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JANUARY 28 2021 – “ARE WE BEING PLAYED LIKE PUPPETS ON A STRING?”

Are we being played like puppets on a string?

I ask that question in all seriousness and do not consider myself a conspiracy theorist – more a ‘cock-up and coverup theorist’.

One reason why I raise the question is because so much palpable nonsense is now emanating from my betters who should know better.

Much of this nonsense is beyond hypocrisy – as if Matthew 7 v 5 has been erased from all modern Bible translations.

Another reason I raise the question is because too many innocents are being ‘thrown under the bus’ .

We all – including myself – need to wake up, wise up and grow up…fast.

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society – 28/01/2021 – 9.40am

Richard W. Symonds

BISHOP GEORGE BELL

DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH MARTYN PERCY ON BISHOP GEORGE BELL

FORMER ARCHBISHOP GEORGE CAREY ON BISHOP GEORGE BELL

FORMER ARCHBISHOP GEORGE CAREY

DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH MARTYN PERCY

RE: DEAN MARTYN PERCY – “CHARITY COMMISSION WRITES TO CHRIST CHURCH GOVERNING BODY”

RE: DEAN MARTYN PERCY – ‘SURVIVING CHURCH’ – THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND SAFEGUARDING: THE PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE

COMMENT – DAVID LAMMING

David Lamming – ‘Surviving Church’

The Governing Body of Christ Church will now be on the back foot following trustees’ receipt today of a letter from the Director of Regulatory Services of the Charity Commission questioning the decision to set up a second tribunal, and, in particular:

“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.
We will also examine how, when reaching this decision, the members of the Governing
Body:
• took account of our published guidance and previous regulatory advice; and
• identified and managed any conflicts of interest and / or loyalty .”

The letter adds: “This is not an exhaustive list. Full details of the information and assurances we require will be set out in a separate letter to the charity’s registered main contact.”

In the light of this letter, which will undoubtedly receive publicity in tomorrow’s newspapers, the setting up of the tribunal must surely be paused until the Charity Commission have completed their inquiry and published its outcome. Moreover, it is surely ironic that the letter should be questioning the way the members of the Governing Body, as trustees of the charity, have fulfilled their fiduciary duties, after 41 of them wrote to the Charity Commission on 20 May 2020 alleging that Dean Percy was “not fit to remain a trustee”! In the light of that letter, the answer of the Governing Body to the question of how they “identified and managed any conflicts of interest and/or loyalty” will be of particular interest.

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JANUARY 25 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [JUNE 18 2020 – “GEORGE CAREY: AN ARCHBISHOP UNDER SIEGE”] + “A FAG END IN THE GUTTER – THE CASE AGAINST GEORGE CAREY” [JANUARY 26 2021] – ‘SURVIVING CHURCH’ + “LORD CAREY’S PTO IS REINSTATED” – ‘THINKING ANGLICANS’

George Carey with Sandra Saer, chair of the Rebuilding Bridges Conference at Church House Westminster – October 5 2018

George Carey: An Archbishop under siege

Stephen’s Blog Stephen Parsons

The recent news about the suspension of a Permission to Officiate for Lord Carey is less than 24 hours old.  As yet, the facts about the case are slim but there is still enough material in the public domain to hazard some guesses as to what might be going on.  We can build our attempted reconstruction on other information that has been in the public domain for some time.

The new evidence that has emerged, making the suspension of Lord Carey necessary, has appeared in the process of the Makin review on the case of John Smyth.  This evidence suggests a serious safeguarding failing on the part of Carey over his dealings with the case in the past.   In the course of few short days, this new material has been reported to the National Safeguarding Team and, through a freshly constituted Core Group, a demand for Carey’s PTO to be removed has been made. 

The speed of the process and the manner of bringing it rapidly into the public domain, reminds us of the Martyn Percy case. 

The media are informed as the same time as the ‘accused’.  This feels heavy-handed.  A fair-minded person might question whether this ‘blitzkrieg’ approach to church discipline can ever be justified.  Could not some notice be given to the target of a enquiry when information is about to be shared with the media?  Carey, a man in his mid-80s, has had to concoct a statement for the Press with no notice or chance to examine or even know what he is accused of doing.  Unlike his accusers, he has no communications department to help him.

Lord Carey has ‘no memory’ of having known Smyth at any point.  There is, however, reported to be a cross fertilisation between the two men in Bristol in the early 80s.  Smyth was apparently an independent part-time student at Trinity College when Carey was Principal.  Given the fact that at the time Trinity was attended by a number of former Iwerne campers, Smyth would have been known to them.  No doubt he would have been the object of some discussion and gossip over his sudden departure from the Iwerne scene.  It would be strange if none of this got back to the Principal.   Smyth would have spent his time at the college attending the occasional lecture and presumably was in touch with at least one of the staff to supervise and support whatever studies he was engaged in.  In time, the precise nature of Smyth’s attendance at Trinity will emerge and we will have a better understanding of the nature of the link between Carey and Smyth at that point. It is known that Iwerne Trust and David Fletcher took active steps to warn organisations about Smyth. The Stileman Report says: ‘John Smyth tried to join a number of organisations (eg The Stewards Trust and the Above Bar Church Church in Southampton) but DCMF and others warned them off.’ It would seem likely that Trinity was also given some kind of warning. We are led to conclude that Carey is likely, one way or another, to have known something about Smyth’s past and his reputation as a Christian leader.  We can however believe that the Ruston report about Smyth’s Winchester activities was still then kept under wraps and only known to individuals high up in the Iwerne network.  Carey never became involved in that network or befriended its leaders.

In 1983 Smyth was a highly socially confident individual with all the trappings of his class background and position. He was a professional man of the world, possessed wealth and knew a massive number of people in the world of socially aspiring evangelicals.  These were precisely the things that Carey did not have.   If the safeguarding failure that Carey is charged with took place while he was at Bristol, then we can see how that Carey could easily have been manipulated by Smyth.  Something could have leaked out about the Ruston report (1982) which would have required Carey to take immediate action as the head of his college.  One scenario would be that Smyth had a meeting with Carey where some accusation was made.  Smyth could then have proceeded to name-drop some of the powerful figures in the con-evo world that Carey looked up to and were actively shielding Smyth.   We are here admittedly in the realm of pure speculation, but this is one possible scenario that makes sense of the limited information we have at present.

A safeguarding failure by Carey could also have taken place in Lambeth Palace and would have followed a similar pattern.  Carey was still extremely susceptible to being ‘played’ by others more powerful than himself. 

We here allow our speculation to closely follow fact here, because the IICSA evidence shows in detail how this happened in the case of Peter Ball.  Carey allowed his judgement to be manipulated by Peter Ball and his brother in a private meeting without witnesses.  They seem to have used techniques of persuasion that had, no doubt, been used on many others as Ball rose up the church hierarchy.  The dysfunctional world of Lambeth Palace at that time has also been shown up by the IICSA hearings, and it is true to say that Carey was failed by the lack of effective staff around him.  Bad safeguarding decisions that were made at Lambeth in the 90s seem partly to be a personal failure of Carey himself, but they also flow from his inability to find staff who would challenge poor decisions.  It is one thing to be guilty of making such decisions; it is another not to be be able to recognise that this is happening over a period of time.   

In this hastily written piece about George Carey’s loss of his PTO, we speculate that this event follows the emergence of new paperwork from either Trinity College Bristol or Lambeth Palace.     One of the things that we hope Makin’s enquiry is uncovering is just how many other distinguished church people had information about Smyth but chose to keep quiet.  Is the NST process going to be deployed against everyone who could have acted to protect the innocent from Smyth’s predation in Africa, or is the NST going to focus on elderly retired prelates or church leaders who are out of favour?  We certainly hope to see impartial justice principles at work in this whole process. 

So far we have yet to see fairness and justice being afforded the highest place.

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. 

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67 thoughts on “George Carey: An Archbishop under siege”

A Fag End in the Gutter: The Case against George Carey – Janet Fife – ‘Surviving Church’

Stephen’s Blog Stephen Parsons

by Janet Fife

I’m not sure how it’s happened, but after 40 years in the Church of England I still believe it’s appropriate to declare an interest when commenting (let alone acting) on a matter of which one has some personal knowledge.

I’ll therefore say here that I’ve met George and Eileen Carey in both professional and social contexts a number of times over the years – beginning with an interview at Trinity College, Bristol, in late 1983 – and regard them as friends. It follows that I cannot claim to be an impartial observer in the safeguarding cases involving George.

I think that knowing the impact on a conscientious person of having failed badly in one high profile safeguarding case, and being accused of failings in another, has given me a more balanced perspective in the ongoing campaign against Church of England abuse than I would otherwise have had.  This has its own value.

On 17 June 2020 Oxford Diocese released a statement that during the course of Keith Makin’s review into the John Smyth case, ‘new information has come to light regarding Lord Carey, which has been passed to the National Safeguarding Team for immediate attention as per the agreed Terms of Reference for the review. A Core Group was formed, according to House of Bishops Guidance, and it advised the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, to withdraw Lord Carey’s Permission to Officiate (PTO) while the matter is investigated. Lord Carey’s PTO was revoked by the Bishop of Oxford on Wednesday 17 June. Lord Carey is currently unauthorised to undertake any form of ministry in the Diocese until further notice.’

George himself had been notified only hours before.  He was given little time to absorb the news, or to inform family and friends and cancel any preaching engagements before people heard via the media. Twelve days later it was announced that Bishop Stephen Cottrell, whose appointment as Archbishop of York had been announced, had been under investigation for an alleged safeguarding failure for some months past, and had been found to be at fault.  He issued an apology, no penalty was imposed, and no announcement was made until the case was concluded. There was comment at the time about the disparity between George’s treatment and Stephen’s; we were left to infer that the lapse George was accused of was more serious than Stephen’s. George has been under this cloud of suspicion for more than six months.

The retired barrister and General Synod member David Lamming wrote to the Church Times, in a letter published 3 July 2020, arguing that ‘the recent revocation of Lord Carey’s PTO…cannot conceivably be justified on any safeguarding basis…Frankly, the Church’s action is both irrational and cruel, and the PTO should be restored forthwith.’ It wasn’t, of course.

Suspension from office or removal of PTO is a sensible option when allowing someone to preach or conduct services poses an actual danger. This might be if there was evidence that the priest or Reader had abused someone physically, sexually, psychologically, or spiritually; if they were preaching heresy; or operating a cult. In those circumstances it needs to be made clear that the alleged offender does not have the Church’s approval and authority. It’s necessary because people tend to trust clergy.

Making faulty decisions about safeguarding comes into a different category, especially for those who are retired and no longer in a position to make such decisions. Such ministers pose no actual risk to others. And when someone’s PTO is withdrawn there are so many others who suffer: the overworked clergy they are helping, family and old friends for whom their participation in funerals and weddings means a lot; all those who would have received their ministry. Why should these people suffer if the minister poses no danger?

The problem is that the Church of England has very few disciplinary tools at its disposal. ‘Rebuke’ is one of the penalties available under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 (see section 24(1)(f)), but only after a finding of misconduct has been made in proceedings under the Measure. By contrast, the granting or withdrawal of PTO is entirely at the discretion of the diocesan bishop. There is no due process, no right of appeal, and no mechanism for appeal. This is clearly unsatisfactory. A bishop is able, if s/he  wishes, to withhold PTO until a minister admits guilt and apologises for something they have not done.

There is an important point, too, regarding historical safeguarding lapses. Those of us who have been working since the 1980s to get the Church to take abuse seriously will know how much the general level of awareness has changed since then. There is still a long way to go, especially as regards good process and treatment of survivors, but it is at least accepted that safeguarding is a serious issue.

To put this in historical perspective: the UK’s Children Act was not enacted until 1989; the Church of England introduced its first child protection policy in 1995. As late as 1998 the then Vice Principal of Cranmer Hall strongly resisted my suggestion that pastoralia training for ordinands ought to include information on abuse and the pastoral care of survivors. That Vice Principal is now the Bishop of Oxford, who removed George Carey’s PTO for a supposed safeguarding lapse in 1983/84.

I have seen the evidence that Keith Makin sent to the NST. It consists of two letters from Canon David MacInnes, then Birmingham’s Diocesan Missioner, to the Rev. David Fletcher of the Iwerne Trust. The first is dated 15 June 1983; the second 7 June 1984. Both are strikingly vague. There is no subject heading, no reference to previous correspondence; everyone except George Carey (then Principal of Trinity College, Bristol) and Free Church minister David Jackman is referred to by their initials. The1983 letter has ‘dictated by David MacInnes and signed’ under the signature of a woman who was presumably his secretary. The 1984 letter is signed ‘David’ but also appears to be professionally typed. As a former secretary myself, it looks to me as though Canon MacInnes did not want her to know what he was writing about in those letters. It follows that it isn’t clear to us either – unless, of course, we are prepared to read a lot into them.

The June 1984 letter suggests that George Carey had been sent a copy of ‘Mark’s memo’. The NST’s Statement of Safeguarding Concern in this case, which is undated, assumes that ‘Mark’s memo’ is the Ruston Report of 1982. They have offered no evidence to support this assumption; nor is there any record that George received and read ‘Mark’s memo’, whatever that was.  (It is known that a brief and much vaguer memo was circulated to a wider group than received the Ruston Report.) George has no recollection of it – nor, indeed, of John Smyth. Smyth was a sabbatical student at Trinity for a single term beginning April 1983, and does not seem to have been in college much. David Pennant, who knew Smyth well and was a student at Trinity at the time, says that he never saw him there. Canon Williams, who was Course Leader at Trinity then, is in fact the only member of staff who remembers Smyth at all. He says, ‘The [Iwerne] Trustees had no reason… to say more than that they supported John’s wish to take a sabbatical and do some theological study.  I saw him, I recall, as a wealthy successful lawyer able to take time-out to pursue his passion.’

Canon Williams’ supporting evidence that the Ruston Report was not known among staff at the college, and that George would certainly have told senior staff if he had been aware of serious allegations made against Smyth, was discounted by the core group chaired by Bishop Tim Thornton – even though, privately, he told Lord Alex Carlile QC (who wrote the 2017 Review into the Bishop Bell case) that he was impressed by that evidence.

The NST’s whole case against George Carey rests on the unsupported assumption that George had received, and read, the Ruston Report with its detailed account of Smyth’s offences. Barrister David Lamming, who has seen the MacInnes letters, comments:

it’s only a matter of inference that the ‘Mark’s memo’ referred to in the 7 June 1984 letter is the 1982 Ruston Report… by no sensible train of reasoning could it be said that the letters provide evidence that George was a safeguarding risk 36 years later such as to justify/require his PTO to be revoked as an 84-year-old retired priest.’

Bishop Tim Thornton and the NST regarded these two letters as a smoking gun – in fact they’re just a fag end in the gutter.

Astute readers will be scratching their heads, wondering why David Fletcher, David MacInnes, and the other surviving men on the circulation list of the Ruston Report have not been subject to similar measures as those taken against George Carey.  Bishop Thornton and the NST seized on George, who at worst had only been a very peripheral figure in the Smyth case, and have taken no action against any of the central figures. All of those men who are ordained and still alive have been left with their reputations intact and the continued freedom to minister if they wished to do so.

Only George, after a lifetime’s faithful service, and his family have been left unsupported, undefended, and badly bruised by this experience.

I will leave the last word to Lord Carlile, who has acted for George in this case: ‘The process used against George lacked independence and objectivity. They provided inadequate opportunities for George’s case to be heard, and no opportunity to challenge their witnesses such as they were. There should be root and branch reform, to provide a proper investigative and disciplinary process comparable with that for doctors and other professional groups.

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.

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11 thoughts on “A Fag End in the Gutter: The Case against George Carey”

  1. EnglishAthena The granting of PTO is a privilege. Might not an outside observer take it as a personal endorsement? And contrariwise, might not its removal be used as a rebuke? But the inconsistency does trouble me.
    1. Janet Fife Imagine if a doctor could practice medicine solely on the whim of the Chair of the Local Health Authority. The licence could be taken away at any time, without appeal, and there was no grievance procedure. If the doctor complained, s/he would be told that a licence to practice medicine is a privilege, and is the personal endorsement of the LHA Chair. That’s the system that clergy like George Carey and Martyn Percy are facing.You, as a Reader, might face it too. It only needs a letter written by some third party 40 years ago saying you’d seen a document, which in fact the secretary had opened and then passed on to someone else. And that would be the end of you reading lessons, preaching, or taking services. There’d be nothing you could do about it. No one would believe you, and you’d have lost your good name, for ever.
      1. EnglishAthena That’s not quite right. PTO is for retired clergy and Readers. Removing someone’s licence is very much more drastic. And yes, I turn 70 in the summer. I will be booted out. I think I should be awarded some injury time, but that’s not likely. They should be consistent, and they’re not. But at least George has had a successful career. And a pension. I’m not heartless. I’m sorry he’s hurt, and angry that it can be done on a whim. I’ve only had half a ministry thanks to clergy gossip and heartlessness. I just spotted the pingback! So, sorted. Good.
        1. Janet Fife Athena, retired clergy on PTO are roughly equivalent to retired doctors who still do locum work. I think the analogy holds. There’s a similar analogy for lawyers, teachers, etc. That’s why Lord Carlile says there should be similar processes.I’m sorry you’ve had only half a ministry due to what sounds like equally unfair treatment. But many dioceses allow Readers to take services well beyond 70. Doesn’t yours?
          1. EnglishAthena I’m not safe in the Diocese at large and I will probably either have to give up, or leave where I and my family are settled.
            1. Janet Fife That’s tough. I’m so sorry.
  2. Pingback: Lord Carey’s PTO is reinstated | Thinking Anglicans

  1. Rowland Wateridge In this sad scenario an outside observer is unlikely to get any real idea of what has happened. Thank you, Janet, for this detailed information which gives us some better understanding. Once again, it’s left to Lord Carlile to point the way. Sadly, his advice was not fully heeded last time, so we can but hope.
  2. Jon David Fletcher, David MacInnes can be found to live in retirement in Oxford diocese so does their PTO sit with the same bishop?
    – or has their PTO been withdrawn but because they are lower profile people it doesn’t require a press release?
    1. peter kettle Well, we shall find out innMay when the National Clergy Register is published (that of Readers is to follow).

  1. Pingback: JANUARY 25 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [JUNE 18 2020] – “GEORGE CAREY: AN ARCHBISHOP UNDER SIEGE” – ‘SURVIVING CHURCH’ | The Bell Society

Lord Carey’s PTO is reinstated

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby [left] and Archbishop Stephen Cottrell [right]

Source: Anglican Ink

Lord Carey’s PTO is reinstated

on Monday, 25 January 2021 at 3.34 pm by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Church of EnglandSafeguarding

Updated Tuesday

The Diocese of Oxford has issued this announcement:

The Bishop of Oxford has reinstated Permission to Officiate (PTO) for Lord Carey, who has issued the following statement.

“Following helpful and friendly discussions with the Bishop of Oxford, I am pleased to say that my Permission to Officiate has been reinstated.

My PTO was withdrawn last year on June 17th, when the independent Learning Lessons Case Review into the late John Smyth QC referred information comprising two letters to the National Safeguarding Team of the Church of England. The letters gave rise to concerns that, when I was Principal of Trinity College Bristol in 1983/4, I had received a report concerning John Smyth’s evil conduct in the early 1980s without disclosing these concerns to the appropriate authorities. At that time Smyth attended the college for a short period of part-time study.

An NST core group was set up and the conclusion to their investigation was that I had seen the report. They also concluded that as a result of this investigation and further training that I have recently undertaken, they believe I do not pose a safeguarding risk.

I welcome this latter conclusion. However, I respectfully disagree with their judgement. I have no memory at all of John Smyth at Trinity College Bristol.

Let me say firmly that I condemn utterly the crimes of Smyth, and the damage he did to the lives of young people. I am fully committed to placing those who have survived abuse at the centre of our safe practices, thoughts and prayers, and to acknowledge how dreadful such abuse is and how lifelong the impact of such abuse.

Over the past few years, I have spent an immense amount of time focusing intensively on safeguarding through working closely with two Inquiries into Peter Ball, including the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, and through undertaking specialised safeguarding training.

This year I have made a report to the NST of a disclosure I received about non recent clerical sexual abuse. I am strongly of the view that training in safeguarding is a vital tool to overcoming failures to protect children and vulnerable adults.

I am very willing to meet with survivors of John Smyth if they wish to meet with me.”

The Rt Rev. and the Rt Hon. the Lord Carey of Clifton

If you are affected
If you or anyone you are in contact with are affected by the themes raised on this page and want to talk to someone independently please call the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056 or email safespaces@victimsupport.org.uk

Other support services are also available.

Notes for editors:

A planned independent review into the Church of England’s handling of allegations against the late John Smyth QC is currently underway. In the course of that review, new information came to light in June 2020 regarding Lord Carey, which was passed by the reviewers to the National Safeguarding Team for their attention, as per the agreed Terms of Reference for the review.

A Core Group was formed, according to House of Bishops Guidance. The Core Group concluded that the concern, as outlined in Lord Carey’s statement above, is substantiated. This conclusion was also communicated to the Review team, which is expected to report in full during 2021.

However, the Core Group also concluded that if Lord Carey were made aware of a safeguarding concern, an allegation of abuse or a disclosure today, that he would report it to the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor and the police or statutory authorities.

Updates

Telegraph  Lord Carey free to minister again as he condemns child sex abuse [see below]

Church Times Lord Carey’s PTO reinstated

Janet Fife on Surviving Church A Fag End in the Gutter: The Case against George Carey
This contain a good deal of additional detail about the evidence submitted to the NST, and is well worth reading in full. Subscribe 

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Lord Carey free to minister again as he condemns child sex abuse – Daily Telegraph – January 25 2021

Former Archbishop of Canterbury ‘does not pose a safeguarding risk’, church said By Gabriella Swerling, SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS EDITOR 25 January 2021 • 8:05pm

Lord Carey: 'I am fully committed to placing those who have survived abuse at the centre of our safe practices, thoughts and prayers'
Lord Carey: ‘I am fully committed to placing those who have survived abuse at the centre of our safe practices, thoughts and prayers’ CREDIT: Andrew Crowley

The former Archbishop of Canterbury has had his ban on ministering overturned, amid calls by clergy for the Church to “concentrate their energies on those who are genuinely at fault”.

In June last year it emerged that Lord Carey, 85, had his permission to officiate (PTO) as a priest revoked. 

A PTO is required for any Church of England priest to preach or minister. At the time, the Church of England said new evidence linking Lord Carey to a review into abuse committed by the late John Smyth QC, had emerged.

The barrister, who died aged 77 in 2018, was accused of attacking boys whom he had met at a Christian camp during the 1970s and 1980s.

However, seven months after his PTO was revoked, the Diocese of Oxford released a statement from Lord Carey on Monday saying that the Bishop of Oxford, Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, had reinstated it because he does not “pose a safeguarding risk”.

Lord Carey’s PTO was withdrawn after the independent Learning Lessons Case Review into the late John Smyth QC referred to information comprising two letters to the National Safeguarding Team (NST) of the Church of England.

The letters gave rise to concerns that when Lord Carey was Principal of Trinity College Bristol in 1983/4, he had received a report concerning Smyth’s “evil conduct” in the early 1980s without disclosing these concerns to the appropriate authorities. 

At that time Smyth attended the college for a short period of part-time study. An NST core group was set up and concluded that Lord Carey had seen the report. 

Responding to the revelation that the former Archbishop has had his PTO reinstated, an abuse victim, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “Whether George Carey can remember John Smyth or not is irrelevant. 

“If he failed to respond appropriately to a report regarding extensive and exceptional abuse he should not be allowed to minister again.”

However, members of the clergy, as well as General Synod, have welcomed the update, saying that now church authorities can “concentrate their energies on those who are genuinely at fault”.

Rev. Janet Fife, co-editor of Letters to a Broken Church, said: “I’m pleased that Lord Carey has at last been given back his PTO. The case against him was weak, and it was always clear that he posed no risk to anyone. 

“Perhaps now the NST will concentrate their energies on those who are genuinely at fault, and on supporting survivors of Church abuse.”

David Lamming, a retired barrister and lay member of the General Synod who has taken a particular interest in safeguarding issues within the Church of England, also welcomed the restoration of Lord Carey’s PTO. 

“In no way could the information about John Smyth that George Carey may have received 36 years ago make him a safeguarding risk now in his ministerial role in retirement… 

“He deserves a public apology from the NST, but I note that none is forthcoming.”

In a statement, Lord Carey, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002, said: “Following helpful and friendly discussions with the Bishop of Oxford, I am pleased to say that my PTO has been reinstated.”

He added that he has “no memory at all of John Smyth at Trinity College Bristol”.

“Let me say firmly that I condemn utterly the crimes of Smyth, and the damage he did to the lives of young people. 

“I am fully committed to placing those who have survived abuse at the centre of our safe practices, thoughts and prayers, and to acknowledge how dreadful such abuse is and how lifelong the impact of such abuse.”

Over the past few years, I have spent an immense amount of time focusing intensively on safeguarding through working closely with two Inquiries into Peter Ball, including the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, and through undertaking specialised safeguarding training.

“This year I have made a report to the NST of a disclosure I received about non recent clerical sexual abuse. I am strongly of the view that training in safeguarding is a vital tool to overcoming failures to protect children and vulnerable adults.

“I am very willing to meet with survivors of John Smyth if they wish to meet with me.”Related Topics

BBC

ANGLICAN UNSCRIPTED [USA] – REVD GEORGE CONGER [ANGLICAN INK] ON LORD CAREY AND JOHN SMYTH

Richard W. Symonds – Bell Society Founder and Chronology Archivist

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JANUARY 25 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [JULY 24 2019] – PROFESSIONAL BULLIES AND ABUSERS WITHIN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

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 much

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JANUARY 24 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [DECEMBER 12 2014] – “ARE THESE THE LEADERS WE REALLY WANT?” – MARTYN PERCY – CHURCH TIMES

DECEMBER 12 2014 – “ARE THESE THE LEADERS WE REALLY WANT?” – MARTYN PERCY – CHURCH TIMES

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

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

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JANUARY 23 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 19 2016] – BELL PETITION OF 2000+ SIGNATURES DELIVERED TO LAMBETH PALACE

Lambeth Palace

Oct 19 2016 – The Bell Petition closes with 2169 signatures – “Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester”

Oct 19 2016 – Visit to Lambeth Palace to deliver The Bell Petition. Marilyn Billingham and Richard W. Symonds meet with the Bishop of Lambeth, The Rt Revd Nigel Stock.

Oct 19 2016 – “Petition seeks ‘justice’ for ‘abuse’ Bishop George Bell” – BBC Sussex

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JANUARY 23 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [1971] – “USING THE DOG-COLLAR IN THE INTERESTS OF NATIONAL SECURITY”

Colin Wallace – “Colin disguised as a clergyman – during a raid on Belfast Airport to test security there”

Photo source – “Who Framed Colin Wallace?” by Paul Foot [Pan 1990] Pages 208-209] 

Using the ‘Dog-Collar’ as an MI5/MI6 Front – “For Reasons of National Security…Not in the Public Interest” – Kincora and Colin Wallace

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IMG_4114

‘Colin disguised as a clergyman – during a raid on Belfast Airport to test security there’ (Source: “Who Framed Colin Wallace?” – Paul Foot – Pan 1990 – Page 208)

PAEDOPHILE INVESTIGATION “WAS NOT IN THE PUBLIC’S INTEREST BECAUSE IT COULD ‘DESTABILISE NATIONAL SECURITY’”

The Belfast Telegraph reported last year:

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/royal-family-member-was-investigated-as-part-of-paedophile-ring-before-coverup-excop-says-31088592.html

The former Metropolitan Police officer says he was told by a detective  that the investigation into the ring, which was also claimed to include an MP, was shut down for national security reasons.
“I was in a car with two other vice squad officers. … The detective said he had just had a major child abuse investigation shut down by the CPS regarding a royal and an MP,” he told the Sunday Mirror newspaper.
“He did not mention names, but he said the CPS had said it was not in the public’s interest because it ‘could destabilise national security’.”

1971 – Kincora Boys’ Home in Northern Ireland and William McGrath [“Who Framed Colin Wallace?” by Paul Foot – Macmillan 1989/Pan 1990 – Pages 115-146/208-209 Photo] 

June 10 2016 Chichester Post Letter – Richard W. Symonds [Kincora, “Who Framed Colin Wallace?”]

Dear Editor

This month [June 2016], the Kincora Inquiry at Banbridge Courthouse Northern Ireland, is investigating allegations that ‘State Agencies’ provided security protection to known paedophiles.

In 1974, former Army Intelligence Officer Colin Wallace – who lives in Arundel – discovered sexual abuse was taking place at the Kincora Boys Home and brought it to the attention of his superiors. Nothing was done.

In 1981, seven years later, three senior care workers working at Kincora were jailed after admitting sexual abuse of boys in their charge.

In 1982, Sussex Police were brought in to find evidence of a paedophile ring. Nothing was found.

In 1989, Paul Foot wrote “Who framed Colin Wallace?”. The Spectator’s Robert Kee said of the book at the time: “The finest and most alarming example of professional investigative journalism which I have ever read”.

What is the answer to the book’s question?

It’s not pretty.

Richard W. Symonds – Crawley

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JANUARY 23 2021 – “THE MAN BEHIND JUSTIN WELBY” – THE SPECTATOR + “HONESTY, TRUTH AND JUSTICE” – “THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND SAFEGUARDING: THE PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE” – ‘SURVIVING CHURCH’ – STEPHEN PARSONS

Canon David Porter

Photo: archbishopofcanterbury.org

Ysenda Maxtone-Graham

The man behind Justin Welby

From magazine issue: 23 January 2021

In the leafy seclusion of the Lambeth Palace grounds, Archbishop Justin Welby goes for his daily jog. He used to run along the Thames and over the bridges until Canon David Porter, his Chief of Staff, put a stop to it. David Porter grew up in Belfast in the 1960s and he knows how easy a target a lone high-profile jogger can be.

As well as being Welby’s physical protector, Canon Porter has taken on the role of his bureaucratic gatekeeper. ‘No one comes to Justin except through David’ — that’s the impression I get from everyone I’ve spoken to who has tried to contact the Archbishop recently. ‘Nothing happens without David’s knowledge and permission.’ If you’ve ever wondered why and when Lambeth Palace chooses to weigh in on political matters, remember the influence of Porter, a member of the Labour party. Think of the Archbishop’s most recent protest, against the proposed cuts in the foreign aid budget. It’s Brownie-points Lambeth in action: putting the obvious moral case without having to address the complications and balances that the cabinet has to consider and resolve.

Hardly a month goes by without a political intervention of this kind, be it a planned citizens’ assembly in Coventry to avert a no-deal departure from the EU, or an intervention in support of Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign. You can be sure of Porter’s involvement when any of these initiatives contain his watchword: reconciliation.

So who is this bald man with a smile, a paunch and a sense of humour (Twitter name @baldynotion) who shapes Lambeth’s agenda? Aged 63, he has a BA in theology from the London School of Theology and an MA in peace studies from the University of Ulster, but he is not ordained. He’s not even an Anglican. He is an Anabaptist. He and his theologian wife, Dr Fran Porter, worship at a Baptist church near their home in the Midlands. Porter commutes, spending weekday nights in a bachelor pad in Lambeth Palace.

He was drawn to the Anabaptists when he heard John Paul Lederach, a professor of peacebuilding studies at a Mennonite college in Indiana, talking about enabling reconciliation through conversation and deep listening. That inspired his own career as a reconciliation-facilitator and by all accounts he did good work in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, getting Protestant evangelicals to take Catholics seriously during the peace process.

[RWS Note: Sir William Fittall – Home Office, ENA, Cabinet Office and Northern Ireland Office (1975-2002). Secretary General, Church of England (2002-2015) https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/01/09/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/ ]

He has said that the kind of reconciliation he aims for is ‘not the smooth, dove-of-peace, hands together, spell-of-peace approach; more the hard-edged, jagged, confrontational, in-your-face, honest-to-God struggle with all that drives us apart as human beings’. ‘Nothing happens without David Porter’s knowledge and permission’

How’s that going at Lambeth? It started well, with Welby and Porter jetting off together to Anglican provinces all over Africa, where music and dancing greeted them wherever they went as they did their best to prevent the most extreme anti-gay African Primates from breaking away from the Anglican Communion in disgust at the behaviour of the gay bishops in the US.

So far, so good: the Anglican Communion is still holding together, just. No Archbishop can countenance it breaking apart on their watch. And the next Lambeth Conference, where 880 disagreeing bishops will convene at the University of Kent, is safely postponed to next year, thanks to the pandemic. Meanwhile, below the surface, a running sore is festering. When it comes to this, Porter’s reconciliatory work is not going so well.

In 2019 Justin Welby said that ‘as soon as it can be arranged in the diary’ he would personally meet the victims of John Smyth, the abusive C of E barrister who chaired the Iwerne summer Christian camps in the 1970s and took boys home to cane them in his shed till they bled. This meeting has still not taken place. Welby knew Smyth at Iwerne and they exchanged occasional Christmas cards. What Smyth victim Graham (whom I spoke to; not his real name) desperately wants to know is: what really happened after he’d reported the abuse to the Diocese of Ely in 2012? Did Welby, as he claims, tell the bishop to tell the police, and follow this up to make sure he had? The victims want answers, but nothing happened after the abuse was reported and this question hangs unanswered over the Archbishop: what did he do or not do in 2013 that allowed Smyth to continue abusing for another four years?

