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MAY 26 2022 – MARTYN PERCY, GEORGE BELL AND THE ‘ORWELLIAN’ CHURCH OF ENGLAND

Dr Martyn Percy

THINKING ANGLICANS

Martyn Percy: Is the Church of England Orwellian?

on Wednesday, 25 May 2022 by Simon Sarmiento

Martyn Percy has written three articles which Modern Church has published.

“In three short articles, Martyn Percy looks at three words currently being given the full 1984 treatment: independent, ethical and trustworthy.  Is the Church of England using these words as defined by most dictionaries in 2022? Or, are we now enmeshed in an Orwellian church in which little that is said corresponds to our normal frames of reference?”

2 COMMENTS

Froghole

Dr Percy mentions the flood (or ‘flood’) at Bishopthorpe, and the fire at Chichester. This reminds me that the British state, like the Church of England has ‘form’ in misappropriating documents, as at Hanslope Park, Bucks (the FCDO migrated archives):

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/625667/cary-report-release-colonial-administration-files.pdf.

The Harvard historian Caroline Elkins was able to make much hay from this with respect to her campaigns for justice in Kenya; see here for a recent discussion:

https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/108/1084814/legacy-of-violence/9781847921062.html, at 408, 649-55 and 675;

note that one of the villains of her story, Evelyn Baring, chaired the committee which produced the Howick report on crown appointments in the Church (1964, as Lord Howick of Glendale). The desire for secrecy and concealment seems to be a profoundly unappealing aspect of the national character. As is the do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do approach to government in Church and State. The unpleasant Savoyard philosopher, de Maistre, noted that a nation often gets the government it deserves; perhaps the same might be said of its prelates. *If* this is true, what does it say about modern Britain?

Richard W. Symonds

In his essay “Politics and the English Language” (1946) George Orwell wrote: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”. We have been witness to the ‘murder’ and character assassination of not only Martyn Percy but also Bishop Bell – and others. In 1935, poet TS Eliot wrote ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ – a play commissioned by the Bishop of Chichester George Bell on the martyrdom of the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket. The play can be seen as a prophetic warning to the Church of England.

In 1965, Stephen Spender wrote: “Orwell perhaps lacked poetry, but…he echoes the message of Wilfred Owen, the greatest poet of the First World War: ‘All a poet can do today is to warn’. 1984 remains…a necessary warning”.

The Church of England are clearly not listening to the warnings – by poets or anyone else.

This is beyond a tragedy as we celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty – its Supreme Governor.

Michael Mulhern

Michael Mulhern

There will be no expressions of sorrow, regret or acknowledgement of the need for repentance on the part of anyone at Christ Church, let alone its clergy, simply because they will have been told by Winkworth Sherwood and Luther Pendragon that such admissions of failure could be constructed as an admission of guilt and further diminish the already abysmal reputation of the institution.

Gilo

Gilo

Why does the Oxford scandal matter?

Similar could happen to any priest in the CofE. Dodgy lawyers and disreputable laundries have shown how easy it is to work alongside the structures of a dysfunctional diocese and malevolent college to assist in the design and production of the giant carcrash that has happened in Oxford diocese. And the CofE must now add ‘weaponized safeguarding’ to its list of forms of abuse.

A judicial inquiry is required. Nothing less will disinfect Oxford malfeasance (diocese, cathedral, college, lawyers, laundries) with the sunlight of scrutiny. 

Whatever this is … it does not look like safeguarding. It is misappropriation of process for malign purpose and looks to have involved many layers of dishonesty and even fraud. 

All needs full investigation. And the Archbishops should be putting Oxford Diocese into Visitation and its bishop and cathedral under suspension pending investigation. 

https://t.co/V2R6JLZpMF

Excerpts from ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ article [above]

The Church of England’s Independent Safeguarding Board is not independent. They are funded by the Archbishops’ Council, accountable to it, and have no remit or powers that render it independent. It operates out of Church House in Westminster. Ergo, it is another internal laundry machine, merely branded ‘independent’ in order to satisfy the PR imperative for reputational damage control.

Alex Carlile’s review into the Church of England’s treatment of George Bell was independent, and given his searing judgment against the Church of England’s woeful and chronic maladministration of justice, you might understand why they don’t want to commission another one of those.

But an “independent inquiry” has to mean what it says, and do what it says on the tin. To achieve that, the Church of England cannot protect itself by setting the Terms of Reference, and then picking the coppers, counsel, judge and jury; and then controlling the PR on the verdict.

Dear Editor


On my way to the ‘Devil’s Jumps’ archaeological site on the South Downs, I decided to go into Funtington village church.

Sitting in the peaceful calm, I read its parish magazine – a piece by the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner.

The Bishop was asking the diocese parishioners to focus on being more engaged, more generous, and more open.

Regarding the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell, Bishop Warner could hardly be said to be more engaged, more generous or more open – in fact, his silence has been deafening.

I left the beautiful church of peace and calm, and carried on to my destination.



Yours sincerely


Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

‘CATHEDRAL SAFEGUARDING PROCESSES WERE TOO SLOW TO STOP SEX OFFENDER’ – CHURCH TIMES – MAY 27 2022

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MAY 9 2022 – “THE PARALLELS BETWEEN THE MARTYN PERCY/OXFORD CASE AND THE BISHOP BELL/CHICHESTER CASE ARE BEYOND QUESTION AND BEYOND DISTURBING” – RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

“THE PARALLELS BETWEEN THE MARTYN PERCY/OXFORD CASE AND THE BISHOP BELL/CHICHESTER CASE ARE BEYOND QUESTION AND BEYOND DISTURBING”

RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

THINKING ANGLICANS – Opinion – 11 May 2022

on Wednesday, 11 May 2022 at 11.48 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion

Martyn Percy Prospect Why I’m leaving the Church of England
“Mired in allegations of partisanship and incompetence, the Church is now incapable of running its own affairs. After a series of farcical “safeguarding” claims, the former dean of Christ Church, Oxford, no longer feels he belongs”
[This is covered as a news item in The Guardian and Church Times.]

Archbishop Cranmer Bishop of Oxford instructs lawyers to censor Archbishop Cranmer

Diocese of Oxford Dr Martyn Percy has announced he is to leave the Church of England

Felicity Cooke ViaMedia.News Leading, Following, or Forgetting? The Church and the World35 Comments

Former Oxford college dean quits Church of England, calling it an ‘unsafe’ place to workThe TelegraphThe Very Rev Prof Martyn Percy, the Dean of Christ Church, agreed to step down following a mediation process that concluded in February.Flag as irrelevant
Oxford dean Martyn Percy quits ‘unsafe’ CofE | The TimesThe TimesThe ousted head of an Oxford college has quit the Church of England, saying it was an “unsafe place to work”. Martyn Percy, 59, left Christ Church …Flag as irrelevant
Martyn Percy quits the Church of England after long-running dispute – Christian TodayChristian TodayFormer Christ Church DeanMartyn Percy, has announced his decision to … Percy was dean of both the Oxford University college and cathedral …Flag as irrelevant
Religion news 12 May 2022Religion Media CentreMartyn Percy, former Dean of Christ Church Oxford, quits the Church of England; More money for struggling parishes and front-line services; …

“The Bishop of Oxford, the Sub Dean, and whoever is ‘advising’ them, need to be called out for perpetuating a miscarriage of justice – and perverting the course of justice by obstructing it” – Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

“That he is here with me now gives me a constant reminder of what I might have lost – and how the innocent can be wrongly accused in the so-called name of justice” – Ann Jones – ‘No Smoke, No Fire’ – The Autobiography of Dave Jones – Page 189 [Know The Score Books 2009]

“No doubt there will be people who are going to think there is no smoke without fire. I can do nothing about that except to say such an attitude would be wrong” – Judge David Clarke – ‘No Smoke, No Fire’ – The Autobiography of Dave Jones – Back Flyleaf

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APRIL 20 2022 – MARTYN PERCY SPEAKS OUT ON GOOD FRIDAY

Martyn Percy: Testing Trials and Egregious Errors: Some Good Friday Reflections

Modern Church

Published by  joe on  April 15, 2022

three cross under cloudy sky

Pilate was a representative of civil power and clearly unpersuaded by the allegation that Jesus claimed to be a king. He realised that Jesus had done no wrong over which he had legitimate jurisdiction. Even after Jesus had been “accused of many things”, Pilate asked, “What evil has [Jesus] done?”. He did not receive any kind of answer. He could have regarded the issues as internal to the Jews and for them to settle. However, Pilate’s aim was not justice but expediency. He showed little interest in a fair-minded and dispassionate investigation, and saw the death of Jesus as an instrumentally good for civil order, and his own reputation with Rome. The outcome of the hearing before Pilate, with its palpable lack of evidence, was craven, and it led to the destruction of an innocent man. Such a use of power is neither just nor based on truth. It is not the way that power with God is to be used.

So, there it is: expediency, flawed justice, lack of evidence, a crowd baying to destroy an innocent man: “what need have we have of any proper process, or of further testimony?”.  Does this sound at all familiar to any of you here today?  Or others crying out for justice? Alexander Solzhenitsyn once opined that there always is this fallacious belief: “it would not be the same here and now…”: such evil things would now be impossible. He did not agree.

Hannah Arendt, our foremost scholar of totalitarianism, had this to say: “totalitarianism in power invariably replaces all first-rate talents, regardless of their sympathies, with those crackpots and fools whose lack of intelligence and creativity is still the best guarantee of their loyalty.” That is part of the reason why Donald Trump got away with so much. He once said: “I value loyalty above everything else, more than brains, more than drive and more than energy”. Trump’s exultation of personal loyalty over expertise is exactly what we see in the Church of England today.

The National Safeguarding Team is riddled with this crippling virus; they caught it off the Archbishops’ Council. Indeed, almost every Bishop’s Senior Staff Team has the virus, as do all Diocesan Synods and most of General Synod.  There is no vaccine. Most church committees that have the virus do not even know they are ill, and have no way of recognising how weak they have become.

