISB’s ability to make
    independent decisions. Others saw the ombudsman as a final court of appeal on disputed
    decisions or complaints about the ISB itself. The survivors’ focus group, noting the
    emotional cost to victims and survivors of finding their way through serial layers of process,
    16
    commented that the priority should be a genuinely independent ISB rather than a further
    layer of process which survivors and victims had to negotiate.
    Much will depend upon how well and quickly the ISB establishes itself and is able to
    demonstrate its independence and ability to gain trust. In Phase 2, further consideration
    should be given to whether an ombudsman role is desirable and, if so, the shape it should
    take.
  10. The Employment and Management of the NST and DSOs
    There is a strongly held view among some stakeholders that independence in safeguarding
    would be enhanced by shifting the employment of the NST from the Archbishops’ Council to
    a new, separate, body as considered in 1. above. It has also been proposed that similar
    advantages would accrue if DSOs were also employed, along with the NST, by such a body
    (although IICSA proposed that DSOs should remain employed by dioceses).
    Against this, there are anxieties that this would lead to too great a gulf of understanding
    between the new safeguarding structures and the church, such that culture change would
    be harder to achieve, and also that the cost of making this change would be
    disproportionate to the advantages gained, for reasons noted above.
    The ISB should work with the Archbishops’ Council to explore what the costs would actually
    be and assess them against projected gains in independence and good practice. As noted,
    there is no perfect solution to the question about distance and proximity between a culture
    and structures designed to change culture. Because this cannot easily be explored until the
    ISB is in place, it must be a priority for Phase 2.
  11. Drawing dioceses into a common framework
    Serious safeguarding failures have been caused, and/or exacerbated, by failure to pass
    information freely and accurately between dioceses.
    Dioceses differ significantly in size (enabling some to have more streamlined systems than
    others), resourcing for safeguarding (leading to weak practice in some cases), and social
    profile (making some modes of delivery easier than others). Complete uniformity may
    therefore be undesirable but there remains scope for raising standards to a higher common
    level and removing procedural friction from cases that involve more than one diocese.
    Diocesan Boards of Finance (DBFs) employ safeguarding staff in order to enable the bishop
    to discharge the legal responsibility for safeguarding in the diocese. The introduction of the
    ISB needs to be understood as a way for bishops and to discharge their responsibilities
    better, and for DBFs to support them in this.
    Grouping dioceses together may assist with equalising the available resources and pushing
    all dioceses up to best practice standards. But if some regions include a large number of
    17
    weak dioceses and others combine those with the greatest resources, regionalisation could
    make matters worse.
    The question of regionalisation thus becomes an issue to be addressed in Phase 2.
  12. Independent roles in Core Groups
    The Survivors’ Focus Group noted that survivors have felt disadvantaged and unrepresented
    on Core Groups and that this constitutes an imbalance of power. A review of Core Groups is
    currently being undertaken, which will include consideration of survivors’ criticisms of
    present practices.
    The ISB, as proposed in Phase 1, is not designed to play a direct role in Core Groups. The
    question of how the ISB in future could help improve the working of Core Groups requires
    further reflection and consultation, in the light of the findings of the review, and will be
    pursued at a later stage.

    18
    D. Draft Person Specifications for ISB Members
  13. Independent Safeguarding Board Chair
    Essential:
    • Understanding of safeguarding as part of a “big picture” of organisational health.
    • Personal experience of carrying senior responsibility for institutional safeguarding.
    • Ability to demonstrate independence from the Church of England whilst
    demonstrating knowledge and critical understanding of how religious institutions
    work and the particular structures and cultures within the Church of England.
    • Experience of “speaking truth to power” and influencing policy, and the strength of
    character to do so to an institution where power is hierarchical yet dispersed.
    • Demonstrable experience in leading successful small teams to achieve common
    goals.
    • Empathy to engage with a wide variety of stakeholders, some of whom may be
    vulnerable.
    Desirable
    o Knowledge of safeguarding law and experience in applying it.
    o Direct experience of how regulatory bodies work – preferably from the inside.
  14. ISB Advocate for Victims and Survivors
    Essential:
    • A comprehensive understanding of the experiences of victims and survivors of
    abuse.
    • Experience of enabling institutions and individuals to hear and understand those
    experiences.
    • Consultative skills to engage with individual survivors and different survivor groups.
    • Ability to demonstrate independence from the Church of England.
    • Demonstrably a team player.
    Desirable:
    o A survivor of abuse in a church (preferably Church of England) context.
    o Ability to draw on personal experience and place it in the context of others’ direct
    experience.
    A Job Share post would be considered.
    Because this role is likely be emotionally demanding, and requires a complex combination of
    personal experience and professional detachment, the person appointed may wish to explore
    setting up a personal support group or reference group. Resources for such a group should be
    included in the ISB budget.
    19
  15. Third ISB Member
    Essential:
    • Ability to demonstrate independence from the Church of England
    • Demonstrably a team player.
    • Proven ability in handling complex complaints and mediation.
    Desirable:
    o Skills and experience in driving institutional culture change.
    A Job Share post would be considered.
    Among the three ISB members, it would be Desirable to have:
    o Diversity of gender, ethnicity and background.
    o Experience of setting up a regulatory body.
    o Experience of being responsibility for safeguarding in an institution whose
    primary purpose is not safeguarding itself.
    It is recommended that the Chair and Survivor Advocate are appointed first, and the Third
    ISB member appointed to complement their skills and experience.
  16. ISB Administrator
    (Job and Person Specs from standard NCI Admin roles – Band 5 or 6)
    20
    E. Some Lessons Going Forwards
    There were good reasons why the time frame for this work was severely curtailed, but it
    meant that the full implications of some of the proposals could not be explored as fully as
    might be desired. The fact that the work was conducted at pace was helpful in
    demonstrating that the Church of England is serious about independence and did not intend
    to procrastinate. But it will mean that the members of the ISB are recruited to roles which
    are not fully defined in some detailed respects and where some relationships and powers
    remain to be worked out. This calls for the recruitment of people with the skills and
    experience to negotiate uncertainties and prioritise the areas of unfinished business that
    must be pursued urgently.
    The Survivors’ Reference Group stepped up splendidly to reflect on a first draft of these
    proposals and many of their reflections are incorporated in this paper. But consultation of
    that kind falls short of a model of co-production which would have placed survivors closer to
    the whole process.
    Others impacted by safeguarding cases also need to be brought into the
    dialogue. Co-production cannot easily be done against imposed deadlines, but we now have
    an opportunity, in moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2, to consider a more thoroughgoing
    model of working together which, in itself, could add to the richness of different voices
    which is one objective of introducing an independent element in the first place.
    The Revd Canon Dr Malcolm Brown
    Director of Mission and Public Affairs
    February 2021
Featured post

FEBRUARY 26 2021 – “A MASSIVE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE…ITS CONSEQUENCES COULD BE SEISMIC” – THE JOHN SMYTH CASE AND THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

Richard W. Symonds

“It still remains possible that the damage caused by these institutional failures has been so severe that the trust and respect for the Church held by society at large has been lost forever”

Stephen Parsons – Foreword – ‘Sex, Power, Control – Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church’ [Lutterworth 2021]

Jeremy Pemberton

Jeremy Pemberton

It is almost as if they don’t want this review to come out publicly at all!

Stanley Monkhouse

Stanley Monkhouse 

… or maybe not until after ABC has resigned, retired, or, as they say these days using a lily-livered euphemism, stepped down. 

Anthony Archer

Anthony Archer 

I posted the following on TA on 28 April 2020 when Keith Makin said he needed more time to complete the review: “The good news is that it seems Makin is faced with vastly more material than he imagined, from victims and survivors, and others with knowledge. This report will analyse and dismantle the abusive culture. It will also ask searching questions about why so many people who knew about Smyth did absolutely nothing, except heave a sigh of relief that he had left the country.” I have previously disclosed on TA that I declare an interest as a former Iwerne (senior) camper, ashamed to have this connection. I also spent a gap year in 1972 at Ruzawi School, in the then Rhodesia, where years later a boy under the care of Smyth was found drowned in a swimming pool.
  
The web of knowledge would, in my opinion, have spread very quickly from the Iwerne Trust trustees and other(s) who were copied on the Ruston Report (only three of whom are alive today, to my knowledge), to most leaders involved with Iwerne in the years 1978 – 1982 or so. Few of those would not have asked (or been told) what had happened to Smyth when he finally ‘disappeared’ in 1984. And what of the barristers in his chambers? Most of course would not have been in a position requiring them to act on the information, although Makin will need to decide where that line should be drawn.

Then there are those who directly protected Smyth, inter alia by financing his move to Zimbabwe and his ‘ministry.’ The material available to Makin, from the trustees of Zambesi Trust (removed from the register in 2018) and from the very many who were interviewed as part of the Report finalised in Bulawayo in October 1993, is substantial and probably more important than the Iwerne material, given the levels of abuse that followed. Add into the mix Winchester College and Scripture Union, and others in the Church of England who may have become insiders (I used that term advisedly) at different points in time and the Review becomes a massive task.

So, I would give Mr Makin and his team all the time they need as he decides how to document and conclude on what I believe to be a massive conspiracy of silence. There is no machinery ultimately to prevent this report from being published. The lessons learned will be far reaching. Its consequences could be seismic.

Featured post

FEBRUARY 26 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [DECEMBER 4 2015] – “BISHOP GEORGE BELL, MEMORY, IDENTITY” – CHURCH TIMES – LETTERS

Bishop George Bell, memory, and identity

04 DECEMBER 2015

ISTOCK

From the Revd Professor David Jasper and others

Sir, — We write as members of the family of Dean Ronald Jasper, who wrote the official biography of Bishop George Bell nearly 50 years ago. For a long time, Bell’s presence was keenly felt in our household.

Much has been written in the past few weeks concerning the matter of justice and the need for care to be taken over every aspect of such dreadful and distressing cases. A great deal has been said in public, and yet still little clear evidence has been provided.

As a result of Bell’s courageous public ministry in the Church of England, we remain indebted to him within the tradition that he represented to such a high degree to the point of his inclusion in the Common Worship Calendar.

At Bishop Bell’s memorial service, Archbishop Fisher stated that “in days to come when the Catholic Church recovers again its lost unities [we] will still remember the debt for that recovery owed to George Bell.”

Lest we forget this in the present situation, and until there is clear evidence to the contrary, we should be mindful that we are a Church united across the ages, and if we forget what has been given to us in ages past for the sake of present expediency, we are in danger of losing our identity altogether.

DAVID JASPER, ALISON JASPER, CHRISTINE READE, NICHOLAS READE
c/o Theology and Religious Studies
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ

OTHER STORIES

Church statement on Bishop George Bell 11 Dec 2015

The Church of England media statement about Bishop George Bell 13 Nov 2015

Accusation and condemnation 20 May 2016

Featured post

FEBRUARY 26 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [MARCH 16 2018] – “FORMER ARCHDEACON IN CHICHESTER DIOCESE TELLS IICSA: ‘I COULDN’T BELIEVE A PRIEST WOULD LIE TO ME'” – CHURCH TIMES

Former Archdeacon in Chichester diocese tells IICSA: ‘I couldn’t believe a priest would lie to me’

 byHATTIE WILLIAMS 16 MARCH 2018 CHURCH TIMES

IICSA

The Rt Revd Nicholas Reade is sworn in

THE former Archdeacon of Lewes and Hastings, Bishop Nicholas Reade, has said that he believed the professed innocence of the abusive priest Roy Cotton in 1997, because the idea of ordained ministers lying to their seniors had “horrified” him at the time.

Bishop Reade, who went on to become the Bishop of Blackburn, was giving evidence on Thursday morning to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) on the case of the late Cotton, who sexually abused several teenage boys over decades, but who died in 2006 before he could be held to account.

The public hearing on the extent to which the Anglican Church has failed to protect children from sexual abuse, in its second of three weeks, is using Chichester as a case study. The diocese has been the subject of several high-profile sex abuse cases and abuse inquiries.

Cotton was ordained in 1966, more than ten years after he was convicted of exposing himself to a teenage chorister in the organ loft of a church in Sussex in 1954.

Bishop Reade confirmed that he had been informed of the incident by Cotton — but not of the conviction — upon his appointment to the diocese in 1997, two years before the police investigated the case. The case was dropped in 1999.

“I take priests at their word,” he told the lead Counsel to the Anglican investigation, Fiona Scolding QC. “I know I’ve had to change my view, but priests are part of the College of Presbyters. They are yoked to their bishop. The idea of a priest telling lies to the bishop just horrifies me — horrifies me. However, I’m afraid I did learn that this had happened.”

Asked his opinion of his senior at the time, the Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Revd Wallace Benn, who was also appointed in 1997, Bishop Reade said: “Being an Irishman, Bishop Wallace did describe one or two people, I think, as villains. The only thing I would say is that I always felt a little uneasy about him [Cotton]. It was a question of looking for proof.”Advertisement

He said that he had spoken to Bishop Benn about granting Cotton permission to officiate (PTO) upon his retirement in 1999. “The police had completed their enquiry by now. They were not pursuing the matter. We could not think of any good reason why Roy could not legally have PTO. . .

“The Church functions by trust. If a priest has a licence, or if he is beneficed, we trust him to get on with the job. You know, we can’t possibly monitor every move. The number of clergy that I had in the Lewes and Hastings archdeaconry was just colossal.”

He was another of the senior clergy in the diocese who was denied access to the “blue files”, containing sensitive clergy information, including safeguarding concerns, he said.

“What was so sad, really, over the whole thing, is that this conviction was on a file in Chichester, and I think the fact that senior staff had — did not have access, except under special conditions, to the blue files was very wrong.”

He went on: “I appreciate that Bishop Eric was the only one who had knowledge of the 1954 conviction,” he said. “I think Bishop Eric saw that, like the police, as a spent conviction. . . I cannot believe that Bishop Eric would have been putting Roy Cotton into a parish knowing that he was a risk.”

Bishop Reade said that he had been “speechless” when Cotton publicly admitted in 2001 to his previous conviction. Bishop Wallace was also “horror-struck”.

“We both felt that we had been lied to, we had had our time wasted, and — well, as I say, we were virtually speechless.”

MS SCOLDING then questioned Bishop Reade on his relationship with Bishop Kemp’s successor Dr John Hind. She read out a section of Bishop Reade’s written statement recounting their first meeting on Dr Hind’s arrival in 2001: “He mentioned child protection either first or second on his list. I was still, at that point, surprised and queried whether it would be such a dominant issue.”

Asked why this was a surprise, he said: “I thought that there were just a number in the pipeline that needed . . . that were going to be swept up. I did not believe that this was going to be an ongoing issue.

“I was completely wrong; totally and utterly wrong; perhaps naïve. But I thought that there were just these few cases that were lingering around, and that they would be, as I say, swept up; and so I was surprised that John had said that.

OTHER STORIES

Don’t blame me for safeguarding blunders, former Bishop of Lewes, Wallace Benn, tells IICSA hearing

A FORMER Area Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Revd Wallace Benn, has denied responsibility for a series of safeguarding failures in the diocese of Chichester during his tenure

“This was a huge learning point for me, because we talked it through, and I then began to realise that this was not going to be something that was just going to affect these years of my ministry, but would be with me probably dealing with these throughout the whole of my ministry.”

He maintained that safeguarding had been “very high” on Dr Hind’s agenda. “A lot of people — I mean, the clergy — often said: ‘Oh, well, it’s because his wife [Janet Hind] is the child-protection adviser.’ But, no, John did take this very seriously, and he made sure that we had proper training. . . He would always ask if the public authorities had been notified.”

BISHOP READE was also questioned about the case of Robert Coles, who was arrested on suspicion of child abuse shortly before Archdeacon Reade arrived in 1997, pending a police investigation.

In a meeting at that time, Cole informed Bishop Reade that he had had a sexual encounter with a 15 or 16-year-old male. “Of course, I considered it serious,” Bishop Reade said, “and when I went in, I said to him straight away, I said that I was pretty sure what he was going to tell me, and I said that if it is serious, I want to make it quite clear that this is not under the seal of the confessional.”

He informed Bishop Kemp, and advised that Coles be represented by a solicitor, he said. “Frankly, if one of your clergy, whatever he’s done or she’s done, is going to be interviewed by the police — they’re part of your family, as the bishop.

“You have a duty to see that they are properly represented. That’s not for one second to say that we were not concerned about the victim. Of course we were. But we hadn’t known the victim.”

He did not disclose the matter to the police, he said, because he had already informed his diocesan bishop, and Mrs Hind, and had not been advised by her to do so. Mrs Hind, however, said in her evidence that she had not been informed of the disclosure for another four months.

“I am afraid that I am the kind of person that, if the bishop — no, I’m not afraid, I mean, I’m pleased, because in the Church it runs by people being obedient to the bishop — if the bishop said to me, ‘Jump’, I would say, ‘How high?’

“That’s who I am. I just couldn’t conceive of not getting on to Janet Hind over something so serious. Equally, I can’t understand why the diocesan bishop didn’t get on to her.”

Asked whether his attitude to homosexuality affected his response to the allegations at the time, Bishop Reade said: “He [Coles] never told us he was a homosexual, and, let me make it absolutely clear that, in any diocese, homosexuals are part of the diocese.

“We don’t have any difficulty with homosexuals. I mean, obviously, there is a difficulty about expressing their love, because they have to live by House of Bishops’ guidelines, but I know of no diocese where homosexuals are, as it were, put on the rack metaphorically.”

IN HIS evidence, Colin Perkins, the current diocesan safeguarding officer in Chichester, who was on the diocesan safeguarding panel during a flurry of allegations, civil claims, and convictions, in 2010, was also asked about homosexuality.

Mr Perkins responded by asking the panel to imagine, “a gay priest in 1975, for instance, a young gay man who wanted to follow his calling, but didn’t want to live a life of isolation and celibacy. Most of us from the perspective of 2018 could have a lot of sympathy with that priest’s need for secrecy with regards to his sexuality and his sexual behaviour.

“If that happens within a cultural context, like Anglo Catholicism, you may then arrive at a sort of an overt conservatism and a covert liberalism, which will generate a lot of secrecy. I don’t think there is any connection between homosexuality and child abuse; there is a massive connection between secrecy and child abuse.”

Mr Perkins confirmed that tensions were rising, on his arrival, between senior clergy and laity over safeguarding, and said that there had been a “fear” of safeguarding among the clergy: “Defensiveness and some shame as well, I should say.” He had struggled to established a good relationship with Bishop Benn, he said, but had a positive relationship with Dr Hind.

He continued his evidence on Friday morning.

OTHER STORIES

A shambles is no safeguard16 Mar 2018

Church must accept past faults, says Chichester diocesan Visitor Robert Bursell QC 16 Mar 2018

I was shocked by what I found in Chichester diocese, Dr Warner tells IICSA hearing 14 Mar 2018

Lord Williams backs abuse survivors’ demand for independent safeguarding body at IICSA14 Mar 2018

Abuse survivor Julie Macfarlane tells IICSA of her battle for justice 13 Mar 2018

Man denies offences in Lincoln diocese 16 Mar 2018

UK

Lead Bishop on safeguarding quizzed on new policies and procedures at IICSA hearing 23 Mar 2018

‘I am ashamed of the Church’, Archbishop Welby admits to IICSA hearing21 Mar 2018

Featured post

FEBRUARY 26 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [SEPTEMBER 8 2020] – “OXFORD UNIVERSITY DEAN FINALLY EXONERATED AFTER SAFEGUARDING DISPUTE” – DAILY TELEGRAPH

Martyn Percy Dean of Christ Church, Oxford

Photo source: Wiki Commons

Oxford University dean finally exonerated after safeguarding dispute

The Very Rev Martyn Percy, the Dean of Christ Church, was found to have acted ‘entirely appropriately’By Gabriella Swerling, SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS EDITOR September 2020

Martyn Percy handout picture provided by Rachel Perham,
PA to the Dean of Christ Church
The Very Rev Martyn Percy has now been reinstated as Dean of Christ Church, after being suspended for alleged “immoral, scandalous and disgraceful behaviour” CREDIT: News Scans/ Handout Publicity Material

The dean of a prestigious Oxford college has been exonerated by the Church of England following allegations he failed to adequately deal with sexual abuse allegations. 

The Very Rev Martyn Percy, the Dean of Christ Church and head of its cathedral, has been embroiled in a long-standing row with Oxford dons over his tenure at the college.

However, on Tuesday church officials finally cleared him of the safeguarding charges against him.

They said that he had “acted entirely appropriately” in each of four cases referred earlier this year to its national safeguarding team (NST) by the college’s governing body.

Dr Percy was reinstated as Dean of Christ Church last September after being suspended for alleged “immoral, scandalous and disgraceful behaviour”.

Supporters of Dr Percy, who is thought to be paid around £90,000-a-year for his role presiding over both the college and Cathedral, claimed that the college’s reporting of him to the the NST was part of a smear campaign to discredit him. 

It was alleged that individuals within the governing body were determined to strip him of his role following his attempts to modernise the college.

Meanwhile, his critics claimed that the dispute originated in his attempts to secure a pay rise.

Christ Church College, Oxford, was founded in 1546 by King Henry VIII, and is one of the larger colleges with over 629 students
Christ Church College, Oxford, was founded in 1546 by King Henry VIII, and is one of the larger colleges with over 629 students CREDIT: ProjectB/Getty Images

Following the Church of England’s announcement that he had been exonerated, Dr Percy tweeted: “Thank you to everyone for their support and prayers. It is good [to] have a line firmly drawn under this.”

An internal tribunal by retired high court judge, Sir Andrew Smith, dismissed the complaints against the Anglican priest and theologian following an 11-day hearing behind closed doors in June, and ordered his reinstatement.

The full judgment was never published.  

In February, leaked emails appeared in the press revealing Oxford academics had described the dean as a “little Hitler“, “thick”, “nasty” and a “manipulative little turd” with a “personality disorder”.  

Dr Percy has subsequently launched an employment tribunal against Christ Church, which is set to be heard in public next year, claiming to have been victimised and seeking damages as a whistleblower.

Furthermore, in May, 41 members of the governing body wrote to the Charity Commission asking for its help to oust the dean, saying he had shown “unsound judgment and a consistent lack of moral compass”.

The commission ordered both sides to mediate, saying the dispute was damaging Christ Church’s reputation.

In a statement, Jonathan Gibbs, the bishop of Huddersfield and the lead bishop on safeguarding, said: “An independent investigation into allegations that the dean, Martyn Percy, failed to fulfil his safeguarding responsibilities has concluded the dean acted entirely appropriately in each case … At no point was there any allegation or evidence that the dean presented a direct risk to any child or vulnerable adult.”

Dr Percy had been exonerated in relation to four separate allegations, he said, adding: “The NST has no view about, and is not involved in, the wider issues relating to the college and the dean at Christ Church, Oxford and this remains the case.”