What better reconciliatory challenge for Porter to get his teeth into — to enable the seething, bewildered Smyth victims to sit down with the Archbishop, who seems reluctant and terrified to face the situation. Yet it seems to Graham that Porter has been stringing them along for four years. Porter emails them suggesting quiet reconciliatory side-chats with him: not the point at all. At one point he said that a victims’ meeting with Welby could go ahead, but only with a list of pre-agreed questions, and not at all if they accused Welby of lying; and that there must be a ‘dry run’ of the meeting first, attended by several senior figures including bishops who were at Iwerne, plus a QC, who would then be at the real meeting with the Archbishop to witness it and make sure they didn’t deviate.

This is not quite the ‘hard-edged, jagged, confrontational, in-your-face, honest-to-God’ style of thrashing out that we would expect from the master-reconciliator. But then, it’s not a political matter; there are no Tories to attack here and no opportunity for moral grandstanding. So perhaps that’s why this matter is fairly low down in his inbox.

WRITTEN BY Ysenda Maxtone-Graham

TOPICS IN THIS ARTICLE Society Justin WelbyChurch Of England David Porter

“HONESTY, TRUTH AND JUSTICE” – “THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND SAFEGUARDING: THE PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE” – ‘SURVIVING CHURCH’ – STEPHEN PARSONS

The Church of England has been rife with safeguarding crises recently.  Those of us who watch these sagas as they unfold on the internet or in the Press have a hunger for one thing.   We long to see the power to engage in independent scrutiny being entrusted to people of high professional expertise.  They will then proceed to analyse the people and institutions affected by these events, before delivering a calm clear verdict as to what has been really going on.  This forensic examination will then perhaps point to the way that the affected institution, the Church, can deal with the past safeguarding event.  It will involve successfully learning what needs to be learnt and providing healing to those wounded by the past.  In this way the institution and its safeguarding victims can be helped to move into the future. 

Examples of safeguarding excellence do exist. I offer three examples as a gold standard which the Church of England frequently fails to reach.  The examples of safeguarding excellence I mention share in common the fact those who provided it were writing from positions of complete professional independence.  Attempts by the Church to achieve the same level of independent scrutiny seem often doomed to fail, as ‘marking your own homework’ is not a good basis for providing independent and just outcomes.   In summary, the three I bring forward are the IICSA reports, the Elliot Review on the case of the Church’s treatment of one survivor and the work of Thirtyone:eight, exemplified by the recent report on the Crowded House.

Each of these reports was marked by high levels of professional independence, coupled with a real understanding of all the issues involved.  I have often referred to the fact that expertise in safeguarding is spread out over many disciplines.  It needs some understanding of law, psychology and the social sciences.  Abuse taking place in a church context also requires a working knowledge of theology and church life.  Few people have all these skills.  In an ideal world the so-called ‘expert’ would need to consult widely to ensure that any knowledge and skill deficits are made up when necessary.  A readiness by an expert to consult other professionals will take a certain degree of humility on the part of an examiner.  Such humility is not what we seem to find among the in-house professional people the Church employs.  They appear always to assume that their previous professional skills, such as those gained in police work or social work, are quite adequate to do the complex task of examining safeguarding events that take place in the Church.

With these qualities of independence and expertise in our minds, we may turn to two ongoing safeguarding incidents in the Church on the go at present.   One is the reporting of a incident about abuse, stretching back thirty years, involving John Smyth and the Iwerne camps.  The disclosure by a survivor was made in 2012.   This story is one that involves our own Archbishop of Canterbury and one of his senior advisers, Canon David Porter (a layman).  The story is set out in The Spectator last Thursday 21st January.  A point that the author, Ysenda Maxtone Graham, makes very powerfully in the article is that the Archbishop is deeply beholden to this adviser for many of his public utterances on matters of contemporary concern.   It is not, however, these statements on a range of public issues that concern us here.  It is the way that the Archbishop seems to be cocooned and protected by Porter from engaging properly with safeguarding scandals that have hit the Church throughout his primacy.  One particular safeguarding issue that Canon Porter seems to be shielding the Archbishop from is that involving John Smyth.  This disturbing failure by the Archbishop to engage properly with this story is made worse by the fact that the abuser was personally known to him in his younger days.  Although the relationship between the two is not thought to have been close, there is another fact which often gets overlooked.  The Smyth scandal is particularly shocking in the way that it has been buried in the minds and memories of a large group of alumni of the Iwerne camps over a long period.  Among this privileged group of ex-public school boys who attended the camps, many personally known to Welby, are effectively in some cases witnesses to past criminal activity.  Most have remained silent to this day.  The Augean stables of Smyth’s behaviour in England and Africa need to be cleansed.  The Archbishop and many of his old camper friends need to begin telling us all that they remember.  Instead of that, as the Spectator article suggests, David Porter has advised the Archbishop to do absolutely nothing.    His passivity and silence are causing the victims a great deal of additional anguish.  In a Channel 4 interview, the Archbishop promised to meet with John Smyth survivors.  So far, he has failed to do so.  We are left to suspect that he understands too much about their suffering and is unable to face them.  Whatever the reasons for this non-engagement with Smyth survivors, it also does not inspire confidence in the Archbishop’s personal readiness to offer a lead in the total arena of Church safeguarding.  The two things that the Smyth affair needs are those we have already indicated.   One is a clear knowledge of all the facts,  Then we need to gather all the needed resources to help and plot the path forward for the future.  Expressions of regret uttered at General Synod are no substitute for the kind of energetic engagement that is required.  We need to see the light of honesty, truth and justice being shed on these shameful areas in the Church’s past.  So far we do not appear to see real concern on the part of a leader to help the Church forward out of this tragic and damaging episode in the history of the Church of England.

Personal reputations and possibly raw fear are being aroused when [with] the whole Smyth story, and this festers away at the heart of the Church.  A block on further scrutiny of the episode seems to be what is recommended by lawyers and advisers.  Another way of putting it is to say that up till now the people who could throw further light on the story have been impeded from doing so lest vested interests and inconvenient truths be exposed.  Clearly there is a need here for independent scrutiny.  We will see whether Keith Makin is able to deliver a report that measures up to what IICSA, Thirtyone:eight or Ian Elliot might have provided. 

When we look the other ongoing saga in the Church which cries out for independent scrutiny, the Christ Church affair, once again we encounter blocks on expertise and independent justice.  There are simply too many unanswered questions and apparent failures of process in the CDM report that I have been allowed to read.  This utilises the College investigation, written by Kate Wood, as the basis for a separate Church CDM process.   I have already pointed out that there are bound to be serious concerns if people with known enmity to Martyn Percy are allowed to take a prominent part in his legalised persecution.  There are above all, real problems in allowing one of the original College complainants, Canon Ward, anywhere near the Church’s CDM process. Did not the Bishop of Oxford see immediately that Ward’s role as a CDM instigator in this case should not be allowed?    I do not propose to repeat all the queries that I have already had about the independent status of the College investigator. Since writing my earlier comments, I have discovered that Ms Wood worked for the Diocese of Chichester in a safeguarding role.  This was in addition to her working relationship with the NST over the Whitsey report.  Even if she was indeed in ignorance of the Percy affair and knew nothing of his active support for the memory of George Bell, her closeness to others who would have known, gives a strong appearance of a conflict of interest.

Other queries from a reading of the Wood report are, as yet, unanswered.  Witness A, when talking about the episode in the vestry, is recorded by Ms Wood to have exclaimed:  ‘I knew it was a massive deal. People wanted the final blow. I was thinking is this important enough for that to happen?  Could this be the killer blow? ‘ These were the actual words of the witness when she/he first heard of the allegation against the Dean from the ‘victim’.  Ms Wood showed absolutely no curiosity about what these words were implying.  Her accuracy in recording interviews seems impeccable but the absence of any comment or follow-up question is surprising.   An ordinary person hearing these words in the context in which they were uttered, would conclude that the witness might already be biased and possibly tempted to ‘big up’ the incident.  Speaking of witnesses, there is a further potential witness to the episode who was mentioned in the report but not questioned.  A further cause for disquiet is that there is also no explanation over the truncated time frame of both processes.  The appointment of the investigator, the conduct of the enquiry and writing up of the report all took place in a matter of a few days.  Did the investigator need no time for a preliminary background enquiry over the case before accepting, or was she already well known to one of the accusers among the Christ Church censors or lawyers?    It is also suggested that the Oxfordshire police who took the trouble to visit the college, the Cathedral and the site of the alleged harassment did a far more thorough job.  The police dismissed the accusation.  Ms Wood seems to have done most of her investigation remotely. 

Independence and detailed scrutiny of all the facts are possible when writing reports about past safeguarding incidents.  We have the expertise of IICSA lawyers working collaboratively with other experts, the team of examiners at Thirtyone:eight and the vast experience of Ian Elliot to show us the way things can be done.  Sadly, as the Spectator article and the Percy CDM papers demonstrate, the Church is content to allow itself to use flawed processes.  As long as this continues, enormous damage will be done both to individuals and institutions.  Safeguarding will always involve the telling of truth and that process will involve the pain of metanoia.

COMMENTS

Thoughts on “The Church of England and Safeguarding: the Pursuit of Excellence”

  1. Faith I have reluctantly come to the view that the CofE and NST does not care a jot about poor practices or malpractice. The lack of due process for Smyth victims is telling. I cannot imagine an NST, a Lambeth Palace or a Bishop putting their collective hands up and saying, “we need some external help, expertise and scrutiny here”. Pride, the hubris of the NST and the vanity-fear axis of most bishops will ensure injustice and a culture of incompetence and negligence continues. My view is that as long as there is an appearance of process, that’s enough for the NST. Like a corrupt police force from a bygone era, as long as someone gets arrested and imprisoned, they can presume that people think the job is getting done. Dean Percy’s case is instructive. The NST have all been pursuing him for almost a year now, and this is pure institutional bullying. As in the case of victims of Smyth, so with Percy. There is not the slightest semblance of an fair or just process. Stephen Parsons’ article is brilliant. But it does put a spotlight on a dirty, rather disgusting side to the CofE and its practices.
    1. Kate I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of survivors will be reporting various bishops to the independent panel, once it is announced, for failures to follow safeguarding practices. I suspect many bishops realise this and that the panel will either be delayed or its terms of reference set to avoid scrutiny of several black holes.
  2. Rowland Wateridge Two comments, intended to be helpful, not contentious. During the currency of Keith Makin’s investigation fresh allegations and additional personalities have appeared in the saga, extending what was always a substantial brief. As a very senior social worker, Mr Makin must be well-equipped to undertake this formidable task independently. However, unlike IICSA or the police, he does not possess legal powers to compel witnesses (except, possibly, to the extent that all C of E personnel are expected to co-operate in his inquiry), but there is no constraint on others choosing not to do so – although inferences might be drawn in the case of people staying silent. Oxfordshire Police have carried out, essentially, a criminal investigation at Christ Church, as Stephen states, taking all the steps that one would expect, ascertaining facts and visiting the scene of the allegation as basic standard police procedure. The CDM, however, is concerned with a different matter, essentially alleged clerical misconduct. The two issues are different. There is, of course, the added complication of the separate and additional action being taken alongside the CDM in the Christ Church Internal Tribunal proceedings relating to the same subject matter – in itself an anomaly.

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  1. David Pennant Metanoia rather than paranoia. A good aim.
  2. Petra Unthinkingly I had always assumed that Canon David Porter was a senior ordained Anglican cleric. I am shocked to learn that he is an Anabaptist and seems to have taken over the Archbishop of Canterbury’s brain and soul. He seems to be the equivalent of Dominic Cummings who was not a member of the Conservative Party, loathed MPs, but had immense power over the PM. It explains so much, such as the Archbishop’s comment last year that church buildings are non essential, public worship is non essential, receiving communion at Easter is non essential, unless you are ordained and have a kitchen in which to stream a celebration online. No requirement to share the body and blood of our Lord.
    The Archbishop will be going on sabbatical ere long so I can see him holding out for some considerable time. Appalling.
  3. Jane Chevous I just cannot understand why it is so difficult for Justin Welby to meet with the Smyth victim. There is at least one other survivor waiting for that personal meeting with the Archbishop about his case, and a long overdue apology. It’s incomprehensible. The important background you provide, Stephen, and in the Spectator article, actually make it even harder to understand. If David Porter has such experience of conflict resolution, why is he unable to use it in this context? I don’t really see any issue with Kate Woods, though. As her testimony to the IICSA investigation show, she has extensive experience in investigating safeguarding concerns. I understood she is not employed by any dioceses, but acts as an independent consultant. That is the same case with 31:8, who I understand have also worked with a number of dioceses. I am reluctant to comment on confidential matters regarding the case which I don’t think should be brought into the public domains. Suffice it to say as I support the call for both Martyn and the complainant to have a fair hearing, I think we need to be careful not to make it more difficult for that to happen. I was also disappointed that you used inverted commas when referring to the victim/complainant. Please, let’s not minimise her complaint or leave her feeling we support Martyn but not her. I don’t know what happened in the vestry any more than the rest of us, but I do know that it take an enormous amount of courage to report these matters, and is incredibly distressing to have your claim debated on public like this. she deserves out support as much as Martyn does, and I am sad if we cannot provide it.
  4. JoshuaA Is it beyond the bounds of possibility that the reason Welby won’t meet with Smyth victims is that he himself is one?
  5. Stephen Parsons I believe ++Justin graduated in 1977 and so was a year or two older than the oldest of Smyth’s victims. But he will have known the networks around (and protecting) Smyth and Jonathan Fletcher. There were dozens of people that should come forward to speak to Keith Makin. It will interesting to see the level of cooperation that he receives.
  6. Faith Jane, my understanding of the Percy case is that he was referred to as ‘perpetrator’ early on, and the other party as ‘victim’ by the complainant. This is the “story” Percy’s detractors want us to adopt. But, and this is really important, the complainants in this case are Prof. Ward and others. The woman did not use any of the complaint or the conciliation processes open to her under the college or cathedral HR or disciplinary apparatus. Rather, she was and has continued to be used by others who simply want to cause damage to the Dean. The actual testimony of this woman was that she did NOT want to complain, go to the police or even felt that her encounter in the vestry (and which the Dean denies) was especially noteworthy. But she had her story hijacked for other purposes by people who are not defending her. Rather, they are attacking the Dean. The woman has just become a weapon in their hands. This is the real abuse, is it not? A bit like warring parents in divorce courts, where one parent makes an appalling and unfounded allegation about the parenting of their former partner/spouse. The child/ren just become collateral in this. Justice is not served. Nor truth. Nor the child/ren. In the Percy case, the woman did not want to report anything. She kept saying so. One suspects that is because she was uncertain as to what took place. But since she mentioned the encounter to enemies of the Dean, she now finds herself signed up to three or four different legal tribunals, each of which will involve her being investigated and cross examined. There is no doubt that these tribunals were not for her benefit. They are only intended to cripple the Dean. Personally, I think she really IS being abused now – made to go through tribunals that will be lengthy and probably some time away. And for what? Her allegation was “he touched my hair”. The tribunals will doubtless consider this allegation. But as we know from normal court cases, both the defendant and the accuser can expect some searching questions about their private life and conduct. The Dean’s detractors may savour this – if the Dean has got a string of similar offences behind him. Knowing his reputation I think that unlikely. But I guess we should all keep an open mind. But the Dean’s enemies won’t have given a moment of thought or care for this woman, who is almost bound to have her own private life and her conduct scrutinised, as she will be the accuser. It is unfortunate that this woman talked to people who have now decided to use her against the Dean. Her interests will not now be served until there has been a proper independent investigation. That will have to deal with all the material Kate Wood chose to ignore or refused to report. I don’t see this ending well for anyone involved.
  7. Stephen Parsons Thank you Faith for your astute observations. Some of your account has been brought to my attention since writing my piece, so it is good to have your material as an addendum to what I was able to gather from reading the CDM and the Wood report. You have evidently read it with a great attention to detail.
  8. Jane Chevous I will not discuss confidential details of this case which should not be brought into the public domain. The Kate Woods report is not a public document so I don’t consider it is proper, or serves justice, to debate its content here. I agree that it makes this whole process more damaging for everyone that it is caught up in this very public conflict between Martyn Percy, the college and the church. I am deeply disappointed and concerned that people who wish to support Martyn, feel it is ethical to do so by trying to minimise her experiences and undermine her complaint and Kate Woods investigation. That is falling into the kind of behaviour that we have exposed others in authority for doing, and continue to do, for example in the Smyth and Fletcher cases. I am certain that she has made a clear complaint of sexual harassment that could indicate a safeguarding issue and this needs to be properly investigated, for the sake of everyone concerned. We should be careful here not to interfere with the possibility of a fair hearing.

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  1. Faith Jane – the issue with Kate Wood’s investigation lies in its flaws, bias and evidential shortcomings. Her report has been shared with 65 members of Christ Church Governing Body. It has also been hawked around to journalists by enemies of the Dean. The CDM against the Dean was also sent to journalists. Leaving the leaks against the Dean, I can’t agree that it is fair, moral or just for Kate Wood and members of Chapter to brand the Dean as being a ‘high risk’ and ‘medium risk’ for safeguarding. That is public. The Dean is currently not permitted to enter his own Cathedral unless supervised by a member of the Chapter who has made the complaint against him. No person – staff, student, friend, colleague – is allowed into the Deanery unless accompanied by another person. This is all public as Christ Church have issued press statements and written to everyone they can. The Dean was told that having coffee with a friend, and even seeing his adult son (28?) was a “breach of safeguarding”. All of this is a clear breach of his human rights. Plainly, Kate Wood did not conduct a fair or impartial investigation. You only have to read it to see that. The conclusion of Janet Fife’s article on thus website signs off with a quote from Lord Carlile: “The (NST) process used against George lacked independence and objectivity. They provided inadequate opportunities for George’s case to be heard, and no opportunity to challenge their witnesses such as they were. There should be root and branch reform, to provide a proper investigative and disciplinary process comparable with that for doctors and other professional groups. ”As with Abp. George Carey, so with Martyn Percy. Nobody I know has the slightest confidence whatsoever in the NST. Kate Wood is an unlicensed, unregulated and unaccountable consultant – and her work on the Percy case reflects the hopes and views of those who commissioned and paid for her work. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Wood has duly delivered to her client. But her work had nothing to do with justice or fairness.
    1. Jane Chevous Faith, I hear that you feel strongly about this, and I respect that we have different views and perspectives. Like I said, I just don’t think that this is the place to discuss the confidential content of a report that isn’t in the public domain, and so I won’t comment on that. Certainly I agree with you that and safeguarding management undertaken pending the outcome of investigation, should be proportionate and not breach human rights. I am concerned that in appearing to discredit Kate Woods and her report, this is reducing the chance that the complainant and Martyn Percy will get a fair hearing. I would be surprised if a freelancer like Kate Woods, with her professional background and experience, would risk her reputation by producing a biased or inaccurate report. Having worked as a freelancer, I would say you make even more effort to produce work of highest integrity and quality. And her work e.g. on the Peter Ball case (in IICSA evidence) does demonstrate diligence and was clearly significant in bringing the truth of the church’s cover up of this case to light. I have many criticisms of the core group process, both from my own current experience, and hearing about that of others. But I do still recognise that the NST members are professionals with considerable experience, trying to do a safeguarding role in a very challenging environment. Their role is set up to be entirely risk management; the CDM process is a blunt and ineffective instrument; in cases where there isn’t a statutory decision-making body, such as this one, there really isn’t an appropriate place for a finding of fact to be made.
      That is one of the major reforms I hope we can campaign for, as the core groups process and the CDM are reviewed.
  2. Gilo There is no chance at all that a ‘fair hearing’ can happen. Not until the Kate Wood review and much else besides is in daylight and an independent judicial review of Christ Church governance and culture takes place. Any attempt to deal with this latest chapter as separate from the rest of the long and bitter saga is flawed in my view – as it fails to take into account that many of the same driving forces are involved. If Faith’s insights are faithful to the facts, then Christ Church is operating a kind of ‘rogue state’ in safeguarding terms. And a high calibre judge with no attachment to Christ Church, Winckworth Sherwood, Kate Wood, NST, Luther Pendragon, Nobody’s Friends, etc should investigate. Christ Church has sounded a thoroughly toxic setup for some years now. But someone of the stature of Baroness Hale would get to the heart of what has been going on amongst the cast of players. It is very unfortunate that the college has chosen to push an alleged victim into the pathway of all this – as seems to be what has happened. And deeply unfortunate that a different approach (internal college HR) might have been used in a more balanced way for a much fairer resolution for all. A leap to CDM and NST core group accompanied by a leak to Mail on Sunday by one of the Governing Body members does not paint a picture of a college/cathedral acting with much care or wisdom. And it is unfortunate too that the college or Kate Wood (?) has chosen to place restrictions on the Dean that one might usually associate with someone on the sex offenders register with electronic tag and police record and prison sentence behind him! If this has been sanctioned by Kate Wood – I would hope the Church would take a look at whether it is appropriate to use her services again. I am already aware that critical questions have been raised to the NST and a former lead bishop about Wood in relation to lack of proper process and diligence in another case. The former Director of Safeguarding and MACSAS are aware of these questions. The whole of the Christ Church scandal needs daylight.
  3. David Lamming The Governing Body of Christ Church will now be on the back foot following trustees’ receipt today of a letter from the Director of Regulatory Services of the Charity Commission questioning the decision to set up a second tribunal, and, in particular: “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.
    We will also examine how, when reaching this decision, the members of the Governing
    Body:
    • took account of our published guidance and previous regulatory advice; and
    • identified and managed any conflicts of interest and / or loyalty .”The letter adds: “This is not an exhaustive list. Full details of the information and assurances we require will be set out in a separate letter to the charity’s registered main contact.”In the light of this letter, which will undoubtedly receive publicity in tomorrow’s newspapers, the setting up of the tribunal must surely be paused until the Charity Commission have completed their inquiry and published its outcome. Moreover, it is surely ironic that the letter should be questioning the way the members of the Governing Body, as trustees of the charity, have fulfilled their fiduciary duties, after 41 of them wrote to the Charity Commission on 20 May 2020 alleging that Dean Percy was “not fit to remain a trustee”! In the light of that letter, the answer of the Governing Body to the question of how they “identified and managed any conflicts of interest and/or loyalty” will be of particular interest.
  4. Faith Agreed with Gilo. No chance of the Dean getting a fair hearing. Just look at the facts re
    Kate Wood’s Report: a. Kate Woods did not mention her involvement and potential conflict of interest in the botched safeguarding work on Bishop George Bell and Bishop Peter Ball. The Dean had been extensively involved in both cases, advocating for the restoration of the reputation of Bp. George Bell, and for greater professionalism in the CofE and NST in handling cases such as Bp. Peter Ball. Despite the Dean’s articles, blogs and media work in both cases, Ms. Woods claimed to have “no knowledge of the Dean”.
    b. The Dean expressed concern to Ms. Woods about the involvement of Canon Ward and/or Canon Foot in the allegation. Ms. Woods claimed that she had not met or heard of Canon Ward (Cathedral Safeguarding lead, and a commissioner for Woods’ work) nor met or heard of Canon Foot (Chapter Treasurer, despite Foot being identified as an interviewee of Ms. Woods’.
    c. There were concerns about the potential conflict of interest with the NST, and Elizabeth Pollard (aka ‘Polly’), who is a senior caseworker at the NST, and a close friend of the Senior Censor at Christ Church. Ms. Woods received a written note of this concern and yet it was redacted from her report.
    d. The Dean was not allowed to see Woods’ report. It is apparent Woods had: i. Redacted his evidence in key places.
    ii. Not interviewed witnesses who could corroborate the Dean’s account
    iii. Disregarded medical evidence (Dean’s extremely poor eyesight).
    iv. Not taken note of the sight-lines in the cathedral.
    v. Not constructed a time-line of events in her investigation.
    vi. Not been honest about some witnesses and their conflicts of interest.
    vii. Failed to follow College, Statute, ACAS and Cathedral standards and protocols for an investigation that could lead to a disciplinary hearing, and dismissal.
    viii. Had not noted the wearing of face-masks.
    ix. Had not enquired what the Chaplain meant by stating that the incident that had been curated could be “the final blow”.
    x. That the alleged victim had repeatedly stated she did not want to complain, or go to the police – but was remorselessly pressed to do so by other members of Chapter, which breaches their safeguarding training etc etc etc Shoddy work, basically.
Featured post

JANUARY 22 2021 – THE BELL ALTAR AND CROSS – CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD

Martyn Percy and the Bell Altar

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/01/09/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/

The Bell Altar and Cross

The Bell Altar and Cross by Jim Partridge

The Bell Altar and Cross, Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. Carved from seventeenth-century oak in 2000 by Jim Partridge. The lettering on the stone tile at its base was carved by John Neilson. Photo: Victoria Emily Jones

This altar and cross commemorate George Bell (1883-1958), an Englishman who served in several positions during his lifetime, among them Dean of Canterbury, Bishop of Chichester, member of the House of Lords, President of the World Council of Churches, and tutor at Christ Church. But this artwork pays particular homage to the role he played during and after World War II: as a supporter of the anti-Nazi Confessing Church, a critic of England’s wartime policies, and an advocate for post-war reconciliation.

Bell was close friends with the German pastor and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the founding member of the Confessing Church, an international group of Christians who condemned pro-Nazi German Christianity as false and heretical. As such, he helped make known to the European and American public what was really going on in Germany and was active in the campaign to provide aid and asylum to German refugees and conscientious objectors.

As much as he hated Hitler and all that he stood for, Bell insisted that a firm distinction be made between the Nazi regime and the German people—only the former is the enemy, he said, not the latter. Because he didn’t want to punish an entire country for the crimes of its few, he very passionately condemned Britain’s (and the other Allies’) practice of area bombing—the indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations, which Bell called shameful, barbarian, and illegal. He wrote letters of protest to The (London) Times and tried to persuade the House of Lords to resist the War Cabinet’s decision for such a strategy, in direct opposition to Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He urged churches throughout Europe to likewise remain critical of their countries’ ways of waging war. In November 1939 Bell published an article in the Fortnightly Review stating that the church in wartime should not hesitate

to condemn the infliction of reprisals, or the bombing of civilian populations, by the military forces of its own nation. It should set itself against the propaganda of lies and hatred. It should be ready to encourage the resumption of friendly relations with the enemy nation. It should set its face against any war of extermination or enslavement, and any measures directly aimed to destroy the morale of a population.

After the war ended, Bell took a lead in rebuilding the relationships between German churches and those in other countries, and in calling all people to forgiveness and reconciliation. In a post-war broadcast to Germany in 1945, he stated, “No nation, no church, no individual is guiltless. Without repentance and without forgiveness, there can be no regeneration.” These words form the inscription on the stone tile at the altar’s base, carved by John Neilson.

Bell Altar inscription

Jim Partridge is the one who created the ACE award-winning altar and cross, from a four-hundred-year-old oak tree from Windsor Great Park. He actually carved the cross out of the base of the altar—to evoke the idea of origin and return, according to the cathedral’s website. (To see a photo of the work in progress, click here.) Given the inscription and the legacy of the altar’s dedicatee, I imagine the pair of carvings to represent the void that was left by the war, a void that begs to be fitted with something. That something is Christ, symbolized here by the cross; it is he who will restore the block of humanity, make us solid again.

If Christ forgave his enemies even as they were attacking him, then surely we should forgive our enemies too. And because Christ has gifted us with his very Spirit, such forgiveness is made possible.

The color of the wood is black because Partridge scorched it—a reminder of the black days of war and the damage wrought by bombs. Yet despite the feelings of sorrow it evokes, its message is ultimately one of hope. World War II may have cast a dark shadow over the church, as have other wars since, but Christ is alive and active, rebuilding what man has destroyed.

It may seem an odd subject for a piece commissioned to mark the new millennium. Why hark back to an event that has had little impact on today’s generation? I would argue, though, that the subject is perfectly appropriate for the twenty-first century. On this side of eternity, there will always be an enemy. There will always be war and violence and prejudice. There will always be sadness and anger and bitterness and distrust. Some of the dividing lines have shifted since the 1940s, but the universal need for repentance, forgiveness, and regeneration—to use Bell’s words—has not.

The Rt. Revd. George Bell (1883-1958)

I appreciate Christ Church Cathedral for honoring the life and work of George Bell. He spoke with conviction against an unjust English government practice, making him very politically unpopular. He was shouted off the House floor when he tried to launch resolutions and was constantly accused of undermining the war effort. For love of his nation, he spoke out against her, just as the Jewish prophets did in Old Testament times. May God give us the courage to follow Bell’s example whenever our governments err.

Though Bell didn’t have many supporters in his time, the Church of England (and the Episcopal Church in the USA) now honors him with a feast day on October 3. In addition to being known for his outspokenness and relief efforts during war, he is also famous for his pioneering role in the ecumenical movement. He worked tirelessly in to unify all Christian denominations around a common set of values—and more than that, to incorporate those from other faiths into this unity.

If you look at other photos of the Bell Altar and Cross—for example, on the website of its artist, Jim Partridge, or from Art and Christianity Inquiry—you will notice that the cross appears in different positions inside the church. In my photos the cross is lying on its side, its base beside the altar, the bulk of it slanting upward toward the crib of Phillips’s piece. The organization that voted it Best Commissioned Artwork in an Ecclesiastical Space in 2003, however, shows the cross flipped around, pointing toward the altar instead. In an even more drastic change of placement, the cross appears on the artist’s website standing upright under a niche behind the altar. I can only assume this means that Christ Church Cathedral rearranges the cross periodically to provide worshippers with new ways to engage with the piece. (Update, 7/18/13: A staff member at the church responded to my query this morning, saying that the cross was moved beside the altar very early on and was laid on its side simply to make it more stable.)

It communicates meaningfully with Rita Phillips’s Madonna and Child, which the Visitor’s Officer tells me was installed sometime around 2003. The cross foreshadows Jesus’s death, but also gives his birth meaning. The incarnation and the passion are key phases of the same mission, and here they are shown reinforcing each other. Also, by sharing space, an association is forged—at least in my mind—between Mary and all mothers who have lost children to acts of violence. I already quoted Phillips on the iconographical similarities between the subjects of the Madonna and Child (the baby Jesus in his mother’s arms) and the Pietà (the dead Jesus in his mother’s arms); here we see a cross, like a missile, pointing right toward the new mother, and we know she knows what’s coming. As Simeon prophesied to Mary at Jesus’s dedication in the temple, “A sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:35). A similar piercing was felt by countless German mothers whose sons and daughters were killed in civilian attacks during the war.

_____________________________

So that you get an idea of the space these pieces inhabit, here are a few photos that my husband took from the central aisle. If you’re looking at the first photo, the two pieces I discussed are located in a side chapel just through the farmost arch to the left.

View of the east end of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, showing the chancel, high altar, and rose window. Chancel vault by William Orchard, c. 1500. Rose window installed in 1853 by Gothic revival architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. Photo: Eric James Jones

View of the west end of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, showing the choir stalls and organ, under which is the main entrance. Organ built by the Austrian firm Rieger in 1978-79. Photo: Eric James Jones

This retable of the high altar is by George Frederick Bodley, 1881, with figures carved by William Brindley. Photo: Eric James Jones

To see some of the other art I encountered during my recent trip to England, check out “Christian art at the Ashmolean Museum,” “Two ivory panels from the V&A,” and “A Hidden Gem in Oxford: Holywell Cemetery.”

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JANUARY 22 2021 – CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL AND COLLEGE CHAPEL – OXFORD

Christ Church Cathedral and College Chapel Oxford / Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Christ Church Cathedral is the cathedral of the diocese of Oxford, which includes the City of Oxford and the surrounding countryside as far north as Banbury. It is also, uniquely, the chapel of Christ Church, the largest college of the University of Oxford.

Contents

History

The cathedral was originally the church of St Frideswide’s Priory. In 1522, the priory was surrendered to Cardinal Wolsey, who chose it as the site for his proposed college. However, in 1529 it was taken over by King Henry VIII. Work stopped, but in June 1532 the college was refounded by the King. In 1546, Henry VIII transferred to it from Osney Abbey to the see of Oxford. The cathedral has the name of Ecclesia Christi Cathedralis Oxoniensis, given to it by King Henry VIII’s foundation charter.

Architecture

The nave, choir, central tower, and transepts (as far as the roofs) are late Norman, and were probably erected during the lifetime of Canutus, the second prior, in the 12th century. As a whole the cathedral contains examples of the various styles from late Norman to Perpendicular.

Not the smallest

Once this was the smallest cathedral in England. But according to their website, this has changed: “It is true that at one time Christ Church Oxford would have been the smallest Cathedral in England… However, with the creation this century of new cathedrals which had previously been parish churches, Christ Church lost its distinction of being the smallest Cathedral in the country.1546 Christ Church Oxford (present size – 16,413 sq ft)1905 Birmingham Cathedral: 13,720 sq ft1914 Chelmsford Cathedral: 11,270 sq ft1927 Derby Cathedral: 10,950 sq ft Newport Cathedral in Wales, is smaller still. A Cathedral since 1949, with an area of about 7,850 sq ft, it has a total seating capacity of only 600! At present Christ Church is probably the fifth smallest English Cathedral after Derby, Chelmsford, Birmingham and Leicester”.[1]

Miscellany

Cathedral (or Christ Church) Time is traditionally five minutes behind Greenwich Mean Time. This dates back to the days before the railways when each region of the country kept to its own local time. Hence what is now called Cathedral Time is a survival of old Oxford Time.[1]

References

  1. Christ Church Cathedral Miscellany

Other websites

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.

