Monthly Archives: February 2021

FEBRUARY 28 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [JANUARY 25 2019] – “GEORGE BELL STATUE TO GO AHEAD AS LATEST ABUSE CLAIMS JUDGED ‘UNFOUNDED'” – BELFAST TELEGRAPH

Bishop George Bell statue to go ahead as latest abuse claims judged ‘unfounded’

The cleric was renowned for his opposition to the Nazis and his efforts to rescue Jewish children from Germany.

George Bell, former Bishop of Chichester. (PA Images)

George Bell, former Bishop of Chichester. (PA Images)

January 25 2019


A statue commemorating Bishop George Bell will go ahead after an independent investigation ruled the latest abuse allegations against him were “unfounded”.

Canterbury Cathedral said a planned statue of the former bishop of Chichester, who died in 1958, will be completed and placed in one of the exterior niches in the west end of the building.

Its announcement comes the day after the Church’s national safeguarding team published findings of an inquiry which found the latest allegations against Bell were “unfounded”.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (Dominic Lipinski/PA Images)

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (Dominic Lipinski/PA Images)ADVERTISING

Bell has been praised for helping to rescue Jewish children from Germany during the Second World War and was a supporter of the German resistance.

In a statement Canterbury Cathedral said: “A statue of George Bell, a former dean of Canterbury and later bishop of Chichester, is to be completed and installed at Canterbury Cathedral.

“Bishop Bell was dean between 1924 and 1929 and during that time founded The Friends Of Canterbury Cathedral who celebrated their 90th anniversary in 2017.

“To commemorate his work whilst in Canterbury, the statue will be placed in one of the exterior niches at the west end of the Cathedral joining those of other influential figures.”

A statue of Bishop George Bell will be installed at Canterbury Cathedral (Chris Ison/PA Images).

A statue of Bishop George Bell will be installed at Canterbury Cathedral (Chris Ison/PA Images).

Canterbury Cathedral said work started on the statue in 2015.

But that year the Church paid £15,000 in compensation to a women who claimed she was abused by Bell.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby welcomed the announcement on Friday.

He tweeted: “I warmly welcome the announcement today that the statue of Bishop George Bell will in due course be completed and installed at Canterbury Cathedral, as a permanent reminder of his unique contribution to international peace and to the Church of England.

The latest inquiry was commissioned by the Church and carried out by senior ecclesiastical lawyer Timothy Briden, the vicar general of Canterbury.

It followed the Church of England handing “fresh information” to Sussex Police about Bell in January last year.

In the report, Mr Briden said his finding “excludes any reconsideration of the validity” of original allegations made against Bell and instead focuses only on the fresh information handed to police last year.

He concluded: “Concentrating exclusively upon the allegations remitted to me, I have decided that they are unfounded.”

Speaking after the report’s publication on Thursday, Mr Welby apologised “unreservedly” for “mistakes” in how the Church of England handled allegations against the former bishop.

Mr Welby said Bell was a “remarkable role model”, and added: “I apologise unreservedly for the mistakes made in the process surrounding the handling of the original allegation against Bishop George Bell.

“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.”

He said at the end of 2017 “several people” came forward with “further, fresh information” and after a “thorough, independent investigation, nothing of substance has been added to what has previously been alleged”.

The information was received after the conclusion of Lord Carlile of Berriew’s independent review last month into how it handled allegations made against the late bishop.

These related to a woman who claimed she was abused by Bell in the 1950s when she was aged between five and eight.

She was paid £15,000 in compensation in 2015 and received an apology from the church.

In Carlile’s report, published in December 2017, the Church was criticised for “rushing to judgment” of one of its most respected bishops some 60 years after his death.

The Church’s inquiry into the allegations was criticised for failing to adequately investigate the victim’s claims or seek witnesses who had known or worked for Bell during his tenure as bishop of Chichester between 1929 and 1958.

Lambeth Palace commissioned the review of the original investigation after Bell’s supporters said not enough was done to substantiate the complainant’s allegations.

In his latest statement, Mr Welby said: “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.”

PA

FEBRUARY 28 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [FEBRUARY 25 2016] – “SILENCE SAYS IT ALL – YET ‘THE STILL, SMALL VOICE’ REMAINS”

This letter below has been published by Chichester Observer – Thursday February 25 2016:

Dear Editor

Bishop George Bell’s niece, Barbara Whitley, hits back at accusers:

“The history books are all going to say this man was an abuser when nothing is proved”

The Church – especially the Diocese of Chichester – would do well to ask whether or not they are breaking the ninth of the ten commandments when it comes to Bishop Bell of Chichester : “Thou shalt not bear false witness”, as well as breaching a fundamental right under English and International Law : ‘Innocent until proven guilty

Silence says it all.