Steven Croft, the bishop of Oxford, welcomed Percy’s exoneration by the NST. He said: “The investigation process was not without pain, and could have been concluded more quickly, but it is entirely right that allegations against clergy and church officers are properly investigated when they are made. 

“This investigation brings full closure to the matter put before the NST, though these continue to be testing times for all at Christ Church,” he said in a statement.

Christ Church said it had an obligation to report safeguarding concerns. A spokesperson said: “The NST has now informed Christ Church that its report concludes there has been no breach of the Church of England’s protocols,” it said in a statement.

Christ Church, founded by Henry VIII in 1546, is the alma mater of 13 British prime ministers, 10 chancellors of the exchequer, and 17 archbishops.

The dispute has so far cost the college at least £2 million in legal fees. It is also thought to have lost millions in cancelled bequests and donations.

Following the announcement, Rosie Harper, the vicar of Great Missenden, and chaplain to the bishop of Buckingham, also showed her support, saying: “Martyn Percy completely exonerated, of course. So glad for him and his family but he should never have had to endure this travesty.”

Featured post

FEBRUARY 25 2021 – ‘SEX, POWER, CONTROL – RESPONDING TO ABUSE IN THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH’ BY FIONA GARDNER AND ‘GOING PUBLIC’ BY JULIE MACFARLANE – BOOK REVIEW + PERSONAL VIEW

“Until there are serious cultural changes within the institutional church, the distressing ‘game’ of pawns and bishops will continue to get played out” ~ Fiona Gardner

“SEX, POWER, CONTROL – RESPONDING TO ABUSE IN THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH” BY FIONA GARDNER – A PERSONAL REVIEW BY RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

I’ve just received “Sex. Power. Control – Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church” by Fiona Gardner [Lutterworth 2021]. It has four pages – 95, 96,97 & 98 – relating to Bishop Bell and I was looking forward to reading a new, up-to-date, accurate insight into this injustice. How wrong I was! Here [below] are excerpts from the three pages of the book – the contents most of which seem an insightful analysis of abuses of Church power – but I was particularly incensed by this:

“Following the work with the independent safeguarding advisor, the Church reached a settlement in 2015 in a civil claim [with ‘Carol’ – Ed], an announcement which caused much indignation and outrage from many of the powerful and privileged supporters of Bishop Bell, who said that the Church had been too quick to condemn a highly revered man who, because he had died decades earlier, could not defend himself”

The Bell Society was not established in 2016 by, or for, the “powerful and privileged”.

Gardner selectively quotes Lord Carlile QC, but only to serve her arguments – not to serve justice in the Bishop Bell injusticeGarner also fails to acknowledge that Lord Carlile himself confirmed “that the Church had been too quick to condemn a highly revered man who…could not defend himself”

In an otherwise valuable book, Gardner lets herself down badly in her analysis of the Bishop Bell case – and thus also lets the reader down.

But I do not wish to be over-critical of Fiona Gardner’s book – my primary emphasis is on ‘rebuilding bridges’, healing and reconciliation.
Gardner’s book is, in fact, very good – well worth reading – but she seems to have ‘fallen into a trap’ like so many victims and survivors of abuse.

It has been regrettable that the narrative of survivors and victims – abused by the Church in more ways than sexual – often preclude clergy survivors and victims of false accusations of abuse [or victims of ‘mistaken identity’].


Survivors/victims [and their advocates] – seem to have a ‘blind spot’ for the sufferings and injustice of those survivors/victims falsely accused [and their advocates] – such as Bishop Bell, George Carey, Martyn Percy et al.
This ‘blind spot’ is understandable in many ways, but it is important to make clear that survivors/victims of abuse are both those who have been abused and those who have been falsely accused of abuse. Both suffer and are in pain from the abuse by the Church – especially the abuse of power – and both voices need to be heard together [not one voice heard at the expense of the other]. Both need healing.

Gardner’s book is titled “Sex, Power, Control – Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church”, and we need to focus on that and not be distracted and diverted by divisively arguing between ourselves.

Richard Scorer put it well in 2018 at the IICSA [March 5][Page 129 -Paras. 2-19 – Richard Scorer – Counsel for the complainants, victims and survivors represented by Slater & Gordon]: “…this is not simply an issue of attitude but of competence too. This is a point which has been made powerfully by Martin Sewell, who is both a lay member of the General Synod and a retired child protection lawyer. He points out that diocesan staff are typically trained in theology and Canon law, not in safeguarding or child protection law. As a result, he says, many of those making a decision about safeguarding in the Church of England have no credible claim to expertise in this increasingly complex situation. Interestingly, Mr Sewell makes that point both in relation to the treatment of complainants of abuse, but also in regard to the mishandling, in his view, of the George Bell case. He sees the failings on both of those aspects as two sides of the same coin, a fundamental problem, in his view, being a lack of competence and specialist knowledge, particularly legal knowledge and experience gained in a practical safeguarding context”

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

“Sex. Power. Control – Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church” by Fiona Gardner [Lutterworth 2021]

Chapter 6 – Dynamics of Power and Control in the Institutional Church

Excerpts from Pages 95, 96, 97 & 98

“The dining clubs and the powerful informal networks linked to them are clear examples of the way in which class permeates the hierarchy of the Church of England…Class barriers are consciously and unconsciously enforced by most people, who then conform to certain rules and stick to codes on how ‘people like them’ ought to behave, look or even think. In this way, class is one of the markers of power and control in the Church.

“This divide is illustrated by some of the exchanges quoted in the independent report by Lord Carlile into the way the Church of England dealt with a complaint of sexual abuse made by a woman known as ‘Carol’ against the late bishop George Bell.

The report was published in 2017 but the documentation includes the following comment from 1995 , after Carol had written to Bishop Eric Kemp, then the Bishop of Chichester, alleging sexual abuse by Bell when she was between eight and ten years old. The bishop’s response was to ask for further information: ‘Try to find out more about this lady.’ Carlile notes that written on the same copy was: ‘[…’s] parish. [He] does not know her. This is where the council houses problem people.’ Carlile rightly adds. ‘In my view this was an inappropriate comment to have written [Ref 30: Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC ‘Bishop George Bell: The Independent Review’, 16 December 2017, Page 19]…

“Carlile saw the response as inadequate, and one might add, patronising…

“Following the work with the independent safeguarding advisor, the Church reached a settlement in 2015 in a civil claim [with ‘Carol’ – Ed], an announcement which caused much indignation and outrage from many of the powerful and privileged supporters of Bishop Bell, who said that the Church had been too quick to condemn a highly revered man who, because he had died decades earlier, could not defend himself

“The hierarchical and rather rigid power structure of the Church of England means that it is a very ‘congested system’; it lacks the fluidity needed for the culture significantly to change. The tone of the controversy over the George Bell compensation settlement [whatever its rights or wrongs] exemplifies the demonisation of those forces intruding from the margins, including the poor, in this case, female, those ‘sullied by sexual abuse’ and their ‘politically correct’ agitating supporters, as somehow an attack on the pure, the holy and the good, the traditional, powerful, white male core, who have so many resources to call upon, including a great deal of money”.

________________________________________________________________________________________

ADDENDUM

“The professional approach is to neither believe nor disbelieve the complainant and their allegation. There is no right or entitlement for a complainant to be believed, but there is a right and entitlement for a complainant to be treated with respect, to take their allegation seriously, to listen with compassion, and to record the facts clearly. It would appear the Church regarded ‘Carol’ as a victim to be believed at all costs. There seems to have been a panicked rush to judgement in which an astonishing lack of judgement was made manifest. Bishop Bell was an easy target, disposable and dispensable…’thrown under the bus’ for reasons unknown” 

~ Richard W. Symonds – 2016

‘SEX, POWER, CONTROL’ BY FIONA GARDNER AND ‘GOING PUBLIC’ BY JULIE MACFARLANE – BOOK REVIEW – CHURCH TIMES

Sex, Power, Control, by Fiona Gardner, and Going Public, by Julie Macfarlane

26 FEBRUARY 2021 – CHURCH TIMES

Robin Gill reviews two recent exposés of the safeguarding scandal

PREVIOUSLY, I reviewed (Books, 16 August 2019) three challenging books about safeguarding in the Church of England, and concluded that senior clergy continue to prioritise the reputation of the Church over those who have been abused. Too many senior clergy cover up and are then found out when abusers (including a few senior clergy) are successfully prosecuted or posthumously exposed.

Have things improved? Sadly, these two passionate books suggest not.

The severest castigation by Jesus in St Matthew’s Gospel is directed at child-abusers. Mark and Luke have similar, but less contextualised, condemnations, whereas, in Matthew, Jesus refers specifically to children immediately before warning: “If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18.6).

Fiona Gardner has a long roll call of such egregious abusers — including Bishops Victor Whitsey and Peter Ball, Dean Robert Waddington, and the Chichester priests Colin Pritchard, Roy Cotton, Gordon Rideout, and Meirion Griffiths, as well as the Evangelical John Smyth QC. What behaviour by a church leader could be a more un-Christlike stumbling-block?

She concludes: “None of the abusers . . . took any responsibility for their abusive behaviour, seemingly believing that they had the right to satisfy their sexual interest in children and young people.” We have, of course, heard these stories before, but we do need to hear them again and again.

What is new and striking, however, is her account of being sidelined by senior clergy who considered that they knew best how to deal with abusive colleagues. She was safeguarding adviser in the diocese to which Peter Ball eventually returned after a police caution (requiring an admission of guilt) and enforced resignation, but where he was allowed to continue a ministry that included working with young people.

She initiated several attempts to have a risk assessment made, and questioned his PTO: “On one occasion I was ‘invited’ to walk round the bishop’s palace grounds by a senior diocesan cleric and asked (or was it told?) to stop harassing Ball. He spoke of Ball’s great spirituality and goodness, and my findings about his past were dismissed as of less importance.” Subsequently, an “approach came from an official in Lambeth Palace, who rang to tell me that I could be seen as persecuting an elderly man inappropriately”. Yet Ball was someone who masturbated while sexually assaulting and giving naked beatings to adolescent boys and young men seeking spiritual enlightenment. Sickeningly sanctimonious behaviour.

She identifies factors that may lead to such gross spiritual and physical abuse — including power imbalance, social status, institutional secrecy, self-protection, and boarding-school sadism. Yet, at base, she detects a disturbing “spiritual sickness”:

“The way that the church hierarchy has failed adequately to respond to allegations of clergy abuse is a form of sickness — a spiritual sickness. The sickness is caused by institutional narcissism. . . the Church has become stuck at the level of survival to the detriment of thriving . . . dominated by its own internal self-preoccupations, to the extent that it is increasingly out of touch with society, and reliant on self-generating authoritarian structures. . . At root is the question of who can join the elite hierarchy.”

Julie Macfarlane, a law professor and survivor (Features, 9 October 2020), is no more encouraging. As a survivor of Griffiths’s gross abuse, she is well aware of the “patterns of protections for those who persistently harass and assault women”, including threats that, “if you complain you will lose your job. . . no one will believe you. . . I shall tell everyone you are a slut. . . your parents will be deeply distressed.”

A schoolfriend of the daughter of Eric Kemp (Griffiths’s and Ball’s diocesan bishop), she now realises that he was “suppressing complaints about Peter Ball . . . [and] hired a private investigator to undermine the credibility of complainants” and withheld evidence from the police. She is particularly scathing of “powerful decision-makers” who “at best minimize sexual violence and its consequences and at worst (and not uncommonly) engage in the same behaviour themselves”.

As a lawyer, she is also scathing about the legal tactics of the Church of England. She recounts that in their unsuccessful 2014 efforts to defend against her civil case: “the church claimed that when the minister forced me to give him fellatio at sixteen — my first sight of a man’s penis, telling me that ‘God’ wanted me to do this — it was consensual.” As with all of the clerical abusers cited by Gardner, this is not consensual sex, but a deeply manipulative use of lust-driven power.

OTHER STORIES IICSA: survivors speak of influence of religion BEING raised in a highly religious community is seen by victims and survivors of child sexual abuse as one factor affecting their experience. This emerged today in a new report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)

In addition — given the close relationship between ecclesiastical insurers and senior clergy — she is equally scathing about the response from Archbishop Justin Welby’s office to her lawyer, which stated that: “As a lawyer, you will be very aware of the constraints under which we in the profession have to work in dealing with these miserable matters. The scope for personal and sensitive engagement is very limited.” For her, it is “wilful hypocrisy . . . and insincerity . . . to pretend that they had no choice about their adversarial strategy” — and, she adds, “perhaps another person without my background might have swallowed it.”

Both public-shaming books are much needed. I doubt whether any amount of safeguarding training or protocols will deter some highly manipulative clergy from sex abuse or senior clergy from protecting them and covering up. The prospect of public shaming might. All power to Fiona Gardner and Julie Macfarlane for shaming both abusers and their protectors.
 

Canon Robin Gill is Emeritus Professor of Applied Theology at the University of Kent, and Editor of Theology.

Sex, Power, Control: Responding to abuse in the institutional Church
Fiona Gardner
Lutterworth Press £17.50
(978-0-7188-9562-4)

Going Public: A survivor’s journey from grief to action
Julie Macfarlane
Between the Lines £15.95
(978-1-7711-3475-0)
Church Times Bookshop £14.35

Featured post

FEBRUARY 22 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 8 2017] – “CHILD ABUSE IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND: JUSTIN WELBY MUST EITHER ACCELERATE THE CHANGE OR CARRY THE CAN”

Justin Welby – Archbishop of Canterbury

Photo source: Unknown – not specified

Featured post

FEBRUARY 22 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 7 2020] – “THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – A SAFER SPACE FOR ABUSERS THAN FOR THE ABUSED”

Photo source: ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

OCTOBER 7 2020 – “THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – A SAFER SPACE FOR ABUSERS THAN FOR THE ABUSED”

“This is precisely what the survivors fear; that under the media spotlight a flurry of activity has occurred – but they wonder what will happen when the media caravan moves on? Within the last month, with all this attention, with all the talk of improvement, and with hope and expectation abounding, two CofE survivors have attempted to take their lives. That is ultimately what this is all about: making life bearable for those the Church’s servants abused – whether they did so in clerical robes or grey suits. This report is a cause of great shame: prostration is the only response”

Martin Sewell

Featured post

FEBRUARY 22 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [AUGUST 18 2019] – “CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE – WHY CAN’T THE CHURCH CLEANSE ITS OWN TEMPLE?”

AUGUST 18 2019 – “CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE – WHY CAN’T THE CHURCH CLEANSE ITS OWN TEMPLE? – ‘ARCHBISHOP CRANMER’

“The gross evil of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy would have gone unexposed had it not been for three principal agencies, all secular.” That’s the damning opening sentence of an article in The Tablet which raises so many complex issues of episcopal authority, ethical transparency and ecclesial accountability…

There are a number of serving bishops who stand accused of turning a blind eye to chronic sexual abuse by other members of the clergy. There are allegations of collusion, manipulation and complicity in cover-up for reputational preservation, and even of cover-up of the cover-up. And the evidence is persuasive and damning. Why is a long-dead bishop like George Bell so readily thrown under a bus over one single, uncorroborated allegation, while living and serving bishops are shielded by a ‘one-year rule’ for a complaint to be made against them? What possible incentive do they have for consenting to dispense with that arbitrary rule when it would mean a discomfiting investigation into their failures and shortcomings? How may one hold diocesan bishops to account during their term of office when the relevant metropolitan bishop refuses to act?

The answer, of course, is that one cannot: they are kings in their dioceses, masters of their parishes, overseers of all boards and councils responsible for ministry and mission. They are immune from external investigation, shielded from the arrows of oversight, and guarded by the episcopal sword of sanctity.

Featured post

FEBRUARY 21 2021 – “THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS [THE NINTH COMMANDMENT] + FROM THE ARCHIVES [FEBRUARY 21 2016] – “NOW WAR HERO BISHOP BRANDED AN ABUSER IN UNPROVEN CLAIMS MAY LOSE CATHEDRAL TRIBUTE PRAISING HIM AS ‘CHAMPION OF THE OPPRESSED” – DAILY MAIL

“When it comes to the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell, the Church of England hierarchy – especially within Lambeth Palace and Chichester Cathedral – would do well to prayerfully consider whether or not they are breaking the Ninth Commandment : Thou shalt not bear false witness’

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society – Sunday, February 21 2021

Now war hero bishop branded an abuser in unproven claims may lose cathedral tribute praising him as ‘champion of the oppressed’

  • Bishop George Bell served Chichester for 30 years until his death in 1958
  • Woman has since alleged he abused her when she was five in 40s and 50s
  • Relatives and supporters furious that church may remove a tribute plaque
  • They say claims are unproven – but church believes woman’s allegations 

By JONATHAN PETRE FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

COMMENTS

Chris N, Bristol, United Kingdom, 5 years ago: “The Church’s behaviour, not least in renaming the building which bore his name, has been outrageous – and, let’s note, un-Christian. One unproven incident in such a life of devoted service does not warrant this reaction”

PUBLISHED: February 21 2016 

Church leaders have provoked outrage with plans to change a memorial plaque to a celebrated bishop after unproven claims that he abused a child.

Bishop George Bell served in Chichester for 30 years until his death in 1958 and was renowned during the Second World War for supporting resistance to Nazism.

But a plaque at Chichester Cathedral praising Bell as a ‘champion of the oppressed and tireless worker for Christian unity’ is now being described as ‘problematic’ by clerics.

Last year, the diocese issued a formal apology and paid compensation to a woman who alleged that Bishop Bell sexually abused her from the age of five in the late 1940s and 1950s.

George Bell Bishop of Chichester

Bishop Bell Memorial – Chichester Cathedral

Bishop George Bell (pictured above) served in Chichester for 30 years until his death in 1958 but a plaque at Chichester Cathedral praising Bell as a ‘champion of the oppressed and tireless worker for Christian unity’ (pictured above) is now being described as ‘problematic’ by clerics after claims of sexual abuse

The cathedral is now considering rewording the memorial. And volunteer guides have been told they can leave the former bishop out of cathedral tours, while the cathedral’s education centre has had its name changed from George Bell House (pictured below) to 4 Canon Lane. But Bishop Bell’s defenders believe that his memory is being destroyed unjustly by uncorroborated allegations and that the Church’s investigations have been too secretive.

George Bell House [before 2015]

Bishop Bell’s niece, Barbara Whitley, 92, said: ‘The history books are all going to say this man was an abuser when nothing is proved.’

And Tom Sutcliffe, a former member of the Church’s General Synod and a choirboy at Chichester Cathedral during Bishop Bell’s time, said: ‘Those of us who knew him find these claims very difficult to believe.

‘No legal process has been gone through, and one doesn’t know what really happened.’

The Church said it had investigated the allegations properly and, although it could not release all the details for reasons of confidentiality, it accepted the woman’s account as true on the balance of probabilities.

Featured post

FEBRUARY 20 2021 – “DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH CAN’T PRAY IN HIS OWN CATHEDRAL WITHOUT PERMISSION” – DAILY TELEGRAPH + “OXFORD JABS – SECOND DOSE” – PRIVATE EYE

Christ Church Cathedral Oxford

Photo: Wiki Commons

Dean of Christ Church can’t pray in his own cathedral without permission

The Dean has agreed to step aside from all ministerial duties, said a Christ Church spokesperson, and so he ‘must not attend public worship’ By Gabriella Swerling, SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS EDITOR 19 February 2021 • 7:09pm – Daily Telegraph

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Greg Blatchford/REX (9300853c)
Annual Carol Service attended by Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral and College, Oxford.
Nine Lessons Carol Service, Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, UK - 23 Dec 2017
The Very Rev Dr Martyn Percy has been embroiled in a long-standing row with fellow Oxford dons over his tenure CREDIT: News Scans

The embattled Dean of Christ Church, Oxford has been told he can’t pray in his own cathedral without asking for prior permission.

The Very Rev Dr Martyn Percy, who presides over the college and cathedral, has been embroiled in a long-standing row with fellow Oxford dons over his tenure. 

The latest dispute follows on from an allegation that he “sexually harrassed” a woman by holding her hair and complimenting her on her appearance. The allegation that was reported to police triggered a “thorough investigation” which was promptly concluded without arrests.

However, it has now emerged that the Dean is being treated as [a] “such a safeguarding risk” by the college that if he wishes to pray in his own cathedral, he must secure written permission and be supervised.

Even staff who carry out maintenance work in the deanery have to be accompanied, and college students, staff and visitors have been instructed not to speak to him or visit him at home, except in pairs.

It is also understood that a shared evening meal at home with his own adult son prompted a “threatening” legal letter from the censor’s lawyer. 

The letter was sent at a time when the Dean was staying away from home and returned to visit his family. However, this was seen as a safeguarding breach.

The Dean is also subject to risk assessments carried out every two weeks by people who, it is alleged, have no formal training to conduct such assessments.

However, the Dean’s supporters claim that the “threatening” legal letters amount to further attempts to oust him from the college.

One said: “It’s frightening to realise they’ve set in motion multiple legal processes on the Dean in the current situation. It’s massively disproportionate.”

Earlier this year, the College’s Governing Body was supported by the chapter of the cathedral in a vote to convene a second internal tribunal against the Dean amid an allegation of “sexual harassment”, which he denied.

However, the latest alleged restrictions on the Dean – who has already been exonerated in one tribunal against the college – come after it emerged that the Governing Body has voted to carry out an independent review regarding the handling of the original complaint made against the Dean

The independent review comes  after last month’s decision by the Charity Commission to inform Christ Church dons that it will examine whether “conflicts of interest” are behind the latest alleged attempt to oust him.

The watchdog questioned whether a second tribunal against the Dean was an appropriate use of college funds.   

A spokesperson for Christ Church said: “Following a sexual harassment allegation made by an employee in October, internal risk assessments were conducted relating to our school, college and Cathedral, and these were agreed with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.

“No one at Christ Church has ever said that the Dean cannot meet or eat with his son, or that he can only do so when supervised. All this is entirely untrue – as has been reiterated to the Dean, and his lawyers – and is a clear attempt to undermine the allegation.

“In fact, for his own wellbeing, the Dean has been encouraged to see those who are in his network of social support.

“It is also untrue that any instruction has been given, not to speak to the Dean or visit him at home, except in pairs.

“The Dean agreed to step aside from all ministerial duties, as requested by the Bishop of Oxford. In line with usual practice for clergy in these circumstances, he must not attend public worship – which is not currently taking place due to the pandemic in any case — or otherwise be involved with the life of the Cathedral.

“However, he is absolutely able to visit the Cathedral for private prayer, on request. He has made no such request.” 

