THE CHURCH YEAR CALENDAR

Sunday, October 3    George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, Ecumenist, Peacemaker, 1958

‘THE PROMISE OF PRAYER’ – SUNDAY OCTOBER 3 2021:

  1. Richard W. Symonds – St Margaret’s Parish Church, Ifield

Bishop George Bell [February 4 1883 – October 3 1958]

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SEPTEMBER 17 2021 – “MY FAITH IN THE CHURCH’S INSTITUTIONAL INTEGRITY HAS BEEN COMPLETELY BROKEN” – LORD LEXDEN IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS

Alan Griffin case mentioned in House of Lords debate – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

on Friday, 17 September 2021 at 12.09 pm by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Church of EnglandGeneral SynodSafeguarding

The speeches concerning the Safeguarding (Code of Practice) Measure  from the Bishop of Blackburn, Lord Cormack, and Lord Lexden are * all worth reading. However, I draw you attention to this exchange between Lord Lexden and the Bishop:

Lord Lexden Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, my noble friend Lord Cormack referred at the start of his powerful remarks to the passion and anger that he felt because of some recent events. I feel very deep passion and anger, as I shall explain.

I have had the honour of serving on the Ecclesiastical Committee for a few years, but I am afraid I cannot continue my membership of it. I can no longer support the Clergy Discipline Measure, in view of the harm it is capable of inflicting on innocent clergy caught up in sex abuse allegations. Doubts about the Church’s capacity to devise a fair and just system for dealing with accusations of sex abuse laid against its clergy have long been simmering in my mind, not least because of the terrible way in which the reputation of the great George Bell, to whom my noble friend referred, was damaged–and damaged so unfairly. But worry and concern have now given place to total despair; my faith in the Church’s institutional integrity has been completely broken.

Long ago I was briefly close, perhaps for no longer than a single summer, to a witty and clever Cambridge contemporary. He was a classicist who became a lecturer at Exeter University and later took holy orders. His name was Alan Griffin. In November last year, the Reverend Dr Alan Griffin committed suicide. After the end of the inquest into his death in early July this year, the coroner wrote a detailed report on the way that the Church had investigated his suspected sexual misconduct. She revealed that when he died, the Church’s investigation had been going on for over a year. The coroner stated that

“he could not cope with an investigation into his conduct, the detail of and the source for which he had never been told”–

I repeat, the detail and source for which he had never been told.

Worse, when the coroner probed the evidence against him, she found it was non-existent. There was, she said,

“no complainant, no witness and no accuser”.

The Church had acted on the basis of mere gossip and innuendo. Could there be a clearer example of the denial of natural justice?

And how did the Church carry out its investigation during the year in which Alan Griffin was kept in ignorance of the so-called accusations against him? The coroner states:

“nobody took responsibility for steering the direction of the process from start to finish and for making coherent, reasoned, evidence based decisions”.

And so the scene was set for a terrible tragedy.

The last element of the Church’s behaviour in this case which I want the House to note is very serious indeed. The coroner records that submissions

“on behalf of the Church of England … urged me not to include any concerns that may be taken as a criticism of clerics or staff for not filtering or verifying allegations.”

This is not from some shady organisation or business with suspect moral standards, but from our country’s established Church. These are the circumstances that led to the death of a friend of mine from long ago, and that is why my faith in the Church’s institutional integrity has been broken.

Lord Lexden Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

Could the right reverend Prelate comment on the quotation from the coroner’s report that I read out at the end? The Church of England seeking to interfere with the content of a coroner’s report in order to diminish the extent of the criticism it would sustain: is that not utterly reprehensible?

The Bishop of Blackburn Bishop

It is reprehensible and unacceptable. One of the big issues has been the whole matter of cover-up and trying to silence voices. That is a very clear example and should never, ever be repeated. I will report that back to the national safeguarding team and others. We are in the business not of covering up but of being transparent and open, so that these things can be brought to light and people can learn from them. It is reprehensible and completely unacceptable.

COMMENTS – ‘THINKING ANGLICANS’

The presumption of innocence is a fundamental principle of English law over many centuries, but in recent years it has been honoured in the breach by those we normally expect to set an example”

Dr Gerald Morgan OM FTCD

THINKING ANGLICANS – COMMENTS

“The whole thing just smacks of an attempt to silence people within a system which everyone admits is broken”

Rev. Andrew Foreshew-Cain Reply

“The “system” may well be broken, but it has been operating within the Church for many centuries. An amended Code of Practice will change nothing until the centuries-old operating system is amended. That requires identifying those who run the system. Good luck with that”

Richard W. Symonds

The Lord Bishop of Blackburn:

Moved by The Lord Bishop of Blackburn

That this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Safeguarding (Code of Practice) Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent.

The Bishop of Blackburn Bishop

My Lords, it has been a long day and we are on the cusp of a party conference recess. I do not want to detain your Lordships more than is necessary. I am somewhat anxious, and feel, to use the words of a noble Lord a moment ago, a scintilla of fear, standing here for the first time and hearing much of the previous debate about the importance of good leadership and of doing everything well. Perhaps I am a candidate for all that further training that was talked about. It is a great privilege to be allowed to spend this week as duty Bishop in this House and to lead Prayers each day.

I am grateful for your Lordships’ presence this evening, not least because the Measure before us is significant in its application and is about safeguarding. As noble Lords will know, the Church of England has been on a long journey of putting in place appropriate staff, policies and practices to make the Church a safe place for all people, especially children and vulnerable adults. That has been essential as a response to church often being unsafe and to stories—historic and current—of appalling cases of abuse by those in positions of power who should have known better and whom many were willing to trust.

This Measure updates the legislation concerned with the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults by the Church of England. In particular, it responds to a recommendation made by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, known as IICSA. In 2019, the independent inquiry issued a report on case studies it had carried out into abuse committed by Peter Ball, a former Bishop of Gloucester, and on past abuse in the diocese of Chichester. The report recognised that steps had been taken by the Church to tackle abuse, including the passing of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016. But the independent inquiry considered that the way the 2016 Measure imposed obligations on individuals and Church organisations to follow correct safeguarding practice was less clear than it should be. This recommendation focused on the requirement in the 2016 Measure that a relevant person must have “due regard” to safeguarding guidance issued by the House of Bishops. The independent inquiry considered that the effect of a statutory requirement to have “due regard” to guidance was not well understood and should be replaced with a requirement that was more explicit in its terms.

The Archbishops’ Council accepted the recommendations contained in the report of the independent inquiry and has been taking steps to implement them. This Measure, passed by the General Synod in April this year, will implement the recommendation I have just described. It replaces the existing duty to have “due regard” to safeguarding guidance with the duty to “comply with” requirements imposed by a safeguarding code of practice. The concept of complying with a requirement should be more straightforward than having “due regard” to guidance.

The code of practice itself, and any subsequent amendments to it, will be subject to prior consultation, including with those who have suffered abuse, as well as with representative bodies of the clergy and the laity. The code will also be subject to scrutiny by the General Synod. The code of practice, and any amendment to it, will be sent to every member of the General Synod and published online. If 25 or more members of the synod give notice, a code will not come into force until the synod has debated and approved it.

The opportunity has also been taken in this Measure to update the list of “relevant persons”—that is, those individuals and bodies to whom the code of practice will be directed and who will be under a duty to comply with its requirements. Under the 2016 Measure, the list of relevant persons already includes clergy, licensed laypersons, church wardens and parochial church councils. Cathedral chapters will be added by the Cathedrals Measure 2021. This Measure will add diocesan boards of finance and diocesan boards of education to the list. It will also add staff working in the Church of England’s national safeguarding team, meaning that they too will be obliged to comply with relevant requirements contained in the code of practice.

During the passage of the Measure through the General Synod, the issue was raised as to how compliance with the requirements of the code of practice would be enforced, should that become necessary. So far as the clergy are concerned, non-compliance would potentially be a disciplinary matter, as it would be for licensed lay ministers. Bodies such as parochial church councils and diocesan boards are charities, and the Charity Commission takes the safeguarding responsibility of charity trustees very seriously and has statutory powers to intervene where they are not being properly carried out. Cathedrals are subject to visitation by the bishop and will shortly become subject to the jurisdiction of the Charity Commission.

The sole lacuna in terms of enforcing compliance was found to be the case of churchwardens. As matters stand, there is no power to take disciplinary or other action against a churchwarden who refuses to comply with correct safeguarding practice. The Measure therefore includes a power for the bishop to suspend a churchwarden where he or she has failed to comply with the requirement of the safeguarding code of practice. This is a discretionary power and builds on powers that bishops already have to suspend churchwardens who present a direct safeguarding risk. As with the exercise of those existing powers, a churchwarden who is suspended for non-compliance with the safeguarding code of practice will have a right of appeal to an independent judge.

I must conclude by acknowledging the serious past failings of the Church of England in protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse—a failure which the most reverend Primate Archbishop of Canterbury has acknowledged on many occasions. As he said in his evidence to the independent inquiry in 2019:

“Overall, I remain utterly horrified by what we have done in the past, our failures, and no doubt there will be failures going on … We have made some small progress. We have a long way to go.”

I hope and pray that this Measure will be another step in making the Church of England a safer place for children and vulnerable adults. I beg to move.

Lord Cormack Conservative  7:00 pm, 16th September 2021

My Lords, I rise as one who has been a churchwarden—although no longer—for a total of 36 years in three different churches, who has served on the General Synod of the Church of England for 10 years between 1995 and 2005, and who is still actively involved in church affairs. I have also served on the Ecclesiastical Committee, whose report is what we are officially discussing tonight to approve it, for nearly 50 years. I therefore have a fairly long background.

I am so delighted to see my noble friend Lord Lexden here—I think we are the only two members of the committee here. I know that our chairman, the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, was very sorry not to be able to come, and I know that the noble Baroness, Lady Harris of Richmond, was also particularly sorry not to be able to come. I support the Measure, but I agreed with my colleagues on the committee that between us, we need to make some rather important points.

I support this Measure as being expedient but I hope it will also be effective and will not create some of the tragedies and difficulties that the ham-fisted handling of safeguarding has resulted in in recent years. I speak with some passion and some anger. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Lincoln, a Member of your Lordships’ House, was suspended—the first time a bishop had been suspended in centuries; I believe the previous one was suspended for shooting his gamekeeper—for 20 months and was then allowed back with a mild rap on the knuckles. He had done nothing serious—he himself had done nothing of a criminal nature—but he was held not to have handled a case drawn to his attention with sufficient expedition. It was a difficult case; I do not know all the details, and it would be wrong to give just a few. However, this man, who served the Church for many years and who was installed as bishop in November 2011, the day before Remembrance Day, having had almost two years of his episcopate suspended, is now somewhat broken, and has announced that he is retiring at the end of this year. I am pleased to say that he has been able to take Prayers in your Lordships’ House on a couple of occasions; I hope that he will be able to do so again. This was a disproportionate handling.

It would not be so bad if this were an isolated case. But staying in Lincoln, the chancellor was suspended because he was facing a criminal charge; that is fair enough. He was acquitted unanimously by the jury and was then exonerated by the Church authorities, but it took 789 days. Again, it was said that some further accusations were trivial and unsubstantiated. We must be careful when dealing with public men and women who have contact with their parishioners, or with a wider congregation if they are in cathedrals and so on. We must have regard for them as people.

For instance, it was said in Committee—my noble friend Lord Lexden was there—regarding the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Lincoln, that part of the delay was due to the fact that the police were investigating and had to report to the Church authorities. He suggested that the police had held this up for well over a year when they had not done so at all. Within a few months of the action taken in May 2019, the police said that they had no further interest in the case, and yet the Church dragged its feet.

Of course, there are many examples of clergymen—it is not an exalted rank—who have had their lives completely wrecked by malice. There is recent example in the London diocese of a clergyman who committed suicide.

I am not for a moment suggesting that safeguarding is unimportant. As a Christian and an Anglican, I am deeply ashamed of some of the things that have happened historically. But I am also deeply ashamed of the way in which certain things have been handled, as I have indicated.

Let me make a historical reference. One of the saintliest bishops of the 20th century was, without doubt, Bishop Bell of Chichester, formerly the Dean of Canterbury. He was a man of great spirituality and is regarded as so important that he has a day devoted to him in the Church calendar. He stood up and spoke out against mass bombing. He did not always endear himself to our great Prime Minister of the day, Winston Churchill, or to others—although Churchill did say some very kind things about him, and meant them. This man, dead in 1958, was, a matter of just three of four years ago, suddenly traduced on the evidence of a woman in her late 70s, who alleged that she had been interfered with by the bishop as a girl of five. There was no corroborative evidence. An investigation was conducted with great forensic skill by the noble Lord, Lord Carlile of Berriew, who delivered what can only be called a damning report on the way in which the Church of England had handled this.

I welcome the Measure before us tonight—not that the bit of paper that colleagues have been able to pick up tells them very much about it, and so I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate for his concise but good explanation. I wish our colleagues had had a better piece of paper; they might then have been more tempted to come and take part in this debate. It is also a pity that this is a debate without a list of speakers, as I think we would have attracted more with one.

However, it would be wrong to let this debate take place without seeking to stress that this safeguarding business has not been handled well. It is important because any man or woman is innocent until proven guilty. It is important that if there are further cases they are handled with greater dispatch and compassion, and if the man or woman is guilty then of course they must be appropriately dealt with. If that means they must be unfrocked, as the term is when a priest loses holy orders, fine, but we have not got the balance right up to now.

I pray devoutly that this Measure will enable us to get the balance right but it is crucial for the reputation of the Church of England, which is going through a rough patch at the moment. I have not lost my faith, but I have come close to losing my faith in the Church of England from the experiences I have witnessed in the last few years. We have got to get the balance right. This Measure must work in a way that is fair to the accused as well, of course, as rooting out those who do evil. What we are talking about is that there are some people who do evil, but the vast majority of clergy men and women in the Church of England are honourable to their vocation. They deserve to be treated fairly and properly, as the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Lincoln recently has not been.

Lord Lexden Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, my noble friend Lord Cormack referred at the start of his powerful remarks to the passion and anger that he felt because of some recent events. I feel very deep passion and anger, as I shall explain.

I have had the honour of serving on the Ecclesiastical Committee for a few years, but I am afraid I cannot continue my membership of it. I can no longer support the Clergy Discipline Measure, in view of the harm it is capable of inflicting on innocent clergy caught up in sex abuse allegations. Doubts about the Church’s capacity to devise a fair and just system for dealing with accusations of sex abuse laid against its clergy have long been simmering in my mind, not least because of the terrible way in which the reputation of the great George Bell, to whom my noble friend referred, was damaged—and damaged so unfairly. But worry and concern have now given place to total despair; my faith in the Church’s institutional integrity has been completely broken.

Long ago I was briefly close, perhaps for no longer than a single summer, to a witty and clever Cambridge contemporary. He was a classicist who became a lecturer at Exeter University and later took holy orders. His name was Alan Griffin. In November last year, the Reverend Dr Alan Griffin committed suicide. After the end of the inquest into his death in early July this year, the coroner wrote a detailed report on the way that the Church had investigated his suspected sexual misconduct. She revealed that when he died, the Church’s investigation had been going on for over a year. The coroner stated that

“he could not cope with an investigation into his conduct, the detail of and the source for which he had never been told”—

I repeat, the detail and source for which he had never been told.

Worse, when the coroner probed the evidence against him, she found it was non-existent. There was, she said,

“no complainant, no witness and no accuser”.

The Church had acted on the basis of mere gossip and innuendo. Could there be a clearer example of the denial of natural justice?

And how did the Church carry out its investigation during the year in which Alan Griffin was kept in ignorance of the so-called accusations against him? The coroner states:

“nobody took responsibility for steering the direction of the process from start to finish and for making coherent, reasoned, evidence based decisions”.

And so the scene was set for a terrible tragedy.

The last element of the Church’s behaviour in this case which I want the House to note is very serious indeed. The coroner records that submissions

“on behalf of the Church of England … urged me not to include any concerns that may be taken as a criticism of clerics or staff for not filtering or verifying allegations.”

This is not from some shady organisation or business with suspect moral standards, but from our country’s established Church. These are the circumstances that led to the death of a friend of mine from long ago, and that is why my faith in the Church’s institutional integrity has been broken.

The Bishop of Blackburn Bishop  7:15 pm, 16th September 2021

My Lords, I am grateful to the two noble Lords for their contributions in this debate and for speaking from their experience and their expertise and involvement not only in this House but in the Ecclesiastical Committee, and bringing that experience to this matter.

I would be the first to put my hand up and say that we have not been getting things right, and the national safeguarding team is seeking to improve its way of working. There are a number of cases that have been referred to which are inexcusable, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, in particular, has expressed his deep regret over the 20-month suspension of the Bishop of Lincoln and has expressed that that should be something that is never, ever repeated. I am not aware of all the details of the other incidences that have been referred to, whether it is Bishop Bell or the Reverend Dr Alan Griffin, but there are obviously important lessons to be learned through those experiences and those stories that the Church of England needs to take on board and listen to very carefully.

There is a real sense in which it is important that there is a balance between the concern for safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults within the life of our Church, where terrible abuse has occurred, and for that to be dealt with firmly and rightly, but also a right case for compassion for those who are being accused of something and for that to be looked at both quickly, so that it does not drag on endlessly, and to be looked at quickly enough so that the evidence can be brought to light to see whether there is a case to answer or not. I am horrified to hear the stats just referred to about the Reverend Dr Alan Griffin, that he was never told what the accusation was and that, when it was looked at, it was found to be non-existent and it was all gossip and innuendo. That is not acceptable as a way for a Church to behave in trying to deal with safeguarding matters.

There is a real difference that needs to be drawn between the call to comply with guidance on safeguarding and dealing with those people differently from those who are subject to an allegation of some sexual abuse. There are cases where, sometimes, a person who has just not complied with a particular line of guidance has been treated as though they themselves are a safeguarding risk. That is an unacceptable comparison and there needs to be a distinction drawn between the two. My hope is that this Measure that talks about having to “comply with”, rather than having “due regard” for, will help sort some of that issue out in the days that lie ahead.

I am sorry to hear the stories that have been relayed. I hope that expressing them here in your Lordships’ House is helpful so that they are on the record and we know they have been told and heard by someone in the House of Bishops. I will do my part to relay something of this back to those who seek to carry out that safeguarding function for the Church of England and the national safeguarding team. I will undertake to report something of what I have heard today to them.

I will finish by saying that I and my colleagues commit to seeking to make the Church of England a place where it is safe for children, vulnerable adults and all people to be part of a church gathering and a church family, and for the Church not just to exercise good practice in those areas but to be a model to others of how to do this, because sometimes people have looked to the Church and said, “If the Church doesn’t do it, why should anybody else?” The Church has a call to model something to others in a way it has not done up to this moment. There is a challenge.

Although I am glad for the support for this change in the Measure to ensure good and better practice in the days that lie ahead, it is not the whole answer. We shall have much more to do. I will play my part in doing what I can to relay this back to others and encourage the House of Bishops to do the same.

Lord Lexden Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

Could the right reverend Prelate comment on the quotation from the coroner’s report that I read out at the end? The Church of England seeking to interfere with the content of a coroner’s report in order to diminish the extent of the criticism it would sustain: is that not utterly reprehensible?

The Bishop of Blackburn Bishop

It is reprehensible and unacceptable. One of the big issues has been the whole matter of cover-up and trying to silence voices. That is a very clear example and should never, ever be repeated. I will report that back to the national safeguarding team and others. We are in the business not of covering up but of being transparent and open, so that these things can be brought to light and people can learn from them. It is reprehensible and completely unacceptable.

CHURCH TIMES – CHURCH AND PARLIAMENT – SEPT 20 2021

IT IS not well known enough that the General Synod is a delegated body of Parliament. In respect of the law, it has similar powers to a government department, and, when it wants to change the law, it lays those changes, normally through statutory instruments, before the Commons, via the Ecclesiastical Committee. They will become law unless Parliament “prays” against them.

THINKING ANGLICANS – COMMENTS

“….crushed by the weight of institutional cruelty and corruption”

This would suggest the ‘system’ [however that might be defined] is cruel and corrupt – and those who implement it are themselves made cruel and corrupted by it.

The nightmare is that it is now, already, a self-regulating ‘cloven hoof’ system – it runs itself – and no human agency can stop the cruelty and corruption.

Therefore, this would necessitate an intervention of Divine agency.

Tennyson said: “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of”.

So that is what we must do – pray – without ceasing.

MY FAITH IN THE CHURCH’S INTEGRITY IS BROKEN, SAYS PEER – CHURCH TIMES – SEPTEMBER 24 2021

My faith in the Church’s integrity is broken, says peer

 byMADELEINE DAVIES 24 SEPTEMBER 2021

Safeguarding errors prompt Lord Lexden to quit committee

LORD LEXDEN

CONSERVATIVE peer has resigned from the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament over the Church’s handling of safeguarding, telling the House of Lords: “My faith in the Church’s institutional integrity has been completely broken.”

Lord Lexden, a historian who has held senior posts in the Conservative Party’s central organisation, made the announcement on Thursday of last week, after the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Julian Blackburn, asked that the Safeguarding (Code of Practice) Measure be presented to the Queen for Royal Assent.

“I can no longer support the Clergy Discipline Measure, in view of the harm it is capable of inflicting on innocent clergy caught up in sex-abuse allegations,” Lord Lexden said. “Doubts about the Church’s capacity to devise a fair and just system for dealing with accusations of sex abuse laid against its clergy have long been simmering in my mind, not least because of the terrible way in which the reputation of the great George Bell . . . was damaged — and damaged so unfairly.

“But worry and concern have now given place to total despair; my faith in the Church’s institutional integrity has been completely broken.”

He went on to describe the “terrible tragedy” of Fr Alan Griffin, a “witty and clever Cambridge contemporary”. Fr Griffin took his own life after unfounded allegations of child sex abuse, prompting a coroner to warn that more clergy deaths would follow unless action was taken to improve C of E safeguarding procedures (News, 23 July).

During his speech, Lord Lexden quoted from the coroner’s report. “The Church had acted on the basis of mere gossip and innuendo,” he told the Lords. “Could there be a clearer example of the denial of natural justice?”

The House also heard from Lord Cormack, who has served as a churchwarden and a General Synod member. He supported the Measure, but hoped that it would not “create some of the tragedies and difficulties that the ham-fisted handling of safeguarding has resulted in in recent years. I speak with some passion and some anger. . .

“As a Christian and an Anglican, I am deeply ashamed of some of the things that have happened historically. But I am also deeply ashamed of the way in which certain things have been handled, as I have indicated.”

ROGER HARRIS Lord Cormack

He spoke of the suspension of the Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt Revd Christopher Lowson, during a 20-month safeguarding investigation (News, 5 February), a “disproportionate handling” that had left the Bishop “somewhat broken”, and of the cathedral Chancellor, Canon Paul Overend, whose suspension had lasted 789 days (News, 18 June). He also mentioned the case of Bishop George Bell (News, 24 January 2019).

He concluded: “I pray devoutly that this Measure will enable us to get the balance right, but it is crucial for the reputation of the Church of England, which is going through a rough patch at the moment. I have not lost my faith, but I have come close to losing my faith in the Church of England from the experiences I have witnessed in the last few years.”

The Measure, which received final approval in the General Synod in April (News, 30 April) and responds to a recommendation by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), requires the House of Bishops to issue “a code of practice for relevant persons on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults”.

It replaces the existing duty to have “due regard” to safeguarding guidance with the duty to “comply with” requirements imposed by the code. Relevant persons include anyone whose work “to any extent relates to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults”. The Measure includes a power for the bishop to suspend a churchwarden who fails to comply.

In his response to the two speeches, Bishop Henderson said: “I would be the first to put my hand up and say that we have not been getting things right, and the national safeguarding team is seeking to improve its way of working. There are a number of cases that have been referred to which are inexcusable, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, in particular, has expressed his deep regret over the 20-month suspension of the Bishop of Lincoln, and has expressed that that should be something that is never, ever repeated.”