Those leading the Church of England claim that we are making progress on all safeguarding fronts.  In truth, we are locked in an endless, cruel slow circularity.  One that is not overseen by theological leadership, but rather an ecclesial version of Foucault’s “carceral system” – process-orientated project-managed persecution that makes an example of one; but then sets entire cohorts of Barabbas’ free. Where is the justice, reason and proportionality?

The Church of England runs an unsafe, unprofessional, untrustworthy, unreliable and unstable safeguarding system. It is partial in who it expedites, and who it excoriates.  The system lacks self-awareness, emotional intelligence, integrity (i.e., has no employment law rights for clergy accused), probity or compassion. Its Core Groups are untrained, unlicensed and unregulated. There are barely written conflicts of interest policy. The accused and the abused are not allowed legal representation and instead are met with bias and gassy-gossip masquerading as ‘pastoral concern’.

The only safe thing left to do is not be part of an unsafe system. The system is incompetent, corrupt and unfit for purpose, and one that fails, soils and stigmatises everyone it comes into contact with. The system set up to deal with abuse is systematically abusive. It is harmful, and dangerous. The system is riddled with favouritism, nepotism, incompetence and scapegoating. Small institutions run by small people will strive for sectarian objectives…and produce sickly results.

I have called this out because I dare to believe we might be speaking for the many, not the few.  I am also free to speak my mind, and I choose to do so.  As George Orwell (Nineteen Eighty-Four) wrote, “if liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.  Yes, that was Orwell.  It could just as easily have been Tutu, Gandhi, Mandela or Martin Luther King Jr. Bonhoeffer wrote “Not to speak is to speak; not to act is to act”. Far too many of our church leaders will not comment or speak out. They fail to register concern or any compassion, as though their silence and inaction absolved them.

I am not asking for protests or for rebellion.  I call instead for quiet revolution, reform and loyal dissent.  Our refusal to put up with the poor leadership in the Church of England that has given us this culture and ecclesial politics, and expects us to live with it. We should not tolerate it one bit longer.  We should instead seek a proper, deep and cleansing spiritual renewal. But first we may need some proper public exorcism within our institution before we can even get this work started.

Giving ourselves totally to Christ is not an abstraction or a pious thought. It must be concrete and communal. Freedom is responsibility. It means to live within the truth, even when it hurts. The early twentieth century Young Christian Workers movement who went by the name of ‘Jocists’ had a motto: See, Judge, Act. See meant to be awake to the realities around you. Judge was a command to discern soberly the meaning of those realities in the light of what you knew to be true, especially from the teachings of Christ.  Act, that finally, after you reach a mind, you are then required to resist evil.

The cowardice and indifference amongst our church leadership is extremely disturbing to observe, and even worse to experience. I have seen far too much of it over the years. But my experience of it, personally, and first-hand, has left me wondering if any person who is unable to care and show moral courage and leadership should ever be a Bishop of anywhere to anyone. I think not. A Bishop who cannot show care for their clergy surely needs to find a different job.

Perhaps like me you are weary of lame excuses that sanction poor procedures, poor practice, and poor prelates.  We are in desperate need of fearless care and moral leadership that begins at home, and weeds out the dysfunctional and damaging systems, customs and praxis that cause much suffering.  We should perhaps begin with safeguarding, which is now so unsafe that it has become as wicked as any of the abuse it was supposed to be addressing.  But where will we find a Bishop today with courage and conviction to take responsibility?

John Banville, writing of the abuse scandals that have engulfed the Roman Catholic Church for decades, noted that “everyone knew, but no-one said…I have heard no-one address the question of what it means, in this context, to know” (‘A Century of Looking the Other Way’, New York Times, 22 May 2009).  The Church of England knows its own corruption too; yet chooses silence, indifference and amnesia.  I have no right to a Good Samaritan. Nobody does. But surely that is the point of the parable? Good, humane care is what Jesus asks us to do. It is worth the risk. In God’s eyes, every person is worth that risk – Jesus embodies that. Is it really too much to ask for Bishops, governance and leadership in our churches who understand this, to now act? I dare to hope we will live to see the day when our churches are led with courage, compassion, care and wisdom. By lions, not donkeys; shepherds, not wolves; Good People, not Daleks (with flat batteries and circuitry issues). I fear we cannot wait much longer, but wait in hope, we must.

“My criticism of Chichester Cathedral’s hierarchy is as nothing compared to Martyn Percy’s criticism of the Church of England hierarchy. Both hierarchies have nowhere to hide” – Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

THINKINGANGLICANS

Opinion – on Saturday, 16 April 2022 at 11.09 am by Peter Owen

Archbishop Cranmer Maundy Thursday: there needs to be some foot-washing in Oxford

COMMENTS

Dave

Thank you to Archbishop Cranmer for highlighting the continuing shame of the Christ Church Oxford scandal.

The shameful treatment of Martyn Percy at the end of his time at Christ Church – must be called out. 

Has the Bishop of Oxford authority to stop a person preaching in St Mary’s, Oxford and if he does surely he must say why.

What is the position of the sub dean of the Cathedral in all this? This must be called out too. It is said he ordered locks to be changed (and what expense?) to keep the Dean out of the Cathedral. Really – how Christian is that. Surely he could have organised a conciliatory farewell to the Dean. Apparently charges against the sub dean have been made of a more serious nature (in the church’s procedures) than those made against the dean. However it seems they are being swept under the carpet.

How can the Bishop of Oxford be called out to explain his conduct? Has he no accountability for his actions – or lack of action?

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds

Reply to Dave

The Bishop of Oxford, the Sub Dean, and whoever is ‘advising’ them, need to be called out for perpetuating a miscarriage of justice – and perverting the course of justice by obstructing it.

“That he is here with me now gives me a constant reminder of what I might have lost – and how the innocent can be wrongly accused in the so-called name of justice” – Ann Jones – ‘No Smoke, No Fire’ – The Autobiography of Dave Jones – Page 189 [Know The Score Books 2009]

“No doubt there will be people who are going to think there is no smoke without fire. I can do nothing about that except to say such an attitude would be wrong” – Judge David Clarke – ‘No Smoke, No Fire’ – The Autobiography of Dave Jones – Back Flyleaf

No Smoke

No Fire

No Cloud

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APRIL 7 2022 – ‘BISHOP BELL’ LETTER [UNPUBLISHED]

Chichester Cathedral

Dear Editor

Things are looking up at the Cathedral [‘Not a soul to be seen’/‘Bell Tower renaming’, Observer Letters, March 31].

Not only is the Cloisters cafe likely to be opening again soon with a new Catering Partner – “we have received a number of exciting expressions of interest” – Cathedral Friends were promoting an event last Wednesday as “Book at Breakfast at George Bell House”.

As Sandra Saer has penned [‘Poem…’, Observer, March 31]:

“So we wait, in hope, for the greening of the trees”.

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

Dear Editor

Following the due process of law, the Church of England has restored Bishop Bell’s good name – especially with Archbishop Welby’s personal statement last November.

But the Chichester Cathedral authorities have yet to restore the name of George Bell House to 4 Canon Lane.

Why?

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

‘RESTORE BELL HOUSE NAME’ – CHICHESTER OBSERVER LETTERS – MARCH 3 2022

Dear Editor

Bishop of Chichester Dr. Martin Warner states [‘Faith Matters’, Observer, Feb 24]:

“We’ve been badly hit by Storm Eunice followed by Storm Franklin. The impact of these storms is immense”

The impact of ‘Storm Bell’ will also be immense, unless George Bell House is properly restored at 4 Canon Lane – before the Archbishop’s visit to this Cathedral City.

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

Dear Editor

‘Let the silent Bell ring
Let the silent Bell sing
Throughout all lands
And to all peoples
With clarity
With charity
And with that Love
From Above’

I found myself writing this poem after reading a quote from Nathan Soderblom, Archbishop of Uppsala in Sweden, saying of George Bell as a young man:

“Nobody is more important to the future of the ecumenical revival than this silent Bell. The Bell never rings for nothing. But when it does ring, its tune is silver-clear”

Earlier this month, former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey kindly read out my poem at one of two meetings in Chichester (‘Bishop Bell fund is launched at events’, Chichester Observer, Feb 10).

In his recently-published memoirs ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’, Lord Carey gives his own defence of the wartime Bishop of Chichester – Chapter 9 ‘George Bell, Prophet and Pioneer’ – in which he concludes:

“It seems that the only reputations wrecked and ruined were those whose rigidity of opinion had dumbfounded everyone”

At the February 4th event, George Carey said the actions of Bishop Bell’s accusers were “lamentable” and “unchristian”.

Three months ago, the present Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby retracted his original “significant cloud” accusation against Bishop George Bell, with an “I was wrong” apology.


But, astonishingly, nothing has yet been heard from Chichester’s ecclesiastical hierarchy – either from the present Bishop or the Cathedral Dean, who are keeping their own silence.

‘Silence is Golden
They say
I’m not so sure
Of that Silence
Nor They’


Yours sincerely


Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society

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THE BELL ANNIVERSARY TRILOGY – FEBRUARY 2022 – TO RESTORE BISHOP GEORGE BELL’S PLACE IN HISTORY

REBUILDING BRIDGES-BELL SOCIETY CONFERENCE – FEBRUARY 1 2022 [below]

‘Bell of Heaven’ by Tony Wheatley in November 2021 [before Archbishop Welby’s ‘I was wrong’ Statement]

[read by Richard Symonds -Feb 1 ’22

THE BELL ANNIVERSARY TRILOGY

  1. FEBRUARY 1 2022 – THE REBUILDING BRIDGES-BELL SOCIETY CONFERENCE – VICARS’ HALL, CHICHESTER

2. FEBRUARY 3 2022 – THE BISHOP GEORGE BELL INAUGURAL LECTURE – WESTMINSTER – LORD ALEX CARLILE CBE QC

3. FEBRUARY 4 2022 – THE BISHOP GEORGE BELL MEMORIAL FUND CONFERENCE – ASSEMBLY ROOMS, CHICHESTER

Lord  Carlile – Feb 3

My message is that the establishment of this fund and the restoration of George Bell’s amazing good name and his heroism should be the time when the Church of England says enough Is enough of bad regulation.