FEBRUARY 18 2021 – “OXFORD JABS – SECOND DOSE” – PRIVATE EYE + CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD AND MARTYN PERCY

Featured post

FEBRUARY 19 2021 – “SEX. POWER. CONTROL” BY FIONA GARDNER + CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD AND MARTYN PERCY

I’ve just received “Sex. Power. Control – Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church” by Fiona Gardner [Lutterworth 2021]. It has four pages – 95, 96,97 & 98 – relating to Bishop Bell and I was looking forward to reading a new, up-to-date, accurate insight into this injustice. How wrong I was! Here [below] are excerpts from the three pages of the book – the contents most of which seem an insightful analysis of abuses of Church power – but I was particularly incensed by this:

“Following the work with the independent safeguarding advisor, the Church reached a settlement in 2015 in a civil claim [with ‘Carol’ – Ed], an announcement which caused much indignation and outrage from many of the powerful and privileged supporters of Bishop Bell, who said that the Church had been too quick to condemn a highly revered man who, because he had died decades earlier, could not defend himself”

The Bell Society was not established in 2016 by, or for, the “powerful and privileged”.

Gardner selectively quotes Lord Carlile QC, but only to serve her arguments – not to serve justice in the Bishop Bell injustice. Garner also fails to acknowledge that Lord Carlile himself confirmedthat the Church had been too quick to condemn a highly revered man who…could not defend himself”

In an otherwise valuable book, Gardner lets herself down badly in her analysis of the Bishop Bell case – and thus also lets the reader down.

But I do not wish to be over-critical of Fiona Gardner’s book – my primary emphasis is on ‘rebuilding bridges’, healing and reconciliation.
Gardner’s book is, in fact, very good – well worth reading – but she seems to have ‘fallen into a trap’ like so many victims and survivors of abuse.


It has been regrettable that the narrative of survivors and victims – abused by the Church in more ways than sexual – often preclude clergy survivors and victims of false accusations of abuse.
Survivors/victims [and their advocates] – seem to have a ‘blind spot’ for the sufferings and injustice of those survivors/victims falsely accused [and their advocates] – such as Bishop Bell, George Carey, Martyn Percy et al.
This ‘blind spot’ is understandable in many ways, but it is important to make clear that survivors/victims of abuse are both those who have been abused and those who have been falsely accused of abuse. Both suffer and are in pain from the abuse by the Church – especially the abuse of power – and both voices need to be heard together [not one voice heard at the expense of the other]. Both need healing.


Gardner’s book is titled “Sex, Power, Control – Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church”, and we need to focus on that and not be distracted and diverted by divisively arguing between ourselves.


Richard Scorer put it well in 2018 at the IICSA [March 5][Page 129 -Paras. 2-19 – Richard Scorer – Counsel for the complainants, victims and survivors represented by Slater & Gordon]: “…this is not simply an issue of attitude but of competence too. This is a point which has been made powerfully by Martin Sewell, who is both a lay member of the General Synod and a retired child protection lawyer. He points out that diocesan staff are typically trained in theology and Canon law, not in safeguarding or child protection law. As a result, he says, many of those making a decision about safeguarding in the Church of England have no credible claim to expertise in this increasingly complex situation. Interestingly, Mr Sewell makes that point both in relation to the treatment of complainants of abuse, but also in regard to the mishandling, in his view, of the George Bell case. He sees the failings on both of those aspects as two sides of the same coin, a fundamental problem, in his view, being a lack of competence and specialist knowledge, particularly legal knowledge and experience gained in a practical safeguarding context”

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

“Sex. Power. Control – Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church” by Fiona Gardner [Lutterworth 2021]

Chapter 6 – Dynamics of Power and Control in the Institutional Church

Excerpts from Pages 95, 96, 97 & 98

“The dining clubs and the powerful informal networks linked to them are clear examples of the way in which class permeates the hierarchy of the Church of England…Class barriers are consciously and unconsciously enforced by most people, who then conform to certain rules and stick to codes on how ‘people like them’ ought to behave, look or even think. In this way, class is one of the markers of power and control in the Church.

“This divide is illustrated by some of the exchanges quoted in the independent report by Lord Carlile into the way the Church of England dealt with a complaint of sexual abuse made by a woman known as ‘Carol’ against the late bishop George Bell.

The report was published in 2017 but the documentation includes the following comment from 1995 , after Carol had written to Bishop Eric Kemp, then the Bishop of Chichester, alleging sexual abuse by Bell when she was between eight and ten years old. The bishop’s response was to ask for further information: ‘Try to find out more about this lady.’ Carlile notes that written on the same copy was: ‘[…’s] parish. [He] does not know her. This is where the council houses problem people.’ Carlile rightly adds. ‘In my view this was an inappropriate comment to have written [Ref 30: Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC ‘Bishop George Bell: The Independent Review’, 16 December 2017, Page 19]…

“Carlile saw the response as inadequate, and one might add, patronising…

“Following the work with the independent safeguarding advisor, the Church reached a settlement in 2015 in a civil claim [with ‘Carol’ – Ed], an announcement which caused much indignation and outrage from many of the powerful and privileged supporters of Bishop Bell, who said that the Church had been too quick to condemn a highly revered man who, because he had died decades earlier, could not defend himself

“The hierarchical and rather rigid power structure of the Church of England means that it is a very ‘congested system’; it lacks the fluidity needed for the culture significantly to change. The tone of the controversy over the George Bell compensation settlement [whatever its rights or wrongs] exemplifies the demonisation of those forces intruding from the margins, including the poor, in this case, female, those ‘sullied by sexual abuse’ and their ‘politically correct’ agitating supporters, as somehow an attack on the pure, the holy and the good, the traditional, powerful, white male core, who have so many resources to call upon, including a great deal of money”.

________________________________________________________________________________________

“The professional approach is to neither believe nor disbelieve the complainant and their allegation. There is no right or entitlement for a complainant to be believed, but there is a right and entitlement for a complainant to be treated with respect, to take their allegation seriously, to listen with compassion, and to record the facts clearly. It would appear the Church regarded ‘Carol’ as a victim to be believed at all costs. There seems to have been a panicked rush to judgement in which an astonishing lack of judgement was made manifest. Bishop Bell was an easy target, disposable and dispensable…’thrown under the bus’ for reasons unknown” 

~ Richard W. Symonds – 2016

March 5 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 5

cw1_5427 - edited (2)

Chair Alexis Jay (leaning forward) – Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – IICSA

Page 129 -Paras. 2-19 – Richard Scorer [Counsel for the complainants, victims and survivors represented by Slater & Gordon]: 

“…this is not simply an issue of attitude but of competence too. This is a point which has been made powerfully by Martin Sewell, who is both a lay member of the General Synod and a retired child protection lawyer. He points out that diocesan staff are typically trained in theology and Canon law, not in safeguarding or child protection law. As a result, he says, many of those making a decision about safeguarding in the Church of England have no credible claim to expertise in this increasingly complex situation. Interestingly, Mr Sewell makes that point both in relation to the treatment of complainants of abuse, but also in regard to the mishandling, in his view, of the George Bell case. He sees the failings on both of those aspects as two sides of the same coin, a fundamental problem, in his view, being a lack of competence and specialist knowledge, particularly legal knowledge and experience gained in a practical safeguarding context”

Sex, Power and Control. New book by Fiona Gardner

Stephen Parsons

One of my complaints about the Church safeguarding world is the ease with which people in authority in the Church forget things.   Some forgetting may be to do with deliberate supressing of inconvenient truth. The burden of remembering shocking information is too uncomfortable.  So, it has to be buried.  The other part of not remembering unpleasant material from the past is the fact that information overload can take over.   I certainly find the task of preserving and sometimes printing out hard copies of numerous safeguarding reports fairly tedious.  There are just too many of them.  But the effect on our memories is the same.  Cases, reports and personalities get forgotten.  A new generation of safeguarding officials appear who know little or nothing of what has gone before.  This is, of course, a serious matter for a Church that is trying to turn over a new page in safeguarding.  It wants to deal professionally with a complex relationship with its record over safeguarding back in the past.. 

The new book, Sex, Power and Control by Fiona Gardner, goes some way to removing at a stroke any temptation to allow the past record of church safeguarding to disappear from the corporate memory.  It has never, of course, gone away for the actual victims.  The institution of the Church of England, on the other hand, seems often to do a good job at forgetting.  Old mistakes are repeated and ‘lessons learned’ seem not to change things.  The present book is a careful analysis and a record of all the main incidents of abuse over the past ten or twenty years.  In every case recorded we find not only the wickedness of an evil act against a vulnerable person, but also the often clumsy responses by those in authority in the Church.  If we have to summarise these responses, we can say simply that they routinely make a priority of the needs of the institution rather than the welfare of survivors.  One vignette, recorded by Fiona, concerns the aftermath of a scandal in her home diocese where she was working as a Safeguarding Adviser.  Although she had a senior position, with many responsibilities in safeguarding, no one in the senior staff had thought to tell her of the past abusive activities of a particular priest in the diocese.  He was now facing imprisonment.  The Bishop and the senior staff were having a meeting to discuss the ‘washing up’.   By this they meant the attempts to mitigate the reputational and financial damage to the diocese.  The victim in this case was never mentioned.  Somehow the embarrassment that the Bishop was experiencing was projected on to Fiona. She was made to feel that the whole incident was in some way her fault. It is small wonder that Fiona only managed to complete six years in the post before moving on.

Of the rest of the stories and cases recorded in Fiona’s book, many are well known.  But, as I have already suggested, many of these stories are becoming obscured by the passage of time.  An endless succession of new stories seem to crowd in to take their place, grabbing the attention of a watching public.  I wondered aloud with Fiona when she asked me to write the foreword. ‘Can you really write about cases of Church abuse when this safeguarding scene is constantly in flux?  Will the book not be out of date the moment it is printed?’   I have come to see that the writing of a book recording things as they were at the very end of 2020 is an important thing to do.  Sex, Power, Control provides a kind of benchmark against which to evaluate the journey from the past into what we hope will be a better future.

Three things give the book its distinctiveness.  One I have already alluded to is that we have here a guide, sympathetically told, of the main church abuse cases and the response to them the mid-90s up till 2020.  Thus we read of the cases of the Nine O’clock service, Matt Ineson, ‘Joe’ and Julie McFarlane among many others.  The accounts are in accordance with the facts as gleaned from the individuals concerned or from one of the documented accounts that has appeared in the net. Secondly the stories are told within the context of a well-informed perspective.  Fiona is an acute observer.  She brings to bear her training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy.  This approach is a refreshing change from the official management methods that are typically on offer in the Church bodies that deal with abuse cases.  The Church leaders that have tried to offer empathy or understanding to the survivors have often revealed a curious detachment from their sufferings.  The choice of language emerging from Church leaders often reveals the priorities merely of reputation management.   The current prevailing atmosphere in the Church of England is one that prioritises better systems of management.  Growth and the smooth functioning of the institution is what matters.  This is perhaps not the message of healing that survivors need to hear.

The third perspective, which I welcome unreservedly, is that Fiona’s indispensable book is written with a strong bias for the perspective and needs of survivors.  She ‘gets’ their pain, their patience, their frustration and their waiting for justice.  Her witness for the perspective of survivors is made stronger by her having worked for the ‘other side’ of safeguarding as a diocesan adviser.  Her testimony about that six-year experience is telling.  She found herself to be an embarrassment in the Diocesan Office, as though the stuff she was dealing with was somehow contaminating the real work of the Church.  No one there wanted to admit that shameful things were going on.  The issues which one brave person was facing were, in fact, everyone’s business.  I wonder how much this experience is today shared by other Advisers/Officers up and down the country.  To work where there is any kind of resistance to the work you do is bound to cause stress for the officer concerned.  Is it any wonder that many DSOs/DSAs have remarkably short tenures of office?

What I have written here about Sex, Power, Control is not meant to be a review.  I am disqualified, in any event, from writing a review by the fact my name appears on the cover as having written a short foreword.  But even with this admission of bias, I still want to speak positively about the book and urge all my readers to buy it.  If like me, you are interested in the phenomenon of abuse and power and want to understand things better, this book is for you.  If you are a safeguarding professional who needs to know what has gone on the Church of England over the last 20+ years, this book is an essential resource.  It is never going to be helpful, if a new generation of professionals come into this safeguarding world and do not know at the outset the stories of Peter Ball, Garth Moore, Trevor Devamanikkan, John Smyth and the Titus Trust.  All these stories are told complete with references from the internet and elsewhere.  In short, everyone who makes a living in the safeguarding should be required to buy this book or have it bought for them.

The final group who should read the book are the survivors.  They will know much of the factual material, but they will receive encouragement from the fact that this is written by someone who really understands their plight.  As I have often said, the ordeal of the survivor is often made far worse in the encounter that he/she has with church officials who may be emotionally or pastorally illiterate.  While I have not met Fiona Gardner, her book reveals her to be someone who seems to resonate expertly with the needs of abuse survivors, both at the time of their abuse and also with those who may have been further wounded by later toxic interventions of the institution.  The Church as a whole needs her expertise and wisdom.

Although I am disqualified from writing a review, I can still hope that many of my readers will acquire it as it seems an excellent path to understanding the joint issues of abuse and power in the Church.  It will, I hope, be one more tool in the task of educating a Church that needs to understand both these issues far better.  I recommend it and hope it will be greeted with success.

Sex Power, Control Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church by Fiona Gardner, Lutterworth Press 2021.  The book publication date is next Thursday February 25th

About Stephen Parsons

Stephen is a retired Anglican priest living at present in Cumbria. He has taken a special interest in the issues around health and healing in the Church but also when the Church is a place of harm and abuse. He has published books on both these issues and is at present particularly interested in understanding how power works at every level in the Church. He is always interested in making contact with others who are concerned with these issues.

COMMENTS

  1. Steve Lewis I ordered a copy when I first heard of the book. It’s a welcome idea to catalogue a record in print of the terrible history of abuse at the hands of the churches. I can envisage an expanding library as this volume gains acceptance and look forward to reading this edition when it rolls off the printing press.
  2. Fiona Gardner Stephen, thanks for your foreword and now endorsement – it has to be said that survivingchurch.org is in itself an extraordinary testament to what has gone on and an invaluable research source – (as the many refs in Sex Power Control will testify) also your own earlier publication Ungodly Fear led the way…

“CHRIST CHURCH TO COMMISSION INDEPENDENT REVIEW” – ‘THINKING ANGLICANS’ – COMMENT

Comment – Mike Dobson

One of the pithy insights that comes up, again and again, every time I take part in safeguarding training is that abusers will spare no energy in their attempts to insist that they are the virtuous ones, or even the victims; while being completely oblivious to the damage they inflict on their victims as their tactics become more aggressive and diversionary.

The College’s Governing Body is obviously doing its best to conform to this model.

“OXFORD JABS – SECOND DOSE” – ‘PRIVATE EYE’

Christ Church Oxford –

Photo: Wiki Commons

Private Eye No 1541 – 19 February – 4 March 2021

FEBRUARY 18 2021 – “OXFORD JABS – SECOND DOSE” – PRIVATE EYE + CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD AND MARTYN PERCY

“CHRIST CHURCH – OXFORD JABS – A SECOND DOSE” – ‘PRIVATE EYE’ NO 1541 – 19 FEBRUARY – 4 MARCH 2021

In Eye 1539 we reported that the governing body of Christ Church, Oxford, is proposing to establish a second full-scale internal tribunal to rule on whether its dean, Martyn Percy, is guilty of “immoral, scandalous and disgraceful conduct” and so can be sacked.

This follows an allegation [which Percy denies] that he touched the long hair of a woman after a morning service last October. Now the Charity Commission has intervened.

Helen Earner, the commission’s director of regulatory services, has written individually to all 65 members of the governing body, revealing that the commission has “concerns about the prudent application of charitable funds and the proper process of decision making within the charity as the dispute involving the Dean continues”. She reminds them that as trustees they have collective and individual responsibility for the running of Christ Church.

The commission is keen to investigate any conflicts of interest or loyalty involved in the decision to launch a second tribunal. It will also be asking individual members of the governing body to justify the expense and proportionality of their action.

The arrival of the letter was followed by an angry governors’ meeting. Within hours the “wily censors” of Christ Church had sent their own letters to governors, advising them that they are not obliged to answer questions from the Charity Commission without warning.

The governors have good reason to be worried. As trustees of the charity, they have personal liability for any misuse of the college’s funds. Estimates suggests that the legal bill for the anti-Percy campaign may come in at around £5m. If they have to split the tab, that’s more than £75,000 per member of the governing body. The college has already lost about £5m in donations since the dispute began, and last month its chief fundraiser resigned.

Meanwhile, college students, staff and visitors have been instructed not to speak to the dean or visit him at home, except in pairs. He is deemed to be such a safeguarding risk that if he wants to pray in the cathedral next door, he needs written permission and must be supervised. A shared meal at home with his own adult son prompted a warning letter from the censors’ lawyer. Even staff who come to do maintenance work in the deanery have to be accompanied.

Correction

In a previous report on the allegation that the dean stroked a woman’s hair after morning service, we quoted the complainant as saying: “I knew it was a massive deal. People wanted the final blow. I was thinking, ‘Is this important enough for that to happen?'” We have now been informed that these were not her own words; they were those of another individual, with whom she discussed the incident. We are happy to make this clear.

“CHRIST CHURCH TO COMMISSION INDEPENDENT REVIEW” – ‘THINKING ANGLICANS’ – SIMON SARMIENTO – FEBRUARY 19 2021

Christ Church to Commission Independent Review

on Friday, 19 February 2021 at 7.42 am by Simon Sarmiento

Our last update on this subject was on 8 February: Christ Church Oxford: further developments.
Now comes this, from the website of Christ Church, Oxford:

Christ Church to Commission Independent Review

17 February 2021

Christ Church’s Governing Body has voted to carry out an independent review regarding the handling of a serious sexual harassment complaint, in order to confirm the disciplinary process it has put in place. The complaint was made last October by a junior member of staff against a senior member.

Last month, Governing Body addressed the complaint through its internal disciplinary procedures, but these have been questioned repeatedly by some in the media, while the motives of the complainant have been publicly challenged. While it is fully confident of the decisions it has made on this matter, Governing Body agreed that it wanted to respond to the queries that have been raised in a transparent manner. It felt that an external review would be the best way of ensuring that the complaint can be properly and swiftly dealt with for the sake of all those involved.

Governing Body’s decision follows a letter written by Christ Church student representatives to the Charity Commission, which stresses the importance of urgently addressing any allegation of sexual harassment. Christ Church’s internal HR processes are dictated by its statutes, and in this case require a tribunal to be set up to consider any appropriate disciplinary action.

A spokesperson for Christ Church commented:

“We entirely share our students’ concerns that a complaint of sexual harassment by this young member of staff must be treated with the utmost seriousness. That is exactly why last month we put our formal internal HR processes into action, and we are entirely confident these are the correct and necessary steps. However, we believe that an external, independent review will provide further reassurance about the decisions that were taken, and a way forward for all involved.”

Christ Church has begun the immediate process of identifying and appointing a Chair for the independent review and agreeing its terms of reference. It is expected that the Chair will be a senior figure from the judiciary.

Separately, Christ Church has reiterated its condemnation of attempts, through the press, social media and on a number of blogs, to gaslight and intimidate the complainant, their supporters, and the independent investigator who carried out a preliminary investigation into the allegation. Given the repeated leaking of confidential, personal information, Christ Church has reported a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office.  

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 

‘Might is Right’ and ‘Sledgehammer to crack a Nut’ join forces in the Theatre of the Insane

Mike Dobson

Mike Dobson

One of the pithy insights that comes up, again and again, every time I take part in safeguarding training is that abusers will spare no energy in their attempts to insist that they are the virtuous ones, or even the victims; while being completely oblivious to the damage they inflict on their victims as their tactics become more aggressive and diversionary.

The College’s Governing Body is obviously doing its best to conform to this model. Reply

John Wallace

John Wallace 

Or are they just hoping that this will pacify the Charity Commission?

Anthony Archer

Yet another retired High Court judge to be forced to admit that s/he is utterly bemused. 

Janet Fife

Janet Fife 

It’s remarkable that this group of elite academics should commission an independent review stating beforehand that it will prove their case. Don’t they know that it’s not done to start research expecting it to prove your hypothesis – let alone to announce beforehand what the result will be? Reply

Kate

Kate 

“Given the repeated leaking of confidential, personal information, Christ Church has reported a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office..”
 
…but plans to share deeply personal data with an external reviewer, not to progress the complaint, but simply to review Christ Church procedures. Reply

Filigree Jones

Filigree Jones

Not so long ago a bishop suggested to me that I might apply for a post at Christ Church Oxford. As I said to them at the time, nothing could have induced me. The problems at Christ Church go well beyond the relational, the political and the legal, although all those dimensions exist and must be addressed. They are first and foremost spiritual. In this broad Church of England of ours we will have different ways of describing what we are observing. Coming from a tradition that recognises spiritual evil as an Actual Thing I would say that the demons of malice and discord are currently roaming unchecked through the cloisters of Christ Church and urgently need to be dealt with. Otherwise, I fear for the spiritual safety of everyone involved, not just of Martyn Percy who has been treated so abominably, but of the wily Censors, the recent appointments, the latest complainant and ultimately of all those whose lives are bound up with this once respected institution. I hope that everyone who has ever commented on this blog is also committed to praying for the Holy Spirit to be at work in this dangerous situation.

Featured post

FEBRUARY 18 2021 – LORD MOORE AND THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE

Lord Moore

From this week’s Spectator – Charles Moore

“The Unintended Consequences of the Macpherson Report”

Sir William Macpherson of Cluny has died. His obituaries praise him for his 1998 inquiry into the Stephen Lawrence case. His report did indeed shed light on the failure of the police to catch the young man’s killers. It has had, however, a profound and bad effect on our law.

The report’s recommendations redefined a racist incident: ‘A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.’ This definition means that absolutely anything in the world could be a racist incident, because it relies wholly on what a complainant ‘perceives’. The definition’s use of the word ‘victim’ also implies acceptance that every person who claims to be a victim is one.

This short-circuits the duty of the law to establish the facts. And if a racist incident is thus defined, it follows that anyone who denies that a racist incident took place is rejecting the ‘perception’ of racism and is therefore himself racist, at least ‘unconsciously’ or ‘institutionally’ so.

From this perception doctrine has flowed a vast new body of law and practice which concerns not only race but other ‘hate crimes’ about religion, sexuality, sex and gender etc. It has also helped create the climate — in sex abuse claims, for instance — of believing the ‘victim’ without proper evidence.

As was obvious, though widely denied, from the first, this was bound to empower false accusations. We have seen case after case — most famously Carl Beech, fanned by Tom Watson — in which this has caused appalling pain and injustice.

We have also seen consequent bad processes deployed as weapons in unrelated disputes.

Thus Christ Church, Oxford, obsessed with getting rid of its Dean, Martyn Percy, belatedly raised ‘safeguarding’ issues to try (unsuccessfully) to discredit him.