Categories

Christ Church Cathedral and College Chapel Oxford – Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Rose Wheel Window – Christ Church Cathedral Oxford – Photo by Stephen Stookey [Rose window installed in 1853 by Gothic revival architect Sir George Gilbert Scott]

“At present, I have little sense of the sacred here. I hope and pray, in the future, that may change” ~ Richard W. Symonds – January 22 2021

“When the laughter of the atheists and agnostics fades away and the reputation of the Christian church goes down the toilet, what will be left for the coming generation?” – Chris Pitts – ‘Surviving Church’

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/01/09/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/

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JANUARY 21 2021 – “£5M-A-YEAR FUNDRAISER QUITS OXFORD’S ‘TOXIC’ CHRIST CHURCH” – DAILY MAIL

Christ Church College Oxford – Shutterstock/Andrei Nekkrassov

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: £5m-a-year fundraiser quits Oxford’s ‘toxic’ Christ Church | Daily Mail Online

£5m-a-year fundraiser quits Oxford’s ‘toxic’ Christ Church

By SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 23:21, 20 January 2021

Boasting a magnificent Tudor dining-hall, it was perhaps inevitable that Christ Church, Oxford’s grandest college, would feature in the first Harry Potter film.

But life at the college has not, alas, proved a wizard experience for its development director, Mark Coote.

He has, I can disclose, abruptly resigned after little more than three years in the post, which required him to raise funds from Christ Church’s distinguished alumni who include David Dimbleby, the Duke of Wellington and the American Bitcoin billionaire Winklevoss twins.

‘Christ Church receives about £5 million-a-year in donations but the last three years have been catastrophic,’ one of its alumni tells me, before alleging: ‘Donations are down by at least £5 million in that time.’ (The college disputes that figure.)

Mark Coote abruptly resigned after little more than three years as development director, which required him to raise funds from Christ Church’s distinguished alumni who include David Dimbleby, the Duke of Wellington and the American Bitcoin billionaire Winklevoss twins

This, my source adds, has nothing to do with Coote, but is, instead, because of the seemingly unending and increasingly ill-tempered battle between the head of college, the Rev Martyn Percy, and Christ Church’s senior dons.

Trouble flared after Coote was appointed — reputedly on a higher salary than Percy, who receives £90,000-a-year and lives in the Deanery, a rambling 16th-century house which forms part of one of the college’s quadrangles, and also enjoys the services of a gardener, a cleaner, a secretary and three-course meals in Christ Church’s dining hall.

Learning that Coote was paid more than him, Percy allegedly requested a review of how salaries at the college were set — and of the composition of the panel of dons who made the decisions. 

Christ Church confirms that Coote is leaving, adding: ‘We are putting in place interim arrangements until a permanent successor can be appointed. All of us at Christ Church wish him great success in his future endeavours and thank him for his service to Christ Church.’

Coote declines to comment but is assured of sympathy from alumni. ‘He’s been working in a toxic atmosphere,’ one tells me.

A college benefactor agrees. ‘I’m unamused — both with the Dean and with the senior academics,’ he assures me.

Percy, who has been cleared of allegations of misconduct by one tribunal, now faces another, which will decide whether he should be removed from office.

He then faces an employment tribunal in the autumn.

Given their infantile behaviour, surely they should settle it with a game of Quidditch?

COMMENT

Prof. Plum, Toulouse – home of Airbus, France,

Re Christ Church College – the College is squandering millions of pounds of donors’ money in a personal feud with one of the most highly respected theologians in the country. Meanwhile thousands of people are donating money to Dean Percy’s Legal Defence Fund. If Dean Percy wins his case against Christ Church, his damages could become the highest award in the history of Employment Tribunals and will have to also be paid from money given by donors. Only an idiot would donate money to this bastion of failed corporate governance.

FURTHER INFORMATION

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/oxford-college-loses-chief-fundraiser-9wtxnk5gk

Christ Church Oxford – Daily Telegraph

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_Church_Cathedral,_Oxford

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JANUARY 21 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [MAY 2019] – “THERE MUST NEVER AGAIN BE ANY REPETITION OF SUCH A DISCREDITABLE, INDEED DISGRACEFUL, PERFORMANCE” – PROFESSOR ANDREW CHANDLER – THE GEORGE BELL GROUP

Professor Andrew Chandler – The George Bell Group

“There must never again be any repetition of such a discreditable, indeed disgraceful, performance” – Professor Andrew Chandler – The George Bell Group – May 9 2019

“Sadly, indeed tragically, there has been a repetition” – Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society – January 21 2021

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

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JANUARY 21 2021 – THE GEORGE BELL GROUP

“[Martyn] Percy was a member of the campaign group that overturned the work of that [C of E] core group and rescued Bell’s reputation

“Christ Church Oxford Jabs” – Private Eye – No. 1539 [22 January-4 Feb 2021]

The George Bell Group

We are an independent group whose members represent a concentration of experience in public life, in the fields of law, policing, politics, journalism, academic research and church affairs. This group began to meet in response to the 22 October 2015 statement issued by the Church of England about Bishop George Bell. See this BBC report for the original story. On 15 December 2017 the Church of England published the independent review of Lord Carlile and issued three statements made in response by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Chichester and the Bishop of Bath & Wells.

We warmly welcome the Report written by Timothy Briden and congratulate him on his thorough examination of the evidence which led him to the explicit conclusion that the new allegations against Bishop Bell were unfounded. There are no other allegations.

It is time to conclude a matter which has lasted altogether three and a half years. The investigative activities and processes of the church authorities themselves have been devastated by independent legal judgement. The assurances with which these authorities have justified themselves and effectively promoted a case against Bishop Bell in public have been discredited. Bishop Bell’s reputation is today vindicated and affirmed by authoritative opinion. What remains of the story is only a matter of contemporary church politics.

Read the full response of the George Bell Group (May 2019)

Statement May 2019

Since October 2015 when the Archbishops’ Council announced that they had paid compensation to the woman given the pseudonym ‘Carol’, who alleged that she had been abused by Bishop George Bell, his defenders have criticised the Church authorities for never once affording the Bishop the presumption of innocence.  Now, after the inquiries of Lord Carlile and Timothy Briden, it can be seen that the allegations against Bishop Bell were unfounded in fact.

THE CARLILE REVIEW

The Carlile report, whose conclusions (save as to publicity) the Church accepted, criticised the investigation of Carol’s allegations as a rush to judgment predicated on Bell’s guilt. It concluded that the decision to settle with Carol was indefensibly wrong and that the process completely ignored the Bishop’s reputation and the interests of his surviving family, including his very elderly niece.

The original statement by the Archbishops’ Council in October 2015 claimed that none of the expert independent reports had found reason to doubt Carol’s veracity. But Lord Carlile discovered that the only expert consulted by the Church thought it very likely that Carol’s experience of abuse in her first marriage had affected her recall, and that the possibility of false memories was a real one.

Regrettably Archbishop Welby added his authority to the destruction of Bell’s reputation: on Good Friday 2016, before the Carlile report was completed, he told BBC Radio that the investigation of Carol’s claim had been ‘very thorough’ and the finding of abuse correct on the balance of probabilities. We now know how far from the truth that was.

The Archbishop told Lord Carlile during his inquiry that if there had not been a proper investigation of Carol’s story, the Church would have to apologise. But sadly, when the Carlile report was published in December 2017, he chose not to do so. To the disappointment of Bell’s defenders, he appeared to reject the presumption of innocence; instead he commented that there was still ‘a significant cloud’ left over Bishop Bell’s name without giving any explanation of why he continued to hold that view in the face of Lord Carlile’s conclusions.

THE ‘FRESH INFORMATION’ AND THE BRIDEN PROCESS

The publicity given to the Carlile report appears to have triggered a copy-cat claim by the woman given the name Alison. The Core Safeguarding Group which had been responsible for the shambolic investigation of Carol’s claim now set about trying to substantiate that by Alison. They may well have hoped that the similar facts alleged by Alison would corroborate the discredited Carol. But within weeks the police, to whom the Core Group had reported the matter, closed their enquiries.  Next an investigation by a senior retired police officer commissioned by the Church quickly showed that Alison’s evidence was unreliable and incapable of supporting any adverse finding against the Bishop.

Mr Briden reported that her account not only had internal inconsistencies but was also contaminated by her having read Carol’s story, a contamination revealed by her repeating verbatim some of Carol’s words which had been reported in the press. He ended his report by saying that all the allegations against George Bell remitted to him were unfounded.

Many will have hoped that on reading Mr Briden’s report Archbishop Welby would have publicly acknowledged that the cloud of which he had previously spoken had been dissipated. He did not do so.

THE DUTY OF THE CHURCH NOW

The history of the treatment by the Church of England of the reputation of George Bell has become a scandal. It is now the plain duty of the Church of England, nationally and in the Diocese of Chichester, to make amends by working to restore Bishop Bell’s reputation, not least in institutions which were once proud to adopt his name.

We welcome the decision of Canterbury Cathedral to revive a commission to create a statue of Bell and note the expression of ‘delight’ with which the Archbishop of Canterbury has responded. We acknowledge with gratitude the firmness with which the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford have maintained and cherished the chapel there dedicated to Bell’s memory throughout the controversy. We note that the meeting room dedicated to Bishop Bell remains, as before, at the World Council of Churches in Geneva.

It is only in Chichester itself, the place in which Bishop Bell lived and worked for almost thirty years and where his ashes are interred in the cathedral, that any public adoption of his name is now suppressed.

We find the public stance of the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, incomprehensible and indefensible. The Bishop’s ‘Response’ to the Briden Report, published on 24 January 2019 and now promoted on the websites of the diocese and cathedral, only went as far as to acknowledge that ‘Bishop Bell cannot be proven guilty’. He added that it could not be ‘safely claimed that the original complainant [i.e. Carol] had been discredited’. This is a most regrettable insinuation that there was, or likely was, substance to Carol’s allegation and hence that Bell was to be suspected of abuse.

The Bishop emphasised the defamatory innuendo by asking ‘those who hold opposing views on this matter to recognise the strength of each other’s commitment to justice and compassion.’ There is, regrettably, no evidence in this response of the Bishop’s commitment to justice or of any compassion towards those who are wrongly accused. His words have been repeated verbatim by the Bishop at Lambeth in response to a Question at the recent session of the General Synod of the church. Indeed, the Bishop even invoked the authority of the House of Bishops in support of this view. So far as we are aware the House has never even discussed the matter.

Such words simply preserve the impression that there was, and remains, a case against Bell. A not dissimilar state of mind was revealed by the Chichester Diocesan Safeguarding Officer when he told the Child Abuse Inquiry in March 2018 that ‘all the indications we have would suggest that the simplest explanation for why someone comes forward to report abuse – because they were abused – is likely to be the correct one’.

As the High Court Judge Sir Richard Henriques has pointed out in his report to the Metropolitan Police on allegations against prominent individuals, such an assumption results in an investigation which does not challenge the complainant, tends to disbelieve the suspect and shifts onto the suspect the burden of proof, ignoring any presumption of innocence. It becomes a premise for a miscarriage of justice such as can now be seen to have been inflicted on the reputation of George Bell.

It should be sufficient to observe that like Professor Anthony Maden, Lord Carlile did interview this first complainant. We note Lord Carlile’s statement of 1 February 2019, made to the local campaigner Mr Richard Symonds: ‘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.’

We are more than conscious that this saga represents a wider pattern in the Church and across society where many other such miscarriages of justice have become notorious. Now it is surely essential that if all the many safeguarding bodies, national and diocesan, are to be retained by the Church of England their work must be placed under real legal discipline and in the hands of officers who observe fully the expectations and rule of law and act without fear or prejudice.

There must never again be any repetition of such a discreditable, indeed disgraceful, performance.

Andrew Chandler, Convenor of George Bell Group, 9 May 2019

“Sadly, indeed tragically, there has been a repetition” ~ Richard W. Symonds “Christ Church Oxford Jabs” – Private Eye – No. 1539 [22 January-4 Feb 2021]

George Bell Group – Who we are

Core Members

Desmond Browne QC was christened by George Bell, and is a former Chairman of the Bar of England and Wales, 2009.

Andrew Chandler is a widely published historian of the twentieth-century Church of England and, most recently, the biographer of George Bell. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Keith Clements, is Former General Secretary, Conference of European Churches.

Lord Geoffrey Dear is a Cross Bench member of the House of Lords, member of Willersey (Gloucestershire) PCC; formerly Vice Lord Lieutenant, senior police officer and HM Inspector of Constabulary.

Mark Dunn, sometime Chairman of West Sussex County council and Sussex Police Authority.

Frank Field has been the Member of Parliament for Birkenhead since 1979. He serves on the Ecclesiastical Committee and served as Chairman of the Cathedral Fabrics Commission for England from 2005 to 2015.

Anthony Harvey, formerly Fellow of Wolfson College Oxford, and Canon Theologian and Sub-Dean of Westminster from 1982 until 1999.

Lord Lexden, is a Conservative Peer and Historian.

His Honour Alan Pardoe QC was in practice at the Bar from 1973 to 2003, and was from 2003 to 2013 appointed a Circuit Judge sitting at Snaresbrook Crown Court in East London where he had substantial experience of trying allegations of sexual offences.

The Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy is the Dean (or Head) of Christ Church Oxford, as well as of the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Oxford, and member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford.

Margery Roberts is Honorary Secretary of the Nikaean Ecumenical Trust, Secretary and Treasurer of the Society of the Faith, a charity trustee, writer and churchwarden of a Westminster parish.

The Revd Philip White Roman Catholic canonist and diocesan chancellor

The Review is supported by:

Colin Armstrong, visiting research associate, School of History, Queen’s University of Belfast.
Simon Barrow, Director of the Ekklesia think-tank
John H.Y. Briggs, Emeritus Professor University of Birmingham, Faculty of Theology University of Oxford.
Charmian Brinson, Emeritus Professor Imperial College, London
The Rt Revd the Lord Carey of Clifton
Professor John Charmley, University of East Anglia
Lord Cormack DL, FSA (Member, Parliamentary Ecclesiastical Committee)
Christie Davies, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Reading
Lord Davies of Stamford
The Very Revd John Drury, University of Oxford
Professor James Dunn and Mrs Meta Dunn
Brendan Gibb-Gray BEM, formerly Detective Chief Superintendent, Metropolitan Police
Revd Dr James Grayson, Emeritus Professor of Korean Studies, University of Sheffield
Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson
John Haffenden, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of English Studies, University of London and Emeritus Professor of English Literature, University of Sheffield
Michael Hames, former Detective Superintendent at Scotland Yard and the founder of the Paedophile Squad; safeguarding consultant and media advisor.
Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson, Academic and daughter of Franz Hildebrandt
The Revd Professor David Jasper, University of Glasgow
Ann Loades CBE, Professor Emerita of Divinity, University of Durham and Honorary Professor, School of Divinity, St Andrews University.
John Lucas FBA, emeritus member of Merton College, Oxford, and Morar Lucas.
Revd Canon Dr Charlotte Methuen, Senior Lecturer in Church History, University of Glasgow.
Mother Miriam CSM, Mother Superior of the Eastern Province of the Community of Saint Mary
The Revd Dr Jeremy Morris, Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Mrs Christine Reade
The Revd Donald Reeves, Founder and Director of the Soul of Europe
Dr Richard Rex, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge
David Stimpson, Churchwarden in the Diocese of Southwark and former leader of Lambeth Borough Council
The Revd Canon David M. Thompson, Emeritus Professor of Modern Church History, University of Cambridge.
George Wedell, Emeritus Professor, University of Manchester

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JANUARY 21 2021 – “CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD JABS” – PRIVATE EYE – NO. 1539 [22 JANUARY – 4 FEB 2021]

“CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD JABS” – PRIVATE EYE – NO. 1539 [22 January – 4 Feb 2021]

THE governing body of Christ Church, Oxford, is nothing if not persistent in its efforts to force out the dean, Martyn Percy.

He was exonerated in 2019 by a hugely expensive tribunal under a senior high court judge; and then again last year by a Church of England “core group” investigation under the clergy discipline measure (CDM). Both inquisitions were at the behest of Canon Professor Graham Ward, a long-standing academic rival (Eye 1536). Professor Warlord has now put his name to a second CDM complaint, and last week the college’s governing body voted to initiate a second tribunal.

These actions follow an “independent investigation” by a safeguarding professional. Having no doubt scoured the country for the person best equipped to conduct an impartial inquiry, the governing body settled on Kate Wood – whose independence is in no way compromised by the fact that she works for the Church of England, and was involved with the core group that bungled an investigation into allegations against Bishop George Bell. As it happens, Percy was a member of the campaign group that overturned the work of that core group and rescued Bell’s reputation.

In spite of this and having worked for the Church for most of the past 12 years, Wood claims she had not heard of Percy, or the problems of Christ Church before this engagement, despite all the publicity. Her last investigative job for the Church was to inquire into the misdeeds of Bishop Victor Whitsey, a project on which she was managed by Elizabeth Pollard of the C of E’s national safeguarding team. As it also happens, Pollard is a very close friend of another key Christ Church governor, Professor Geraldine Johnson.

The new tribunal is investigating an allegation – which Percy denies – that he assaulted a verger at Christ Church by stroking her hair in the vestry after morning service. The alleged victim has acknowledged she was put under pressure to report the incident. “I knew it was a massive deal,” she said. “People wanted the final blow. I was thinking. ‘Is this important enough for that to happen?'”

Thames Valley police has investigated and said there is no case for further action. Wood neglected to visit Christ Church, or to interview witnesses offered by Percy, including the other person who was in the vestry at the time. Nevertheless, on the basis of her report, the college has decreed that Percy poses a “high” or “medium” risk of perpetuating further “sexual harassment or sexual assaults” on staff, students and minors.

The wily Censors of Christ Church not only engaged a C of E employee to conduct their investigation, they also engaged the C of E’s go-to legal firm, Winckworth Sherwood, which acts for no fewer than nine C of E dioceses, and for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council. It also provides a chair for the General Synod, and its alumni act as the church’s in-house solicitor and the senior law officer for the Province of Canterbury.

Winckworth Sherwood has little to gain from an early resolution to the Christ Church dispute. Partner Alison Talbot is acting for the Christ Church governing body, and her colleague Darren Oliver leads a team of no fewer than eight Winckworth Sherwood staff who work for the Diocese of Oxford. Coincidentally, Oliver is also registrar for the Diocese of Chichester – where Kate wood has her day job. Small world!

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JANUARY 21 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [SEPTEMBER 1939] – THE BELL DECLARATION 1939 – “THE CHURCH OUGHT TO DECLARE WHAT IS JUST”

FROM THE ARCHIVES [SEPTEMBER 1939] – THE BELL DECLARATION 1939 – “THE CHURCH OUGHT TO DECLARE WHAT IS JUST”

80th Anniversary of The Bell Declaration 1939 – “The Church ought to declare what is just”

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9780802872272

“The Church’s Function in War-time”by Bishop George Bell – Fortnightly Review – September 1939 [Reprinted in “The Church and Humanity, 1939-1946” by G.K.A. Bell – Longmans-Green 1946 – pp. 22-31][Source : “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester – Church, State, and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship” by Andrew Chandler – Eerdmans 2016 – page 75]

“This matter of functions is vital. The State has a function, and the Church has a function. They are distinct. The State is the guarantor of order, justice and civil liberty. It acts by the power of restraint, legal and physical. The Church, on the other hand, is charged with a gospel of God’s redeeming love. It witnesses to a Revelation in history. It speaks of the realities which outlast change. It aims at creating a community founded on love, So when all the resources of the State are concentrated, for example, on winning a war, the Church is not a part of those resources . It stands for something different from these. It possesses an authority independent of the State. It is bound, because of that authority, to proclaim the realities which outlast change. It has to preach the gospel of redemption…[the church] is not the State’s spiritual auxiliary with exactly the same ends as the State. To give the impression that it is, is both to do a profound disservice to the nation and to betray its own principles…[the church must still settle] the question of right and wrong – the moral law:

The Church…ought to declare both in peace-time and war-time, that there are certain basic principles which can and should be the standards of both international and social order, and conduct. Such principles are the

[1] equal dignity of all men,

[2] respect for human life,

[3] acknowledgement of the solidarity for good and evil of all nations and races of the earth,

[4] fidelity to the plighted word, and

[5] appreciation of the fact that power of any kind, political or economic, must be co-extensive with responsibility.

The Church therefore ought to declare what is just.

~ Bishop George Bell of Chichester – September 1939

Full transcript:

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2019/06/23/june-23-2019-bishop-bell-speaks-of-a-church-independent-of-the-state/?fbclid=IwAR2jH9mMO33_boApQIVPy_QKEDACXCVHpM_6FPq62hnGNSXa-Aedhn_dqs0

“TRUTH THAT SETS YOU FREE” BY CANON MARK OAKLEY – DEAN OF ST. JOHN’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE – CHURCH TIMES

GEORGE HERBERT’s advice to preachers about our words’ needing to be “heart-deep”, and about the poetic vocation of “redress” in self and society, seem more than important at the moment. We are in the wake of an American election, a national Covid-driven lockdown, the ferment of Brexit, and a changing global, polarised political, climate.

We are living with a sense of dismantling in the air — from liberal democracy to the environment itself; from life as we knew it and lived it to basic human encounter and relationship. At such a time, we need rich, awakened, and trustworthy language to connect for the common good, a compass to navigate us through the land of loss and fear. And yet language itself appears now, in the hands of some, to be equally dismantled — by a grave and dangerous abuse.

There is what Richard Baxter called “Truth Decay” (Poetical Fragments, 1681), and the haunting question whether, as a society, we are losing interest in the truth of words; whether the idea that there is objective truth is now less important to us than opinions, crisis chatter, or infotainment.

Is to be interesting more important than being right? Is there a declining value of accuracy, as society’s reserve currency? Is what matters not veracity but impact? Is dishonesty, therefore, not held to account as it once was? Is lying just a laugh that amuses by messing up our systems of value?

If this is our situation, it is tempting to blame some political and state leaders. Some of them tend to campaign in graffiti and then govern in tweets. Some seem to think that what is truthful is merely what reinforces the mood of the crowd and their preference for alternative facts.

History, thankfully, is peppered with those who warn us about such political manipulation. Alexander Hamilton, for instance, one of America’s Founding Fathers, argued for a system of constitutional checks and balances to guard against the possibility — and I now quote him — “of a man unprincipled in private life” and “bold in his temper” who could one day arise, and who might “mount the hobby horse of popularity” and “flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day” to embarrass the government and “throw things into confusion that he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind”.

Wow. Imagine that ever happening! Perhaps that’s why it was always important to believe that the first President, George Washington, had said “I cannot tell a lie.”

Those such as George Orwell and Hannah Arendt warned from experience that abusive power ultimately takes hold by slow injections of falsity that people begin to repeat. And so, for all practical purposes, Orwell concludes, the lie will have become truth. It spreads, and leads to a general distrust of experts — the belief that, say, science, if inconvenient somehow, is a conspiracy, and historical studies that don’t back up your arguments can be revised.

Journalism begins to reflect a selfie-stick culture, seemingly holding things at an objective distance, but actually only reflecting yourself and tribe. Religion, too, can hide its darker abuses with pious jargon and dead clichés repeated by some authority to pay deference to. We turn to social media and find that Facebook is where we lie to our friends, and Twitter where we tell secrets to strangers.

IF THERE is anything to what I say, this is a dangerous place to find ourselves — not least because power belongs to the loudest controller of the chaos, and leaves us in a state where, if you are not at their table, you are probably on their menu.

Pilate asks Jesus “What is truth?”, but he doesn’t hang around to find out the answer. After all, the crowd is putting on the pressure outside. One of the reasons that I’m proud to be part of this university is that it is here to ask the same question — “What is truth?” — but then, quite the opposite: to stick around, together, in a “fellowship” even, to pursue the answers.

A college is one of the antidotes to any fashion of falsity: a group of people committed to the pursuit of truth, in dialogue and co-operation, each ready to be corrected when necessary; eager for accuracy, but warning against quick clarity and the seduction of easy answers; fearless in seeing past and present, and researching into the as yet unknown.

Although very proud of our past, this tradition of truth-search which we inherit makes us ultimately a place that seeks to be loyal to the future. A good education generates information, but also enables formation; it helps the CV virtues of achievement, breakthrough, and contribution, but knows that we should also focus on the eulogy virtues — what we want said at our funeral. Were we kind, generous, a good parent or friend? Did we ask Job’s question in life: where shall wisdom be found? What language will we need to begin to recognise an answer?

I AM proud, too, to be part of the Christian community, for all our faults, because we also celebrate the fact that, along with others, truth has other forms than facts; that, sometimes, truth is far too important to be literalistic about. The truth that is expressed artistically, musically (Herbert’s great love), truth in narrative and myth, is the truth that is always part of the human inner life — the sense of that fragile life placed in your care, the un-ignorable intrusions of mystery when love or loss enter it, the intuition that somehow we need saving from ourselves by a love both beyond and within.

I believe that, when we walk into any place of worship, we walk into a poem. As Herbert made his long way to evensong in Salisbury Cathedral, he knew that the Church’s liturgy is a poetry in motion, and that we fail to understand its beauty if we miss the sensitive state of consciousness that its poetry can prompt.

We are not spectators in worship. We pursue the truths that are able to translate into living, alert to the dangers of being coloured by the world’s insanity, cruelty, and so-called “common” (but often crazed) sense. The poetry of liturgy and faith is a redress and a vehicle of potential for connected life, making us citizens and not just consumers. How we live the truth of our words was Herbert’s quest because, as his contemporary Joseph Hall said, “God loveth adverbs.”

Herbert embodied a Christian faith that is both “a loving search and a searching love”: an adventure into truth and mystery and intuition, and a charity that is not content with surface relationship, but seeks to read between the lines, discern hurt and need, and work for a peace built on justice. He would, I think, be shocked today at how we have lost reverence for language — the sense of the sacramentality, even, of words, able, as they are, to open up fresher worlds before us and in us, voicing the deeper currents of our longings and loves. It is time for that to be redressed.

This is an edited version of the University Sermon delivered on 1 November 2020 by Canon Mark Oakley, Dean of St John’s College, Cambridge.

greatstmarys.org/unisermons

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JANUARY 18 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [MARCH 20 2018] – “CLERGY BURNT CHURCH FILES AFTER BEING ACCUSED OF COVERING UP ABUSE” – CHRISTIAN TODAY

CHRONOLOGY RESEARCH ARCHIVE

May 10 2003

“Warnings have been going on for 25 years” – Chichester Observer – May 10 2003 – Page 2. The article [and page number] were mentioned in the Carmi Report 2004 – along with the Saturn Centre Crawley Hospital [RWS unable to find article]. Only the Carmi recommendations became public in 2004 – not the detail. The detail – such as the 2001 conviction of Terence Banks – was not disclosed until 2014. Who withheld disclosure?

Richard W. Symonds – Researcher

Jan 24 2019

“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”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

“A few of us took the Archbishop’s advice. We did not ignore the allegation – we investigated it. Nor did we sweep it under the carpet – far from it”

Richard W. Symonds

April 9 2019 – “Clergy burnt church files after being accused of covering up abuse” – Christian Today – Harry Farley [March 20 2018]

garden-party-in-the-deanery-garden-e1465895259248

The Deanery Garden at Chichester Cathedral

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/clergy-burnt-church-files-after-being-accused-of-covering-up-abuse-inquiry-hears/127645.htm

Clergy burnt church files after being accused of covering up abuse, inquiry hears Harry Farley Tue 20 Mar 2018 16:57 GMT

A senior clergyman burnt church files, an inquiry heard today, after he failed to report the systematic abuse of children by a priest to the police.

John Treadgold, the former dean of Chichester Cathedral, returned to the empty deanery after he retired in 2001, took files from the basement and burnt them in the garden, his former colleague Peter Atkinson said.

Peter Atkinson
IICSA – Peter Atkinson was Chancellor at Chichester Cathedral under John Treadgold and is now Dean of Worcester.

It happened as Terence Banks, the head steward of the cathedral, was convicted of 32 sexual offences against 12 boys over a period of 29 years. He was sentenced to 16 years in jail in 2001 after an investigation by Sussex police.

However it later emerged through a report conducted by Edina Carmi in 2004 that Treadgold had been told of Banks’ abuse by a victim in 2000 but had not reported it to the police, the child protection adviser or social services.

Of Banks’ 12 victims, all were under 16 years of ago and some were as young as 11. He was eventually convicted in 2001 of 23 charges of indecent assault, five of buggery, one of indecency with a child under 14 years, and  two of attempting to procure acts of gross indecency.

The current dean of Worcester, Peter Atkinson, was chancellor of Chichester Cathedral at the time, and told the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse that Treadgold came back to the deanery after he had retired and burnt files that were in the basement.

IICSA
IICSAThe inquiry is chaired by professor Alexis Jay, second from left.

‘What I remember of the episode is that he returned to the deanery, which was then empty, removed a number of files from the deanery basement and had a fire in the garden,’ Atkinson told the inquiry today.

‘I don’t know what the files were,’ he added.

‘It is a bit odd that he moved away and then came back to do this. It was sufficiently troubling for us to mention this to the police.’

He said the police ‘took it very seriously’ but ‘ultimately no future action was taken’.

He described Treadgold’s dealings with the police as ‘defensive’ and said he blurred homosexuality with paedophilia in his attitude.

‘The conflict over homosexuality and abuse was, like many men of his background and his generation, there was an unease about her whole idea of homosexuality and a sort of presumption that homosexual men where unsafe in relation to other men, particularly younger men or boys.’

The independent inquiry into child sex abuse is hearing evidence into how the diocese of Chichester dealt with allegations of abuse as a case study for the wider Church of England.

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/may-10-2019-the-treadgold-bonfire-2001/

May 10 2019 – ‘The Dean’s Bonfire’ – Chichester Cathedral – 2001

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bonfire-1

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/23-march/news/uk/iicsa-latest-the-dean-s-bonfire-and-the-destroyed-report-chichester-cathedral

DAY 12 IICSA INQUIRY – CHICHESTER – 20 MARCH 2018 – DEAN PETER ATKINSON ON DEAN TREADGOLD, TERENCE BANKS ET AL

Q. Before we move on, we should deal briefly with one other matter touching on Dean Treadgold. Is it right that at the time of his retirement, or thereabouts, there came a time when he burnt a number of files held within the cathedral?

A. Yes. He had retired in the autumn of 2001 and moved a short distance away. What I remember of the episode is that he returned to the deanery, which then was empty, this was long before Dean Frayling arrived, removed a number of files from the deanery basement and had a fire in the garden. I don’t know what the files were. I think there is some indication that they might have been old chapter files, but they may well have been his own. It’s a bit odd that he’d moved away and then came back to do this, and it was sufficiently troubling for us to mention this to the police, which happened.

Q. And the police subsequently investigated it, including interviewing, I understand, Dean Treadgold under caution?

A. They took it very seriously, yes.

Q. But no further action was ultimately taken?

A. Ultimately, no further action was taken.

Q. Did anybody within the cathedral or the chapter think to get him back in, have a word with him and say, “What were you burning and why were you burning it?”, because, in theory, there’s a potential hole in your record keeping now?

A. I don’t remember that happening. I think the person who spoke to the police, as far as I can remember, was Canon John Ford, who by then was the acting dean between the two deans, and I can’t remember that we took further action ourselves, knowing that the police were involved. I think we took the view that that was police business.

Q. Once they’d taken no further action, why not then? Why not then say, “Hang on a minute, somebody who has moved away from the cathedral, who has retired, has come back, potentially taken chapter files and burnt them. We need to find out why and what they have burnt, if for no other reason than to find out where we have now got record gaps, or even take disciplinary action”?

A. I’m not sure what disciplinary action might have been taken against a retired dean. The answer to your question is that I don’t remember that kind of internal investigation happening.

Q. If we can move forward to the Carmi Report…

IICSA INVESTIGATION REPORT – May 9 2019

Full Text of Report: Anglican Church Case Studies: Chichester/Peter Ball Investigation Report

57
The Carmi review was designed to imitate the serious cases reviews that were
conducted by local authorities in cases of death or serious harm to young people. It was commissioned by Bishop Hind shortly after his appointment. His intention was to understand how Banks “could have been able to perpetrate offences against so many boys over such a long period”.

58
The Carmi review Commissioning of the review
In September 2001, a letter from Bishop Hind was sent to each of the victims who had been identified during the police investigation. This letter explained that a review would be taking place. AN‑A11 agreed to participate in the review. Along with another victim of Banks, he met with Mrs Carmi to discuss his experiences of abuse. The victims’ views would form part of the completed report, which was eventually finalised in January 2004.

Problems encountered during the Carmi review
The leadership of Dean John Treadgold. Between 1997 and 2007, Canon Peter Atkinson (currently the Dean of Worcester60) was a residentiary canon and chancellor of Chichester Cathedral. In his view, there was a “failure
of leadership” at Chichester Cathedral at the time of Banks’ arrest.
Dean John Treadgold was the then Dean of Chichester Cathedral. Under his direction, safeguarding matters were handled as pastoral concerns and nothing more. Canon Atkinson described him as a “rugged individualist” with traditional views, who found it difficult to relate to members of the Diocese and to external agencies.


ACE022573_123 58 WWS000138_031 59 INQ000984_014-15 60 WWS000140_002 61 WWS000140_020 62 This is not the correct nomenclature, but is used in this report for ease of reference. 63 Atkinson 20 March 2018 147/22

Case study 1: The Diocese of Chichester
Dean Treadgold appears to have experienced a particularly strained relationship
with Mrs Carmi, Mrs Hind and the police. For instance, at the debrief meeting chaired by Mrs Carmi on 12 June 2001, the police raised concerns regarding his response to the criminal investigation of Banks. It was specifically noted that the Dean “appeared defensive and seemed to take the side of the Defendant”.
Shortly after his retirement in autumn 2001, Dean Treadgold returned to Chichester Cathedral. He instructed the gardeners to burn a number of files held in the basement of the Deanery. This incident was reported to the police by members of the Cathedral. A police investigation was subsequently conducted, during the course of which the Carmi review was suspended. Ultimately, the police took no further action and the Carmi review continued from early December 2002. Canon Atkinson recalled that no internal investigation took
place regarding the burning of these potentially important files. Nobody in the Cathedralappears to have questioned Dean Treadgold about this, nor did the Cathedral carry out any enquiries of its own.