He was “horrified” by Lord Lexden’s account of Fr Griffin’s treatment.

He continued: “There are cases where, sometimes, a person who has just not complied with a particular line of guidance has been treated as though they themselves are a safeguarding risk. That is an unacceptable comparison, and there needs to be a distinction drawn between the two.”

Lord Lexden pressed Bishop Henderson for a response to the revelation by the coroner in Fr Griffin’s case that she had been urged not to include in her report “any concerns that may be taken as a criticism of clerics or staff for not filtering or verifying allegations”.

Bishop Henderson agreed that this was “reprehensible and unacceptable. One of the big issues has been the whole matter of cover-up and trying to silence voices. That is a very clear example and should never, ever be repeated.”

Last month, Lambeth Palace and the diocese of London admitted to a catalogue of errors that led to Fr Griffin’s death (News, 27 August).

The investigation into Fr Griffin began when the head of operations of the diocese of London, Martin Sargeant, retired in 2019. Mr Sargeant had met the Archdeacon of London, the Ven. Luke Miller, in February, to undertake what the coroner’s report refers to as a “‘brain dump” of information that he had acquired over the preceding 20 years.

The information became the Two Cities Audit report 2019. In total, 42 members of the clergy in London diocese are named in the report, and references range from “descriptions of past convictions that had been dealt with and recorded, through current safeguarding concerns that might or might not have been acted upon, to what witnesses described as gossip . . . The origin of the information in the entries was in places obvious and factual, but in places entirely nebulous.”

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, has since written to the other 41 members of the clergy listed in the document. She states that there are “no matters that required a complaint under the CDM”, nor any “outstanding action . . . Nevertheless, we have committed to contacting individually any member of the clergy affected to provide further reassurance.”

She has offered to send anyone named a copy of the information that pertains to them, with references to third parties redacted. Clergy may also request face-to-face meetings with the Bishop’s adviser, the Ven. Rosemary Lain-Priestly, and the Area Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent. Pastoral support has been offered.

“I realise it will be disturbing to learn that your name appears in the document,” Bishop Mullally writes. “You are in my prayers as are all of those who knew and loved Fr Alan.”

Earlier this year, the Vicar of St John’s, Kensal Green, the Revd David Ackerman, resigned as a London diocesan clergy safeguarding support (Letters, 25 June). This week, he also resigned from an elected place representing clergy on the Two Cities Area Council

Last month, he wrote a letter to the Archbishop Cranmer blog, in which he spoke of a “crisis of trust within the diocese of London”.

He also gave an account of a Past Cases Review conducted in the diocese in which “clergy were asked to survey parish files to discover if there were any references to safeguarding issues that remained undiscovered and then sign a form stating whether in our opinion someone might pose a risk in the future. . . Although I found no such files I refused to sign a form saying that I should judge whether someone was a threat. . .

“My own view is that I take safeguarding so seriously that I no longer have confidence in the diocese or the Church of England having its own safeguarding departments or professionals.”

I have had the honour of serving on the Ecclesiastical Committee for a few years, but I am afraid I cannot continue my membership of it. I can no longer support the Clergy Discipline Measure, in view of the harm it is capable of inflicting on innocent clergy caught up in sex abuse allegations. Doubts about the Church’s capacity to devise a fair and just system for dealing with accusations of sex abuse laid against its clergy have long been simmering in my mind, not least because of the terrible way in which the reputation of the great George Bell, to whom my noble friend referred, was damaged—and damaged so unfairly. But worry and concern have now given place to total despair; my faith in the Church’s institutional integrity has been completely broken.

“The presumption of innocence is a fundamental principle of English law over many centuries, but in recent years it has been honoured in the breach by those we normally expect to set an example.
If Keir Starmer wishes to be a knight then he must behave as a knight. Let him read Chaucer’s famous portrait of the Knight in the General Prologue and reflect upon it.
The present Archbishop of Canterbury has fallen short of his high estate in calling into question the reputation of the illustrious Bishop of Chichester, George Bell

Dr Gerald Morgan OM FTCD

“The whole thing just smacks of an attempt to silence people within a system which everyone admits is broken”

Rev. Andrew Foreshew-Cain Reply

“The “system” may well be broken, but it has been operating within the Church for many centuries. An amended Code of Practice will change nothing until the centuries-old operating system is amended. That requires identifying those who run the system. Good luck with that”

Richard W. Symonds

PROFESSOR ANTHONY MADEN AND THE BISHOP BELL CASE

Professor Anthony Maden

PHOTOGRAPHY: BLAKEEZRACOLE.COM

THE CARLILE REVIEW – DECEMBER 2017

  1. On the 9 March 2015 Graham Tilby as Core Group Chairman sent an email to
    some, but surprisingly not all members, outlining the proposed decision-making
    process regarding public disclosure. His emphasis was on:
    (i) The view of Carol and the potential psychological impact of disclosure by
    public announcement upon her.
    (ii) What evidence was there that there may be other complainants?
    (iii) Do other public agencies regard such announcements as being in the
    public interest?
    (iv) What is Church policy on public announcements?
    (v) What is the potential impact on the family/reputation of the deceased
    (given that he cannot offer his own defence)?
  2. The third meeting of the Core Group was on the 10 March 2015. Gemma
    Wordsworth was present on this occasion, in her role as Independent Domestic
    and Sexual Violence Adviser seconded to the Diocese. Also additional
    compared with the previous meeting was Gabrielle Higgins, who had
    succeeded Angela Sibson as Diocesan Secretary. In addition Graham Tilby
    attended for the first time, having succeeded Jill Sandham. Rachel Harden
    attended again, having attended the first but not the second meeting. Absent
    compared with the previous meeting were The Bishop of Horsham and Messrs
    Booth, Sandham, Sibson, Wood and Salimi.
  3. This was an unacceptable change in membership of the Group, given their
    responsibility and the requirement for consistency. Factual as well as tactical
    and procedural decisions were required of the Group, and attendance should
    have been a priority – a three-line whip. I appreciate that there were changes
    of personnel, illness, personal reasons for various non-attendances. My
    criticisms in this connection are not of individuals concerned, but of the fact of
    inconsistency in the Group. In a situation where important fact-finding
    46
    challenges are required, consistency of membership is important – even if it
    means reducing the size of the group and obtaining a broader spectrum of
    outside advisers.
  4. At this meeting a summary of the report of Professor Maden was provided to
    the members. I do not understand why it was decided not to give them the full
    report. The summary does not provide the full picture of Professor Maden’s
    comments on credibility. Some members of the Group had seen the full report:
    thus the members were not all possessed of the same information relevant to
    key decisions.
  5. The parts of Professor Maden’s report dealing generally with credibility were as
    follows:
    Summary of Opinion
    The delays in reporting in this case are exceptional. Memory is not reliable over such
    long periods of time and the only way to establish that the allegations are true would
    be through corroborating evidence.
    The Claimant had an unhappy childhood …… There are no current mental health
    problems and she has lived a normal life with no significant mental health problems
    for over 30 years.
    No mental health problems can be attributed to the material abuse and it has not
    affected the Claimant’s life.
    No treatment is indicated.
    She has never lacked the mental capacity to complain. She has never had a mental
    health problem that would have prevented her from complaining. The delay has
    caused enormous problems for the expert asked to assess the case.
    Opinion
    General Comments
    I found the Claimant to be an apparently straightforward woman of good character. I
    have no reason to believe that the material allegations are a conscious fabrication.
    However, there are enormous problems for the expert arising from the fact that the
    Claimant is now assessed 63 years after the material events. The alleged abuse was
    not reported until over 40 years after the material events.
    Memory is not reliable over such long periods of time. Recall is an active mental
    process in which memories tend to become distorted with time to fit the individual’s
    beliefs, needs and values. Both the content and the meaning of recollections change
    47
    with time. Events can and do acquire a significance years later that they did not have
    at the time.
    I can expand on these problems if it would assist the Court. The distorting and
    sometimes creative nature of recall has been recognised since the work of Bartlett in
    the 1940s. This and much of the subsequent research is summarised in works such
    as that by Sabbagh (2009), Schachter (2007) and Fernyhough (2013). It is a
    consistent finding of research in this field that these problems with recall are unrelated
    to questions of honesty, integrity, intelligence or level of education. The consequence
    is that neither the individual nor anybody else can test the reliability and accuracy of a
    recollection except by reference to other sources of information.
    The Royal College of Psychiatrists, in common with similar professional bodies in
    other countries, recognises that in some cases so-called “false memories” of abuse
    may arise. The emphasis in the College document on the subject (Brandon et al, 1997)
    is on such memories arising during therapy but the literature cited above gives no
    reason to believe the problems associated with recall of distant events are limited to
    therapeutic situations. Therapy is simply one of the many influences on the individual’s
    beliefs, needs and values that shape and determine memories.
    Taking that into account, my advice to the Court based on my interpretation of the
    research is that after so many years there is no way of determining without reference
    to corroborating information whether or not recall is accurate. I cannot say whether the
    allegations are a so-called “false memory” but equally I cannot say they are an
    accurate recollection of what happened. The onus is on the Claimant to establish that
    her recollection of what went on between about 1947 and 1952 is accurate. I do not
    know how she can do that without reference to corroborating information but it is an
    issue for the Court to decide.
    The psychiatric expert’s contribution is limited. I note that …. She had been living a
    normal life in a happy marriage since ….. During the course of her first marriage she
    was …… abused. It is very likely that those experiences affected her recall of the
    earlier, alleged events. After the 1995 complaint, she did not experience any
    deterioration in her mental health, as often happens when there is disclosure of abuse
    after many years. She carried on with her life as normal. Memories of the abuse were
    not triggered by her own experience of bringing up children, as often happens in such
    cases.
    Another problem with civil claims made so long after the material events is that they
    are an invitation to engage in a process of retrospective re- attribution. It is a natural
    tendency to look for meaning in one’s life and to impose meaning on events if
    necessary or helpful for one reason or another. One looks back at one’s life and reinterprets events, attaching to them a significance they did not have before and that
    they may not deserve. It is a particularly tempting prospect when things go wrong in
    one’s life. It can be even more tempting if the re-attribution leads to the responsibility
    for any problems being attached to others rather than to one’s own decisions. It is also
    a process in which anybody can engage.
    48
    No matter how successful a life, most people when looking back over 40, 50 or 60
    years will be able to identify things that could have been done better or could have
    turned out better. They will identify personality characteristics they would like to
    change. The distorting effects of memory reinforce this process. It can be particularly
    difficult to remember emotions or motivations after many years. None of this has much
    to do with mental health or psychiatric problems, which are the central issues for a
    psychiatrist. Psychiatrists have expertise in mental health problems but not in
    explaining why a person without a mental disorder takes one decision rather than
    another.
    In the present case, the Claimant looks back on a life that for the first 30 years or so
    was often unhappy. There is an obvious temptation to seek to (consciously or
    unconsciously) allocate the blame for that unhappiness to the actions of others in the
    distant past.
    The time spans in this case are immense when considering complex issues of
    causation. For example, by my calculations the Claimant left her [first] husband after
    .. years of marriage in about …. Erin Pizzey opened her first women’s refuge [[shortly
    afterwards] and did not publish her ground- breaking book on domestic violence
    (Scream Quietly or the Neighbours will Hear) until about 1975. There is no need to
    invoke a personality defect or any other psychological characteristic to explain why a
    woman of that era stayed so long with a violent husband – particularly when she did in
    fact leave him at a time when there was probably little or no support for her to call
    upon.
    The Claimant strikes me as a sympathetic and in many ways admirable woman. She
    does not suffer from a personality disorder. I have no doubt that she 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.
    In an attempt to assist the Court, for the purposes of diagnosis I assume the Court
    finds the Claimant was abused as she now alleges.
  6. As noted previously, the issue of credibility was not part of the instructions given
    to Dr Freedman, and accordingly was not addressed as an issue in her report.
    Paula Jefferson, plainly a key adviser to but not a member of the Group,
    informed the meeting of Professor Maden’s good reputation for balance. She
    said that there was no reason to regard Carol as making anything up, but that
    false memories can occur. This fell short of the professor’s view that he could
    not exclude the risk of false memories in this case. Colin Perkins provided his
    interpretation of the full report, which he had read – that much of the
    reservations raised by Professor Maden were about causation and quantum;
    49
    and that the unreliability of memory was not specific to Carol but is something
    that is raised in general with these types of claims. He had read a lot of accounts
    of this nature: false accounts tend to be an amalgamation of the worst
    newspaper headlines. Carol had given a consistent account, so his view was
    that it was unlikely that it was entirely false.
  7. In my view, the members of the Group who had not read the full report were left
    in no position to question what they were told.
  8. Given the comments of Professor Maden cited above, had there been full
    knowledge of them in the Group, my expectation would have been that the
    majority would have steered back towards a fuller evidential investigation of the
    claim. This is an important example of what, earlier in this review, I called
    ‘oversteer’.
  9. Arun Arora raised the issue of the standard of civil proof, the balance of
    probabilities. Mr Perkins then read from the police’s view set out in paragraph
    137 above. He said that they believed Carol, and that there was nothing to
    challenge her credibility. If the evidence is considered credible, then it is
    reported as a detected crime, as had happened in this case. However, Mr Arora
    added that there could be a number of reasons why a crime would be reported
    as detected, including police statistics, and this should be kept in mind.
  10. Gabrielle Higgins responded in relation to the balance of probabilities. She
    pointed out that there had been no other allegations: Mr Tilby responded that
    there might be only a single victim. Ms. Higgins emphasised Carol’s very young
    age at the time complained of, the possibility of false memory, and the possible
    contradiction between Carol saying to Professor Maden that Bishop Bell told
    her to tell nobody, but that she said she had told [the person she visited]. In Ms.
    Higgins’s view, false memory could be an issue; and she reported that the
    Bishop of Chichester was uncomfortable about accepting the claim. Paula
    Jefferson suggested that a Court if hearing the case would take into account
    the misgivings expressed by Ms. Higgins.
  11. John Rees asked if costs (and presumably some damages) could be paid on a
    ‘no liability’ basis.
  12. There was a discussion of a possible settlement involving a confidentiality
    clause. Paula Jefferson observed that they were difficult to enforce. In any
    event, the Archbishop’s Visitation Report to the Diocese had recommended
    strongly that confidentiality clauses should not be added to settlements.
    50
  13. There was then a vote among those present. A majority expressed the view
    that, on the balance of probabilities, indecency had taken place and this
    therefore justified considering a settlement.
  14. There followed a discussion about the issue of an apology, and that this should
    be by letter from the Bishop of Chichester, or possibly face to face. However,
    this was a matter for further consideration.
  15. Once again, this Core Group meeting progressed without adequate advocacy
    or significant consideration of the interests of Bishop Bell, or of the real
    adequacy of what was described as the investigation. Nor was detailed
    consideration given to the possibility of an attempt to deny liability, to see
    whether a claim would actually be pursued or not. Indeed, the possibility of
    fighting the claim was not considered in a structured way at any time.
  16. As indicated above, the possibility of a confidential settlement was rejected. I
    consider this further at paragraphs 51-52 above and 268 below.
  17. Not considered at any time was a litigation risk or ‘nuisance value’ settlement
    with a clear denial of liability, referred to further below. This would have involved
    paying a sum of damages and costs on the clear and explicit basis that it was
    a less costly option than fighting the case.
  18. There followed further delay. During that period, in June 2015, there was further
    publicity adverse to the Diocese, when a retired Eastbourne vicar Robert Coles
    had sixteen months’ imprisonment added to a previous eight year sentence for
    offences relating to boys.
  19. The fourth meeting of the Core Group was on the 28 July 2015. This meeting
    was attended by a diminishing number of members. Kate Singleton, a member
    of the Church safeguarding staff was added. Saira Salimi and the Bishop of
    Horsham attended. From the previous meeting, Bishop Stock, John Rees (who
    may well have been indisposed), Gemma Wordsworth (who worked mornings
    only) and Gabrielle Higgins dialled into the meeting. .
  20. On this occasion, the agenda was short. The solicitor Paula Jefferson had been
    negotiating with Tracey Emmott. The claim could be settled for damages of
    between £15-20,000. An offer had been made of £16,800. As part of the
    settlement, Claimant’s costs of around £15,000 would be payable in addition to
    the damages. There would be a written letter of apology from the Bishop of
    Chichester. There was no desire for publicity on Carol’s part personally, and
    her solicitor would have to be forewarned of any press release.
    51
  21. The meeting decided to progress with the settlement, if possible by the end of
    the following month. There should be a joint letter signed by The Archbishop of
    Canterbury and The Bishop of Chichester, and the latter should offer to meet
    Carol in September. A draft of the letter was to be circulated to the Group
    presumably for the purpose of comment, to include recognition of ‘acts of
    indecency’, acknowledging her correct recollection of abuse, and referring to
    the poor response in 1995.
  22. There was a discussion of the issue of public announcement. Several contraindications were mentioned, including that there was no other reported victim
    nor any history of other concerns. On the other side of the equation, the meeting
    addressed the ‘Principle of Transparency – in the interests of episcopal
    openness’, and also the understanding that Carol’s solicitor was likely to make
    some form of public notification.
  23. The meeting’s decision was as follows:
    On the balance of probabilities, the Core Group believed that we could not rule out
    other victims, who may be of a similar age to the complainant. It was agreed to seek
    a third party independent professional opinion based on an anonymous outline of the
    case. GT to contact Donald Findlater from Lucy Faithfull Foundation in the first
    instance, CP to formulate a summary of the case to be shared.
    It was agreed that given any form of public acknowledgement, that there would be
    potentially large scale media interest given subject’s involvement with Kinder
    Transport, Jewish Community and Holocaust Education Trust.
  24. Arun Arora was to draft the initial version of the media statement, and to consult
    the press officer at Lambeth Palace and the Communications Officer in
    Chichester. Colin Perkins was to notify public authorities of the intention to
    release a media statement. A ‘mapping exercise’ was to be undertaken about
    areas of involvement (impact) and possible family members. Carol was to be
    forewarned of any media release after settlement. The Group was to reconvene
    on 9 September at Church House in London to consider in more detail the
    impact of public disclosure based on the mapping exercise and agree the
    apology letter.
  25. The Core Group next met (fifth meeting) on the 9 September. On this occasion
    The Bishop at Lambeth, Jane Dodds, Gemma Wordsworth and a minute taker
    were those present who had not attended the previous meeting. The Bishop of
    Horsham had attended the previous meeting but was absent this time.
    Apologies were given by John Rees, and by Ailsa Anderson. Ms. Anderson was
    Head of Communications as Lambeth Palace; it is puzzling as to why she gave
    apologies, as she had never featured in the Core Group before.
    52
  26. Of those who attended the very first Core Group meeting of the 9 May 2014,
    absent on the 9 September 2015 were The Bishop of Chichester, The Bishop
    of Horsham, Angela Sibson, John Booth and Jill Sandham. All of these five
    individuals held significant roles and might have made contributions if present.
    Apparently the Bishop of Chichester and John Booth were not invited to this
    meeting; and I have been told that Angela Sibson and Jill Sandham no longer
    held significant roles.
  27. At this meeting it was revealed that the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, who had been
    asked to help, would not be able to provide a full, independent risk assessment
    of the kind discussed at the previous meeting: they were not willing to be quoted
    even if they provided information because no formal risk assessment was being
    prepared.
  28. Carol’s solicitors had agreed a settlement in the sum of £16,800 damages plus
    £15,000 solicitor’s costs. A letter of apology from The Bishop of Chichester was
    to be delivered personally by the Bishop to Carol. She would like to engage with
    Church communications, and wished to receive a timeline of action and any
    statements.
  29. The draft apology letter had been discussed and changed in a series of emails
    and had been agreed in principle. Colin Perkins was concerned that the letter
    should be ‘heartfelt’, and that it was better to let staff to set the parameters and
    the Bishop to write the letter. There would be a separate and public apology
    statement by the Church. This strategy was supported fully by The Archbishop
    of Canterbury.
  30. It was emphasised at the meeting that the Church should be seen to have a
    robustly supportive policy for survivors.
  31. There was a perceived problem that people such as the journalist Peter
    Hitchens, who recently had described Bishop Bell as a personal hero, would
    regard the Church as ‘caving in’ and would cause a media storm if the Church
    was insufficiently robust in its position. In this context, it was recommended that
    it was important that the Church openly should say that it had ‘settled a claim’,
    so that it was clear ‘there has been a legal test and an investigative threshold
    has been set’.
  32. Arun Arora advised that they needed a report or academic journal article
    supporting the position that ‘an offender like GB’ was very likely to reoffend,
    and therefore there were very likely to be other victims – this would support the
    need for disclosure. They needed to be able to quote the names of
    experts/papers etc. if/when asked by the press to explain their decisions.
    53
    Without established expertise, he said, they could be accused of jumping to
    conclusions, and could be challenged by the House of Bishops. The Church
    could not afford to look as shambolic as the police in the Ted Heath case.
    Rachel Harden said they needed a one-line answer to the question as to the
    evidential basis on which they settled the claim. Paula Jefferson responded that
    they had obtained an independent psychiatric report and had tested the
    evidence.
  33. Rachel Harden is minuted as having stated that they had failed to identify any
    living members of Bishop Bell’s family, and that the risk of family coming
    forward was low. This was later revised in the Minutes to read:
    A review of records at Lambeth Palace Library was undertaken. RH confirmed that the
    Bells had no children. However, there may be nieces or nephews alive and their
    descendants who may or may not come forward.
  34. That confirms that there was no or almost no effort to identify descendants.
    Some do exist, as I was able to discover with ease.
  35. There was an extensive discussion about the Bishop Bell name day and his
    name on buildings and institutions. The removal of these items of recognition
    would be a painful process.
  36. The communications strategy was discussed, with a target date of the 30
    September for the press release.
  37. On the 10 September 2015 Paula Jefferson produced a Note summarising the
    reasons for negotiating a settlement, with the relevant background information.
    Material extracts from the Note are at Annex F below.
  38. On the 17 September 2015 The Bishop of Chichester The Rt Revd Dr Martin
    Warner wrote to Carol the letter of apology contained in Annex A below.
  39. On the 7 October Peter Ball was sentenced to a term of imprisonment for
    offences of misconduct in public office arising from sexual abuse of young men
    under his episcopal influence. That case generated an enormous amount of
    media interest.

THE CHRONOLOGY

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

Featured post

SEPTEMBER 11 2021 – SHAME ON ECCLESIASTICAL INSURANCE GROUP [EIG] AND PRAISE FOR AN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST

Award for Investigative Journalist supporting Abuse Survivors: Issues for the Church of England

Stephen Parsons

by Gilo and Tony

Tony and Gilo are members of the Church of England’s Survivor Reference Group. They have done much work together to bring necessary daylight to the unethical operations of the Church’s legal and insurer framework. They were both also the catalysts for the Interim Support Scheme. It was their work with an advocate which created the template for the ISS which is now helping many dozens of survivors, and growing exponentially all the time. 

The 2021 Headlinemoney Awards took place in the City of London this past week. These awards celebrate exceptional journalism from across the UK’s financial press and media. Headlinemoney website states that a central aspect of these awards is that “all the winners are decided by their peers following an extensive submission, shortlisting and judging process.” This is the industry recognising and validating its own, and signalling worthy journalists as voices to watch. 

Jen Frost of Insurance Post has written half a dozen articles on the complex and often difficult-to-report experiences that survivors have of the insurance response to our situations. Frost won two awards at this week’s Headlinemoney event. The first, for General Insurance Journalist of the Year, was shared jointly with Dean Sobers of WhichMoney. 