I am afraid the Macpherson Report got all this going. Sir William, an upright judge, did not intend this, but it has happened.

To put it simply, it undermines one of the most basic principles of the rule of law — the presumption of innocence.

Featured post

FEBRUARY 15 2021 – THE TALE OF TWO CATHEDRAL DEANS – PART III – FROM THE ARCHIVES [DECEMBER 17 2014] – ARCHBISHOP WELBY’S LEADERSHIP COURSES…” – FINANCIAL TIMES

JANUARY 24 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [DECEMBER 17 2014] – “CHURCH OF ENGLAND MANAGEMENT COURSES OVERLOOK GOD, SAYS CRITICS” – FINANCIAL TIMES

Leave a reply

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Photo Source: Financial Times

Church of England management courses overlook God, say critics

Financial Times – December 17 2014 – Barney Thompson

Justin Welby defends Lord Green’s business training proposals for senior clergy

The archbishop of Canterbury has defended plans to send senior clergy on leadership courses after critics said the proposal was full of “executive management speak” and barely mentioned God.

A 34-page report, entitled “Talent Management for Future Leaders and Leadership Development for Bishops and Deans: A New Approach”, recommends a “new and dynamic curriculum” to create a “broad and appropriately equipped pool of candidates with exceptional potential for the senior leadership roles” in the Church of England.

It proposes offering senior clerics a 12 to 18-month course with modules on “Building Healthy Organisations”, “Leading for Growth” and “Reshaping Ministry”, and recommends a mini-MBA, “targeted primarily at deans” but which could be extended further down the church hierarchy. The report’s 12-strong panel was chaired by Lord Green, the former HSBC chairman and trade minister, and included Christopher McLaverty, ex-head of talent and learning at BP, as “consultant design manager”, as well as four bishops.

The recommendations — leaked online before publication — have come under fire from the Very Rev Prof Martyn Percy, dean of Christ Church, Oxford, who called them a “dish of basic contemporary approaches to executive management with a little theological garnish”. He added: “This report mentions the word ‘leadership’ 171 times but the word ‘pastoral’ not once, and says very little about God. It is like writing a report about Tesco without mentioning groceries. It is a really poor piece of work.”

The report’s steering group contained no academics in the crucial areas of educational studies, management and leadership, or theology and ecclesiology, said Prof Percy. None of the authors was an ordained woman. “Any academic from those areas would have provided substantial critical interlocution with this report and those voices were excluded. Instead, we got a spiel of executive management-speak.” After writing an article for the Church Times that was highly critical of the proposals, Prof Percy said he had received “hundreds of emails and tweets, and I cannot find anyone who thinks this is a good thing”.

Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, who is a former senior oil company executive, defended the Green report in an article on the Church’s Tumblr site. He said it set out a process “which enables proper preparation for wider responsibility to be held within a clear Christian context of development of personal spirituality and prayer”.

Archbishop Welby added: “We can’t simply go on as we are if we are to flourish and grow as the Church of England.” The plan envisages 36 diocesan bishops starting the primary course next year. Training will be run by a leading business institution — thought to be Cambridge university’s Judge Business School — and will cost £2m between now and the end of 2016, plus £785,000 a year after that.

Linda Woodhead, professor of sociology of religion at Lancaster University, called the report a “tentative step into the modern world of more meritocratic appointments but without really denting the patronage system” on which the Church still relied. The authors had “dodged a big challenge”, she added, in failing to propose truly opening up the process of advancement.

The Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy – Dean of Christ Church

LETTER SUBMITTED TO THE SPECTATOR – FEBRUARY 3 2021 [UNPUBLISHED]

Dear Editor


The Church of England has essentially been transformed into a secular business corporation, driven by a correspondingly unholy ethos of money, economics and PR management [“Holy relic” / “All that is sacred”, Spectator, Feb 6]

Could this corporate transformation stem from Lord Green’s business training proposals for bishops and deans seven years ago?His 2014 report, “Talent Management for Future Leaders and Leadership Development for Bishops and Deans: A New Approach”, recommended a “new and dynamic curriculum” to create a “broad and appropriately equipped pool of candidates with exceptional potential for the senior leadership roles” in the Church of England. It was supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, a former senior oil company executive.
The recommendations came under fire from the Very Rev Prof Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church Oxford, who called them a “dish of basic contemporary approaches to executive management with a little theological garnish…This report mentions the word ‘leadership’ 171 times but the word ‘pastoral’ not once, and says very little about God. It is like writing a report about Tesco without mentioning groceries.”
Archbishop Welby didn’t listen. We now have a management-driven church that has replaced pastoral care with executive leadership – a far cry from the church many of us knew and loved. 


Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

THE CHURCH IS NOT A BUSINESS – ANGELA TILBY – CHURCH TIMES

Featured post

FEBRUARY 15 2021 – THE TALE OF TWO CATHEDRAL DEANS AND THEIR MEMORIALS TO BISHOP BELL – PART II – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 22 2015] – THE VERY REVEREND PROFESSOR MARTYN PERCY DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD

THE TALE OF TWO CATHEDRAL DEANS AND THEIR MEMORIALS TO BISHOP BELL – PART II – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 22 2015] – THE VERY REVEREND PROFESSOR MARTYN PERCY DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD

Bishop Bell Memorial at Christ Church Oxford

JANUARY 9 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 21 2015 – TELEPHONE CONVERSATION BETWEEN CHURCH OF ENGLAND SECRETARY-GENERAL SIR WILLIAM FITTALL AND MARTYN PERCY DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD]

Leave a reply

FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 21 2015 – TELEPHONE CONVERSATION BETWEEN CHURCH OF ENGLAND SECRETARY-GENERAL SIR WILLIAM FITTALL AND MARTYN PERCY DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD]

Oct 21 2015 – Telephone conversation between Church of England Secretary-General Sir William Fittall and Martyn Percy Dean of Christ Church Oxford

On the October 21, 2015, I had been rung by the then Secretary-General of the Archbishops’ Council and of the General Synod of the Church of England, Sir William Fittall. It was Fittall who told me, over the phone, that a ‘thorough investigation’ had implicated Bishop George Bell in an historic sex-abuse case, and that the Church had ‘paid compensation to the victim’. Fittall added that he was tipping me off, as he knew we had an altar in the Cathedral dedicated to Bell, and that Bell was a distinguished former member of Christ Church. [Fittall was also educated at Christ Church Oxford from 1972 to 1975 – Ed]

Sir William Fittall

Fittall asked what we would do, in the light of the forthcoming media announcements. I explained that Christ Church is an academic institution, and we tend to make decisions based on evidence, having first weighed and considered its quality. Fittall replied that the evidence was ‘compelling and convincing’, and that the investigation into George Bell has been ‘lengthy, professional and robust’. I asked for details, as I said I could not possibly make a judgement without sight of such evidence. I was told that such evidence could not be released. So, Christ Church kept faith with Bell, and the altar, named after him, remains in exactly the same spot it has occupied for over fifteen years, when it was first carved.

~ Martyn Percy Dean of Christ Church Oxford – December 2017

FURTHER INFORMATION

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/01/09/january-9-2021-from-the-archives-october-25-2020-william-nye-shadowy-figure-behind-the-archbishop-of-canterbury-and-beyond-private-eye-23-october/

Featured post

FEBRUARY 15 2021 – THE TALE OF TWO CATHEDRAL DEANS AND THEIR MEMORIALS TO BISHOP BELL – PART 1 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 22 2015] – THE VERY REVEREND STEPHEN WAINE DEAN OF CHICHESTER CATHEDRAL

THE TALE OF TWO CATHEDRAL DEANS AND THEIR MEMORIALS TO BISHOP BELL – PART 1 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 22 2015] – THE VERY REVEREND STEPHEN WAINE DEAN OF CHICHESTER CATHEDRAL

Oct 22 2015 – Bishop of Chichester (Martin Warner) Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell [1883-1958] 

“In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective, and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties….” – Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

Oct 22 2015 – “I would be grateful…if you could refrain from including George Bell in your guided tours and external presentations” – Dean of Chichester Cathedral, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine [to Cathedral Guides]

IMG_1572

The Very Reverend Stephen Waine Dean of Chichester Cathedral

Photo Screenshot

Bishop Bell Memorial at Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Cathedral memorial to Bishop George Bell could be changed

Published18 February 2016Share

Rt Rev George Bell
image captionThe Rt Rev George Bell was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death in 1958

Chichester Cathedral is considering changing a memorial to a former bishop after it paid compensation to a woman who claimed he sexually abused her.

The memorial hails Bishop George Bell as a “pastor, poet, patron of the arts and champion of the oppressed and tireless worker for Christian unity”.

The Diocese of Chichester settled a civil claim made by the woman, who alleged she was abused as a child.

Current Bishop Dr Martin Warner issued a formal apology.

‘Scantiest of evidence’

The woman claimed the Rt Rev George Bell began abusing her in the late 1940s when she was five years old.

The Cathedral Chapter said some found the description of Bishop Bell on the memorial problematic but it was felt to be appropriate in 1961 when the memorial was put in place.

“Changing, or adding to, a historic memorial is complex and it will take time to ensure that the cathedral’s response to the memorial is both appropriate to Bell’s historic legacy and to the circumstances following the settlement,” it said in a statement.

Volunteer guides at the cathedral have been told they may leave Bishop Bell out of tours if they wish.

Bishop Bell memorial
image caption The Bishop Bell memorial describes him as a champion of the oppressed

The cathedral has already changed the name of its education centre from George Bell House to 4 Canon Lane.

However, journalist Peter Hitchens said an injustice was being done to Bishop Bell.

“There is a great rush to judgement by the Church, to trash the reputation of a great man,” he said.

“It believed nobody would care when it pronounced on the scantiest of evidence on that George Bell was guilty of this dreadful crime and is now proceeding with amazing speed to try to wipe out his memory.

“Nothing has been proved against George Bell.”

Bell was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death in October 1958.

During World War Two he was known for championing the people of Germany and made a speech in the House of Lords in February 1944 opposing Churchill’s policy of saturation bombing.

Related Topics

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

Featured post

FEBRUARY 14 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [FEBRUARY 4 1983] – ANGLO-GERMAN ‘RECONCILIATION’ TAPESTRY IN CHICHESTER CATHEDRAL COMMISSIONED TO MARK THE CENTENARY OF BISHOP BELL’S BIRTH

Feb 4 1983 – The ’Anglo-German Tapestry’, which includes references to the life of St Richard, was commissioned to mark the centenary of Bishop Bell’s birth.

November 26 2017 – The Anglo-German “Reconciliation” Tapestry – Ursula Benker-Schirmer – Chichester Cathedral

1 Reply17883830_1385619008148403_1202135502100320241_n

Reconciliation between Germany and England for the cathedral in Chichester. Tapestry 40 square meters. By Ursula Benker-Schirmer

The ’Anglo-German Tapestry’, which includes references to the life of St Richard, was commissioned to mark the centenary of Bishop Bell’s birth in 1983.

s-l225

Anglo-German Tapestry by Ursula Benker-Schirmer

New-image-of-Quire

http://www.chichestercathedral.org.uk/about-us/delve-deeper-1/anglo-german-tapestry/ (November 2017)

The Anglo-German Tapestry

Tapestry by Ursula Benker SchirmerTapestry by Ursula Benker-Schirmer

The beautiful Anglo-German tapestry, designed by Ursula Benker-Schirmer took three and a half years from conception to completion and is made using pure linen, silk and cotton.  It was designed to harmonise with the architecture and colours of nearby windows in the Cathedral.  The centre panel was woven in Germany and the two side panels at West Dean College, near Chichester.  Benker-Schirmer assembled the forms as if they were rock crystal fragments.  The tapestry was dedicated on 15th June 1985.
The principal symbols of the tapestry are:

The Chalice: symbol of St Richard of Chichester, at the centre of the tapestry with the cross above it. The red wine at the bottom of the chalice signifies the blood of Christ.
The Candle: is light and fire.
The Fig Trees: in the side panels are symbols of life and fecundity. St Richard had one in his garden and taught a priest how to graft them.
The Fish: along the lower area are traditional Christian symbols.
The Dove: above the Cross; symbol of the Holy Spirit and of peace.
The Triangle: symbol of the Holy Trinity.
The Lotus: in red, it emerges from the water. It supports the chalice and the cross. It is often used as a Christian symbol of birth and rebirth in Christ.
The Serpent: emerges from the lotus and rises below the cross. It symbolises struggle, temptation, suffering and hardship.
The Cross: the symbol of the victorious cross is at the centre. It is the cross of suffering.
The Circle: the artist suggests several interpretations – the world, the cycle of life, the symbol of infinity, God at the centre of our life. The tapestry shows it broken to “open the way to Eternity”.

http://www.chichestercathedral.org.uk/news/famous-anglo-german-tapestry-taken-down-for-shrine-refurbishment-posted-9-august-2011.shtml (August 2011)

Famous Anglo-German Tapestry taken down for Shrine Refurbishment…

Picture: Removal of Tapestry

Removal of Tapestry

A refurbishment of the historic Shrine of St Richard at Chichester Cathedral is taking place throughout August.  This interesting project will include the temporary removal for cleaning of the large and striking Anglo-German tapestry (approx 7m x 4m), the addition of specially designed metal grilles and candle stands, and the cleaning  and restoration of the marble floor.

The refurbishment has generously been made possible by the Bishop Eric Kemp Memorial Fund.  Bishop Eric (Bishop of Chichester 1974 to 2001) died in 2009.  He often said he wished the Shrine could be restored and made more worthy of Sussex’s own Saint, St Richard.

The Shrine of St Richard has been a site of pilgrimage throughout the ages.  Nowadays, the Shrine is a focus for prayer in the Cathedral where visitors can come and leave their prayers and petitions.  It is not unusual for over 200 prayers to be left at the Shrine each week.  Each day, these prayers are collected by the Cathedral Clergy and offered at Holy Communion service.

The Anglo-German Tapestry was placed at the altar in 1983 and was designed by Ursula Benker-Schirmer.  This vibrant work is one of the Cathedral’s modern pieces and it is dedicated to two bishops of Chichester: St Richard (1245 – 1253), and Bishop George Bell (1929 – 1958), patron of the arts and founder of the World Council of Churches.  The tapestry was woven in Germany and at West Dean College, near Chichester and took 3.5 years from conception to completion.

St Richard was Bishop of Chichester from 1245 – 1253 and died at Dover on 3rd April 1253.  In his eight years as a bishop, Richard had become so beloved of the people of Sussex that the Cathedral immediately became a place of pilgrimage.  The people said his name Ricardus stood for ridens (laughing), carus (dear) and dulcis (sweet).

In 1930 an altar was placed at the Shrine and in 1991 a portion of the authenticated relic, probably of St Richard’s arm, which had been preserved at the abbey of La Lucerne in Normandy, was interred beneath the altar.

Featured post

FEBRUARY 14 2021 – “IN A WORLD GONE MAD, WE NEED BRIDGE-BUILDERS. BELL IS A BRIDGE-BUILDER” + BBC RADIO 4 – SUNDAY: “ALL THE COLOURS OF THE RAINBOW”

“The Bridge-Builders”

RWS Photography

“In a world gone mad, we need bridge-builders. Bell is a bridge-builder”

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society [Rebuilding Bridges Conferences]

All the colours of the rainbow

Childrens’ rainbow pictures have become a familiar sight in windows across the UK and have become a symbol of hope during the coronavirus crisis.

Rainbows have symbolised many things over the centuries and they also appear in the scriptures of different faiths.

Rosie Dawson for Radio 4’s Sunday programme takes a look at rainbows in religion.

Along with the heartbreaking images of the Covid-19 crisis – the face masks, coffins and deserted streets – the rainbows which children are exhibiting from their windows or crayoning on to pavements come as blessed relief.

As well as coming to symbolise the value of the NHS, the rainbow has, in recent years, also come to stand for inclusivity, Gay Pride and post-apartheid South Africa.

But there’s also a rich and ancient symbolism to be found in many of the world’s religions. One of the oldest images is that of the Rainbow Serpent in Australian Aboriginal traditions.

The serpent is often seen as the creator, shaping the earth’s mountains and valleys as it moves over the land. When seen in the sky it is said to be moving from one waterhole to another. Although usually benign, the Rainbow Serpent can also be destructive, which is why Aboriginal peoples take care not to disturb it when it appears.

https://emp.bbc.co.uk/emp/SMPj/2.39.18/iframe.html

A symbol of hope in the time of Covid-19

Rabbi Shoshana Boyd-Gelfand and children reflect on the meaning of the rainbow.

In Hindu teaching the colours of the rainbow correspond to the energy centres or chakras in the body, beginning with the colour red at the base of the spine and moving up to the crown of the head, ultra violet in colour, from where the life force departs at death.

According to Dr Chetna Kang, a priest in the Bhaktiyoga tradition, the Hindu Scriptures speak of how all creation unites in the service of Krishna with rain and sun co-operating to form the rainbow to delight him. “The rainbow is also spoken of in the Vedic text as Indradhunesh, literally Indra’s bow,” says Dr Kang, “Indra is the demi-god responsible for the weather. Rainbows are not his weapon, his bow and arrow – they reflect his responsibility in directing the weather.”

The Biblical account of Noah’s flood ends with God setting a rainbow in the sky as a sign of His promise that He will never again destroy the earth. “The flood happened because God was upset about the violence in the world, “ explains Reform Rabbi Shoshana Boyd-Gelfand, “The bow and arrow is a symbol of violence, but God takes that and transforms it into a sign of promise and hope.”

In Thai Buddhist traditions the rainbow is a staircase connecting earth with heaven down which the gods descend. This idea of the rainbow as a bridge between heaven and earth is also found in Greek mythology; the goddess Iris personifies the rainbow and carries messengers from the gods to humanity. In some texts the rainbow is created from the colours of her coat as she flies across the skies.

Rainbow staircase leading to the Church of St Lucia in Arzachena, Sardinia

How the rainbow was formed was one of the great scientific questions that took thousands of years to resolve.

The rainbow bridge appears again in Norse traditions. Viking texts tell the story of Bifrost , the rainbow bridge which connects world of gods (Asgard) with world of men. “There’s also the belief that at Ragnarok, the final battle between the gods and power of darkness, the bridge would shatter,” says Jenny Uzzell, a religious educational consultant and practising Druid, “So for a Viking or a pagan Saxon looking at the rainbow will help them to feel safe because it means that time hasn’t come yet so it’s a very reassuring symbol.”

According to Tom McLeish, Professor of Natural History at the University of York, the question of how the rainbow was formed was one of the great scientific questions that took thousands of years to resolve. In his work on the atmosphere Aristotle thought it was reflection in a cloud, an idea taken up by Islamic commentators towards end of first millennium.

In the 13th century Robert Grossteste, who became Bishop of Lincoln, wrote a treatise on the rainbow, suggesting it was not reflection but refraction in a cloud. “Then finally in the 13th century an Islamic scientist in Bagdhad, Kamal al-Din al-Farisi Kamal, and a Benedictine monk, Dietrich of Freiburg in modern day Germany, both conducted experiments and saw how sunbeams refracted through raindrops. So it was a continuous and lovely problem.”

And seeking to solve it was for many a religious imperative, says Professor McLeish. “In his experimental work on light, Dietrich of Freiburg says that what got him started on his exploration was the ‘difficult question posed by God to Holy Job’ in the Bible: ‘By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?’ It was a scientific quest but it was also a spiritual one.”

  • Sunday As well as coming to symbolise the value of the NHS, the rainbow has, in recent years, also come to stand for inclusivity, Gay Pride and post- apartheid South Africa, but there’s also a rich and ancient symbolism to be found in many of the world’s religions.

Spiritual journeys on Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 homepage

Rainbow Bridge – Painting by Ginger Jamieson

REBUILDING BRIDGES

BRIDGE-BUILDERS WANTED

Featured post

FEBRUARY 13 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 8 2008] – GEORGE BELL HOUSE AT CHICHESTER CATHEDRAL OPENED AND DEDICATED BY DR ROWAN WILLIAMS ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

October 8 2008 – George Bell House at Chichester Cathedral opened and dedicated by the recently-retired Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams

1 Reply

http://www.smh-books.co.uk/articles/two-archbishops-two-bishops-two-dates-two-arundel-connections-and-one-smh-book

TWO ARCHBISHOPS, TWO BISHOPS TWO DATES, TWO ARUNDEL CONNECTIONS AND ONE SMH BOOK!

In 1961, Michael Ramsey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, went to Chichester Cathedral to dedicate the newly-rebuilt Arundel Screen, in memory of George Bell (1883-1958), one of the most outstanding Bishops of Chichester. (And, in my book, and in that of the 2000+ who have recently signed a Petition to have his name cleared and his greatness reinstated, a Bishop forever to be remembered.)

In 2008, on another equally special occasion, the recently-retired Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, visited Chichester to declare open George Bell House.

Two of Bishop Rowan’s special guests were Mother Angela and Sister Jane, two Anglican Sisters. (see photo to the right)

Why am I telling you this?

Now we go back in time again, to 2003. when a small package arrived in the post. It contained an exercise book crammed with small handwriting, accompanied by pony-camera photographs which had been glued tightly into the book. A note read: ‘Would you like to publish my story ? Sister Jane.’

I went on to read a beautiful, heart-warming account of an Anglican Community’s life and the devoted but joyful way the Sisters lived it. And of course I published it.

SURPRISED BY JOY A History of the Community of the Servants of the Cross This is a beautiful, heart-warming account . On the back cover, I quoted from the Rt Rev’d Eric Kemp, Bishop of Chichester, 1974-2000, and the Community’s Visitor:

…an admirable and encouraging story. I have known the Community since 1974. It has given long years of faithful service to the church, in various ways. The Sisters have been faithful to their calling, through many changes forced upon them by circumstances.

The other Arundel connection? In February, 2014, Rowan Williams, now known more correctly as The Rt Revd Dr and Rt Hon Baron Williams of Oystermouth, made a two-day, unforgettable visit to our Parish and Priory Church of St Nicholas.

He gave the second in the church’s ‘Poetry and Faith’ series, this time on Dylan Thomas, illustrated with readings of his poems. Next day, he celebrated and preached the sermon at the 10 am Eucharist Service.

Needless to say, the church was packed on both days, and a great many people some, we had never seen before, (but hope to see again) had the opportunity to listen, learn, and thoroughly enjoy what the erudite but engaging Bishop said, with such charm and humour. Our Vicar, David Farrer (also a Bishop!) commented to me in an email, after the weekend, that ‘the humble humanity of the man shines through’. That said it exactly!