Yours sincerely


Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

FEBRUARY 27 2021 – “BISHOPS SHOULD LEAD THE WAY IN SCRAPPING CHURCH OF ENGLAND CORE GROUPS FOR GOOD” – RICHARD W. SYMONDS [BELL SOCIETY] + CORE GROUP DRAFT POLICY ANTICIPATED THIS SUMMER: “THE POLICY WILL MAKE CLEAR…IT IS NOT ITS ROLE TO TRY TO ESTABLISH GUILT OR INNOCENCE” – SIR WILLIAM NYE [SECRETARY GENERAL]

“All a person can do today is warn. ‘Deutsche Christen’ is a necessary warning. Church of England Core Groups are also a warning. These Core Groups should be scrapped with immediate effect. They are not ‘fit for purpose’. They perpetuate the twin evils of injustice and cruelty. Their continued existence will bring the Church into terminal disrepute – and inflict upon it permanent moral damage”

~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society – February 27 2021

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

After the Secretary General’s response to a General Synod question last Saturday [Feb 27], Bishops should now lead the way in scrapping Church of England Core Groups for good – and pioneer genuine independent oversight on Safeguarding matters

~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)

Q25 In answer to a supplementary question from me in July 2020 relating
to Q.20, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, stated “the
NST is currently reviewing the functioning of core groups with a view
to revising the guidance and clarifying their operation,” and in answer
to a supplementary question by Mrs Kathryn Tucker (Q.23) he said “it
is vitally important that the respondents should be properly
represented, they have full understanding of the allegations made
against them and they have opportunity to respond to those. That is a
basic issue of justice… respondents must be properly represented in
order that they have a full chance to respond to any allegations.”
(Report of Proceedings, July 2020, pages 25-27). Dr Gibbs further
stated in answer to a supplementary question from the Revd Canon
Rosie Harper, “we are proposing to introduce fairly soon new
guidance on the conduct of core groups.” (ibid, page 28). Further, in
the written answer to a question (Q.79) from Mr Martin Sewell in
November 2020 you stated: “Work to update the core group policy
and guidance will include consideration of whether an appeal system,
or a dedicated complaint system, should be included.”
In the light of these answers, please inform Synod of the work done
(and by whom) since November to update the current core group
policy and guidance, stating what (if any) provision has been or is
proposed to be included, or is under consideration, to provide
respondents with both the right to be represented at all core group
meetings by a person of their choice and a right of appeal against
core group determinations.

Mr William Nye Secretary General:

Two workstreams are underway:
The revision of the Responding to, assessing and managing
safeguarding concerns or allegations against church officers
guidance which sets out the core group’s role. The NST, in
consultation with representatives from dioceses and a cathedral,
is exploring the questions posed through a series of workshops,
involving representatives from dioceses and cathedrals.
The undertaking of two workshops involving the Legal Office, the
NST and a Bishop’s Chaplain to specifically review the function
of core groups in the kinds of cases the NST works with.
We anticipate that draft policy should be ready by summer 2021 for
wider consultation. It will address how core groups may better factor
in the respondent’s views and concerns taking account of the group’s
role. The policy will make clear that it is the role of core groups to identify,
mitigate and manage the risk in any situation; it is not its role to try to
establish guilt or innocence.

CHURCH TIMES

“With that said, he [Lord Carey] makes telling points about the arbitrariness and cruelties of the present system. “I am not the only one experiencing these unjust measures. Last year, it was reported that many clergy were left feeling suicidal by the way they were treated during the Church of England’s disciplinary processes. . . The current Bishop of Lincoln, Christopher Lowson, has been suspended since May 2019 [his suspension was lifted this week]. What monstrous system of justice leaves a bishop in such a difficult quandary for so long? In contrast to these cases, and mine, recent safeguarding complaints about both the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have been closed quickly with judicious speed and finality”

It all brought to mind some lovely lines of Auden: “But hear the morning’s injured weeping and know why: Ramparts and souls have fallen; the will of the unjust Has never lacked an engine; still all princes must Employ the fairly-noble unifying lie”

Andrew Brown – Church Times – February 5 2021

QUESTION [AND ANSWER] ON CHURCH OF ENGLAND CORE GROUPS AT GENERAL SYNOD – FEBRUARY 27 2021

Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Secretary
General:


Q25 In answer to a supplementary question from me in July 2020 relating
to Q.20, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, stated “the
NST is currently reviewing the functioning of core groups with a view
to revising the guidance and clarifying their operation,” and in answer
to a supplementary question by Mrs Kathryn Tucker (Q.23) he said “it
is vitally important that the respondents should be properly
represented, they have full understanding of the allegations made
against them and they have opportunity to respond to those. That is a
basic issue of justice… respondents must be properly represented in
order that they have a full chance to respond to any allegations.”
(Report of Proceedings, July 2020, pages 25-27). Dr Gibbs further
stated in answer to a supplementary question from the Revd Canon
Rosie Harper, “we are proposing to introduce fairly soon new
guidance on the conduct of core groups.” (ibid, page 28). Further, in
the written answer to a question (Q.79) from Mr Martin Sewell in
November 2020 you stated: “Work to update the core group policy
and guidance will include consideration of whether an appeal system,
or a dedicated complaint system, should be included.”
In the light of these answers, please inform Synod of the work done
(and by whom) since November to update the current core group
policy and guidance, stating what (if any) provision has been or is
proposed to be included, or is under consideration, to provide
respondents with both the right to be represented at all core group
meetings by a person of their choice and a right of appeal against
core group determinations.

Mr William Nye to reply as Secretary General:


Two workstreams are underway:

  1. The revision of the Responding to, assessing and managing
    safeguarding concerns or allegations against church officers
    guidance which sets out the core group’s role. The NST, in
    consultation with representatives from dioceses and a cathedral,
    is exploring the questions posed through a series of workshops,
    involving representatives from dioceses and cathedrals.
  2. The undertaking of two workshops involving the Legal Office, the
    NST and a Bishop’s Chaplain to specifically review the function
    of core groups in the kinds of cases the NST works with.
    We anticipate that draft policy should be ready by summer 2021 for
    wider consultation. It will address how core groups may better factor
    in the respondent’s views and concerns taking account of the group’s
    role.
    The policy will make clear that it is the role of core groups to identify,
    mitigate and manage the risk in any situation; it is not its role to try to
    establish guilt or innocence.

INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING STRUCTURES FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – PROPOSED INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS – 2021 [PHASE 1]

Page 17

  1. Independent roles in Core Groups
    The Survivors’ Focus Group noted that survivors have felt disadvantaged and unrepresented on Core Groups and that this constitutes an imbalance of power. A review of Core Groups is currently being undertaken, which will include consideration of survivors’ criticisms of present practices.
    The ISB [Independent Safeguarding Board], as proposed in Phase 1, is not designed to play a direct role in Core Groups. The question of how the ISB in future could help improve the working of Core Groups requires further reflection and consultation, in the light of the findings of the review, and will be pursued at a later stage
    .

The Revd Canon Dr Malcolm Brown
Director of Mission and Public Affairs
February 2021

Synod members hear significant changes planned for church safeguarding

 by TIM WYATT 27 FEBRUARY 2021

A slide from a safeguarding presentation given by the lead bishop for safeguarding, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs (top right)

SIGNIFICANT reforms to ensure that the Church of England is no longer “marking its own homework” on safeguarding were discussed online by General Synod members on Saturday afternoon.

During the informal meeting, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, lead bishop of safeguarding, introduced a presentation updating members on measures taken to ensure independent oversight of the Church’s safeguarding provision.

Although no decision had yet been made, one option being considered for the longer-term future was to spin off safeguarding responsibility completely into an independent charity or trust. This proposal has been long demanded by some abuse survivors and campaigners, but has been resisted until now by the C of E hierarchy (News, 6 March 2018).

Many of the changes originated from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which had been “deeply shocking”, Dr Gibbs said, and “hammered home how the Church had failed victims and survivors, and the consequent need for repentance and change at all levels of the Church’s life”.

He and his colleagues were working hard, but he acknowledged that the measures were not coming as fast as some would like. They had to bring in lasting cultural change, however, rather than quick fixes to garner easy headlines. The C of E must make its formal response to IICSA’s report in March, six months after it was published (News, 9 October 2020).

The other “big-ticket item” was a proposal to establish an Independent Safeguarding Board, which would create independent oversight of the National Safeguarding Team (NST). This work was the product of consultation with survivor representatives, and had been approved by the Archbishops’ Council last week (News, 26 February).

This would mean that the Church was no longer “marking its own homework” when it came to safeguarding, Dr Gibbs said. “We need to rebuild trust, above all among victims and survivors.” These reforms would only be the first phase in the process, he assured the Synod.