It is not built on anything fairly obscure, I hate to say this, like the Synod at the Church of England which acts like a state within a state which many of us feel is not a very professional one. 

I would like to hear what the present Bishop of Chichester will say in the light of the Archbishop’s recent statement. 

It’s easy to make a story it’s much harder to make a fair story

The answer to your question was that George Bell was not guilty and this has now been recognised by the Archbishop of Canterbury

I don’t think there was any misunderstanding that people understood that I thought that the whole process was absolutely outrageous.

When I met the Archbishop he absolutely agreed that the present system is not fit for purpose.

We need the Synod which is regarded as a dinosaur, to wake itself up and recognise that it is not fit for purpose for the 21st century

I still remain mystified by the separate roles of the diocese, the Synod and other parts of the Church of England

If people say what is right even if it goes wrong for them in the beginning they are usually justified in the end. Bonhoeffer is an example

Lord  Carey – Feb 3

Today a new Fund is being launched in the name of the great 20th-century wartime leader, Bishop George Bell, specifically to support persecuted Christian pastors who are refugees. George Bell famously helped Lutheran pastors who opposed Hitler and had to flee for their lives. He, together with other British humanitarians such as Sir Nicholas Winton, recognised a need and acted upon it. There are still times today when Government inaction means that private individuals have to act in the wake of a crying need.

The George Bell Memorial Fund will help them free danger, despotism and violence, and travel to safety – whether they land on British shores or elsewhere. Sometimes it takes brave humanitarians like George Bell to stand up against even our own Government and bring the persecuted to safety.

We have now given birth to a process of safeguarding which is creating a culture of fear in the Church of England

We have got to go back to basics. In the meantime the Church of England is failing in its basic mission to people

This is a moment of time when change might happen. Knowing the incumbent In Lambeth P

( Q. There is no change in the air brushing out which shamefully took place in Chichester) Is the Bishop of Chichester obliged to make a statement or is the Archbishop’s statement 

Lord  Lexden – Feb 3

To hear from the Bishop who has been remarkably unsatisfactory following the statement of the Archbishop.

And so there is a contrast between Bishop Bell and the present incumbent as Bishop of Chichester who is far as I know has not said anything since the 2nd of December when he said

“The people who speak most about the allegations against Bishop and Bell are those who wish to clear his name. For my part whenever I speak of Bishop Bell as I often do when I refer to his patronage of the arts,  I never refer to the allegations against him I speak of his good achievements.  Is it not the case that the reputation is shaped by how people speak of another person”.  As if it were a compliment to apply those weasel words to his reputation

There is no sign of any response from anybody in Chichester. Can any of the panel give hope that that might change.

Did you or Tim Briden have any input into your terms of reference?

There has been a deafening silence from the Dean and chapter and to some extent from the Dean as well about the renaming of George Bell House.

The skeletons are dangling high like a candelabra across all the dioceses of the Church of England

 Or even rogue bishops take a strange view of the keys and doing the wrong things. I am delighted that the George Bell case is making progress but this is an Augean stables which needs cleaning up

Vasantha  there are some simple steps that the church could take when we send a letter. They could acknowledge it and say this is being dealt with by a certain person

I think it can be said that although he is dead that he lives. Not just in the memories of those who know who knew him but….

DR ANDREW CHANDLER – FEB 3

The organizers of this evening’s programme have kindly allowed me to send a Note to say how sorry I am that I cannot join you this evening. The new teaching term has broken out here in Chichester and most of my lectures have come to fall on Thursday and Friday morning. 

St Matthew’s Church is, of course, virtually around the corner from Westminster Abbey. This does possess a particular significance in view of tonight’s occasion because in 1998 ten new statues were unveiled, in the presence of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, above the Abbey’s Great West Door. These statues commemorated ten Christians of the twentieth century who gave their lives in witness to the Christian faith in diverse contexts of political, social or cultural injustice. What underlay that project was the acknowledgement that martyrdom revealed the place of Christians of all traditions in the heart of the turbulence of the twentieth-century world – and that it spoke of the terrible cost of this.  It was also important to show that martyrdom had become a reality not only to men and women whose names might be known in the world at large, but to those who were almost unknown, people who died barely observed and hardly remembered outside their own families and communities. So today you will find there the figure of a young South African woman, Manche Masemola, standing beside the Pole, Maximillian Kolbe and the Uganda Archbishop, Janani Luwum. 

This work was the inspiration of the Sub-Dean of Westminster, Anthony Harvey. It also had much to do with the figure of George Bell, whose anniversary you have come together to observe, not least because it came to involve the quite new George Bell Institute, with its various practical resources, and its diverse networks of research and collaboration in many countries. 

If there is an essential lesson at work in these ten statues, it is not merely that such figures belong to the West Front of Westminster Abbey. It is that they belong to us all. They speak not of a dead past but of realities that are still going on all around us. How , then should we judge our own responsibilities this evening?

The most famous prisoner of conscience in the 1930s, Martin Niemoeller, once said, “George Bell was a Christian who was led and driven by the love of Christ Jesus himself. He couldn’t see somebody suffering without suffering himself. He couldn’t see people left alone without becoming their brother.” This new fund, which bears George Bell’s name, provides a new way in which we can make a vision of solidarity meaningful and effective. Such a venture would have been wholly recognisable to Bell himself, for the world itself was ever alive within him and when he died his widow found that she could not mourn to see him finally released from his care for it all. Only by degrees are we coming to realise the coherence, and integrity, of his life and work and the reality of a ministry that was expressed in ongoing, often private acts of creative kindness to families he barely knew. 

In March 1946 George Bell broadcast an urgent appeal for money for the starving peoples of continental Europe. We should remember his words then, because they are words to us too. “Remember”, he said, “the spontaneousness of Christ … And do not wait till you can see your way clear through all stages.  You can begin here and now.’

Andrew Chandler

ADDRESS BY LORD CAREY – FORMER ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY – FEB 4

I am delighted to be here today for this meeting and launch of George Bell Memorial Fund for Refugees. I want to thank Dr. Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson for her contribution and our friend Dr. Chandler, who has done more than most to keep the memory of Bishop Bell alive. 

There is a challenging verse in 1 Kings 18 where King Arab meets Elijah and says ‘ Ah, there you are – the troubler of Israel!’ That was a trifle rich because Ahab was one of the most corrupt leaders of Israel. But to evil people good people are always seen as troublemakers – disturbers of the peace. George Bell was a troublemaker and all people who want to make real changes in our world are often seen as troublemakers. I want to salute all troublemakers present, because we are following in the footsteps of George Bell – valiant fighter for truth and indomitable troublemaker. Andrew Chandler is a troublemaker because he has used his considerable scholarship to protest against the treatment of a great man. Patrick Sookdeo is undoubtedly a troublemaker because he more than most has been vocal in his concerns for Christians in Muslim lands. Richard Symonds has been a brave and persistent dragon fly in the ear of the hierarchy; so has Ruth and many of us here. Sometimes it has to be done. George Kennedy Allen Bell was a troublemaker. He showed it persistently throughout his career. He was not always liked, respected – even within his own church and the government did not always appreciate his interventions.

I note with some amusement that in 1938 Bell was instrumental in getting valuable information from Bonhoeffer through to the British government but his activities were not always appreciated. Anthony Eden would say later ‘ I see no reason to encourage this pestilent priest’. I am sure that Eden was deliberately echoing the words that led to Thomas Becket’s murder – although I am quite sure that that was not what Eden intended – of course not. Bell was never going to relent in his concern for those suffering in German. Those who disturb the placid waters of cowardice and complacency will always be regarded as troublemakers. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, that great German theologian, had a special relationship with George Bell. And Bell for his part had a close relationship with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his friend, Franz Hildebrandt referring to them both as ‘my boys’.  They were all troublemakers.

What would Bell be concerned about today if he lived to share our times?

Without question, this man who cared so deeply for Jewish refugees would be angry about the plight of refugees today.

Every year the annual World Watch List produced each year by  Open Doors which identifies, in rank order, the various countries where persecution is prominent. It confirms the increasing trend, year on year, and reveals that over 360 million Christians worldwide — that’s 1 in 7 – now live under persecution.

Their conservative estimate is that last year 5898 Christians were killed for their faith,  5110 Churches and other Christian buildings were attacked or torn down, 6175 believers were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced or imprisoned…and 3829 were abducted.

This is followed by the Release International Report on the situation, globally. Both reports identify that Afghanistan has become the No1 hotspot and there are a number of appeals out to assist Afghan minorities who are stuck in Kabul or sitting in tents as refugees in Pakistan Iran Turkey Greece and elsewhere.

In India, encouraged no doubt the new anti-conversion laws and pre-existing prejudices towards the lower-caste Dalits, a series of attacks on Christians and their churches are carried our by Hindu nationalists.

 In Pakistan, the longest-serving Christian victim of the draconian Blasphemy Laws – Zafar Bhatti – is given a death sentence. Meanwhile, Qamar Rafiq discusses the plight of religious minorities in Pakistan seen through the lens of ongoing rape abduction and forced conversions / marriages.

 From China, an Uyghur intellectual who was incarcerated and tortured by the Chinese Community Party describes the horror that goes on in their ‘killing fields’. A Christian book-seller is sentenced to 7 years in prison despite appeals and protests from NGOs and the West. The CCP now bans the sharing and promotion of religious literature on the internet. There then follows is a chilling report on how Human Rights are defined in China and which are widely divergent with the rest of the civilised world. Finally, Human Rights Lawyer Nina Shea shows how the CCP attempt to cover up Religious Genocide and Repression.

 From Kenya come reports of further Islamist killings of Christians – and a brave woman who stood up to them and called them out.

 From Nigeria come reports of more killings of Christians by Fulani Militants whilst Government forces look on and do absolutely nothing.

 In Iran a convert from Islam begins a 4 year prison sentence. Three Christian guys record a song on behalf of the persecuted minorities there.

 And in France a Catholic religious procession is subject to Islamist death threats and insults.