The second for Story of the Year Award was for her reporting on Tony’s case and the courageous exposure of the litigation strategies of Paula Jefferson (Berrymans Lace Mawer BLM) and Ecclesiastical Insurance (EIG). See the story below.  

https://www.postonline.co.uk/claims/4602976/ecclesiastical-faces-fresh-allegations-of-unethical-treatment-as-case-of-suicide-watch-claimant-comes-to-light

Why is this significant? It is the industry recognising Jen Frost as a serious investigative journalist. And crucially it is recognition of the valid criticism ranged at BLM and EIG for their unethical and aggressive litigation strategies in this case. Standouts in the story were Paula Jefferson’s use of a medical expert who delivered a report on behalf of the Church without even meeting the survivor. This was swiftly followed by sudden withdrawal of an earlier settlement offer whilst the survivor was in hospital on suicide watch. Causal percentages were applied in a derisory manner. Frost’s other reports also referenced callous language used about survivors by Ecclesiastical and BLM. 

There will be embarrassment in many quarters. Not least for Mark Hews CEO of EIG who has been feverishly rescuing his company’s reputation with a £million giveaway to charities and a renewed effort to win the loyalty of clergy with sabbatical grants. 

There will be acute embarrassment for Paula Jefferson who must by now be wishing she had acted with a modicum of ethical awareness in this as in many other cases. Jefferson will be aware that her working methods and the culture she has engendered at BLM has brought considerable damage to the reputation of their client the Church of England. We understand that EIG has been given clear instruction from the Church that any further deployment of Professor Tony Maden in these cases must now be considered unacceptable and unwelcome. Maden was for a long time Jefferson’s constant travel companion in the defence of other institutions in addition to the Church of England. It seems they worked in tandem and regularly deployed bewildering arguments such as ‘genetic predisposition’ and ‘cognitive predisposition’ in an alarming number of cases. In lay terms, the argument goes like this – the survivor was already pre-programmed through genetic history (birth, parental history) to develop such mental health conditions as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, anxiety, bi-polar condition, etc. And abuse had little or nothing to do with it. You will see they used the argument against Phil Johnson below.

https://www.postonline.co.uk/claims/7681106/former-broadmoor-psychiatrist-faces-investigation-for-role-in-ecclesiastical-abuse-claims

Abuse survivors, who typically have tried to suppress the trauma of the experiences for years (many for decades), need particular sensitivity and hand holding whilst within the civil claims process.  Re-counting and re-living our experiences, as is necessary for the process, is extremely triggering and can render the survivor re-traumatised, muted and vulnerable from the cumulative impact and protracted timeline of it all. Church of England survivors instead, have been met by BLM lawyers, in expensive corporate suits, smartly disguising the strategy and ethical intention of a gangster’s disgruntled Rottweiler. The Church of England has been complicit in this gangsterism and then pretended disdainfully that this gangsterism has nothing to do with it, its hands are clean. 

In Tony’s case there was an application of jiggery pokery abstract mathematics which resulted in a 5% causal figure – all of which had no relation whatsoever to his experience. These methods have been routine in the circus practised by Jefferson and her partners. This carefully calculated adversarial operation has managed the reputation and purse strings of their client.  But this has been wholly at the expense of survivors who have had life-long impact arrogantly and patronisingly belittled, resulting in further bullying, betrayal and abuse of power.

This award should be embarrassing for Archbishop Welby and other bishops (Paul Butler, Martin Warner, and others) who were first told of Jefferson’s and EIG’s unethical tactics many years ago by Phil Johnson. It will be embarrassing for Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, who had a golden opportunity to address the behaviours of the Church’s insurer following the Church of England’s Elliott Review – but chose instead to walk away and silence every request that the Church address the public dissembling by EIG. Ditto the NST who during the Graham Tilby era did likewise, presumably under instruction from their managers. Survivors were left to fend for ourselves against a cruel system of reabuse, and struggle to bring daylight to what had been going on. 

It should be particularly embarrassing for William Nye, Secretary General of Archbishops’ Council, who has presided over a distinctly seedy culture in Church House of direct complicity with the insurer in a circus of reputation management. Under his watch Church House comms, legal department and disturbingly, the NST, all took part in a ‘retranslation’ of review recommendations for the purposes of reputation management for the insurer and the Church. 

http://survivingchurch.org/2020/09/15/thoughts-on-the-elliott-review-translation-by-archbishops-council/

And yet despite the efforts of all involved within Church House to airbrush this from history.. a plucky young journalist has now been recognised by her industry peers for her exposure of the shadowy and unethical underbelly of what passes for civil litigation defence in this country in relation to survivors of abuse. The industry itself is having to wake up. Frost’s award follows hard on the heels of the Association of British Insurers issuing new guidelines to its members on many of these unethical practices that Frost has helped expose. 

https://www.postonline.co.uk/claims/7868456/abi-publishes-child-sexual-abuse-claims-handling-code-in-response-to-inquiry

The Church is now having to create a Redress Fund in the region of £500m to £1billion to meet its responsibility for the repair of so many lives abused and institutionally re-abused and damaged. Ecclesiastical Insurance and its owner AllChurches Trust is being called upon by us to give £100m towards this Redress Fund as a mark of corporate repentance for its serial re-abuse of survivors. 

Whether or not the Church continues to use the services of Paula Jefferson is up to them, but survivors have insisted that Jefferson and BLM are kept well away from any involvement in the Redress. Her approach to the care and repair of survivors is considered offensive and grotesque by us and renders her unfit to be involved in further work with survivors.

As to Maden? In April this year a new Practice Direction 1A protecting vulnerable witnesses came into effect  (https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part01/practice-direction-1a-participation-of-vulnerable-parties-or-witnesses).  Designed to specifically ensure that both sides of the civil case are on equal footing.  It will significantly improve the handling of vulnerable parties.  For the first time claimants can challenge what they might perceive as adversarial tactics if they give good reason why.  This does not address past cases, but has already had an impact as the following approved court judgement from Liverpool County Court earlier this year demonstrates:

“I have come to the conclusion on balance that her seeing Professor Maden, in view of the information out there on him, in view of his acting for high profile Defendants, in view of his CV and the balance of his Defendant work, on the balance of probabilities would be likely to impede the evidence of the Claimant given to him. I, therefore, accede to the request that the Defendant should have a consultant psychiatrist of their choosing but not Professor Maden.”

Ouch!

We suspect that any embarrassment any of the above experience will remain hidden. The Church has been fearful of acknowledging its part played in the gangsterism of its lawyers and insurer. And has a remarkable ability to absorb embarrassment and pretend it is not there. But they must now move on swiftly with the repair and rebuilding of lives.

We close by saying Award Well Deserved! Congratulations Jen Frost. 

Tony and Gilo

COMMENTS

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds

Gilo and Tony Surviving Church Award for Investigative Journalist supporting Abuse Survivors: Issues for the Church of England

Perhaps this investigative journalist would consider investigating the pivotal role played by the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group [and ‘associates’] in the long-running Bishop Bell scandal?Last edited 18 hours ago by Richard W. Symonds Reply

Gilo

Gilo Reply to Richard W. Symonds 

As an insurance journalist working within the industry, Jen Frost would be unlikely to investigate the Bell case…. much as her investigative acumen might unearth interesting facets of the Church’s response. What is embarrassing for the Church though is that three agents employed in that review – Ecclesiastical, Jefferson, Maden – all come off looking pretty dodgy from her reports about their practices regarding survivors. I list her main reports below August 2021

https://www.postonline.co.uk/claims/7868456/abi-publishes-child-sexual-abuse-claims-handling-code-in-response-to-inquiry Sept 2020

https://www.postonline.co.uk/claims/7681106/former-broadmoor-psychiatrist-faces-investigation-for-role-in-ecclesiastical-abuse-claims July 2020

https://www.postonline.co.uk/claims/7652861/briefing-ecclesiasticals-child-abuse-claims-shame-ceo-hews-admission-too-little-too-late July 2020

https://www.postonline.co.uk/claims/4276536/revealed-leaked-emails-show-ecclesiastical-staff-using-callous-language-over-child-abuse-claims Feb 2020

https://www.postonline.co.uk/claims/4602976/ecclesiastical-faces-fresh-allegations-of-unethical-treatment-as-case-of-suicide-watch-claimant-comes-to-light

Maden, where he features in her investigative reporting does not I think come across as particularly replete with integrity or scruple. The genetic predisposition argument he used against Phil Johnson (which we know he has used with frequency in other cases) is really a very strange device.

It would seem that what comes across is a certain amount of duplicity in a range of unethical strategies played out upon survivors when the Church has carefully looked elsewhere.

I suspect these agents may have been careful to mind their Ps and Qs in the Bell case. The situation was extremely high profile, controversial, and fell under widespread and critical scrutiny.

Gilo

Gilo Reply to Gilo 

Correction:
What is embarrassing for the Church though is that three agents regularly employed by the Church…

(EIG were not involved in the Bell case)

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge Reply to Richard W. Symonds 

Richard: Did EIG have an involvement? I understood that the claim was uninsured and for that reason was ‘handled’ wholly in house by the C of E. I no longer have a copy of the Carlile report. That investigation was so thorough and catalogued in detail all the shortcomings of the investigation, but I don’t remember any reference to EIG in an advisory role. I’m happy to be corrected if I am mistaken. 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Reply to Rowland Wateridge

David Bonehill of the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office EIO [parent company Ecclesiastical Insurance Group EIG] had much to say at the IICSA in his criticism of Lord Carlile’s recommendations regarding Bishop Bell. 

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge Reply to Richard W. Symonds

Richard: Thanks for that link. It makes depressing reading.

Richard W. Symonds Reply to Rowland Wateridge 

From the George Bell Group:

“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 [Professor Maden – Ed] 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”

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 

Professor Maden comes in for much criticism – much of it justified – but it seems his analysis of ‘Carol’ in the Bishop Bell case was right.

From the George Bell Group:

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/tag/professor-anthony-maden/ Reply

George Bell Group’s Martyn Percy:

http://www.georgebellgroup.org/reputation-righteousness-dec-2017/

The Carlile Report

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.

Janet Fife

Janet Fife Reply to Richard W. Symonds 

But if you read Gilo and Tony’s blog on Ecclesiastical Insurance (above), you will see that Prof Maden has been criticised for not taking sufficient trouble to ensure his expert opinions are soundly based. Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Reply to Janet Fife 

I’m sure the criticism of Prof Maden is justified in the ‘Gilo and Tony’ cases, but in the case of ‘Carol’ and Bishop Bell [in which Ecclesiastical Insurance was involved] that criticism does not, in my view, apply.

Prof Maden was consulted as an expert in ‘false memory syndrome’ and he gave his expert opinion in the case of ‘Carol’.

The trouble was Prof Maden’s expert opinion was ignored by the Church of England Core Group, resulting in a miscarriage of justice which still has not been resolved after six long years.

Prof Maden may well have been wrong in many cases, but in the case of ‘Carol’ and Bishop Bell it seems he was right.

Rowland Wateridge Reply to Richard W. Symonds

Richard: if you analyse the articles from Insurance Post linked by Gilo you will find that they are largely criticism of EIO. As far as I can see, only two cases involving Professor Maden are mentioned and both complaints have been dismissed by the General Medical Council. The link I added below in reply to Janet Fife, from March 2021, should be included in the list for fairness.

Richard W. Symonds Reply to Rowland Wateridge 

Thanks for this Rowland.

The last sentence in one of the Insurance Post’s articles is significant – ‘Professor Tony Maden cleared on two counts in insurance expert witness complaints’:

“The GMC further noted in this case: ‘Dr Maden’s fitness to practise is not called into question by a decision made by the legal firm who had instructed him’”

Richard W. SymondsReply to Rowland Wateridge 11 hours ago

Thanks for this Rowland.

The last sentence in one of the Insurance Post’s articles is significant – ‘Professor Tony Maden cleared on two counts in insurance expert witness complaints’:

“The GMC further noted in this case: ‘Dr Maden’s fitness to practise is not called into question by a decision made by the legal firm who had instructed him’” Reply

Susannah Clark

Susannah Clark Reply to Richard W. Symonds 

“Prof Maden may well have been wrong in many cases, but in the case of ‘Carol’ and Bishop Bell it seems he was right.”

There is no ‘right’ confirmation of Bishop Bell’s guilt or innocence.

Stating that some memories can be defective does not mean that ALL memories are defective.

Carol’s allegations were ‘credible’ but I think we have to face the fact that we shall probably never know whether he was guilty of innocent (though technically in legal terms that means he remains legally innocent – which is not the same as factually innocent).

As Maden says, ‘There is no way of determining…’ [without corroborating evidence] ‘whether or not recall is accurate.’

We simply don’t know. We can guess. But we cannot know.

It’s all very sad – and I make no comment on how this all has been handled (which is a separate issue) – because on the one hand there is a reputedly good man’s reputation and living relatives… and on the other hand there is a woman of good character who is widely believed to have been abused (she claims by the Bishop) and who feels her claims are ignored or traduced.

It is not sufficient to say that, because a person had power and a public reputation, that accusations against them are therefore likely to be untrue. As the Carlile Report says in response to supporters of the Bishop who argue this point:

“The perpetrators of sexual abuse can be extraordinarily devious, presenting a carapace of piety and respectability to the outside world; and adverse facts can be concealed skilfully. In other words, the fact that Bishop Bell was (and continues to be) highly regarded by others is not determinative of his guilt or innocence of this allegation.”

People with high status and respect sometimes do bad things. Bishop Bell may not have. Or he may have.

We simply don’t know, and that’s hard for both Carol and for the Bishop’s living relatives. Frankly, it’s never going to be solved.

I hope support can be given to the Bishop’s relatives, but in all compassion to a decent woman who has found herself at the centre of a very public campaign that goes on and on without any means of proving anything, I wish we could leave her in peace, and stick to discussions of process. She must be experiencing a second kind of abuse to be the talking point of such a public campaign.

She’s been abused once – possibly by the Bishop, possibly not – and it seems unfair to expose her painful case further.

Just accept we shall never know, and work on better process in the future. That would be more productive.

Richard W. Symonds Reply to Susannah Clark 

“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 December 2000 – when dismissing the ‘sexual abuse’ case brought against the Southampton football manager David Jones]

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge Reply to Janet Fife 

To restore some balance here, this is a further article from ‘Post’. It merits careful reading, especially what the GMC’s Expert Examiner said about medical experts reporting without meeting a patient face-to-face.

https://www.postonline.co.uk/claims/7813796/professor-tony-maden-cleared-on-two-counts-in-insurance-expert-witness-complaints 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 3 hours ago

The alleged abused [and their defenders] are not always in the right.
The alleged abusers [and their defenders] are not always in the wrong.
That’s one reason why we have Courts of Law [and their defenders].
Thank God for them.

PERSONAL COMMENT BY RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

“Are the abused and ignored thankful for the forensic work done by others in investigating and exposing false and wrongful accusations of abuse? If it wasn’t also for these diligent people, many miscarriages of justice would not have seen the light of day. Sometimes, it is only when false and wrongful accusations are fully investigated do the real abuses come to light”

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SEPTEMBER 9 2020 – “THERE IS PLENTY IN THE BOOK TO SHOW THAT COVER UP, WILFUL BLINDNESS AND BLINKERED LOYALTY WAS EXACTLY WHAT WAS GOING ON” – MARTIN SEWELL

Martin Sewell

Source: Church Times

Bleeding for Jesus. Martin Sewell reflects

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SEPTEMBER 5 2021 – NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS [NDA’S]

The Church and NDAs: when silence is enforced

03 SEPTEMBER 2021

THE Archbishop of Canterbury was asked in April about the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). The night before, the BBC’s Panorama programme had featured an interview with Dr Elizabeth Henry, then the Church’s National Adviser for Minority-Ethnic Anglican Concerns (News 20 April).

She described how a man had filed a grievance with his HR department after being sent a racist image. A decision had been made that the image was not racist, and he left with a “very small compensation”, having been “forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement”.

“I have said many times that I am totally against NDAs,” the Archbishop told Times Radio. “NDAs are unacceptable. I am just horrified by that, and horrified by the fact of racism.”

He and the Archbishop of York had written to “senior people in the administration of the Church, both together, saying ‘no NDAS’. We reinforced that. We’ve been saying it for a long time. I’m very frustrated by it.”

The comments were welcome news to Ben Nicholson, one of the founders of NDAfree. He signed an NDA as part of a settlement agreement with Tearfund in 2018, but later lobbied the charity to be released from it. The charity agreed to this in April, although he is still subject to certain restrictions.

He has since launched, with others subject to NDAs, the #NDAfree campaign, which encourages churches and other organisations to sign its pledge “to never request another party to submit to an NDA . . . [or] use confidentiality agreements in settlements”.

“I was delighted to hear a clear and unequivocal position from the Archbishop,” Mr Nicholson said last week, “but disappointed that it was reactive following exposure by Panorama, with no indication of meaningful follow-through. I believe he was genuinely angry that NDAs continue to be used in the Church of England — although it is of no surprise, since efforts to discuss them at General Synod have been thwarted.”Advertisement

He would like to see the Archbishop encourage all Anglican churches sign up to the #NDAfree pledge, which would be a “show of support to survivors, and demonstrate a genuine commitment to tackling abuse in the churches where he has influence”.

The pledge also includes a promise to follow policies and due processes — including protection of whistleblowers — and to “always investigate wrongdoing, even where a settlement agreement is reached”. Signatories pledge not to use “non-disparagement clauses” with employees or volunteers.

NDAs have been used in employment contracts for decades, with the aim of preventing employees’ sharing information with third parties. They may also be included in settlement agreements in which an employee and employer agree to resolve a dispute and not proceed to a tribunal, in exchange for a financial arrangement.

In recent years, they have been the subject of increasing attention in the light of the #MeToo movement. In 2019, the parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee published the report of an inquiry, The Use of Non-disclosure Agreements in Discrimination Cases, which warned that “allegations of unlawful discrimination and harassment in the workplace are routinely covered up by employers with legally drafted non-disclosure agreements. . .

“The difficulties of pursuing a case at employment tribunal and the substantial imbalance of power between employers and employees mean that employees can feel they have little choice but to reach a settlement that prohibits them speaking out.”

Guidance from the CHS Alliance, a coalition of humanitarian and development organisations, advises that NDAs have “a legitimate reason for existing, protecting the confidentiality of the employees as much as the alleged perpetrator”. It gives several examples of instances in which confidentiality offers protection, including the handling of complaints about sexual exploitation and abuse “where assurances of confidentiality are essential to prevent further harm from occurring”.

But it also outlines the improper use of NDAs: they must not be used “to prevent whistleblowing, reporting of discrimination or harassment, or to cover up inappropriate behaviour or misconduct, particularly if there is a risk of repetition of such behaviour”.

When it comes to NDAs in settlement agreements, typically involving a payment to an employee, the line is: “It’s arguable if this use of donated financial resources is reasonable.” Using NDAs in this way “prevents organisations from resolving underlying and systemic issues and implementing the measures needed to tackle them”, the Alliance suggests. Its advice is that NDAs should not be included as standard in contracts.OTHER STORIESClerics fear to take racism complaints further in C of E, BBC’s Panorama reportsTIME and again the Church of England has “abysmally failed” to address racism within its institution, instead labelling complainants as “troublemakers” and “buying silence” through non-disclosure agreements, the Church’s former National Adviser for Minority-Ethnic Anglican Concerns, Dr Elizabeth Henry, has said

The #NDAfree campaign acknowledges that NDAs have “a legitimate purpose in protecting intellectual property, and occasionally personal data”, but argues that the need for them in churches and Christian organisations is “extremely rare. If your church has a genuine need to protect intellectual property or personal data, this is exempt from the #NDAfree pledge.”

Its FAQ section suggests that relying on an NDA to protect confidential information about vulnerable people is “an admission of failure in earlier processes such as recruitment, supervision, protection of confidential information, ongoing professional training and adherence to policies and procedures. Within your church/organisation, there is a responsibility to ensure that only appropriately trained and trustworthy staff have access to confidential information about vulnerable people.”

Churches and other organisations relying on legal instruments to prevent employees’ and ex-employees’ disclosing confidential information should “ask themselves what is the role of values, trust and relationships”, it suggests.

In June, Tearfund issued an updated statement, promising that it would no longer use NDAs in settlement agreements, and offering to lift them from anyone subject to one “should they wish us to”. It continued: “We recognise that in some cases employees may themselves wish to have a confidentiality clause in a settlement agreement, and in such cases we may consider using one.

“In very exceptional circumstances, some information may need to remain confidential in order to protect the safety, privacy and well-being of other individuals who are vulnerable and to whom we owe a duty of care.”

The statement said that Tearfund had “very rarely used settlement agreements”, but that when they had been used it had been “to allow parties to resolve disagreements and move on after a relationship has irretrievably broken down, or where it has been necessary for employment law purposes”.

Mr Nicholson welcomes the statement “as it gives me hope that change is possible”, but notes that “it has taken three years and a lot of work to get here.”

“Sadly, it’s not enough to just change the policy,” he adds. “There is a need to take responsibility for the damage done by NDAs, and to independently investigate and deal with what NDAs have concealed.”

THE Church Times has spoken to three people who have signed NDAs as part of settlement agreements with C of E dioceses and a Christian charity.


‘If you think this is a good process, why are you ashamed of people knowing about it?’
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THE Revd X signed a confidentiality clause when they accepted a settlement after being dispossessed as a parish priest as part of a pastoral reorganisation. Their comments come as the Church Commissioners await responses to a review of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011.

X describes the process as “appalling from beginning to end”: a rushed consultation was held with little notice and poor communication from the diocese. Many of the parishioners had no post-16 education, and struggled to understand the legal and ecclesiological language used in the consultation documents.

The hearing held by the Church Commissioners in London required an initial outlay of money for an expensive train ticket, and the process itself was “unnecessarily scary — like appearing at the Old Bailey”, X said. “It just feels like it is not an accessible process for anyone from a working-class community.”

Looking back, X feels naïve for having supported the diocese’s plans. None of the mission suggestions put forward by X and the parishioners during the consultation have materialised, despite positive noises from the diocese at the time: “The moment I walked out of the door, they just shelved all of that,” X said.

Although told that they could apply for the post-reorganisation position, X was presented with a job description written that day, which the Archdeacon admitted he had not read. X believes that the successful candidate had long been identified: the leader of a large city-centre resource church near by.

The confidentiality clause permits X to speak to close family members, which precluded them from seeking support from a spiritual director or friend: “It kind of closes down lots of avenues of support, while you’re going through the most hideous thing you’ve ever been through,” X said. X also asks: “If you think this is a good process, why are you ashamed of people knowing about it? If you are doing a process well, then, however painful it may be, people don’t just get angry and frustrated on social media.”

In a recent conversation, X’s fears about the parish were deepened: a man who had been an “absolute stalwart” had been sidelined in the new configuration, telling X: “I live in a council house; why would anyone listen to me?”

‘It is the anthesis to the gospel, which is all about reconciliation’

ELLIE started working as an administrative assistant at a Christian charity in September 2017. A couple of weeks after starting her part time Master’s at Wycliffe Hall, in October 2018, she reports that she was raped by a colleague, 17 years her senior, at the charity where she worked.OTHER STORIESFlawed clergy discipline is ripe for reformMeasure to be proposed would deal with complaints regionally, and be more pragmatic and theologically sound, says Peter Collier

In the first instance, she went to the executive director and his wife in extreme distress. Despite showing her bruises and describing saying “no” to the colleague’s attempts to have penetrative sex, she initially said that the incident was consensual.

She now knows that self-blame is a normal initial response from a woman who has been raped. After a visit to a GP, who recommended referral to the Sexual Assault and Rape Crisis Centre, she went to stay with friends, and reported what had happened to the police six days after the alleged rape.

Ellie was then contacted by the executive director, telling her not to come into work and that she was suspended pending disciplinary action. Among the six reasons listed was “behaviour causing potential reputational damage to the institution”. Even though Ellie gave the director a copy of her report to the police, the organisation continued to pursue dismissal.

