Monthly Archives: November 2017

November 27 2017 – “Piety and Provocation: A Study of George Bell” by Andrew Chandler – Humanitas – George Bell Institute [2008]

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http://www.jesus4u.co.uk/reviews/piety-and-provocation

Piety and Provocation: A Study of George Bell, Humanitas

Chandler, Andrew
Publisher:
George Bell Institute (2008)
ISBN:
13978955055812
Purchase:
Buy this book from Amazon.co.uk

It is easy for the denizens of Sussex to get George Bell out of proportion but the mainstay of Bell studies, Andrew Chandler does not make this mistake, even though he works at the Bell Institute in Chichester. The brief, clear-eyed survey of Bell’s life and achievements is summed up in his phrase “a costly failure”, not only for him but for the great causes he espoused of world peace and Christian unity. Chandler might have added his failure to inculcate a zeal for social justice into the Church of England which only surfaced under the extreme pressure of re-invigorated liberal capitalism in the late 1970s.

Sadly, Bell’s heritage is largely based on three myths. First, he is said to have opposed the area bombing of Dresden in 1945 which he did not; his major intervention took place in February 1944. This sheds light on the second myth, that Churchill turned him down for Canterbury because of his Dresden speech when, at worst, it might have been because of his actual speech although, Chandler notes, there were many and good reasons why Fisher should have been chosen. Thirdly, Bell is widely regarded as a pacifist although the two full length speeches at the back of this book flatly contradict this.

This is not to say that Bell did not have a full and fruitful life: his support of ecumenism laid a foundation on which we are still building today; his patronage of the arts – crowned by T.S. Eliot’s Murder in The Cathedral – has left a lasting heritage, not least in Chichester; and his writings, though not academically nor theologically profound, possess a directness of thought which refreshes the jaded mind.

Chandler finds it difficult to reach the core of a man who was private – even secretive – uncharismatic and self-effacing, presenting the biographer with a series of contradictions. One instance which Chandler does not note is that the zealously campaigning Bell only made his Lord’s maiden speech in 1938, nine years after taking his seat.

If you know about Bell, this brief survey is probably not for you but, then, as Chandler shows, most people only think they know him.

November 26 2017 – “Refugees” – A Poem by Brian Bilston

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“REFUGEES” – A POEM BY BRIAN BILSTON

THEY HAVE NO NEED OF OUR HELP

SO DO NOT TELL ME

THESE HAGGARD FACES COULD BELONG TO YOU OR ME

SHOULD LIFE HAVE DEALT A DIFFERENT HAND

WE NEED TO SEE THEM FOR WHO THEY REALLY ARE

CHANCERS AND SCROUNGERS

LAYABOUTS AND LOUNGERS

WITH BOMBS UP THEIR SLEEVES

CUT-THROATS AND THIEVES

THEY ARE NOT

WELCOME HERE

WE SHOULD MAKE THEM

GO BACK TO WHERE THEY CAME FROM

THEY CANNOT

SHARE OUR FOOD

SHARE OUR HOMES

SHARE OUR COUNTRIES

INSTEAD LET US

BUILD A WALL TO KEEP THEM OUT

IT IS NOT OKAY TO SAY

THESE ARE PEOPLE JUST LIKE US

A PLACE SHOULD ONLY BELONG TO THOSE WHO ARE BORN THERE

DO NOT BE SO STUPID TO THINK THAT

THE WORLD CAN BE LOOKED AT ANOTHER WAY

 

(NOW READ FROM BOTTOM TO TOP)

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

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

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

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Anglo-German Tapestry by Ursula Benker-Schirmer

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

The Anglo-German Tapestry

Tapestry by Ursula Benker Schirmer

Tapestry by Ursula Benker-Schirmer

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

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

 

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

Famous Anglo-German Tapestry taken down for Shrine Refurbishment…

Picture: Removal of Tapestry

Removal of Tapestry

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 26 2017 – “C of E tries to defend its delay over publishing the Carlile Report, which severely criticises its handling of the Bell case” ~ Peter Hitchens – Nov 20 2017

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Peter Hitchens

http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2017/11/c-of-e-tries-to-defend-its-delay-over-publishing-the-carlile-report-which-severely-criticises-its-ha.html

20 November 2017 1:16 PM

C of E tries to defend its delay over publishing the Carlile Report, which severely criticises its handling of the Bell case.