I think this shows the relevance of the Charity we are launching today- in conjunction with yesterday’s gathering in Westminster. George Bell would definitely have approved of this launch, although I suspect he would not want to have his name attached to it. He would have been thrilled by Ruth’s initiative in this project. He would make no distinction between Christians, Jews and others. For him, need not creed was the key factor. Freedom from want, fear, persecution and violence was paramount and Bell’s concern for the Jewish people was well known. He would agree wholeheartedly with the Barnabas Fund that in today’s world it is Christians who are so greatly in need of protection. Indeed, it is my conclusion that the Barnabas Fund is the only organisation capable of doing what is required at this time. It has the reach, it has the links, it has professional and experienced workers in the various countries.

I do urge us all to take a special interest in this new charity; we all have a part to play. Ruth has began this work with a substantial gift and we must build on it.

And, of course, in this diocese of all dioceses there will be especial sympathy to this project. George Bell may be physically dead but his values, his concerns and his love – together with that of Henrietta, his formidable wife- live on.

In Andrew’s wonderful biography of George Bell, there is a quotation from the Swedish Archbishop

Bishop Söderblom, Bishop of Uppsala, saying of George Bell as a young man that ‘nobody is more important to the future of the ecumenical revival that this silent Bell. This Bell never rings for nothing. But when it does ring, its tune is silver-clear’.

But this very morning, Richard Symonds dropped me an email with this simple line in it:

Let the silent Bell sing,

Let the silent Bell ring,

Throughout all lands

And to all peoples

With clarity

With charity

And with that Love

From Above.

This new Charity will give fresh power to the relevant message of Jesus Christ, through his servant, George Kennedy Allen Bell.

STATEMENT BY NOEL OSBORNE [unread at the Rebuilding Bridges-Bell Society conference – Feb 1

The restoration of Bishop George Bell’s place in history is the focus of this paper for the Rebuilding Bridges Conference. That bridges need to be rebuilt is a cause for deep regret, but before we can brief the builders, we must rehearse the causes of the  collapse.

In October 2015 the Church of England announced that George Bell had committed serious sexual abuse of a child ( to be known as ‘Carol’) 65 years previously, in 1950. Bell died in 1958, so was in no position to answer charges. At no point was there a presumption of innocence, which lies at the heart of English law. Indeed, the Core Group set up by Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester, went about its work assuming Bell’s guilt. 

In a statement of 22 October 2015, Warner claimed: ‘ . . .the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties. . . . The settlement (£16,000 and £15,000 legal costs to ‘Carol’) followed a thorough pre-litigation process . . .’

In Chichester, damaging and disastrous decisions were then made. Warner instructed that his great predecessor’s name should be removed from buildings and institutions in the diocese. He stated: ‘We face with shame the story of abuse of a child.’ On the same day, 22 October 2015, the Cathedral issued a Statement presuming and accepting Bell’s guilt, and the Dean, Stephen Waine, wrote to the Cathedral guides: ‘I would be grateful, therefore, if you could refrain from including George Bell in your guided tours and external presentations.’

As a result, George Bell House in The Close was designated 4 Canon Lane. Bell House in Bishop Luffa School (the Church of England secondary school, of which the Dean and Chapter were governors) was renamed after another past Bishop. The students were told by way of explanation, ‘ Bishop Bell was a paedophile’. A school in Crawley had to change its dedication. A monument in the Cathedral was covered and Bell’s name, connected to the Arundel screen and the café in the cloisters, disappeared. In their wisdom, the Cathedral revised their published Guide to include the accusation against Bell. He was cancelled.

By common consent, and in the words of Justin Welby, Bell was ‘one of the most courageous, distinguished Anglican bishops of the last century’. He is honoured for resisting Hitler, for his outstanding assistance for Jewish refugees from Nazism, and for those enduring persecution. In hard times he called for ‘courage and confidence, for thinking of others, and for faith in God.’

Following sustained pressure from Bell’s many supporters, the Archbishop of Canterbury set up a Review, to  be conducted by Lord (Alex) Carlile. His Report, published on 15 December 2017, made shocking and devastating reading. The investigation into Carol’s accusation was fatally flawed; the Core Group, set up by Bishop Warner, had assumed Bell’s guilt; the Church did not test evidence, nor seek witnesses; the processes were deficient and failed to respect the rights of both sides.
There was no shred of hard evidence nor any attempt to investigate facts.

Lord Carlile concluded that Bell’s reputation was ‘wrongfully and unnecessarily damaged’. In response to such a ‘calmly damning’ Report, the Archbishop refused to apologise, and stuck by a wrong and illogical claim that ‘a significant cloud’ remained over Bishop Bell.

That was back in 2017. It took four years, until 17 November 2021, for the Archbishop to retract. At last he made his big admission: ‘I was wrong. There is no significant cloud’, and he took personal responsibility for the injustice done to Bishop George Bell.

And from this  point the Rebuilding must start. The Archbishop’s apology does much to heal division in the Church of England. The restoration of George Bell’s reputation can and should start in Chichester and George Bell House must be top of the list. The house was gifted to the Dean and Chapter – Sister Jane and Mother Angela CSC made ‘a generous grant’ – who conceived it as a place dedicated to vocation, education, and reconciliation: three of George Bell’s passions. Archbishop Rowan Williams opened the service of Dedication on 5 October 2008 with the charge: ‘May the vision and tradition of Bishop George Bell be always honoured in this place.’

It is now two months since Welby’s words, but we have yet to hear a similar apology from either Bishop Warner or Dean Waine. Christopher Hoare, who has left a legacy to the Cathedral conditional on the full restitution of George Bell House, is right to ask (23 December 2021) ‘ Why are the Dean and Chapter dragging their feet over the restoration of as much as possible of Bishop Bell’s memory that can be salvaged, particularly George Bell House.’

This can and must be done now. There is much talk in Chichester (and Canterbury) of a statue to Bell;  and services, conferences, concerts can be planned as part of a continuing process of restoration and reconciliation. This will take time. It has been said that it will take a generation for Chichester to recover from other scandals that have beset it, in particular sex offences by such as Michael Walsh and Terence Banks, both of whom went to prison. It may take as long for students at Bishop Luffa School to understand that Bell was wrongly accused and that they are privileged to be in Bell House.

But what of Carol? It does not follow that, given Bell’s innocence, she was not abused. There is a ‘dark side’, which must be confronted before genuine healing and rebuilding can take place. Such confrontation can be painful. The likelihood is that the abuse happened, but by another person. Canon David Jasper alludes to this in his Reflection on Bishop George Bell (December 2021): ‘This unhappy episode of the accusations made against Bishop George Bell is over, with hurt on all sides, and those who still refuse to close the door on it will have to live with their own consciences.’ Who was the abuser? Why the silence? We will probably never know.

Let us pray, in the spirit of this Conference, that we can all move forward in reconciliation and renewal.

Noel Osborne 
11 January 2022

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FEBRUARY 7 220 – THE GEORGE BELL MOTION [‘THE GBM’] – A RESOLUTION PROPOSED BY SANDRA SAER AND THE BELL SOCIETY TEAM

Sandra Saer

Chair of the Rebuilding Bridges-Bell Society conference – February 1 2022



PRESS RELEASE – FEBRUARY 3 2022

CHICHESTER 2022 – THE REBUILDING BRIDGES-BELL SOCIETY CONFERENCE

Vicars’ Hall, Chichester – 1st February 2022

Lively and useful discussions were a feature of the Conference. They included a motion, agreed by the attendees, requesting the Bishop and Dean of Chichester to clarify the position of the Cathedral, in relation to the multi-faceted restoration of Bishop George Bell’s reputation.

This clarification is earnestly and anxiously awaited, subsequent to the withdrawal by Archbishop Justine Welby of his original statement – about a ‘significant cloud’ remaining over Bishop Bell – with an apology for his mistake.

The uncertainty surrounding this vitally important aspect of Cathedral and Church of England history, is hugely damaging to the morale of many faithful Christians, not just those living locally.

You already should have received a copy of the detailed Agenda for yesterday’ Conference. In case not, attached is an updated copy.

We were especially pleased to see Jonathan, the Earl of Cork and Orrery and Lady Cork and other members of the Cathedral community who have close connections with its day-to-day running. These also included Jeremy Mudford, one of our key speakers, who, after his own, read a Statement from Christopher Hoare.

Bishop Nicholas Reade, former Bishop of Blackburn and Archdeacon of Lewes and Hastings read the Opening Prayer, and his Statement was also read out.

Other Statements (there were nine) included another key one from the brother-in-law of Bishop Reade – David Jasper, FRSE, Professor Emeritus of Literature and Theology at the University of Glasgow.

An audio visual recording of the Conference proceedings was made, and the resultant, edited film will go on YouTube very shortly.

For more information, contact Sandra Saer: sandramhsaer@gmail.com tel. 01903 884968

THE BELL SOCIETY CONFERENCE

1st February 2022

9.30 am – 1 pm

AGENDA

Chair’s Welcome – Sandra Saer (SS)

Opening Prayer – Bishop Nicholas Reade

STATEMENTS

  1. Bishop Nicholas Reade,
  2. Jeremy Mudford, Guide for 22 years at Chichester Cathedral,

and Head Doorkeeper for 19 years, and

  1. Christopher Hoare – both read by JM
  2. Martin Sewell, General Synod – read by SS
  3. Revd Canon Professor David Jasper, Professor Emeritus of Literature and Theology at the University of Glasgow – read by SS

MESSAGES – read by SS, from:

  1. Richard Harries, Lord Harries of Pentregarth
  2. Frank Field, Lord Field of Birkenhead
  3. Daniel Hodson, Chairman, Chichester Cathedral Roof Appeal
  4. Charles Moore
  5. Revd Peter Mullen

30-minute break – 11-11.30 am

STATEMENTS

  1. Terry Martin, using screen to illustrate
  2. Revd Dr Alan Gadd – read by SS
  3. Geoffrey Boys
  4. Vasantha Gnanadoss – read by SS
  5. Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson (for Barnabas Fund) – read by SS

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

CHAIR’S FINAL REMARKS

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FEBRUARY 6 2022 – RESTORING 4 CANON LANE BACK TO GEORGE BELL HOUSE IN CHICHESTER – PART 1

This Notice has appeared in a window at 4 Canon Lane, Chichester [aka George Bell House] – Saturday February 6 2022

George Bell House, 4 Canon Lane

Chichester Cathedral

St Richard’s Walk

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FEBRUARY 3 2022 – BISHOP GEORGE BELL ANNUAL PUBLIC LECTURE – DELIVERED BY LORD CARLILE CBE QC – ST MATTHEW’S, WESTMINSTER. “BISHOP GEORGE BELL IS INNOCENT…OFFICIAL” – PETER HITCHENS

George Bell Memorial Fund
Lord Carlisle and Lord Carey
On Thursday, Lord Carey together with the Barnabas fund launched the first annual public lecture in memory of Bishop George Bell. The inaugural lecture also served as the official launch of the Bishop George Bell Memorial Fund at the Barnabas Fund. The annual public lecture and Memorial fund seeks to raise awareness and support of causes that were close to Bishop Bell’s Heart. 