At this point, Ellie employed a lawyer, who described the charity’s treatment of her as the worst handling of sexual assault she had ever encountered. In January 2019, Ellie returned to work at the charity, having signed a contract that included an NDA clause, preventing her disclosing anything about the way in which the organisation had handled her disclosure, including their initial decision to dismiss her.

She signed it on Christmas Eve, in need of her salary and in the hope of being able to move on. “I didn’t know what an NDA was,” she recalls. “I was very naïve, but most people don’t know about these things until they know about them. I thought: ‘This is them showing that they now believe me, and they are sorry,’ but the very opposite turned out to be true.”

Having read about low conviction rates for rape, Ellie decided to contact the police and drop her complaint. But, the next month, she discovered through her administrative work that the senior colleague was still supervising students through the charity. This prompted her to resign, reopen her case with the police, and report the charity to the Charity Commission. She also opened an employment-tribunal claim.

The Charity Commission ruled that the charity did not have appropriate safeguarding structures in place, and had failed to report a serious incident to them. Ellie felt unable to pursue the tribunal claim to court, finding the wait for a court date “excruciating”. The charity gave her a relatively small settlement, which covered her legal fees and losses incurred by having to pause her Master’s.Advertisement

Ellie is currently subject to two contracts which include NDA clauses: both the original, signed on Christmas Eve, and another, put in place at the time of her settlement, despite her lawyer’s protest that Ellie found an NDA clause highly inappropriate and unchristian. This second NDA was amended after she refused to sign wording preventing her from speaking negatively about the senior colleague whom she reported had raped her.

Today, she describes the way in which the charity handled her disclosures — the attempt to dismiss her, and their use of NDAs preventing further dialogue — as worse than the abuse itself. “The NDAs mean we have no capacity to move forward and resolve the pain that I have been caused, as we are not even allowed to talk about it,” she says.

“To me, it is the anthesis to the gospel, which is all about reconciliation. It is traumatising. Having honest conversations, listening to one another, all those things that are healthy and right and good — they are closing the door to all those things. That has left me in a lot of pain, more pain than the sexual abuse.”

Today, Ellie is now working in a different Christian charity. She hopes that, by sharing her story, Christian organisations will become aware of the distress caused by the misuse of NDAs.

‘NDAs in the diocese have been used in order to silence clergy’

THE Revd B has a BAME background. He served as priest-in-charge of an Evangelical church in the Province of Canterbury for five years. The church had a complex recent history, and, looking back, he believes that he inherited “a lot of pastoral concerns”.

Four years into his time there, the archdeacon invited him to a meeting. B then learned, “out of the blue”, that he was to be subject to a capability procedure. The code of practice for this, set out under the Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure 2009, states that “the primary purpose of the procedure is to find a way of helping the office holder to improve unsatisfactory performance.”

It is expected, the code states, that “most performance-related matters will be identified and addressed informally, without engaging this procedure”.

During this first meeting, B told the archdeacon about some of the pastoral issues in the church, and that he was aware of “racial tensions”, but felt that the archdeacon took little notice of this. The archdeacon sought to test whether the problem lay in a lack of emotional intelligence.OTHER STORIESReview process of Clergy Discipline Measure criticised by Sheldon HubPROPOSED ground rules for a replacement for the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) have been posted on the Sheldon Hub, the support service for those caught up in the process, led by the Revd Dr Sarah Horsman

On the advice of friends, B engaged a lawyer. The lawyer’s advice was that an employer intending to conduct a capability procedure should first make a commitment to supporting the employee to enhance their capability. The C of E’s own code of practice states that such support can include coaching, counselling, and mediation.

Neither B nor his lawyer, who said that he had identified several flaws in the archdeacon’s handling of the matter, felt that the diocese had offered this assurance. Although B complied with the archdeacon’s request, the diocese never allowed him to see the results. The bishop of the diocese appointed an HR employee from another diocese to take on the case.

The diocese offered him a financial settlement to leave, including a non-disclosure agreement, which he signed. His lawyer’s advice was that “the amount of pain and hurt and devastation that any employee takes against an employer is just not worth it. Take the money, sign, and go.”

B recalls: “Even afterwards, from my point of view, the diocese was pretty brutal. When I resigned, I wrote to the bishop to say: ‘Now that the process is over, I am very happy to come and see you to answer any questions that the diocese might have about what went wrong.’ But he said ‘no’ very firmly on a number of occasions. It was all quite messy and horrible and nasty, really.” The bishop refused to give B permission to officiate in the diocese after his resignation, but gave no reasons.

“I am open to a properly run capability procedure, but I am not open to something where there is no support given according to employment law.” He also feels that none of the incidents of racial prejudice he encountered were acknowledged.

B agrees with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments about the use of NDAs. “It seems to me that NDAs in the diocese have been used in order to silence clergy,” he says. “There is imbalance of power. The diocese will always win — it has money, influence, position, status. I am only one individual.Advertisement

“The whole use and manipulation of NDAs is quite abusive and wrong and unchristian. . . For a Christian organisation to use them so that they are not embarrassed in public seems to be contrary to the principles of truth, honesty, and openness.”

He has written to the diocese to ask it to agree not to use NDAs in future.

THIS month, Christine Hewitt-Dyer, director of people for the National Church Institutions, said: “Confidentiality clauses in agreements are for use only in exceptional circumstances, and are made in line with ACAS guidance on where open processes may not have reached resolution.

“Any agreements entered into by dioceses, cathedrals, or parishes are a matter for the individual, independent organisation, and their employees/office-holders. The NCI Clergy HR team communicates regularly with HR colleagues in the dioceses, and shares NCI HR practice via meetings and newsletters.”

Mr Nicholson, who continues to work with people who have been subject to NDAs, helping them to disclose their stories safely, describes NDAs as “the opposite of our call to be witnesses to the light — the light that brings life.

“NDAs heap institutional abuse on top of already traumatised people, and rely on threats and intimidation, leaving people fearful. By enforcing silence, they actively undermine personal healing and make reconciliation impossible. Meanwhile, they protect perpetrators, leaving them free to continue abusing others.”

ndafree.org

SEPTEMBER 17 2021 – CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TO END MISUSE OF NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS – CHURCH TIMES

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JULY 19 2021 – “TURBULENT PRIEST” – THE VERY REVD PROFESSOR MARTYN PERCY

Turbulent Priest

TURBULENT PRIEST

Martyn Percy. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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SUPPORTERS OF EMBATTLED CHRIST CHURCH DEAN LAUNCH NEW CAMPAIGN TO SAVE HIS CAREER

THINKING ANGLICANS – COMMENTS

Marcus 

I suspect most priests fully expect to be treated as guilty until proved innocent of false abuse allegations and thrown under the bus by bishops (and archdeacons) only concerned to cover their own arses by being seen to have ticked every (self-protecting) box, using the rhetoric of victim protection. I despair of the rotten, incompetent Church hierarchy, which needs wholesale reform and numerical reduction.

Dakingate has shone a valuable light into abuse of (too much) authority.

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JULY 15 2021 – “CHURCH’S APOLOGY” – THE TIMES – LETTER BY RUTH HILDEBRANDT GRAYSON

CHURCH’S APOLOGY


Sir, Why does the Church of England feel it is necessary to repent of 13th century edicts against Jews (News, Jul 13), when it was not in existence itself until the mid-16th century? It is right to express regret about such edicts, but it cannot apologise for something for which it was not responsible.

It would be more fitting if senior clergy would admit their guilt in those situations for which they are responsible. Their mishandling of a child sex abuse allegation against the late bishop George Bell is one example. Despite their conceding that there was a rush to judgment, there has still been no public apology.

It is always easier to make a general apology on behalf of others than it is to admit one’s own wrongdoing.


Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson Sheffield

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JUNE 27 2021 – CANON TILBY ON CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD: “THE MIXTURE OF MALEVOLENCE AND NAIVETE IS TOXIC AND EXTREMELY DISTURBING IN AN INSTITUTION SUPPOSEDLY DEDICATED TO EDUCATION, LEARNING AND HOLINESS” – ANGELA TILBY – CANON EMERITA AT CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL + PETER REISS ON POWER AND ITS ABUSE THEREOF: “THE PROPER URGENCY OF THE CHALLENGE DOES NEED TO BE MATCHED AGAINST DUE PROCESS. THE DIFFICULTY IS THAT THE POWERFUL CAN USE DUE PROCESS TO DELAY AND EVEN DISSEMBLE”

PETER REISS – COMMENT ON ‘SURVIVING CHURCH

This issue (and the issue at Christ Church Oxford where the diocese has complained about comments made), highlights the difficulty when trust has been eroded. Does Oxford Diocese have a point that public speculation is damaging? Should we wait for the Diocese of Winchester or another luminary to comment, and so to control the narrative? The phrase ‘deafening silence’ comes to mind. Bartimaeus had to shout all the louder in order to be heard by Jesus.


By the time things have reached this sort of state, things will be messy and so more complex. The Organisations will have taken legal advice, and many will be using PR firms to manage the issue. Individuals will have been told to be silent and avoid comment.


But within the mix is the imbalance of power and the misuse of power. When you look through the lens of power, the playing field is not level nor are the sides equal. To develop the metaphor, we are looking at asymmetric warfare, though this is to assume an antagonistic context. Experts in conflict-resolution remind us that you first need to gauge the level of conflict and you do not deal with serious conflict in the same way that you might mediate a lesser conflict, or a less entrenched conflict.
Controlling the narrative and silencing dissent is one way to win through; wearing others down through attrition is another. Using both is how the powerful often succeed.


When trust is limited, discussion is defensive, guarded or superficial.
Our instant world, however clamours for an immediate answer – I have a right to know and to know now!. The proper urgency of the challenge does need to be matched against due process. The difficulty is that the powerful can use due process to delay and even dissemble.


It is a more dangerous world when trust has gone, and victims remind us that to claim it can be restored is – almost always – to side with the powerful and their interests and to the detriment of the victim and their voice.

Father Ron Smith 

One can’t help wondering about the spheres of influence that must undoubtedly affect the ongoing culture of advantageous relationships within the C. of E. Perhaps the ‘Old-Boy’ network is giving way to something else here.

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JUNE 26 2021 – THE LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER TIM DAKIN IS “FIRST BISHOP IN THE CHURCH’S HISTORY TO BE SUBJECT OF NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION” – DAILY MAIL

Winchester Cathedral

Wiki Commons

DAILY MAIL – JUNE 26 2021

Bishop on the brink: Bishop of Winchester battles for his job after no-confidence motion | Daily Mail Online

THINKING ANGLICANS – JUNE 26 2021

What next in the Diocese of Winchester? | Thinking Anglicans

GAVIN ASHENDEN

“Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?” How will the Church of England rid itself of its bullying crisis? – Gavin Ashenden

“Tim Dakin appeared to have a limited repertoire in his management skills”

‘SURVIVING CHURCH’ – STEPHEN PARSONS

Return to Winchester and Dakingate – Surviving Church

HAMPSHIRE CHRONICLE

Chronic problems at Winchester Diocese revealed | Hampshire Chronicle

FURTHER INFORMATION

Winchester rebels against its diocesan bishop | Thinking Anglicans

COMMENTS

Hilary Dawes

It all has the feeling of a continuation of the ethos of control that is making the Diocese a thoroughly unpleasant place to be – especially when others are unearthing information from the past that puts recent events into very clear perspective.

PRIVATE EYE

Private Eye No 1549 – 11 June – 24 June 2021

CHURCH NEWS COLLECTION – PRIVATE EYE – NO 1549 – 11 JUNE – 24 JUNE 2021

Winchester woes

BISHOP Tim Dakin is a man on a mission. The ruthless pursuit of his “action plan” for the diocese of Winchester has led to him being dubbed Tim Jong-un. Parish priests are set targets for growth, and those who can’t deliver bums on pews are reprimanded or removed.

The plan has caused great anger and hurt, and the payoffs are said to have cost the diocese up to £500,000. Two years ago, the Channel Islands were removed from Winchester diocese after an irretrievable and expensive breakdown in relations between the bishop and the Dean of Guernsey.

At the end of last month, Dakin “stepped aside” from his duties for six weeks while facing an unprecedented motion of no-confidence at his diocesan synod, after 30 senior priests and lay people complained about a bullying leadership style. With his suffragan bishop also stepping aside in sympathy with the rebels, it’s hard to see how Dakin can find a way back.

The Bishop of Winchester is a key post in the Church of England – one of the five that come with automatic membership of the House of Lords. Dakin’s elevation in 2011 came as a surprise to many. To be appointed bishop without ever having been a parish priest is unusual, but Dakin’s route to the episcopate is unprecedented. Some Anglicans are now re-examining his eclectic CV.

Dakin took a degree from St mark and St John, then a teacher training college and now Plymouth’s second most prestigious university. He spent three years at Oxford as a “researcher” working towards a doctorate, but didn’t pass the confirmation stage and left without any qualification. He moved to Kenya, where his father had founded a Church Army training college. Dakin Jnr was quickly appointed CEO of the college and commissioned as a Church army officer, and then ordained as priest in Nairobi Cathedral. Such an elevation normally follows a rigorous selection process and several years of intensive training, but Dakin appears to have found a short cut.

Last year he was finally awarded his doctorate by the chancellor of the University of Winchester, celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh. The bishop, who also happens to be a governor of the university, skipped the tiresome drudgery of original research by getting the PhD from an anthology of his past. Fittingly enough, Dakin is also the Church of England’s lead bishop for further and higher education.

The Lord Bishop of Winchester Tim Dakin

Wiki Commons

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JUNE 24 2021 – CHRIST CHURCH PERCY-CUTORS PERCY-CUTION OF MARTYN PERCY: ‘PERCY-CUTION COMPLEX’ [+ ‘WINCHESTER WOES’] – PRIVATE EYE – NO. 1549 – 11 JUNE – 24 JUNE 2021

Private Eye No 1549 – 11 June – 24 June 2021

CHURCH NEWS COLLECTION – PRIVATE EYE – NO 1549 – 11 JUNE – 24 JUNE 2021

Percy-cution complex

THE governors of Christ Church, Oxford, are nothing if not persistent in their efforts to force out their dean, Martyn Percy.

In 2018, they accused him of “conduct of an immoral, scandalous or disgraceful nature” – the wording that justifies removal from office under college statutes (Eye 1484) – because of a dispute about “issues surrounding the Dean’s own pay and how it is set”. Percy was completely exonerated in 2019 by an eye-wateringly expensive tribunal under a high court judge, Sir Andrew Smith. I find it difficult to understand the real complaints,” Smith confessed. “Nor can I understand how the Dean can be said to be guilty of culpable behaviour, still less immoral, scandalous or disgraceful conduct.”

Having failed to oust him through the college statutes, in 2020 Percy’s tormentors told the Church of England there were “very serious safeguarding concerns” about him (Eye 1522) because on four occasions students told Percy that they had been abused, but he didn’t report this to the local authority. The students themselves made no complaint about the dean: he had given them the option to pursue their case within or beyond the college, but they chose not to and he respected their wish for confidentiality. Last September a C of E investigation exonerated him, concluding that “the dean acted entirely appropriately in each case”.

Undaunted, in January 2021, the college applied to have him arraigned before a Church of England disciplinary tribunal for allegedly commenting on a woman’s hair, and touching it for a few seconds, after a cathedral service (Eye 1539). But now the appeal court judge who presides over church tribunals has ruled that such a trial would be “entirely disproportionate”. Dame Sarah Asplin said that while she didn’t want to trivialise the complaint, “the incident itself was extremely short, the alleged hair stroking even shorter and the language and the conduct as a whole was not overtly sexual” – and the woman had agreed that she was not “upset in any way”.

Foiled again! But not for long. The Percy-cutors want to subject him to another full-dress college tribunal for “immoral, scandalous or disgraceful” conduct over the hair-touching so they can get rid of him. Christ Church has refused to answer the Eye’s questions about legal bills, but the college is thought to have spent well over £2m on this vendetta – and lost at least as much in cancelled donations and bequests from appalled alumni.

Winchester woes

BISHOP Tim Dakin is a man on a mission. The ruthless pursuit of his “action plan” for the diocese of Winchester has led to him being dubbed Tim Jong-un. Parish priests are set targets for growth, and those who can’t deliver bums on pews are reprimanded or removed.

The plan has caused great anger and hurt, and the payoffs are said to have cost the diocese up to £500,000. Two years ago, the Channel Islands were removed from Winchester diocese after an irretrievable and expensive breakdown in relations between the bishop and the Dean of Guernsey.

At the end of last month, Dakin “stepped aside” from his duties for six weeks while facing an unprecedented motion of no-confidence at his diocesan synod, after 30 senior priests and lay people complained about a bullying leadership style. With his suffragan bishop also stepping aside in sympathy with the rebels, it’s hard to see how Dakin can find a way back.

The Bishop of Winchester is a key post in the Church of England – one of the five that come with automatic membership of the House of Lords. Dakin’s elevation in 2011 came as a surprise to many. To be appointed bishop without ever having been a parish priest is unusual, but Dakin’s route to the episcopate is unprecedented. Some Anglicans are now re-examining his eclectic CV.

Dakin took a degree from St mark and St John, then a teacher training college and now Plymouth’s second most prestigious university. He spent three years at Oxford as a “researcher” working towards a doctorate, but didn’t pass the confirmation stage and left without any qualification. He moved to Kenya, where his father had founded a Church Army training college. Dakin Jnr was quickly appointed CEO of the college and commissioned as a Church army officer, and then ordained as priest in Nairobi Cathedral. Such an elevation normally follows a rigorous selection process and several years of intensive training, but Dakin appears to have found a short cut.

Last year he was finally awarded his doctorate by the chancellor of the University of Winchester, celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh. The bishop, who also happens to be a governor of the university, skipped the tiresome drudgery of original research by getting the PhD from an anthology of his past. Fittingly enough, Dakin is also the Church of England’s lead bishop for further and higher education.

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JUNE 18 2021 – “IT IS DIFFICULT TO BUILD BRIDGES WITH THOSE WHO SEEK TO DESTROY BRIDGES”

“IT IS DIFFICULT TO BUILD BRIDGES WITH THOSE WHO SEEK TO DESTROY BRIDGES” ~ RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

THINKING ANGLICANS


God ‘elp us all 

I note that the press conference for the release of the report by the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel which speaks so powerfully of Institutional Corruption took place at Church House, described thus by Wikipedia: ‘The Church House is the home of the headquarters of the Church of England, occupying the south end of Dean’s Yard next to Westminster Abbey in London’ where General Synod will be meeting next month- a location for prophetic voices speaking truth to power indeed.

Richard W. Symonds

Church House Westminster – “a location for prophetic voices speaking truth to power”:

http://rebuildingbridges.org.uk/conference-proceedings/introduction/

http://rebuildingbridges.org.uk/2018/10/29/october-5-proceedings/

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JUNE 18 2021 – “IS THIS INSTITUTIONAL CORRUPTION?” – CHURCH TIMES LEADER COMMENT

Credit: Sue Overend

‘Out of the Depths Do I Cry’

Leader comment: Is this institutional corruption?

18 JUNE 2021

ON TUESDAY, an independent panel chaired by Baroness O’Loan concluded that the catalogue of failings by the Metropolitan Police when investigating the murder of Daniel Morgan in 1987 constituted institutional corruption. The force had been more concerned about its reputation than about seeking the truth. The panel said: “Concealing or denying failings, for the sake of the organisation’s public image, is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit and constitutes a form of institutional corruption.”

This is a sentence that the Church of England hierarchy would do well to contemplate. It was only when the Church listened to the experience of its Black and ethnic-minority members that it faced up to institutional racism. What would be the conclusion if it listened attentively to the clergy and laity who have been scarred by its dysfunctional complaints procedures?

This week’s account of the experience of the Overends does little justice to the trauma that they clearly suffered over the more than two years since Canon Overend was accused of assaulting a student 22 years earlier. Much of the delay was out of the Church’s hands: the glacial pace of the courts since the pandemic hit means that many thousands, victims and accused, have been denied justice. In mid-April, the number of outstanding Crown Court cases stood at 58,246, compared with a pre-Covid baseline of 39,331. (It has since dipped slightly.)

But what cannot be blamed on the civil system is the treatment of the Overends, and scores — perhaps hundreds — like them. For the shocking thing is that their story is not unique or unfamiliar. Thanks largely to the work of the Sheldon Hub, where those accused of abuse and misconduct have a voice, similar accounts are in the public domain, most recently in its report I was Handed Over to the Dogs (News, 25 May).

Perhaps the commonest complaint is that the principle that someone is innocent until proved guilty is disregarded, sometimes reversed, when safeguarding is involved. It is little comfort to be offered pastoral support from a stranger when your chief pastor, the bishop with whom you have worked — and are expected to work again — treats you as if already convicted.

According to the O’Loan panel, to be institutionally corrupt, an organisation has to “conceal or deny” its failings. The use of non-disclosure agreements comes close to this behaviour, and it is good to have had such a firm steer away from them from the Archbishops; but close, too, is the attitude that acknowledges failings but does nothing to remedy them.

There is a new Clergy Conduct Measure, to be discussed by the General Synod next month. But that is not yet in operation; nor is it clear whether it will address a safeguarding system that allows disasters such as Lincoln’s to happen.

Safeguarding process drove us close to suicide, says Lincoln canon 14 Jun 2021

Five-minute meeting that led to a traumatic two-year ordeal 18 Jun 2021

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JUNE 14 + JUNE 19 2021 – “THE PARABLE OF THE BAD SAMARITAN” + “DIOCESE OF OXFORD MISREPRESENTS THE PRESIDENT OF TRIBUNALS, LEAVING MARTYN PERCY ‘UNDER A CLOUD'”

Image by ‘Goddard’

Archbishop Cranmer

https://archbishopcranmer.com/the-parable-of-the-bad-samaritan/

https://archbishopcranmer.com/diocese-of-oxford-misrepresents-president-of-tribunals-martyn-percy/

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JUNE 12 2021 – “AS IN THE CASE OF THE LATE, UNFAIRLY ACCUSED BISHOP GEORGE BELL OF CHICHESTER, THE DOCTRINES OF ‘SAFEGUARDING’ HAVE BEEN HIJACKED TO DESTROY A REPUTATION” – CHARLES MOORE – THE SPECTATOR [JUNE 12 2021]

“AS IN THE CASE OF THE LATE, UNFAIRLY ACCUSED BISHOP GEORGE BELL OF CHICHESTER, THE DOCTRINES OF ‘SAFEGUARDING’ HAVE BEEN HIJACKED TO DESTROY A REPUTATION”

– CHARLES MOORE – THE SPECTATOR [JUNE 12 2021]

The wretched story of Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, continues. 
For reasons never properly explained, some dons want him out. They have now spent three years, and millions of pounds of the college’s money, pursuing 34 unproved allegations against him. 
His persecution has always been unattractive, but latterly it has raised issues wider than odium academicum (and odium theologicum, Dr Percy being Dean of the cathedral as well). 
As in the case of the late, unfairly accused Bishop George Bell of Chichester, the doctrines of ‘safeguarding’ have been hijacked to destroy a reputation. 
Recently Dean Percy was cleared for the fifth time, on this occasion by judicial means. An appeal court judge, Dame Sarah Asplin, ruled it would be ‘entirely disproportionate’ for an accusation against him to be referred to a church tribunal.
The allegation — unrelated to the wider dispute, but weaponised by his opponents, who circulated extreme ‘risk assessments’ against him on the strength of it — is that he ‘very briefly stroked’ the hair of a college employee while complimenting her generosity in donating it to a children’s cancer charity. (Dean Percy denies any touching.) 
As far as church law goes, the matter is settled, yet the Bishop of Oxford and the college refuse to lift the safeguarding restrictions on the Dean. These mean, among other things, that college gardeners have to tend his garden in pairs. He is being cruelly harassed by the misuse of rules designed to protect the sexually abused. He is a victim of what the church, in other contexts, would call ‘complex/institutional abuse’.