Opposition to the review
In a letter to Mrs Carmi dated 3 November 2003, Bishop Hind acknowledged receipt of her completed report. He expressed his apologies for the extent to which her review had been hindered by “members and officials of the Church”.
Indeed, Mrs Carmi told us the Dean and Chapter were reluctant both to engage with the investigation and to assist in encouraging further victims to come forward.
When the review began two years earlier, Bishop Hind wrote to the Dean and to all members of the Chapter requesting their full co-operation with Mrs Carmi in the completion of her task. The responses to his letter expressed an unreserved willingness to assist, with Dean Treadgold declaring that “I shall be quite happy to assist Mrs Carmi in any way I can”.

After he resigned from his post in October 2001, he was succeeded by Dean Nicholas Frayling, who echoed these assurances of support for the investigation.
Despite this ostensible show of compliance by the Dean and Chapter, Mrs Carmi said “there was a gap between what we were asking of them and what they were prepared to do”.
For example, in addition to proactively contacting those victims whose identities were known to the police, Mrs Carmi planned to offer a chance to contribute to all other individuals who had not previously come forward. She intended to achieve this aim by writing to the wider Cathedral and school communities.
Unfortunately, Mrs Carmi faced opposition from the Dean and Chapter when she sought to initiate such communication. Dean Frayling was said to have described her request for information as a “fishing expedition” which was likely to cause distress to many people in its revival of historic events. As chair of The Prebendal School’s governing body, he expressed similar concerns when Mrs Carmi attempted to contact current and former parents of its pupils….

Spotlight’ Film – 2015

Woman: There was a lot of pressure to keep quiet.

Reporter: From the Church?

Woman: Yeah, from the Church. But not just the Church. From my friends. From other parishioners.

TERENCE BANKS – CONVICTION 2001

09/07/2014 · Terence Banks, 63, a former BBC floor manager, molested 12 boys over almost 30 years since 1972. After a three-day trial, a jury convicted him of serious sexual assault of a 13-year-old boy between January 1971 and December 1973

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May 2001

Church steward who groomed boys for abuse is jailed

A STEWARD at Chichester Cathedral who used his position to abuse young boys attending church functions has been jailed for 16 years.

Terence Banks, 63, a former BBC floor manager, molested 12 boys over almost 30 years since 1972.

After a three-day trial, a jury convicted him of serious sexual assault of a 13-year-old boy between January 1971 and December 1973. Banks, who denied both charges, had already admitted at a previous court hearing 31 sex offences against boys and young men. 

Sentencing him, Judge Richard Brown said “You presented yourself to children and their parents as a kindly, helpful and genuine person. Of course we now know that in reality you were a manipulative, wicked, serial sexual abuser of young men and boys.

You used the cathedral activities as a cloak to cover your targeting of potential young victims.”

Banks admitted 31 sexual offences, which included indecent assault and serious sexual assaults. He was also convicted of one serious sexual offence.

Philip Katz, QC, for the prosecution, had told Lewes Crown Court: “The offences range from touching to repeated buggery. The background to the case, the Crown say, concerns the systematic grooming and sexual abuse of young boys for nearly 30 years.”

The court was told that the victims were offered alcohol, meals out and trips to London, including tours of the BBC studios, by Banks.

The court was told how two of Banks’s older victims suffered severe mental trauma as a result of the abuse. One of them said that the abuse had made him feel “dirty, sick, angry and almost suicidal”; another had suffered a mental breakdown and is unable to work.

Banks had a flat in Hammersmith, West London, close to the BBC, and a home near Chichester Cathedral, where he often showed boys pornographic videos before molesting them.

Mr Katz said that it was one of Banks’s most recent victims, now aged 18, who had triggered the police investigation. “This victim told his girlfriend what had happened to him and then approached police out of concern for other young boys,” Mr Katz said.

“He told police that the abuse had ruined his life and led him to drink heavily and said he was an emotional wreck and the abuse had confused him about everything, including his sexuality.”

“His courageous declaration was the start of this inquiry and it well and truly opened the floodgates.”

Sonia Woodley, QC, for the defence, said that Banks had been abused as a child by a teacher and other adults. She said: “Because of a lack of love from his father he enjoyed the attention from his abusers.”

After the case one of the abused boys, now aged 32, issued a statement of behalf of all Banks’s victims. He said: “It has been noted that Mr Banks received support from the Church since his detainment, but at no time during this difficult period has the clergy offered any support to the victims.

It is no coincidence that the victims selected by Terence Banks were sought and identified from within the cathedral environment,
an environment which should promote Christianity and decency. In this case it harboured the opposite.”

“This sentence will shoot a warning bolt across anyone who has committed such offences – your days are numbered. We stand as one to show that unity works.”

Banks will remain on the sex offenders’ register for life.

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JANUARY 17 2021 – ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY AND BISHOP OF CHICHESTER INVOLVED IN COVER-UP ?

Martin Warner Bishop of Chichester [Photo Source: allsaintscrawleydown.org]

Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury [Photo Source: Unknown]

THE BELL SOCIETY ‘CHRONOLOGY’ RESEARCH ARCHIVE

Oct 21 2015 – Telephone conversation between Church of England Director-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 [Photo Source: LinkedIn]

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.

The Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy – Photo Source: Church Times

Oct 22 2015 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

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

IICSA – 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”

Revd Graham Sawyer 

FURTHER INFORMATION

What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? How do we get rid of you?

Questions habitually asked by Tony Benn whenever he met with someone in power

‘Thinking Anglicans’ – Comment by Richard W. Symonds

When we talk of “survivors” of abuse, I think we also need to include those clergy [and others] who have unjustly fallen victim to, but survived, the Church’s ‘weaponised’ Core Group processes and Clergy Disciplinary Measure [CDM] procedures.

There are many – perhaps many hundreds – of clergy [and others] who have suffered [and are suffering] under these unjust and cruel systems. This is an untold, uninvestigated scandal, truths of which are being covered up.

How many committed suicide? [I know of one locally] How many attempted suicide? How many suffered [or are suffering] marital breakdown and family break-up? How many suffered [or are suffering] mental breakdown and physical debilitation? How many have been broken [or are broken] financially? How many reputations and good names have been [and are being] destroyed? How many broken lives are we talking about?

If there is an investigation about this – and statistics must lie somewhere – I believe very few “survivors” will be found.

I hope and pray Martyn Percy [and his family] are survivors.

Surviving Church’ – Comment

David Pennant

Thanks Stephen. I am dismayed to hear about the CDM – Clergy Discipline Measure. No wonder the groundless accusation made as an act of revenge against my vicar friend was not dismissed at first hearing but ‘taken seriously.’ Because of something about it being posted subsequently by the diocese on a website, a parishioner got the wrong idea about the issue, and the vicar was beaten up in the street. This is what happens when “truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips (Jeremiah 7:28).” Grim.

RWS Note – What exactly is the ‘cover-up’?
Specifically, the ‘cover-up’ is the cover up of the cock-ups and cover-ups in the Bell imbroglio.
More generally, the ‘cover-up’ is to cover up the cock-ups and cover-ups of centuries of Church cock-ups and cover-ups [there is a lot to hide].
Why the need to control and manipulate?
To protect Establishment power – be it Church, Monarchy, State [or whatever power systems need protection].

‘Cover-up’ implies positive action, something done in order to conceal. To fail to correct a mistake or mistaken impression is passive.
There is nothing “passive” in what the Church is doing. It’s a very active abuse of power…a positive action to conceal.

Not to correct a mistake is not a cover-up. But this is not – deep down – what is going on here. What is going on here is a cover-up of built-in systemic injustices within the structures of a centuries-old power system. Mistakes and cock-ups are an inevitable manifestation within such institutions – often concealed.

There is a ‘dark side’.
Yes, the Church hierarchy is panicking and there is a dishonest fudge, but what is going on is far worse.
After the Carlile Report there was the Briden report. Both investigations exposed the Church’s systemic wrong-doing in its unjust practice and policy. But instead of backing down, the Church went on the offensive by attacking two of of the most prominent advocates of Bishop Bell – former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey and Dean and Head of Christ Church Oxford Martyn Percy. 
This was deliberate, callous and cruel, designed to deflect blame and protect reputations – a very sophisticated, high-level cover-up.

The Church is digging an even bigger hole for itself by indulging in such blatant, industrial-scale cover-up – perpetuating a miscarriage of justice.

The Church needs to admit to wrong-doing and right the wrong.

All one can do is to warn and we ignore the warning at our peril. Unless this issue is addressed – and addressed fast – the downfall of the Church of England will take on Trumpian proportions.

Richard W. Symonds

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JANUARY 16 2021 – NO MORE COVER-UPS – “WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SAFEGUARDING” BY MARTIN SEWELL – ‘TRANSFORMING MINISTRY’ MAGAZINE [SPRING 2021]

We need to know about safeguarding

By Martin Sewell


Ensuring safety in our church communities is everyone’s business.
Martin Sewell brings us up to date with the latest developments.

When the IICSA report into
the safeguarding failures of
the Church of England was
published in October, the Archbishop of
Canterbury described it as ‘a stark and
shocking reminder’ of the many times
the Church has failed survivors of abuse.
It followed an interim report into the
Diocese of Chichester which had been
chosen as a sample diocese because of
a number of high-profile past cases
which had occurred there. The situation
described in the report is indeed awful,
but the Church’s embarrassment will
not end here.


The inquiry is continuing its work
and has reserved judgement on two
important issues. Many countries
have already introduced laws
requiring mandatory reporting of the
suspicions of abuse, with criminal law
consequences for those failing to do so:
many in the victim community see this
as the only way to ensure that repeated
failures and cover-ups do not continue.
The legal protection afforded to priests
who hear confession will also be the
subject of the further reports by IICSA.
Some in the Church will find that
difficult to accept.


Shortly after IICSA reported, another
independent report A Betrayal of Trust
was published, detailing the abuse of
children and young people of both
sexes by the former Bishop of Chester,
Hubert Whitsey. All the problems
identified by IICSA featured again:
the clergy deference, the excuses, the
structural weakness and the institutional
indifference. One candidate for
ordination explained ‘He told me he had the power to give me everything I wanted
in life and the power to take it all away.
He then proceeded to abuse me sexually
and psychologically. I was powerless to
stop him’.


There will be yet further cause for
discomfort to those of us exercising
ministry within the established Church.
The cases which IICSA sampled were all
significantly historic; many involved the
anglo catholic wing of the Church, but as
it began its work, a fresh set of scandals
began to come to light which were too
late to feature in the public inquiry. They
were, nevertheless, every bit as shocking.
This time, the Evangelical world found
itself in the spotlight as a result of the
activities first of John Smyth and then
Jonathan Fletcher, both luminaries of
the Iwerne Camps and the network of
conservative evangelical churches that
grew out of them.


The Church can therefore expect more
press attention and deserved criticism
in the New Year, when the CofE Makin
inquiry on Smyth and the Independent
ThirtyOne:Eight report into Fletcher
will be published. Both reports concern
abuses known to insiders for a long time
and deliberately covered up.
In some ways these revelations will be
even more shocking than what we have
heard already. Smyth has been described
as ‘the Jimmy Savile of the Church of
England’. He preyed on, and savagely
beat twenty-seven young men, having
groomed them using trust gained
through his position as Chairman of the
Iwerne Trust. The level of violence and
his abuse of scriptural text will shock us
once again.


The criminality of Smyth was known
at the highest level of the Evangelical
leadership, having been alerted in clear
terms by the internal ‘Ruston Report’
as long ago as 1982. Smyth had been
quietly encouraged to leave the country,
…Lasting
change will
require more than
platitudes.
[IICSA
Report]
…The Church has failed
to respond consistently to
victims and survivors of child
sexual abuse with sympathy and
compassion, accompanied by practical
and appropriate support. This has often
added to the trauma already suffered by
those who were abused
by individuals associated
with the Church.
[IICSA Report]
The culture of
the Church of England
facilitated it becoming a
place where abusers could hide.
Deference to the authority of the
Church and to individual priests, taboos
surrounding discussion of sexuality and an
environment where alleged perpetrators
were treated more supportively
than victims presented barriers to
disclosure that many victims
could not overcome.
[IICSA Report]
but was privately financially supported
in establishing similar camps in
Zimbabwe where he went on to abuse a
hundred African youngsters for decades.
That would not have happened had
those who knew acted with integrity.
The implicit racism of exporting
Iwerne’s problem abuser together with
the extent of knowledge and complicity
will be hard reading.


The separate abuse by Jonathan
Fletcher, an associate of Smyth, occurred
when Smyth’s activities and grooming
techniques were already known, but
lessons were not learned. Even when his
Permission to Officiate was withdrawn,
he continued to be revered and invited
to teach in contexts where young people
were potentially placed at risk.


The problems continue. Both
complainants and those complained
about are united in criticism of the
Church’s complaint handling. Few have
confidence in the ‘Core Groups’
which assess information and make
life-changing decisions in secret;
there is no independent legal advisor
present, no rights of either party to
make direct representation, and no
appeal mechanism. The Church PR
team is always a party to the decisions.
The Church agrees that the Clergy
Discipline Measure is not fit for
purpose. No serving bishop has ever
had an adverse ruling.


So what should those of us exercising
ministry and responsibility within
the Church make of all these dreadful
revelations? Is there any light on the
horizon? It all rather depends on us.


In recent years there has been a
massive increase in resources allocated
to policy reform and training. There
is no excuse for any LLM not knowing
the danger signs and what to do about
it, yet every chain is only as strong as
its weakest link. Is everyone in your
church up to date on DBS checks and
training? Are the churches in which we
minister robust in their systems and
attitudes? Do we prioritise the care of
the vulnerable in their many forms?
Is anyone in the leadership team
‘beyond suspicion’?


One victim/survivor group surveys
websites and reports that publication
of the required information is still very
patchy. If you display a safeguarding
poster in your church, can it be easily
seen read and understood by a nine-year-old? Does your website help inform
and direct anyone with concerns to the
right people to help? Is safeguarding
on the agenda of each PCC meeting? Is
information and good practice shared
within the church when it is shared by
the diocese? Can I easily but discreetly
discover where to go for help if I have a
worry? If you are not sure about any of
these things – you are the weakest link!


There is an increasing – but
incomplete – awareness of the
problem of deference. Every one of
the abusers was well regarded in the
communities in which they moved.
Yet the signs were glaringly apparent.
Like Jimmy Savile, all of the Church
abusers were ‘hiding in plain sight’.
Abusers are often personable and
charismatic; they manipulate and
make themselves indispensable. In one
of the General Synod debates, we were
told by one who had learned from
observation of an abuser at work that
‘abusers do not groom victims, they
groom entire congregations’.


Next year there will be General Synod
elections. Many LLMs are electors
to the House of Laity. They can call
members to account and scrutinise
views, commitment and actions. This is
a problem area; in every election cycle,
institutional memory will be lost, people
will join the debate late in the day – yet
we want fresh ideas. Your scrutiny and
votes are important and influential:
everyone has a part to play in shaping
better future practice.

The Lead Bishop for Safeguarding,
Dr Jonathan Gibbs, has begun building
bridges with the survivor community
and already secured General Synod
acceptance of a commitment to
compensate victims where legal
settlements have been driven down
by questionable legal and insurance
practices. A reformed CDM process is
to be legislated. Greater independence
and outside oversight of the National
Safeguarding Team is to be introduced.
At every General Synod session, new
issues are aired as members embrace
their responsibility to call leaders to
account through the Question and
Answer sessions.


Far from bringing closure, IICSA has
widened and deepened the challenge to
the Church. Implementing the required
reforms will plainly be a major part
of the work of General Synod in the
coming years. This will not only be
directly. There is finance to be managed.
Constitutionally, the role of bishops
will need to change as responsibility is
moved to outsider authority; greater
clarity will be needed to signpost ‘where
the buck stops’.


Theologically even the sexuality
debate will be impacted. The arrival
of the long awaited teaching materials
Living in Love and Faith will intersect
with safeguarding questions. IICSA
identified that the reticence in much
of the Church to address these issues
played an important part in victims not
coming forward and not being taken
seriously in the past. There is plainly
much to be done to put right the sins
of the past and the present. Since IICSA
reported I am aware of two victim-attempted suicides.


Given the slow procedures of the
Church there may be few swift victories
to be had but, before we get our
heads down to work, I hope we shall
all recognise the debt we owe to the
survivors whose integrity, honesty and
determination drove these reforms to
happen when so many of the leaders
we have looked up to, passed by on the
other side of the road.


There are many stories to be told of
their courage, resilience and mutual
support within the survivor community
but let me end by sharing one.


When one victim ‘went public’, He
suffered in an unexpected way; his
business depended in large part on
church-based customers. Half deserted
him for ‘embarrassing the church’, his
cash flow was hit, he faced the loss
of his livelihood and his home. The
church ‘could not help’. I met him at a
modest demonstration where Smyth
victims were also present, some of
whom are wealthy. Within hours, the
funds required to rescue him had been
deposited into his account.


Both donor and recipient had lost their
faith through the actions of the Church,
yet I cannot help but ask who it was that
followed Jesus more faithfully – those
inside the Church, or those clamouring
for justice and mercy from outside?
Rarely has the command ‘Go and do thou
likewise’ seemed more relevant.

17
Martin Sewell is a Reader
in the Diocese of Rochester,
a retired Child Protection
Solicitor and a Member
of the General Synod
where he takes a particular
interest in matters of Safeguarding and
Survivor support.


To find out more
The Ruston Report
http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static
/f/970485/27843482/1519929269713/Th
e+Ruston+Report+on+John+Smyth+1993.
pdf?token=b5ZM1XU9leAUV05%2BfBelEJF
ZCiE%3D
The IICSA report
https://www.iicsa.org.uk/keydocuments/22519/view/anglican-churchinvestigation-report-6-october-2020.pdf
The Whitsey Report
‘A Betrayal of Trust’
This report is not currently available
but you can read a review of it at:
https://www.churchofengland.org/news-andmedia/news-and-statements/review-bishopwhitsey

Excessive
attention was often
paid to the circumstances
of the alleged perpetrator
in comparison to the attention
given to those who disclosed they
had been sexually abused or
to the issue of the risk that
alleged perpetrators
posed to others.
[IICSA Report]


…The Church’s neglect
of the physical, emotional
and spiritual well-being of
children and young people in
favour of protecting its reputation
was in conflict with its mission of
love and care for the innocent
and the vulnerable.
[IICSA Report]

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JANUARY 16 2021 – THE BELL SOCIETY ‘CHRONOLOGY’ ARCHIVE – 2003 – “WARNINGS HAVE BEEN GOING ON FOR 25 YEARS” [CARMI REPORT]

FROM THE ARCHIVES – CHRONOLOGY 2003

2003

2003 – Church of England abolishes “Deposition from Holy Orders” [‘Defrocking’]

2003 – “No Crueler Tyrannies – Accusation, False Witness…” by Dorothy Rabinowitz [Wall Street Journal Books 2003]

Feb 20 2003 – “Police to close sex abuse inquiry” – Daily Telegraph [ Operation Care – Football manager Dave Jones – Merseyside Police “trawling”]

May 10 2003 – “Warnings have been going on for 25 years” (page 2) – Chichester Observer (mentioned by Carmi Report 2004 – along with the Saturn Centre Crawley Hospital)(Recommendations only in 2004 – Terence Banks et al not mentioned until 2014)

July 20 2003 – “The Church must support the victims” – The Guardian – Margaret Kennedy

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JANUARY 16 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 22 2015] – CHURCH OF ENGLAND – “STATEMENT ON THE RT. REVD GEORGE BELL, 1883-1958”

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/01/06/january-6-2020-from-the-archives-who-was-responsible-for-the-near-criminal-church-statement-on-bishop-bell-six-years-ago-october-22-2015/

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

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS AFTER CHURCH STATEMENT ON BISHOP BELL

Oct 22 2015 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

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

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JANUARY 14 2021 – COVER-UP – “IS THERE AN MP IN THIS COUNTRY WHO IS WILLING TO TAKE ON THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND FOR ITS TRULY SHOCKING TREATMENT OF THOSE ABUSED BY ITS PROCESSES AND REPRESENTATIVES?” – STANLEY MONKHOUSE

COVER-UP – “IS THERE AN MP IN THIS COUNTRY WHO IS WILLING TO TAKE ON THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND FOR ITS TRULY SHOCKING TREATMENT OF THOSE ABUSED BY ITS PROCESSES AND REPRESENTATIVES?” – STANLEY MONKHOUSE

Stanley Monkhouse 

A general comment:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR3spFtfVhNz8XryJMU7D6INBCkCpIC9_zWrwQRUeXJrjJ4TstnaA-QE1DU&v=KYGs7N1F7-E&feature=youtu.be


Here is an Irish TD’s (= MP) extraordinarily powerful speech in the Dail (Irish parliament) coruscating the current Taoiseach (PM, sat there), and the church and civil authorities of the past. It is all the more powerful for her measured tone. The light of her rage shines through to illuminate the path to redemption. Will the authorities take it? This is a manifestation of the demonic conjunction of the power of the institutional church in what was then a quasi-theocracy, and the spineless collusion of the authorities. It’s the same but different here with the powerful oppressing the powerless; there are so many establishment organisations and dining clubs bent on cover-ups. I hope Deputy Connolly will press on with her work. Is there an MP in this country who is willing to take on the Church of England for its truly shocking treatment of those abused by its processes and representatives?

Richard W. Symonds

When we talk of “survivors” I think we also need to include those clergy [and others] who have unjustly fallen victim to, but survived, the Church’s ‘weaponised’ Core Group process and cruel CDM procedures.

There are many hundreds – perhaps thousands – of clergy [and others] who have suffered [and are suffering] under these unjust and cruel systems.

How many committed suicide? [I know of one locally] How many attempted suicide? How many suffered [or are suffering] marital breakdown and family break-up? How many suffered [or are suffering] mental breakdown and physical debilitation? How many have been broken [or are broken] financially? How many reputations and good names have been [and are being] destroyed? How many broken lives are we talking about?

If there is an investigation about this – and statistics must lie somewhere – I believe very few “survivors” will be found.

I hope and pray Martyn Percy [and his family] are survivors.

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JANUARY 14 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [MARCH 17 2019] – ‘BISHOP BELL AND GERMANY’ – CHAPTER 5 OF “BRITAIN AND THE THREAT TO STABILITY IN EUROPE, 1918-45” [PINTER 1993, BLOOMSBURY 2016]

March 17 2019 – Ch. 5 ‘Bishop Bell and Germany’ by Alan Wilkinson – “Britain And The Threat To Stability in Europe, 1918-45″[Pinter 1993. Republished Bloomsbury Academic Collections 2016] | The Bell Society (wordpress.com)

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JANUARY 14 2021 – FREEDOM BELL

‘Trump Has Created A Huge Chasm’ In U.S. Society: Capitol Siege Viewed From Berlin

January 12, 20211:45 PM ET

ESME NICHOLSON

A group of former displaced persons helps load the Freedom Bell aboard a Navy transport vessel in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Oct. 9, 1950. One of the children, Eva Zandler, 8, originally from Poland, presents a scroll — to be enshrined in the Freedom Bell’s tower in Berlin — to Frederick Osborn, the New York City chairman of the Crusade for Freedom. Tom Fitzsimmons/AP

Every day at noon, Berliners are reminded of the American ideals of freedom and democracy as the Freedom Bell rings out from a tower of the government building where U.S. President John F. Kennedy gave his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in 1963.

Modeled on Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell, the 10-ton bronze bell arrived in 1950 as a gift from the National Committee for a Free Europe to the people of what was then West Berlin.

At the beginning of the Cold War, it served as a symbol of U.S. solidarity, a sentiment already shown in the years following World War II with the Berlin airlift and the United States’ Marshall Plan aid funds.

Even today, many of those who remember the Second World War and those born after hold an appreciation for the legacy of America’s commitment to West Berlin. So last week’s violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., has particularly shocked those who grew up in West Berlin’s American sector.

German politicians have condemned the Capitol siege and President Trump’s role behind the actions, which U.S. Democratic House members charge as “incitement of insurrection.” Over the weekend, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for a “joint Marshall Plan for democracy” and warned that “without democracy in the U.S., [there is] no democracy in Europe.

Jürgen Siegmund, a 63-year-old retiree, agrees with Maas, although he’s not so sure about naming it after George Marshall’s European recovery plan. He says he was appalled by the events in Washington last week. “Trump has created a huge chasm in American society, and it is a threat to U.S. democracy,” he says.

Native Berliners Jürgen Siegmund and Martina Pachaly on John-F.-Kennedy-Platz (John F. Kennedy Square) outside Rathaus Schöneberg, the building where U.S. President John F. Kennedy delivered his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in 1963 and where, in 1950, U.S. Gen. Lucius Clay oversaw the installation of the Freedom Bell. Esme Nicholson/NPR

Siegmund is waiting for a friend on the steps of Berlin’s Rathaus Schöneberg borough hall, home of the Freedom Bell, in a public square called John-F.-Kennedy-Platz. As the bell tolls, he thinks about its meaning and how he felt growing up in West Berlin’s American sector. “The commitment of the Americans to West Berlin was always very clear and strong, and their notion of liberty is something that shaped me from an early age,” he says.

Siegmund’s friend arrives ready for their Sunday stroll in the nearby park. Martina Pachaly, 59, works in the energy sector and describes herself as an “Urberliner” — not only was she born in the city, but her parents were too. Her mother was 11 years old during the Berlin airlift and remembers waiting for the U.S. “Candy Bomber” to drop sweets to the starving kids below.

Pachaly says the news footage from the Capitol siege looked like scenes from a civil war and not like the democracy she has always understood the U.S. to be. “I also grew up in West Berlin’s American sector, and it was a very positive experience. You always had a good feeling with the Americans,” Pachaly says.

Pointing to Kennedy-Platz, Pachaly says it will always symbolize freedom for her. Her mother was at the square when Kennedy spoke, and Pachaly came here shortly after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, when politicians gathered to give speeches about freedom and democracy.

Clara Rienits, a high school politics teacher in Berlin. Esme Nicholson/NPR

Clara Rienits, a 44-year-old high school teacher, was also born in West Berlin. Her father held a seat in the Schöneberg hall when it housed West Berlin’s government. Rienits teaches politics and has been discussing the events of last week with her students via Zoom. She says that Germans know better than most what the demise of democracy means.

“I always tell my students that we have to learn how to live and participate in a democracy again and again,” Rienits says. “Everyone must be given the right, the space and the time to participate. If democracy becomes so gridlocked within its own structures that you can only play along but not take part, then you must question the strength of that democracy.”

Rienits says she learned about political participation initially from her parents, who were part of the 1968 West Berlin student protest movement. They denounced the U.S. war in Vietnam and stood up to their own parents’ generation, asking what they did during World War II, heralding Germany’s long-term reckoning with its Nazi past.

Rienits says this reckoning with the past instructs how she views the present, adding that Germans have as much reason as the United States to be concerned about the rise in far-right extremism.

Walking his dog nearby, 55-year-old Pejram Tahmasbi agrees that political participation is essential, adding that it doesn’t now fall upon President-elect Joe Biden alone to fix the reasons behind the deep divisions within society. “Americans need to be politically more active,” says Tahmasbi, a small-business owner. “They need to open up and switch on their minds.

Pejram Tahmasbi, a small-business owner in Berlin. Esme Nicholson/NPR

Tahmasbi was born in Iran and came to then-West Berlin as a teenager in 1985, after claiming asylum near Nuremberg in what was then West Germany. He used to play basketball with U.S. military officers’ children, who used to sneak him into the canteen at the nearby barracks where their parents were stationed. The memory of the welcome he received as a refugee from the military kids has remained with him.

He was enamored by the ideals of American freedom at the time, he says. But in light of the mess he believes the U.S. has created in the Middle East, he adds, he has become more cynical of such ideals.

Still, watching recent events unfold in the U.S. has been painful, Tahmasbi says. He argues that “a nasty mix of narcissism and racism is leading to fascism and endangers the future of America.”

Seventy-one-year-old retired architect Richard Hühner, also walking his dog in the park, believes Trump incited the insurrection in Washington, which he says is “unacceptable.”

He points out that in August, far-right protesters also attempted to storm Germany’s parliament in Berlin, the Bundestag. “I simply don’t understand what’s going on in the heads of these people. Germany should have learned its lesson by now,” he says.

He worries about knock-on effects that the U.S. events could have on Europe, a concern that former U.S. Ambassador to Germany John Kornblum says is not uncommon. “Europeans, especially Germans, draw much of their economic and cultural energy from the United States,” he says.

Like many German politicians looking forward to the Biden administration, Kornblum sees reason for hope and believes trans-Atlantic ties remain strong, despite damage caused by Trump. “U.S.-European relations are actually quite good,” says Kornblum, who served as ambassador in Berlin from 1997 to 2001. “The coronavirus has of course thrown everything off course, but cooperation between German and American societies, even after Trump, has hardly been better.”

On the other side of the park next to the Schöneberg hall, the neon letters “RIAS” light up a large, curved 1930s building. The initials stand for Radio in the American Sector, a German-language station — under U.S. control — that officially aired in West Germany but also reached East Germany, despite the latter’s attempts to jam the frequency. RIAS’ jingle went “Eine freie Stimme in der freien Welt” — “A free voice in the free world.” And every Sunday, the station would broadcast the two-minute peal of the Freedom Bell.

RIAS went off the air in 1993 as the Cold War ended. The German public broadcaster that moved into its studios, Deutschlandradio, has continued the tradition, issuing a weekly reminder of a hard-fought freedom across Germany.

CHASM OF INJUSTICE

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JANUARY 13 2021 – WITCH-HUNTS, PERSECUTIONS, VENDETTAS, KANGAROO COURTS, LYNCH MOBS, SMEAR CAMPAIGNS AND CHARACTER ASSASSINATIONS – “THE RULE OF THE LYNCH MOB” – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 28 2015] – CHURCH OF ENGLAND NEWSPAPER

The rule of the lynch mob

Church of England Newspaper [CEN] – October 28 2015

By CEN on 28/10/2015 The rule of the lynch mob

Well let’s get it out of the way. All child abuse is wrong and horrible. All claims of child abuse should be investigated properly and the offenders, if found to be guilty in a court of law, should be flung into prison for a very, very long time.

So now we’ve done the formalities. There is much discontent with the Church of England’s behaviour over the way it has handled abuse allegations against one of its greatest sons, George Bell – a great ecumenist, liturgist, wartime leader and friend to Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church.

It was announced last week that a legal civil claim has been settled by the Diocese of Chichester regarding sexual abuse claims against Bishop Bell. The allegation was first made in 1995 and was not reported to the police. The case was reopened in 2013 and now an unknown sum of money has been handed over.

But why on earth is the Church of England traducing the reputation of one of its greatest wartime spiritual leaders on the basis of recent allegations about the events of 65 years ago? We talk about cases of historic abuse in reference to Jimmy Savile crimes during the 60s, 70s and 80s, but this case is truly prehistoric.

Bishop Bell died in 1958 and the crimes of abuse he is alleged to have committed against a young child date from the late 40s and early 50s when the Bishop himself was in his late 60s and early 70s.

He is effectively being tried and convicted by the Church of England with little thought for proper justice and due process.

“We are all diminished by what we are being told,” said the modern Bishop of Chichester. He goes on to explain: “Our starting point is response to the survivor. We remain committed to listening to all allegations of abuse with an open mind. In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties.

“We face with shame a story of abuse of a child; we also know that the burden of not being heard has made the experience so much worse. We apologise for the failures of the past.”

And here much of the problem lies. The starting point must be justice, not just a concern for the ‘survivor’, because that is to jump to conclusions. The Bishop, and the independent assessors, have missed out a vital part of the process of justice that is that the accused is presumed innocent and has the right to defend themselves.

The indecent haste to describe Bishop George Bell as an abuser is a failure of nerve on the part of the Church of England. The diocese of Chichester may have failed to respond properly when the allegation of abuse was first reported in 1995, and although the accuser was offered pastoral support, this should not lead to any sort of admission of guilt on behalf of George Bell.

There is hysteria and a lynch-mob mentality surrounding some of the cases of historic abuse. We have seen this in the false allegations of murder, rape and ritual abuse made against politicians such as Ted Heath, Leon Brittan and Harvey Proctor. The Church is now as much a part of this overreaction as any other part of society.

Of course there are historic cases of abuse, and there was a long period of time when child protection procedures were unknown and reports of abuse were dealt with poorly. There were cover-ups and failures to believe the victims of abuse. But we’ve had at least two decades of improving things, legislating and regulating to make sure that protections are better, and that children are properly listened to and dealt with.

These improvements should have lessened the sense of hysteria and panic surrounding these cases. Abusers such as Jimmy Savile could never have thrived in today’s climate of safeguarding. Yet the case of George Bell proves that we are living in a state of perpetual and rising fears over allegations of child abuse and we in the Church of England have no answers to these fears. In fact, we are complicit in the lynch mob.

Remember the ritual abuse controversy of the 1980s and 1990s in which social workers and police were convinced that Satanists were involved in the mass killing and abuse of children. And there was no evidence at all in the end.

Remember also the mob that surrounded the home of a paediatrician. The witch-hunt is back and no prominent person is safe from being named – alive or dead. And if named their reputation is trashed.

This is the very opposite of the Christian faith that decries fear and says ‘judge not, lest ye be judged’.

George Bell, with his reputation for bravery, and his leadership in bringing the victims of Nazism to safety, opposing carpet-bombing of German cities and supporting the martyrs of the Confessing Church, is the type of church leader who would have confronted this lynch mob with calm courage.

There may be a stain on his reputation for a short time but his memory will be cherished again in future especially when we look back at this time of witch-hunting with a proper sense of perspective.