The inaugural lecture was given by Lord Carlile of Berriew and was devoted to humanitarianism, the crisis of refugees and religious freedom.  

The lecture can be viewed here.

BISHOP GEORGE BELL ANNUAL PUBLIC LECTURE

Home / Bishop George Bell Annual Public Lecture

Barnabas Fund, together with its patron Lord Carey, are delighted to announce their first annual public lecture in memory of Bishop George Bell. This inaugural lecture will also be the official launch of the Bishop George Bell Memorial Fund at Barnabas Fund. The annual public lecture and Memorial Fund will raise awareness and support those causes close to Bishop Bell’s heart.

The first Bishop George Bell Annual Public Lecture will be held on Thursday, February 3, 2022. The inaugural lecture will be given by Lord Carlile of Berriew. The lecture will be devoted to humanitarianism, the crisis of refugees and religious freedom.

Date and time: 3 February, 2022 (Thursday), 15:00 – 17:00

Watch the event here:

PETER HITCHENS

https://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2022/02/bishop-george-bell-is-innocent-ok-official-.html

04 February 2022 2:54 PM

Bishop George Bell is Innocent OK – official 

Statement by Lord Carlile of Berriew, CBE, QC , given after the George Bell Lecture in St Matthew’s Church, Westminster on Thursday 3rd February 2022:

‘Bishop Bell would certainly have been found not guilty by a jury in this case. George Bell is not guilty and that has now been recognised in the apology given by the Archbishop of Canterbury.’

Bishop Bell, who died in 1958 (and is absolutely not to be confused with the convicted sex offender Peter Ball) was accused of sexual abuse by an anonymous person more than half a century after the alleged events had taken place. An inquiry by Lord Carlile, in a report commissioned by the Church of England, condemned the one-sided and sloppy process after which the C of E publicly declared him guilty. But Lord Carlile, a distinguished trial lawyer, has not previously proclaimed an explicit ‘not guilty’ verdict.   

February 4, 2022 Comments (3) 

This sign has appeared in a window at 4 Canon Lane, Chichester [aka George Bell House] – Saturday February 6 2022


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FEBRUARY 1 2022 – CHICHESTER 2022 – THE REBUILDING BRIDGES-BELL SOCIETY CONFERENCE

George Bell House [before October 2015]

This Notice has appeared in a window at 4 Canon Lane, Chichester [aka George Bell House] – Saturday February 6 2022

PRESS RELEASE – FEBRUARY 3 2022

CHICHESTER 2022 – THE REBUILDING BRIDGES-BELL SOCIETY CONFERENCE

Vicars’ Hall, Chichester – 1st February 2022

Lively and useful discussions were a feature of the Conference. They included a motion, agreed by the attendees, requesting the Bishop and Dean of Chichester to clarify the position of the Cathedral, in relation to the multi-faceted restoration of Bishop George Bell’s reputation.

This clarification is earnestly and anxiously awaited, subsequent to the withdrawal by Archbishop Justine Welby of his original statement – about a ‘significant cloud’ remaining over Bishop Bell – with an apology for his mistake.

The uncertainty surrounding this vitally important aspect of Cathedral and Church of England history, is hugely damaging to the morale of many faithful Christians, not just those living locally.

You already should have received a copy of the detailed Agenda for yesterday’ Conference. In case not, attached is an updated copy.

We were especially pleased to see Jonathan, the Earl of Cork and Orrery and Lady Cork and other members of the Cathedral community who have close connections with its day-to-day running. These also included Jeremy Mudford, one of our key speakers, who, after his own, read a Statement from Christopher Hoare.

Bishop Nicholas Reade, former Bishop of Blackburn and Archdeacon of Lewes and Hastings read the Opening Prayer, and his Statement was also read out.

Other Statements (there were nine) included another key one from the brother-in-law of Bishop Reade – David Jasper, FRSE, Professor Emeritus of Literature and Theology at the University of Glasgow.

An audio visual recording of the Conference proceedings was made, and the resultant, edited film will go on YouTube very shortly.

For more information, contact Sandra Saer: sandramhsaer@gmail.com tel. 01903 884968

THE BELL SOCIETY CONFERENCE

1st February 2022

9.30 am – 1 pm

AGENDA

Chair’s Welcome – Sandra Saer (SS)

Opening Prayer – Bishop Nicholas Reade

STATEMENTS

  1. Bishop Nicholas Reade,
  2. Jeremy Mudford, Guide for 22 years at Chichester Cathedral,

and Head Doorkeeper for 19 years, and

  1. Christopher Hoare – both read by JM
  2. Martin Sewell, General Synod – read by SS
  3. Revd Canon Professor David Jasper, Professor Emeritus of Literature and Theology at the University of Glasgow – read by SS

MESSAGES – read by SS, from:

  1. Richard Harries, Lord Harries of Pentregarth
  2. Frank Field, Lord Field of Birkenhead
  3. Daniel Hodson, Chairman, Chichester Cathedral Roof Appeal
  4. Charles Moore
  5. Revd Peter Mullen

30-minute break – 11-11.30 am

STATEMENTS

  1. Terry Martin, using screen to illustrate
  2. Revd Dr Alan Gadd – read by SS
  3. Geoffrey Boys
  4. Vasantha Gnanadoss – read by SS
  5. Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson (for Barnabas Fund) – read by SS

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

CHAIR’S FINAL REMARKS

1st February 2022

9.30 am – 1 pm

AGENDA

Chair’s Welcome – Sandra Saer

Opening Prayer – Bishop Nicholas Reade

Bishop Nicholas Reade in 2014

Photo: Wiki Commons

STATEMENTS

  1. Bishop Nicholas Reade, read by him
  2. Jeremy Mudford, Guide for 22 years at Chichester Cathedral, and Head Doorkeeper for 19 years, and
  3. Christopher Hoare – both read by Jeremy Mudford
  4. Martin Sewell, General Synod – read by Chair

Martin Sewell

  1. Revd Dr Professor David Jasper – read by Chair

MESSAGES – read by Chair, from:

  1. Richard Harries, Lord Harries of Pentregarth
  2. Frank Field, Lord Field of Birkenhead
  3. Daniel Hodson, Chairman, Chichester Cathedral Roof Appeal
  4. Revd Peter Mullen

30-minute break – 11-11.30 am

STATEMENTS

  1. Terry Martin, using screen to illustrate
  2. Revd Dr Alan Gadd – read by Chair
  3. Geoffrey Boys
  4. Vasantha Gnanadoss – read by Chair
  5. Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson (for Barnabas Fund)

Revd Alan Gadd and Vasantha Gnanadoss

RWS Photography

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

CHAIR’S FINAL REMARKS

St. Richard’s Walk – Chichester Cathedral

RWS Photography

Arundel-Bell Screen – Chichester Cathedral

RWS Photography

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JANUARY 27 2022 – “NO SMOKE, NO FIRE, NO CLOUD”

“No doubt there will be people who are going to think there is no smoke without fire. I can do nothing about that except to say such an attitude would be wrong”

Judge David Clarke [in the case of David Jones – ‘No Smoke, No Fire’]

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JANUARY 1 2022 – “A REFLECTION ON BISHOP GEORGE BELL” BY THE REVEREND CANON PROFESSOR DAVID JASPER [FOR ‘REBUILDING BRIDGES’ – CHICHESTER, FEBRUARY 1 2022]

Photo: Daily Record

A REFLECTION ON BISHOP GEORGE BELL” BY THE REVEREND CANON PROFESSOR DAVID JASPER

[FOR ‘REBUILDING BRIDGES‘ – CHICHESTER, FEBRUARY 1 2022]

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JANUARY 1 2022 – TUTU-MANDELA BRIDGE-BUILDERS WANTED

Allan Sheath

COMMENTS – ALLAN SHEATH + RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THINKING ANGLICANS – CALLING FOR “A BRAVE TUTUFICATION” OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

AS – Interestingly, in a letter to today’s Times of London, Mark Oakley calls for “a brave Tutufication of the Church” with reference to the Church of England. As I understand it, his is a plea for our bishops to have the courage to be more authentically themselves, rather than refusing to break ranks from whatever the official line might be.

RWS – Thank you to TA for your excellent New Year’s Day tribute to Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu, and to Allan Sheath for drawing attention to Mark Oakley’s Times letter. In 2022AD and beyond, we desperately need ‘Tutu-Mandela Bridge-Builders’ – as a critical pre-condition not only for the survival and well-being of the Church, but also for the survival and well-being of Humanity.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/f/desmond-tutu-visionary-activist-who-cut-through-all

REBUILDING BRIDGES

TRUTH & RECONCILIATION COMMISSIONS

‘Funds in will are dependent’ – Chichester Observer – Letters – December 23 2021

I take my hat off to The Archbishop for stating there is no cloud over the memory of Bishop Bell.

It takes a big man to recant in this way, especially when so many of Bishop Bell’s supporters felt that the unfair demolition of his name and memory had become too entrenched for reprieve.

What puzzles me, however, is why Dean and Chapter are dragging their feet over restoration of as much as possible of Bishop Bell’s memory [that] can be salvaged, particularly George Bell House.