~ Sandra Saer – SMH Books

Sandra Saer

Featured post

FEBRUARY 13 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [1961] – NEWLY-BUILT ARUNDEL SCREEN IN CHICHESTER CATHEDRAL DEDICATED BY THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY MICHAEL RAMSEY – IN MEMORY OF BISHOP GEORGE BELL [THEREON CALLED THE ARUNDEL-BELL SCREEN]

IMG_9963

Arundel-Bell Screen – Chichester Cathedral – RWS Photography

1961 – Newly-built Arundel Screen in Chichester Cathedral dedicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey – in memory of Bishop George Bell [thereon called The Arundel-Bell Screen]

“In 1961, Michael Ramsey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, went to Chichester Cathedral to dedicate the newly-built Arundel Screen, in memory of George Bell…”

Sandra Saer

Featured post

FEBRUARY 13 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [FEBRUARY 13 1945] – “ANCIENT DRESDEN REDUCED TO RUBBLE” / “THE BISHOP WHO FORETOLD DRESDEN” / THE DRESDEN ROOM – GEORGE BELL HOUSE

A surviving Town Hall (Rathaus) statue entitled the Allegory of Goodness looks out over the ruins of Dresden

“ANCIENT DRESDEN REDUCED TO RUBBLE”

“THE BISHOP WHO FORETOLD DRESDEN”

“THE BISHOP WHO FORETOLD DRESDEN” – THE LIVING CHURCH – THE REV. JOHN D. ALEXANDER

Leave a reply

Dear Editor

Following the 75th Anniversary of the Dresden bombing, we must remember that the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell was outspoken in his opposition to the Obliteration Policy of German cities.

Lord Bishop Bell, who was anti-Nazi but not anti-German, questioned the morality of bombing civilians. Most of his fellow Bishops in the House of Lords did not openly support him, and his moral stand in what he believed to be right made him few friends, especially in the higher echelons of power.

But this brave Bishop, who was considered a future Archbishop, was revered by many. George Bell House, at the Cathedral’s 4 Canon Lane was dedicated in his honour – and there is a ‘Dresden Room’ within that building. 

Shameful, but discredited, attempts have been made to tarnish his reputation in recent times. Official apology has not been forthcoming.

Bishop Bell’s courage, bravery and integrity must not be forgotten

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

https://livingchurch.org/2020/02/14/the-bishop-who-foretold-dresden/

Dresden, 1945 | Wikipedia

The Bishop Who Foretold Dresden

 

By John D. Alexander

On February 4, 1944, a prominent Anglican bishop addressed Britain’s House of Lords. He deplored the devastation wrought by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in nighttime raids on dozens of German cities: Lübeck, Rostock, Cologne, Hamburg, and Berlin, among others.  His name was George Kennedy Allen Bell of Chichester.

Bishop Bell warned that not just military and industrial targets, but museums, libraries, churches, hospitals, schools, and architectural monuments were being destroyed indiscriminately along with residential areas. While apartment blocks could be rebuilt, cultural treasures were being lost forever that would be needed for the Germans’ cultural renewal after the war.

He mentioned cities that had not yet been bombed: “Dresden, Augsburg, Munich are among the larger towns….” He hoped that RAF Bomber Command would restrict future attacks to the military installations and arms factories generally situated in such cities’ outskirts, while avoiding town centers full of cultural monuments.

Biblical scholars remind us that “prophecy” involves much more than just foretelling the future. But Bell was speaking prophetically at multiple levels. All the cities he mentioned were eventually subject to devastating air raids before war’s end. Dresden’s bombing, in a series of attacks on February 13-15, 1945, has become infamous.

Bell was neither a pacifist nor a sentimentalist. He had been a committed anti-Nazi since the early 1930s. He fully supported the Allied war against Hitler even as his extensive ecumenical friendships with Germans such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer made him draw a crucial distinction between the Nazi regime and the German people.

Nor was Bell militarily naïve. In preparing his speech he relied on the advice and assistance of his friend Captain B. F. Liddell Hart, the noted military historian and strategist. Bell accepted the necessity of air raids on Germany, provided that they were directed at targets like military bases, airfields, arms factories, railroad yards, naval docks, radio stations, radar installations, and oil refineries.

However, in 1942, responding to effective German air defenses and limitations in navigation and targeting technology, Bomber Command adopted a policy of “area” or “obliteration” bombing. Instead of aiming at specific targets, the strategy was to mass as many bombers as possible over an urban area by night and to drop as many bombs as possible. The hope was that at least some assets of military, industrial, or administrative significance would be engulfed in the general devastation below. The violence was indiscriminate. In each raid, vast residential areas were destroyed, and thousands of civilians were killed.

Bell understood that this policy violated the Christian just war tradition’s jus in bello norms of discrimination, noncombatant immunity, and proportionality. He granted that unintended civilian casualties were inescapable in necessary raids against military targets. But the sheer extent of noncombatant suffering and death caused by area bombing was entirely out of proportion.

“I fully realize,” Bell declared, “that in attacks on centers of war industry and transport the killing of civilians when it is the result of bona-fide military activity is inevitable. But there must be a fair balance between the means employed and the purpose achieved. To obliterate a whole town because certain portions contain military and industrial establishments is to reject the balance.”

By early 1944, technological innovations and Allied air supremacy could have made a switch to “precision bombing” feasible. But under Sir Arthur (“Bomber”) Harris’ obstinate leadership, the RAF continued area bombing through the war’s end. Bell’s speech had not the slightest effect on military policy. But some suggest it cost him any prospect of becoming Archbishop of Canterbury when William Temple died suddenly eight months later.

The speech’s real value lay in putting a statement of prophetic Christian witness on record. Future generations could look back to see a clear voice of conscience raised to protest this immoral strategy.

The bombing’s 75th anniversary raises the question of why the name “Dresden” has taken on iconic significance. Using the same strategy, Bomber Command undertook similar attacks over a four-year period against dozens and dozens of enemy cities.

True, the Dresden raid was horrific. Swollen with refugees fleeing advancing Soviet armies on the Eastern Front 80 miles away, the city was largely undefended, with inadequate air-raid shelters. The RAF’s aiming point was the town center, where the ancient timbers of medieval buildings quickly caught fire when pummeled by high-explosive “blockbuster” bombs and a rain of incendiary devices. The resulting firestorm killed an estimated 25,000 civilians.

It was, however, neither the first, last, nor deadliest raid of the war. The British bombing of Hamburg on July 27, 1943 caused a similar firestorm, killing about 42,000 civilians. Less than a month after Dresden, the American firebombing of Tokyo (March 9, 1945), killed about 100,000 and left over a million homeless. It was the single most destructive bombing raid in human history. Then came the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

What may be special about Dresden, however, is that it was the first city whose destruction awakened significant numbers of consciences on the Allied side. The Nazi propaganda machine disseminated hundreds of photographs documenting the carnage, which soon appeared in British and American newspapers.

Public revulsion ensued, heightened by Dresden’s cultural significance as home to a vast collection of artistic treasures, and led to widespread questioning of the city bombing. Bishop Bell’s House of Lords speech of a year earlier may have sown seeds of conscientious doubt that began to blossom.

The questioning reached the highest levels of government. In a memo of March 28, 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote: “It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. Otherwise we shall come into possession of an utterly ruined land. … The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing.” After vehement RAF objections to the word “terror” as the bombing’s objective, Churchill removed the offending phrase in a revised draft. By then, however, the point was moot with the European war almost over.

Historians and ethicists continue to debate whether the Dresden raid was militarily and morally justified. Some defend it as a legitimate attack against a vital center of administration, communications, transportation, and industry crucial to the enemy’s efforts to resupply the Eastern Front. Others condemn it as a moral outrage that killed tens of thousands of civilians for negligible military gains.

In the years since, the Dresden bombing has become something of a political football. Until 1989, the city was located in Communist East Germany, whose government pointed to the city’s destruction as an instance of Anglo-American terrorism. Since German reunification, far-right and neo-Nazi groups have appropriated that rhetoric, using the controversial and offensive term Bombenholocaust (holocaust by bombing) to describe the conflagration. At the opposite end of the political spectrum, German Antifa groups annually celebrate Bomber Harris for killing hundreds of thousands of Germans that they regard as complicit in Nazi crimes.

In today’s polarized political discourse, the memory of Dresden all too easily becomes a symbol and catalyst of division. A more hopeful and ultimately Christian approach looks instead to its potential as a signpost of reconciliation.

One of the most beautiful buildings destroyed in the Dresden firestorm was the baroque Frauenkirche — the Lutheran Church of Our Lady. For 60 years following 1945, its ruins stood in silent witness to the war’s devastation. But in 2005 it was painstakingly reconstructed and returned to service as a home for a worshiping community.

The gold orb and cross on the church’s dome were forged by Alan Smith, a London goldsmith whose father participated in the RAF raid on Dresden. On the main altar stands a cross of nails given by Coventry Cathedral in England — itself destroyed by the Luftwaffe on November 14, 1940 and rebuilt after the war. In the past 15 years, the Dresden Frauenkirche has become a center of worldwide ecumenical pilgrimage, hosting, among others, Catholic groups from neighboring Czech Republic and Poland, early victims of German wartime aggression.

Such symbolic gestures of repentance, reconciliation, and forgiveness testify to shared hope for a future free from such mass atrocities. In a world where war itself is unlikely to be abolished anytime soon, the urgent work continues of trying to limit noncombatant suffering and death as far as possible. Bishop Bell would approve.

The Rev. John D. Alexander, a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island, is writing a book on the Church of England in the Second World War.

The Dresden Room – George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester

Featured post

FEBRUARY 12 2021 – “RELAX – WE’VE HIRED CONSULTANTS TO LOOK AT THE PROBLEM” – CARTOON BY ‘HERNEMAN’ – THE SPECTATOR

“Relax – we’ve hired consultants to look at the problem”

Cartooon by ‘Herneman’ – Spectator

THE SPECTATOR

‘THINKING ANGLICANS’

LETTER SUBMITTED TO THE SPECTATOR [UNPUBLISHED]

Dear Editor


The Church of England has essentially been transformed into a secular business corporation, driven by a correspondingly unholy ethos of money, economics and PR management [“Holy relic” / “All that is sacred”, Spectator, Feb 6]

Could this corporate transformation stem from Lord Green’s business training proposals for bishops and deans seven years ago?
His 2014 report, “Talent Management for Future Leaders and Leadership Development for Bishops and Deans: A New Approach”, recommended a “new and dynamic curriculum” to create a “broad and appropriately equipped pool of candidates with exceptional potential for the senior leadership roles” in the Church of England. It was supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, a former senior oil company executive.

The recommendations came under fire from the Very Rev Prof Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church Oxford, who called them a “dish of basic contemporary approaches to executive management with a little theological garnish…This report mentions the word ‘leadership’ 171 times but the word ‘pastoral’ not once, and says very little about God. It is like writing a report about Tesco without mentioning groceries.”

Archbishop Welby didn’t listen. We now have a management-driven church that has replaced pastoral care with executive leadership – a far cry from the church many of us knew and loved. 


Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

Featured post

FEBRUARY 12 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [JANUARY 6 2002] – “CHURCH ALLOWED ABUSE BY PRIEST FOR YEARS” – BOSTON GLOBE [US]

Jan 6 2002 – “Church allowed abuse by priest for years” – Front Page – Boston Sunday Globe…..the scandal broke and a film was made of the investigation 14 years later: “Spotlight” [2016]

“Boston Globe identified a pattern of systematic sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston in which known paedophile clergy were moved around parishes and/or sent to ‘treatment centres’ – but not prosecuted or de-frocked. The abuse was ‘covered up’. Any just legal recourse for victims was difficult – and made difficult” – Richard W. Symonds

Featured post

FEBRUARY 12 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [DECEMBER 21 2020] – “CHILD RAPIST VICAR PROTECTED BY CHURCH OF ENGLAND FOR 24 YEARS” – LIVERPOOL ECHO + ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY

Child rapist vicar protected by Church of England for 24 years

By Neil Docking Crown Court Reporter – Liverpool Echo

  • 21 DEC 2020

The Archbishop of Canterbury expressed regret about how one complaint against Rev John Roberts was handled

Former vicar and child rapist John Roberts on stage at St Peter’s church hall, Woolton

An evil vicar who sexually abused a choirboy but was allowed to carry on working for 24 years ruined the lives of three other victims.

Reverend John Roberts was based at St Peter’s Church in Woolton – the “Beatles church” where John Lennon met Paul McCartney.

The married dad-of-three was convicted of two counts of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 1989, but fined just £500 by magistrates.

And instead of being defrocked, he was reinstated by the then Bishop of Liverpool, David Sheppard, within a fortnight and eventually promoted to the position of Canon.

Last week, he was convicted of nine indecent and sexual assaults – one of which would today be classed as rape – after a four-week trial.

The jury heard evidence from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who expressed regret for not handling one complaint differently when he was the Dean of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.

Tragically, one victim – whose complaint to police brought the case to court – died just two days before the trial began in November.

But today the 86-year-old, of Cherry Vale, Woolton, finally faced justice at Liverpool Crown Court.

Roberts ministered at St Peter’s, close to the Salvation Army-run care home at Strawberry Fields, from 1980 to 2002, and later worked voluntarily at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, before retiring in 2013.

Ben Jones, prosecuting, told the trial Roberts misused his power and authority to sexually abuse vulnerable boys and young men.

He said his behaviour was “compulsive” and “sadly he has been encouraged in the belief that he would not be caught by the failure of the Church to properly investigate allegations”.

St Peter’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool

Mr Jones said when accusations were made, the Church “closed ranks to protect him” and took the “superficial approach of refusing to believe a complaint because of the status of the person making that complaint”.

He said: “The Church of England today frankly accepts it fell into error in the way that it dealt with safeguarding issues in the past.”

The victim of the 1989 conviction, Victim A, told jurors Roberts lavished him with gifts and attention, then made him perform sex acts.

In 2017, when taking legal action against the Church, Victim A told the ECHO about his disgust and anger over the Church protecting and promoting Roberts.

Victim B, who died in November, contacted police after reading the article and revealed he was abused by Roberts in the 1980s, when aged 15 to 17.

He had been in Strawberry Fields care home when Roberts, then in his 40s, kissed him, made him perform sex acts and performed sex acts on him, and raped him.

Roberts later arrange for him to stay at his own home in one of his daughter’s bedrooms, when he crept in during the night and tried to perform a sex act on him.

Church goer Victim C also contacted police in 2017 and said Roberts had groped him when visiting his family’s home in the early 2000s, when he was 15 or 16.

He recalled how Roberts told him he was handsome, put his hand down his trousers and touched his bottom, and warned him not to tell anyone.

Victim C today said he had to come forward after disclosing the abuse to his wife, adding: “It’s something that’s weighing on my heart and burning inside me.”

Victim D said Roberts abused him when he was in his 30s, in the 2010s, after he went to the cathedral for support, and Roberts arranged a home visit to his flat.

He said Roberts told him he was handsome, tried to talk about homosexuality, then ran his fingers down his back and touched his bottom over his clothes.

Mr Jones said the understandably angry victim was banned from the cathedral after being verbally abusive to then Dean Welby’s secretary, though this was later lifted.

He was then told by the Church nothing could be done as it was “one person’s word against another”.

Giving evidence about this as a prosecution witness, Archbishop Welby repeated a general apology he gave on behalf of the Church to abuse victims at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) this year.

He then expressed regret about Victim D’s case and said had he been told the full detail of Roberts’ 1989 conviction, he would have dealt with the complaint differently.

During the trial, it emerged that following Bishop Sheppard’s decision to reinstate Roberts so quickly, a narrative had developed in the church community that the 1989 conviction was false and the result of a malicious allegation.

As Bishop David Shepherd reinstated the defendant so quickly he was allowed to push the narrative in church circles that it was a minor bit of inappropriate touching

Mr Jones said Roberts “attacked the character and reputation of each victim” when interviewed by police, suggesting his reputation was impeccable and he had been cleared of wrongdoing by the Church in the past.

He claimed he had no sexual interest in males and that Victim B, who went on to commit crimes including fraud and to have mental and physical health problems, was lying.

Roberts also said the incident with Victim C didn’t happen and that Victim D invited him to his flat and he hadn’t touched him.

RELATED ARTICLES

At trial, he again challenged the integrity of the victims, suggesting Victims B, C and D invented theirs complaint after reading the ECHO’s coverage in 2017.

Roberts claimed his previous conviction was wrong and unjust and alleged that he didn’t appeal it because a series of lawyers incorrectly advised him that he couldn’t do so without fresh evidence.

He also called witnesses, including family and friends, who gave evidence that he was a good vicar and had never abused them.

However, Mr Jones told jurors: “Throughout his life, John Roberts has had a public face and a private face. The public face was of a loving family man, a kindly and dedicated priest, dedicated to charity, to the poor and vulnerable.

“It has taken the bravery of four men who have no connection to each other, to come forward and shine a light on the private face of John Roberts’ conduct.

“The truth is that throughout his lifetime he has deceived his family, he has deceived his church, both the hierarchy and his own congregation, he has tried to deceive a court previously, and now he is trying to deceive you.”

Martine Snowdon, defending, today asked the judge to take into account Roberts’ age and ill health, including kidney disease, suspected heart disease, glaucoma and back pain.

She said serving a prison sentence at 86 would always be difficult, but Roberts and his wife had been married for more than 50 years, and “the impact for both of them is going to be devastating”, particularly during the present pandemic, when there are no visits in jail.

Ms Snowdon said Roberts also had “positive good character”, including “selfless hard work, which has positively influenced the lives of very many people”.

Judge Brian Cummings, QC, said Victim A’s case would be dealt with very differently today.

He told Roberts: “After a short period of suspension, you were reinstated by the then Bishop of Liverpool and you were allowed to continue in your ministry, as if nothing had happened.”

The judge said Roberts “grossly abused” his position of trust to abuse Victim B, which had “devastating lifelong effects upon him”, and in a statement before he died, Victim B said he hoped the outcome of the trial would help him finally “find peace”.

The judge said any positive good character Roberts had was “two-edged”, as the fact he was held “in such high regard” allowed him to get away with his crimes for so long.

Judge Cummings said: “You have been able to live a very full life for many years because these offences have gone undetected.

“Your victims on the other hand, have had to live with what you did to them.”

He jailed Roberts for nine years.

Roberts will serve at least two thirds of his sentence – six years – behind bars and must sign on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

If you want to report a sexual offence whether recent or not, please DM @MerPolCC or message the force on Facebook at ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’.

Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.

Featured post

FEBRUARY 12 2021 – “‘PRIVATE EYE’ STORY ON WOOLTON CASE” – CHURCH TIMES LETTERS + ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY

Church Times Letters – ‘Private Eye story on Woolton case’

From Mr David Roberts

Sir, — I was nurtured in the Christian faith at St Peter’s, Woolton, Liverpool, before 1980, and members of my family continued to worship there. I was not surprised to read (News, 1 January) of the conviction and imprisonment, just before Christmas, of the previous Rector, Canon John Roberts (no relation), for several sexual offences over a long period both at Woolton and at Liverpool Cathedral.

Rumours of these matters had circulated for many years in the wake of Canon Roberts’s conviction, in 1989, for two sexual offences. Canon Roberts’s sentence in 1989 had been light, and he was allowed to continue his ministry at Woolton until his retirement in 2002. After that, he ministered as a volunteer chaplain, subject to conditions, at the cathedral.

In 1989, many in the local church and diocese appeared to believe that there had been a miscarriage of justice.

The matter has been amply reported in the Church Times, and extensively in the local press, but not nationally, perhaps because of Christmas, Covid, and Liverpool’s perceived provincial obscurity.

An aspect that might, in more normal times, have attracted national attention was the appearance of the Archbishop of Canterbury as a witness for the prosecution. The Liverpool Echo reported on 21 December: “The jury heard evidence from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who expressed regret for not handling one complaint differently when he was the Dean of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.”

The case has now attracted the attention of Private Eye and others.

Private Eye recently reports that, in 2011, one of John Roberts’s victims had complained to Dean Welby about Canon Roberts’s misconduct. The complainant put his case so forcibly that the Dean banned him from the Cathedral. An email from the Dean to Canon Roberts at the time included the following:

“. . . in the absence of any independent evidence and in the light of his behaviour today we accept your account. . .” and “. . . for obvious reasons you are more vulnerable to unfounded allegation than others. . .”

This correspondence was considered by IICSA in 2019, but it was heavily redacted, and only lightly touched on when the Archbishop of Canterbury gave evidence to IICSA, and was not the subject of a formal conclusion by IICSA, all presumably because Canon Roberts’s actions were sub judice.

It has not yet emerged that the Dean had involved any bishop or the police in the complainant’s concerns in 2011.

This leaves considerable pastoral, jurisdictional, and other legal conundrums.

How does the Church independently consider the actions of a priest in one of its Provinces after that priest has become the Metropolitan of the other Province?

This unhappy tale highlights continuing grave questions about the quality and consistency of episcopal decision-making (including the assessment of possible conflicts of evidence) on judicial matters at a senior level in the Church of England, and about the discipline of bishops.

DAVID ROBERTS
St Albans

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/02/04/february-4-2020-father-forgive-church-news-private-ete-no-1540-5-february-18-feb-2021/

Featured post

FEBRUARY 11 2021 – “UNEASY LIES THE HEAD THAT WEARS A CROWN” – ‘THE HYPOCRISY OF JUSTIN WELBY THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY’

Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury

Photo: Unknown source

THINKING ANGLICANS – COMMENTS

Clare Amos 

Although it is unlikely – at least directly – I wonder if Tim Thornton’s resignation could have anything at all to do with the case and conviction of Canon John Roberts – about which I read for the first time today .

When I worked for the Anglican Communion Office a number of years ago – I knew that David Virtue could make our lives very difficult and I really dislike his ‘vibe’ ! However I find it ‘intriguing’ (a euphemism) that the story of the conviction of Canon John Roberts in Liverpool in late December (conveniently just before Christmas – so not likely to be highlighted) has been so not reported in church circles – though it has appeared in the secular media.

I had not heard about it until I read it on virtueonline earlier today. See THE HYPOCRISY OF JUSTIN WELBY THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY | VirtueOnline – The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism 

If there is any truth at all in what Virtue says, the way that Justin Welby behaved in relation to this incident of John Roberts when he was Dean of Liverpool Cathedral is considerably more heinous than the way that George Carey behaved when he was Principal at Trinity College Bristol in relation to John Smyth for which he had his POT removed.. (I make this point even though I do also feel that George Carey was deeply culpable in the saga of Peter Ball and I am no particular supporter of Carey given the way he treated my husband when he worked in Canterbury Diocese.)

Actually I find the way that Welby apparently behaved personally quite shocking. 

Jonathan Jamal Reply to  Clare Amos

Good Evening Clare!
It would seem that Justin Welby may have too many skeletons in his cupboard, which may be coming out into the light of day. I wonder if he realises the net could be closing in on him and may be using the forthcoming sabbatical to plan his exit strategy?