Zena Marshall, the interim director of safeguarding, then explained how engagement and consultation with survivors was integral to all safeguarding reform. This included having victims and survivors on recruitment panels for senior posts in the NST.

The long-awaited Safe Spaces service (News, 16 October 2020), which offers support for anyone who has experienced abuse in the C of E, Church in Wales, and Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, had now been live for five months, she said. It had supported 95 cases in total, and on 31 January had 60 active cases. Initial feedback from the two-year pilot had been positive.

Dr Gibbs then explained how safeguarding training in the Church had been rebranded as “safeguarding learning”, to try and shift perceptions as focusing on process — “knowing what to do when something happens” — to engaging with people’s deeper values and beliefs.

This was a key part of meeting IICSA’s recommendation for cultural change in the Church. There would also be specific learning pathways for both clergy and senior leaders in dioceses and cathedrals.

Work continued at pace in rewriting central Church policies on safeguarding, he said, as well developing a national redress scheme for survivors.

A project manager for this scheme had now been hired and begun work, Ms Marshall reported. Within six months, a full proposal with timelines for when it would be ready would be sent to the Archbishops’ Council.

Canon Malcolm Brown, director of mission and public affairs at Church House, Westminster, then took over to describe the work of providing independent oversight of the NST. An Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) would be created by July, comprising a chair, a survivor-and-victims’ advocate, and a third member to lead on handling complaints.

“The independent voice will be on our backs, in a good way, as a critical friend, to enable us to come up with answers to difficult questions about the role of independence which we should not be asking ourselves,” he said. “We cannot delay any longer having that independent accompaniment to our work.

The ISB would be small but complementary and diverse, Canon Brown said. It would also supervise the director of the NST and advise on developing policies and guidance, future training programmes, and staff appointments.

An ongoing tension was about how distant safeguarding work should be from the Church, he explained. Too embedded, and it could become captured by the needs of the institution; too removed, and it would never be able to foster cultural change. For now, having an in-house NST supervised by an independent board seemed the right balance, but in the future it could be that a fully independent safeguarding team was created as a separate legal entity.

OTHER STORIES

Church’s vision is for more front-line ministry, not less, Archbishop of York tells Synod members NOTHING was being “decided centrally and kept under wraps” where the vision and strategy discussions were concerned, the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, assured General Synod members on Saturday

“To get to that step will take time, but there isn’t time to wait before we introduce any independence at all,” he said. In time, the ISB would assist the Church to consider the difficult questions around full independence for the NST, as well as how diocesan safeguarding should be managed. (A key IICSA recommendation was for diocesan safeguarding advisors to become officers instead, employed and managed independently of the bishops they would then be able to direct.)

A further level on top of the ISB, such as an ombudsman, may also be necessary in future, to be an independent accountability check on the board itself, Canon Brown said.

The House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council were both committed to not only abiding by the “letter” of the IICSA recommendations but also the spirit.

After a short screen break, the speakers answered questions sent in by Synod members during the earlier presentation. In response to several questions, Canon Brown said that the establishment of the ISB was a decision the Archbishops’ Council had to take, as it had trustee responsibility for national safeguarding; but he hoped the Synod could be involved in a second phase — possibly including making final decisions — when issues to do with diocesan safeguarding structures were debated.

He also reassured members that he had regularly consulted with survivors and victims throughout the process of writing up plans for the ISB.

Replying to further questions, Ms Marshall acknowledged that time was ticking on: it was now more than a year since proposals for a redress scheme were agreed. But “it is important to get this right”, she said. She was confident that it could be progressed in a timely manner. An interim support scheme existed for those who needed emergency intervention in the mean time.

OTHER STORIES

Archbishops’ message: Don’t be unkind to the Church or each other 27 Feb 2021

Synod Q&A: safeguarding, CDM, and the Church’s future 26 Feb 2021

Independent scrutiny for National Safeguarding Team moves a step closer 26 Feb 2021

Sex, Power, Control, by Fiona Gardner, and Going Public, by Julie Macfarlane 26 Feb

2021

NEWS

Church’s vision is for more front-line ministry, not less, Archbishop of York tells Synod members 27 Feb 2021

Archbishops’ message: Don’t be unkind to the Church or each other 27 Feb 2021

FEBRUARY 27 2021 – “GOVERNING BODY OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD COMMISSIONS REVIEW OF PERCY TRIBUNAL” – CHURCH TIMES

Governing body of Christ Church, Oxford, commissions review of Percy tribunal

byA STAFF REPORTER 26 FEBRUARY 2021

Cloisters in Christ Church, Oxford

THE Governing Body of Christ Church, Oxford, is commissioning a review of its decision to start tribunal proceedings that could result in the dismissal of the Dean, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy.