“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

“Beware of throwing someone under the bus. Remember: the bus can shift into reverse” ~ Janette McGowen

Dean Martyn Percy refuses to co-operate regarding the memorials at Christ Church, and strongly criticizes the Church regarding Bishop Bell. Dean Martyn Percy gets ‘thrown under the bus’ by hidden powerful forces. Dean Martyn Percy suffers orchestrated attempts to oust him by smear campaign and character assassination. Dean Martyn Percy loses any chance of becoming a Bishop.

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner co-operates [eg regarding the memorials at Chichester Cathedral – including George Bell House et al – and does not criticize the Church regarding Bishop Bell [quite the opposite, in fact]. Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner’s ‘co-operation’ is rewarded with promotion to Lord Bishop by Archbishop Welby.

Lord Bishop George Bell refuses to co-operate with government regarding carpet bombing of Dresden et al, and strongly criticizes government. Lord Bishop George Bell loses any chance of becoming Archbishop to replace William Temple. Nearly 70 years later, Lord Bishop George Bell gets ‘thrown under the bus’ by hidden, powerful forces [eg witch-hunt, kangaroo court and lynch mob]. 

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society – 14/01/2021

JANUARY 12 2021 – PART VI – THE UNHOLY WAR AGAINST MARTYN PERCY – “GODSPEED THE JUDICIAL REVIEW” | The Bell Society (wordpress.com)

JANUARY 12 2021 – PART VI – THE UNHOLY WAR AGAINST MARTYN PERCY – “GODSPEED THE JUDICIAL REVIEW”

Leave a reply

Christ Church Oxford to act on complaint against Dean

on Tuesday, 12 January 2021 at 1.44 pm by Simon Sarmiento – Thinking Anglicans
categorised as Church of England

Updated
See previous item.

press release from Christ Church

Further statement in response to media interest
12 January 2021

Christ Church’s Governing Body and Cathedral Chapter have decided to take forward internal disciplinary proceedings, following a complaint that was reported in October 2020. These proceedings are part of Christ Church’s HR procedures for dealing with employment issues, as set out in its Statutes.

We fully recognise that this has been an extremely distressing time for each of the parties involved, exacerbated by high levels of media interest and the strong feelings the case has generated. It is now crucial that this internal disciplinary matter is left to be resolved, formally and properly, through the correct procedures, which will include the appointment of an external, independent chair. These procedures exist to protect all of our staff, students and congregants, and Christ Church as a whole, in equal measure.

Archbishop Cranmer has already published a further article on this:

Martyn Percy is a ‘sex pest’: Christ Church Oxford in new attempt to oust the Dean

This contains much information about the letter from the Reverend Jonathan Aitken to the Chapter, mentioned here earlier, but also it reproduces the reply to him from the Reverend Canon Graham Ward. The whole article is worth reading.

COMMENTS

Rowland Wateridge 2 days ago

Worth quoting from the Statutes: Statute XXXIX – Part VII at 43(b):

“In nominating members of the Tribunal, the Chapter and the Governing Body shall exclude the Dean, and any person who has been involved in or associated with the making of the complaint or any part of it, or who has been involved in any preliminary hearing or investigation.” Reply

Susannah Clark

Susannah Clark 2 days ago

“the correct procedures, which will include the appointment of an external, independent chair…” …and how can trust in the process be engendered if the appointment of the ‘independent chair’ is made by the very people who have been waging what I perceive to be a historic vendetta against the Dean? I totally agree that independent and professional people should be used in handling allegations of abuse – people experienced in this specific area and recognised as having specialist excellence in this exact field. I totally agree that any complaint of abuse should be handled with utmost seriousness. We should always… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 2 days ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

Susannah: If you are unaware, the independent chair in the previous internal tribunal was a retired High Court Judge. You could hardly get more independent than that. Reply

Susannah Clark

Susannah Clark 2 days ago Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

Thank you Rowland. That is very true. However I simply don’t trust this Governing Body to do the right thing, given what I perceive to be their malicious persecution of Martyn Percy. Context matters, when it comes to navigating this Body’s actions. I do not trust them to operate with good intent. Clearly there are two important issues here: there is a woman’s plea for recognition of her complaint – and that should be handled scrupulously and independently – ideally, in my view, not by an appointee of the College, as I simply don’t trust their machinations. Secondly, there is… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 2 days ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

Susannah: There is also a concurrent CDM on the same subject which the Bishop of Oxford has delegated to the Bishop of Birmingham. The CDM was initiated first. Reply

Simon Dawson

Simon Dawson 1 day ago Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

Could somebody please remind me why the Bishop of Oxford is standing back from this process, in fact seems to be standing back from the entire situation. Is there a history to this that I am unaware of? Thanks Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 1 day ago Reply to  Simon Dawson

I don’t pretend to know how it is possible for there to be a concurrent CDM against the Dean and the intended Christ Church internal tribunal on the same subject matter with the chance that there could be conflicting outcomes. I imagine the Bishop has recused himself on the same basis as Archbishop Sentamu did in the case of the CDM against the former Bishop of Chester: personal intimate acquaintance and to avoid any suggestion of lack of impartiality. Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

It seems to me such people are recusing themselves because of spineless cowardice and lack of moral courage.Last edited 1 day ago by Richard W. Symonds Reply

Janet Fife

Janet Fife 1 day ago Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

The Bishop of Birmingham is a strange choice, since there are serious questions about his handling of safeguarding matters; particularly in the Tom Walker case.That case was mishandled throughout and he Bp. Urquhart ws criticised in the review. Then the victim was made to sign an NDA before being allowed to see the (redacted) review report into her own case.

It would have been better to have chosen a bishop with more credibility. Reply

Alyson Peberdy

Alyson Peberdy 1 day ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

I very much support what you say Susannah Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

May I point out, gently but very firmly, that which is obvious to anyone with moral eyes wide open [rather than moral eyes wide shut]: What is happening to Martyn Percy at the hands of the Christ Church governing body is almost exactly the same as what is happening to Bishop Bell at the hands of the Church of England hierarchy – the only difference being that one is living and the other one dead. The parallels are astonishingly similar. Both issues necessitate the same solution: A fully independent body. Perhaps the only way to resolve this, in both cases,… Read more »Last edited 1 day ago by Richard W. Symonds Reply

Jane Chevous

Jane Chevous 19 hours ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

Thank you for saying what you do about a climate of provisional belief. If one advocates for a fair hearing for Martyn Percy by minimising or gaslighting the woman concerned, one is no better than the college dons so criticised. It is important for all victims that we see her complaint taken seriously and that she is treated with respect and compassion Reply

Janet Fife

Janet Fife 5 hours ago Reply to  Jane Chevous

We have a fine line to tread here. All complainants must be taken seriously and treated with respect and compassion. All complaints must be investigated thoroughly by expert and independent professionals. In a pastoral or therapeutic context, we treat claims to have been abused as genuine. However, in public discourse, as in legal contexts, until the offence has been proved we speak of the ‘alleged’ abuser and the ‘alleged’ victim. Otherwise we violate the cardinal precept of law that the accused is innocent until proved guilty; and we risk destroying the reputation, career, health, and home of someone who may… Read more » Reply

Susannah Clark

Susannah Clark 5 hours ago Reply to  Jane Chevous

Absolutely agree. We owe it to all victims of abuse to create a ‘climate of belief’ and there’s a real danger that, if complainants’ claims are belittled or disbelieved, that others will find it impossible to find the very great courage necessary to come forward. Again and again, there have been examples of victims ‘not being taken seriously’, especially when it involves the great and good. Conversely, it is an amazing and therapeutic experience, when a person finds the courage to come forward, and they are listened to with a strong and receptive willingness to believe. In the case in… Read more » Reply

Martin Sewell

Martin Sewell 2 hours ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

Susannah, I worked in this field for three decades representing every kind of party. That experience gives one perspective. I go back to the Cleveland Report of 1987 where the experts correctly identified that your suggestion was wrong. In Cleveland over a hundred children were wrongly removed from families because of a mantra propagated by a bonkers paediatrician not dissimilar to what you are inadvertently advancing. It sounds reasonable but is actually very dangerous. The Courts – where there are very few complaints as to the integrity of the processes and outcomes – apply the alternative “ Always listen to… Read more » Reply

God 'elp us all

God ‘elp us all 2 days ago

So there ..
It is now crucial that this internal disciplinary matter is left to be resolved, formally and properly, through the correct procedures, which will include the appointment of an external, independent chair.
So- put up AND shut up?
Let the stones cry out … what a shambles, what a shower. Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago

“The harrowing of Martyn Percy is no longer simply a chronic case of institutional bullying, systematic degradation and harassment, but a full-blown conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Godspeed the Judicial Review” ~ ‘Archbishop Cranmer’Last edited 1 day ago by Richard W. Symonds Reply

robert

robert 1 day ago

Graham Ward claims to know nothing of the Surviving Church blog (see the Cranmer article), and yet that blog entry was withdrawn and then revised presumably because of legal attention – but from whom then? Is Ward denying that pressure didn’t come from Christ Church – or are the authorities at Christ Church not talking to Ward either? Reply

Simon Sarmiento

AuthorSimon Sarmiento 1 day ago Reply to  robert

As the revised Surviving Church blog article explained, the intervention came in the form of a letter of complaint from Kate Wood. It’s hard to believe that happened without anybody on the Chapter knowing about it, even after the event. Reply

Stephen Parsons

Stephen Parsons 1 day ago Reply to  Simon Sarmiento

In the original version of the blog post, I suggested that there were things that did not add up in the narrative of the appointment of Kate Wood. She claimed to be in total prior ignorance about the case beforehand, knowing nothing of the shenanigans at Christ Church. She, a professional who had worked in safeguarding for the central Church some years before, protested that she had never heard of Dean Percy, Canon Ward and another of the complainants Canon Foot. I withdrew my incredulity and the expressions of disbelief in what I said in the second version of the blog. I also… Read more » Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  Stephen Parsons

Yes, “stitch-up” for both Martyn and the lady complainant.

It stinks of perverted justice at a very high level indeed.Last edited 1 day ago by Richard W. Symonds Reply

David Lamming

David Lamming 1 day ago Reply to  Stephen Parsons

Stephen, The Governing Body may have wished to appoint a member (or members) to the ‘first’ Tribunal in 2018/19, but they were prevented from doing so by the terms of clause 43(a) of the Statutes: 43.(a) The Tribunal appointed under clause 42 shall comprise: (i) an independent Chairman; and (ii) so many members of the Chapter as may be nominated by the Chapter; and (iii) an equivalent number of members of the Governing Body to be nominated by the Governing Body. The significant words in 43(a)(ii) are “as may be nominated by the Chapter”. So, there is no obligation on… Read more »Last edited 1 day ago by David Lamming Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  robert

I believe Stephen Parsons of ‘Surviving Church’ withdrew his original blog entry because of Kate Wood raising legal concerns (libel).

Whatever the truth of the matter, for Graham Ward to say he was ignorant of what ‘Surviving Church’ was saying, means he is incompetently misinformed about what is going on – and he has lost his ‘moral compass’. Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 1 day ago

I don’t think the provisions about constitution of the tribunal have been correctly summarised in the ‘Church Times’ article. What the Statutes actually say is this: “The Tribunal appointed [under clause 42] shall comprise: (i) an independent Chairman; and (ii) so many members of the Chapter as may be nominated by the Chapter; and (iii) an equivalent number of members of the Governing Body to be nominated by the Governing Body.” An interesting point. The CT states that there were no nominations from the Chapter ‘last time’, but the Governing Body was represented. 0 = 0. The point is now… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 1 day ago Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

I have been informed that the Governing Body was not represented on the previous internal tribunal and it was agreed that Sir Andrew Smith should act alone, with the Dean consenting. Stephen Parsons has explained above that a different approach is being contemplated this time. Reply

Kate

Kate 1 day ago

This feels like the point at which it is in the interests of both college and the Dean (but not necessarily the Complainant) to reach a financial settlement sufficient for the Dean to depart without either party incurring the cost / burden of the tribunal. Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 19 hours ago Reply to  Kate

It’s a witch-hunt. If Martyn Percy can return to good health – which is easier said than done in the circumstances – why should he depart under pressure from what can only be called an elite ‘lynch mob’?Last edited 19 hours ago by Richard W. Symonds Reply

Susannah Clark

Susannah Clark 5 hours ago Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

That’s my view too. While I’m being unapologetically Godwinian, if people had failed to resist Hitler on grounds of cost, and nice Mr Chamberlain had come to an arrangement with Hitler… well… then (in my opinion) bullies get their way. A nice polite settlement where Martyn Percy leaves is *exactly* the kind of outcome this (frankly far from elite) group of people seem to me to have been working to achieve. Of course, only Martyn Percy himself can know the harrowing impact this (what I perceive as) harrassment has had on his personal well-being, and the well-being of those he… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 3 hours ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

Susannah: Please see my reply to Kate! There is a current C of E CDM which is independent of the action being taken by Christ Church. A moment’s reflection on that should make it apparent how inappropriate your final paragraph is. Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 9 hours ago Reply to  Kate

Kate: I don’t think that suggestion can relate in any way to the present situation: the actuality of (1) a CDM on the part of the Church plus (2) an intended internal Christ Church disciplinary tribunal, both relating to the incident (correctly we have to say alleged incident) involving the woman in the Cathedral vestry. Neither could be ‘resolved’ by a financial deal. Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 7 hours ago

Dean Martyn Percy refuses to co-operate regarding the memorials at Christ Church, and strongly criticizes the Church regarding Bishop Bell. Dean Martyn Percy gets ‘thrown under the bus’ by hidden powerful forces . Dean Martyn Percy suffers orchestrated attempts to oust him by smear campaign and character assassination. Dean Martyn Percy loses any chance of becoming a Bishop. Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner co-operates [eg regarding the memorials at Chichester Cathedral – including George Bell House et al – and does not criticize the Church regarding Bishop Bell [quite the opposite, in fact]. Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner’s ‘co-operation’ is rewarded with… Read more »Last edited 7 hours ago by Richard W. Symonds Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 3 minutes agoAwaiting for approval Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

It has been drawn to my attention that my statement below is inaccurate: “Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner co-operates [eg regarding the memorials at Chichester Cathedral – including George Bell House et al – and does not criticize the Church regarding Bishop Bell [quite the opposite, in fact]. Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner’s ‘co-operation’ is rewarded with promotion to Lord Bishop by Archbishop Welby” Apparently, subject to the provisions of the Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015, the twenty-one Church of England bishops in the House of Lords – in addition to the five ex officio [Canterbury, York, London, Durham and Winchester] – are there… Read more »Last edited 2 minutes ago by Richard W. Symonds

Stanley Monkhouse

Stanley Monkhouse 5 hours ago

A general comment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR3spFtfVhNz8XryJMU7D6INBCkCpIC9_zWrwQRUeXJrjJ4TstnaA-QE1DU&v=KYGs7N1F7-E&feature=youtu.be Here is an Irish TD’s (= MP) extraordinarily powerful speech in the Dail (Irish parliament) coruscating the current Taoiseach (PM, sat there) and the church and civil authorities of the past. It is all the more powerful for her measured tone. The light of her rage shines through to illuminate the path to redemption. Will the authorities take it? This is a manifestation of the demonic conjunction of the power of the institutional church in what was then a quasi-theocracy, and the spineless collusion of the authorities. It’s the same but different here with the powerful… Read more »

FURTHER INFORMATION

CHURCH TIMES

DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH FACES NEW ATTEMPT TO REMOVE HIM FROM OFFICE – CHURCH TIMES

THE Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, is to face another internal tribunal.

Dean Percy is both Dean of the cathedral and Master of the college. The Governing Body of the college decided on Monday to initiate a tribunal to decide whether the Dean should be removed from office after a complaint was made about an incident in the cathedral in October (News, 20 November 2020).

The alleged incident has been described as harassment, and the college has spoken of its serious nature. For the tribunal to be set up, both the cathedral chapter and the Governing Body had to judge the complaint to be “supported by sufficient evidence which could, if proved, constitute good cause for the removal of the Dean from office”. This they have both done, after an investigation by an independent investigator, Kate Wood. The college will now seek an independent senior lawyer to chair the tribunal.

The college authorities have spent a figure widely reported to be more than £2 million over the past three years attempting to remove Dean Percy, after a dispute over governance and salaries. An earlier tribunal, conducted by a senior judge, Sir Andrew Smith, exonerated him of every one of the 27 charges of improper conduct made against him (News, 23 August 2019). An appendix to Sir Andrew’s report, said to contain criticism of the Dean’s accusers, has not been made public.

Dean Percy is still awaiting an employment tribunal, expected in the autumn, to claim back the legal expenses, said to be more than £400,000, used to defend himself against the earlier charges; most of the expenses he owes. He has to fund his own defence once again for this second tribunal.

Under the college statues, the cathedral Chapter can nominate one or more of its members to the tribunal. The Governing Body can then nominate a matching number. For the first tribunal, the Chapter nominated no one; so Sir Andrew judged the evidence alone. On Wednesday, the college treasurer, James Lawrie, confirmed that both the Chapter and the Governing Body would be represented on the tribunal. The conduct of the tribunal is not set out in the statutes, but Mr Lawrie said that its decision, which is simply whether to recommend the removal of the Dean from office, will be by a simple majority, meaning that the independent chair can be outvoted.

What the statutes do say is that, when nominating people to the tribunal, both the Chapter and the college must exclude “any person who has been involved in or associated with the making of the complaint or any part of it, or who has been involved in any preliminary hearing or investigation”. Although the authorities insist that the new complaint is unrelated to earlier disputes, it will be hard to find anyone neutral in either the Chapter or the college.

As well as the internal tribunal, the complaint triggered a church investigation under the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM). The cathedral safeguarding officer brought the complaint, backed up by Ms Wood’s report. Because the complaint mentioned sexual harassment, the National Safeguarding Team (NST) has set up a core group.

Again, this is the second time Dean Percy has been investigated by the NST. He was exonerated last September after an earlier complaint made by the college authorities (News, 11 September 2020).

The Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, judged that the CDM process should go ahead. He then recused himself, as have the diocesan registrars, delegating the matter to the Bishop of Birmingham, who is using an ecclesiastical lawyer from the Province of York.

If the bishop in charge considers that the complaint has substance, he can initiate a formal investigation, which would involve another collection of evidence and statements, to be heard in a formal tribunal.

This is some way down the line, however. At present, Dean Percy is still to respond to the complaint in writing. The Dean voluntarily stepped back from his duties in November, and was shortly afterwards signed off work. He remains unwell, and is therefore unable to instruct a lawyer.

SURVIVING CHURCH

Gladiatrix 

Martin

If you are so concerned about Winckworth Sherwood why haven’t you as a former solicitor with Safeguarding experience 1) asked the relevant partner to justify their conduct, 2) asked the senior/managing partner for an explanation, or 3) made a formal complaint to the SRA of professional misconduct and breach of the Code of Conduct?

Dean Percy and the case for specialist professional competence

https://survivingchurch.org/2021/01/08/dean-percy-and-the-case-for-specialist-professional-competence/embed/#?secret=eGFGjBd43h

Dean Percy and the case for specialist professional competence

Featured post

JANUARY 12 2021 – PART VI – THE UNHOLY WAR AGAINST MARTYN PERCY – “GODSPEED THE JUDICIAL REVIEW”

Christ Church Oxford to act on complaint against Dean

on Tuesday, 12 January 2021 at 1.44 pm by Simon Sarmiento – Thinking Anglicans
categorised as Church of England

Updated
See previous item.

press release from Christ Church

Further statement in response to media interest
12 January 2021

Christ Church’s Governing Body and Cathedral Chapter have decided to take forward internal disciplinary proceedings, following a complaint that was reported in October 2020. These proceedings are part of Christ Church’s HR procedures for dealing with employment issues, as set out in its Statutes.

We fully recognise that this has been an extremely distressing time for each of the parties involved, exacerbated by high levels of media interest and the strong feelings the case has generated. It is now crucial that this internal disciplinary matter is left to be resolved, formally and properly, through the correct procedures, which will include the appointment of an external, independent chair. These procedures exist to protect all of our staff, students and congregants, and Christ Church as a whole, in equal measure.

Archbishop Cranmer has already published a further article on this:

Martyn Percy is a ‘sex pest’: Christ Church Oxford in new attempt to oust the Dean

This contains much information about the letter from the Reverend Jonathan Aitken to the Chapter, mentioned here earlier, but also it reproduces the reply to him from the Reverend Canon Graham Ward. The whole article is worth reading. 

COMMENTS

Rowland Wateridge 2 days ago

Worth quoting from the Statutes: Statute XXXIX – Part VII at 43(b):

“In nominating members of the Tribunal, the Chapter and the Governing Body shall exclude the Dean, and any person who has been involved in or associated with the making of the complaint or any part of it, or who has been involved in any preliminary hearing or investigation.” Reply

Susannah Clark

Susannah Clark 2 days ago

“the correct procedures, which will include the appointment of an external, independent chair…” …and how can trust in the process be engendered if the appointment of the ‘independent chair’ is made by the very people who have been waging what I perceive to be a historic vendetta against the Dean? I totally agree that independent and professional people should be used in handling allegations of abuse – people experienced in this specific area and recognised as having specialist excellence in this exact field. I totally agree that any complaint of abuse should be handled with utmost seriousness. We should always… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 2 days ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

Susannah: If you are unaware, the independent chair in the previous internal tribunal was a retired High Court Judge. You could hardly get more independent than that. Reply

Susannah Clark

Susannah Clark 2 days ago Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

Thank you Rowland. That is very true. However I simply don’t trust this Governing Body to do the right thing, given what I perceive to be their malicious persecution of Martyn Percy. Context matters, when it comes to navigating this Body’s actions. I do not trust them to operate with good intent. Clearly there are two important issues here: there is a woman’s plea for recognition of her complaint – and that should be handled scrupulously and independently – ideally, in my view, not by an appointee of the College, as I simply don’t trust their machinations. Secondly, there is… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 2 days ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

Susannah: There is also a concurrent CDM on the same subject which the Bishop of Oxford has delegated to the Bishop of Birmingham. The CDM was initiated first. Reply

Simon Dawson

Simon Dawson 1 day ago Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

Could somebody please remind me why the Bishop of Oxford is standing back from this process, in fact seems to be standing back from the entire situation. Is there a history to this that I am unaware of? Thanks Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 1 day ago Reply to  Simon Dawson

I don’t pretend to know how it is possible for there to be a concurrent CDM against the Dean and the intended Christ Church internal tribunal on the same subject matter with the chance that there could be conflicting outcomes. I imagine the Bishop has recused himself on the same basis as Archbishop Sentamu did in the case of the CDM against the former Bishop of Chester: personal intimate acquaintance and to avoid any suggestion of lack of impartiality. Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

It seems to me such people are recusing themselves because of spineless cowardice and lack of moral courage.Last edited 1 day ago by Richard W. Symonds Reply

Janet Fife

Janet Fife 1 day ago Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

The Bishop of Birmingham is a strange choice, since there are serious questions about his handling of safeguarding matters; particularly in the Tom Walker case.That case was mishandled throughout and he Bp. Urquhart ws criticised in the review. Then the victim was made to sign an NDA before being allowed to see the (redacted) review report into her own case.

It would have been better to have chosen a bishop with more credibility. Reply

Alyson Peberdy

Alyson Peberdy 1 day ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

I very much support what you say Susannah Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

May I point out, gently but very firmly, that which is obvious to anyone with moral eyes wide open [rather than moral eyes wide shut]: What is happening to Martyn Percy at the hands of the Christ Church governing body is almost exactly the same as what is happening to Bishop Bell at the hands of the Church of England hierarchy – the only difference being that one is living and the other one dead. The parallels are astonishingly similar. Both issues necessitate the same solution: A fully independent body. Perhaps the only way to resolve this, in both cases,… Read more »Last edited 1 day ago by Richard W. Symonds Reply

Jane Chevous

Jane Chevous 19 hours ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

Thank you for saying what you do about a climate of provisional belief. If one advocates for a fair hearing for Martyn Percy by minimising or gaslighting the woman concerned, one is no better than the college dons so criticised. It is important for all victims that we see her complaint taken seriously and that she is treated with respect and compassion Reply

Janet Fife

Janet Fife 5 hours ago Reply to  Jane Chevous

We have a fine line to tread here. All complainants must be taken seriously and treated with respect and compassion. All complaints must be investigated thoroughly by expert and independent professionals. In a pastoral or therapeutic context, we treat claims to have been abused as genuine. However, in public discourse, as in legal contexts, until the offence has been proved we speak of the ‘alleged’ abuser and the ‘alleged’ victim. Otherwise we violate the cardinal precept of law that the accused is innocent until proved guilty; and we risk destroying the reputation, career, health, and home of someone who may… Read more » Reply

Susannah Clark

Susannah Clark 5 hours ago Reply to  Jane Chevous

Absolutely agree. We owe it to all victims of abuse to create a ‘climate of belief’ and there’s a real danger that, if complainants’ claims are belittled or disbelieved, that others will find it impossible to find the very great courage necessary to come forward. Again and again, there have been examples of victims ‘not being taken seriously’, especially when it involves the great and good. Conversely, it is an amazing and therapeutic experience, when a person finds the courage to come forward, and they are listened to with a strong and receptive willingness to believe. In the case in… Read more » Reply

Martin Sewell

Martin Sewell 2 hours ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

Susannah, I worked in this field for three decades representing every kind of party. That experience gives one perspective. I go back to the Cleveland Report of 1987 where the experts correctly identified that your suggestion was wrong. In Cleveland over a hundred children were wrongly removed from families because of a mantra propagated by a bonkers paediatrician not dissimilar to what you are inadvertently advancing. It sounds reasonable but is actually very dangerous. The Courts – where there are very few complaints as to the integrity of the processes and outcomes – apply the alternative “ Always listen to… Read more » Reply

God 'elp us all

God ‘elp us all 2 days ago

So there ..
It is now crucial that this internal disciplinary matter is left to be resolved, formally and properly, through the correct procedures, which will include the appointment of an external, independent chair.
So- put up AND shut up?
Let the stones cry out … what a shambles, what a shower. Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago

“The harrowing of Martyn Percy is no longer simply a chronic case of institutional bullying, systematic degradation and harassment, but a full-blown conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Godspeed the Judicial Review” ~ ‘Archbishop Cranmer’Last edited 1 day ago by Richard W. Symonds Reply

robert

robert 1 day ago

Graham Ward claims to know nothing of the Surviving Church blog (see the Cranmer article), and yet that blog entry was withdrawn and then revised presumably because of legal attention – but from whom then? Is Ward denying that pressure didn’t come from Christ Church – or are the authorities at Christ Church not talking to Ward either? Reply

Simon Sarmiento

AuthorSimon Sarmiento 1 day ago Reply to  robert

As the revised Surviving Church blog article explained, the intervention came in the form of a letter of complaint from Kate Wood. It’s hard to believe that happened without anybody on the Chapter knowing about it, even after the event. Reply

Stephen Parsons

Stephen Parsons 1 day ago Reply to  Simon Sarmiento

In the original version of the blog post, I suggested that there were things that did not add up in the narrative of the appointment of Kate Wood. She claimed to be in total prior ignorance about the case beforehand, knowing nothing of the shenanigans at Christ Church. She, a professional who had worked in safeguarding for the central Church some years before, protested that she had never heard of Dean Percy, Canon Ward and another of the complainants Canon Foot. I withdrew my incredulity and the expressions of disbelief in what I said in the second version of the blog. I also… Read more » Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  Stephen Parsons

Yes, “stitch-up” for both Martyn and the lady complainant.

It stinks of perverted justice at a very high level indeed.Last edited 1 day ago by Richard W. Symonds Reply

David Lamming

David Lamming 1 day ago Reply to  Stephen Parsons

Stephen, The Governing Body may have wished to appoint a member (or members) to the ‘first’ Tribunal in 2018/19, but they were prevented from doing so by the terms of clause 43(a) of the Statutes: 43.(a) The Tribunal appointed under clause 42 shall comprise: (i) an independent Chairman; and (ii) so many members of the Chapter as may be nominated by the Chapter; and (iii) an equivalent number of members of the Governing Body to be nominated by the Governing Body. The significant words in 43(a)(ii) are “as may be nominated by the Chapter”. So, there is no obligation on… Read more »Last edited 1 day ago by David Lamming Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  robert

I believe Stephen Parsons of ‘Surviving Church’ withdrew his original blog entry because of Kate Wood raising legal concerns (libel).

Whatever the truth of the matter, for Graham Ward to say he was ignorant of what ‘Surviving Church’ was saying, means he is incompetently misinformed about what is going on – and he has lost his ‘moral compass’. Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 1 day ago

I don’t think the provisions about constitution of the tribunal have been correctly summarised in the ‘Church Times’ article. What the Statutes actually say is this: “The Tribunal appointed [under clause 42] shall comprise: (i) an independent Chairman; and (ii) so many members of the Chapter as may be nominated by the Chapter; and (iii) an equivalent number of members of the Governing Body to be nominated by the Governing Body.” An interesting point. The CT states that there were no nominations from the Chapter ‘last time’, but the Governing Body was represented. 0 = 0. The point is now… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 1 day ago Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

I have been informed that the Governing Body was not represented on the previous internal tribunal and it was agreed that Sir Andrew Smith should act alone, with the Dean consenting. Stephen Parsons has explained above that a different approach is being contemplated this time. Reply

Kate

Kate 1 day ago

This feels like the point at which it is in the interests of both college and the Dean (but not necessarily the Complainant) to reach a financial settlement sufficient for the Dean to depart without either party incurring the cost / burden of the tribunal. Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 19 hours ago Reply to  Kate

It’s a witch-hunt. If Martyn Percy can return to good health – which is easier said than done in the circumstances – why should he depart under pressure from what can only be called an elite ‘lynch mob’?Last edited 19 hours ago by Richard W. Symonds Reply

Susannah Clark

Susannah Clark 5 hours ago Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

That’s my view too. While I’m being unapologetically Godwinian, if people had failed to resist Hitler on grounds of cost, and nice Mr Chamberlain had come to an arrangement with Hitler… well… then (in my opinion) bullies get their way. A nice polite settlement where Martyn Percy leaves is *exactly* the kind of outcome this (frankly far from elite) group of people seem to me to have been working to achieve. Of course, only Martyn Percy himself can know the harrowing impact this (what I perceive as) harrassment has had on his personal well-being, and the well-being of those he… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 3 hours ago Reply to  Susannah Clark

Susannah: Please see my reply to Kate! There is a current C of E CDM which is independent of the action being taken by Christ Church. A moment’s reflection on that should make it apparent how inappropriate your final paragraph is. Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 9 hours ago Reply to  Kate

Kate: I don’t think that suggestion can relate in any way to the present situation: the actuality of (1) a CDM on the part of the Church plus (2) an intended internal Christ Church disciplinary tribunal, both relating to the incident (correctly we have to say alleged incident) involving the woman in the Cathedral vestry. Neither could be ‘resolved’ by a financial deal. Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 7 hours ago

Dean Martyn Percy refuses to co-operate regarding the memorials at Christ Church, and strongly criticizes the Church regarding Bishop Bell. Dean Martyn Percy gets ‘thrown under the bus’ by hidden powerful forces . Dean Martyn Percy suffers orchestrated attempts to oust him by smear campaign and character assassination. Dean Martyn Percy loses any chance of becoming a Bishop. Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner co-operates [eg regarding the memorials at Chichester Cathedral – including George Bell House et al – and does not criticize the Church regarding Bishop Bell [quite the opposite, in fact]. Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner’s ‘co-operation’ is rewarded with… Read more »Last edited 7 hours ago by Richard W. Symonds Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 3 minutes agoAwaiting for approval Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

It has been drawn to my attention that my statement below is inaccurate: “Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner co-operates [eg regarding the memorials at Chichester Cathedral – including George Bell House et al – and does not criticize the Church regarding Bishop Bell [quite the opposite, in fact]. Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner’s ‘co-operation’ is rewarded with promotion to Lord Bishop by Archbishop Welby” Apparently, subject to the provisions of the Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015, the twenty-one Church of England bishops in the House of Lords – in addition to the five ex officio [Canterbury, York, London, Durham and Winchester] – are there… Read more »Last edited 2 minutes ago by Richard W. Symonds

Stanley Monkhouse

Stanley Monkhouse 5 hours ago

A general comment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?fbclid=IwAR3spFtfVhNz8XryJMU7D6INBCkCpIC9_zWrwQRUeXJrjJ4TstnaA-QE1DU&v=KYGs7N1F7-E&feature=youtu.be Here is an Irish TD’s (= MP) extraordinarily powerful speech in the Dail (Irish parliament) coruscating the current Taoiseach (PM, sat there) and the church and civil authorities of the past. It is all the more powerful for her measured tone. The light of her rage shines through to illuminate the path to redemption. Will the authorities take it? This is a manifestation of the demonic conjunction of the power of the institutional church in what was then a quasi-theocracy, and the spineless collusion of the authorities. It’s the same but different here with the powerful… Read more »

FURTHER INFORMATION

CHURCH TIMES

DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH FACES NEW ATTEMPT TO REMOVE HIM FROM OFFICE – CHURCH TIMES

THE Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, is to face another internal tribunal.

Dean Percy is both Dean of the cathedral and Master of the college. The Governing Body of the college decided on Monday to initiate a tribunal to decide whether the Dean should be removed from office after a complaint was made about an incident in the cathedral in October (News, 20 November 2020).

The alleged incident has been described as harassment, and the college has spoken of its serious nature. For the tribunal to be set up, both the cathedral chapter and the Governing Body had to judge the complaint to be “supported by sufficient evidence which could, if proved, constitute good cause for the removal of the Dean from office”. This they have both done, after an investigation by an independent investigator, Kate Wood. The college will now seek an independent senior lawyer to chair the tribunal.