Charles Moore

MISC

https://cyber-coenobites.blogspot.com/2021/06/ritual-for-blocking-cathedral-canon-on.html

Archbishop Cranmer

https://archbishopcranmer.com/christ-church-cathedral-oxford-blocks-its-own-canon-on-twitter/

https://archbishopcranmer.com/christ-church-oxford-dean-martyn-percy-cleared-for-the-fifth-time/

Thinking Anglicans

 A ‘risk assessment’ which is actually psyops, entirely aimed at driving its target insane, is a forged risk assessment.

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JUNE 11 2021 – ‘THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT’ – MARTIN BELL ON GEORGE BELL, BISHOP OF CHICHESTER

Photo: Martin Bell

Source: Lichfield

What does Sussex mean to you?

I have the fondest memories of Chichester, where I abandoned my BBC duties in July 1996 and spoke in the cathedral on the first anniversary of the Srebrenica (Bosnia) massacre. I spoke from the pulpit formerly occupied by Bishop George Bell, one of my heroes, who had the courage to speak out against the carpet bombing by the Allies of German civilians towards the end of the Second World War. The whole county is beautiful, the coast, inland and the glorious Downs.

~ Martin Bell

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JUNE 3 2021 – WINCKWORTH SHERWOOD [WS LAW] – DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD MARTYN PERCY – WARTIME BISHOP OF CHICHESTER GEORGE BELL

THINKING ANGLICANS – “CDM COMPLAINT AGAINST THE DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH DISMISSED”

Comments

Further to the reference in paragraph 4 of the President of Tribunals’ decision to the e-mail dated 7 May 2021 from Winckworth Sherwood to the Designated Officer (Edward Dobson), it is noteworthy, too, that Private Eye has named Alison Talbot as the author of a document setting out what Martyn may and may not do during his suspension: Eye 1548, page 38. This is a suspension by the Governing Body, not the Church. Readers of this blog may be interested to know that the conduct of Winckworth Sherwood (WSLaw), and Ms Talbot in particular, is currently the subject of an investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Whatever may have been said in the Winckworth Sherwood e-mail (which, rightly, was not taken into account by the President), for reasons given in my comments yesterday (and by others on this thread), the outcome of the CDM complaint and the factors mentioned by Dame Sarah Asplin in paragraph 10 must surely lead to the conclusion that the second College tribunal should be abandoned. To proceed with the tribunal, as the statement posted yesterday on the ChCh website would indicate is the Governing Body’s intention, would involve a wholly irresponsible use of charity funds“.

David Lamming

“At the very minimum, an immediate investigation needs to be carried out regarding Winckworth Sherwood [WS Law] – not just in relation to the Dean of Christ Church Oxford Martyn Percy, but also in relation to the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell”

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

“So where is the justice? Where is the mercy? Why in the name of Christ is the Church of England determined to ensure that a “significant cloud” remains over the name of Martyn Percy?”

‘Archbishop Cranmer’

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MAY 25 2021 – “I WAS HANDED OVER TO THE DOGS” – SHELDON RESEARCH PAPER

“I WAS HANDED OVER TO THE DOGS” – SHELDON RESEARCH PAPER

News 25th May 2021:

Major research paper published
and Sheldon steps down from campaign to replace CDM

‘I was handed over to the dogs’: lived experience, clerical trauma and the handling of complaints against clergy in the Church of England

A devastating systematic analysis of data from the Sheldon/Aston research survey. This paper explores the deeply troubling territory around the edges of the CDM. The painful testimonies are a hard read but these are voices that need your ears. Anyone in ministry can get caught up in this, often through no fault of their own.

We hope it will impassion you to become part of an unstoppable movement for constructive change.

Link : “Handed over to the dogs”

That movement for change will no longer involve Sheldon’s leadership.
We are stepping back now. We have given it heart and soul for several years and much has been achieved. Now we are in danger of over-stretching ‘real world’ Sheldon. Sheldon has generously funded this project in direct cash (£35,000), but in many ways the time and emotional energy has been much more costly. We don’t put a monetary value on our time, but time spent on ProjectCDM is time not spent with people in need or on other necessary projects. We have attended many meetings, written papers, collaborated with researchers, contributed to consultations by others and built networks. There has probably been some vicarious trauma in the mix. Bringing to light such deep-rooted pain has generated significant additional correspondence and pastoral need from those directly harmed by the CDM. 

The church can look away but can no longer say it didn’t know. A complaint against a caring professional in a public role should be treated as a pastoral emergency. Clergy urgently need a system for handling complaints and allegations of misconduct against them that is swift, proportionate, easy to understand, presumes innocence unless or until found guilty, and is applied without fear or favour. It needs to be rooted in gathering of robust factual evidence and prioritise restoring relationships wherever possible. The administration of the process must itself be properly accountable. Reputations of institutions matter, but those of individuals are far more vulnerable in this context. A year after the bishops agreed that CDM should be replaced we have no evidence that the NCIs have a handle on any of this. This press release was published on 17th May but we have no idea whether the proposals considered relate to the heavily criticised Lambeth proposals of December 2020 or have already pivoted towards the ELS model. The lack of transparency is itself deeply problematic.


Sheldon, along with CECA, is therefore now recommending
that the ELS proposals are urgently taken forward into legislation.


This is a necessary coalition of the willing to achieve this particular goal. There is still room for improving detail. We think the scope should be widened and the safeguards enhanced, but the overarching framework appears sound. Here is a brief introductory summary, and here are links to all the working party reports and the in-depth workings.  In the absence of an official one, this is Sheldon’s own Scope and Purpose against which we think any new Measure may be assessed.

A reasonable target is approval by Synod by July 2022 and enacted into law by the end of the year, but this will only happen if there is overwhelming pressure from clergy. 

Here are a few suggestions for action

  • Use all channels feeding in to General Synod this July – this is when the course will be set and it will be harder to change later
  • Make it a live issue in the elections to General Synod in September – it is the new intake who will succeed or fail to replace CDM. This cuts across tribal lines and affects clergy of all stripes.
  • Your bishop needs to hear your voice – it is especially important that people who have not been CDMd act on this as those who have are often too vulnerable. 
  • Church and church-related media – newspapers, blogs, social media, etc – keep the subject visibly on the agenda
  • Make good use of the Sheldon Hub as a secure space for forum collaboration and resource repository. This page will continue to signpost current conversations and provide links to documents and other resources. Bookmark it. 
  • Get talking on this forum thread to generate momentum now.
  • Also a new Private Forum for those in a position to be actively involved in the processes to try and ensure the new Measure is as responsive to all our concerns as possible. It will be operated by colleagues from CECA and ELS. Apply to join the private forum.

Link : ELS proposals (summary)

When we started this project the subject of CDM was unspeakable, untouchable – a hot potato – and the fear was palpable. We hope our work has cut the CDM down to a size you can now handle more safely. There was no-one else to start this work because of our unique vantage point, trusted position, lay status and a healthy dose of sheer bloody-mindedness. We trust and pray that together you will go on and finish the task – together you will be unstoppable. We wish you well.


The Sheldon Community’s “ProjectCDM” was started in 2017 in response to significant pastoral concerns around the effects of the Clergy Discipline Measure. We set ourselves the fourfold task of

  • Improving support for those going or been through CDM
  • Improving implementation of the existing Measure
  • Commissioning independent academic research into the workings of the Measure
  • Making evidence based recommendations for the repair or replacement of the Measure

Feb 21: Call for appointment of Lead Person to see through CDM replacement

With the forthcoming retirement of the Chair of the Lambeth Working Group the Rt Rev Tim Thornton Sheldon is urgently renewing its January 2020 call for the appointment of a Lead Person to see through the replacement of the CDM. The role should involve building consensus, shepherding legislation through General Synod, overseeing initial training and implementation, embedding feedback learning loops for safe future functioning and initiating restorative justice. 

Feb 21: Scope and Purpose of replacement to CDM

Sheldon remains very concerned that detailed proposals are being brought forward for the replacement of CDM without any published document on the Scope and Purpose of such a Measure. As no-one else appeared to have the appetite to produce one, Sheldon offers this document as a starting point

Link : Scope and Purpose

THINKING ANGLICANS

COMMENTS

Richard W. Symonds

And if not “handed over to the dogs’ [eg Martyn Percy], then ‘thrown under the bus’ [eg George Bell].

There is a cancer within the church hierarchy which, if not rooted out, is likely to destroy it.

Dave

Three years ago a spurious but serious complaint was made against my cousin who is in a caring professional role in major (not church) institution. His manager called in an independent person to investigate and report. That person was assisted by a lesser ‘rank’ person. The process was made very clear to my cousin, both verbally and in writing. The investigation began the day after the complaint was made and finished four working days later with a written result dismissing the complaint.

It is another example of the way bishops have allowed themselves to be, and in fact settled comfortably into the role of, manager and attempt to turn their dioceses into Diocese plc. The duty of care to clergy is ignored and the suffering resulting can be immense – the Sheldon Hub paper clearly shows this.

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Dave

“Diocese plc” reminds me of a Financial Times article [December 17 2014]: “Church of England management courses overlook God, says critics”

Gilo

Church of England should stop all current planned ordinations.

The institution is unsafe. Without a properly functioning disciplinary process that is fair, sane, and carries no prospect of being grossly weaponized – new clergy may find their employer brings them professional and psychological harm, if they fall foul of a diocesan structure.

The Church of England should be regarded as an unsafe employer of all clergy until it has sorted this mess out. That it has not been able to keep Sheldon on board its project of CDM reform is acutely embarrassing – a highly regarded organisation that brought a great deal of energy and wisdom to this work.

Those responsible in the Church’s structure for this failure will now have to salvage the pieces. Until they can make the necessary reforms, no further person should test a vocation in the organisation. The Church cannot risk feeding fresh clergy to the dogs, just as it cannot risk subjecting survivors to any further re-abuse.

“It is hard to know whether the Church has the human and organisational resources to produce a new model to replace the CDM failure.  The House of Bishops has already agreed that the CDM process is not fit for purpose.  In spite of this, it does nothing to halt the notorious Kafkaesque process being played out at Christ Church Oxford. The recent revelations by Private Eye about the restrictions being imposed on the Dean under CDM protocols are grotesque

Stephen Parsons

“THE CDM IS NO LONGER DELIVERING JUSTICE” – ‘ARCHBISHOP CRANMER’ SITE

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MAY 23 2021 – “WELBY SAYS SORRY…BUT NOT FOR HIS CRUEL ERROR” – PETER HITCHENS

Peter Hitchens

Welby says sorry… but not for his cruel error – Peter Hitchens – Mail on Sunday – May 23 2021

Justin Welby, who to my astonishment is still Archbishop of Canterbury, chose Thursday evening, when the world was diverted by the Martin Bashir affair, to issue a very strange apology.

Mr Welby once worked as a ‘dormitory officer’ in evangelical Christian camps for public schoolboys. These were run by a violent pervert and barrister called John Smyth QC, now dead.

Smyth liked to beat his charges. Quite a lot. Eight of the boys received a total of 14,000 lashes, with two receiving 8,000 strokes between them over three years.

Now Mr Welby says: ‘I want to offer a full, personal apology. I am sorry that this was done in the name of Jesus Christ by a perverted version of spirituality and evangelicalism.’

Well, so are we all. But I’m not sure exactly what he is sorry for. The Archbishop says he had no knowledge of the abuse at the time, and I believe he is a truthful man and that this is so. But he should count himself lucky that he is being judged by people with a better sense of justice than he has.

This is the same Welby who allowed and defended the national publication of unproven and poorly-based anonymous claims that the great and brave wartime Bishop of Chichester, George Bell, had been a child molester, to the fury of his surviving family and of the many who had known, loved and admired him.

After a careful inquiry by a leading lawyer Lord Carlile had cleared George Bell, Welby would not accept that he had blundered and sulkily proclaimed that a ‘significant cloud’ still hung over Bishop Bell’s name. The man has no respect for the presumption of innocence. Yet he himself is sheltered by it.

I think that fact should trouble him, as long as he refuses to admit his grave error.

RWS COMMENT

Why no apology? Because there are too many people with too much to lose by apologising.

Because there are simply too many very powerful and influential people in control, with significantly real and dark clouds hanging over their own bad name, who have too much to lose if Archbishop Welby apologises, exonerates and clears the name of the late Bishop George Bell.

It’s a cover-up to protect the reputations, the power and the influence of these people, who should be exposed and held accountable for their actions.

It’s a cancer within the Church of England which, if not rooted out, is likely to destroy it.

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society – May 24 2020

Excerpts

“Reputation is the glue that holds us together as a society and as individuals…It is a shocking violation to have your reputation [your good name – Ed] stolen from you: it is an act of reckless irresponsibility to destroy it yourself. Your reputation belongs to you, your friends, and to those you love, who share your name and family. We should take this aspect of human dignity very seriously” – Dr Martin Warner – Bishop of Chichester

Response

“Yes Bishop, we should take this very seriously indeed, shouldn’t we?” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

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MAY 20 2021 – “ARCHBISHOP WELBY ANNOUNCES FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS INTO JOHN SMYTH CASE” – CHURCH TIMES

Archbishop Welby announces further investigations into John Smyth case

 by MADELEINE DAVIES 20 MAY 2021

CHANNEL 4 NEWS

John Smyth

EVERYONE who knew about the abuse perpetrated by the late John Smyth and failed to report it will be investigated by the National Safeguarding Team, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Archbishop Welby offered a “full, personal apology” to victims of Smyth, whose abuse, he says, was “done in the name of Jesus Christ by a perverted version of spirituality and evangelicalism”.

It is now more than four years since Channel 4 News broke news of the violent abuse perpetrated by Smyth, a QC and former chairman of the Iwerne Trust (later part of the Titus Trust), which ran holiday camps for boys at English public schools in the 1970s (News, 10 February 2017).

Both the Iwerne Trust and Winchester College, where many of Smyth’s victims were pupils, learned of allegations of the abuse in the 1980s, but failed to report them to the police. One survivor grew so fearful of the beatings that he tried to take his own life in 1981. It prompted the Iwerne Trust to launch an investigation and compile a confidential report in 1982. Written by Canon Mark Ruston, the Vicar of the Round Church, Cambridge, from 1973 to 1987, and the Revd David Fletcher, a Scripture Union employee, it described the abuse of 22 young men: “The scale and severity of the practice was horrific. . . eight received about 14,000 strokes: two of them having some 8000 strokes over three years.”

The abuse was not limited to the UK, where it has been estimated that there are more than 100 survivors (News, 31 May 2019). After the Ruston report, Smyth went to live in Zimbabwe, where he continued to run holiday camps — Zambezi Ministries — and South Africa. In Zimbabwe, “almost constant concerns” were raised about Smyth, as early as 1986 (News, 10 February 2017). In 1992, a 16-year-old boy, Guide Nyachuru, was found dead in a swimming pool at a Zambezi camp, prompting other young men to come forward. A paper heard by the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe in 1997 suggests that 90 boys had raised allegations against Smyth (News, 31 May 2019).Advertisement

Smyth died in 2018, before he could be questioned by police, arrested, or tried (News, 17 August 2018). That year, Hampshire Police confirmed that no charges would be brought against anyone else.

It is now four years since the Channel 4 investigation and almost two years since a former director of social services, Keith Makin, was appointed by the NST to carry out a “lessons-learnt” review of the handling of allegations of abuse (News, 1 March 201916 August 2019). In his statement this week, the Archbishop acknowledges that survivors of abuse have endured “a long wait” and says that he is “absolutely determined that the Makin Review will be as comprehensive and strong as it can be. I have given an undertaking that it will be published in full. I pray that this can give some sense of closure for these victims.”

The statement follows a meeting with some of the survivors of Smyth’s abuse. The Archbishop confirms that he has apologised that it has taken so long to arrange the meeting, acknowledging that this has caused “much frustration and anger”. In 2019, a spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace said that he hoped to meet survivors “as soon as possible” (News, 18 April 2019)

“In February 2017, I issued a general apology on behalf of the Church of England, as the story was breaking, and before we understood the full horror and scope of the abuse,” the statement says. “Having met some victims now, I want to offer a full, personal apology. I am sorry that this was done in the name of Jesus Christ by a perverted version of spirituality and evangelicalism.

”It is clear that the impact of this has been widespread. I want to offer this apology, in addition, to those Smyth victims that I have not met. I continue to hear new details of the abuse and my sorrow, shock and horror grows.”

The statement says that the Church “has a duty to look after those who have been harmed. We have not always done that well.” Graham* (a survivor, not his real name) has consistently challenged the Church’s handling of the allegations, including “appalling” communication with survivors (News, 1 March 2019).

In a 2019 Channel 4 interview, Archbishop Welby said that Smyth was “not actually an Anglican” and that the C of E was “never directly involved” — an account immediately disputed by survivors (News, 18 April 2019). Graham’s assertion that Smyth was a Reader in the C of E has since been confirmed.

Last year, the NST concluded that Graham’s complaint against the Archbishop about his handling of allegations about Smyth was “not substantiated” (News, 13 November 2020).

In this week’s statement, the Archbishop seeks to clarify what he knew, and when, about the abuse. Victims are angry, he says, that Smyth was not stopped in 2013, when a disclosure was first made to the diocese of Ely, and the Archbishop was informed (News, 10 May 2019).

“By this time Mr Smyth had been out of the UK for nearly thirty years,” he says. “We, the Church, were unclear as to his activities abroad or indeed to the utterly horrendous scope and extent of his actions here and overseas. I recognise the anger of the survivors and victims but having checked that the Diocese of Cape Town was informed and that the police were properly informed and involved our jurisdiction did not extend further. I believe that by 2013 Mr Smyth was no longer attending an Anglican Church.”

He continues: “These victims are rightly concerned that no one appears to have faced any sanction yet, when it is clear a number of Christians, clergy and lay, were made aware of the abuse in the 1980s and many learned in subsequent years. I have not yet received a list of names. I am told by survivors that some facilitated Smyth’s move to Africa. I have made it clear that the National Safeguarding Team will investigate every clergy person or others within their scope of whom they have been informed who knew and failed to disclose the abuse.”

The Archbishop has also confirmed that he will write to the family of Guide Nyachuru. “I apologise on behalf of the Church of England to all those in Africa who were abused after John Smyth had been uncovered in the UK in 1982, although the Church did not know, owing to the cover up, of the abuse until 2013,” the statement says.

A statement from a group of victims of Smyth’s abuse, issued on Thursday, said: “We are pleased that the Archbishop of Canterbury is taking responsibility and acting as a good example for the other culpable parties involved in our story.” It called on Scripture Union, the Titus Trust, and Winchester College to follow the Archbishop’s lead and “reveal everything they know about the abuses and their coverup. It is clear a large number of individuals, clergy and lay, have known about these abuses for over thirty years and we call on them to cooperate fully with the Makin Review and the National Safeguarding Team. For victims like us, full closure is impossible without full disclosure.”

Martin Sewell, a lay member of General Synod who has read the Ruston report, has suggested that “well over 100 people knew, heard, or suspected that something was seriously amiss in varying degrees” (News, 1 March 2019). Evangelical clergy and organisations have denied knowledge of the abuse (News, 3 March 2017). Canon Ruston died in 1990. Archbishop Welby was a dormitory officer at Iwerne holiday camp in the late 1970s, when Mr Smyth was one of the leaders. He has always maintained that nobody discussed the allegations with him and that he first learned of them in 2013.

The NST has concluded that a former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, saw a report about the abuse while he was Principal of Trinity College in the 1980s — a conclusion which he disputes (News, 29 January 2021).

Smyth was a trustee of the Scripture Union from 1971 to 1979. An independent case review (of which only the executive summary has been made public) quotes a former SU national director, the Revd Tim Hastie-Smith, who admits that he was either “grotesquely insensitive” or “extraordinarily incurious” about reports of the abuse (News, 1 April 2021). In October 2014, he wrote: “Apparently, the incident is ‘well known’ and involves a number of high-profile individuals. . . It is hard to see how this incident has remained ‘secret’ for so long.” The review notes that the individuals who received full disclosure of Smyth’s abuse “have all been described by victims as having ‘huge social polish’ which made them very convincing, dominant and persuasive”.

The Titus Trust has said that it will co-operate fully with the Makin review. It has commissioned Thirtyone:eight to undertake an independent review of the current culture of the Titus Trust, due to be published this summer. An earlier review has not been made public. The Iwerne summer camps were closed last year (News, 29 May 2020).

The Makin report was due to report in August last year, but was delayed owing to the coronavirus pandemic (News, 1 May 2020).

Archbishop Welby’s statement concludes: “I know that words are inadequate and will have a different meaning and impact on individuals, but I hope that my words today can convey on behalf of the Church of England and myself our deepest sorrow.”

SURVIVING CHURCH

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MAY 16 2021 – “THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND HIERARCHY CONTINUES TO SING NEW HYMNS OF INJUSTICE”

Archbishop Justin Welby

Source: FT

Fury as ‘pointless’ Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby turns his back on chaplain reported to a terror unit after questioning his school’s new LGBT policies

  • Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is slammed for not supporting a chaplain
  • Reverend Dr Bernard Randall reported to Prevent programme by Trent College
  • Dr Randall told pupils they were allowed to disagree with school’s LGBT policies
  • A police probe ruled he posed ‘no counter-terrorism risk, or risk of radicalisation’
  • Christian Legal Centre appealed for Justin Welby to publicly support Dr Randall

By MARK HOOKHAM and BRENDAN CARLIN FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

PUBLISHED: 22:02, 15 May 2021 | UPDATED: 02:18, 16 May 2021

163View comments

The Archbishop of Canterbury was last night lambasted for refusing to support a chaplain who was reported to an anti-terrorism programme after he questioned his school’s new LGBT policies.

Church of England leaders were urged to intervene after this newspaper revealed how independent Trent College near Nottingham secretly reported Reverend Dr Bernard Randall to the Prevent programme, which normally identifies those at risk of being radicalised.

Dr Randall, 48, had delivered a sermon in which he told pupils they were allowed to disagree with the school’s new LGBT policies, particularly if they felt they ran contrary to the Church’s principles.

The school decided Dr Randall’s sermon was ‘harmful to LGBT’ students and referred him to Prevent, although a police probe ruled the chaplain posed ‘no counter-terrorism risk, or risk of radicalisation’.

  • Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (above) was lambasted for not supporting a chaplain who was reported to an anti-terrorism programme for questioning his school’s LGBT policies

The Christian Legal Centre, which has taken up Dr Randall’s case, appealed for Archbishop Justin Welby, along with the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, and the Bishop of Derby, Libby Lane, to publicly support Dr Randall.

‘Will you use your platform to defend Dr Randall and freedom of belief and religion in our schools,’ centre chief executive Andrea Williams asked in a letter.

But all three senior figures declined to give Dr Randall their backing.

Asked whether the Most Rev Welby, who is on a three-month sabbatical, believed the school was right to report Dr Randall to Prevent, a spokesman at Lambeth Palace said: ‘We don’t have any comment.’ 

The Archbishop’s failure to back Dr Randall provoked fierce criticism.

Sir John Hayes, chairman of the Common Sense Group of Tory MPs and peers, said: ‘There’s nothing in the sermon that I saw published in the paper that anyone would find disturbing. 

‘When a clergyman is sacked for giving a sermon and the Archbishop doesn’t act, you are entitled to ask: at what point would the Archbishop act? What’s going to happen for the Archbishop to act? If he’s never going to act, what’s the point of him?’

Ms Williams added: ‘It is incredibly disappointing, but sadly not surprising, that the leadership of the Church of England have failed to speak up in support of Dr Randall. Where is Welby on this issue?’