The Dean, who is currently on sick leave, is subject to a sexual-harassment complaint (News, 15 January), which follows a long-running dispute with the college authorities.

The college’s treatment of Dean Percy, who by virtue of his office is both Dean of the Cathedral and Head of House, was reported to the Charity Commission, which last month wrote to members of the Governing Body to say that it would be “seeking further information and assurances from the members of the Governing Body about why establishing a Tribunal is: in the best interests of the charity and its beneficiaries; a responsible use of the charity’s resources” (News, 5 February).

The review appears to be an attempt to pre-empt the Charity Commission’s investigation. A statement issued by the college on Wednesday of last week said: “Christ Church has begun the immediate process of identifying and appointing a chair for the independent review and agreeing its terms of reference. It is expected that the chair will be a senior figure from the judiciary.” The purpose of the review, it said, was “to confirm the disciplinary process it has put in place”.

In addition, the college’s statement addressed accounts of the harassment complaint which have appeared in other news outlets and on social media. The college has reported a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

OTHER STORIES

Complainant in Percy case says she acted alone 05 Feb 2021

Press: You wait for one church scandal, and then . . .05 Feb 2021

Charity Commission to quiz Christ Church trustees over Percy tribunal

THIS was the week when the various disciplinary scandals that had been bubbling under the radar all autumn blew up into the mainstream press.

Gabriella Swerling in the Telegraph got a couple of excellent stories out of Christ Church, Oxford — first with the news that the Charity Commission had responded to the appeal by Martyn Percy’s supporters in the autumn and written to all the fellows of college formally to ask in what sense the millions that they had spent on legal fees and PR companies, in the attempt to oust him, could be said to advance a charitable purpose; second, it seems, to remind them that, as trustees, they might be personally responsible if the actions of the Governing Body were found uncharitable.

This story had only been up for three hours before it was supplanted or supplemented by another one, which led with the response of the ruling clique on the Governing Body: “Now a further leaked internal leaked email between the trustees has been shared with The Telegraph, revealing their anger at the watchdog’s review.

“It reads: ‘Considerable anger was expressed at Governing Body about the nature of the Charity Commission’s communication and we are taking this up with the Commission. However, with regard to the enquiries they seek to make, we should feel confident that we have absolutely nothing to be concerned about.’

“It said members are ‘welcome to contact the Censor Theologiae or Senior Censor if you would like support in responding. . . You may also ask to have a representative with you and, if it is a formal interview, you are entitled to legal representation. This is unlikely to happen, but we thought it would be helpful to share this advice.’”

This last sentence would read even better in Japanese, alongside the Emperor Hirohito’s explanation in August 1945 that “The war has proceeded not necessarily to Japan’s advantage”

Andrew Brown – Church Times – “Press: You wait for one church scandal, and then…” – February 5 2021

“The all-too-familiar pattern of injustice” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

FEBRUARY 27 2021 – ‘DEUTSCHE CHRISTEN’ – THE GERMAN CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT [1932-1945] – “A NECESSARY WARNING”

“One of the little known facts about the rise of early Nazism relates to the professions that were most represented in the rank and file of the party and movement.  By several furlongs, the answer is: academics at German universities and colleges. You may think that is shocking enough.  But be prepared for the after-shock: many academics were also members of the clergy. Why and how, you may ask, could this be so? After all, the Nuremberg trials revealed horrific war crimes on a scale not witnessed before or since.  Surely to God, intelligent academics and kind clergy could not have been party to this?  But think again”

~ ‘Anonymous’ – “Nuremberg at 75: Trials and Tribulations” – ‘Surviving Church’ – February 26 2021

“All a person can do today is warn. ‘Deutsche Christen’ is a necessary warning. Church of England Core Groups are also a warning. They should be scrapped with immediate effect. They are not ‘fit for purpose’. They perpetuate the twin evils of injustice and cruelty. Their continued existence will bring the Church into terminal disrepute – and inflict upon it permanent moral damage”

~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society – February 27 2021

“With that said, he [Lord Carey] makes telling points about the arbitrariness and cruelties of the present system. “I am not the only one experiencing these unjust measures. Last year, it was reported that many clergy were left feeling suicidal by the way they were treated during the Church of England’s disciplinary processes. . . The current Bishop of Lincoln, Christopher Lowson, has been suspended since May 2019 [his suspension was lifted this week]. What monstrous system of justice leaves a bishop in such a difficult quandary for so long? In contrast to these cases, and mine, recent safeguarding complaints about both the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have been closed quickly with judicious speed and finality”