The college authorities have spent a figure widely reported to be more than £2 million over the past three years attempting to remove Dean Percy, after a dispute over governance and salaries. An earlier tribunal, conducted by a senior judge, Sir Andrew Smith, exonerated him of every one of the 27 charges of improper conduct made against him (News, 23 August 2019). An appendix to Sir Andrew’s report, said to contain criticism of the Dean’s accusers, has not been made public.

Dean Percy is still awaiting an employment tribunal, expected in the autumn, to claim back the legal expenses, said to be more than £400,000, used to defend himself against the earlier charges; most of the expenses he owes. He has to fund his own defence once again for this second tribunal.

Under the college statues, the cathedral Chapter can nominate one or more of its members to the tribunal. The Governing Body can then nominate a matching number. For the first tribunal, the Chapter nominated no one; so Sir Andrew judged the evidence alone. On Wednesday, the college treasurer, James Lawrie, confirmed that both the Chapter and the Governing Body would be represented on the tribunal. The conduct of the tribunal is not set out in the statutes, but Mr Lawrie said that its decision, which is simply whether to recommend the removal of the Dean from office, will be by a simple majority, meaning that the independent chair can be outvoted.Advertisement

What the statutes do say is that, when nominating people to the tribunal, both the Chapter and the college must exclude “any person who has been involved in or associated with the making of the complaint or any part of it, or who has been involved in any preliminary hearing or investigation”. Although the authorities insist that the new complaint is unrelated to earlier disputes, it will be hard to find anyone neutral in either the Chapter or the college.

As well as the internal tribunal, the complaint triggered a church investigation under the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM). The cathedral safeguarding officer brought the complaint, backed up by Ms Wood’s report. Because the complaint mentioned sexual harassment, the National Safeguarding Team (NST) has set up a core group.

Again, this is the second time Dean Percy has been investigated by the NST. He was exonerated last September after an earlier complaint made by the college authorities (News, 11 September 2020).

The Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, judged that the CDM process should go ahead. He then recused himself, as have the diocesan registrars, delegating the matter to the Bishop of Birmingham, who is using an ecclesiastical lawyer from the Province of York.

If the bishop in charge considers that the complaint has substance, he can initiate a formal investigation, which would involve another collection of evidence and statements, to be heard in a formal tribunal.

This is some way down the line, however. At present, Dean Percy is still to respond to the complaint in writing. The Dean voluntarily stepped back from his duties in November, and was shortly afterwards signed off work. He remains unwell, and is therefore unable to instruct a lawyer.

SURVIVING CHURCH

Gladiatrix

Martin

If you are so concerned about Winckworth Sherwood why haven’t you as a former solicitor with Safeguarding experience 1) asked the relevant partner to justify their conduct, 2) asked the senior/managing partner for an explanation, or 3) made a formal complaint to the SRA of professional misconduct and breach of the Code of Conduct?

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JANUARY 10 2021 – CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL AND COLLEGE – VISITOR, GOVERNING BODY, CHAPTER, CANONS AND STAFF

Christ Church Cathedral

CHRIST CHURCH GOVERNING BODY, CHAPTER, CANONS ET AL

Members of Governing Body

The Very Rev’d Professor Martyn Percy – Dean

Canon Professor Nigel Biggar (Theology and Religion)

Canon Professor Sarah Foot (Theology and Religion)

Canon Professor Graham Ward (Theology and Religion)

Canon Professor Carol Harrison (Theology)

The Venerable Jonathan Chaffey – Archdeacon

The Revd Canon Richard Peers – Sub Dean

Professor Richard Rutherford (Classics)

Professor Lindsay Judson (Philosophy)

Professor Ian Watson (French)

Professor Edwin Simpson (Law)

Professor Sam Howison (Mathematics)

Professor Mark Edwards (Theology and Religion)

Professor Malcolm McCulloch (Engineering)

Professor Dirk Obbink (Greek Literature)

Professor Sarah Rowland-Jones (Medicine)

Dr Belinda Jack (French)

Professor Peter McDonald (English)

Professor Stefan Neubauer (Cardiovascular Medicine)

Professor Brian Parkinson  (Experimental Psychology)

Professor Emmanuela Tandello (Italian)

Dr Dominic Moran (Spanish)

Professor Guy Wilkinson (Physics)

Professor Roger Davies (Astrophysics)

Professor Sir John Bell (Medicine)

Professor Geraldine Johnson (History of Art)

Professor Jonathan Cross (Music)

Dr Anna Clark (Ancient History)

Professor Brian Young (Modern History)

Professor Jason Davis (Chemistry)

Professor Mishtooni Bose (English)

Professor Jennifer Yee (French)

Professor Axel Kuhn (Physics)

Mr James Lawrie (Treasurer)

Professor Dirk Aarts (Chemistry)

Professor Stephanie Cragg (Medicine)

Professor Richard Wade-Martins (Medicine)

Professor Joseph Schear (Philosophy)

Professor Edward Keene (Politics)

Professor Sarah Mortimer (History)

Professor Kevin McGerty (Mathematics)

Ms Pauline Linières-Hartley (Steward)

Mr Karl Sternberg (Ordinary Student)

Ms Liesl Elder (Director of Development, University of Oxford)

Professor Simon Dadson (Geography)

Professor Simon Newstead (Biochemistry)

Professor Kayla King (Biology)

Professor Richard Barker (Management)

Professor Simon Hiscock (Botany)

Professor Gregory Hutchinson (Classics)

Dr Katherine Lebow (History)

Professor Alex Kuo (Government)

Professor Alexander Vasudevan (Geography)

Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee (Computer Science)

Professor Petr Sedlacek (Economics)

Mr Mark Coote (Development Director)

Professor Yarin Gal (Computer Science)

Dr James Allison (Physics)

Professor Steven Grahl (Music)

Dr Sophie Duncan (English)

Professor Ciara Kennefick (Law)

Professor Matthias Holweg 

Professor Yuji Natasukasa (Mathematics)

Professor Laurence Brassart (Engineering)

Dr Ewan Smith (Law)

Who’s Who in the Cathedral – Chapter, Canons et al

The Visitor

Her Majesty the Queen

The Dean

The Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy

The Cathedral Chapter

The Reverend Canon Richard Peers, The Sub Dean

The Revd Canon Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology

The Revd Canon Sarah Foot, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History

The Revd Canon Graham Ward, Regius Professor of Divinity

The Venerable Jonathan Chaffey, The Archdeacon of Oxford

Canon Professor Carol Harrison, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity

Cathedral Ministry Team

The Revd Philippa White, Precentor and School Chaplain

The Revd Clare Hayns, College Chaplain

Janet Proudman, Cathedral Licensed Lay Minister

Cathedral Administration

John Briggs, Cathedral Registrar

Philippa Blackwell, Cathedral Bursar (Tuesday, Wednesday)

Joseph Denby, Operations Manager

Jacob Downey, Cathedral Events Assistant

Nico Dwyer, Liturgy Assistant (mornings)

Sarah Hope, Cathedral Secretary 

Canon Sarah Meyrick, Public Engagement Manager (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday)

Vergers

Paul Harris, Dean’s Verger

Matthew Ball,  Canons’ Verger and Sacristan

Jim Godfrey, Verger

Music Department

Steven Grahl, Organist

Benjamin Sheen, Sub-Organist

Helen Smee, Director of Frideswide Voices

James Potter, Director of Music, The Cathedral Singers

Simon Hogan, Organist, The Cathedral Singers

Education Department

Jackie Holderness, Cathedral Education Officer

Tom Bower, Cathedral Assistant Education Officer

Visitors Department

Miranda Hockliffe, Cathedral Visitor Officer

Honorary Cathedral Chaplains

The Very Revd Robert Grimley

The Revd Canon David C Knight

The Revd Lucy Gardner

The Revd Canon Dr Emma Percy

The Venerable David Meara

The Revd Mark Speeks CF

The Revd Dr Christopher Landau

CANONS AND WIDER CHAPTER

College of Canons and wider Chapter

Bishops

The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford

The Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester

The Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham

The Rt Revd Olivia Graham, Bishop of Reading

Archdeacons

The Venerable Jonathan Chaffey, Archdeacon of Oxford

The Venerable Judy French, Archdeacon of Dorchester

The Venerable Stephen Pullin, Archdeacon of Reading

The Venerable Guy Elsmore, Archdeacon of Buckingham

Honorary Canons

The Revd Canon Sue Booys

The Revd Canon Verena Breed

The Revd Canon Christopher Bull

The Revd Canon Dr Andrew Bunch

The Revd Canon Rachel Carnegie

The Revd Canon Charlie Cleverly

The Revd Canon Joanna Collicutt McGrath

The Revd Canon Kevin Davies

The Revd Canon John Edwards

The Revd Canon Dr Peter Groves

The Revd Canon Rosie Harper

The Revd Canon Tim Harper

The Revd Canon David Hodgson

The Revd Canon Dr Simon Jones

The Revd Canon Dr Judith Maltby

The Revd Canon Andrew Marsden

The Revd Canon Edmund Newell

The Revd Canon John Paton

The Revd Canon Dr Emma Percy

The Revd Canon Christa Pumfrey

The Revd Canon Julie Ramsbottom

The Revd Canon John Rees

The Revd Canon Vaughan Roberts

The Revd Canon John Robertson

The Revd Canon Terrie Robinson

The Revd Canon Chris Russell

The Revd Canon Felicity Scroggie

The Revd Canon Dr Phillip Tovey

The Revd Canon David Tyler

The Revd Canon Jeff West

The Revd Canon David Wilbraham

The Revd Canon Margaret Whipp

The Revd Canon Toby Wright

Ecumenical Canons

The Revd Canon Dr Robin Gibbons (Melkite)

The Revd Canon Dr Carla Grosch-Miller (United Reformed)

The Revd Canon Martin Wellings (Methodist)

The Revd Canon Sir Ralph Waller (Methodist)

Canon Helen Cameron (Salvation Army)

Lay Canons

Canon Andrew Anderson-Gear

Canon Sir Tony Baldry

Canon Stephen Darlington

Canon Mark Humphriss

Canon Jane Kennedy

Canon Professor Lionel Tarassenko

Canon Richard Fisher

Canon Sarah Meyrick

Canon Maranda St John Nicolle

Canon Rosemary Tucker

Honorary Canons Emeriti

The Revd Canon Rita Ball

The Revd Canon Peter Ballantine

The Revd Canon Brian Bailey

The Revd Canon Andrew Blyth

The Revd Canon Simon Brown

The Revd Canon Alan Bennett

The Revd Canon Norman Brown

The Revd Canon Rupert Bursell

The Revd Canon Ian Cohen

The Revd Canon DCM Cook

The Very Revd Nicholas Coulton

The Revd Canon John Crowe

Canon Dr Stephen Darlington

The Revd Canon Tony Dickinson

The Revd Canon Barbara Doubtfire

The Revd Canon Peter Downham

The Revd Canon Anthony Ellis

The Revd Canon Nick Fennemore

The Revd Canon Linda Green

Canon Bede Gerrard (Orthodox)

The Revd Canon Bruce Gillingham

The Revd Canon Christopher Hall

The Venerable Julian Hubbard

The Revd Canon Kenneth Humphreys

The Revd Canon Roger Humphreys

The Revd Canon Dr Jeremy Hurst

The Revd Canon Keith Lamdin

The Revd Canon Ronald Lloyd

The Revd Canon David MacInnes

The Revd Canon Charles Masheder

The Revd Canon Geoff Maughan

Canon Professor Henry Mayr-Harting

The Venerable David Meara

The Revd Canon Dr Brian Meardon

The Revd Canon Roland Meredith

The Revd Canon Andrew Meynell

The Revd Canon Ronald Mitchinson

The Revd Canon Tom Moffatt

The Venerable John Morrison

The Revd Canon Judith Mount

The Revd Canon Brian Mountford

The Revd Canon Piers Nash-Williams

The Revd Canon Edmund Newey

The Revd Canon Christopher Newton

The Revd Canon Philip Nixon

The Revd Canon Professor Oliver O’Donovan

The Revd Canon Dr Marilyn Parry

Canon Rosemary Pearce

The Revd Canon Martin Peirce

The Revd Canon Ian Pusey

The Revd Canon Judy Rees

The Venerable Norman Russell

The Revd Canon Roger Salisbury

The Revd Canon Theresa Scott

The Revd Canon Colin Scott-Dempster

The Revd Canon Brian Shenton

The Revd Canon Anthony Stidolph

The Revd Canon Tina Stirling

The Revd Canon Vincent Strudwick

The Revd Canon Gill Sumner

The Revd Canon Angela Tilby

The Revd Canon Allen Walker

The Revd Canon Professor Keith Ward

The Revd Canon Professor John Webster

The Revd Canon Mark Williams

The Revd Canon Andrew Wingfield Digby

The Revd Canon David Winter

The Revd Canon Hugh Wybrew

The Revd Canon John Wynburne

The Revd Canon Professor Paul Fiddes (Baptist)

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JANUARY 10 2021 – THE BELL MEMORIAL – CHICHESTER CATHEDRAL

GEORGE KENNEDY ALLEN BELL – BISHOP OF CHICHESTER 1929-1958

A TRUE PASTOR POET AND PATRON OF THE ARTS

CHAMPION OF THE OPPRESSED AND TIRELESS WORKER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

THE BELL-ARUNDEL SCREEN REMOVED A CENTURY AGO IS ERECTED IN HIS MEMORY

IN 1961 BY FRIENDS AND ADMIRERS IN MANY LANDS AND OF MANY FAITHS

The Bell-Arundel Screen

Oct 21 2015 – Telephone conversation between Church of England Director-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

Oct 22 2015 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

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

Oct 22 2015 – Statement on the Rt Revd George Bell (1883-1958)” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Oct 22 2015 – “Church of England bishop George Bell abused young child” – The Guardian – Reporter: Harriet Sherwood

Oct 22 2015 – “Revered Bishop George Bell was a paedophile – Church of England” – Daily Telegraph – John Bingham [Religious Affairs Editor]

Oct 22 2015 – “Bishop of Chichester George Bell sex abuse victim gets compensation” – BBC News – Sussex

Oct 22 2015 – “Former Chichester bishop George Bell abused young child” – Chichester Observer

Oct 22 2015 – “Bishop Luffa urged to rename house after George Bell revelation” – Chichester Observer

“The grandson was asked the reason why his school building, dedicated to Bishop George Bell, had been re-named. The answer came straight back, ‘Because he was a paedophile’” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Oct 23 2015 – “Bishop revealed to have sexually abused child” / “The dark secret of a respected peacemaker” – The Argus – Reporter: Rachel Millard

Oct 23 2015 – “Conservative Government Threatened By Sex Scandals” – Aangirfan

Oct 24 2015 – “Former bishop’s despicable fall from grace will prompt much soul-searching from the Church” / “Abuse victim hits out over ‘systematic behaviour’” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Oct 27 2015 – Vickery House found guilty of historic sex offences – BBC News

Oct 28 2015 – “The rule of the lynch mob” – Church of England Newspaper

“Beware of throwing someone under the bus. Remember: the bus can shift into reverse” ~ Janette McGowen

“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

Oct 28 2015 – “Church in third sex abuse scandal as ex-vicar is convicted” / “Where did it go wrong for the Diocese of Chichester?” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Oct 29 2015 – “Vickery House: Priest jailed over sex attacks” – BBC News

Nov 4 2015 – “Sussex school named after disgraced clergyman Bishop Bell may change its name” – Crawley Observer

Nov 7 2015 – “The Church of England’s shameful betrayal of bishop George Bell” – The Spectator – Peter Hitchens

Nov 9 2015 – “The tragedy of former bishop who committed terrible acts” – Tony Greenstein – Opinion – The Argus

Nov 9 2015 – “Bishop George Bell and the tyranny of paedomania” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Nov 13 2015 – “The Church of England media statement about Bishop George Bell” – The Church Times – Letter – Alan Pardoe QC

Nov 20 2015 – “Church of England media statement on Bishop Bell – further comment” – The Church Times – Letter – Dr Brian Hanson

Nov 22 2015 – “My defence of former Bishop of Chichester George Bell” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Peter Hitchens

Dec 5 2015 – A Background to “The Jersey Way” – Photopol

Dec 11 2015 – “An abuse survivors tale” – Julie Macfarlane

Dec 31 2015 – “Peter Ball: letters of support released” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Winter 2015 – Chichester Cathedral Newsletter – Stephen Waine, Dean on Bishop Bell

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JANUARY 10 2021 – THE BELL ALTAR – CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL – OXFORD

THE BELL ALTAR – CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL – OXFORD

Gillipaw’s Journal

By Gillipaw

Photo by Gillipaw

The Bell Altar, Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

The words are engraved into the floor in front of the altar, made to mark the Millennium. Dedicated to the memory of Bishop George Bell, who courageously opposed the bombing of German cities in World War II.

A fascinating day walking around Oxford. We visited Boat Houses, The Sheldonian, the Bodleian and the “Rad Cam”. Lunched in the tranquillity of New College garden, followed by a walk around the Cloisters, a location for Harry Potter films.

Onwards to Christ Church, joining the queues to see inside the Quad, the splendour of the Hall, and the Cathedral. So many details, artwork and film locations to take in.

A couple of hours in the Ashmolean, loving all the artworks, especially the Pissarro collection and the Musical Instruments.

Onwards to Oxford Beach – created for the summer behind the Castle. Dined in “The Big Bang”, what a selection of sausages and mash. Jazz music, artwork in creation, and bowler and top hat light fittings. A great day.

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]

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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/

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JANUARY 9 2021 – PART V – THE UNHOLY WAR AGAINST MARTYN PERCY DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH – THE WAGES OF SPIN

A pithy collection of the best of Carl Trueman s articles on culture and the church. A compelling, challenging, and sometimes uproarious look at how the world and the church intersect. Like Luther before him, Trueman understands the power of humor because he understands the absurdity of human self-regard in the context of the fallen world. And like Luther, Trueman shows no mercy, either to his enemies or to himself. His writings are an oasis of welcome wit in what can so often seem like a desert of Protestant pomposity.

“CHRIST CHURCH AT WAR” – BELL SOCIETY/SURVIVING CHURCH/THINKING ANGLICANS/CRANMER UPDATES 2020/2021:

PART I, II, III, IV, V – “THE UNHOLY WAR AGAINST MARTYN PERCY DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH

PART I & II – DECEMBER 11 2020 – PART 1 – DECEMBER 20 2020 UPDATE – PART II – THE UNHOLY WAR AGAINST MARTYN PERCY DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH – GEORGE BELL BISHOP OF CHICHESTER – KATE WOOD OF KW SAFEGUARDING CONSULTANCY

PART III – JANUARY 1 2021 – PART III [REVISED] – THE UNHOLY WAR AGAINST MARTYN PERCY DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD – GEORGE BELL BISHOP OF CHICHESTER – CHURCH OF ENGLAND CORE GROUPS – KATE WOOD OF KW SAFEGUARDING CONSULTANCY

PART IV – JANUARY 1 2021 – PART IV – THE UNHOLY WAR AGAINST MARTYN PERCY DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD – GEORGE BELL BISHOP OF CHICHESTER – CHURCH OF ENGLAND CORE GROUPS – KATE WOOD OF KW SAFEGUARDING CONSULTANCY

PART V – JANUARY 9 2021 – THE UNHOLY WAR AGAINST MARTYN PERCY – THE WAGES OF SPIN

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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]

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/

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JANUARY 9 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 25 2020 – WILLIAM NYE – “SHADOWY FIGURE” BEHIND THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY AND BEYOND – PRIVATE EYE – 23 OCTOBER – 5 NOV 2020] – SUCCESSOR TO SIR WILLIAM FITTALL AS SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND IN 2015

FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 25 2020 – WILLIAM NYE – “SHADOWY FIGURE” BEHIND THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY AND BEYOND – PRIVATE EYE – 23 OCTOBER – 5 NOV 2020] – SUCCESSOR TO SIR WILLIAM FITTALL AS SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND IN 2015

WILLIAM NYE – “SHADOWY FIGURE” BEHIND THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY AND BEYOND [PRIVATE EYE – NO. 1533 – 23 OCTOBER – 5 NOV 2020]

“CHURCH NEWS” AND WILLIAM NYE [+ CHRISTCHURCH + JOHN SENTAMU] – PRIVATE EYE – NO. 1533 – 23 OCTOBER – 5 NOV 2020

CHURCH NEWS

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published its report on the Church of England tow weeks ago, sending a chill wind up many a cassock.

It found that “the church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and the vulnerable”.

The church duly pre-emptied the report with a flurry of announcements designed to, er, protect its reputation. Besides establishing a fund to help survivors , it launched a “Safe Spaces” helpline to counsel victims – which was first promised in 2014, has been endlessly delayed ever since but was somehow magically ready for lift-off in the very week the IICSA report was published (Eye 1511).

Alas, the course of true reputation management never did run smooth. The survivors’ support fund was agreed under the name Pilot Interim Survivors Support, until someone pointed out the unfortunate acronym. It was also announced before there were any mechanisms or criteria for claiming – and before any actual funds were available to draw on.

The Safe Spaces helpline, which is only funded for another 18 months anyway, went live this month with broken links, untrained staff and an answerphone message saying that the service would be up and running in September. Some calls to the live phoneline on the launch day went unanswered.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Justin Welby reacted to the IICSA report by issuing the customary press release saying he was even more appalled/ashamed/determined to do better than he had been the last time he was appalled/ashamed/determined to do better, and the time before that.

But although it is Welby who fronts the apologies, behind the scenes the ecclesiocrats in Church House are directed by a shadowy figure unknown to most church members and even most clergy – William Nye, who became secretary-general of the Archbishops’ Council in 2015 after four years as Prince Brian’s PPS [Principal Private Secretary to Prince Charles – Ed]

William Nye in 2013

The publicity-shy ex-courtier, who used to run the National Security Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, now earns north of £170,000 plus bonuses, well over twice Welby’s wad, though staff say he would struggle to organise a consecration in a cathedral .

The church’s management of safeguarding has descended into chaos, but spending on it has ballooned from £50,000 to around £20m, without a single penny of redress being delivered to survivors of abuse.

Nye recently survived a complaint about the leadership of the church’s safeguarding, but there is pressure for a full review of its governance.

The Archbishops’ Council, which he leads, is currently being investigated by the regulatory compliance division of the Charity Commission

Christ Church Oxford

Christ Church, Oxford, has written to alumni and supporters pleading for contributions to its Covid-19 Student Support Fund. The College needs to raise £90,000, “at a time when there is enormous demand on the institution’s finances…Should you be able to help support our students during this very challenging time, we encourage you to help make a difference now.

How reassuring to know that student welfare during the pandemic is such a high priority, but heartbreaking to realise that the college can’t afford £90,000 and so has to pass round the begging bowl.

Clearly, this can’t be the same Christ Church, Oxford, that has funds of more than half a billion quid stashed away (£588m in 2018/19, up by £23m from the previous year) – and that has so far spent £2m on legal bills in a failed attempt to sack its dean (Eyes passim)

Former archbishop of York John Sentamu

BASHING BISHOPS

“‘Snubbed’ archbishop WILL get his peerage…Downing Street had apparently always intended to ennoble former archbishop of York John Sentamu. A source added: ‘Everyone recognises his great contribution, and the peerage was never in doubt.’ It will allow Dr Sentamu to continue sitting in the House of Lords following his retirement in June.” – Daily Mail outraged by idea senior clergy should be denied voice in politics, page 24, 19 October

“With congregations shrinking and churches struggling for survival, you’d think Anglican archbishops would be concentrating firmly on their day job. Instead, they appear to have formed an anti-government lobby group…Regardless of the merits of the Internal Market Bill, what on earth does it have to do with the Church? If these clerics want to be politicians, they should stand for election.” – Daily Mail outraged by idea senior clergy should be allowed voice in politics, page 16, 19 October

FURTHER INFORMATION

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/01/09/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/

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JANUARY 8 2021 – “DEAN PERCY AND THE CASE FOR SPECIALIST PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE” BY MARTIN SEWELL [AT ‘SURVIVING CHURCH’]

Dean Percy and the case for specialist professional competence

Stephen Parsons

By Martin Sewell

Followers of the prolonged saga of the Dean of Christ Church Oxford, Martyn Percy, will know that one of the prime movers of the failed processes to date has been Senior Censor, Professor Geraldine Johnson. She is an historian with particular interest in the history of art, and although her specialism appears to be in earlier periods, she must surely be familiar with Rene Magritte’s famous and subversive work “This is not a pipe” which appears above. It challenges us to question what we are looking at, and to think clearly about what we are discussing. A surreal work of art is a good starting point as we try and make sense of what is currently going on at the college where Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland in which words mean what the speaker wants them to mean and where, today  “safeguarding” and “vulnerability” become vehicles to an end.       

I an a retired  solicitor, and a former member Law Society Children’s Panel. https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/career-advice/individual-accreditations/children-law-accreditation.  There are currently 2128 members, and the Government figures tell us that between June and September 2020 alone, they conducted cases for 7910 children. The Church does not choose to engage one of them to advise in this complex specialist area. 

I may be forgiven for suggesting that such lawyers are a principal repository of experience and expertise when it comes to understanding safeguarding and risk assessment. Their daily work exposes them to what “dangerous” looks like,; they understand that not every person bringing a complaint is bona fide, that not every concern is serious per se, or justifies disproportionate reaction. Above all, they are governed by the principles of the Human Rights Act, specific rules and codes of conduct. All members are required to meet the selection criteria, to undergo annual training, and to be subject to strict rules for the management of cases. Importantly, they routinely argue cases for all participants within the process. On the same morning one might be representing an infant, a mother with learning difficulties, a “Gillick competent” young person, or an alleged abuser. That range ensures perspective.

The Church employs nobody from this panel, neither does Winckworth Sherwood, the solicitors who advise the Church, the Diocese of Oxford, Christ Church College, and Lambeth Palace. This is perhaps a good place to start an appraisal of the divergence between Dean Percy’s persecution and standard safeguarding practice. 

I often received instructions in such cases at short notice. I might return from a morning in Court to receive a brief from my PA on a new case urgently starting that afternoon. Already she would have undertaken a conflict-of-interest check for me. It was utterly routine. Even with care, things slip through the net; mothers change their names; they cohabit with another client’s ex-husband. If a colleague draws attention to a potential conflict you walk away for a very practical reason for if an undeclared conflict arises at the hearing, the slipshod lawyer may face a wasted costs order of many thousands of pounds. None of this good practice is observed by the Church or the lawyers in the Percy case. Our core groups are routinely riddled with conflicts of interests. Nobody is sanctioned for this neglect of good practice.

At first hearing in the secular world, it was commonplace for lawyers to confer to determine what was a proportionate response to the allegations. We were routinely mindful of the right to family life. Sometimes interim restrictions were justified, but they were constructed by people who were serious about real risks, and not to accommodate grotesque imaginings.  Not so in the Church. Dean Percy a man pf previous unblemished character has, inter alia, been put under a restriction not to meet with his 27 year-old son or to have coffee with a friend unless supervised. There is not a scintilla of evidence that either is a vulnerable person in need of safeguarding, or that such a restriction is proportionate or relevant to the allegations in the pending case. Such lack of analysis speaks of either malice or lack of intellectual curiosity on the part of those imposing such requirements: wherein lies the “risk” presented by the Dean who, let it be noted, should enjoy both a presumption of innocence and a full recognition of a blameless safeguarding practice to date? This cannot, of course, be said about certain dons who have a track record of false accusation. For clarity, I have never seen such disproportionate restrictions advanced, let alone upheld in a case of safeguarding within the Courts where such work is done properly. 

Sometimes cases were resolved, but the birth of a further child triggered a fresh evaluation. In those cases it was routine to re-appoint the original Children’s Guardian and lawyer to look at the new matter, informed by what went before. It saves time and repetition. Contrast this with how Winckworth Sherwood and their clients approached the fresh Percy allegation. In the preceding case in which he had been comprehensively exonerated, Dean Percy had taken the point of principle that a retired police inspector who was a former work colleague of the Core Group Chair, should not be appointed to investigate his case (see conflict of interest above). 

With the new matter arriving, normal good practice would have been to reappoint the same investigator – the one that the NST and Winckworth Sherwood had eagerly advanced as competent and of integrity – but they did not; their original choice had failed them, he had not produced the goods and had to go. This is what happens when the same people are acting as lawyers to the accusers and the tribunal, and so, a former Lambeth Palace safeguarding advisor ( also a former Police Officer) was instructed without consultation and ignoring legitimate objection.

Readers of this blog will have read about, and heard directly from, the latest NST approved Investigator, Kate Wood. I have not read, and do not refer to, any matter of substance from her report but ought to flag up the stages by which a safeguarding risk is assessed. First, one has to ascertain that the person against whom there is an alleged safeguarding infraction, is indeed a “vulnerable person” under the 2014 Care Act and the 2003 Clergy Discipline Measure. If they are not, the matter may still need investigating but not within the emotionally charged sphere of “safeguarding.” “Vulnerability” needs to be a contained concept for those needing truly special regard. If everyone is “vulnerable” (even for a moment) then functionally nobody is. The concept is supposed to give privileged protection to certain people for good reason. If everyone has a privilege it is not a privilege.

It is not enough to assert that that a person being notionally protected is “vulnerable”. There are supposed to be rules, definitions, and predictable criteria. In law, a word does not mean “what I choose it to mean” and it is legitimate to ask – and share- why a person falls into an asserted legal category You cannot just speculate that a notionally vulnerable person might be upset by certain behaviour. One needs chapter and verse; it is the sine qua non of the process. Further, an independent tribunal  needs to make an early clear finding of fact that specific events occurred which only then trigger a proper safeguarding risk assessment by a suitably qualified person. The first question at that stage would be, “What is the risk that something similar might recur?”  One then separately asks: ” Might something more serious arise?”  One would also consider whether some intervention might manage or mitigate the risk. These are importantly distinct questions, and each will require careful evaluation with the appropriate reasoning clearly set out for the conclusion either way. I offer a neutral example. 

If I close the door of a small room as I leave it, that may prove very alarming if I leave behind a person with claustrophobia. How one deals with my having done so would necessarily require ascertaining if I, or anyone else, had been told of the claustrophobic propensity. It could be a very spiteful act, or it could simply be an inadvertence. Whether I pose a generalised risk of every possibility that a fevered imagination might extrapolate from that event, might require a proper risk assessment, and here we enter the world of experts of which the Church of England has demonstrated scant knowledge experience or competence.

The legal profession has devised clear protocols for the use and management of experts and their evidence. See 

http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/family/practice_directions/pd_part_25a  These rules underwrite sound process By following these, the specialist safeguarding lawyers deal with dozens of cases every day and here in a nutshell is how it is done. Whilst the judges retain overall responsibility, they delegate much to the children’s lawyer who has carriage of these arrangements. Thus, advocates arrive at the first hearing with the names and availability of their preferred experts. All the lawyers settle into the robing room and discussions begin. Usually a consensus emerges, the fact that the judge is readily on hand to resolve disputes ensures it rarely comes to that. The wording of questions can be finessed – usually by the children’s lawyer. Care is taken over the qualification of the expert. A paediatrician might know a great deal about a child’s injury, but if the timing of a broken bone is a crucial issue, they will defer to a consultant radiologist, so a specialist will be engaged. I was one of those lawyers managing the process in a routine way.

There is no such thing as “an expert in what is going to happen in the future”. If you ask an expert for a prediction of future risk you know that you will be told “The best predictor of the future is the past,” so a full history is prepared. Making a prediction is at best an educated guess by a highly specialised expert. There are some specialist social workers with academic research to their name who might be trusted with such a task, but generally a court would expect to hear from a consultant forensic psychologist or psychiatrist.  The Church does not do this. They appoint a generic investigator they hope has some expertise, then leave it all to them. There is no discussion as in the Courts.

Drawing an instruction letter for a Court is always a joint exercise by the lawyers for two simple reasons. First, the purpose is to obtain a full and rounded opinion, with all relevant questions considered. Second, the expert is like the proverbial computer; “rubbish in – rubbish out”. If the instructions are weak, you will only end up with an application for a second opinion on which to challenge the first. As in all its cases, the Church, the Diocese, the College and the malcontents have not sought to prioritise a fair process by permitting meaningful respondent input to the choice of expert or instruction letter. The HRA “right to a fair trial” is not respected; you can speculate whether this is as a result of incompetence or something else, it matters not to the respondent. 

In 2017 the Clergy Risk Assessment Rules were debated by General Synod. It is not a lengthy debate (!!) but well worth reading by anyone trying to understand how we came to be burdened with slapdash legislation  The three Synod members with recent professional experience in these matters, I, and barristers Carl Fender and David Lamming, all urged Synod not to rush an approval of the scheme until the accompanying guidelines were produced for scrutiny.. We were not heeded.

The debate can be read here beginning at page 199. https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-10/General%20Synod%20-%20February%202017%20w.%20index.pdf

Carl Fender pointed out the risk that “where the person does not have legal representation to input into the instruction letter it “can easily lead to bias in the report that is received, …. the letter of instruction can often be critical in terms of the answers that you get.”  David Lamming wanted us to see the whole scheme before rushing it through. I addressed varying concerns including the right to a fair trial. Andrew Gray identified the absence of an appeal process and asked, “Why is it that an appeal is considered to be logistically problematic?” The Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, added “In my experience, I have yet to read a risk assessment that does not at best conclude that a person is a “low risk”. I can only say that makes all of us low risk, but at the end of it, someone, where there is no evidence to suggest they have done anything wrong at all, still has an assessment that says they are a low risk… I think that is fundamentally wrong and we need to be looking at this a little bit further to ensure justice is done to all parties, including the accused.”

 Ignoring these interventions, the General Synod negligently set the scene for the shabby charade which we are being served up by the NST, Christ Church College, the Diocese and Winckworth Sherwood. 