As far as the latter is concerned I have a vested interest, as the £50,000 that I have left to the cathedral in my will is subject to a clause preventing it happening, unless the name George Bell House is restored in my lifetime which, as I am in my 90s, might not be long lasting!

CHRISTOPHER HOARE

Tollhouse Close, Chichester

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DECEMBER 8 2021 – GEORGE BELL HOUSE: “CANNOT WAIT UNTIL NEW YEAR” – WEST SUSSEX GAZETTE + CHICHESTER OBSERVER [DECEMBER 9] + “LOCAL REPARATION FOR BELL” – CHURCH TIMES [DECEMBER 10] – LETTERS

West Sussex Gazette – 8/12/2021

Chichester Observer – 9/12/2021

CHURCH TIMES – 10/12/2021

Local reparation for Bell

From Mr Richard W. Symonds

Sir, — According to the Dean of Chichester, the Very Revd Stephen Waine, the cathedral Chapter “is not scheduled to meet until late January” regarding the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement (News, 17 November) “I was wrong about Bishop Bell.”

This is beyond regrettable, and only perpetuates the injustice done to the wartime Bishop of Chichester for the past six years. Wounds need to start healing before Christmas. A meeting should be scheduled now — not just for God’s sake.

RICHARD W. SYMONDS
The Bell Society
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street, Ifield Village
Crawley, West Sussex RH11 0NN

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DECEMBER 2 2021 – “MAKE VOICES HEARD ON BELL” / “A SERVICE OF REPARATION?” / “REOPEN CAFE IN BELL’S NAME” – CHICHESTER OBSERVER- LETTERS + NOVEMBER 25 2021 – LORD LEXDEN LETTER – DAILY TELEGRAPH

George Bell Bishop of Chichester

Portrait by William Coldstream [in storage at Pallant House Gallery Chichester]

“MAKE VOICES HEARD ON BELL” – CHICHESTER OBSERVER – LETTERS DECEMBER 2 2021

Dear Editor

As Marilyn Billingham, widow of Professor Peter Billingham, says [Opinion, November 25]:

“George Bell was the Bishop of Chichester from 1929-1958; a matter of great pride to the people of the city”

These people – and others – must now make their powerful voices fully heard, if the good name of this wartime bishop is to be fully restored within the Cathedral city.

RICHARD W. SYMONDS
The Bell Society

“A SERVICE OF REPARATION” – CHICHESTER OBSERVER – LETTERS – DECEMBER 2 2021

It’s joyful news that the Archbishop of Canterbury has rescinded his claim that a ‘significant cloud’ hangs over the former Bishop of Chichester George Bell, who died in 1958.

Six years’ injustice (since the accusation against Bell was first made public in 2015) has thus been overturned.

According to your report (November 25) the present Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner welcomes the Archbishop’s statement as ‘both humble and courageous, reminding us that these virtues … do still surface in the Church of England of our own time’.

Maybe so.  But isn’t the obverse of that comment that those same virtues manifestly did not surface in the Church of England during the last six years?  To be blunt, Bishop Bell’s reputation was thrown to the dogs.

More can be said.  The attack on Bell’s reputation was in the first instance due to the Archbishop.  But Martin Warner by not challenging it was himself complicit.  The same goes for the Dean of Chichester and the rest of our Cathedral Chapter.

Astonishingly, not one serving bishop or senior cleric of the Church made any attempt to defend Bishop Bell during that time.  Though Bell, as they well knew, was a towering figure in his day, of unassailable moral grandeur, against whom the accusation of 2015 seemed to outsiders simply inconceivable.

Further, as far as I know no serving member of the clergy in the entire Chichester diocese felt moved to take Bell’s side.

It is time we heard from the Dean and Chapter on the matter.  To date, no statement on their behalf has appeared on the Cathedral website.

Does Dean Stephen Waine maintain his previous view of Bell’s guilt?  Or is he ready (like Martin Warner, it seems) to follow the Archbishop in his unexpected volte face?

Bishop Bell deserves a more obvious and sincere apology from both Cathedral and Diocese. 

Could the Dean perhaps announce a grand service of reparation, maybe in the form of a special Evensong?  It could very suitably be held on George Bell’s birthday (February 4th, a Friday next year).

DR TIM HUDSON                                                               

Hawthorn Close,                                                               

Chichester

“REOPEN CAFE IN BELL’S NAME” – CHICHESTER OBSERVER – LETTERS – DECEMBER 2 2021

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, has now unreservedly apologised for mistakes made in failing to manage the process of abuse allegations against Bishop Bell ‘with the consistency, clarity or accountability to meet the high standards rightly demanded of us’ [Observer November 25].

Welby retracts his previous claim saying a ‘significant cloud’ should no longer tarnish Bell’s distinguished reputation.

In regretful atonement, Welby has announced a statue to be erected on the west front of Canterbury Cathedral celebrating ‘the huge debt owed him which extends far beyond the Church he served’.

I ask Stephen Waine, Dean of Chichester Cathedral, to follow Justin Welby’s fine example by restoring Bishop Bell’s good name, not with a statue, but with reopening The Bishop Bell Tea Rooms and Shop to the benefit of the community and local economy.

PETER LANSLEY

Cedar Drive, Chichester

LORD LEXDEN LETTER – DAILY TELEGRAPH – NOVEMBER 25 2021

SIR — Bishop Bell’s name must be put back on the buildings in Chichester, as the Rev Dr Barry Orford insists (Letters, November 23). There is no sign, however, that the current Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, with whom I have clashed in the House of Lords, intends to lift a finger.

Last week he praised the statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as “both humble and courageous, reminding us that these virtues, evident in George Bell himself, do still surface in the Church of England”.

It is an outrage to put Archbishop Welby on the same plane as the great man whose reputation he traduced. Bishop Warner added that he had “no plans to make any further comments”. Anglicans must give him no peace until he either does his duty or resigns.

LORD LEXDEN OBE
London SW1

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

Page 37 of Cathedral Guide ‘Society and Faith’ [later, the Guide was pulped]https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/11/17/november-17-2021-i-was-wrong-says-archbishop-welby/embed/#?secret=cn0NvKdEHG

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NOVEMBER 29 2021 – LORD LEXDEN LETTER – DAILY TELEGRAPH [NOVEMBER 25 2021] + FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 22 2015] – “CHURCH OF ENGLAND STATEMENT BY THE BISHOP OF CHICHESTER DR. MARTIN WARNER ON THE RT. REVD. GEORGE BELL [1883-1958]”

Lord Lexden OBE

Restore the memorials to Bishop Bell – Lord Lexden

Thursday, 25 November, 2021

bell

When Bishop George Bell was wrongly condemned by the Church of England as a child abuser in 2015, his name was removed from a number of buildings in his Chichester diocese that had been dedicated to his memory.  Now that the Archbishop of Canterbury has belatedly accepted the Church’s error (see below), the Bishop’s name must be restored to all the places from which it was shamefully expunged. In a letter published in The Daily Telegraph on 25 November, Alistair Lexden urged Anglicans to demand action by the current Bishop of Chichester.

SIR — Bishop Bell’s name must be put back on the buildings in Chichester, as the Rev Dr Barry Orford insists (Letters, November 23). There is no sign, however, that the current Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, with whom I have clashed in the House of Lords, intends to lift a finger.

Last week he praised the statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as “both humble and courageous, reminding us that these virtues, evident in George Bell himself, do still surface in the Church of England”.

It is an outrage to put Archbishop Welby on the same plane as the great man whose reputation he traduced. Bishop Warner added that he had “no plans to make any further comments”. Anglicans must give him no peace until he either does his duty or resigns.

Lord Lexden
London SW1

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bell

Bishop Bell: a triumphant end to the campaign

Friday, 19 November, 2021

In 2016, Alistair Lexden joined a number of academics, politicians, lawyers, clerics and writers in a group which was established to refute the Church of England’s condemnation of Bishop George Bell, one of greatest of all Anglican bishops who died in 1958, as a child sex abuser.

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

Page 37 of Cathedral Guide ‘Society and Faith’ [later, the Guide was pulped]

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NOVEMBER 26 2021 – “HEALING CAN NOW TAKE PLACE IN A SPIRIT OF FORGIVENESS, RECONCILIATION AND BRIDGE-BUILDING” – THE BELL SOCIETY

“HEALING CAN NOW TAKE PLACE IN A SPIRIT OF FORGIVENESS, RECONCILIATION AND BRIDGE-BUILDING

‘4 Canon Lane was called George Bell House but then was renamed’ – Chichester Observer – November 25 2021

“ARCHBISHOP’S STATEMENT SAYS THERE IS NO ‘SIGNIFICANT CLOUD’ OVER BISHOP” – CHICHESTER OBSERVER – NOVEMBER 25 2021

“Supporters express delight and hopes for further changes”

Supporters of Bishop Bell have expressed delight at the Archbishop’s statement about Bishop Bell.

Marilyn Billingham said that his remaining family, and many who still hold his memory in the highest regard, were please and hoped that he will now be fondly remembered.

She said: “It is with great thankfulness that we hear that The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby publicly withdraw his claim that there is ‘a cloud over Bishop Bell’s name’, following the isolated and unsubstantiated claim of child sexual abuse and affirm that ‘Bishop George Bell was and remains one of the most courageous, distinguished Anglican bishops of the last century’. George Bell was the Bishop of Chichester from 1929-1958; a matter of great pride to the people of the city”.

She said she hoped a previous decision to remove his name from a city building [4 Canon Lane – Ed] would now be reversed.

“As Archbishop Welby looks forward to the placing of a statue to Bishop Bell by the famous west door of Canterbury Cathedral, perhaps the Dean and Chapter and the current Bishop of Chichester [Dr Martin Warner – Ed] could also publicly celebrate.

“First steps could be to replace the dedication plaque commemorating the naming of 4 Canon Lane as George Bell House by Archbishop Rowan Williams in 2008, seeking to reverse all other decisions made to airbrush Bishop Bell from the memory of the diocese and to commission a fitting memorial in Chichester for the revered bishop”.