 

The Church of England today published this statement, seeking to defend the 44 day (and counting) delay since it received the Carlile Report into its handling of abuse allegations against the late Bishop of Chichester, George Bell (see many posts here)

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/news/timing-publication-independent-review-processes-used-bishop-george-bell-case

Nobody wants to risk identifying the complainant and it would, I think, be easy to ensure that the report was redacted to ensure that this risk was removed. It would certainly not take more than six weeks to achieve this. More than six weeks also seems more than enough to consult those criticised, though this is now more or less obligatory under the ‘Maxwellisation’ rules instituted after that businessman was once criticised in a report. 

For what I care, those responsible for this nasty episode can remain anonymous with their shame, and be left to seek forgiveness in private,  through contrition. All I want to see is an admission that the procedure was (as it was) quite unjust, and immediate steps taken to re-establish the good name of George Bell, including the restoration of his name where it has been expunged from buildings, schools and guidebooks. And the recognition by several media organisations that they treated an allegation as a proven charge and were wrong to do so. It took quite long enough to persuade a reluctant church even to admit there was anything to worry about.

But if they are so keen on delay and caution, why did they not pause for a little longer before publicising the original claims, as they so energetically did?

 

 

 

 

Mr Hitchens writes,

”All I want to see is an admission that the procedure was (as it was) quite unjust, and immediate steps taken to re-establish the good name of George Bell, including the restoration of his name where it has been expunged from buildings, schools and guidebooks.”

When my husband and I visited Chichester Cathedral this Summer, we checked for a short time the Cathedral’s bookshop if there was anything about Bishop Bell left. There was not much, or rather, nothing. My husband only bought a beautiful booklet of ’Saint Richard’ because he wanted to know more about the saint.

Later, at home he found something in the booklet and showed it me:

”Bishop George Bell was Bishop of Chichester at the time of the 700th anniversary of St Richard’s death, in 1953, and he issued a spiritual call ’to every priest and every parish in the diocese to renew their discipleship, and to pray to God for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit’.

During the year the bishops visited each deanery, and in Chichester there were lectures and special services, including a celebration of the Eucharist by the Archbishop of Canterbury. There was also a pageant in which The Acts of Saint Richard were performed in the palace forecourt. Each performance ended with a procession of clergy, actors and audience to the shrine.

Bishop Bell also created a Guild of St Richard for the newly confirmed.

Since 1953 the shrine of St Richard has been further enriched. The ’Anglo-German Tapestry’, which includes references to the saint’s life, was commissioned to mark the centenary of Bishop Bell’s birth in 1983.”

We later also found in a pamphlet in Japanese (not mentioned in English one) that Bishop Bell’s ashes rest at the shrine in the Cathedral.

We left *a small posy of flowers* with a card at the memorial to Bishop George Bell (I wrongly thought I had to hide the flowers under my cardigan at the entrance) and there were already two more bunches of beautiful flowers there.

 

I have realised now that I should have writen the C *of* E.

 

@John Vernau

Thank you for your comment. I have probably given you an impression that I am very optimistic about the effect of the Carlile Report.

I think this would be an opportunity for the leaders of the C o E to show if they have enough conscience and courage (left) to admit that they have made several serious mistakes under the procedure and wronged the good name of Bishop Bell without any irrefutable foundation. And very importantly, this should not be mixed with the credibility of ’Carol’. I do not think it is the heart of the matter.

She has to accept the fact that there is no witness beside her and we have to accept the fact that there is no proof that can 100% prove that the Bishop was innocent. But then again we have the important principle of the presumption of the innocence. The C o E, the Police and many journalists have failed to respect that important principle. I think the Report should be able to establish this point.

You quoted:

“To provide the Church of England with a review which, having examined relevant documents and interviewed all relevant people, ensures that:

1. Lessons are learnt from past practice:

– As Mr Hitchens and others have shown that the alleged investigation done by the C o E was not thorough and orderly and caused distress not least to the Bishop’s niece. This failure has to be learnt and documented and they have to apologise her. (Have they done it already?)

2. Survivors are listened to and taken seriously, and are supported:

– They failed to take and support ’Carol’ seriously in the beginning. They failed to take the truth seriously too.

3. Good practice is identified and disseminated:

– The way the Church dealt with Police and the media on this issue cannot be called ’good’.

4. Recommendations are made to help the Church embed best practice in safeguarding children and adults in the future.”

– They have to think about safeguarding people from defamation too.

 

Re Ky | 22 November 2017 at 09:42 AM

“Mr Hitchens and many other more, myself included, want to see:
1) An admission that the procedure was (as it was) quite unjust.
2) Immediate steps taken to re-establish the good name of George Bell, including the restoration of his name where it has been expunged from buildings, schools and guidebooks.”