In summary, we have dreadfully conflicted lawyers instructing an “expert”, whose CV and sphere of expertise has not been shared for scrutiny. The resulting report, lacking any mechanism for quality control, is sent to those who have a well-evidenced track record of bringing false allegations against the Dean. Two of them will be “judges in their own cause”, deciding if their own case that- that  the Dean is a risk-  is justified. That would not have taken them long. These two members of the Cathedral Chapter have no qualification assistance to evaluate this assessment, but nevertheless felt able to assert that the Dean presents a “medium to high” safeguarding risk. 

Now please pause and remind yourself of two things. The “expert” on whose judgement they appear to rely is a former police inspector. She, too, has none of the qualifications that we were expecting when we passed the risk assessment regulations. No court would commission a conclusive risk assessment from her. That is bad enough, but at least Ms Wood accepts her limitations. Although she apparently purports to offer an unqualified view on the Dean as a “medium to high risk” everyone involved appears to be themselves “at risk” of overlooking her important – and fair recommendation which I have been given and reproduce here. It is a simple procedural point.

Conclusion 11:

From the Terms of Reference S.5.i  Advise on whether a further safeguarding risk assessment should be undertaken as a result of this allegation or any other information that comes to light in the course of the investigation

This report is not an assessment of risk. In my opinion safeguarding policies should be followed in managing this allegation, and an Independent Risk Assessment should be undertaken as a result of this allegation.” [Emphasis added]

So, as the various and confusing procedures lumber on, the College and Cathedral surely now need to accept that even with all the breaches of ordinary good practice, all the ignoring of Human Rights principles, and failures to observe well established sound secular practice and natural justice, they have before them a document well short of what they hoped. The world knows they have behaved dreadfully, and now it knows that their current home-made risk assessment stands on nothing of substance. It is the product of flawed process, and inadequate expertise, highly seasoned with pre-existing prejudice and self-interest.

Their approach to justice is surreal; this is Christ Church performing “Malice in Wonderland.”  Perhaps Professor Johnson might offer her colleagues a helpful lecture on surreal jurisprudence entitled “ This is not a Pipe, This is not a Risk Assessment. This is not a fair process”

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.

Thoughts on “Dean Percy and the case for specialist professional competence”

  1. Jane Chevous I understand that some of the people posting on this blog have been supporters of Martyn Percy and have more knowledge than is in the public domain about his side of this case. I’m sad that this is making this a less safe place for survivors. I cannot prove the abuse I experienced. I didn’t have a video camera with me. There were no witnesses. My abuser denies it and in fact tries to blame me. Possibly I would not meet Martin’s definition of ‘vulnerable’. (Bear in mind though that the 2014 Act talks about people in need of care and support’). The young woman in Martyn’s case may not meet that definition, none of us know. I do know that the behaviour she describes (hair-stroking) is creepy, smacks of grooming and goes against Covid social distancing rules. I know that even if it is not itself a safeguarding incident, it suggests a lack of boundaries and sexual misconduct which could suggest a risk of safeguarding issues. I don’t know, but it certainly justifies a proper investigation. I do know that victims like me and her have no reason to make this stuff up. No-one chooses to go through this shit. There’s no reward.
    I also know that Martyn quoted the paedophile-created, discredited False Memory Syndrome argument in defending Bishop Bell. Martin Sewell is of course right that we need people with appropriate expertise, and an appropriate process, to deal with these incredibly difficult and complex issues. But let’s just remember that there is scant evidence of victims lying about these things . Much more evidence of abusers lying about their actions and trying to blame victims or others. Let’s not allow our friendships turn our focus in this blog from providing a safe space for victims. Right now I am no longer sure if this is a safe space. If I named my abusers and they were your friends, would you defend them and question my veracity or the seriousness of my allegations? I am no longer sure what the answer to that is. And I remain most concerned for the young woman who reported the abuse. To be honest, I am surprised and disappointed that no-one else here seems concerned about her.

Steve Lewis

Hi Jane, I haven’t found this to be a safe space at all, but a locus of potential insight into areas of mutual suffering. I’ve shared bits of my own story to be met with a wall of silence, which feels like disbelief sometimes or indifference. I’m not sure which is worse.

The internet has massive limitations but is allowing us to spread the message among concerned others in a way that was impossible a few decades ago. It’s a great leveller too. Every one has a voice, from novice to expert. The latter can be infuriated by the influence of the former.

I’m still not sure how we’re supposed to relate to each other in this medium, and with how much intensity. For me, I’m still in the trial and error phase, which given the changing nature of the online world, will doubtless continue in perpetuity.

What I do know is that without your contributions, your humanity, this would be a poorer place.

Best wishes, Steve

  1. Jane Chevous Steve, I am so sorry that you have experienced silence and felt disbelief here. I apologise for any time I ignored anything you wrote. You are write that a blog like this can never be the safest of places. Anyone can post and we don’t know who they are. For me there has now been a little trust and safety developed here, as I have got to know some of us who regularly post, and get a sense that while we bring different insights and perspectives, we’re united in wanting to reveal abusive behaviour and poor responses, and hold the church accountable.
    Like you say, it’s hard to work out how to relate ‘virtually’ with people we may not ever meet outside here.
    I’m with you in the perpetual lessen! Thank you for your very kind words. I value the revelation that happens here very much, and I am grateful for everyone’s contribution to that, and our common humanity.

  1. Steve Lewis Thanks Jane!

  1. Janet Fife Steve, I echo Jane in saying I’m sorry you’ve sometimes felt unheard after sharing difficult experiences here. That has sometimes happened to me here and elsewhere, and it’s a very unpleasant feeling. It can be hard to know what to say when someone shares a personal experience. Sometimes I’m silent because I don’t know what is the right thing to say, and am afraid of getting it wrong. There have been many occasions when I’ve missed the emoji buttons provided by Facebook and Twitter. The ‘care’ button would be especially handy. Whether we make a comment or not, I think most of us here are supportive of each other. However, a blog site whose purpose is to challenge injustice and think through issues can never be entirely safe, because we can have no idea where other people’s sensitivities are. I know Stephen tries to make it a safe space, and does not allow personal attacks. Note to self: when someone shares a difficult experience, say something supportive – even at the risk of getting it wrong or sounding patronising or priggish (something I was accused of on a different site recently).

  1. Steve Lewis Thanks Janet and I concur myself about not knowing what to say. Stephen’s blog is a valuable site and well moderated. Civilised disagreement is essential to build a fuller picture of the truth. By writing here we encounter something not a million miles from Freud’s “blank screen”, his couch where the analysed couldn’t see the analyst’s face. There’s value in sharing even when we can’t get the warm response that in other contexts would be appreciated.

Rowland Wateridge

Steve: At first I was reluctant to reply, but I recall that we shared here our childhood experiences of abuse (in my case in a C of E primary school) where we both realised that we were unaware that this was sexual abuse until we became adults. Nowadays that would be put down to naivety (something actually said to me by a psychiatrist) – maybe ‘innocence’ is now thought to be an obsolete concept. I have also come to realise that I was specifically targeted by one teacher. Unfortunately the headmaster (what they were called in those days) was a sadist, and that rubbed off on other members of staff – not all. But this in an ostensibly Christian environment and children as young as five being beaten with a ‘Borstal’ cane. In those days, corporal punishment was accepted as the norm, even in primary schools, but this went far beyond ‘reasonable’ punishment. I am 100% with Hare’s comment below. The decency and courtesy towards women, inculcated in me from an early age, just as one example, has become debased in this secular age.

So, as a relative outsider, but regular reader here, I haven’t detected any lack of sympathy. It may be just a matter of perception.

Steve Lewis

Yes, I’m sure you’re right about perception Rowland, and expectation too perhaps.

I’ve had a great deal “inculcated” into me at school, home, colleges, churches and I’ve had occasion to question almost all of it at one time or another. It’s a bit weird being an old dog and learning new tricks, but I’m giving it a go!

SURVIVORS VOICES

Richard W. Symonds – January 8 2021 – 9pm. Comment submitted to ‘Surviving Church’Reply to Jane Chevous

“I am surprised and disappointed that no-one else here seems concerned about her”

Jane, you are simply mistaken in that assumption.

Martin Sewell

Jane, please be assured that I remain committed to good process for the benefit of all. It is not perfect but it’s the best we can do.

I have made a commitment to not knowingly putting material into the public domain: I do comment on what is put there by others. NB the dons employed a PR agency – now why would they do that if it were not their purpose to leak and brief?

Today I reference a procedural point because justice demanded it. When all the facts come out you will understand and be assured.

The latest twist is extraordinary. https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/news/house/statement-response-media-interest

Three months after setting the safeguarding hare running with all the prejudicial implications of it, having been told by the Diocesan Registrar at the outset that it was not a safeguarding matter the “ wiley Dons” have been Slytherin away from it and recasting the matter as sexual harassment. So be it, let us consider it on its merits.

There is a useful pointer. You may recall that the dons attempted ( and failed ) to blame Martyn Percy when one of their number was convicted of possessing child pornography images in France. They referenced the crime on the website in tiny writing. It was Gilo who pointed out that they had neglected to say a word about the victims.

They have learned that lesson this time, but do not be of any doubt; the woman concerned is not their primary concern; they leapt on the safeguarding bandwagon as it was potentially damaging; when it ran out of road they switched tactic. It is hard not to conclude that they are deeply manipulative and cynical.

We shall continue to examine what we can and shall see in due course if they have followed good practice for the benefit of all parties. I will not be holding my breath.

Janet Fife

Martin, I’m not clear what this latest ‘extraordinary development’ is. The Christ Church statement you link to isn’t dated, but to me doesn’t suggest anything new. Oxford Diocese released a similar statement some time ago, if I remember rightly.

Perhaps you can clarify?

  1. Simon Sarmiento I’m not Martin, but I will try to clarify. The Christ Church statement to which he has linked was posted yesterday, and appears to relate to the two separate news stories in both Telegraph and The Times this morning, both behind paywalls.
    The statement omits any mention of either Safeguarding, or Clergy Disciplinary Measure actions, which is curious given the history of this incident.

EnglishAthena

Martin, this is a fascinating and useful post. When the allegation was spelled out, I too thought it was creepy. I presume that is exactly why it has been leaked. I’m sure most of us here would always consider a potential victim first. This has been a different theme for us, to consider what seems to be a whole series of false accusations. People like us need to support all victims and potential victims, because we know better than most what it’s like. And many of us have also been falsely accused, and not treated according to the rules. You are right to spell those out, and to explain how important it is to use the correct legal terms. If this is always done, victims and those falsely accused will both benefit. If we don’t know all the ins and outs, we can pray for all those affected.

  1. Mary As many victims of church abuse have learned to their cost, justice is not justice when those dealing with cases act improperly. Either there is justice for all, or there is no justice. I have sent Stephen details of former police officers acting improperly to the detriment of victims. Why is Lambeth employing them? I can’t help thinking it is for their propensity to act improperly. This must be highlighted. I want, as do many victims, only those who act properly in regard to safeguarding to be employed by the church to do so. However much I want those who have deliberately acted unjustly to be dealt with, it must not include injustice even to those proved of misconduct to victims/survivors. How can we trust those employed by Lambeth to deal with our cases when their improper conduct is in the public domain? They will only find in favour of those Lambeth and dioceses wish to cover up for. It is important for justice to be done for all, and seen to be done for all. Jane, I can understand and sympathise with you, as someone who has, and continues to be treated unjustly. But if we desire justice, we will only receive it when Lambeth and dioceses employ only those who act properly and justly. I am sorry this post has caused you pain, truly. But it highlights a great deal which was wrong in my case. I hope this helps a little Jane, and that you can still feel confidence in this post. Stephen has details which are not always in the public domain, and the blogs posted here may be helpful to survivors even when they may not appear to do do. God bless.

  1. Steve Lewis Let’s say hypothetically that the “case” against Dean Percy is “proven”. That would be very difficult to do as Jane points out, as there may have been no witnesses, but Percy is finished and thrown out. College “wins”. Let’s say the case is not proven. No smoke without fire. Dean’s reputation still damaged. College self-righteously can justify their actions in investigating the claims. College wins. Is this whole thing really about safeguarding at all? Surely this is much more about power and control. And that’s exactly what this blog is about. Collectively we make the College’s arguments for them as we take sides and stand up for the victims, be it the woman or the Dean. We can’t possibly know which is and which isn’t of course. Which is exactly their point. And when this has been demonstrated after the present round of ineffectual procedures, I’ve little doubt there will be another round. Every person has a right to go about their lawful business unmolested physically, sexually, intellectually and wholesomely. But good luck enforcing that right.

Jane Chevous

I think what I am trying to say – and I admit to feeling a little vulnerable about it at the moment, because of recent developments in my case, so forgive me if I am reacting emotionally – is that both things may be true. The sexual harassment experienced by the woman concerned may raise a genuine safeguarding issue (we don’t know if she is vulnerable and it does sound like grooming behaviour).

This may be being used by the ‘college dons’ in order to continue an unjustified or undeserved vendetta against Martyn (as described in other posts). To be honest I don’t feel qualified to judge that, and like Martin, can only keep calling for due process to ensure we are all protected by the truth.

The college using the process does not diminish the seriousness of the current accusation against Martyn and we should not be deflected from supporting the woman who has made this report, in our attempts to protect the Dean or anyone else from any other miscarriage of justice.

If you were her and read in Martin’s post the words: ” they understand that not every person bringing a complaint is bona fide, that not every concern is serious per se, or justifies disproportionate reaction” how would you feel?

I know how it made me feel, as someone whose truth has been vehemently denied by my abusers and who has been told by the NST that actions to hold people to account in my case is ‘disproportionate’.
I realise Martin was not specifically referring to the woman at this point, but in the context… the impact of the words we choose to use on our readers matter.

The procedural points you went on to make, Martin, are very important and helpful, particularly in understanding about then flaws in the church’s current risk assessment practice, whether you are the victim or the person being assessed. And of course any risk management and safeguarding procedures need to be in line with the Human Rights Act – to be restricted from meeting with a member of your own family does appear to breach that.

These are difficult and complex matters, especially when, if there are no witnesses, we can never know the whole truth. And that is the case with many of us. We need to be balanced, even in our support for survivors and for justice, and calling out of any kind of abuse of power. We won’t get it right always and at least we are brave enough to try.

I just feel concerned that in this particular case, it is beginning to feel like defence of a respected character, at the cost of defending another victim. Whereas we need to hold the possibility that there are two victims here, that there are justified serious concerns about Martyn’s behaviour and that we should be calling for justice and safeguarding for her with the same energy and rigour as has been applied to Martyn’s defence.

That is why I was saying it no longer felt very safe. Any of us could be her. If she is reading this blog, what impression do you think she is gaining?

  1. EnglishAthena Spot on Jane, well put. Have a virtual hug! Pointing out that not every accusation is true is unfortunately, a necessary precaution when discussing these matters, or a falsely accused person will be hurt. It’s tough on anyone who has been mangled by these things. Hopefully, anyone who finds their memories have been triggered by such discussions has friends who will encourage them to take it as a neutral point made during a general discussion.

Martin Sewell

As I have made clear I will not place specific material from the case into the public domain, although the dons employ a PR agency for that very purpose.

The Bishop hypes the College narrative by referring to the incident as “ very serious “.
There is a difference between taking all allegations very seriously and all incidents being of equal severity. “ That is a nice dress” might offend someone in certain circumstances;
Proportionality is important.

I am aware of the character of the allegation. I have three decades of working with abuse in all circumstances and I need no tuition in the manipulative character of sexual predators. Suffice it to say that knowing what I know and taking the allegation exactly as presented, if my son told me that my granddaughter was going for a sleepover with a friend in the Percy household, I would not lose any sleep.

  1. EnglishAthena It’s difficult, Martin. We need your expertise. So let’s just all pray for a speedy and equitable resolution.

Savi Hensman

While I would be saddened if Martyn had behaved inappropriately, I recognise that all humans are fallible and it is near-impossible to be certain of another person’s innocence while facts are still being gathered and assessed. One of the problems with the Church of England leadership’s slipshod and visibly biased approach is that it makes it harder for even justified allegations to be believed. Many people are indeed in denial about the fact that someone one likes and admires may nevertheless be an abuser – and it is all the more important for those handling concerns to observe the highest professional standards. There is also a major risk that other cases may be facing long delays because of repeated investigations of the same person which do not use previously-gathered information adequately.

Steve Lewis

Whether the PR firms engaged by the Church have been effective or not is a matter of opinion. If I were in that profession I’d certainly demand a high fee for the risk to my own firm’s reputation of the Church’s poor judgment.

But good communications are important and I would defend anyone’s right to engage professional assistance.

In one sense we could all take a leaf out of their book and listen to our own communications, which often seem to be this: repeating the same message (with minor variations or extra detail) again and again and expecting a different result. The Church hasn’t listened or changed. We therefore need to think laterally and try something different.

  1. Christopher Shell The most recent statement uses the word ‘victim’, which forestalls the need to investigate at all: the judgment has already fallen in the use of that word. Yet in fact there is a need to investigate: hence the use of the word is wrong. ‘Complainant’ would be accurate; ‘potential victim’ is a bit biased, like ‘potential’ anything else: because it seems to be awaiting or hoping for one particular outcome. Wait for the judgment, which itself may be a balance of probabilities. There is a second point. I suspect MP may freely admit stroking her hair, and put it down to a combination of differing codes/ages and stress (scarcely knowing what one is doing). The third point is that it may transpire that what happened was relatively minor, so that the word ‘victim’ would be overblown even if (as seems to an outsider not unlikely, for what that is worth) it did in fact happen. The fourth point is that the origin/impetus of the complaint may (or may not) have involved any of the same individuals as before whether or not the incident is in any way related to the former ones (it is presumably not).

  1. Rowland Wateridge ‘Thinking Anglicans’ carries a report that the Christ Church Governing body is actively considering a second internal disciplinary Tribunal against the Dean. That would be additional to the Church CDM already in progress authorised by the Bishop of Oxford who, however, recused himself from handling it and has delegated responsibility for its conduct to the Bishop of Birmingham.
  1. Christopher Shell ‘I t is claimed’ (we read) ‘that he complimented her on her appearance’. What an earth shattering allegation! Who are these dictators who just assume that everyone must follow their thoroughly joyless code that no-one should ever even compliment anyone else on their appearance (over which they may have taken considerable trouble), or else?People are dying of COVID. What sort of priorities are these?

  1. Hare I don’t usually agree with you Shell, but on this occasion I do.
    I have lived a number of decades and I have watched with sadness as human interactions have become more and more sexualised in assumption. It is tedious in the extreme.
    I have been blessed with a good head of hair and when I sometimes let it grow long I have had compliments and the occasional touch.
    I don’t particularly want to be touched but neither have I immediately cried ‘assault!’ ‘Grooming!’ Sometimes people must be allowed just to show aesthetic appreciation without it being thrown back in their faces.
    It makes me think of the men who get shouted at because they have held a door open for a woman. If someone, anyone, holds a door open for me I say thank you. I frequently hold doors open for other people because I think it is a kind thing to do. It has nothing to do with gender.
    Of course there are those who have been abused (been there) and those who make false accusations (despicable). But there are also people who misunderstand and misinterpret situations and – as I alluded to earlier- society immediately leaps upon the sexual interpretation.
    It has even infiltrated the language. I have lost track of the words one can no longer use without being sniggered at.
    Something has to calm down.

  1. Trish For all concerned in this case, including those that seem to be completely forgotten, the students from Christ Church who I am sure in their most difficult and disappointing of academic years would rather their college was publicly involved in something life affirming rather than this situation it does seem a real shame that the detailed and well thought out anti- harassment policy that is on the Christ Church website has seemingly not been attempted. Of course I do not know for certain that this is the case but as it took me 18 months to arrange proper mediation with the church I am assuming that from an incident that took place in October this has not happened. Formal complaints rarely bring understanding and insight into a situation just defensiveness and hostility on both sides. I appreciate that in some circumstances that is the only way forward but surely only after every other avenue, that the college rightly promotes, has been attempted. I do not agree that the college wins either way Steve, a college is not about the dons, the dean or its employees it is about whether students want to attend, whether it is the first choice on their UCAS form.

  1. Rowland Wateridge The other people who never seem to figure in anyone’s thinking are the laity of the Diocese of Oxford. This is their cathedral.

  1. Steve Lewis “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” (Barnum). Whether he was right of course is one thing, but Trish raises an important point: what about the students? I did think originally that the shenanigans at Christ Church would put people off applying there. It’s a grubby unedifying story and of course no one really wins from an outsider’s perspective. The powers are insulated by thick layers of endowment and centuries of public esteem perhaps salted with a topical drama. It probably won’t scratch the surface of their impregnability. I really hope I’m wrong.

EnglishAthena

I have used this blog to say what I have seen and experienced. But I have most often found it helpful to read what others think and to see that I am not alone. Personally, I do try to say hello to someone new, or express condolences. But if you’re not on for a couple of days, it can take off and then you miss some posts. A couple of times recently I have not made a response because I was unsure how to put it. And then some one else has put it much better than I would have. I don’t want to fill the thread with posts that just say “agreed”! Recently I’ve just felt completely overwhelmed by the amount of emotion expressed. This isn’t meant as a reply to anyone, but I’m glad of this place.

Froghole

I am grateful to Mr Sewell for his observations, and I would second some of the comments made about the value of this blog and that it should – first and foremost – be a safe space for survivors. That was, as I understand it, why it came into being to begin with.

There are now real concerns about the ongoing viability of Christ Church. This has led me to review some of the history of college scandals at Oxford and Cambridge, and I have to stress that there has *never* been anything like this. Indeed, I would be hard pressed to find any institutional analogy, but the Jackson/Davies dispute at Lincoln in the 1990s or the impact of the Blunt affair on the British Academy (the subject of an OUP monograph last year) come close.

This is not to say that there haven’t been acute crises, several of which occurred during the reign of James II & VII: the expulsion of the fellows of Magdalen in 1687 when James tried to make the RC Anthony Farmer president; the attempt by James to make John Massey dean of Christ Church in 1686; the conversion of Obadiah Walker, master of University College to the RCC, and his having the mass held within the college. There were other dramatic incidents, such as the flight of Robert Thistlethwayte, warden of Wadham College (then at the pit of its reputation), in 1737 following allegations of sodomy, etc.

But there has been nothing like this, because it has festered for so long, and because the legal position of the dean has been relatively strong, forcing his opponents to adopt tactics which seem somewhat extreme.

The crisis at Lincoln led to the Howe commission and the Cathedrals Measure 1999, which ended the monopoly that capitular clergy were able to exert over the management of cathedrals (but which exempted Westminster, Windsor and Christ Church under Section 36 (6)). The Christ Church imbroglio has arguably been a more severe breakdown in governance, and it indicates that the 1867 reform, which was predicated on responsible behaviour by dean, canons and students, is no longer fit for purpose.

Leaving aside the deeply painful human element of the whole crisis (about which others have commented far better than I can hope to), what matters now (at least to me) is the future of Christ Church.

This is *not* [just – Ed] a contest between dean and students; it is also a civil war between clergy on the chapter, which echoes the Lincoln debacle.

In England the tradition has been to tolerate anomalies save unless they become toxic. Christ Church has become toxic, so it is now time to end the anomaly. On this basis, the connection between cathedral and college should be abolished, and the two remaining chairs reserved to clergy laicised (as they were at Cambridge once the last connection with Ely was severed in 1980). I think the cathedra should be removed to some other significant church in the diocese, and would suggest the university church of St Mary, faute de mieux. A nice clean break with the past.

Rowland Wateridge

Moving the Cathedral elsewhere would bequeath to the college a chapel far greater (larger and more magnificent) than any other, possibly even including King’s College, Cambridge. Would St Mary’s be large enough? Is there available accommodation for the Dean and Canons if, as one assumes, they would vacate Christ Church? Likewise the choir, which has an international reputation. It actually ‘belongs’ to the Cathedral, as does the ‘organist’ who is, however, also a don. There is some measure of separation already, the college and Cathedral having separate accounts and seals. The extraordinary thing about Christ Church is that prior to this saga, the Dean was absolute ‘supremo’, embodied in one person, of both bodies. (In theory, he still is apart from the present suspension.)

Another rhetorical question (with apologies to other readers): how is the Dean susceptible to two concurrent disciplinary codes both of which can potentially remove him from office: the CDM under the auspices of the diocesan Bishop of Oxford, and the Christ Church Statutes at the instance of the Governing Body and Canons. I’m trying to think of an analogy in the lay world.

William Nye justifies the former by saying that clergy in a non-Royal peculiar are subject to the CDM. The Statutes undoubtedly have legal force and, as we know, have already been used, although unsuccessfully.

Then, we have the further anomaly that the Bishop of Oxford is not the Visitor in his ‘own’ cathedral, although he undoubtedly exercises considerable other jurisdiction there: a ‘non-Royal peculiar’ but, nevertheless, having the Crown as Visitor of both Cathedral and college!

So, it would be unlikely to be an easy or straightforward transition.

Froghole

Many thanks. St Mary’s would be a decent size, but the size of a cathedral is of scant account, and we have many (too many?) parish church cathedrals. The cathedral at Christ Church is already very small – and there are parish churches in the diocese (I would think of Wantage, Thame, Dorchester, Witney, St Helen’s Abingdon, Great Faringdon, Bampton, Bloxham, Chesham, Wendover, Newbury, Thatcham, Amersham, High Wycombe, etc.) that are either larger, as large or almost as large as Christ Church. It would be larger than other Oxford chapels, though not that much larger than New College, but then Christ Church is a much larger college than most other Oxford colleges, and the chapels of St John’s and Trinity at Cambridge are also sizeable. Henry VIII nearly made Eton College chapel (which was, at that time, also parochial) the cathedral for a diocese of Buckinghamshire.

If St Mary’s becomes a parish church cathedral then the vicar would also be dean, and why have any residentiaries? Christ Church would convert the canonries into student accommodation or use them for teaching or administration (this has happened to several canonries already).

As you know, Magdalen and New College also have choirs of international reputation (as do King’s and St John’s at Cambridge), and there would be no need to abolish the choir school; it would simply service a college chapel rather than a cathedral. It would make scant difference. Christ Church would be serviced by a college chaplain (as at present) who would conduct the services as at any other college, and would be subject to the same disciplinary arrangements.

As to visitorial ‘duties’, which these days mean practically nothing at all, there is no reason why the sovereign should not continue to be visitor of Christ Church; she is also visitor of Oriel, St Antony’s and Univ.

The only reason Christ Church exists is because was was an expression of royal authority within an Oxford which was doubtfully committed to the royal supremacy, and because Henry VIII wanted to increase the number of sees on the cheap (there were proposals at the time to equalise and cap all episcopal incomes). As Christopher Haigh – one of Dr Percy’s antagonists – remarked in 1996 lecture ‘1546 Before and After: The Making of Christ Church’:

“But the king had a larger vision: he wanted Christ Church to dominate University and become the means by which the Crown controlled Oxford. In a period of religious change, it was important for the Crown to regulate the education of the clergy. Trinity Cambridge was founded with the same purpose in mind… Christ Church was not only a royal foundation: it was to be an instrument of royal policy. Christ Church was stuffed with the men who ran the University…Christ Church’s hegemony was to be academic as well as political.” (15-16)

I think that the split, which would require legislation and some consequential repeals, would be far simpler than many might imagine.

Jane Chevous

Proportionality in all things is important. So is fair-handedness.
But please let’s not fall into the trap of minimising people’s experiences. I’m sure that none of us here want to inadvertently gaslight a victim of harassment or abuse.
Remember that the people who abuse, and their supporters, usually do a very good job of that.
I am not going to comment on the particulars of this case. None of us were there so we don’t know.
Let’s just remember how hard it is to report harassment.
And be mindful that language can have lots of meanings. “My Dad disciplined me” can mean he calmly, firmly and lovingly chastised me for some misdemeanour or my part. Or it can mean he beat me.

The important thing is that everyone concerned is treated with care and respect, and there is a thorough and fair investigation.

FURTHER INFORMATION

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/01/03/january-3-2021-from-the-archives-why-the-churchs-response-to-the-george-bell-inquiry-is-so-shocking-by-the-very-revd-professor-martyn-percy-dean-of-christ-church-oxford-christian-today/

Featured post

JANUARY 8 2021 – BISHOP BELL’S NIECE BARBARA WHITLEY [NEE WOOD] OF BLETCHLEY PARK: “SOMETIMES IT’S THE VERY PEOPLE WHO NO ONE IMAGINES ANYTHING OF, WHO DO THE THINGS NO ONE CAN IMAGINE”

Barbara Wood of Bletchley Park [1924-2020]

Barbara Whitley [nee Wood] at Bletchley Park – left of picture.

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/01/05/january-5-2020-rom-the-archives-does-archbishop-welbys-pride-matter-more-than-an-elderly-ladys-pain-by-peter-hitchens-december-15-2019/

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2020/12/31/december-31-2020-barbara-whitley-1924-2020-of-bletchley-park-and-niece-of-bishop-george-bell-archbishop-welby-should-resign/

Bishop Bell’s niece Barbara Whitley [nee Wood] and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Featured post

JANUARY 7 2021 – “IN DEFENSE OF FREE SPEECH: THE UNIVERSITY AS CENSOR” BY PROFESSOR JAMES R. FLYNN [RE-TITLED “A BOOK TOO RISKY TO PUBLISH: FREE SPEECH AND UNIVERSITIES”]

Front cover

“IN DEFENCE OF FREE SPEECH: THE UNIVERSITY AS CENSOR” BY PROFESSOR JAMES R. FLYNN [RE-TITLED “A BOOK TOO RISKY TO PUBLISH: FREE SPEECH AND UNIVERSITIES”]Academica Press 2020

Back Cover

Traditionally, our society has broadly agreed that the good university should teach the intellectual skills students need to become citizens who are intelligently critical of their own beliefs and of the narratives presented by politicians, society, the media, and, indeed, universities themselves. The freedom to debate is essential to the development of critical thought, but on university campuses today free speech is increasingly restricted for fear of causing offense [we do not have a right not to be offended – Ed]. Flynn studiously examines how universities effectively censor teaching, how social and political activism effectively censors its opponents, and how academics censor themselves and each other.

The fact that the [original] publisher – Emerald Press/Ed – pulled this book is shocking even by the standards of contemporary restrictions on free speech. Flynn’s book is an invaluable contribution to our current understanding of academic freedom and freedom of inquiry, with deep discussions of their historical and philosophical contexts”.

~ Steven Pinker

I have seen first-hand what happens when a core ideal of a university – free intellectual expression, conducted with civility – is discarded. It is ugly in the moment. It is devastating to the life of the university in the weeks and months thereafter. James Flynn’s defense of free speech is essential to understanding just how devastating.

~ Charles Murray

Introductory Quotation

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear” ~ George Orwell, original preface to Animal Farm, 1953 [and inscribed on a wall outside BBC Broadcasting House London – Ed]:

Introductory Quotations [not in book]

“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all”

~ Noam Chomsky

I returned and saw under the sun that – The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favour to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all”. I always thought of it [Ecclesiastes 9: 10-11] as a curiously self-refuting quotation. For if time and chance determine all things, then the quest for truth and justice is vain and doomed to disappointment. But, perhaps, it is in that quote from Ecclesiastes that we find the true measure of James R. Flynn: philosopher, mathematician, socialist. That in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, the pursuit of truth and justice remains the only accurate test of our determination to become fully human.

~ Chris Trotter

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]. 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

Introduction

This book is about the ways in which legislators, students, academics, and university curricula censor the range of ideas that ought to be heard in a university and impede the proper education of students…

As Aristotle said, “Plato was a friend to us all, but an even better friend must be the truth”…

A Book Too Dangerous To Publish assumes that the great goods of humanity include human autonomy and the liberation of the human mind. It argues that this is possible, or at least likely, only under certain conditions, one of which is that free speech prevails. It also assumes that the university has a peculiar mission: the good society has designated it as an institution that, above all, not only seeks truth but also graduates people whose minds are prepared to seek the truth…

Chapter 2 uses John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty to describe what liberty means for thought, speech and behavior, distinctions which will inform us about what we ought to do. For example, sometimes a university does behave in a way that affects the outside world adversely (e.g. invests its funds in corporations that are believed to do the world harm) and this can cloud its primary mission…

Chapter 3 drives home a point implicit in mill, namely the distinction between knowledge, being knowledgeable, and right opinion. Chapter 3 also offers a contemporary example – that of Charles Murray at Middlebury, a case in which students acted violently to prevent anyone including themselves from transcending ignorance about their principles. It also uses myself as an example of how little a critical intellectual would know if these students had “shielded” me from listening to Charles Murray and other thinkers whom they find obnoxious…

The second part is titled “What Others Do To Academics”…a time when student “radicals” began to use intimidation to banish free speech…

The third part is “What Academics Do To Themselves”. Independent of student or administrative pressure, many academic departments adopt a “Walden code”, a code of conduct that sends academics to Coventry if they try to include in their research – or their courses – anything that deviates from the “party line” about what is relevant or permissible…

“What Academics Do To Students” is part four…Chapters 13 and 14 assess a claim every university makes: its primary purpose is to foster critical skills and educate the whole individual so that he or she can become an intelligent citizen. There is evidence that they fall short of developing even those narrow critical skills which students need in the world of work and thus deprive them of the ability to be good citizens. Few graduates can test current opinion , which is to say the opinions foisted by politicians and the media. They are about as equipped to transcend their time and space as a medieval peasant was equipped to transcend the role of serf. I use my test “The FISC” [Flynn’s Index of Critical Thinking][FICT? – Ed] as evidence.

The fifth part defends human autonomy, one of the great goods of human existence. Chapter 15 analyses it on three levels: ontological, sociological and psychological. The search for autonomy is difficult and indeed almost impossible without free speech...