Richard W. Symonds from The Bell Society added: “The process of healing can now take place in a spirit of forgiveness, reconciliation and bridge-building – starting with the re-naming of 4 Canon Lane Chichester back to George Bell House”.

[RWS Note – 26/11/2021 – Updated 29/11/2021 – An event is planned for Tuesday February 1 2022 at George Bell House, 4 Canon Lane, Chichester. Other related planned events include one at Westminster on February 3 2022 and another in Chichester on February 4 2022. More details to follow…]

FURTHER INFORMATION

Virtue Online“ARCHBISHOP WELBY’S STATEMENT SAYS THERE IS NO ‘SIGNIFICANT CLOUD’ OVER BISHOP BELL”

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NOVEMBER 24 2021 – “REPAIRING THE DAMAGE TO BISHOP BELL’S MEMORY” – DAILY TELEGRAPH – LETTERS [REV DR BARRY ORFORD AND DR RUTH HILDEBRANDT GRAYSON]

Daily Telegraph – Letters

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NOVEMBER 21 2021 – PETER HITCHENS ON ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY, BISHOP GEORGE BELL – AND MARTIN WARNER, BISHOP OF CHICHESTER

Peter Hitchens

PETER HITCHENS ON MARTIN WARNER, BISHOP OF CHICHESTER – MAIL ON SUNDAY [NOVEMBER 21 2021]

Let us now praise Archbishop Justin Welby. These are words I never thought I’d write, but I must, because three weeks after I gave him what for on this page, Mr Welby has finally admitted he was wrong about the late, great Bishop George Bell (not to be mistaken for the horrible Peter Ball).

He has withdrawn his silly claim that a ‘significant cloud’ still hangs over Bishop Bell, who was presumed guilty by the CofE, when someone accused him of incredibly long-ago child abuse. In fact a series of detailed investigations have demolished the cases against him.

Now that Mr Welby has given way, we must hope for a similar climbdown from the current far-from-great Bishop of Chichester, whose name I forget, who badly needs to right the wrongs done to his genuinely distinguished forerunner.

Dr Martin Warner – Bishop of Chichester

Photo source: Wiki Commons

FURTHER INFORMATION

‘Thinking Anglicans’

‘Surviving Church’

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NOVEMBER 18 2021 – “BELL’S NAME WAS REMOVED FROM A KEY BUILDING IN CHICHESTER, AND THE ARCHBISHOP’S STATEMENT COULD SPARK REQUESTS FOR ITS REINSTATEMENT” – KELLY BROWN – CHICHESTER OBSERVER

June 6 2019 – ‘Welcome to George Bell House’ – Pictured left – Chichester’s Professor Peter Billingham [1953-2020]. Pictured right – Sheffield’s Reverend James Grayson

George Bell House, Chichester [before 2015]

4 Canon Lane, Chichester [after 2015]

“BELL’S NAME WAS REMOVED FROM A KEY BUILDING IN CHICHESTER, AND THE ARCHBISHOP’S STATEMENT COULD SPARK REQUESTS FOR ITS REINSTATEMENT” – KELLY BROWN – CHICHESTER OBSERVER ET AL

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NOVEMBER 18 2021 – “NO NATION, NO CHURCH, NO INDIVIDUAL IS GUILTLESS WITHOUT REPENTANCE, AND WITHOUT FORGIVENESS THERE CAN BE NO REGENERATION” – BISHOP GEORGE BELL [1883-1958]

George Bell House [before 2015]

PERSONAL STATEMENT FROM ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY ON BISHOP GEORGE BELL

REVEREND NICK FLINT – FACEBOOK

THINKING ANGLICANS

CHARLES MOORE – TELEGRAPH – NOVEMBER 18 2021 – “IT WILL TAKE MORE THAN A STATUE FOR CHURCH TO REPENT TERRIBLE SLUR AGAINST BISHOP ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSE”

“It is also brave. Justin Welby is taking personal responsibility for the injustice done to the man he himself describes as “one of the most courageous, distinguished Anglican bishops of the last century”. It is a big admission”

Charles Moore

YOUTUBE – PN

CHRISTIAN TODAY

WEST SUSSEX GAZETTE / CHICHESTER OBSERVER / RYE OBSERVER / LITTLEHAMPTON GAZETTE / WEST SUSSEX COUNTY TIMES

Bell’s name was removed from a key building in Chichester and the Archbishop’s statement could spark requests for its reinstatement….

In response, the current Bishop of Chichester Dr Martin Warner said: “I greatly welcome Archbishop Justin Welby’s statement on Bishop George Bell. It is both humble and courageous, reminding us that these virtues, evident in George Bell himself, do still surface in the Church of England of our own time

Kelly Brown

THE ARGUS

“IS IT SOMETIMES GOOD TO CHANGE ONE’S MIND? A QUESTION AT GENERAL SYNOD” – ‘SURVIVING CHURCH’

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NOVEMBER 17 2021 – “I WAS WRONG…WE ALSO OWE A DUTY OF CARE TO THOSE WHO ARE ACCUSED” – ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY ON BISHOP GEORGE BELL

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Source: Wiki Commons

No significant cloud over Bishop George Bell: ‘I was wrong’ says Archbishop Welby – Church Times – 17 November 2021

PERSONAL STATEMENT FROM ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY ON BISHOP GEORGE BELL

BBC – “ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY SORRY FOR ABUSE-ACCUSED BISHOP COMMENT” [HARRY FARLEY]

GUARDIAN “JUSTIN WELBY ADMITS HE WAS WRONG TO SAY THERE WAS A CLOUD OVER GEORGE BELL” [HARRIET SHERWOOD]

DAILY TELEGRAPH“ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY SORRY FOR SLUR AGAINST BISHOP ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSE” [GABRIELLA SWERLING]

ANGLICAN INK – “JUSTIN WELBY APOLOGIZES FOR HIS PART IN THE GEORGE BELL AFFAIR”

THE TIMES *

GLASGOW TIMES/PENARTH TIMES – “ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY APOLOGISES FOR COMMENTS ABOUT LATE BISHOP”

PETER HITCHENS – “ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY FINALLY CLIMBS DOWN OVER HIS CLAIM OF A SIGNIFICANT CLOUD OVER GEORGE BELL

YAHOO NEWS – “ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY APOLOGISES FOR COMMENTS ABOUT THE LATE BISHOP BELL”

THINKING ANGLICANS

CHARLES MOORE – TELEGRAPH – NOVEMBER 18 2021 – “IT WILL TAKE MORE THAN A STATUE FOR CHURCH TO REPENT TERRIBLE SLUR AGAINST BISHOP ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSE”

It is also brave. Justin Welby is taking personal responsibility for the injustice done to the man he himself describes as “one of the most courageous, distinguished Anglican bishops of the last century”. It is a big admission

Charles Moore

I welcome the Archbishop of Canterbury’s gracious apology.
It will not only restore the reputation of one of our greatest churchmen, but do much to heal unnecessary division in the Church of England.
It sets a much needed example at a time when the presumption of innocence at the heart of English law continues to be undermined.

Dr Gerald Morgan

YOUTUBE – PN

CHRISTIAN TODAY

WEST SUSSEX GAZETTE / CHICHESTER OBSERVER / RYE OBSERVER / LITTLEHAMPTON GAZETTE / WEST SUSSEX COUNTY TIMES

Bell’s name was removed from a key building in Chichester and the Archbishop’s statement could spark requests for its reinstatement…

In response, the current Bishop of Chichester Dr Martin Warner said: “I greatly welcome Archbishop Justin Welby’s statement on Bishop George Bell. It is both humble and courageous, reminding us that these virtues, evident in George Bell himself, do still surface in the Church of England of our own time

Kelly Brown

THE ARGUS

“IS IT SOMETIMES GOOD TO CHANGE ONE’S MIND? A QUESTION AT GENERAL SYNOD” – ‘SURVIVING CHURCH’

LORD LEXDEN

Virtue Online“ARCHBISHOP WELBY’S STATEMENT SAYS THERE IS NO ‘SIGNIFICANT CLOUD’ OVER BISHOP BELL”

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NOVEMBER 11 2021 – “EXPERIENCE OF THE LAST THREE YEARS HAS GIVEN ME A TINY TASTE OF WHAT IT MAY HAVE BEEN LIKE” – REVD DR MARTYN PERCY, DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD [ON PERSECUTION AND NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS]

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10192243/Dean-Christ-Church-College-Oxford-sparks-outrage-likening-plight-Holocaust-victims.html

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OCTOBER 31 2021 – PETER BILLINGHAM [1953-2020]

Peter Billingham [1953-2020] will not be forgotten, especially in his massive contribution to restoring Bishop Bell’s place in history– and George Bell House in Chichester.

This Poem was written after ‘A Celebration of the Life of Peter George Billingham [1953-2020]’ at St John’s Chapel in Chichester on Saturday, October 23 2021 [Published in the Chichester Observer – October 28 2021]:


‘It’ 

by Richard W. Symonds 



Pass it on

Just pass it on


But what is ‘it’?


It is beauty

It is freedom

It is happiness

It is life

It is love

It is peace

It is truth

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OCTOBER 31 2021 – ARCHBISHOP WELBY’S “SIGNIFICANT CLOUD” FALSE ACCUSATION AGAINST BISHOP BELL IS BEYOND HYPOCRISY

Archbishop Welby

Daily Telegraph

“THE KREMLIN HAD MORE OF A CONSCIENCE THAN WELBY THE HYPOCRITE” – PETER HITCHENS – MAIL ON SUNDAY – OCTOBER 31 2021

The Kremlin had more of a conscience than Welby the hypocrite

This is Peter Hitchens’ Mail on Sunday column

EVEN the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union eventually admitted that it had wrongly smeared and ruined those it had once accused of terrible crimes.

The victims of screaming one-sided show trials, later murdered or starved to death, and in one terrible case, hanged, cremated and their ashes used to grit the freezing roads, all of them were in the end exonerated.

So why does Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, struggle so to admit he made a terrible mistake about the late Bishop George Bell of Chichester, one of the greatest Englishmen of the 20th Century? He did not, as many do, mix him up with his near-namesake, the revolting molester Peter Ball. Nor should you (I have had some very rude letters accusing me of defending Ball. I would not dream of doing any such thing).