Meanwhile, George Carey, who was Archbishop of Canterbury between 1991 and 2002, heaped pressure on his successor by saying Dr Randall ‘deserves the support of the Church of England’

  • Reverend Dr Bernard Randall, 48, (above) delivered a sermon in which he told pupils at Trent College near Nottingham they were allowed to disagree with the school’s new LGBT policies

‘Freedom of speech is the key issue here,’ he said. ‘His sermon was respectful of differences and invited discussion and debate.’

It comes as The Mail on Sunday can reveal claims that Church officials supported the school’s decision to report its chaplain to Prevent.

It has been claimed that Justine Rimington, the school’s ‘designated safeguarding lead’ who reported Dr Randall to Prevent, spoke to an official at the Diocese of Derby and was assured that her actions had not been ‘discriminatory’. 

In a letter to parents last week, the school’s head Bill Penty defended the chaplain’s referral to Prevent, saying: ‘Throughout this process we were following established safeguarding practice, as we are required to do.’

Dr Randall was initially sacked for gross misconduct but then reinstated on appeal. He was made redundant last December and he is suing the school for discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Last night, he said the lack of support from the top of the Church of England was ‘disappointing’, adding: ‘They could have said we believe in freedom of religion.’

In her reply to Ms Williams, the Right Rev Lane said: ‘Public statements in support of one side in a dispute, prior to the evidence emerging in legal proceedings, is neither in the interests of good legal process nor, indeed, likely to serve Dr Randall’s personal interests well.’

The Most Rev Cottrell’s office said that it supported the Right Rev Lane’s comments. 

“Foolish and naïve behaviour by the Church” – ‘C

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MAY 9 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [FEBRUARY 1 2019] – “AFTER DUE PROCESS, HOWEVER DELAYED, GEORGE BELL SHOULD BE DECLARED BY THE CHURCH TO BE INNOCENT OF THE ALLEGATIONS MADE AGAINST HIM” – LORD ALEX CARLILE QC

Lord Alex Carlile QC

– Photo Source: Wiki Commons

“AFTER DUE PROCESS, HOWEVER DELAYED, GEORGE BELL SHOULD BE DECLARED BY THE CHURCH TO BE INNOCENT OF THE ALLEGATIONS MADE AGAINST HIM” – LORD ALEX CARLILE QC

George Bell group – 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

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MAY 8 2021 – CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD “HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY FOR UPHOLDING THE BASIC PRINCIPLE OF DIGNITY…TO HELP ACHIEVE A JUST AND SPEEDY RESOLUTION” IN THE CASE OF REVD PROFESSOR MARTYN PERCY, DEAN AND HEAD OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD

Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church

CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD “HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY FOR UPHOLDING THE BASIC PRINCIPLE OF DIGNITY…TO HELP ACHIEVE A JUST AND SPEEDY RESOLUTION” IN THE CASE OF REVD PROFESSOR MARTYN PERCY, DEAN AND HEAD OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD

Workplace dignity and Oxford dons – Church Times Letters – May 7 2021

From Professors Gordon Lynch, Stephen Pattison, and Linda Woodhead, and 21 others

Sir, — We write as academics working in the field of theology and religious studies to express our concern about ongoing events at Christ Church, Oxford, in which several of our colleagues are involved.

We affirm the basic principle of dignity in the workplace and note the importance of upholding that principle in relation to all parties involved in investigatory and disciplinary processes. Unless used efficiently and humanely, such processes themselves cause harm. The previous disproportionate actions by the College against the Dean, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, have contributed to a current situation in which no one is well served.

We welcome the Charity Commission’s interest in this case. We also believe that senior figures in the University of Oxford, such as the Vice-Chancellor, as well as senior leaders in the Church of England, have a responsibility for upholding the basic principle of dignity for all in the workplace, and should not merely remain silent.

We call upon them, and all colleagues directly involved, to help achieve a just and speedy resolution.

NICK ADAMS, JOHN BARCLAY, SYLVIA COLLINS-MAYO, ABBY DAY, G. R. EVANS, GORDON LYNCH, DIARMAID MacCULLOCH, ELAINE GRAHAM, MATHEW J. GUEST, GERARD LOUGHLIN, WALTER MOBERLY, RACHEL MUERS, CHRISTOPHER PARTRIDGE, STEPHEN PATTISON, ALEC RYRIE, NICOLA SLEE, GRAEME SMITH, ROBERT SONG, JOHANNA STIEBERT, IAIN TORRANCE, HEATHER WALTON, PETE WARD, LINDA WOODHEAD, JAMES WOODWARD
c/o Department of Philosophy, Politics and Religion
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD

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MAY 2 2021 – BISHOP BELL AND ‘BOMBER’ HARRIS – SUNDAY TELEGRAPH – LETTERS

THE TRUTH ABOUT CHURCHILL AND ‘BOMBER’ HARRIS – SUNDAY TELEGRAPH – LETTERS – MAY 2 2021

SIR – It was good to read Ian Girvan quoting the challenge to the bombing policy of Sir Arthur Harris by the Great Bishop of Chichester, George Bell – a challenge made more powerful by the bishop’s inside knowledge of the German situation, and his conviction that the Nazis must be fought.

Bell’s words inevitably earned him considerable abuse.

It has been suggested that Harris’s statue outside St Clement Danes church might be balanced by a statue of one of his strongest critics.

A memorial to Bishop Bell near to that of Harris would be a fitting tribute to a man of courageous Christian principles, and also a rebuke to the Diocese of Chichester, which recently tried to defame Bell following a now wholly discredited single allegation of child abuse – and to its shame still refuses to restore him to public honour.

Rev Dr Barry A. Orford

London NW3

“A surviving Town Hall [Rathaus] Statue entitled ‘The Allegory of Goodness’ looks out over the ruins of Dresden – Source: ‘On This Day’ – February 13 1945

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MAY 1 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [MAY 1 2016 ] – JUSTICE FOR BISHOP GEORGE BELL OF CHICHESTER – PETITION

To: THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

JUSTICE FOR BISHOP GEORGE BELL OF CHICHESTER

RS Campaign created by Richard W. Symonds

JUSTICE FOR BISHOP GEORGE BELL OF CHICHESTER

(1) To call on the Church of England to allow a fuller investigation before considering the case against Bishop Bell closed. This includes re-examining the evidence against Bishop Bell.

(2) To ensure fair and just procedures are in place for the future.

Why is this important?

The Church has a responsibility to ensure fair and just procedures are in place so that evidence can be properly examined in any future investigation.

How it will be delivered

The Petition will be delivered to the Bishop of Chichester at the Bishop’s Palace on Saturday December 2 2017

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APRIL 25 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [JANUARY 22 2018] – “ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY STANDS BY STATEMENT SAYING THERE IS A ‘SIGNIFICANT CLOUD’ OVER BISHOP GEORGE BELL’S NAME” – CHRISTIAN TODAY + “A FESTERING SORE OF INJUSTICE WHICH ONLY AN ARCHBISHOP CAN HEAL”

Justin Welby – Archbishop of Canterbury

Source: FT

“ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY STANDS BY STATEMENT SAYING THERE IS A ‘SIGNIFICANT CLOUD’ OVER BISHOP GEORGE BELL’S NAME” – CHRISTIAN TODAY – JANUARY 22 2018

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has declined to rescind his statement that said Bishop George Bell still has a ‘significant cloud’ left over his name following the publication of a critical report into the Church of England’s handling of an abuse claim against the late bishop.

The refusal by the Archbishop of Canterbury to change his position follows a letter sent to Lambeth Palace and the Daily Telegraph last week by seven eminent academics expressing their ‘profound dismay’ at the ‘irresponsible and dangerous’ statement, in which Archbishop Welby said of Bell that ‘a significant cloud is left over his name’.

In a statement issued today, Welby referred back to the separate case of Peter Ball, the former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, who was released from prison in February last year after serving 16 months for the grooming, sexual exploitation and abuse of 18 vulnerable young men who had sought spiritual guidance from him between 1977 and 1992.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Reuters

A damning independent inquiry last year found that the CofE ‘colluded’ with the abuse ‘rather than seeking to help those he had harmed’.

In new comments that risk angering supporters of Bishop Bell, Welby said today: ‘The experience of discovering feet of clay in more than one person I held in profound respect has been personally tragic.’

The Church of England was criticised in the independent Carlile report published in December for a ‘rush to judgment’ in its handling of the allegations against Bishop Bell, the former Bishop of Chichester who died in 1958. The report by Lord Carlile said that although the Church acted in good faith, its processes were deficient and it failed to give proper consideration to the rights of the accused.

In today’s statement, which Welby said reflected the ‘considered, personal response’ he has now sent the academics, the Archbishop said: ‘I cannot with integrity rescind my statement made after the publication of Lord Carlile’s review into how the Church handled the Bishop Bell case. I affirmed the extraordinary courage and achievement of Bishop Bell both before the war and during its course, while noting the Church has a duty to take seriously the allegation made against him.

‘Our history over the last 70 years has revealed that the Church covered up, ignored or denied the reality of abuse on major occasions. I need only refer to the issues relating to Peter Ball to show an example. As a result, the Church is rightly facing intense and concentrated scrutiny (focused in part on the Diocese of Chichester) through the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). Our first hearing is in March.

‘The Diocese of Chichester was given legal advice to make a settlement based on the civil standard of proof, the balance of probability. It was not alleged that Bishop Bell was found to have abused on the criminal standard of proof, beyond reasonable doubt. The two standards should not be confused. It should be remembered that Carol, who brought the allegation, was sent away in 1995, and we have since apologised for this lamentable failure; a failure highlighted by Lord Carlile.

‘I wrote my response with the support of both Bishop Peter Hancock, the lead bishop for safeguarding, and Bishop Martin Warner, the Bishop of Chichester. We are clear that we accept all but part of one of the recommendations Lord Carlile makes and we are extremely grateful to him for what he has done and the help he has given the church.

‘He indicates that in his judgment, a better way to have handled the allegation would have been for the Church to offer money on condition of confidentiality. We disagree with this suggestion. The confidentiality would have been exposed through the IICSA process, and the first question we would have faced, both about Bishop Bell and more widely, would have been ‘so what else are you concealing?’. The letter from the historians does not take into account any of these realities, nor the past failures of the Church. But we will go on considering how we can make our processes better and more robust, as pointed out by Lord Carlile.

‘As in the case of Peter Ball, and others, it is often suggested that what is being alleged could not have been true, because the person writing knew the alleged abuser and is absolutely certain that it was impossible for them to have done what is alleged. As with Peter Ball this sometimes turns out to be untrue, not through their own fault or deceit but because abuse is often kept very secret. The experience of discovering feet of clay in more than one person I held in profound respect has been personally tragic. But as I said strongly in my original statement the complaint about Bishop Bell does not diminish the importance of his great achievements and he is one of the great Anglican heroes of the 20th century.’

The statement is in response to the letter by Prof Sir Ian Kershaw, one of the world’s leading authorities on the Third Reich, Prof Charmian Brinson, Prof Andrew Chandler, Professor John Charmley, Prof Michael J Hughes, Prof Jeremy Noakes and Prof Keith Robbins.

Lambeth Palace Library

They wrote: ‘None of us may be considered natural critics of an Archbishop of Canterbury.

‘But we must also draw a firm line. The statement of 15 December 2017 seems to us both irresponsible and dangerous.

‘We therefore urge you, in all sincerity, to repudiate what you have said before more damage is done and thus to restore the esteem in which the high, historic office to which you have been called has been held.’

Before the allegations were made public by the Church of England, Bishop Bell was known as a highly revered theologian who was widely regarded as a hero for his work helping victims of Nazi persecution.

But in a statement following the Carlile report, Archbishop Welby left open the possibility that Bell was guilty, saying that he was ‘accused of great wickedness’ and apologised only ‘for the failures of the process’.

In their letter to Welby, the historians – including two biographers of former Archbishops of Canterbury – said that they ‘wish to express our profound dismay with the position you have taken’.

They wrote that the current Archbishop’s position ‘offends the most basic values and principles of historical understanding’.

They continued: ‘The allegation [against Bell] is not only wholly uncorroborated but is contradicted by all the considerable, and available, circumstantial material which any historian would consider credible.

The letter went on: ‘We cannot understand how such an unsupported, indeed insupportable, allegation can be upheld by a responsible public authority. Quite simply, it is indefensible.’

In his original statement, Welby had noted that Lord Carlile did not decide on guilt, but the academics pointed out he was deliberately prevented from doing so by the terms of reference that had been set out by the CofE.

They wrote: ‘We state our position bluntly. There is no credible evidence at all that Bishop Bell was a paedophile.

‘We state this after reviewing all that is known about his character and behaviour over many years.’

They concluded that Bell has been ‘impugned from within his own Church of England’, adding: ‘There is today no cloud at all over Bishop Bell. Nobody employing credible critical method could think otherwise.’

FURTHER INFORMATION

“The Bishop Bell disgrace is a festering sore of injustice which only an Archbishop can heal”

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

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APRIL 24 2021 – NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS [NDA’S] – ‘CAROL’ – GEORGE BELL, BISHOP OF CHICHESTER

THINKING ANGLICANS

Susannah Clark 

Re. the Non-Disclosure Agreements mentioned on the ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ website, may I ask: was ‘Carol’ who reported abuse by Bishop Bell subjected to a non-disclosure agreement?
.
Also, if any of you can provide me with a contact for ‘Carol’ (of course, I would never approach her directly in the first instance) I should really appreciate a private correspondence with you. You can find contact details on my whispered love website.
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Thank you.

David Lamming

David Lamming Reply to  Susannah Clark

Susannah – There was no NDA in the Bishop of Chichester’s agreement to settle Carol’s claim, though Lord Carlile considered there should have been one in circumstances on the basis that it would have been legitimate to settle the claim without admission of liability having regard to standard ‘litigation risks’: see the Carlile Review (15 December 2017) paragraphs 52 and 262-268. As you know, Lord Carlile was highly critical of the investigation (or lack thereof) by the core group. Hence his paragraph 268: “I regard this as a case, perhaps a relatively rare one, in which steps should and could have been taken to retain full confidentiality, with a clear underlying basis for explaining why it was done. For Bishop Bell’s reputation to be catastrophically affected in the way that occurred was just wrong.” 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 

RE: Archbishop Cranmer One Church of England diocese has spent £500,000 on 20 Non-Disclosure Agreements

It is my understanding that ‘Carol’ – who alleged being abused as a child by the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell – was NOT subject to a legal Non-Disclosure Agreement [NDA] or ‘Confidentiality Clause’. If she was, then she would have been in breach of it by appearing on the BBC in 2015/16 and providing an ‘exclusive’ to the Brighton Argus .

Kate Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

Since, if there was an NDA you wouldn’t know the terms, I think “would” should be qualified in your statement as “would probably”. Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Kate

That is a ‘red herring’ Kate. To repeat: it is my understanding that ‘Carol’ was NOT subject to a Non-Disclosure Agreement or Confidentiality Clause.

This is beyond regrettable in my view – as it has contributed to a monstrous injustice regarding Bishop Bell which has lasted for more than five years.

The Church hierarchy should be charged with the attempted murder of a Bishop’s reputation.

Richard W. Symonds 

If a living Archbishop praises a dead Bishop for his “great achievements” whilst simultaneously character assassinating him with a “significant cloud” accusation, that is a particularly cruel form of abuse – and should be recognised as such.

Interested Observer 

The problem with confidentiality agreements (hereinafter CAs) in contracts between large, well-lawyered enterprises the Church of England on the one hand, and private individuals perhaps represented by their local solicitor at best on the other, is that they are clear examples of deliberate intimidation.

They are presented to the individual as scary, heavy legal instruments where the merest breath of a breach, by the most strained construction, will result in prison and bankruptcy at the snap of the counter-party’s fingers.

In reality, actually enforcing such confidentiality agreements is very difficult.

In order to obtain injunctive relief (ie, “stop doing that, and if you do, it’s contempt of court”) requires showing material harm, amongst other things. It’s not enough to say “they signed a confidentiality agreement, we say they are breaching it, the judge must stop them”, it’s “they signed a confidentiality agreement, we believe they are breaching it in a way which materially harms us, here is the proof that they were properly advised and the proof that they are in breach, please will the judge stop them if we ask very politely”.

The material harm is the difficult part.

If they’ve already breached it, compensation has the same problem: you need to show material harm for which the damages will be recompense, you can’t just demand punitive damages.

So against a party whose answer to an attempt to enforce a CA is “OK, I’ll see you in court”, life can get very interesting and usually such conflicts end in an armed truce.

But the reality of settlements the CofE is likely to have made against survivors of racist abuse is one of complete inequality: the survivors are _not_ going to say “OK, I’ll see you in court”, they’re going to immediately cave. And the CofE knows this, which is why they like the CAs: they have an effect on the individual far in excess of their actual scope. They’re not entering into a confidentiality agreement in good faith, they are using it in bad faith as an instrument of power.

A legal agreement with “confidentiality clauses” is a Non-Disclosure Agreement….But if staff members leave because someone is grinding them down, bullying them, or otherwise abusing them because they dare to challenge policy decisions, or point out something that isn’t quite right, or disagree with the way something has been or is being handled, then buying their silence with an NDA is unethical and immoral. If someone is asked to leave and is offered a sum of money on condition they remain silent, one wonders what it is that must never be made known. Remember, this is just one diocese in the Church of England. How many others routinely resort to the law in order to silence the dismayed and disaffected?

‘Archbishop Cranmer’

“The Bishop Bell disgrace is a festering sore of injustice which only an Archbishop can heal”

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

FURTHER INFORMATION

MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL – PETER HITCHENS

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APRIL 24 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [NOVEMBER 5 2015] – COMPLAINT OF COVERAGE BY BBC SOUTH EAST REGARDING BISHOP GEORGE BELL

https://www.bbc.co.uk/helpandfeedback/corrections_clarifications/corrections_2016/

South East Today

BBC One South East, Thursday 5 November 2015

CofE abuse victim criticises bishop’s ‘no cover-up’ response

bbc.co.uk, Thursday 5 November 2015

An item in the programme and an associated online piece, on the handling of allegations of sexual abuse against clergy in the Diocese of Chichester, stated that there were 11 cases in which men connected with the diocese had been proven to have been involved in sexual abuse, and that the late Bishop George Bell was among them.

The journalist Peter Hitchens complained that this was inaccurate, as the allegations against Bishop Bell had never been tested in court and, although the church authorities had recently apologised to and settled a civil claim with his accuser, they were not in a position to determine his guilt and had not in fact stated that they believed him guilty. The original statement by the church authorities had not explicitly said they believed Bishop Bell to have been guilty, but a subsequent statement said they had accepted the veracity of the allegations on the balance of probabilities.

This, however, did not warrant reporting as a matter of fact that the allegations had been proven. Noting that South East Today had accepted in previous correspondence that the term was inappropriate and had undertaken to avoid it in future, the ECU considered that the issue of complaint had been resolved.

Result: Resolved

03/03/2016

MORE INFORMATION

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APRIL 19 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [MARCH 13 2016] – “VICTIM IN APOLOGY TO CAREY OVER ABUSE-CLAIM BISHOP GEORGE BELL” – BBC NEWS

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-35535241

Victim in apology to Carey over abuse-claim Bishop George Bell

Published 13 March 2016

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

A woman, who the Church of England has accepted was abused by a bishop, has apologised to the family of a former Archbishop of Canterbury.

The victim, known as Carol, claimed she had written to Lord Carey, telling him that she had been abused as a child by Bishop George Bell.

In a statement issued by her solicitor, she accepted that was an error.

“Carol has issued a private apology to the Careys for the genuine mistake she made in good faith,” it said.

The statement continued: “She first made complaints in 1995 to Bishop Kemp of Chichester.

“She was prompted to complain again to Lambeth Palace at the time of the Jimmy Savile revelations, but it was only in 2013 when she wrote again – this time to Archbishop Justin Welby – that the matter was referred to the police.”

Following an investigation, the Church of England said it believed Carol had been abused, and issued a public apology.

However in an open letter to a national newspaper, Lord Carey said he was “appalled” at the way the authorities had treated the memory of Bishop Bell.

The Rt Rev George Bell was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death in October 1958.

Related Topics

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet Links

FURTHER INFORMATION

Bishop of Chichester George Bell’s sex abuse victim gets compensation – BBC News

George Bell: Former wartime bishop ‘abused girl in cathedral’ – BBC News

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APRIL 10 2021 – RESIGNATIONS OF REVD VAUGHAN ROBERTS AND REVD ROBIN WEEKES FROM THE CHURCH SOCIETY

VAUGHAN ROBERTS AND ROBIN WEEKES RESIGN FROM THE CHURCH SOCIETY

Vaughan Roberts serves as the Rector of St Ebbe’s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaughan_Roberts

Roberts was born on 17 March 1965 in Winchester, Hampshire, UK.[1] He was educated at Winchester College which is an all-boys public school in Winchester.[2]

He studied law at Selwyn College, Cambridge and graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1988; as per tradition, his BA was promoted to a Master of Arts (MA (Cantab)) degree in 1991.[3][4] In 1987, he was President of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union.

After graduation, he spent a short time in student ministry in South Africa.[3] Roberts then moved to Oxford and in 1989 entered Wycliffe Hall, an Anglican theological college.[4] There, he studied theology and undertook training for ordained ministry.[3]

Roberts was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 1991 and as a priest in 1992.[4] In 1991, he joined St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford, a conservative evangelical church, as a curate under David Fletcher.[3][4] From 1995 to 1998, he was the Student Pastor with special responsibilities for students and student ministry.[3][4] In 1998, when Fletcher retired, Roberts was appointed Rector of St Ebbe’s.[4]

Robin Weekes serves as the minister of Emmanuel Wimbledon

https://www.emmanuelwimbledon.org.uk/Groups/159149/Emmanuel_Wimbledon/About_Us/Whos_Who/Whos_Who.aspx 

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APRIL 9 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [OCTOBER 5 2018] – ADDRESS BY LORD CAREY OF CLIFTON – REBUILDING BRIDGES CONFERENCE – CHURCH HOUSE WESTMINSTER

Lord Carey of Clifton

ADDRESS BY LORD CAREY OF CLIFTON – REBUILDING BRIDGES CONFERENCE – CHURCH HOUSE WESTMINSTER – OCTOBER 5 2018

Address by Lord Carey of Clifton

The following words were addressed to those attending the Keep Rebuilding Bridges conference on October 5. Baron Carey of Clifton was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002.

I am delighted to offer a contribution to this Conference on Rebuilding Bridges and thank Richard Symonds for his invitation and for all he has done and continues to do, to clear George Bell’s name. It is good to see in our audience Dr. Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson, the daughter of Bishop Bell’s close friend, Franz Hildebrandt. We look forward to hearing her later.


Now, I am uncomfortably aware that my presence here raises two unrelated questions.


I have been accused many times over the past few years of presiding over a ‘cover-up’ of Bishop Peter Ball’s crimes. Peter Ball misused his office as a bishop to abuse, and indecently assault young people who were exploring vocations into Christian ministry. There was, of course, no cover-up. We now know that the police at the time examined many allegations against Ball and together with prosecutors only charged him with a caution. This decision was very much of its time. But later even after I had left office other people, including police, had an opportunity to look at all the evidence that was in our hands at Lambeth to bring Peter Ball to justice, yet they did not do so until Chichester Diocese passed on its files and Peter Ball was finally brought to justice in 2015. I and my colleagues at the time did make mistakes and rightly my actions are being subjected to public scrutiny – a review by Dame Moira Gibb and the IICSA Inquiry. I have cooperated willingly, openly and honestly with this scrutiny at every stage. I will take every opportunity I can to publicly apologise to the victims of Peter Ball for the mistakes I made in the 1990s which have caused them such pain to this day. I will say no more about this matter because IICSA is still to report on this next year.