That would be wonderful, Ky, but I’m not hopeful. In fact I’m not sure that we’ll see an un-redacted version, or any version at all, of what the Church calls the ‘draft’ of the ‘lessons learned review’. Their statement of 22/11/2016, “The reviewer [Lord Carlile] will produce an executive summary, which will be published to support the dissemination of learning” implies that the summary, at least, may see the light of day as written, but I wouldn’t count on it. I think Lord Carlile has reported to the Church and the Church will, in the fullness of time, report to us. The independent part of the review is over, but reviewing continues.

The same (2016) statement provides the terms of reference for the review, which in my opinion provide little solace for those interested in justice. The objectives of the review are identified as:
“To provide the Church of England with a review which, having examined relevant documents and interviewed all relevant people, ensures that:
1. Lessons are learnt from past practice
2. Survivors are listened to and taken seriously, and are supported
3. Good practice is identified and disseminated
4. Recommendations are made to help the Church embed best practice in safeguarding children and adults in the future.”

Also, the “scope of the review” goes no further back in time than 1995. I suspect the current delay is to needed to masticate the ‘draft’ report into a familiar CofE mixture of pious pabulum and corporate gibberish, in which it will be held that much disseminating of many valuable best-practice safeguarding lessons learned has occurred. I very much hope that I’m wrong, but the rehabilitation of Bishop Bell’s reputation may have to wait until the ‘survivor’ in this case can no longer be so described.

 

The Cof E hierarchy who are responsible for enabling the unjust and official smearing of Bishop Bell’s good name and reputation have, through lack of proof and witnesses, collectively broken the 9th commandment.
What, in Heaven’s name, does that make them!?

 

Mr Hitchens and many other more, myself included, want to see:

1) An admission that the procedure was (as it was) quite unjust.

2) Immediate steps taken to re-establish the good name of George Bell, including the restoration of his name where it has been expunged from buildings, schools and guidebooks.

3) The recognition by several media organisations that they treated an allegation as a proven charge and were wrong to do so.
What do we need in order to be able to step forward?

An impartial, objective and well-researched report written by a thoughtful and highly respected lawyer:

I have heard such a report exists in this world – but it is still firmly locked and kept secret from public. There are reasons why we have to wait, they say. But the question is whether 46-days is a reasonable length of time or not.

Does the C o E really care for Bishop Bell’s 92-year-old niece, Ms. Barbara Whitley, who has been distressed by this treatment of the good name of her beloved uncle? I am sure that the restoring of Bishop Bell’s impaired reputation would meant a lot for her, as well as for other both young and old people.

 

I fear that those hoping for a takedown of the church’s actions will be disappointed: the report and its remit have been controlled by the CoE from the off; and they chose Lord Carlile, a lawyer who’s preciously defended draconian anti-terrorism powers.

Traditional English liberties aren’t sacred here, but just one factor that can be “balanced” against other considerations like public order and victims’ rights.

After the obligatory refusal to assign any personal blame, the best we can hope for is probably some recommendations urging restraint in the publishing of future accusations.

 

‘note how they have slipped in “a few months” as the normal period of delay’ (Mr Rob)

Yes, they must have seen your claim to write about this issue every day until it is published and thought that if the let you know it will take a few months you might desist. It is weaselly from them. This is an organisation thinking in self-preservation mode, thinking only about PR. For a church this is outrageous, a complete dereliction of its stated purpose. When put under pressure by ‘Carol’s’ lawyer the church deals with the issue immediately, but when dealing with the issue immediately is not in their benefit they stall.

I applaud you for your determination.

 

All of this is to confuse the wheat with the chaff. Who cares about this old stickler Bell and his hangups about Nazis in the 1930s or carpet bombing in the 1940s?

Is somebody seriously saying that there was something wrong about our revered Archbishop Welby believing all that the victim or survivor has had to say about the cruel treatment she suffered at the hands of that wicked Bell (so cruel and upsetting that she could only bring herself to speak about that treatment when she was certain that the villain was well dead) or is someone saying that his Lordship might have been tempted to sacrifice even that old geezer from history, for the sake of promoting his modern image as an administrative investigator of unimpeachable credentials?

Is it not enough of a burden that his Lordship has the thoroughly unpleasant task of having to constantly apologise for the shortcomings of others in the Church, as though it did not pain him beyond endurance to have to point his finger at those lesser mortals who have sinned by act or omission?