But, to put it at its mildest, Mr Welby was involved in what has since been shown to be a shocking kangaroo trial, in which the long-dead Bell, a courageous opponent of the Nazis and ally of the German resistance to Hitler, was presumed guilty of a terrible charge of child abuse. My own view has long been that the complainant was abused, but by somebody else. Her evidence against Bell, when it was finally made public, did not stand up to serious examination by a leading QC, Lord Carlile.

But would Mr Welby back down? Not a bit of it. First he took seriously a collection of new allegations against George Bell, so ludicrous and feeble that even Dame Cressida Dick and her Olympically gullible Met Police Celebrity Squad would not have believed them. And when these duly collapsed, he continued to insist that a ‘significant cloud’ hung over the reputation of George Bell. Apparently, in his world, if you are accused of a crime you will always remain suspect.

But Mr Welby, so censorious about others, now has troubles of his own. When he was a senior church official in Liverpool, he banned a worshipper from the Cathedral there, for being ‘abusive and threatening’. But the worshipper had his reasons. He was rightly trying to get Mr Welby to act against a priest who, he said, had abused him. In this case (unlike George Bell’s) there was good reason to take the claim seriously. The priest involved, John Roberts, already had a criminal conviction for indecent assault. Later Roberts was jailed for offences against three people – one of them the man Mr Welby had sternly banned from the Cathedral. This fascinating story about England’s premier clergyman has received amazingly little media coverage outside our sister paper, the Daily Mail.

Actually, I can see Mr Welby’s problem here. He made a bad judgment, as many have done in such cases. But lawyers for the victims of Roberts point out that Mr Welby’s failure to act could have delayed police action for many years. So he really is not in a position to set himself up as the Righteous Judge of George Bell.

THAT is why I wrote to the Church of England and asked if, under the circumstances, Mr Welby would withdraw the words ‘significant cloud’ and act to rehabilitate George Bell. For Bishop Bell’s name, like that of a Soviet show-trial victim , has been stripped from a building named after him, from a school named after him and from a house in another school, which was also named after him. A planned statue of him, which should long ago have been completed and unveiled on the front of Canterbury Cathedral, is in some sort of limbo.

I got nothing back except flannel. So here we are. As long as he will not withdraw the claim that there is a ‘significant cloud’ over George Bell, then I say that Justin Welby is a hypocrite, and a significant cloud hangs over him. Even the Kremlin had more of a conscience.

Sir,

Peter Hitchens has written yet another powerful article on the defamation of the character of Bishop George Bell. The Church of England cannot survive when there is such divisiveness at the very top. And little or no respect for the presumption of innocence.
I urge the Archbishop of Canterbury to protect the reputation of the Church of England in this spiritual crisis for us all…We must not allow the Church…to be undermined in England in this way. The Queen deserves better than this.


Kind regards,

Gerald Morgan OM FTCD

(Leader: English Parliamentary Party, founded Lydbrook, Gloucestershire, 2001)
Dr Gerald Morgan, FTCD (1993)
Lydbrook School (1946-1953),Monmouth School (1953-1961),Meyricke Exhibitioner, Jesus College, Oxford (1961-1964),D.Phil. (Oxon.), 1973 Director:The Chaucer Hub.

Tel.: 086 456 56 60

Thank you for forwarding this article to me. As it happens, a worshipper at my church this morning arrived clutching a copy of it, so it is certainly being read. My only regret is that while it quite properly blames Welby, it does not censure the unspeakable and continuing behaviour of Martin Warner and the Dean and Chapter of Chichester. Warner’s adamant refusal to acknowledge wrongdoing is one of the most disgraceful episodes in recent Church of England history. A man of integrity would have apologized and offered his resignation.

The Revd Dr Barry A. Orford

I would happily attack the frightful Chichester prelates, but in this case Welby’s behaviour in Liverpool, newly exposed and too little known, was the trigger for the article and applies only to him.

Peter Hitchens

Seems to me there is the same pattern of behaviour amongst church leaders. Rather than admit they were wrong and ask for forgiveness (ok to ask for forgiveness for what ancestors did long ago), they continue to try and make themselves look good by slandering others, preferably dead others because they can’t speak in their defence.

FW Atkins

“The Church, like the Crown, has to be protected at all costs – even if it means throwing one of its own under a bus”

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

NATION.lK

IN ENTERTAINMENT

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OCTOBER 29 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 15 2008: “NUNS FUND MEMORIAL TO GEORGE BELL” – CHURCH TIMES LETTERS – REV NICHOLAS FRAYLING] + PROFESSOR PETER BILLINGHAM MEMORIAL SERVICE [23/10/2021] + BISHOP GEORGE BELL MEMORIAL FUND [TO BE LAUNCHED IN APRIL 2022]

Nuns fund memorial to George Bell

15 OCTOBER 2008

Last of their order: Sister Jane (left) and Mother Angela CSC with Dr Williams at the opening of George Bell House. They made a generous grant TIM ASHLEY

From the Dean of Chichester

Sir, — The splendid articles you carried to celebrate Bishop George Bell’s 50th anniversary (Features, 3 October) drew attention to his tireless work in the fields of international reconciliation, the arts, education, and church unity. A central part of last weekend’s celebrations was the opening and dedication by the Archbishop of Canterbury of George Bell House in the Cathedral Close here.

It is a centre for vocation, education, and reconciliation — some of Bell’s passions — and we intend it to be a space where work in these areas can prosper.

The House has two conference rooms (named Bonhoeffer and Dresden); a dining room named after another ally of Bell, Hermann Maas; a garden room, a small oratory, and eight en-suite bedrooms with a residential maximum of 15 people, or day facilities for 40.

Working with the George Bell Institute at the University of Chichester, we are developing a programme of events and educational opportunities with many of our European and world-wide links. The House is also available for away days, meetings, quiet days, and conferences, and especially for parish and deanery groups, those engaged in scholarly and cultural pursuits, and those working for justice, peace, and reconciliation.

Further details may be obtained from bookings@chichestercathedral.org.uk; or phone 01243 813586. Future programmes and events will be publicised on the cathedral website (www.chichestercathedral.org.uk).

The Dean and Chapter are grateful to the many people who have already contributed to the development of the House, but especially to the Community of the Servants of the Cross, without whose generosity George Bell

House could not have come into being.

NICHOLAS FRAYLING
The Royal Chantry
Cathedral Cloisters
Chichester
West Sussex PO19 1PX

The Very Reverend Nicholas Frayling

The Very Reverend Nicholas Frayling led the Memorial Service to Professor Peter Billingham at St John’s Chapel in Chichester – Saturday, October 23 2021

Peter Billingham [1953-2020] will not be forgotten, especially in his massive contribution to restoring Bishop Bell’s place in history – and George Bell House in Chichester.

BISHOP GEORGE BELL MEMORIAL FUND [TO BE LAUNCHED IN FEBRUARY 2022]

Patron: Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey

Barnabas Fund

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OCTOBER 15 2021 – THE UNEDITED VERSION OF REVD DR BARRY ORFORD’S LETTER TO THE CHURCH TIMES [AND THE UNPUBLISHED LETTER FROM RICHARD W. SYMONDS]

LETTER [PUBLISHED] – BUT HEAVILY EDITED

From the Revd Dr Barry A. Orford

Sir, — Clearly, something is rotten in the diocese of London and in the wider Church of England. What has happened among us to the notion of personal accountability?

You report that an official diocesan investigation into that tragedy will not seek to apportion blame. What can that achieve? None of us enjoys facing the truth that we have made serious errors, but how are forgiveness and healing possible if we do not acknowledge individually our responsibility for them?

In past years, a report like Lord Carlile’s could have led to resignations.

The emerging stories of cover-up and slandering of the innocent present us with the opportunity to repent and accept the chastening that will enable us, under God, to become the Church that we are called to be. Will we take it?

BARRY A. ORFORD

Hampstead

THE UNEDITED VERSION OF THE ABOVE

September 3rd, 2021

Sir,

The letters from the Revd Roderick Leece and the Revd Nick Pigott referring to the death of Fr Alan Griffin, plus the article by Bishop Selby (October 8), tell us clearly that something is rotten in the Diocese of London and in the wider Church of England. They prompt a disturbing question – what has happened among us to the notion of personal accountability?

The London Diocese has intoned the regulation chant that ‘lessons will be learned’ from the Griffin case, yet you report that an official diocesan investigation into that tragedy will not seek to apportion blame. What can that achieve? None of us enjoys facing the truth that we have made serious errors, but how are forgiveness and healing possible if we do not acknowledge individually our responsibility for them?

In past years a report like Lord Carlile’s on the conduct of those in the Chichester Diocese who rushed to blacken the blameless name of Bishop George Bell could have led to resignations. Today, those responsible have not even felt shamed into an apology. (I am told that they have recently compounded their offence by removing Bell’s name from the house dedicated to his memory.) What does this say about unwillingness to confess shortcomings?

The emerging stories of cover up and slandering of the innocent present us with the opportunity to repent and accept the chastening which will enable us, under God, to become the Church we are called to be. Will we take it?

The Revd Dr Barry A. Orford

LETTER [UNPUBLISHED]

Dear Editor
Those libelled by false accusation can exercise their right to justice through the courts [‘The accused have their rights, too’, CT, Oct 8].
Sir Cliff Richard exercised this right, but at a cost – not just financial. 
For most of us living, if falsely accused and libelled, this is not an option – there is simply nothing we can do about it. For those no longer living, such as Bishop George Bell, the same applies – you cannot libel the dead. 
Former Archbishop George Carey has done something about this miscarriage of justice by writing about it in his memoirs – ‘The Truth Will Set You Free‘.
Genuine repentance is key to right these wrongs, but there is little sign of that from those who should know better.
The truth of former Bishop Peter Selby’s concluding four words continues to resonate ‘as clear as a bell’:
“It could be you”

Yours sincerely


Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

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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.

Bishop of Chichester Dr Martin Warner

Photo source: Wiki