Given the fact he has now reached 65, he could use this as a good time to decide to retire, to jump before he is pushed especially when the Keith Makin report comes out on John Smyth.

I wonder too if Tim Thornton could be aware that the net could be closing in on his boss and decided with the possibility of a change of Archbishop it is a good time to make his exit by early retirement?

There could be more that meets the eye here! It is a case of watch this space! Jonathan

‘SURVIVING CHURCH’ – “WAITING FOR THE THIRTYONE:EIGHT JONATHAN FLETCHER SAFEGUARDING REPORT”

The behaviour of this one man, Jonathan Fletcher, may yet wreak as much damage on the Church of England as the behaviour of Peter Ball.  Once again it is not the actual individual abusive activities that cause the greatest disgust; it is the apparent inability of the Church to operate with transparency.  Secrets, cover-ups and actual lying all undermine integrity within an institution.  It is this repeated failure of integrity that seems to represent the great failure of the Church.  Without integrity there is a threat to its ability even to survive to serve another generation

Stephen Parsons

Home

THE HYPOCRISY OF JUSTIN WELBY THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE HYPOCRISY OF JUSTIN WELBY THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
Welby failed to stand by his own safeguarding rules

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
February 5, 2021

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who has shown himself to be a sharp defender of his Church’s safeguarding policies when it comes to people like Archbishop George Carey and Bishop George Bell, now finds himself accused of failing to show the same safeguarding high standards for himself that he set for others.

A British magazine, Private Eye, has brought to light that, in 2007, when Welby was Dean of Liverpool Cathedral, that a certain Canon John Roberts was busy sexually assaulting children. When it came to light, Welby gave him a pass with the promise from the priest that he would not do it again.

As the story goes, in the summer of 2011, a man repeatedly approached Welby complaining that Roberts had been making unwanted sexual advances to him. Welby called in Roberts, who told him the man had a history of drug abuse, and that he had been offering him pastoral care. The man continued to complain so angrily, that Welby banned him from visiting the cathedral and sent Roberts a sympathetic letter.

“For obvious reasons you are more vulnerable to unfounded accusations than others,” Welby wrote, adding that “in the absence of independent evidence, and in the light of his behavior today, we accept your account.”

At Liverpool Crown Court on 21 December, Canon John Roberts was sentenced to nine years for ten counts of indecent assault and sexual assault against four people. Canon Roberts had served as vicar of Woolton for 22 years from 1980. His vicarage was close to the famous Strawberry Fields children’s home where some of his victims lived.

The moral of the story? If you are abused by a clergyman and you want to report it to the church, be sure to do so politely. If you come across as angry, it will take the word of a convicted pedophile over yours, said the editorial.

Welby’s hypocrisy cannot be overlooked.

ARCHBISHOP GEORGE CAREY

In the early summer of 2020, Lord Carey, 82, who served as archbishop from 1991 to 2002, was accused of failing to act over allegations about John Smyth, QC, who was found to have physically abused a number of young men whom he groomed through his leadership at Iwerne, a Christian camp network for boys, in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. When his abuse was made known to other Iwerne leaders, Smyth fled the country, never faced justice, and died in South Africa. The Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft, accepted a recent report implicating Carey, based on tenuous links found in code in a private letter, and removed Carey’s Permission to Officiate (PTO). It was later restored in January of 2021.

Carey still denies ever meeting the man in question. Here is what he had to say in his own words; “…last June I was told brutally that after 58 years of serving the church faithfully my ministry was withdrawn because of some kind of association, which I had no knowledge of, with John Smyth, QC. Smyth was a lawyer who also savagely beat young Christian boys from top public schools until they bled, with some perverse theological justification that his efforts would make them more “holy”. I had no memory of him.

There has been no word of apology from Archbishop Welby for this treatment of his predecessor.

In 2017, Welby had lashed out at Carey after a report criticized his handling of sex abuse allegations in the Nineties. Like many others at the time including Prince Charles, Carey was taken in by the charm and status of Bishop Peter Ball, who secretly abused young men for years and was only convicted and imprisoned late in life. In a Christmas letter, Welby described one of Carey’s decisions as “shocking and unjust.” Carey himself has apologised for his failings in the Ball case, and subsequently resigned from his role as an honorary assistant bishop of Oxford.

However it now appears that Justin Welby also made the same mistake, taking the side of the well-spoken man of the cloth, rather than listening to serious accusations against him and ensuring they are properly investigated. Should he have been so quick to condemn Carey when he himself may have been guilty of the same failing?

But in another case, after an investigation has been carried out and not enough evidence found for historic abuse, Welby chose to continue to sully the reputation of the innocent.

BISHOP GEORGE BELL

Bishop George Bell was one of the great leaders of the Church of England in the Twentieth Century. As a member of the House of Lords, on moral grounds he bravely opposed the blanket bombing of German cities in WW2. He was a close friend of the late Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In 1995, it was claimed the churchman – who died in 1958 – had sexually abused a young girl when he was bishop.

In 2015, the CofE under Welby, believed a woman, only identified as Carol was paid £16,800 ($23,000) by the Church to settle the claim in an out of court settlement and Welby apologized to Carol.

Supporters of Bell say the charges are “unfounded”, which a Church of England appointed lawyer later ruled. Welby later apologized “unreservedly” for mistakes made after the original allegation. He said: “Bishop George Bell is one of the most important figures in the history of the Church of England in the 20th Century, and his legacy is undoubted and must be upheld.

“However, it is still the case that there is a woman who came forward with a serious allegation… and this cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet,” said Welby.

Bell’s reputation is still muddied by these allegations. In 2017, a review by Lord Carlile QC, concluded the Church’s response had been “deficient” and failed to follow a process that was “fair and equitable to both sides”, adding the reputations of the dead were not without value. To date the bishop’s “abuse” has not be cleared.

In his stand against his own unjust case, Archbishop Carey said this: “This is not the Church of England that I have known — generous, open and kind. Tragically, I know that victims of clerical abuse found the Church of England in the past to be defensive and uncaring, and I greatly regret my part in that culture and those terrible attitudes. But it does not do to replace one failure with another. The current culture of fear in which survivors and clerics alike receive no kind of justice must be confronted.”

Now Welby himself stands in the limelight with credible charges that he failed in safeguarding the cry of a single man over a canon of the Church, a man of the cloth who will now spend nine years in jail.

Welby must be held accountable. Perhaps after he has taken a sabbatical in the US to write a book about “reconciliation” he might do the right thing and step down. His occupancy of the chair of St. Augustine has been a total disaster from his prostrating himself before the Amritsar massacre memorial in India, while ignoring the massive corruption in the Church of South India by many of its bishops.

After he was mocked for “self-flagellation” by a distinguished Indian parliamentarian after he apologized for Britain’s colonial past, the archbishop of Canterbury has since apologized for his “white privilege” in the wake of Black Lives Matter (BLM) riots.

“Justin Welby seems to have made it his trademark to apologize for everything and anything which the ‘wokeratari’ will applaud,” Anglican cleric Melvin Tinker told Church Militant.

Welby’s single biggest failure is his steadfast refusal to discipline errant Anglican provinces who flout Lambeth Resolution 1:10, the gold standard for the Anglican Communion over marriage which openly rejects homosexual behavior. He has invited them all to the next Lambeth Conference in the hope of healing the open fissures in the communion. But that is not going to happen. GAFCON bishops have steadfastly said they will not attend. To make a mockery of it all, the conference will begin with a Queer Eucharist, designed no doubt, to put pressure on Welby to fully capitulate.

Welby must go. He has not fulfilled his mandate to hold the communion together. He has proven no better than his predecessor Rowan Williams.

“It looks as though if you make a safeguarding ‘mistake’ the only post you can occupy, be assured of no suspension and a generous outcome, is to be a serving archbishop” – ‘BN’

Featured post

FEBRUARY 11 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [SEPTEMBER 11 2020] – “ELLIOTT CONDEMNS PR RESPONSE TO HIS [2016] SAFEGUARDING REVIEW” – CHURCH TIMES + TIM THORNTON BISHOP OF LAMBETH

Ian Elliott

Elliott condemns PR response to his safeguarding review

THE author of a strongly critical safeguarding review of the Church of England has condemned the revelation that the National Safeguarding Team (NST) responded to his recommendations by initiating closer ties between insurers, communications officers, and legal staff.

The review by Ian Elliott, a safeguarding consultant with the Churches’ Child Protection Service, concluded in 2016 that the C of E’s procedures were “fundamentally flawed” (News, 18 March 2016). At the time, the Archbishop of Canterbury pledged to implement speedily all the changes called for.

Now, a document from 2016 which sketches out how officials at Church House, Westminster, intended to deal with the recommendations has emerged, revealing efforts to work more closely with Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG), the Church’s insurers who are responsible for compensation payments to survivors and victims of abuse.

“On August 9th there was a meeting of 4 people from EIG and members of the archbishop’s council, including the legal team, Comms and safeguarding team to look at a more joined up approach in relation to press/media on stories,” the document states.

Mr Elliott said that he was shocked to hear that this was one of the lessons learned for the Church from his report.

“The revelation that learning for the Church in respect of the settlement process, placed an emphasis on a closer liaison between ‘Comms, legal team, and safeguarding’ to prepare for responding to press and media stories, is truly shocking. It completely misses the point.

“It shows that their primary interest was defending the institution rather than caring for the survivor. Issues of justice and compassion are not mentioned. What they have learned is that they need to be better at defending themselves.”

When Gilo, the survivor whose case prompted the Elliott review, and who procured the document through a records request, asked for detail on this meeting, he was told that there were no minutes held at Church House and that none of the participants had any recollection of it.

He later managed to secure EIG’s own minutes of the meeting, which show that participants discussed the “reputational risk” posed by Gilo’s case to both the Church and the insurer.

The meeting also considered the decision to cease all contact with Gilo by church figures in 2014 after he began a civil compensation claim, a decision taken by Church House’s legal department, but backed up by EIG.

This eventually, and mistakenly, led to the removal of pastoral support that had been provided by the Church, a decision castigated by the Elliott review and something that both the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler (who was then lead bishop for safeguarding), and staff at Lambeth Palace later said they “bitterly regretted”.

Phil Johnson, who chairs the group Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors, said that the meeting unearthed by Gilo was, sadly, typical. “It demonstrates the duplicitous way in which the church hierarchy twists and spins such advice to its own self-serving ends,” he said.

“The Church’s first instinct is to run to its insurer, to consider the financial implications to the institution and not the survivor. It then immediately considers how its image may be impacted and how to ‘manage’ media reporting of such cases.”

A spokeswoman for the C of E said: “The Church has apologised to Gilo and commissioned the Elliot review to look into its handling of the case; we acknowledge the appalling effects of his abuse and we are grateful for his important survivor voice in our ongoing safeguarding work.

“Both the Church and Ecclesiastical had lessons to learn from the Elliott review, and there is ongoing dialogue about cases where survivors have felt let down.”

OTHER STORIES

Dean Percy exonerated over safeguarding charges 08 Sep 2020

Bishops challenged to donate to appeal for survivor 21 Aug 2020

Safeguarding bishop sides with critics of the C of E’s policy 17 Aug 2020

Money for abuse survivors is dwarfed by legal and admin bill 14 Aug 2020

Press: Management consultancy, Telegraph-style 14 Aug 2020

Charity Commission asked to tackle C of E safeguarding ‘failings’ 11 Aug 2020

TIM THORNTON BISHOP OF LAMBETH AND THE ELLIOTT REVIEW 2016

Tim Thornton Bishop of Lambeth

Tim Thornton Bishop of Lambeth

Photo: Wiki Commons

RETIREMENT OF TIM THORNTON BISHOP OF LAMBETH, AGED 63

Wiki – Elliott Review controversy

In March 2016, Thornton was cited in a Guardian report[15] on the Elliott Review as one of several senior figures who had received a disclosure of child sex abuse but had “no recollection”.

The review, led by Ian Elliott, found this lack of memory difficult to countenance. “What is surprising about this is that he (the survivor) would be speaking about a serious and sadistic sexual assault allegedly perpetrated by a senior member of the hierarchy. The fact that these conversations could be forgotten about is hard to accept,” Elliott wrote.

The survivor had tried repeatedly to alert the Archbishop‘s office to critical concerns arising from these denials, but was ignored on the instruction of the church’s insurers.[16] 

The resulting Elliott Review led to damning headlines across the UK and world media[17][18][19][20][21][22] and kickstarted significant cultural and structural change in the Church of England’s response to sex abuse cases.

The review called for all bishops to be retrained.[23][24] 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, reportedly said “the situation is embarrassing and uncomfortable for the church.”[25] 

In an open letter the survivor urged Thornton to lead a call for repentance across the House of Bishops.[26][27]

As from October 2016, Thornton has sat on the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG)[28][29]

Featured post

FEBRUARY 11 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES – [JULY 24 2019] – “PROFESSIONAL BULLIES AND ABUSERS WITHIN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND” + THE ELLIOTT REVIEW 2016

JULY 24 2019 – “PROFESSIONAL BULLIES AND ABUSERS WITHIN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND” + THE ELLIOTT REVIEW 2016

July 24 2019 – “Professional Bullies” and the Church of England

Luther-Pendragon

https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/christ-church-governing-body-criticised-for-its-attacks-on-the-dean/#comments [Martyn Percy – See Comments]

2000px-Logo_of_the_Church_of_England.svg
EIO-new

“The sex abuse that was perpetrated upon me by Peter Ball pales into insignificance when compared to the entirely cruel and sadistic treatment that has been meted out to me by officials, both lay and ordained. I know from the testimony of other people who have got in touch with me over the last five or 10 years that what I have experienced is not dissimilar to the experience of so many others and I use these words cruel and sadistic because I think that is how they behave. It is an ecclesiastical protection racket and [the attitude is that] anyone who seeks to in any way threaten the reputation of the church as an institution has to be destroyed”~ Revd Graham Sawyer – IICSA Inquiry – July 2018

1. “An ethically challenged Church? Bullying and threats” – ‘Surviving Church’ – Stephen Parsons

Stephen’s Blog Stephen Parsons

Among the many documents attached to the recent IICSA hearings was an email correspondence dating back to 2015 between a survivors’ group and the Archbishop of Canterbury.  I would not have picked up on this exchange but for an alarming article last Friday in the Church of England Newspaper by Sheik Muhammad Al-Husseini.  Al-Husseini has core status in the IICSA hearings and although he is not directly involved in the Anglican side of the hearings, he seems remarkably well-informed about the detail of what is going on in our church.  He has also spoken to several survivors and their lawyers.

The correspondence, to which Al-Husseini refers, mentions that in 2015 one of the things that survivors were complaining about to the Archbishop was the use by some dioceses of a particular company to protect their interests, Luther Pendragon, a specialist in crisis management.  Without knowing anything further about this firm, one is immediately concerned to discover that at least two dioceses are spending considerable sums of money on this kind of advice.  If any institution brings in professional help to protect its interests then it means that this institution has decided that it needs to ‘circle the wagons’ to protect itself against a perceived enemy.  Who is this enemy?  The enemy is evidently none other than the survivors themselves.  These are the same people, whose interests the Archbishop of Canterbury has promised to put right at the centre of the Church’s concerns.

The letter addressed to the Archbishop on the 12 June 2015 claims that ‘scandal management companies like Luther Pendragon Limited  .. are known to have acted to obstruct, apply pressure and threaten survivors, whistleblowers and others who have spoken out about Anglican clergy abuse’.  Even without reading the letter detailing the techniques used by this firm, we seem to be entering a very dark place. A diocese of the Church of England (two are mentioned, London and Winchester) has felt it right to use the services of what can only be described as professional bullies to protect its reputation.  The victims of this bullying are among the most vulnerable group in society – the sexually and spiritually abused.  How can this be ethical, let alone Christian?  One survivor I know was informed that it was normal practice for the Church or its agents to collect personal information about complainants to assist in the potential legal defence processes which might lessen the potential liability of the Church.  A particularly nasty attack that survivors have had to face is the suggestion that, before their abuse, they were in some way already mentally fragile.  Thus, any symptoms of post-traumatic stress they may now be suffering, were already present.

Al-Husseini’s article also mentions the fact that the Church of England nationally employs one particularly aggressive law firm to protect its interests.  A particular lawyer in this firm has acquired from survivors the nickname the Pitbull on account of her techniques of intimidation and merciless interrogation of survivors.   The article overall gives us some insight into a thoroughly unpleasant culture.  On the outside there are pleasing soft words, tears of remorse and apology.  Inside we find a ruthless machine full of hard-headed professional reputation people aligned to aggressive lawyers desperate to defend, at all costs, the institution.

It is to be hoped that this inclusion by IICSA of the 2015 document naming, and hopefully shaming, the underhand methods of Luther Pendragon, shows that the Inquiry is fully aware of hypocritical goings-on in the Church.  A further area of injustice remains to be resolved.  This is the way that the Church has tried, through its professionals, to discredit a highly respected international expert on safeguarding, Ian Elliott.  In 2015 Ian produced a comprehensive report about the treatment of one particular survivor, known to IICSA as A4.  In his report which has not been published in full, Ian criticised the advice given to the Church by lawyers and others to withdraw pastoral and other support from A4.  The Church, after initially enthusiastically receiving the report and promising to implement its findings in full, started to draw back from this support.  We do not know of course what was said behind closed doors at meetings of strategists and advisers but evidently senior people desperately wanted to discredit the report’s recommendations.  Within six to nine months it became just another report to be shelved and forgotten.  By that time the bishop who had been asked by the House of Bishops to oversee its implementation, Sarah Mullally, had been promoted from Crediton to London.  Here her new responsibilities made the task of overseeing the implementation of the Elliott report impossible to fulfil.  The criticism that Elliott had made in his report about the withdrawal of pastoral care for A4 was not picked up by the Church or responded to.  Nevertheless, there were enough denials and rumours around to suggest that this was not a true record of what had happened and this allowed the Church to wriggle out of any obligation to implement any part of the report.  No one in the leadership of the Church attacked Elliott, but neither did they, in the end, do anything to support him or put his recommendations into practice.

The doubts which had been cast over the Elliott report were finally confronted as the result of detective work presented to the IICSA enquiry.  Documents were uncovered which showed that there was, as he had claimed, written advice in circulation which gave clear advice to dioceses that A4 and other survivors were to be cut off from all communication with the Church if they made civil claims against it.  This included the withdrawal of pastoral support just as Ian Elliott had accurately reported.  This whole story was explored in the BBC Sunday programme on July 21st.

When we take an overall view of the way the Church has been behaving in regard to the survivors of sexual abuse it is hard not to use a series of adjectives which would include the words murky, disreputable and dishonest.  The gall needed to spend the Churches’ money on a company such as Luther Pendragon, which has made its name on defending tobacco companies and the nuclear waste industry, suggests that there are a considerable number of senior clergy who are in danger of losing their moral compass.

Every time a lie is told to a survivor, or a committee listens to ethically doubtful advice from an expensive lawyer, corruption enters in.  Individuals may have arrived at a meeting decent and honourable.  By the end of a meeting when they may have colluded in a blatant piece of expedient management of a survivor, there has been a slippage into colluding with evil activity.  This makes them participants in the evil themselves.

The saga of Jonathan Fletcher rumbles on.  Many people are asking how an individual with a history of doubtful behaviour and no PTO was able to access many pulpits in Britain and abroad over the past 2 ½ years.  Every such invitation involved another person in authority defying the rules of the Church.   Were these invitations made in conscious defiance of church rules or is it a case of information not being shared?  Then there is the deliberate ‘cleansing’ of mentions of Fletcher on various websites.  Who had the authority to perform such an act?  One author of a piece which had mentioned Fletcher in his original piece, only to see the name disappear, protested to me personally about this underhand and unauthorised editing.  The censorship shows every sign of being coordinated.  Thankfully no one has access to my blog posts so that my, no doubt provocative, posts on the topic remain up for anyone to read.

The Church at the institutional level and through its non-official manifestations seems to be going through a crisis of morality.  In spite of thousands of sermons preached each Sunday, the response to abuse survivors is apparently sometimes mired in shady, often shameful activity.  At the heart of this activity, as we have said many times before, is the need to preserve the good name of the structure.  How long will it be before this reputation polishing exercise collapses in total failure and the questionably ethical behaviour of so many church people becomes manifest?  That will be possibly the beginning of the end for our national Church.

COMMENTS

  1. Rowland Wateridge

Quoting what you say about survivors’ pre-existing conditions (if any) “A particularly nasty attack that survivors have had to face is the suggestion that, before their abuse, they were in some way already mentally fragile. Thus, any symptoms of post-traumatic stress they may now be suffering, were already present.”

That goes entirely against the long-standing legal concept that “you take your victim as you find him” (the word ‘victim’ may seem unfortunate in this context) also known as the “Egg-shell Skull Rule . This is a legal principle that the frailty, weakness, sensitivity, or feebleness of a victim cannot be used as a defence to a civil claim by the victim. In other words, put as simply as possible, it doesn’t avail an assailant, an abuser or a negligent car driver that they have injured someone who might be pre-disposed to injury due an existing condition. If someone has brittle bones, the law treats a broken leg as a broken leg regardless of the existing condition.

I’m sure others will have views on the wider topic here.

  1. English AthenaBut if the vicar/Archdeacon/bishop thinks it is a defence, it will work. And the survivor will still recognise they have been reabused. And I’ve been lied to and lied about. Corruption is not an unreasonable word. Brilliant post Stephen.
  2. Rowland WateridgeNo vicar, archdeacon or bishop may disregard the law of the land (the ‘Eggshell-skull Rule’ is equally the law in some other jurisdictions), and if they ‘think’ differently, that is immaterial. I have to say there is a question mark in my mind whether the Church itself has adequate legal advice sometimes, or if it is even sought, when matters of this kind arise.The point you make really goes to the question of proper and adequate representation and assistance to the survivor. If he or she had automatic access to legal advice, this spurious talk about pre-existing conditions would be knocked on the head very quickly.Luther Pendragon are not solicitors, although it is possible that they might have staff lawyers. If so, they, in turn, will know the Eggshell-skull Rule.

2. 02/03/2018 – Church of England faces ‘deep shame’ at child abuse inquiry” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

3. 13/07/2019 Ecclesiastical Insurance – The Church of England and the IICSA

Photo John Titchener (left) – Ecclesiastical Insurance Office [EIO]. David Bonehill (right) – Ecclesiastical Insurance Group [EIG]

InquiryCSA – Friday – 12/07/2019 – Page 29 & 30

Q. = Nikiti McNeill [IICSA]A.1 = John Titchener [Group Compliance Director for the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office]A.2 = David Bonehill [UK Claims Director for the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group]

MS McNEILL: Do you think…A4, as the victim, should have had to wait or fight as long as he has in order for this to be clarified on the record?

