Monthly Archives: September 2016

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http://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/theatre-and-comedy/play-reading-as-part-of-justice-for-george-bell-campaign-1-7596901

Play reading as part of “Justice for George Bell” campaign Bishop Bell

Phil Hewitt – phil.hewitt@chiobserver.co.uk

Monday 26 September 2016

An abridged, dramatised reading of T S Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral will take place in Chichester as part of the campaign to clear the name of the city’s wartime Bishop Bell, a man accused last year of child abuse more than half a century after his death (October 2, 6.30pm, The Friends’ Meeting House, Priory Road, free admission).

Taking part will be Mail on Sunday columnist and author Peter Hitchens, a key figure in efforts to argue nothing has ever been proved against Bell: “The Church of England gave George Bell a kangaroo court. It was about as marsupial as it could be.”

As Peter says, it is documented that Bell would always travel third class by train; and that travelling on the little branch lines, there would be times when he would have to travel without a ticket. Without fail, he would then get his secretary to find out what he owed and send off a cheque: “Does a man who is so open and honest in such small things fit with a man who was supposed to have led a life of predatory child abuse? I don’t think so.”

Peter believes the campaign has made significant progress: “It has allowed what was initially an allegation to become an allegation again rather than being accepted as undisputed truth, which the church did wrongly to begin with.”

Peter’s argument is that the church and some of the media ignored “the presumption of innocence which is not just a principle in law but a principle in life. The statement that they put out never at any stage says George Bell is guilty, but somehow or other three national newspapers and the BBC all came to the conclusion that he was guilty.”

Peter, who spent some formative years in Chichester, just after George Bell’s death, living in Brandy Hole Lane and attending (as a non-choirboy) the Prebendal School, insisted he is not afraid of the truth: “If it is true, then no harm will have been done by insisting on the presumption of innocence. If it is not true, then a great deal of harm will have been done.

“But I find it hard to see how it could be proved conclusively. It is so long ago. We only have a witness from one side of the alleged events. The accused person is not there to defend himself. One hopes for some sort of event that might bring it about but I doubt it.

All I have ever wanted to stress is that it is an allegation rather than something proven.

“I have no doubt that the reason they threw George Bell under the bus was to make themselves appear tough and decisive which is the opposite to how they have appeared. Their mistake was to think that nobody cared about George Bell any more. I have been in touch with a huge number of people who care very much.”

Peter says he himself reluctantly came to the conclusion, as Bell did during the war, that area bombing of Germany was wrong: “There was one just man who was prepared to stand up and say it was wrong, and that is an important salve to our national conscience for something we cannot feel terribly proud about.”

And that has been thrown away: “This was a solitary uncorroborated allegation.”

Read more at: http://www.chichester.co.uk/whats-on/theatre-and-comedy/play-reading-as-part-of-justice-for-george-bell-campaign-1-7596901

Bishop Bell Day – This Monday – October 3 2016 – Special Service at St Michael Cornhill – City of London – 4pm

Monday 3rd October is the day that Bishop George Bell is remembered across the Anglican communion in prayers during the daily services.
There will be a special service in St Michael Cornhill (City of London) at 4pm on Monday 3rd arranged by Andrew Chandler and others.

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“Murder in the Cathedral” by T.S. Eliot – Sunday October 2 – Friend Meeting House – Chichester -6.30pm

“Murder in the Cathedral” by T.S. Eliot

Abridged and Directed by Peter Billingham – In Memory of Bishop George Bell

http://www.winchester.ac.uk/academicdepartments/PerformingArts/peopleprofiles/Pages/DrPeterBillingham.aspx

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https://gatwickcitytimes.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/october-2-2016-late-afternoon-evening-in-chichester/

There were rehearsed readings of short extracts from Eliot’s play.
THE CAST
Conscience – Peter Hitchens
Archbishop Thomas Beckett – Canon Derek Tansill
People of Canterbury – Douglas Hankin-West, Johanne Ball, Marilyn Billingham
First Knight – David Simpkin
Second Knight – Peter Billingham
“You should pay tribute to the readers who gave a superb performance of Eliot’s words” ~ Peter Hitchens
£100 was raised for Amnesty International

 

 

“Elite sinks child abuse probe to save itself” – Morning Star – September 15 2016

goddard_inquiry

“ELITE SINKS CHILD ABUSE PROBE TO SAVE ITSELF” – MORNING STAR – SEPTEMBER 15 2016

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-e1de-Elite-sinks-child-abuse-probe-to-save-itself#.V9sbck0rLIU

“An Anglican judge…Butler-Sloss admitted covering up the crimes of Anglican priests…a former special branch officer…said that a dossier of sexual abuse allegations …which police claimed was ‘lost’ was actually seized by MI5…Officers citing ‘national security’ confiscated the file [a paedophile dossier naming Establishment figures], which listed 16 MP’s along with senior policemen, headteachers and clergy…In years to come this will serve as a case study of how Establishment can succeed in sabotaging any attempt to uncover the truth…”

“Let This Silent Bell Ring” – Richard W. Symonds

soderblom

Archbishop Nathan Soderblom

bishop-george-bell (1)

Bishop George Bell

With the new biography of Archbishop Soderblom (“A great archbishop-ecumenist”, Church Times, 2 Sept), we must also remember “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, Ecumenist, Peacemaker, 1958” (Calendar of Saints, Oct 3):*

The Swedish Archbishop had this to say of our English Bishop: **

“It is my opinion that nobody is more important to the future of the ecumenical revival than this silent Bell. This Bell never rings for nothing. But when it does ring its tune is silver-clear. It often seems to travel from another sphere and make itself heard. It reaches farther than our shouting voices. He never begins to speak without having something to say. The strong spirituality of his nature characterize everything he does”

 Both this Archbishop and Bishop Bell need to be well-remembered.

 Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

 Ifield Village

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calendar_of_saints_(Church_of_England

** Preface to “And Other Pastors of Thy Flock” by Franz Hildebrandt (Cambridge University Press, 1942) – quoted in “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester” – ‘Church, State, and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship’ by Andrew Chandler (Eerdmans 2016) – Page 19