 

“….. issues over factual accuracy and identification of ‘Carol’.”
I can understand they they still feel constrained to keep her identity secret, but ‘factual accuracy’ rather suggests that they’re not even sure now if she really exists – interesting.

 

“Nobody wants to risk identifying the complainant …” says PH.

I strongly disagree.

If someone is claiming money by way of “compensation”, I don’t give tuppence for their credibility if they remain anonymous and act via solicitors.

 

Please keep at them. Please contact the CoE every day.

 

I venture to predict that the report is so damning of their actions that it will never see the light of day. That’s how the system “works”.

 

The statement doesn’t really say anything at all, does it? They’re playing for time (note how they have slipped in “a few months” as the normal period of delay…).

Keep up the pressure, Mr H, I am sure that more and more people are through your efforts becoming acquainted with this case and the lamentable actions of the Church of England.

 

One can only contrast the Bishop’s bravery for standing against British terror bombing of Germany in WW2 with the timidity of the C of E in publishing a report that might show they acted wrongly in this case.

November 26 2017 – “What good is a church without justice?” – Peter Hitchens on Bishop Bell – Mail on Sunday

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Peter Hitchens

http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/

What good is a church without justice?

As Mrs Merton might have asked: ‘So, Archbishop Welby, why have you now sat for 50 whole days on a report which says the Church of England did a wrong and unjust thing?’

I am repeatedly disgusted by the way in which our country has forgotten the basic rules of English justice. And I have written before here about the case of George Bell, the saintly and brave Bishop of Chichester who repeatedly risked unpopularity rather than remain silent about wrongdoing. If only there were more like him. He died in 1958, much mourned. Yet two years ago, on the basis of a single uncorroborated accusation made many decades after the alleged crime, the Church of England publicly denounced him as a child abuser.

Somehow, the allegation became a conviction and was blazed abroad on the BBC and in several newspapers which should have known better. Despite huge publicity nationally and locally, no other accusation has been made in the years since.

I had long revered Bell’s memory, and, with several allies, sought to get justice for him. We found that he had been convicted by a slapdash and inconsiderate kangaroo court.

They made no serious effort to consult Bell’s huge archive (or his biographer, who knew his way around it) to check the claims against it. They never found or warned Bell’s living niece, Barbara Whitley, who was astonished and appalled to see her uncle suddenly smeared in public, and is still livid.

They never looked for or consulted Adrian Carey, Bell’s personal chaplain, who lived in the Bishop’s Palace at the time of the supposed crimes. We did. Until the day he died, Canon Carey rejected the charges as baseless and impossible.

The Church’s main response was to accuse us, quite falsely, of attacking the complainant, which we never did. Then, very grudgingly, it announced a review. Then, with glacial slowness, it appointed a QC, Lord Carlile, to undertake it. Lord Carlile delivered his report on October 7. You can imagine what it says. The C of E is still making excuses for not publishing it. How quick they were to condemn another. How slow they are to admit their own fault.

Publish it now.

November 25 2017 – Charles Moore on Bishop Bell – The Spectator

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Charles Moore

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/11/the-queen-and-prince-philips-70th-anniversary-party-sounds-glorious/


“Just over two years ago, the Church of England authorities hurriedly condemned George Bell because of claims that he had abused a child nearly 70 years ago. They paid money to the alleged victim. Bell, Bishop of Chichester and the leading British supporter of Christian resistance to Hitler, died in 1958. Many protested at the process by which Bell had been condemned. No contemporary documents seemed to have been studied and no surviving witnesses, such as his domestic chaplain, had been asked for their testimony. The mere accusation carried all before it. So great was the anger that the Archbishop of Canterbury courageously decided to review the decision to which he had been party and called in Lord Carlile QC to review the process which damned Bell. Lord Carlile reported in early October, and the steer was that the church would release his report roughly now. On Monday, however, a C of E press release said that the authorities ‘are at the stage of responding with feedback from those who contributed’. ‘This is the process with all independent reviews, there is a period of a few months between receiving the first draft and final publication,’ it explained. A few months! Obviously those criticised should be allowed to comment privately on what the report says, but there was only one accuser and only one supposed perpetrator. This is not the Chilcot report. Two thoughts occur. The first is that the delay strongly suggests that Lord Carlile has found the process to have been severely wanting. The second is that the ‘safeguarding’ team at the heart of the process are being much better safeguarded than ever poor Bell was” – 
Charles Moore

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