MR BONEHILL: No.

MS McNEILL: Finally, I want to read directly…the guiding principles that you told us about last week from Ecclesiastical. The first of those guiding principles is that policyholders…should respond to victims and survivors in such a way that it is not experienced or seen as negative, resistant or unhelpful, because this can create relationship difficulties and may worsen their well-being. Do you think that in managing this entire issue, Ecclesiastical has lived up to that guiding principle?

MR BONEHILL: Could we have done it better? Yes, I accept that point.

MS McNEILL: …as a statement of principle, it is a good one, isn’t it?

MR BONEHILL: Yes, it is. I agree entirely.

MS McNEILL: Do you think that you lived up to that principle?

MR BONEHILL: I think we could have done better 

MS McNEILL: Thank you.

Above in summary form by #AnglicanHearing

Q. – Do you think that as the victim, should have had to wait or fight as long as he has in order for this to be clarified on the record?A. – NoQ. – Ms McNeill reads from the guiding principles of Ecclesiastical, focusing on the fact that treatment of survivors should not be negative or worsen their well being. She asks, in their handling of the A4 issue, does he consider Ecclesiastical to have lived up to these principles?A. – The witness acknowledges that they have not

@InquiryCSA – Friday – 12/07/2019

Mr. Rory Philips QC [Counsel for the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office – EIO] 

“Where the Inquiry has not sought a specific answer to criticisms made, then as a matter of basic fairness, it is not possible for you to arrive at a conclusion as to whether these criticisms are well founded….“Because that would offend the guiding principle if I can use that phrase again, which must inform all of the work of this, as of any inquiry, namely fairness….

“EIO is an insurer. It is a commercial organisation. And perhaps some of the difficulties for claimants here arise because they expect EIO to behave towards them rather more as if it was the church”

“IICSA reprimands Ecclesiastical over earlier advice to C of E and evidence to Inquiry” – Church Times – 12/07/2019 – Hattie Williams

“The sex abuse that was perpetrated upon me by Peter Ball pales into insignificance when compared to the entirely cruel and sadistic treatment that has been meted out to me by officials, both lay and ordained. I know from the testimony of other people who have got in touch with me over the last five or 10 years that what I have experienced is not dissimilar to the experience of so many others and I use these words cruel and sadistic because I think that is how they behave. It is an ecclesiastical protection racket and [the attitude is that] anyone who seeks to in any way threaten the reputation of the church as an institution has to be destroyed”

~ Revd Graham Sawyer – IICSA – July 2018

THINKING ANGLICANS

IICSA Anglican Church hearing day 10

on Friday, 12 July 2019 at 2.56 pm by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Church in WalesChurch of EnglandSafeguarding

Today, the final Friday,  was originally intended to be used only for closing statements from the lawyers representing the various parties. However, it was announced at the end of Thursday that an additional witness would be called first on Friday morning. This turned out to be David Bonehill, Claims Director of EIG and and John Titchener, Group Compliance Director of EIO.

The Church Times has a report of what happened: IICSA reprimands Ecclesiastical over earlier advice to C of E and evidence to Inquiry

Transcript of day 10 hearing.

List of documents adduced on day 10 (but none have as yet been published)

July 13 2019 – “The Matt Ineson Story – Archbishops challenged” – ‘Surviving Church’ – Stephen Parsons

“The truths about Matt’s ‘shabby and shambolic’ treatment by the church after his original assault thirty + years ago will probably never be completely known.  What we have seen is at best incompetent treatment but at worst dangerously cruel”The words of Revd Graham Sawyer are not to be forgotten – said at the IICSA Inquiry last year – July 2018:“The sex abuse that was perpetrated upon me by Peter Ball pales into insignificance when compared to the entirely cruel and sadistic treatment that has been meted out to me by officials, both lay and ordained. I know from the testimony of other people who have got in touch with me over the last five or 10 years that what I have experienced is not dissimilar to the experience of so many others and I use these words cruel and sadistic because I think that is how they behave. It is an ecclesiastical protection racket and [the attitude is that] anyone who seeks to in any way threaten the reputation of the church as an institution has to be destroyed”

July 28 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Final Day – July 27 2018

Mr William Chapman, counsel for complainants, victims and survivors represented by Switalskis and also who represents MACSAS:

Page 135-136: “He [George Carey], in the words of Andrew Nunn, did try to sweep it under the carpet. If George Carey thought by doing so he served the reputation of the church, it was a gross misjudgment. The tactics deployed by the church were at the very edge of lawfulness. We heard how Bishop Kemp attempted to compromise Mr Murdock. We heard how several bishops telephoned Ros Hunt to ask her to tell the young men who had made complaints not to speak to the police or the press. We heard how Michael Ball, Bishop of Truro, had been contacting witnesses and, in Mr Murdock’s view, trying to influence them. We do encourage the police to review whether any of these matters, in particular the actions of the bishops who contacted Ros Hunt, disclose offences of perverting the course of justice”

Mrs Kate Wood

Page 89-92

Q. How would you characterise the emails you received from Neil Todd? You received a number I think at this time?

A. I did. He, I think, was surprised this was being raised again. He was very calm about it, I felt. He wanted information, and why wouldn’t he? I wanted to give him as much information as I could, but, for the reasons you have outlined, I had to be a bit careful. I didn’t have any emails from him that showed any great distress at that point. He was obviously anxious, and he wanted information. But he was very calm and composed with his emails. I could tell he was also very angry at the church, and, again, why wouldn’t he be? So I tried to support him through that.

Q. In your witness statement at paragraph 149 you refer to the fact that in his later emails in particular he was clearly angry with the church —

A. Yes.

Q. — and was feeling anxious. You refer to an email — I think the reference is wrong, but the correct reference is ACE001870. This is an email to Jeremy Pryor. Why is it that you have this email, Mrs Wood?

A. I can only think that Jez, Jeremy, copied me in on it, I think.

Q. You think Jeremy copied you in or did Neil Todd copy you in? The reason I say that is in your summary you seem to think that Neil copied you in when he wrote this to Jeremy?

A. I don’t know, sorry.

Q. That’s all right. Don’t worry about that. If we can go down to the fifth paragraph of the long email that begins, “So the difficulty”. I think this is the email you are referring to in your witness statement:

Neil Todd’s Email to Mrs Kate Wood/Jeremy Pryor

“So the difficulty of the black-and-white events of Peter Ball’s behaviour are not in the acts themselves — but the fact that he corrupted my genuine search for something good with acts which were obviously intentional for his own sexual gratification in the guise of a wise teacher nurturing and caring of a young seeker, aspiring to good intentions.

“When he denied his behaviour, this struck at my deepest conscience — it was then that the reality of what I allowed him to do — was not moral. The reality that his behaviour was not for my good or inspirational guidance.

“He only had to admit that what he did — actually occurred — this would then have made some sense to me. If he could admit that lying on top of me naked, his ejaculations, the naked showers under his instruction, the threat of physical beatings was all part of his unique path to spiritual guidance, was normal, then maybe we could have accepted that his intentions were good, just unusual. But his denial of all that occurred resulted in deep disillusionment. I personally felt ashamed for allowing this behaviour to occur, for allowing myself to be so gullible and not question or seek guidance earlier. This could have redirected my path. I could have joined a true community and been guided appropriately. The church should also have showed a greater deal of support but to dismiss me after the incident with no due care, simply resulted in full disillusionment with the institution as a whole. I genuinely felt the church was covering up, but at the worst it affected my personal relationship with God and my genuine search in faith. When Peter accepted a caution, he stated with penitence and sorrow he was accepting the police caution, but, again, the church was saddened by his resignation.

“All I want is the truth to be known without suspicion. I want Peter to admit in black and white that the events that took place did take place — that none of this was my imagination — nor my fault. I want the black-and-white questions to be answered.

“I would also request that the church take responsibility for not acknowledging nor supporting nor investigating my concerns.

“I heard that Peter had a new candidate when I was based in London — I wonder if he too experienced similar behaviour.

“I have survived all this, led a normal life — I changed direction after a few years of rebellion, to say the least, and commenced training as a registered nurse. I have been qualified since 1999 and have been working as director of nursing for indigenous communities in Australia. I have a loving and supportive partner of 18 years and am generally considered normal.

“Unfortunately, I never had counselling to deal with nor work through the emotions that occur after such a personal incident — but, yes, I can accept that Peter Ball’s behaviour has left its mark. I am not a vindictive person — I only wish for an acknowledgement that my experience was a reality and that all Church of England hierarchical parties take a share in the responsibility of their inaction.

“Regards, Neil.”

Closing remarks by Fiona Scolding QC

Page 175-176

Chair and panel, obviously it is not the role of counsel to the inquiry to sum up. I just have a very few brief remarks. I would like to thank everybody — in particular the legal teams and all the witnesses who have attended — for their patience and cooperation. I would also like to thank everyone for the courteous and respectful way in which this hearing has been conducted and in their approach and role towards us as counsel to the inquiry.
Just a few statistics, so that everyone can feel that they have earned their fees: 108,000 pages of documents were received by the inquiry during this investigation, and 53,244 pages were disclosed; 118 witness statements were obtained from 23 97 individuals; we have heard 14 live witnesses and three read witnesses.
Last, but by no means least, we want to hold and remember Neil Todd and his family and hope that they are able to find peace and solace after what must have been a painful reawakening of their memories.
We also wish to thank all the other victims and survivors, whose courage in speaking to us and whose insight, wisdom and understanding is both central and essential to the work of this inquiry. We apologise for any distress and upset that this week may have caused to them. Thank you very muchAdvertisements

Featured post

FEBRUARY 11 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [MARCH 20 2016] – “CONVICTED SEX ABUSE BISHOP [PETER BALL] MAY HAVE LED SERVICES IN CORNWALL + TIM THORNTON BISHOP OF TRURO

Twin brothers – Peter Ball [right] Michael Ball [left]

Photo: Getty Archive

Convicted sex abuse Bishop may have led services in Cornwall

Published 20 March 2016

Ball
Image caption – Getty Archive – Bishop Peter Ball (right) with his twin brother Michael Ball in 1980

Churches are being asked to check records for any evidence that a convicted paedophile bishop may have taken services in the 1990s.

Former Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball was jailed last year after he admitted sexually abusing teenagers and young men.

The Diocese of Truro is working to find out what evidence it has that Ball conducted services in the area.

Bishop Ball’s brother, Michael, was a former Bishop of Truro in the 1990s.

An independent review is under way into the way the Church of England responded to the case.

Ball, who has been jailed for 32 months for abusing young men in the 1970s and 1980s, was investigated by police in 1993 and given a caution.

peter ball
Image caption – PA -Peter Ball arriving at the Old Bailey for sentencing

Ball promised to resign as Bishop of Gloucester and “immediately leave the country”, but instead continued to officiate as a priest in the Church of England until 2010.

The Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Tim Thornton said there was no evidence that the Diocese of Truro gave Peter Ball permission to lead services in Cornwall in the 1990s.

The Bishop said: “We have one or two bits of evidence now where it does appear as if Bishop Peter went and did things which Bishop Michael should have been doing.

“It might be that Bishop Peter thought it was clear that he was being Bishop Peter, and on some occasions might have made it very clear at the beginning that he was there in place of his brother, but it might not have been evident to everybody.”

He added that it would have been “a limited number of services in a limited number of churches”.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet Links

Featured post

FEBRUARY 10 2021 – RETIREMENT OF TIM THORNTON BISHOP OF LAMBETH, AGED 63 + THE ELLIOTT REVIEW + FROM THE ARCHIVES [FEBRUARY 10 2018] – BBC RADIO 4 – TRANSCRIPT ON BISHOP GEORGE BELL

Tim Thornton Bishop of Lambeth

Photo: Wiki Commons

RETIREMENT OF TIM THORNTON BISHOP OF LAMBETH, AGED 63

Elliott Review controversy

In March 2016, Thornton was cited in a Guardian report[15] on the Elliott Review as one of several senior figures who had received a disclosure of child sex abuse but had “no recollection”. The review, led by Ian Elliott, found this lack of memory difficult to countenance. “What is surprising about this is that he (the survivor) would be speaking about a serious and sadistic sexual assault allegedly perpetrated by a senior member of the hierarchy. The fact that these conversations could be forgotten about is hard to accept,” Elliott wrote. The survivor had tried repeatedly to alert the Archbishop‘s office to critical concerns arising from these denials, but was ignored on the instruction of the church’s insurers.[16] The resulting Elliott Review led to damning headlines across the UK and world media[17][18][19][20][21][22] and kickstarted significant cultural and structural change in the Church of England’s response to sex abuse cases. The review called for all bishops to be retrained.[23][24] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, reportedly said “the situation is embarrassing and uncomfortable for the church.”[25] In an open letter the survivor urged Thornton to lead a call for repentance across the House of Bishops.[26][27]

As from October 2016, Thornton has sat on the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG)[28][29]

Transcript about Bishop Bell – BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ – Saturday Feb 10 2018

Page 1 of 6


BBC RADIO 4 ‘TODAY’ PROGRAMME
SATURDAY 10 FEBRUARY 2018
TRANSCRIPT OF ITEM ABOUT BISHOP GEORGE BELL


JW – Justin Webb (‘Today’ presenter)
DB – Desmond Browne QC
GB – Bishop George Bell (recorded, speaking in 1957)
MB – Martin Bashir (BBC Religion Editor)
Lrd C – Lord Alex Carlile CBE QC, Independent Reviewer
AC – Andrew Chandler (Bell’s biographer)
TT – Bishop Tim Thornton, Bishop at Lambeth
ABC – Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby


Starting at 08.37 and ending at 08.45

JW – People who say they were survivors, or are survivors, of sexual abuse in
the Church of England are gathering in protest this morning against the
way their cases have been handled, but a lawyer who investigated one
case of alleged abuse against a long-dead bishop has told this
programme the Church is behaving like a dictatorial government. Lord
Carlile found failings in the way the Church investigated claims of abuse
against the former bishop, George Bell. BBC News has learned that the
Church has denied Bell’s family the chance to be represented by a
lawyer in a new investigation into… Here’s our Religion Editor, Martin
Bashir.


“Christ is the King, O friends rejoice…” (congregational singing)


MB – The hymn, written by Bishop George Bell, who died 60 years ago, but
whose reputation is still the subject of contention between his
supporters and the Archbishop of Canterbury.


DB – It won’t be resolved until there is an unequivocal acknowledgement that
Bell was an innocent man.


MB – The barrister, Desmond Browne QC, who was baptised by George Bell.


“O magnify the Lord, and raise…” (singing)


GB – “I’m in a new town, and speaking to you in a new church, one of the
newest in Sussex.”


MB – George Bell, preaching in 1957. The former Bishop of Chichester’s
heroic reputation was first questioned two years ago when the Church
paid almost £17,000 to a woman who said she’d been sexually abused.
An independent review by the barrister, Lord Carlile, called the Church’s
investigation “inadequate”, and too willing to believe the accuser. The
Church accepted his criticisms, but the Archbishop of Canterbury said a
‘significant cloud’ was left over Bell’s name. I asked George Bell’s
biographer, Andrew Chandler, whether he had any sympathy for Justin
Welby’s predicament.
MB – On the one hand he has scores of complainants, people who have
alleged that they’ve been victims of relentless abuse. At the same time,
he’s trying to respect the memory of a deceased bishop.


AC – I do not accept that he has respected the memory of a long-dead bishop.
I think if a horde of Visigoths had been invited to trample on the
memory of Bishop Bell, they could hardly have done a more thorough
job.


MB – Ten days ago the Church announced it had passed fresh information
about George Bell to the police, but gave no further details, and said it’ll
hold its own new inquiry. The BBC has seen correspondence which
denies George Bell’s surviving family the chance to be represented by
the barrister, Desmond Browne. Church officials have instead chosen a
safeguarding expert. Lord Carlile says his recommendations are being
ignored.


Lrd C – The Church, in doing that, is behaving in a very peculiar way, rather like a
small dictatorial government deciding to go ahead in any way it wishes,
regardless of due process and the rule of law. It flies in the face of the
recommendations I made which the Church said it accepted, and I’m
afraid the Church has got to get a grip on this.


MB – During his speech at Synod yesterday Justin Welby made only the
briefest of references to the issue of abuse.

ABC – “Our approach to safeguarding needs culture change. Our renewing…”


MB – Later this morning a large gathering of survivors will confront members
of Synod as they arrive at Church House. They’re angry about the way
the Church has handled their complaints of abuse. Bishop Bell’s
biographer, Dr Andrew Chandler, says the burden of responsibility now
rests at the very top.


AC – I can’t think of any other Archbishop of Canterbury in modern times who
has become so deeply and so publicly embroiled in a debate of this kind,
and, in that sense, we are on new ground. And it’s very difficult to know
exactly where it might lead.


JW – Well, that’s Bishop George Bell’s biographer, Andrew Chandler, ending
that report from Martin Bashir. We can talk to Tim Thornton, who used
to be the Bishop of Truro, is now the Bishop at Lambeth, who works
directly for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Good morning to you.


TT – Good morning.


JW – On that point about George Bell’s family being allowed to use the legal
representation that they choose, why shouldn’t they?


TT – It’s not a question of whether they should or shouldn’t. Actually, in Lord
Carlile’s report he doesn’t actually make that specific point. What he
says is that there should be somebody who is appointed to speak out on
behalf of the deceased person who allegations have been made against,
and on behalf of any family they may have.


JW – Yeah, and they’ve chosen someone and you’re saying they can’t.


TT – No, that’s something that we have done. What your whole package
seemed to ignore is that people have come forward, very sadly, and
made complaints about behaviour that happened a long time ago.


JW – Yeah.


TT – What we’re doing is taking their voice very seriously indeed.

JW – Can I just get this straight? The family want to be represented by a
barrister, whose name is Desmond Browne. May he represent them?


TT – What, what we’ve done is set up a Core Group following new
information that came forward after the report done by Lord Carlile was
published. That Core Group has met, and at that Core Group was
somebody who was there to represent the deceased person in this case,
Bishop George Bell…


JW – Yes, but they didn’t choose him, the family didn’t choose him. Why
shouldn’t they choose the person?


TT – If you let me finish, the point I’m making is that that first Core Group has
to make a decision about whether the evidence that’s come forward is
credible or not. I think you’d accept with me, it’s completely wrong for
the family to be concerned about matters until the matters are seen to
be credible. It would be very wrong for us to go to the family of the
deceased person and raise an issue with them which then doesn’t need
to be looked into any further.


JW – But surely they have some standing in this? They need to know what the
allegations are and have a say over whether they think they’re credible
or not, otherwise there’s no point in having the meeting.


TT – They do, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re in communication with the
family. We’re taking that forward.


JW – So you’re saying that, that what you’re doing is right, you’re sticking up
for it in spite of what Lord Carlile said, and they are not going to be
allowed to be represented by their own barrister?


TT – No, what I’m saying is that we are taking Lord Carlile’s recommendations
very seriously, they are going through our processes, even before
they’ve done that, and it’s tragic, isn’t it, that some, some more
information has come forward since the publication of Lord Carlile’s
report, and we are taking the voice of the survivors and those who are
complaining very seriously. And in that process we are putting forward
somebody who will represent the voice of Bishop Bell, and I …


JW – But not the person they want. That’s the point.

TT – … and we will be in communication with the family.

JW – Yeah. But not, it’s not the person they want? They’re not going to get
the person they want.


TT – We shall be in communication with the family.


JW – Is there still a ‘significant cloud’ over George Bell’s name?


TT – It is very sad to say that further information has come forward and until
this whole matter has been resolved, I can’t say what will be the
outcome.


JW – But there is still, in your view, and that was the phrase used by the
Archbishop, wasn’t it, a ‘significant cloud’ over George Bell’s name, that
is still the position?


TT – Yes.


JW – He also talked about culture change, we heard that in the package when
he was talking to us. When he talks about culture change, what does he
mean?


TT – I think he means that we all have to take the voice of the survivors in this
matter very seriously, that’s why the Archbishops of Canterbury and
York will be outside the entrance to Church House this morning at nine
o’clock, standing alongside the survivors who turn up, in silence thinking
and reflecting on the shameful fact that so many, sadly, senior church
people have abused people in the past. As the Archbishop of Canterbury
has made very clear on many occasions, this is something that really
does concern him, and he is ashamed to think of what we’ve done, and
therefore we have to listen very carefully to the voice of the survivors,
take seriously what they’re saying, and this morning, not just at the
protest that’s happening beforehand but at the presentation in Synod,
all members of General Synod will be hearing the voice of survivors.

JW – And, alongside the voice of the survivors, must be justice towards those
who are accused, mustn’t it?

TT – Justice for everybody involved in these horrendous processes.


JW – Tim Thornton, Bishop Tim Thornton, thank you very much.


NR [Nick Robinson] – It’s now a quarter to nine.

Featured post

FEBRUARY 8 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [JULY 31 2020] – “UNJUST, ARBITRARY, UNPRINCIPLED, INSTITUTIONALLY OVER-DEFENDED, AND INDEFENSIBLE” – GENERAL SYNOD’S MARTIN SEWELL ON THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND SAFEGUARDING PROCESS

“UNJUST, ARBITRARY, UNPRINCIPLED, INSTITUTIONALLY OVER-DEFENDED, AND INDEFENSIBLE” – GENERAL SYNOD’S MARTIN SEWELL ON THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND SAFEGUARDING PROCESS

Analysis: Church of England safeguarding inquiries go to the top

Iwerne Minster. Image credit: Mike Searle CCLicense

July 31, 2020

By Andrew Brown

The Church of England has admitted that there are about 30 separate safeguarding inquiries under way into senior clergy — bishops or cathedral deans. This figure includes a proportion of retired clergy. There are only 104 active bishops in the whole Church of England and 42  deans.

A C of E spokesman said: “We have approximately 30 national cases with the majority being where senior clergy or church officers have not reported allegations of abuse to the relevant safeguarding adviser, the local authority or the police, or made other inappropriate decisions.”

The highest-profile involve the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and a predecessor, Lord Carey, who are subject to inquiries for safeguarding lapses, Carey for the second time. The new Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell had to apologise for a lapse before being confirmed as Archbishop on 9 July.

It was revealed this week that Welby is subject to an inquiry after a complaint was laid against his handling of the revelations about John Smyth, who was accused of beating boys at Christian holiday camps.

Carey, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002, is also subject to an inquiry in connection with the same case, after earlier being punished for his failure to act decisively against the paedophile bishop Peter Ball.

One cathedral dean, Martyn Percy of Christ Church, Oxford, has been accused of safeguarding failures — which he denies  — in the course of a vicious long-running campaign by elements in his college to get rid of him.

The Bishop of Lincoln, Christopher Lowson, has been suspended without a hearing since May last year and faces an investigation under the clergy discipline measure, which governs misconduct among the clergy. This has been fiercely criticised for unfairness.