A nephew recently asked me what was the point of reading widely and of a non-vocational university education. I could only respond because one wants to be a free man with a cultivated mind. The university has been my home as a professor for sixty years, and I owe it most of the autonomy I have. Herein I try to do something to repay that debt.

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JANUARY 7 2021 – “THE EMPEROR COMES TO SEE HIS NEW CLOTHES” BY HENRY JUSTICE FORD

“The Emperor comes to see his new clothes” – Henry Justice Ford/Granger [based on Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’

“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle” – George Orwell

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JANUARY 6 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES – “ARCHBISHOP CRITICISED FOR REFUSING TO CLEAR BISHOP BESMIRCHED BY THE CHURCH” – DAILY TELEGRAPH – DECEMBER 15 2020

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

December 15 2017 – “Archbishop criticised for refusing to clear bishop besmirched by the Church” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard and Robert Mendick

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Archbishop criticised for refusing to clear bishop besmirched by the Church

Bishop George Bell should not have been named by the Church, a report has found CREDIT: JOHN DOMINIS /THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION 

15 DECEMBER 2017 • 4:59PM

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been criticised for refusing to clear the bishop besmirched by the Church of England and saying instead that a “significant cloud” hangs over him.

A damning report published today by Lord Carlile of Berriew found that the reputation of Bishop George Bell, who was posthumously accused of sexually abusing a child, was “wrongfully and unnecessarily damaged” by the Church, who publicly named him in an apology made in 2015.

But in a statement following the report, Justin Welby said Bell was “accused of great wickedness” and apologises only “for the failures of the process”. 

“We have to differ from Lord Carlile’s point that ‘where as in this case the settlement is without admission of liability, the settlement generally should be with a confidentiality provision’.

“The C of E is committed to transparency and therefore we would take a different approach,” he adds.

Lord Carlile said the Archbishop’s comments were “very disappointing”. 

“The implication of what he said is everybody accused should have their name made public, and that is just not acceptable,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

Lord Carlile earlier said that he judged the prospect of a successful criminal prosecution, had the bishop been alive, as “low”.

Bell’s supporters also criticised the Archbishop’s response. 

Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson, the daughter of Bishop Bell’s friend Franz Hildebrandt, said Bishop Bell’s family deserved a personal apology from the Archbishop and the Bishop of Chichester. 

“The Church can’t have its cake and eat it. Either he is innocent, in which case they must apologise, or he is guilty, which they can’t prove, and the report makes clear that they have not proved,” she told this newspaper. 

Professor Andrew Chandler, Bell’s biographer, said the Archbishop’s statement was “wrong” and “illogical”. 

“It fails a basic test of rational justice,”he said. “It lacks an understanding of all kinds of dimensions which require compassion, not least in Chichester, where people feel deeply upset by this.”

The review found that the Church was wrong to publicly name Bell, who was accused by a woman known as Carol of sexually abusing her when she was a young child.

It also failed to thoroughly investigate the allegations, failed to find and inform Bell’s surviving family members of the investigation, and did not properly consider the impact on the bishop’s reputation when deciding what to do, Lord Carlile said.

The alleged abuse took place more than 60 years ago but the allegations were first made to the Church in 1995.

It paid compensation of £16,800 and £15,000 legal costs to “Carol” in 2015.

Lord Carlile of Berriew
Lord Carlile of Berriew: ‘The implication of what he said is everybody accused should have their name made public, and that is just not acceptable’. CREDIT: PACO ANSELMI /PA

Before the allegations were made public Bishop Bell was a highly respected theologian who was widely regarded as a hero for his work helping victims of Nazi persecution.

The report includes the findings of psychiatrist Professor Anthony Maden, which were given to Church officials in 2015, several months before the public apology was made.

He found that there were “enormous problems” because of the time elapsed, and said the “possibility of false memories in this case cannot be excluded”.

The alleged victim had been abused by her first husband, and Maden added that her unhappy early life meant there was “an obvious temptation to seek to (consciously or unconsciously) allocate the blame for that unhappiness to the actions of others in the distant past”.

In a statement Peter Hancock, the Church’s lead safeguarding bishop, said: “We recognise that Carol has suffered pain, as have surviving relatives of Bishop Bell. We are sorry that the Church has added to that pain through its handling of this case.”

MORE INFORMATION

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/01/03/january-3-2021-from-the-archives-why-the-churchs-response-to-the-george-bell-inquiry-is-so-shocking-by-the-very-revd-professor-martyn-percy-dean-of-christ-church-oxford-christian-today/

After acknowledging the failure of Church procedures, the Archbishop spoke of Bell’s ‘great achievement’ as a defender of the persecuted and added: ‘We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name … He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not diminish evil ones, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good. Whatever is thought about the accusations, the whole person and the whole life should be kept in mind.’

I’m afraid this is a shocking answer. The Archbishop must know that what people now think about the accusations depends very much on him. His own report tells him they were believed on grossly inadequate grounds. Does he cling to that belief or not? He invites us to balance the good and evil deeds of men; but there is no balance here. The good Bell did is proved. The evil is an uncorroborated accusation believed by the religious authorities because it makes their life easier. We have been here before – in the life of Jesus, and in the reason for his unjust death.

Bishop George Bell was one of the towering figures of twentieth century Anglicanism. He was a saintly man, of prodigious theological calibre. He befriended the Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemöller other leaders of the German Confessing Church. Bonhoeffer’s last letter, before he was executed by the Nazis in 1945, was to Bell. Niemöller sought out Bell as soon as the Second World War ended. And it was Niemöller, you may recall, who is remembered for this quotation:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

But many of us did speak out for Bell – because of the pitiable processes and procedures he has been subjected to. This must now be fully overturned by the Church of England, and Bell’s name and reputation fully restored. No member of the ‘Core Team’ investigating Bell would ever allow their own deceased father to be treated like this. For a Father in God such as Bishop George Bell to be subjected to such reputational traducing, long after his death, requires an unambiguous capitulation on the part those who bear responsibility for this.

The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy, is Dean of Christ Church, Oxford

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/01/03/january-3-2021-church-of-england-core-groups-are-rotten-at-the-core-richard-w-symonds-the-bell-society/

“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

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JANUARY 6 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES – “CHURCH OF ENGLAND STATEMENT BY THE PRESENT BISHOP OF CHICHESTER MARTIN WARNER ON THE WARTIME BISHOP OF CHICHESTER GEORGE BELL – OCTOBER 22 2015

Martin Warner Bishop of Chichester

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2020/07/27/july-27-2020-from-the-archives-october-22-2015-church-of-england-statement-by-the-bishop-of-chichester-martin-warner-on-the-rt-revd-george-bell-1883-1958/

October 22 2015 – Church of England Statement by the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner 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…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”

Ponder this if you will, then decide what action to take.

In Chichester, action has already taken place by restoring 4 Canon Lane back to George Bell House:

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2020/07/26/july-26-2020-george-bell-house-4-canon-lane-chichester-po19-1px/

More action is to follow.

FURTHER INFORMATION

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/01/03/january-3-2021-from-the-archives-why-the-churchs-response-to-the-george-bell-inquiry-is-so-shocking-by-the-very-revd-professor-martyn-percy-dean-of-christ-church-oxford-christian-today/

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

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JANUARY 6 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES – WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE NEAR-CRIMINAL CHURCH STATEMENT ON BISHOP BELL SIX YEARS AGO [OCTOBER 22 2015] – RESULTING IN A MEDIA FRENZY WHICH FALSELY CONDEMNED HIM A PAEDOPHILE?

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2020/10/26/october-26-2020-who-was-responsible-for-the-near-criminal-church-statement-on-bishop-bell-five-years-ago-this-month-october-22-2015-resulting-in-a-media-frenzy-which-falsely-condemned-him-a-paed/

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

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS AFTER CHURCH STATEMENT ON BISHOP BELL

Oct 22 2015 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

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

Oct 22 2015 – Statement on the Rt Revd George Bell (1883-1958)” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Oct 22 2015 – “Church of England bishop George Bell abused young child” – The Guardian – Reporter: Harriet Sherwood

Oct 22 2015 – “Revered Bishop George Bell was a paedophile – Church of England” – Daily Telegraph – John Bingham [Religious Affairs Editor]

Oct 22 2015 – “Bishop of Chichester George Bell sex abuse victim gets compensation” – BBC News – Sussex

Oct 22 2015 – “Former Chichester bishop George Bell abused young child” – Chichester Observer

Oct 22 2015 – “Bishop Luffa urged to rename house after George Bell revelation” – Chichester Observer

“The grandson was asked the reason why his school building, dedicated to Bishop George Bell, had been re-named. The answer came straight back, ‘Because he was a paedophile’” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Oct 23 2015 – “Bishop revealed to have sexually abused child” / “The dark secret of a respected peacemaker” – The Argus – Reporter: Rachel Millard

Oct 23 2015 – “Conservative Government Threatened By Sex Scandals” – Aangirfan

Oct 24 2015 – “Former bishop’s despicable fall from grace will prompt much soul-searching from the Church” / “Abuse victim hits out over ‘systematic behaviour’” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Oct 27 2015 – Vickery House found guilty of historic sex offences – BBC News

Oct 28 2015 – “The rule of the lynch mob” – Church of England Newspaper

“Beware of throwing someone under the bus. Remember: the bus can shift into reverse” ~ Janette McGowen

“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

Oct 28 2015 – “Church in third sex abuse scandal as ex-vicar is convicted” / “Where did it go wrong for the Diocese of Chichester?” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Oct 29 2015 – “Vickery House: Priest jailed over sex attacks” – BBC News

Nov 4 2015 – “Sussex school named after disgraced clergyman Bishop Bell may change its name” – Crawley Observer

Nov 7 2015 – “The Church of England’s shameful betrayal of bishop George Bell” – The Spectator – Peter Hitchens

Nov 9 2015 – “The tragedy of former bishop who committed terrible acts” – Tony Greenstein – Opinion – The Argus

Nov 9 2015 – “Bishop George Bell and the tyranny of paedomania” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Nov 13 2015 – “The Church of England media statement about Bishop George Bell” – The Church Times – Letter – Alan Pardoe QC

Nov 20 2015 – “Church of England media statement on Bishop Bell – further comment” – The Church Times – Letter – Dr Brian Hanson

Nov 22 2015 – “My defence of former Bishop of Chichester George Bell” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Peter Hitchens

Dec 5 2015 – A Background to “The Jersey Way” – Photopol

Dec 11 2015 – “An abuse survivors tale” – Julie Macfarlane

Dec 31 2015 – “Peter Ball: letters of support released” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Winter 2015 – Chichester Cathedral Newsletter – Stephen Waine, Dean on Bishop Bell

Excerpt from the IPSO complaint against the Argus newspaper – October 2020

‘…Indeed, the subsequent report (published in December 2017) by Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, who was commissioned by the Church of England to “conduct a Review 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 Bell,” said (critically) of the press statement of 22 October 2015, announcing the settlement and apology, that “it provided the following conclusions:

(i) The allegations had been investigated, and a proper process followed.

(ii) The allegations had been proved; therefore

(iii) There was no doubt that Bishop Bell had abused Carol.”  (Carlile Review, para 237.)

Lord Carlile’s report, which condemned that statement, is not even mentioned in the Argus article.  By contrast, even though Lord Carlile’s terms of reference did not ask him “to determine the truthfulness of Carol, nor the guilt or innocence of Bishop Bell” he stated clearly (para 171) “Had the evidence my review has obtained without any particular difficulty… been available to the Church and the CPS, I doubt that the test for a prosecution would have been passed.”

“REMEMBER THAT WORDS HAVE CONSEQUENCES” – LORD MACDONALD

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JANUARY 5 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES – “DOES ARCHBISHOP WELBY’S PRIDE MATTER MORE THAN AN ELDERLY LADY’S PAIN?” BY PETER HITCHENS – DECEMBER 15 2019 [BARBARA WHITLEY DIED OCTOBER 9 2020]

Dec 15 2019 – “Does Archbishop Welby’s pride matter more than an elderly lady’s pain?” – Peter Hitchens – Denton Daily

George-Bell-niece-Barbara-Whitley-2

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Mrs Barbara Whitley [who died October 9 2020]

RWS NOTE – JANUARY 5 2021 – 10.13am

There is a dangerous, corrupting wilful pride and a pathological moral inability to admit wrong-doing by a powerful cabal within the Church of England – and beyond it:

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/01/05/january-5-2020-rom-the-archives-does-archbishop-welbys-pride-matter-more-than-an-elderly-ladys-pain-by-peter-hitchens-december-15-2019/

All concerned would do well to read a memorial altar inscription in Christ Church Cathedral

PETER HITCHENS: Does Archbishop Welby‘s pride matter more than an elderly lady‘s pain? 

by Denton Staff Contributor — December 15, 2019

This Christmas I would like you to think of the plight of a 94-year-old woman, who has been atrociously mistreated by the Archbishop of Canterbury 

This I would like you to think of the plight of a 94-year-old woman, who has been atrociously mistreated by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Her name is Mrs Barbara Whitley. More than three years ago, the Church of England publicly accused her beloved long-dead uncle of the filthy crime of child sex abuse.

The charge was based on the word of a single accuser, more than half a century after the supposed offence. The Church had presumed his guilt and made no serious effort to discover the truth. Key living witnesses were neither sought, found nor interviewed. A senior bishop admitted soon afterwards that they were actually not convinced the claim was true. Yet by some mysterious process, a number of newspapers and stations, all on the same day, felt safe in confidently pronouncing that Barbara’s uncle had been a disgusting paedophile. No ifs or buts. Who told them?

A later inquiry would show that this miserable episode was based on nothing more than a chaotic, sloppy kangaroo court. One of this country’s most distinguished lawyers, Lord Carlile, tore the case against Barbara’s uncle to shreds. He said there would have been no chance of a conviction on the evidence available, and made mincemeat of the shambolic committee that had published the original allegation.

After delaying the release of this inquiry for weeks, Justin Welby’s church eventually published it. But did it admit its mistake and restore the reputation of Barbara Whitley’s wrongly defamed uncle?

Nope. Mr Welby, in defiance of all the rules of British justice, sulkily insisted that a ‘significant cloud’ still hung over the name of Barbara’s uncle. Thus, just as she might have been able to rejoice that her relative’s name had at last been cleared, the Head of the Established Church made it his personal business to prevent this.

And then, a few weeks later, another supposed allegation against her uncle was said to have been made. Why then? What was it? Who had made it? Nobody would say, but it served to stifle potential criticism of Mr Welby at the General Synod of the Church of England, which was about to begin. Details of the second allegation remain a secret. After nearly a year, Mr Welby’s church (which has a bad record of sitting on reports that it doesn’t like) still hasn’t come up with its conclusions. Yet Sussex Police, given the same information, dropped their investigations into the matter after a few short weeks.

It all looks a bit as if someone is trying to save someone’s face. But the cruelty to Barbara Whitley, who was 91 when this horrible saga began, is appalling. Who cares about some prelate’s pride (a sin in any case) when Mrs Whitley could be spared any more pain?

Because the cruelty to Mrs Whitley seems to me to be so shocking in a supposedly Christian organisation, I have deliberately left till last that the object of these accusations is the late Bishop of Chichester, George Bell. Bell was, as people who knew him have told me, a kind, scrupulously honest, courageous man. He was, most notably, a beloved friend of the German Christians who fought against Hitler and a brave critic of the cruelty of war. I sometimes wonder if modern bishops and archbishops are afraid of being compared with him. They have reason to be. In the meantime, Mr Welby’s church should end Mrs Whitley’s agony.

Does anyone really doubt that, if the archbishop wanted to, he could end the whole business today?

BARBARA WHITLEY CALLS FOR ARCHBISHOP WELBY’S RESIGNATION – 2017

BBC
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-42415659

TELEGRAPH
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/21/bishop-bells-niece-determined-clear-name-death/

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JANUARY 3 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES – “WHY THE CHURCH’S RESPONSE TO THE GEORGE BELL INQUIRY IS SO SHOCKING” BY THE VERY REVD PROFESSOR MARTYN PERCY, DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD – ‘CHRISTIAN TODAY’ – DECEMBER 20 2017

Martyn Percy is the Dean of Christ Church Oxford and a respected theologian in the Church of England.

December 20 2017 – “Why the Church’s response to the George Bell inquiry is so shocking” – The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy – Dean of Christ Church, Oxford [Christian Today]

1 Reply

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/martyn-percy-why-the-churchs-response-to-the-george-bell-inquiry-is-so-shocking/121818.htm

Martyn Percy: Why the Church’s response to the George Bell inquiry is so shocking

Martyn Percy Tue 19 Dec 2017 12:45 GMT

‘If one imagines for a moment that Bishop Bell were one’s own father, the point is clearly made. If a system is not good enough for our own fathers, then it is not good enough for anyone.’ (paragraph 46, p. 12, Bishop George Bell Independent Review).

The long-awaited Independent Review of the Bishop George Bell Case, conducted by Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE, QC was published on December 15. As one of the campaigners for transparency in this case – namely for the Church of England to disclose exactly how it reached its decisions in relation to a single complaint of sexual abuse made against Bell, decades after his death – Alex Carlile’s Review is a fulsome vindication of the need for a complete overhaul of the practice of the Church. The report shows that justice was not served – either to Bishop Bell, or to the woman known as ‘Carol’. The report shows – damningly, alas – that the entire process by the Church of England was conducted through the lens of reputational management. Appropriate legal expertise was not used. Assumptions were made: guilty unless proven innocent. Dreadful and egregious errors of procedure were made, revealing a culture of shoddy amateurism. When challenged on this, the evolving debacle was further compounded by assertions that a ‘proper’ process and ‘robust’ investigation had been undertaken. They hadn’t. Not remotely.

Bishop George Bell
Courtesy of Jimmy James Bishop George Bell was the former Bishop of Chichester and considered a hero for his opposition to indiscriminate Allied bombing of Germany

It is crystal clear from reading the report that the accusations were badly handled from the beginning, and that once the accusations were in the hands of the ‘Core Group’, members not only lacked commitment to prioritise their participation but lamentably failed in their duty to determine the facts [See Para 149 of the Carlile Review – Ed]. The whole process administered by the Church of England then descended into a tragic, incompetent farce. In all this, some are continuing to insist that Bishop Bell was, in all probability, guilty – when in the end, there is still only the testimony of one person, with no corroboration.

Yet it is clear, reading between the lines of Lord Carlile’s report, that in investigating how the Church handled the allegations they discovered enough to challenge their veracity. In what follows, therefore, I highlight ten key findings from Lord Carlile’s Independent Review, and suggest that the Church of England resolves to address these as a matter of urgency. [Martin Sewell also analyses the Independent Review here – Ed]

Martyn Percy
Martyn Percy is the Dean of Christ Church Oxford and a respected theologian in the Church of England.

‘It follows that, even when the alleged perpetrators have died, there should be methodical and sufficient investigations into accusations levelled against them….I have concluded that the Church of England failed to institute or follow a procedure which respected the rights of both sides. The Church…has in effect oversteered in this case. In other words, there was a rush to judgement…’ (para. 17-18, p.5). The Church of England acted rashly and hastily, and it needs to correct this knee-jerk reaction in future, if justice is to be served. In the case of Bell, injustice has been manifestly perpetrated.

  1. ‘…in this case the Church adopted a procedure more akin to the second extreme: that is to say, when faced with a serious and apparently credible allegation, the truth of what Carol was saying was implicitly accepted without serious investigation or enquiry. I have concluded that this was an inappropriate and impermissible approach and one which should not be followed in the future…in my view, the Church concluded that the needs of a living complainant who, if truthful, was a victim of very serious criminal offences were of considerably more importance than the damage done by a possibly false allegation to a person who was no longer alive…’ (para. 43-44, p. 12). The Church of England essentially assumed Bishop George Bell was ‘guilty until proven innocent’. The Church of England needs to ask how it protects those who are the victims of false allegations.
  2. ‘Importantly, the Church should not put its own reputation before that of the dead…the complainant is not a “survivor”…’ (para. 52, p. 13/14). The ‘Core Group’ made dreadful assumptions. Namely, that no-one who had worked with Bell was still alive. They did not contact Bell’s relatives (even though George and Henrietta had no children of their own). The ‘Core Group’ put the reputational risk to the Church as a higher priority than serving justice, and getting to the truth of the matter. The complainant is repeatedly referred to by the Church as a ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’ – but no facts or testimony have come to light, other than the claims made by the complainant – that would corroborate the appropriate use of such pejorative labels.
  3. In paragraph 138, p. 32 we are told there was no real police enquiry into the case. Yet the Church of England had tried to ‘spin’ this, to suggest that any enquiry would have found Bell guilty.
  4. ‘…despite mention of the importance of ensuring that the deceased accused person received a fair hearing, absolutely nothing was done to ensure that his living relatives were informed of the allegations, let alone asked for or offered guidance. Nor were any steps taken to ensure that Bishop Bell’s interests were considered actively by an individual nominated for the purpose. I regret that Bishop Bell’s reputation, and the need for a rigorous factual analysis of the case against him, were swept up by a tide focused on settling Carol’s claim[s] and the perceived imperative of public [reputation]…’ (para. 142, p.33). The Church of England, in other words, only listened to the complainant, and took those accusations at face value. No system of justice in the entire world could ever regard this as fair, decent or true. The process run by the Church of England has more in common with a trial scene from Alice in Wonderland. No system of defence or justice for Bell was designed or enacted (para. 155).
  5. Paragraph 178, pages 46-48. Professor Maden, an expert on ‘false memory syndrome’, comments extensively on the case. He closes his remarks by stating that ‘I have no doubt that [the complainant] is sincere in her beliefs. Nevertheless it remains my view that the possibility of false memories in this case cannot be excluded. The facts are for the Court to determine. I do not believe that psychiatric or other expert evidence is likely to be of further assistance in establishing whether or not these allegations are true…’. Some members of the ‘Core Group’ did not read the whole of Professor Maden’s report, so ‘a fuller evidential investigation’ that might have been called for to test the complainant’s claim never occurred. The ‘Core Group’ even failed to contact the complainant’s wider family (whom ‘Carol’ said she was close to), and who could have perhaps provided corroborating or dissenting testimony.
  6. Two completely credible witnesses came forward. A woman identified as ‘Pauline’ and Canon Adrian Carey (paras. 214-228, pages 54-56). Neither corroborates Carol’s testimony. Neither can recall such a young girl being present with the regularity and frequency ‘Carol’ claims. Carey, Bell’s Chaplain, lived in the Bishop’s Palace with Henrietta and George Bell. Pauline, a child who lived in the palace and played in the gardens during the same years that ‘Carol’ claims that her abuse took place, does not recall any child like ‘Carol’: ‘Pauline and her mother lived in the palace itself. They shared a bedroom on an upper floor, and they had a sitting room of their own. Pauline went to school locally, to an Infants’ School then a Primary School. She passed the 11 Plus. At that point her mother obtained a job in another household and they left the palace. She remembers and named correctly other staff working in the palace and living there or in the grounds. She remembered the name of [the person Carol visited]. However, she did not recall Carol. This does not mean that Carol was not there from time to time: however, if Pauline is correct it would suggest that [Carol’s] visits were not so frequent as to have made her a significant presence…’.
  7. Despite the lack of evidence against Bell – remember, still just one complainant, and the ‘Core Team’ having failed to take account of relevant expertise (i.e., legal, psychiatric, historians, Bell’s biographer, etc.), or contacted living witnesses to test the claims made by ‘Carol’ see paras. 248-252, p. 64) – nonetheless, ‘Carol, and the wider public, were left in no doubt whatsoever that it was accepted that Bishop Bell was guilty of what was alleged against him. The statement provided the following conclusions: (i) The allegations had been investigated, and a proper process followed. (ii) The allegations had been proved; therefore (iii) There was no doubt that Bishop Bell had abused Carol…’. (para. 237, page 61). Lord Carlile later adds: ‘I regret that the Core Group failed to carry out sufficient investigation into the facts’ (para. 244, p.63).
  8. The ‘Core Group’ that investigated the case against Bishop Bell was found to have been ‘set up in an unmethodical and unplanned way, with neither terms of reference nor any clear direction as to how it would operate. As a result, it became a confused and unstructured process, as several members confirmed. Some members explicitly made it clear to me that they had no coherent notion of their roles or what was expected of them. There was no consideration of the need for consistency of attendance or membership. The members did not all see the same documents, nor all the documents relevant to their task. There was no organised or valuable inquiry or investigation into the merits of the allegations, and the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality. Indeed, the clear impression left is that the process was predicated on his guilt of what Carol alleged…’. (para. 254, p. 65). You can only read this as a vote of total ‘non-confidence’ in the Core Group. It is not so much a case of what few things they got wrong, as discovering that they got almost nothing right. This was a complete failure of process [Church of England Core Groups – Ed]
  9. So Lord Carlile concludes: ‘in my judgement the decision to settle the case in the form and manner followed was indefensibly wrong’ (para. 258, p. 66).
    Bishop George BellPic courtesy of Jimmy James Bishop George Bell Since the publication of the Carlile Report, the Archbishop, Church of England National Safeguarding Team and the Bishop of Chichester have all been defensive. They recognise that there are criticisms. But they continue to speak and behave as though they got the right result – merely via a flawed methodology. I am reminded of the quote from Alan Partridge: ‘You know, a lot of people forget that for the first three days, the cruise on The Titanic was a really enjoyable experience.’

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.

What we now learn from Independent Review of the Bishop George Bell Case is that evidence against Bell is, at best, flimsy. Charles Moore, writing in the Daily Telegraph, (December 16, 2017) notes that the Church of England:

…would only be reverting to the principle upon which justice is based – that a person is innocent unless proved guilty. It says it accepts the report’s finding that its procedures were wrong. In morality and logic, it must concede that its decision to destroy Bell was wrong too. This, I had expected, was what Archbishop Welby would now do. He is a brave man and I know, from conversations with him, that he is deeply anguished both by child abuse and by false accusations of child abuse. He tries harder than most princes of the Church to get alongside those who suffer.

Yet this is what he said on Friday. After acknowledging the failure of Church procedures, the Archbishop spoke of Bell’s ‘great achievement’ as a defender of the persecuted and added: ‘We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name … He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not diminish evil ones, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good. Whatever is thought about the accusations, the whole person and the whole life should be kept in mind.’

I’m afraid this is a shocking answer. The Archbishop must know that what people now think about the accusations depends very much on him. His own report tells him they were believed on grossly inadequate grounds. Does he cling to that belief or not? He invites us to balance the good and evil deeds of men; but there is no balance here. The good Bell did is proved. The evil is an uncorroborated accusation believed by the religious authorities because it makes their life easier. We have been here before – in the life of Jesus, and in the reason for his unjust death.

Bishop George Bell was one of the towering figures of twentieth century Anglicanism. He was a saintly man, of prodigious theological calibre. He befriended the Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemöller other leaders of the German Confessing Church. Bonhoeffer’s last letter, before he was executed by the Nazis in 1945, was to Bell. Niemöller sought out Bell as soon as the Second World War ended. And it was Niemöller, you may recall, who is remembered for this quotation:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

But many of us did speak out for Bell – because of the pitiable processes and procedures he has been subjected to. This must now be fully overturned by the Church of England, and Bell’s name and reputation fully restored. No member of the ‘Core Team’ investigating Bell would ever allow their own deceased father to be treated like this. For a Father in God such as Bishop George Bell to be subjected to such reputational traducing, long after his death, requires an unambiguous capitulation on the part those who bear responsibility for this.

The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy, is Dean of Christ Church, Oxford.

FURTHER UPDATES – 2020/2021

THINKING ANGLICANS

COMMENTS

Richard W. Symonds

Survivng Church Current Affairs – Power Games and Conflicts of Interest at Christ Church Oxford part 2 – Stephen Parsons

Comment by Rowland Wateridge:

“Greater minds than mine have also been taxed by the conundrum that the Crown is the Visitor of both the College and the Cathedral, and not the Bishop of Oxford of the latter. So far as I am aware, the Crown has not intervened or been asked to”

As a lesser mind, I think the intervention of Her Majesty The Queen as Supreme Governor of the Church of England might well be the only way to put an end to this – which is beyond a moral and legal disgrace.

Her Majesty will not be amused.

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

Richard: I am only able to comment, I hope impartially, from the sidelines. I have no connection with Christ Church – or Oxford. I have only known two alumni of Christ Church – both musicians and very distinguished ones.

This extraordinary saga has detracted from the fact that academically Christ Church has an outstanding reputation and history.

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

Indeed RW, Christ Church Oxford has an “outstanding reputation and history” – for example, in 1910, a young George Bell was appointed Student Minister and Lecturer at the College – and there is an altar memorial to him in the Cathedral.
All those concerned – including myself as ‘an outsider’ – would do well to read, and act upon, the inscription on the memorial:

“No nation, no church, no individual is guiltless without repentance – and without forgiveness there can be no regeneration”

Richard W. Symonds

This could be one reason why the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy has ‘ruffled angel feathers’ within the highest echelons of power within the Church of England – and beyond:

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/01/03/january-3-2021-from-the-archives-why-the-churchs-response-to-the-george-bell-inquiry-is-so-shocking-by-the-very-revd-professor-martyn-percy-dean-of-christ-church-oxford-christian-today/

Father Ron Smith

For this observer from an overseas province of the A.C., (ACANZP), the obviously obscene amount of money being spent on this relentless pursuit of the character- asassination of Dean Percy seems excessive in the extreme.The following pericope from Stephen Parsons’ excellent report should alert all members of the Church of England to the manifest injustice being carried out within (and by) the institution:

“The setting up of a weaponised Core Group against the Dean earlier this year (the second persecution) can be interpreted as an act of harassment and aggression against Dean Percy. But, whoever in the firm was advising the College at the time, does not seem to have spotted the obvious conflict of interest in the make-up of the Group. It should have been clear even to a non-lawyer that allowing two complainants to join as members of the Core Group was contrary to natural justice”

The Church of England, above all British institutions, should surely do better than to blatantly cooperate in the persecution of one of its clerical representatives – and at what cost? – to both the reputation of the Church and that of the University of Oxford! 

Rowland Wateridge Reply to  Father Ron Smith

Father Ron: There are no grounds for criticism of the reputation of the University of Oxford, and it’s a matter for regret that people, also in this country, are wrongly making such a connection. (I am not here making any comment about the Church, or about lawyers employed by the Church or Christ Church.)

Buried in the many comments under Stephen Parsons’ Part 2 account about Christ Church are detailed explanations of the unique status of both college and Cathedral. Suffice to say that whilst it is understandable for people to associate these matters with the University, the reality is different. Like all other colleges at Oxford (and Cambridge) Christ Church is an autonomous legal corporation. It is further unique in that the Crown is the Visitor of both college and Cathedral (and not the Bishop in the case of the latter!). I daresay that some people within the University body might share your dismay, but, in fact, they have no standing. It is solely a matter for Christ Church. The Crown has the power to intervene, if it chooses, but there is no sign of that, so far.

John S Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

Given that one of Stephen Parsons’ consistent themes is uncovering networks of power and influence that operate outside formal structures, let’s not be naive in that direction when we consider the relationship between Christ Church and the University. Legally, Christ Church is autonomous. In practice, there are numerous ways the University could bring pressure on the College if it cared to. Given the brazen disregard by the anti-Percy faction of how their behaviour looks and the consequences it has, it is, of course, quite possible that they would brazen out University pressure too; but I’m not aware that the University has sought to bring any such pressure.

Rowland Wateridge Reply to  John S

I’m not sure how to respond to a suggestion of naïvety (I’m sure no offence was intended), but the final part of your very final sentence seems to bear out my point.

Janet Fife

Janet Fife

The ongoing persecution of Martyn Percy ought to concern us all. As I understand it, he has been placed under a set of restrictions which might be considered excessive if he had already been found guilty. For instance, he has been forbidden to meet his own 27-year-old (non-vulnerable) son without supervision, on pain of being found in breach of his terms of employment.

But he has not been found guilty. The police investigated and found no reason to proceed with the case; the Oxford DSA was asked for advice and did not consider Martyn a safeguarding risk; no expert with the necessary qualifications and experience in risk assessment has yet been appointed; the CDM is still underway. It seems that the malcontents have ignored all advice except that which gave them the result they wanted.

The effect of the disproportionate restrictions which have been placed on Martyn is to give the impression that he is a high safeguarding risk, when that has not yet been determined. I wonder if retired police officer Kate Wood was consulted as to whether these restrictions were reasonable and proportionate?

“CHRIST CHURCH AT WAR” – BELL SOCIETY/SURVIVING CHURCH/THINKING ANGLICANS/CRANMER UPDATES 2020/2021:

PART I, II, III, IV – “THE UNHOLY WAR AGAINST MARTYN PERCY DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH

PART I & II – DECEMBER 11 2020 – PART 1 – DECEMBER 20 2020 UPDATE – PART II – THE UNHOLY WAR AGAINST MARTYN PERCY DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH – GEORGE BELL BISHOP OF CHICHESTER – KATE WOOD OF KW SAFEGUARDING CONSULTANCY

PART III – JANUARY 1 2020 – PART III [REVISED] – THE UNHOLY WAR AGAINST MARTYN PERCY DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD – GEORGE BELL BISHOP OF CHICHESTER – CHURCH OF ENGLAND CORE GROUPS – KATE WOOD OF KW SAFEGUARDING CONSULTANCY

PART IV – JANUARY 1 2020 – PART IV – THE UNHOLY WAR AGAINST MARTYN PERCY DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD – GEORGE BELL BISHOP OF CHICHESTER – CHURCH OF ENGLAND CORE GROUPS – KATE WOOD OF KW SAFEGUARDING CONSULTANCY

Featured post

JANUARY 3 2021 – “CHURCH OF ENGLAND CORE GROUPS ARE ROTTEN AT THE CORE” – RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

“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 SawyerIICSA – July 2018