The other question is about the role of retired bishops and archbishops. ‘Don’t spit on the deck as you leave’ is usually good advice. But I am not retired from ministry. I am still active in ministry, still a member of the church and by Her Majesty’s invitation a member of the House of Lords. If it is permissible to speak out on public affairs, as I do from time to time, then it is permissible for me to speak out on matters of justice when so few others will.


Over the last 12 months or so I have had a recurring disturbing worry. It is the ‘nightmare’ that in spite of a very happy and faithful marriage to the same woman for nearly 60 years some 50 or so years from the point of my death, rumours will circulate that I was an abuser of others. The rumours will reach such a pitch that the Church to which I had given my life will capitulate, pay out money and believe the falsehoods. Who would defend me?


This could happen to anyone of us – male or female. It became a reality for one of the great giants of Anglicans, namely George Bell who died 70 years ago and whom we honour today. I remember the time when I was Archbishop visiting Morton’s Tower in Lambeth Palace where Bell’s works were stored. I was amazed by the scale of his correspondence and work. It expressed his energy, output and commitment to public affairs. He was never afraid to be unpopular because his commitment was to the gospel of Jesus Christ and its truth. Before ecumenism became a fashionable word he had already embraced a deep commitment to other Christians and Churches. Whilst anti-Jewish hatred continued to change the face of Germany and western Europe, Bell instinctively turned his face against the ugliness of anti-Semitism. I read his correspondence with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and marvelled at their deep friendship and common faith. At a time of understandable patriotism and jingoism on the part of the British people, Bell courageously argued against unacceptable retribution against Germany. Winston Churchill turned against him and, we understand, put paid to any prospect of Bell becoming Archbishop because of his opposition to carpet bombing

.
But Bell was more than an energetic, courageous and knowledgeable public figure. He was a man rooted in prayer and worship; a high churchman who loved the order and beauty of liturgy. In his exceptionally busy life he was supported loyally, deeply and lovingly by his wife, Henrietta. She was always alongside him, as were his chaplains who were there to take some of the burden of his high public office.


And then, fifty-seven years after his death, his own diocese which he served faithfully and greatly loved – supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the House of Bishops – made an announcement which was likely to affect Bell’s reputation forever more. The announcement was widely interpreted by press and public alike as an accusation that Bell had sexually abused a child between 1949 and 1953. Strangely, church leaders deny that they have ever said that Bell was guilty of the abuse, but this is surely disingenuous. In the Archbishop of Canterbury’s words, a ‘cloud’ hangs over his name.


In that initial announcement, very few details were given but it was clear that an unspecified sum of money had been given to the complainant. The Church said it had decided to give this compensation on the basis of the ‘balance of probabilities’. But even on this evidential basis, arguments for the defence should have been heard. Previously, no other accusations – or even rumours – had ever been heard against Bell. And on the basis of this one unproven, and probably unprovable allegation, his name was removed from buildings and institutions named after him.


A recent detailed review of the case by Lord Carlile showed that no significant effort had been made by the Church to consider any evidence that might have supported Bell’s innocence. In particular, those investigating did not consult Bell’s biographer, Andrew Chandler, nor the living people who worked with him at that time.


George Bell’s cause was given no legal advocate. Instead, in a process, which I referred to in the House of Lords in 2016 as ‘having the character of a kangaroo court’ it seems as though the ‘victim’ was automatically believed. The normal burden of proof was reversed and it was considered ‘wicked’ to doubt the veracity of the allegations.
Dr Andrew Chandler in his excellent biography of George Bell states: ‘We are asked to invest an entire authority in one testimony and to dismiss all the materials by which we have come to know the historical George Bell as mere figments of reputation.’ Of course, if Bell was guilty, his high reputation should not protect him. But we have not been given the chance to establish fairly whether he was.


In an appendix devoted to the controversy, Chandler notes that Bell’s 368 volume archive contains his personal notebooks and pocket diaries from 1919 to 1957, in which he kept track of all his appointments and engagements. He notes Bell’s “conspicuously high view of the standards required by his office,” and adds that Bell was almost constantly observed, that he participated in many disciplinary processes for clergy, that he maintained what seemed like a happy marriage, and that he worked almost continually in the presence of his wife, secretary, domestic chaplain, or driver.
Chandler interviewed the only member of Bell’s circle who was then still alive, Adrian Carey, his domestic chaplain from the early 1950s. This man “is firm, indeed emphatic, that ‘no child or young teenager ever entered during my two years as Chaplain, except on the day in January chosen for the parish Christmas party which he and Mrs Bell laid on every year for the children of the clergy’”.


Thankfully an outcry came against such a miscarriage of justice and I was delighted in 2016 to be invited to join the George Bell group, led by Andrew Chandler, to fight to clear George Bell’s name.


It was a relief to us all when the Bishop of Chichester asked Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, a well-known independently-minded human rights lawyer, to conduct an independent review which he did thoroughly and authoritatively. His report concluded that the “core group” established by the church to consider the claims “failed to follow a process that was fair and equitable to both sides”.

“The church, understandably concerned not to repeat the mistakes of the past, when it had been too slow to recognise that abuse had been perpetrated by clergy and to recognise the pain and damage caused to victims, has in effect over-steered in this case.

“In other words, there was a rush to judgment: the church, feeling it should be both supportive of the complainant and transparent in its dealings, failed to engage in a process which would also give proper consideration to the rights of the bishop. Such rights should not be treated as having been extinguished on death.”

He added: “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.”

Carlile said the purpose of his review was not to determine the truthfulness of the allegations nor to rule on Bell’s guilt or innocence.

He went on, “even when the alleged perpetrators have died, there should be methodical and sufficient investigations into accusations leveled against them”.
In this case, “the truth of what Carol was saying was implicitly accepted without serious investigation or inquiry. I have concluded this was an inappropriate and impermissible approach.”

What then followed was to my mind more damaging to the Church than to George Bell. Instead of this logically leading to the rehabilitation of George Bell’s reputation, the Church compounded the problem further by apologizing for the procedures that had been found wanting by the Carlile review, but nevertheless refused to retract its conclusion that George Bell was in all probability guilty of the abuse.

In the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury a ‘significant cloud’ hangs over his name. The Archbishop bluntly added: ‘he is accused of great wickedness’.

What is deeply unsatisfactory is that no explanation is given and no evidence for these conclusions. If the Carlile report revealed how biased and unjust were the conclusions of the Core Group, how can the Archbishop, the Bishop of Chichester and Bishop of Bath and Wells continue to unblushingly assert that George Bell’s reputation remains under a cloud?

Now, it gives me no pleasure to note that the Archbishop of Canterbury has received harsh criticism from a number of leading historians and theologians and, sadly, his response has been so far unsatisfactory. Those of us still committed to the national Church remain horrified that not more has been done to explain his remark that ‘a cloud remains’. At the very least justice demands it.

Perhaps an explanation lies in a further allegation which has come out of the blue, at the beginning of this year, before the Carlile review could be properly debated in General Synod. But after the first core group debacle, can we really have confidence that the Church can investigate this competently itself?

Regarding the current investigation at least this time we know that George Bell’s niece is to be represented by one of the George Bell Group, Desmond Browne QC, and that Andrew Chandler’s expertise and knowledge of Bell is being utilised. But a gnawing and perhaps understandable suspicion remains that the hierarchy are hoping we will all forget and the ‘can’ will be kicked further down the road. It is a sorry mess: a great man’s name has been traduced, justice has been denied and the good name of George Bell rubbished.

The Archbishop has rightly made mediation and reconciliation a major plank of his ministry, and I hope he will reach out to all those who are dismayed by this treatment of Bell and consider again his judgement of Bishop George Bell.

However, one of the matters I am most dismayed by is the silence over these concerns by the House of Bishops. The Church of England has always been respected for scholarship, theological exploration and independent thought. George Bell stands out as a pre-eminent scholar-bishop of the 20th century who engaged in public debate within the church and nation – frequently disagreeing with his episcopal colleagues.
In my time as Archbishop I served with colleagues of great scholarship and distinction including John Habgood, David Hope, Tom Wright, Mark Santer, Michael Nazzir-Ali, Peter Selby, Richard Harries, David Jenkins, Hugh Montefiore, David Sheppard, Simon Barrington Ward, and John Taylor of St. Alban’s and many others. These were bishops who prized justice and spoke out when they saw injustice. Bishops were prepared to speak out even against their own hierarchy – and they did not always agree with me.


So why the silence from the House of Bishops? Each member must know that he or she is implicated indirectly in this condemnation of Bell. Only one bishop has distanced himself from the Archbishop’s conclusion, but I understand that at least six others disagree with him. Unity, and collegiality are good things but never should they replace what is right and true. ‘Collegiality’ is not to be mistaken for ‘collective cabinet responsibility’ or ‘party discipline’.

So it is right to press the Bishops to declare themselves. Do you share the opinion that a significant cloud hangs over George Bell’s name? Do you agree that he is guilty of great wickedness? Please tell us what you think. At the February Group of General Synod Martin Sewell was told that ‘the House of Bishops is accountable for safeguarding in the Church of England’. If that is the case, why the silence? Is it an honorable thing to be silent on a matter so crucial as this? If the bishops are at one with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s declaration that a ‘cloud hangs’ over George Bell’s reputation and that ‘he is accused of great wickedness’, let them says so in a collective declaration of support for the Archbishop’s view.

It is because we all make mistakes that we need a church that preaches grace, forgiveness, repentance and new life. I see very little of grace in the way that the Church of England has handled allegations against George Bell. Indeed, it is shaming because it is unjust. We know we can do better. That is why this conference talks about rebuilding bridges, and that is why many of us will continue to fight for justice for George Bell.

However, I want to end on a positive note. Rebuilding Bridges is central to the Christian faith and that is what we all want to do. Let me offer three points:
I believe the George Bell case and also the Peter Ball investigation makes the argument for outsourcing investigations in the case of accusations of sexual misconduct. It is not because Archbishops and bishops can’t be trusted to have an important role in safeguarding, rather it is because we are too close to the clergy concerned and very likely to defend instinctively the institution, rather than actively promote an unbiased and independent approach.

Secondly, George Bell was a man of the Church, passionate about its witness and unity. Here we are today with declining numbers of worshippers, with no clear evangelistic programme, and no apparent plan to reach the young. The gap between Church and society is widening all the time. Yes, I know that great work is going on and not all churches are declining. It grieves us all that this major squabble is taking up so much time and energy when our gaze should be directed away from ourselves. The supporters of Bishop George Bell desire wholeheartedly to speak with one voice with the Archbishop and the House of Bishops. Reconciliation would certainly send out a great signal of overcoming a major barrier to our unity, which of course is part of our mission.

A third positive sign is an attractive idea that Dr. Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson is going to offer later and I do not want to steal her thunder in any respect. As I understand it, she is going to suggest a way of continuing Bishop George Bell’s work in the diocese.

Let me close my remarks with George Bell’s own words: words we should all heed, and which should guide our attempts to clear his name: ‘To despair of being able to do anything, or refuse to do anything, is to be guilty of infidelity’.

George Carey

Lord Carey of Clifton with Sandra Saer at Church House

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APRIL 9 2021 – ‘BISHOP BUTLER AND BISHOP BELL’ CHURCH TIMES LETTER BY VASANTHA GNANADOSS

Vasantha Gnanadoss with Revd Alan Gadd at the Rebuilding Bridges Conference at Church House Westminster – Oct 5 2018

Photo: RWS Photography

Scripture Union review’ – Church Times Letter – April 9 2021

Sir, — From your coverage of John Smyth and the Scripture Union (News, 1 April), we learn that “One of the revelations from the SU report is that Bishop Paul Butler, at the time President of Scripture Union and Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, was told in 2015, yet appears to have done nothing.”

Failure to take action when abuse is reported is recognised as a serious matter. Can we expect Bishop Butler to be suspended while this revelation is investigated?

There is a marked contrast between this revelation of inaction and Bishop Butler’s defence, later in 2015, in the House of Lords, of what Lord Carlile has described as “a rush to judgement” on “a single unfounded allegation” against Bishop George Bell.

VASANTHA GNANADOSS
London

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APRIL 8 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [AUGUST 31 2016] – “THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND MASTERS THE NON-APOLOGY” BY REV JULES GOMES

Rev Jules Gomes: The Church of England masters the non-apology

By ‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes

August 31, 2016

The Conservative Woman

When is an apology not an apology? An apology is not an apology when a Church of England bishop offers it to a victim of sexual abuse on a silver platter of spin as a tactical cop-out while shedding crocodile tears and mumbling ‘Awfully sorry, old chap!’ in the mode of a Bertie Wooster facing a snappy Gussie Fink-Nottle.

The C of E has been caught with its pants down in yet another monumental cock-up with the embarrassing revelation of how bishops were instructed only to give partial apologies—if at all—to victims of sexual abuse to avoid being sued. A survivor of child sexual abuse has issued a damning indictment of the C of E’s hierarchy, naming and shaming it for washing its hands ‘like Pontius Pilate’.

The old-fashioned practice of a heartfelt apology, deeply rooted in the Christian theology of repentance and reconciliation, has now been turned into an episcopal Punch and Judy show with lawyers, bureaucrats and managers on fat cat salaries pulling the strings while their purple-clad puppets dance to their dirges, desperately clutching at mitre and crosier.

Deep in the spin-doctoring factory of episcopaldom, the ecclesiastical equivalents of Sir Humphrey Appleby are teaching their bishops to play the game of Catch Me If You Can while Sir Jeffrey Archer’s techniques on the 11th Commandment Thou Shalt Not Get Caught are being honed to perfection. It is part of the managerial double-speak dominating all forms of damage control discourse in the C of E.

The puppeteers advise their bishops to use ‘careful drafting’ to ‘effectively apologise’ and to ‘express regret’ only using wording approved by lawyers, PR advisers and insurers. ‘Because of the possibility that statements of regret might have the unintended effect of accepting legal liability for the abuse, it is important that they are approved in advance by lawyers, as well as by diocesan communications officers (and, if relevant, insurers),’ warns the Orwellian document from the Ministry of Truth.

When is an apology a genuine apology? When it is neither as slippery as a banana skin or as shallow as the paddling pool of a typical Anglican sermon. In his ground-breaking book, On Apology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.) Aaron Lazare, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, offers profound insights into the anatomy of an apology. Lazare traces the history of the world’s most humbling act, from Lincoln’s apology for slavery to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mea culpa after allegations of breast-groping. ‘Why do certain apologies succeed or fail to elicit forgiveness and bring about reconciliation?’ he asks.

‘There’s a right way and a wrong way to apologise. There are several integral elements of any apology and unless they are accounted for, an apology is likely to fail.’ The four components for an effective apology are ‘acknowledgment of the offence; explanation; expressions of remorse, shame, and humility; and reparation. Of these four parts, the one most commonly defective in apologies is the acknowledgment,’ he writes.

‘The offender (or the one speaking on behalf of the offender) must clearly and completely acknowledge the offence. People fail the acknowledgment phase of the apology when they make vague and incomplete apologies (“for whatever I did”); use the passive voice (“mistakes were made”); make the apology conditional (“if mistakes have been made”); question whether the victim was damaged or minimise the offence (“to the degree you were hurt”); use the empathic “sorry” instead of acknowledging responsibility; apologise to the wrong party; or apologise for the wrong offence,’ says Lazare.

The psychologist and pastoral counsellor Carl Schneider defines apology as ‘the acknowledgement of injury with the acceptance of responsibility, affect (felt regret or shame—the person must mean it), and vulnerability—the risking of an acknowledgement without excuses.’

There is a double irony here. All this, of course, is firmly grounded in the biblical tradition of repentance and in the Book of Common Prayer’s injunction that we should ‘acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness; and that we should not dissemble nor cloke them’ ‘but confess them with an humble, lowly, penitent, and obedient heart.’

But all this business of confession and contrition is intensely counter-intuitive to the managerial culture in the C of E. This is reflected in the dumbing down of its modern prayers of repentance to ‘politically correct prayers which sound as if they were written by a committee made up of Tony Blair, Karl Marx, and Noddy.’ What can you expect when the Archbishop’s Council produces an idiots’ Guide to Common Worship, which re-titles “Confession” as “Doing the dirt on ourselves”?

The other ironical twist is that apologies actually prevent lawsuits altogether and increase the likelihood and speed of settlement for those that do arise. This is evident from recent research both in the UK and the US. For example, one British study found that many plaintiffs who sued their doctors said they would not have done so had they received an apology and an explanation for their injury (Jeffrey S. Helmreich, ‘Does “Sorry” incriminate? Evidence, harm and the protection of apology,’ Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy 21 (2012) 574).

Consistent with this view, legislatures in American states have enacted statutes that make certain apologies inadmissible in court thus encouraging more people to offer genuine apologies. Contrary to the recommendations of the C of E mandarins, a new secular culture of confession and contrition is seeking to encourage apologies by explicitly denying their admissibility as evidence.

In some instances the bishops have refused even to tender a doctored apology. Earlier this month Sussex police apologised to the living relatives of the late Bishop George Bell and the BBC admitted that some of its reporting on the allegations against Bishop Bell was wrong. However, the C of E is still refusing to apologise for smearing Bell’s reputation and for the way it handled the case.

The comparison of the bishops with Pontius Pilate made by the survivor of abuse is apt, not just for its powerful metaphor of Pilate ‘washing his hands’ but also for its portrayal of Pilate as the puppet in the pantomime. Pilate is weak-minded, spineless, gutless, easily led and irresolute. The cleverly crafted literature of John’s gospel portrays him as constantly vacillating back and forth as he listens to the crowd. Perhaps it is time the panjandrums in purple stopped listening to the men in pinstriped suits and learned how to say the two most humbling words in the English language: ‘I’m sorry.’ It would be even better if they learned to say the three greatest words in the biblical language of forgiveness and reconciliation: ‘I have sinned.’

‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes The Rev’d Dr Jules Gomes, BA, BD, MTh, PhD (Cantab) is a journalist and academic.

RELATED ARTICLES

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APRIL 8 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [FEBRUARY 1 2019] – “ARCHBISHOP WELBY APOLOGISES FOR ‘MISTAKES’ IN THE CASE OF GEORGE BELL” – CHURCH TIMES

Archbishop Welby

Photo: FT

“ARCHBISHOP WELBY APOLOGISES FOR ‘MISTAKES’ IN THE CASE OF GEORGE BELL” – CHURCH TIMES – JANUARY 24 2019

 by HATTIE WILLIAMS 24 JANUARY 2019

George Bell, painted in 1955

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised for “mistakes” made in the handling of an allegation of sexual abuse against a former Bishop of Chichester, George Bell, after an independent investigation concluded that fresh allegations of sexual abuse were unfounded.

Evidence from at least two claimants and statements from the family of Bishop Bell, who died in 1958, were gathered by Detective Superintendent Roy Galloway, and assessed by an ecclesiastical lawyer, Chancellor Timothy Briden, Vicar-General of the Province of Canterbury, who carried out two hearings last July and October.

Chancellor Briden concludes in his report, published on Thursday, that the new allegations were “inconsistent”, “inaccurate”, “unconvincing”, or, in some instances, amounted to “mere rumour”.

This included the evidence of a complainant known as “Alison” (not her real name), who wrote to the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, claiming that Bishop Bell had “fondled her” when she had sat on his lap, aged nine, in the 1940s. In her oral evidence, the report says: “Her attempts to repeat what had been written in the letter displayed, however, a disturbing degree of inconsistency.”

Mr Briden continues: “I am satisfied that Alison has not made her complaint for financial reasons, not as a piece of mischief-making. Her desire has been to support Carol.”

Another 80-year-old witness — named as “K” in the report — said that his mother had told him that she had seen Bishop Bell “carrying out a sexual act with a man over his Rolls Royce” in 1967. Bishop Bell died in 1958. Apart from this inaccuracy, the report states: “The longer that the statement from K’s mother is analysed, the more implausible it appears.”

The allegations surfaced after the publication of a review conducted by Lord Carlile of the Church of England’s handling of an allegation of sexual abuse against Bishop Bell by a woman known as “Carol” (News, 22 December 2017). The diocese of Chichester had apologised and reached a settlement with Carol two years previously (News, 23 October 2015).

The Carlile review concluded, however, that the Church had “rushed to judgement” when it said that Bishop Bell was responsible for serious abuse. It had also failed in its response to Carol’s original complaint in 1995, and in 2013 when she had written to Archbishop Welby.

The Carlile review triggered fresh allegations, and an investigation was commissioned by Dr Warner in January of last year “in the spirit” of the Carlile review. This was confirmed at the time in a statement from the Church’s National Safeguarding Team, led by Graham Tilby — the “core group” in the Briden ruling.

Questioned during a press briefing on Thursday about the decision to publicise these allegations after the Carlile review had advised against this, a Church House spokesman said that the review had resulted in the raising of “difficult questions” by General Synod members about the handling of allegations against Bishop Bell and the subsequent damage to his reputation.

“Those questions would have been difficult to answer; we did not want to mislead the Synod.”

The Church regretted the “unfortunate timing” of the publication of the review before the February Synod meeting, he said, but it had not been a “conspiracy. It was simply the way events unfolded.” He continued: “The previous matter [allegations made by Carol] were in the public domain. I cannot see how we could have covered up a further investigation [into fresh allegations].”

The spokesman also expressed regret over the handling of Carol’s case (including her feeling of being “besieged” by defenders of Bishop Bell), and the public statement made in 2015 after the settlement was reached. “The statement we made was not sufficiently clear — the level of certainty does not exist to say that either Bishop Bell is not a paedophile or that Carol’s allegations against him are unfounded.”

This was reiterated by Dr Warner in his statement on Thursday: “We have learned that the boundaries of doubt and certainty have to be stated with great care, that the dead and those who are related to them have a right to be represented, and that there must be a balanced assessment of the extent to which it would be in the public interest to announce details of any allegation.

“It became obvious that a more thorough investigation must be made before any public announcement can be considered, and that the level of investigation typically undertaken for settlement of a civil claim is not adequate to justify an announcement. It is now clear that, if an announcement about any person is to be made, it must not imply certainty when we cannot be certain.”

OTHER STORIES

C of E rejects Carlile recommendation regarding naming of alleged abusers THE Church of England’s safeguarding team has already rejected the key recommendation made in the critical independent review of the Church handling of the George Bell abuse allegations

Archbishop Welby said after the Carlile review that “a significant cloud” had been left over the name of Bishop Bell. In his statement on Thursday, however, besides confirming that “nothing of substance” had been added to previous allegations, the Archbishop reiterated that “[Bishop Bell’s] legacy is undoubted and must be upheld.”

He said: “The reputation of Bishop Bell is significant, and I am clear that his memory and the work he did is as of much importance to the Church today as it was in the past. . . I hope that ways will be found to underline his legacy and share the learning from his life with future generations.”

The spokesman for Church House suggested that Chichester Cathedral might “review” its decision to remove Bishop Bell’s name from its grant scheme. It was up to individual institutions to decide whether to reinstate his name on buildings, however. Resignations in the Church over the handling of the case would be “a matter of conscience”.

The Church was to produce further guidance on handling posthumous allegations, he said, and was “keen to hear” the conclusions of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which is due to produce its final report on the Anglican investigation after the final hearing in July (News, 18 January).

Archbishop Welby apologised “unreservedly and profoundly” for the hurt caused to the surviving “family, colleagues, and supporters” of Bishop Bell for the failures of the Church in handling the allegations. “However, it is still the case that there is a woman who came forward with a serious allegation relating to an historic case of abuse, and this cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet. We need to care for her and listen to her voice.”

In an interview with The Spectator published on Thursday, the Archbishop said: “‘It has been a very, very painful process. Not least because Bishop Bell was — is — one of my great heroes.”

Dr Warner also apologised for “how damaging and painful” it had been for all involved in this and other cases in his diocese: “The diocese of Chichester has rightly been held to account for its safeguarding failures of the past — shocking and shaming as they were. We hope that the culture of the diocese has changed.” It remained committed to responding with compassion, he said.