One synod member, Martin Sewell, has called the process, “unjust, arbitrary, unprincipled, institutionally over-defended, and indefensible”.

This month, a study of nearly 6,000 clergy, including nearly 300 who had been subject to a clergy disciplinary measure investigation, found widespread levels of stress and distress. Even though most of these cases had nothing to do with safeguarding, Dr Sarah Horsman — warden of Sheldon, an independent retreat centre and support hub for those in ministry — found that 40 per cent of those investigated had thought that “it would be better for other people if they were dead”, and a similar proportion had considered suicide.

Three per cent had actually attempted suicide. Fewer than one in five thought they had been treated as innocent until or unless proved guilty.

Where safeguarding allegations are involved, the C of E sets up “core groups”, a term used in social work, where all the parties involved, including the parents, are represented. But in the church’s version of core groups, communications officers are always present but there is no representation for the accused: “The analogy drawn to local authority child protection core groups is incorrect,” said a spokesperson for the C of E. “The closer analogy are strategy meetings, involving police and social care and other agencies, to determine response to a child protection referral. Families are never invited to these, nor are minutes shared.”

But, they added: “Respondents, or those about whom allegations have been made, are informed about what those allegations are. [They] are given an opportunity to give their response to allegations during the course of an investigation, whether in person face to face, or in writing . . . Respondents are offered support; it is the role of the diocese to identify an appropriate person.”

Nor, they said, did the existence of a core group mean that allegations were accepted as fact. “The core group’s role is to determine what action needs to happen to establish facts, or where facts are not in dispute, to manage possible risk and for example commission investigations and/or risk assessments.”

The core groups, in other words, have taken over the functions that bishops once had and which successive scandals have revealed that many grotesquely mishandled.

Critics claim that the core groups are concerned more with the reputation of the church than the protection of either the victims of abuse or those unjustly accused of safeguarding failure.

Lord Carlile, QC, said last week: “I do not believe that the church has got to grips with the fundamental principles of adversary justice, one of which is that you must disclose the evidence that you have against someone, and give them an equal opportunity to be heard as those making the accusation.

“And you cannot give them an equal opportunity if there are conflicts of interest involved. Anyone with a conflict of interest must leave the deliberations and take no further part.”

Two members of the core group investigating Percy were removed because of conflict of interest.

In the light of this discontent, there has been widespread criticism of the apparent special treatment received by Welby and Cottrell when compared with the action towards less exalted clergy. The official press release announcing the inquiry into Welby’s conduct did not mention his name, using only the word “Lambeth”. The inquiry into Cottrell’s conduct was  secret until it was concluded with an apology from him.

The case against Welby goes to the heart of a powerful network of public school evangelicals centred on summer camps  at Iwerne Minster in Dorset for teenage boys from elite schools.

Smyth, who died suddenly in 2018, was a barrister tightly connected to the Iwerne network. Public schoolboys were beaten so brutally “for the good of their souls”, that one victim attempted suicide rather than face another beating. That brought his crimes to the attention of the trust that ran the camps but it did not report him to the police or expose his behaviour. Smyth moved to Zimbabwe, where he set up a further camp. After an adolescent boy died there, he moved on to South Africa and continued to work with young people.

Detailed knowledge of his crimes was confined to a tight inner circle in Britain all this while. He had picked his victims from among the elite of public school evangelicals, who did not, however, confess their sufferings even to each other until the story began to become public.

One, Andrew Watson, is now the Bishop of Guildford. Other graduates of the Iwerne camps, though ignorant of Smyth’s methods, include Welby himself, who had known Smyth in the late 1970s. As an undergraduate, Welby had lodged with Mark Ruston, the Cambridge vicar to whom Smyth’s crimes were first reported and who had written an internal report in 1982 outlining cases of abuse, but it was not sent to the police.

The silence around Smyth’s abuse lasted nearly 30 years until 2012, when a survivor known in public as Graham, first reported Smyth’s crimes to yet another Iwerne man, since ordained.

After nearly a year of inaction, the vicar passed the complaint on to the Bishop of Ely, Stephen Conway, one of the few characters in this story who had not been to an elite school or to Iwerne. Conway passed the story on to Lambeth Palace, who passed it back to the bishop. This was technically correct, but in terms of human sympathy it was a disaster. “Ever since then, my understanding is that Justin Welby has blanked ‘Graham’,” said one observer.

It is this sequence of events and the criticism of the collective response, that has led to the present complaint against Welby.

“Graham” claims that he received no worthwhile support from the diocese — just one offer of £100 to pay for counselling, 22 months after he made his complaint; that he was never formally interviewed by anyone from the diocese, nor by the police; and that he had written to the diocese on six occasions asking what had been done to stop Smyth’s activities in South Africa, and that he received many replies saying in essence that there was nothing the English diocese could do if the South African church was ignoring the matter.

He is understood to feel that even if the Bishop of Ely had no power over the South African church, the Archbishop of Canterbury certainly had a moral power that he could have exercised. His complaint is that the inaction of the English church allowed Smyth to continue to meet and groom young men for another four years.

Featured post

FEBRUARY 7 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 22 2015] – STATEMENT ON BISHOP BELL FROM THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

Oct 22 2015 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell, 1883 -1958

22/10/2015

The Bishop of Chichester has issued a formal apology following the settlement of a legal civil claim regarding sexual abuse against the Right Reverend George Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death on 3rd October 1958.

The allegations against Bell date from the late 1940s and early 1950s and concern allegations of sexual offences against an individual who was at the time a young child.

Following settlement of the claim the serving Bishop of Chichester, the Right Reverend Dr. Martin Warner, wrote to the survivor formally apologising and expressing his “deep sorrow” acknowledging that “the abuse of children is a criminal act and a devastating betrayal of trust that should never occur in any situation, particularly the church.”

Bishop Warner paid tribute to the survivor’s courage in coming forward to report the abuse and notes that “along with my colleagues throughout the church, I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with honesty and transparency.”

Tracey Emmott, the solicitor for the survivor, today issued the following statement on behalf of her client:

“The new culture of openness in the Church of England is genuinely refreshing and seems to represent a proper recognition of the dark secrets of its past, many of which may still not have come to light.  While my client is glad this case is over, they remain bitter that their 1995 complaint was not properly listened to or dealt with until my client made contact with Archbishop Justin Welby’s office in 2013.  That failure to respond properly was very damaging, and combined with the abuse that was suffered has had a profound effect on my client’s life.  For my client, the compensation finally received does not change anything.  How could any amount of money possibly compensate for childhood abuse?  However, my client recognises that it represents a token of apology.  What mattered to my client most and has brought more closure than anything was the personal letter my client has recently received from the Bishop of Chichester.”

The survivor first reported the abuse to the then Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, in August 1995. Bishop Kemp responded to the correspondence offering pastoral support but did not refer the matter to the police or, so far as is known, investigate the matter further. It was not until contact with Lambeth Palace in 2013 that the survivor was put in touch with the safeguarding team at the Diocese of Chichester who referred the matter to the police and offered personal support and counselling to the survivor.

In his letter to the survivor Bishop Warner acknowledges that the response from the Diocese of Chichester in 1995, when the survivor first came forward, “fell a long way short, not just of what is expected now, but of what we now appreciate you should have had a right to expect then.”

In accordance with the recommendations of the Church Commissaries’ report into the Diocese of Chichester in 2012 the settlement does not impose any form of “confidentiality agreement” restriction regarding public disclosure upon the individual. In this case the survivor has expressed the desire to remain anonymous.

Following a meeting between the survivor and Sussex police in 2013, it was confirmed by the police that the information obtained from their enquiries would have justified, had he still been alive, Bishop Bell’s arrest and interview, on suspicion of serious sexual offences, followed by release on bail, further enquiries and the subsequent submission of a police report to the CPS.

A formal claim for compensation was submitted in April 2014 and was settled in late September of this year. The settlement followed a thorough pre-litigation process during which further investigations into the claim took place including the commissioning of expert independent reports. None of those reports found any reason to doubt the veracity of the claim.

The Church of England takes any allegations of abuse very seriously and is committed to being a safe place for all. Any survivors or those with information about church-related abuse must always feel free to come forward knowing that they will be listened to in confidence.

Should anyone have further information or need to discuss the personal impact of this news the Church has worked with the NSPCC to set up a confidential helpline no. 0800 389 5344.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

A copy of this statement can be found on the Church of England website and the Diocese of Chichester website.

For further information contact Lisa Williamson at the Diocese of Chichester Communications office on 01273 425791 or The Revd Dr Rob Marshall +44 (0) 7766 952113

The Rt. Revd. Mark Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham in the Diocese of Chichester is available for interview today. Please use the above numbers or contact his office on 01403 211139

Featured post

FEBRUARY 7 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [FEBRUARY 1 2019] – STATEMENT ON BISHOP BELL FROM LORD CARLILE QC

Lord Alex Carlile QC

Photo source: Unknown

Feb 1 2019 – Statement from Lord Carlile

“I hope that this event [‘Rebuilding Bridges’] will add to the clamour for the Church to admit the awful mistakes it has made in dealing with unsubstantiated allegations against Bishop Bell. His name should never have been publicised before allegations were investigated. The Church should now accept that my recommendations should be accepted in full, and that after due process, however delayed, George Bell should be declared by the Church to be innocent of the allegations made against him”

Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE, QC

Featured post

FEBRUARY 6 2021 – JANET STREET-PORTER TAKES A JAB AT THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND IN THE DAILY MAIL

Archbishop Justin Welby

Photo source: Financial times

Janet Street-Porter: The Church of England has been shamefully missing in action since this epidemic started – instead of criticising Captain Tom its clerics should try following his example

By JANET STREET-PORTER FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 15:41, 5 February 2021

This week, I joined the ten million club – receiving my first dose of the Astra Zeneca vaccine. I walked to my local health centre and was out of the door – after a painless prick in the arm – exactly eight minutes later. My arm hasn’t dropped off or swollen up and I’ve suffered no ill effects other than feeling a bit tired and headachy a day later, quickly dealt with by taking a paracetamol and going to bed early.

I want to reassure everyone to take this vaccine, there is simply no other way out of the pandemic, no other route back to normal life, seeing friends and hugging loved ones. Sadly, anti-vaxxers rise up in their hordes on social media every time that opinion is voiced, adding to worries and anxieties.

Now, as many as one-in-five of the workers in care homes and a growing number of nurses and health workers are wavering, unsure whether to have the vaccine and protect themselves.

Was the appointment of Reverend Jarel Robinson-Brown a ham-fisted attempt by Justin Welby to tick boxes and dip his toe into the fraught waters of ‘woke’ politics? 

If over 80 per cent of residents have now been vaccinated, and by the end of May the vast majority of the over 50’s will have joined them – local authorities and the owners of private homes must decide how they justify keeping their residents isolated and locked up any longer.

Even more importantly, we are desperate for influential role models to talk directly to the black and ethnic communities (who make up a large proportion of those working in low paid jobs in residential care homes as well as social care for the housebound) to encourage them that they should get vaccinated.

That it is a social duty, you owe it to the community. Sports people like Marcus Rashford, actors, TV stars and news presenters like Clive Myrie all have a part to play.

But most of all, the Church of England should be stepping up – because many of these workers were brought up in religious households, many still attend church every weekend, and are people of faith.

Sadly, the modern role of the Church of England is to apologise. They do it every week, very publicly, with maximum praying and hand wringing. But how much really changes behind the scenes?

When a hero like Captain Sir Tom Moore comes along, we should cherish and honour them, regardless of their background.

Incredibly, the Reverend Jarel Robinson-Brown seemed oblivious to the hurt this might cause, although he later deleted the tweet and issued an apology.

It was wrong on so many levels – firstly, it was flat-out racist, secondly demeaning and finally – irrelevant.

It was the work of a ‘woke’ box-ticking ninny who seemed unable to comprehend that heroes come in all colours and ethnicities. Heroes are not just white elderly former soldiers, they are people who bring a whole country together and raise our spirits. When a hero like Sir Tom comes along, we should cherish and honour them, regardless of their background.

Jarel Robinson-Brown says he is ‘passionate about the issues of justice, particularly in the areas of race and sexuality’. He has been appointed to a historic church in the City of London which (unlike some) welcomes gay worshippers.

Inevitably, the Church has issued an apology and ordered an Inquiry. Nothing new there. But was Jarel’s appointment (the former Methodist Minister is training to become a priest in the Church of England) a ham-fisted attempt by Justin Welby to tick boxes and dip his toe into the fraught waters of ‘woke’ politics?

We associate the Church of England and it’s hand wringer-in-chief, Justin Welby, with plumetting attendances and thousands of unanswered allegations of sexual abuse which went ignored by senior Bishops and clergy for decades.

And how has the church responded to our hour of need in the worse crisis since World World 2? By locking their doors in the name of ‘safety’ – something Jesus would never have done.

Churches remain closed at a time when everyone (including non-believers) could have all benefitted from a quiet refuge to escape the crowded parks and streets. Covid has seen the church (as usual) stumble and fail to deliver.

Jarel Robinson-Brown and his fellow ‘woke’ curates, vicars and deans could be playing an important role getting an important message across – that getting vaccinated is an important Christian act because it benefits everyone.

But are they bothering to go out in the community and get the message across? Or are they busy tweeting and texting in the safety of their homes?

Google ‘Church of England’ and the word apology and you’ve got plenty to choose from, they’ve turned it into an art form. 2020 was a bumper year.

In January Welby apologised for issuing guidance that only married heterosexuals could have sex – then backtracked, saying that that opinion wasn’t definite, just part of an ongoing review into ‘Living with Love and Faith’.

We associate the Church of England and it’s hand wringer-in-chief, Justin Welby (pictured), with plumetting attendances and thousands of unanswered allegations of sexual abuse which went ignored by senior Bishops and clergy for decades.+4

We associate the Church of England and it’s hand wringer-in-chief, Justin Welby (pictured), with plumetting attendances and thousands of unanswered allegations of sexual abuse which went ignored by senior Bishops and clergy for decades.

In June 2020 Justin Welby apologised for the Church’s links to slavery, after it emerged that nearly 100 clergymen had benefitted from compensation paid to plantation owners after the Abolition of Slavery in 1833.

In October 2020 Justin Welby apologised to the survivors of sexual abuse as the independent Inquiry into Church Sexual Abuse published their damning findings revealing how the Church of England consistently ignored complaints and failed to believe victims, some of whom waited 45 years for perpetrators to be brought to justice.

For years, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, refused to believe allegations against Peter Ball, (once Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester) – who was jailed in 2015 for sexual offences against 18 young men over thirty years. Following a period of disgrace, George Carey has been granted the right to officiate as a priest again, in Oxford.

The Bishop of Lincoln has just returned to work, following a period of suspension for his handling of allegations against a member of his staff. In 2015, the names of 53 clergy and church staff in the diocese were given to the police. As a result, 25 were investigated for sexual abuse, and three were convicted.

A BBC Panorama programme alleged that two previous bishops were aware of allegations against a member of staff (later convicted) at the Cathedral school, but did nothing. The diocese’s Director of Education was finally arrested and convicted for abusing young girls in 2017.

The list of failings in the Church of England is depressingly long. No apologies can make up for the harm innocent young people have suffered, who were ignored and disbelieved for years.

Instead of bleating about climate change, the Welby should throw open his churches to the homeless and stop using health and safety rules to avoid action.

He could sell off some of their multi-million pound property empire and feed the poor, build starter homes and donate to the penniless who are facing redundancies in this pandemic.

As for sexuality – the Archbishop could issue an unreserved welcome to everyone, not just married straights.

And he could stop apologising and start acting like a true leader. The kind that Captain Sir Tom exemplified.

BACKGROUND – BY DAVID GREENWOOD [pages 5-7]

The former Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment at The Old Bailey on the 7th October 2015 [Church of England Statement on the Bishop of Chichester George Bell – 22nd October 2015 – Ed], for two offences of indecent assault and an offence of misconduct in Public Office which involved offending against 13 different individuals. Allegations had been made against him by a total of 32 individuals. These allegations relate to his use of power for his own sexual gratification.

The story of Peter Ball’s offending does not only concern the appalling offences and their effect on the young men whose trust he so callously betrayed, it is the story of the establishment in Britain at work in modern times. It is the story of how the establishment minimised the nature of Ball’s offending, tried to reduce the consequences for him and the Church, and how it silenced and harassed those who tried to complain against him.

Peter Ball was able to call upon the willing assistance of ‘the establishment’. It included the heir to the throne, the Archbishop of Canterbury and a senior member of the Judiciary to name only the most prominent. In combinationthey provided Ball with:

a) money and accommodation.

b) legal advice

c) his own private detective to undermine the credibility of complainants

d) emotional support

e) references

f) approaches to the police and the prosecution authorities on his behalf and

g) direct help over a lengthy period from Archbishop George Carey in an effort to stop charges being laid against him, and then his reintroduction into public ministry.

This concerted effort to avoid charges and then to reintroduce Ball to public life was impressive, but this stands in stark contrast to the way in which survivors of Ball’s abuse were treated. A young ordinand [now Reverend Graham Sawyer] has endured a lifetime of harassment from Ball’s supporters within the Church.

The Bishop of Chichester, Bishop Eric Kemp, paid for and sanctioned the use of a private detective, Brian Tyler, to undermine the police investigation, to undermine the credibility of the complainants. It soon became apparent to Brian Tyler, however, that Ball’s offending was prolific and that survivors of his abuse were genuine. At this point Tyler used all his charm to try to persuade Gloucestershire Police to offer Peter Ball a caution rather than to prosecute him.

Prince Charles and George Carey now claim that they were in some way duped by Peter Ball. They claim that they were largely in the dark about his activities. Whether or not this is the case it appears from their reaction in the case of Peter Ball that as members of the establishment they were entitled, even duty bound, to weigh in on behalf of their establishment friend accused of serious [offences]. In doing so they went far beyond the normal obligations of friendship.

The book will uncover, with direct evidence from the main protagonists, the sequence of events, who knew what and when.

Many young men have been seriously harmed by Peter Ball’s activities, and whilst at points along the way the story of Peter Ball and his facilitators may appear somewhat farcical, the harm done to all individuals, in particularly Neil Todd whose anguish and unbearable pain endured over 20 years until his death in 2012, must be kept at all times in the forefront of the readers mind.

Featured post

FEBRUARY 5 2021 – “GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT” BY JON ROBINS [BITEBACK PUBLISHING 2018]

“The increasing focus on convicting the guilty instead of protecting the innocent means that we may soon all have cause to fear the dawn raid”

Rod Hayler – Old Bailey Solicitors – Preface to ‘Guilty Until Proven Innocent’ by Jon Robins

Featured post

OCTOBER 27 2017 – CAMPAIGN FOR THE RESTORATION OF GEORGE BELL HOUSE IN CHICHESTER [AND THE PORTRAIT IN STORAGE WITHIN THE CATHEDRAL LIBRARY]

IMG_9510This Portrait is in storage within the Cathedral Library [September 9 2017] – No Public Access [except on Heritage Open Days eg September 9 2017]

The Plaque reads:

“Bishop Bell has a worldwide reputation for his tireless work for international reconciliation, the arts, education, and church unity. The House that bears his name provides a place where work in these areas can continue and prosper. The generosity of an Anglican Order, the Community of the Servants of the Cross (CSC) has enabled the purchase of the House. Canon Peter Kefford (Treasurer of Chichester Cathedral 2003-2009) was the prime initiator in establishing George Bell House as a centre for Education, Vocation and Reconciliation” 

Photograph: Howard Coster, 1953. It is the last portrait photograph of Bishop Bell.

FEBRUARY 27 2021 – “GOVERNING BODY OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD COMMISSIONS REVIEW OF PERCY TRIBUNAL” – CHURCH TIMES

Governing body of Christ Church, Oxford, commissions review of Percy tribunal

byA STAFF REPORTER 26 FEBRUARY 2021

Cloisters in Christ Church, Oxford

THE Governing Body of Christ Church, Oxford, is commissioning a review of its decision to start tribunal proceedings that could result in the dismissal of the Dean, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy.

The Dean, who is currently on sick leave, is subject to a sexual-harassment complaint (News, 15 January), which follows a long-running dispute with the college authorities.

The college’s treatment of Dean Percy, who by virtue of his office is both Dean of the Cathedral and Head of House, was reported to the Charity Commission, which last month wrote to members of the Governing Body to say that it would be “seeking further information and assurances from the members of the Governing Body about why establishing a Tribunal is: in the best interests of the charity and its beneficiaries; a responsible use of the charity’s resources” (News, 5 February).

The review appears to be an attempt to pre-empt the Charity Commission’s investigation. A statement issued by the college on Wednesday of last week said: “Christ Church has begun the immediate process of identifying and appointing a chair for the independent review and agreeing its terms of reference. It is expected that the chair will be a senior figure from the judiciary.” The purpose of the review, it said, was “to confirm the disciplinary process it has put in place”.

In addition, the college’s statement addressed accounts of the harassment complaint which have appeared in other news outlets and on social media. The college has reported a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

OTHER STORIES

Complainant in Percy case says she acted alone 05 Feb 2021

Press: You wait for one church scandal, and then . . .05 Feb 2021

Charity Commission to quiz Christ Church trustees over Percy tribunal

THIS was the week when the various disciplinary scandals that had been bubbling under the radar all autumn blew up into the mainstream press.

Gabriella Swerling in the Telegraph got a couple of excellent stories out of Christ Church, Oxford — first with the news that the Charity Commission had responded to the appeal by Martyn Percy’s supporters in the autumn and written to all the fellows of college formally to ask in what sense the millions that they had spent on legal fees and PR companies, in the attempt to oust him, could be said to advance a charitable purpose; second, it seems, to remind them that, as trustees, they might be personally responsible if the actions of the Governing Body were found uncharitable.

This story had only been up for three hours before it was supplanted or supplemented by another one, which led with the response of the ruling clique on the Governing Body: “Now a further leaked internal leaked email between the trustees has been shared with The Telegraph, revealing their anger at the watchdog’s review.

“It reads: ‘Considerable anger was expressed at Governing Body about the nature of the Charity Commission’s communication and we are taking this up with the Commission. However, with regard to the enquiries they seek to make, we should feel confident that we have absolutely nothing to be concerned about.’

“It said members are ‘welcome to contact the Censor Theologiae or Senior Censor if you would like support in responding. . . You may also ask to have a representative with you and, if it is a formal interview, you are entitled to legal representation. This is unlikely to happen, but we thought it would be helpful to share this advice.’”

This last sentence would read even better in Japanese, alongside the Emperor Hirohito’s explanation in August 1945 that “The war has proceeded not necessarily to Japan’s advantage”

Andrew Brown – Church Times – “Press: You wait for one church scandal, and then…” – February 5 2021

“The all-too-familiar pattern of injustice” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society