Professor Andrew Chandler, Bishop Bell’s biographer, who has been campaigning to clear Bell’s name, said on Thursday evening that the statements “show that they are clinging to the wreckage of their old position as best they can.

“It is simply self-justification, but it does indicate that they will just maintain for the sake of consistency the views that got them into such trouble in the first place.”

He questioned why, in January of last year, the Church had issued a statement and commissioned a second investigation: “What today has really exposed is the ridiculousness of what has been going on, and the foolishness of people who have real power in the Church. . .

“Many people will say that the Church was trying to control, or retrieve control, of the narrative of Lord Carlile, to shut down the critics, and create a doubt in the public mind that Bell might be a serial offender of some kind.

“They have nothing to hide behind now. It looks like a highly calculating, politicised outfit indeed.”

While parts of the Archbishop’s statement were “meaningful, welcome, and appropriate”, the reference to the Church’s “dilemma” in weighing up a reputation against a serious allegation did not exist, Professor Chandler argued.

“There is no dilemma. It is quite extraordinary as part of pastoral practice, let alone legal practice, to maintain that taking somebody seriously involves believing somebody. . . The problem is that the various [church] establishments invested a great deal in this, and it is difficult to climb down. . .

“If they are going to survive in office with any credibility at all, they [will] have to think very hard [as to how to] win back the trust that has been so inexorably lost.”

The “enormous” damage to Bishop Bell’s reputation had been inflicted by the very people who should have looked after it, Professor Chandler concluded. “The real figure of Bishop Bell has never been involved. His name has just been symbolic of a great social dread, and an established institution colluded with [this dread] in search of self-justification.”

Read more from Andrew Chandler on our comment pages, and read how the story was covered in the national press, here.

You can find the full report and statements the Church of England website.
 

Full statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury:

I apologise unreservedly for the mistakes made in the process surrounding the handling of the original allegation against Bishop George Bell. The reputation of Bishop Bell is significant, and I am clear that his memory and the work he did is of as much importance to the Church today as it was in the past. I recognise this has been an extremely difficult period for all concerned and I apologise equally to all those who have come forward and shared stories of abuse where we have not responded well.

OTHER STORIES Welby is urged to withdraw George Bell ‘cloud’ statement after Carlile report THE Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he cannot, with integrity, clear the name of George Bell, the former Bishop of Chichester

An allegation against the late Bishop George Bell, originally brought in 1995, was made again in 2013 in the context of a growing awareness of how institutions respond to safeguarding cases. A review carried out by Lord Carlile into how the Church of England handled the case concerning Bishop Bell made a significant number of recommendations, and the Church of England accepted almost all of these.

At the end of 2017 several people came forward with further, fresh information following the Carlile review, and after a thorough, independent investigation, nothing of substance has been added to what has previously been alleged.

statement from the National Safeguarding Team explains the processes involved in reaching this latest decision more fully.

The Church’s dilemma has been to weigh up the reputation of a highly esteemed bishop who died over 60 years ago alongside a serious allegation. We did not manage our response to the original allegation with the consistency, clarity or accountability that meets the high standards rightly demanded of us. I recognise the hurt that has been done as a consequence. This was especially painful for Bishop Bell’s surviving relatives, colleagues and supporters, and to the vast number of people who looked up to him as a remarkable role model, not only in the Diocese of Chichester but across the United Kingdom and globally. I apologise profoundly and unconditionally for the hurt caused to these people by the failures in parts of the process and take responsibility for this failure.

However, it is still the case that there is a woman who came forward with a serious allegation relating to an historic case of abuse and this cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet. We need to care for her and listen to her voice.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has already questioned the Church of England over its response to the Bishop Bell case and the review by Lord Carlile. We expect that their report on our hearings will address further the complex issues that have been raised and will result in a more informed, confident, just and sensitive handling of allegations of abuse by the church in the future. We have apologised, and will continue to do so, for our poor response to those brave enough to come forward, while acknowledging that this will not take away the effects of the abuse.

This very difficult issue therefore leaves the Church with an impossible dilemma which I hope people with different perspectives on it will try to understand.

Finally, I want to make it very clear that Bishop George Bell is one of the most important figures in the history of the Church of England in the 20th century and his legacy is undoubted and must be upheld. His prophetic work for peace and his relationship with Dietrich Bonhoeffer are only two of the many ways in which his legacy is of great significance to us in the Church and we must go on learning from what he has given to us. I hope that ways will be found to underline his legacy and share the learning from his life with future generations.

OTHER RELATED STORIES

Lord Williams backs abuse survivors’ demand for independent safeguarding body at IICSA 14 Mar 2018

‘I am ashamed of the Church’, Archbishop Welby admits to IICSA hearing 21 Mar 2018

Safeguarding: the next steps 06 Apr 2018

Police close latest investigation into George Bell 23 Apr 2018

Safeguarding: what we got wrong, and the steps we are taking to put it right 06 Apr 2018

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

RELATED ARTICLES

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APRIL 8 2021 – “SEX, POWER, CONTROL: RESPONDING TO ABUSE IN THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH” – REVIEW BY LINDA WOODHEAD

Linda Woodhead reviews ‘Sex, Power, Control: Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church’

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church

A review by Linda Woodhead, Distinguished Professor of Religion and Society, Lancaster University

When she was the Director of Safeguarding for Bath and Wells, Fiona Gardner was puzzled about why so many of the diocesan hierarchy asked her, ‘How can you stand it?’. At the time, she thought that ‘it’ must be sexual abuse and predation. Only later did it occur on her that ‘it’ was something different: the shadow church, as difficult to face up to as the shadow side of one’s own psyche.

The anecdote gives a flavour of this important book. Gardner draws on many years of experience as a psychotherapist, a safeguarding officer, a spiritual writer and counsellor. She was one of the people who eventually helped bring Peter Ball to justice. She knows the Church of England from inside out, and the human psyche too. She writes with clarity and understanding about the mind of the abuser and the trauma of the abused, always grounding her thoughts in actual examples.

It is Gardner’s multifaceted experience that enables her to do something fresh and useful: to psychoanalyse the Church in order to explain its abusive tendencies. While sociologists like me are wary of attempts to psychologise social phenomena, Gardner gets past my defences because she understands institutions and social relations so well. She knows that they always involve power, and that an institution is in essence a structured set of power relations. The book’s title ‘Sex, Power, Control’ is well chosen.*

Back to ‘it’, the grubby side of the Church of England that those in power want to bury. Gardner’s achievement is to drag it into the light. By listening carefully to the insights of survivors and analysing ‘the mind of the abuser’, she finds a key to unlock the Church of England’s bloody chamber.

Narcissism features prominently in the analysis, narcissism being understood in clinical terms rather than simply as vanity. The narcissist buries shameful things that he or she cannot bear to face. Some of these may derive from childhood, some from later episodes and actions. In order to defend against horrible feelings, a false self is constructed. The more grandiose the self, the more it needs to be continually re-inflated. One way of doing so is by joining an institution that confers dignity. Dressing up, being given a title, and being treated as more ‘reverend’ than others does the job very well. So – to take a further step – does controlling, demeaning and even abusing other people. The smaller you make them, the bigger you feel. The abusers that Gardner encountered were all men, and were all predatory narcissists.

In sociological terms, abuse both exploits existing social inequalities and reinforces them. Victims of clerical abusers are selected because of they are lay, young, lower-class, female, or have other vulnerabilities. The abuse reflects and reinforces their relative powerlessness, meaning that abuse serves a social as well as a personal purpose: it is not peripheral to hierarchical structures, it is integral to them.

Gardner tells us about the warning signs of narcissism. She sees in men like Ball a ‘completely self-absorbed sense of reality’. Everything is all-about-them. They work tirelessly to salvage their reputations and inflate their egos, and draw on all the connections and tools available to them to do so. They are deeply manipulative. Those who cross them are likely to be treated with rage, contempt and various forms of intimidation. As well as a campaign of letters from Ball himself, Gardner was advised by three senior church officials to back off, in one case being walked round the bishop’s palace grounds for a ‘chat’, and on another being rung by Lambeth Palace.

As well as the solipsism, the narcissist gives himself away by a lack of boundaries. There is no thee and me, just me. You are of interest only insofar as you serve the narcissist’s needs, and you have no separate subjectivity or independent existence for him. This blurring of boundaries extends to the body. The abuser does not just groom victims emotionally, he invades their personal space uninvited with touches and groups, hugs and strokes; he may sit people on his knee, or suggest sharing a bed.

Understanding the mind of the perpetrator helps Gardner to understand why the Church has been so hospitable.  It is a rigidly and steeply hierarchical institution. The clergy, she says in one chilling passage, are the subjects, the laity are objects, and victims of abuse are not even objects – they are marginals, untouchables, a kind of ‘matter out of place’, as the anthropologist Mary Douglas put it in her discussion of dirt and impurity. To allow the victim to speak and have agency is to upset the whole order, thereby putting at risk not just the institution but the very identity of those whose sense of selfhood is bound up with it. No wonder that when Ball’s abuse was reported to no less than nineteen bishops and an archbishop by increasingly desperate victims and concerned supporters, not one of them intervened.

Gardner uses the idea of ‘institutional narcissism’ (which I think comes from Stephen Parsons and his blog) to take the analysis further. It helps to explain why senior leaders crave success stories even when they involve things as dodgy as the Balls’ monastic order or Chris Brain’s ‘Nine O’Clock Service’. It explains why those who try to blow the whistle are ignored or traduced, and why bad news has to be hushed up. It explains why so many large and costly ‘comms’ teams are employed by dioceses, Church House and Lambeth to pump out good news and bury bad. It explains why truthfulness is not a value you ever hear preached. This all makes sense because there is institutional grandiosity to defend, and an ‘it’ to be denied.

Gardner includes a helpful chapter on the public schools from which over half of the bishops are drawn. The repression of emotion and vulnerability in order to appear strong and manly, and ambivalence about homosexuality and women, are discussed. This helps to situate the current problems in a wider framework of English class, privilege, and establishment.

If that all sounds a bit grim, it is. The obvious conclusion is that the only way to rid the Church of England of abuse is to dismantle its hierarchical structure completely. Safeguarding is a hopeless sticking plaster.

Yet I found at least one hopeful thing in Gardner’s analysis, for she reminds us that abusers are made, not born. And if the making of an abuser is a process, that process can be halted. Gardner gives the example of a young man abused by his mother as a child who is aware of his own attraction to children, and terrified by it. Instead of surrendering to this part of himself by, for example, downloading images of children, masturbating, becoming addicted, and perhaps going on to offend, he seeks medical help. This allows him to manage his desires by understanding, externalising and controlling them. There can be ‘interventions’ just as with any other kind of addiction, and the earlier the better.  Books like this help by making people more alert and understanding.

But can the institution change its spots?  Gardner is too nice to say ‘no’, but she probably thinks it. She may be right, but I wonder if a more historical view of the Church of England would have let in a bit more light and possibility. It is easy to think that the way things are now is the way things have always been and always must be, but the diocesan structures that weighed down on Gardner in Bath and Wells are actually rather recent. It was only in the second half of the twentieth century that diocesan bishops became powerful bureaucrats, as the Church was remodelled along the lines of the state with its own kind of regional devolution and expanding civil service. Parliamentary control and lay patronage were whittled away, and the disastrous simulacrum of democracy, the General Synod, was born.

For all the episcopal bluff, the Church of England is not really one thing, and never has been. ‘Unity’ is a narcissistic fiction. The Church of England is one big unhappy family whose several parties divorced one another some time ago. And although some parts and parties of the Church really may be abusive at the core (where abuse means abuse of power, which opens the door to sexual abuse), other parts can more easily be cleaned up.

Gardner is right that the problem of abuse is tied up with theology and governance structures, which means that any real solution must be, too. I have long thought that the constituent parts of the CofE should be allowed to separate from one another, develop on their own terms, and become parts of a federal structure. If the Church wants to be taken seriously by civil society, let alone enjoy the privileges of establishment, then the criterion for remaining part of this loose affiliation must be to respect the basic norms of equality, non-discrimination, transparency and independent oversight that govern other public bodies. That, combined with proper safeguarding and an open learning environment, might just save what is worth saving.

*Full disclosure: I have not met or corresponded with the author, but she cites my book with Andrew Brown That Was The Church That Was: How the Church of England lost the English people and its definition of the institutional Church.

About Stephen Parsons

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

COMMENTS

  1. EnglishAthena Yup. The great institutional sin is the caste system. Even three years ago, I’ve had a bishop shouting and doing the stabby finger thing; generally behaving as if I was just saying horrible things, rather than reporting experiences. They haven’t learned much.

FURTHER INFORMATION

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APRIL 8 2021 – “A U-TURN IS REQUIRED FROM ARCHBISHOP WELBY AND BISHOP WARNER IN THE CASE OF BISHOP BELL. IT’S CALLED REPENTANCE” – RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

“A U-TURN IS REQUIRED FROM ARCHBISHOP WELBY AND BISHOP WARNER IN THE CASE OF BISHOP BELL. IT’S CALLED REPENTANCE”

RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

Richard W. Symonds

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APRIL 8 2021 – APRIL 6 2021 – ‘THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS’ LETTER SUBMITTED TO DAILY TELEGRAPH [BUT UNPUBLISHED] – BY DR TIM HUDSON

SIR – A propos his continued character assassination of the late Bishop George Bell of Chichester, it isn’t only “the basic Christian precept of repentance” which Archbishop Welby seems to lack (Letters, April 2).

Exodus 20.16 states “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour”.  Does that not also refer to bearing witness you don’t know to be certainly true? 

Tim Hudson

Chichester, West Sussex

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APRIL 7 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [DECEMBER 16 2017] – LORD CARLILE QC INTERVIEWED BY THE ARGUS REGARDING BISHOP BELL AND ‘CAROL’

Lord Alex Carlile QC

FROM THE ARCHIVES [DECEMBER 16 2017] – LORD CARLILE QC INTERVIEWED BY THE ARGUS REGARDING BISHOP BELL AND ‘CAROL’

16th December 2017

Victim: ‘He can say Bishop Bell wouldn’t be found guilty, it doesn’t change the facts’

Exclusive by Joel Adams  Argus_JoelA ReporterBishop George Bell

Bishop George Bell 

THE woman at the centre of a Church sex scandal said yesterday: “It did happen.”

She spoke out after a review found the Church had not investigated her claims properly – and her alleged abuser’s reputation had been wrongfuly damaged.

Lord Alex Carlile had reviewed the process which led to a statement of apology and a payout from the Church of England over the woman’s accusation against wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell.

Lord Carlile said the process followed by the Church was “deficient in several ways”.

He told The Argus: “The statement was wrong, it should never have been issued. It was quite wrong, and I think if one looks at the process, the process went just horribly wrong.

Lord Carlile, a QC, added: “I’ve prosecuted and defended a lot of cases including a lot of sex cases, and there’s absolutely no prospect that a criminal case against him would have succeeded.

“I think even if it had been brought in 1951 or 1952, I don’t think it would have succeeded.

“But in any event a complaint wasn’t made until 37 years after he died. And by that time there would have been absolutely no chance had he been living of him being convicted.”

Bell’s accuser, who The Argus has called Carol to preserve her anonymity, responded: “The fact is, it happened whether he would have been found guilty or not, whatever Lord Carlile says.”

Carol first reported the sexual abuse, which she said happened for several years from the late 1940s beginning when she was five, in 1995.

The bishop to whom she wrote told her to speak to a vicar.

Carol emailed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office in 2012 but was told nothing could be done because Bell was dead.

In 2013 an email to the newly enthroned Archbishop Justin Welby was taken seriously.

A two-year investigation was undertaken leading to the settlement and statement of apology, which referred to Carol as “the survivor”.

Critics accused the Church of trying Bishop Bell – a critic of the bombing of civilians during the Second World War, defender of German Christians under the Nazis and one of the 20th century’s most revered churchmen – in a kangaroo court.

In November Lord Carlile was appointed to review the Church’s handling of the affair and yesterday his report was highly critical.

He concluded: “The investigation was very weak, failing to find important, credible evidential material that the announcement of my review produced with ease.”

Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, said the church accepted the “main thrust” of the report’s recommendations.

But the Church has rejected Lord Carlile’s central proposal that an alleged perpetrator should never be named unless responsibility for the alleged abuse has been proved.

Bishop Hancock said the Church was committed to transparency and would generally seek to avoid confidentially clauses.

Carol told The Argus: “In all the talk about how the Church treated Bishop Bell, people seem to have forgotten how the Church treated me.”

LEGAL EXPERT POINTED TO OVERLOOKED EVIDENCE

Lord Alex Carlile QC sat down with Argus reporter Joel Adams at Church House yesterday morning following the publication of his report.

What is the most significant piece of evidence you are concerned the original process did not unearth?

The evidence of a person I’ve called Pauline who was about the same age as Carol.

She was in the bishop’s palace a great deal of the time, had a great deal of contact with the bishop.

She described him as basically being lovely at all times, aloof but a very nice person.

She says there was never any suggestion of any impropriety towards her on his part.

Next the fact that there were no other complainants. The church knew there were no other complainants but they didn’t give it much weight.

Thirdly that for part of the period, a little earlier than the complaint time, there were Kindertransport children living in the bishop’s palace, and I was able to see some photographs of some of them, they were almost all little girls.

So there wasn’t an analysis of the evidence worth naming analysis.

Surely no weight is ever given in a trial to all the children a sex offender didn’t touch?

If you take the Jimmy Savile case, there have been hundreds of people who came forward.

In the Peter Ball case a considerable number of people came forward.

Of course there are cases – occasionally, and I have to say occasionally – where only one person has been abused, but with the kind of abuse that was complained of here it’s very unusual for there to be only one person who’s been abused.

And therefore it is a legitimate part of any inquiry.

Are you troubled by the fact the other witness you spoke to, who the inquiry didn’t, Andrew [Adrian – Ed] Carey, can remember neither Carol nor Pauline?

I wasn’t particularly troubled by that.

When I saw Canon Carey first of all he was 95, he had a very good memory for some things but one can’t expect him to remember everything .

And although I of course asked him whether he remembered these children and I was slightly surprised that he didn’t, he also gave me a very complete description of the way of life in the bishop’s palace and there were some details he gave me, of who did what, where they tended to be, what staff the bishop had around him, which diminished the prospects of the complaint being proved.

What is your message to Carol?

My message to her, and I met her and believe she would accept this message, is that if due process has not been followed properly, then she like any other reasonable person would not expect a person to be condemned.

It was not part of my terms of reference to say whether she was telling the truth or not and I have made no such judgement.

Do you feel the entire process has been a waste of time if the Church is not happy to accept the most important conclusion that you have drawn, that it should not have named Bell?

Firstly I believe that Bishop Martin will reflect upon this report in the long term.

Secondly this report will not only be read by bishops, but will be read by people who form parts of Core Groups in the future, and I think they in part will be guided by it.

Finally I would say that I think one can overplay the importance of paragraph 33 of my report, it’s one of the recommendations there are some very detailed recommendations about the way in which these cases should processed.

You conclude in quite stark terms the statement was wrong

It was wrong, It should never have been issued. It was quite wrong, and I think if one looks at the process, the process went just horribly wrong.

Are you a religious man?

No. I’m a baptised and Confirmed member of the Church of England, but I’m not a religious person.

A PERSON OF DIGNITY AND INTEGRITY

RESPONDING to Lord Carlile’s review, Church of England leaders apologised to Bishop Bell’s family as well as repeating their apology to Carol.

Safeguarding lead Bishop Peter Hancock 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 the case.”

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner said: “We apologise for failures in the work of the core group of national and diocesan officers and its inadequate attention to the rights of those who are dead.

“Irrespective of whether she is technically a complainant, survivor or victim, Carol emerges from this report as a person of dignity and integrity.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “We are utterly committed to seeking just outcomes for all. We apologise for the failures of the process.”

All three churchmen accepted many of the report’s criticisms of the process,and said improvements to its protocols were already in place, with further consideration still to come.

But all three stressed the church did not agree with Lord Carlile’s recommendation that alleged perpetrators should never be named if responsibility had not been proved.

They said the Church was committed to the principle of transparency and would generally seek to avoid confidentiality clauses.

ARGUS TOLD OF ALLEGATIONS

UNTIL Carol spoke to The Argus last February, all anyone knew of the person at the centre of this case was that the Church had apologised to a person it called “the survivor” and settled a legal claim.

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner had said in October 2015 the allegation dated from the 1940s and concerned allegations of sexual offences against “an individual who was a young child at the time”.

We revealed the claimant was a woman, now in her seventies, who alleged the abuse had started when she was just five years old.

Carol told The Argus she was frequently molested by Bishop Bell in rooms in the cathedral grounds, when she visited a relative employed there.

She said Bishop Bell would take her into a private room saying he wanted to read her a story.

She said: “It was whenever he got a chance to take me off on my own. My strongest memory is seeing this figure all in black, standing on a stair, waiting.

“He used to take me off down this long corridor and there was a big room at the end, and he used to take me in there.”

She said once the door was closed he would put her on his lap and molest her.

Yesterday it was also revealed that in a police statement she said on some occasions he made her touch his genitals and had attempted to rape her.

Last year she told The Argus: “He said it was our little secret because God loved me.”

She gave the same testimony to the Church investigation.

She said: “It’s something that lives with you for the rest of your life. It never goes away.”

In 1995 Carol wrote to then Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, telling her story.

Yesterday it emerged she added: “My whole life has suffered because of him… I am going to tell my story and sell it to the highest bidder to gain compensation for something that blighted my whole life.”

She never did sell her story.

Yesterday said she had written that to get Bishop Kemp’s attention.

Her attempt failed.

Kemp advised her to speak to a vicar.

In September 2012, as the Jimmy Savile story broke, she twice emailed Lambeth Palace with her story.

She was told first to ring a helpline, then that “the former bishops of Chichester are dead so there is nothing we can do to take your story forward and deal with it”.

Only when Justin Welby took office in 2013 did a later email receive proper attention, leading to the 2015 apology, and then to Lord Carlile’s review.

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APRIL 6 2021 – ‘GEORGE BELL HOUSE’ LETTER SUBMITTED TO DAILY TELEGRAPH [BUT UNPUBLISHED] – BY CHRISTOPHER HOARE

Christopher Hoare

Sir     

Lord Lexden’s excellent letter- 2 April – reminds us of the grave injustice Archbishop Welby inflicts on Bishop Bell, by stating that ‘a significant cloud’ remains over the latter’s name.   What then should be done to right the matter?  For my part I have withdrawn £50 thousand left in my Will to Chichester Cathedral until such time as the name  ‘George Bell House’ is restored to a building in Canon Lane, Chichester, dedicated to Bishop Bell, by Archbishop Rowan Williams in 2008. To enjoy my legacy this needs to happen in my short remaining lifetime.  I am 89 !

More importantly can we find out what is preventing this first step being taken now ?    I think it is due to Archbishop Welby’s  loyalty to Bishop Warner, whom it is widely believed was installed to clean up the bad reputation our Diocese had earned for sex scandals.  The latter, closely involved in the discredited investigation, was clearly completely taken in by ‘Carol’ [ the name given to the claimant] who  during over half a century of convincing herself of the identity of her abuser – if indeed she was abused at all – was doubtless a convincing witness.

Other than Chapter & a small number of Clergy, is there anyone in favour of retaining the temporary name 4  Canon Lane ?   I have yet to meet or hear of a single one. although it is true that a certain number of  highly regarded senior Laity, while recognising the existing injustice, are inhibited from ‘coming out’ due to  conflicting loyalties.

Whereas I am convinced that ultimately Bishop Bell’s reputation will be fully restored, I doubt  whether even the first step will be taken in time to claim my legacy

Christopher Hoare,  Chichester