It all brought to mind some lovely lines of Auden: “But hear the morning’s injured weeping and know why: Ramparts and souls have fallen; the will of the unjust Has never lacked an engine; still all princes must Employ the fairly-noble unifying lie”

Andrew Brown – Church Times – February 5 2021

QUESTION [AND ANSWER] ON CHURCH OF ENGLAND CORE GROUPS AT GENERAL SYNOD – FEBRUARY 27 2021

Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Secretary
General:


Q25 In answer to a supplementary question from me in July 2020 relating
to Q.20, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, stated “the
NST is currently reviewing the functioning of core groups with a view
to revising the guidance and clarifying their operation,” and in answer
to a supplementary question by Mrs Kathryn Tucker (Q.23) he said “it
is vitally important that the respondents should be properly
represented, they have full understanding of the allegations made
against them and they have opportunity to respond to those. That is a
basic issue of justice… respondents must be properly represented in
order that they have a full chance to respond to any allegations.”
(Report of Proceedings, July 2020, pages 25-27). Dr Gibbs further
stated in answer to a supplementary question from the Revd Canon
Rosie Harper, “we are proposing to introduce fairly soon new
guidance on the conduct of core groups.” (ibid, page 28). Further, in
the written answer to a question (Q.79) from Mr Martin Sewell in
November 2020 you stated: “Work to update the core group policy
and guidance will include consideration of whether an appeal system,
or a dedicated complaint system, should be included.”
In the light of these answers, please inform Synod of the work done
(and by whom) since November to update the current core group
policy and guidance, stating what (if any) provision has been or is
proposed to be included, or is under consideration, to provide
respondents with both the right to be represented at all core group
meetings by a person of their choice and a right of appeal against
core group determinations.


Mr William Nye to reply as Secretary General:


Two workstreams are underway:

  1. The revision of the Responding to, assessing and managing
    safeguarding concerns or allegations against church officers
    guidance which sets out the core group’s role. The NST, in
    consultation with representatives from dioceses and a cathedral,
    is exploring the questions posed through a series of workshops,
    involving representatives from dioceses and cathedrals.
  2. The undertaking of two workshops involving the Legal Office, the
    NST and a Bishop’s Chaplain to specifically review the function
    of core groups in the kinds of cases the NST works with.
    We anticipate that draft policy should be ready by summer 2021 for
    wider consultation. It will address how core groups may better factor
    in the respondent’s views and concerns taking account of the group’s
    role.
    The policy will make clear that it is the role of core groups to identify,
    mitigate and manage the risk in any situation; it is not its role to try to
    establish guilt or innocence.

INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING STRUCTURES FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – PROPOSED INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS – 2021 [PHASE 1]

Page 17

  1. Independent roles in Core Groups
    The Survivors’ Focus Group noted that survivors have felt disadvantaged and unrepresented on Core Groups and that this constitutes an imbalance of power. A review of Core Groups is currently being undertaken, which will include consideration of survivors’ criticisms of present practices.
    The ISB [Independent Safeguarding Board], as proposed in Phase 1, is not designed to play a direct role in Core Groups. The question of how the ISB in future could help improve the working of Core Groups requires further reflection and consultation, in the light of the findings of the review, and will be pursued at a later stage
    .

The Revd Canon Dr Malcolm Brown
Director of Mission and Public Affairs
February 2021

German Christians (movement)

From Wikipedia…This article is about an Evangelical pressure group in Nazi Germany. For Christianity in Germany, see Religion in Germany. “Faith Movement of the German Christians” redirects here. For the Nazi pagan movement, see German Faith Movement. Flag of the German Christians (1934)

German Christians (GermanDeutsche Christen) was a pressure group and a movement within the German Evangelical Church that existed between 1932 and 1945, aligned towards the antisemiticracist and Führerprinzip ideological principles of Nazism with the goal to align German Protestantism as a whole towards those principles.[1] Their advocacy of these principles led to a schism within 23 of the initially 28 regional church bodies (Landeskirchen) in Germany and the attendant foundation of the opposing Confessing Church in 1934.[2]

Contents

History

Antecedents

Imperial Germany

During the period of the German Empire, before the Weimar Republic, the Protestant churches (Landeskirchen) in Germany were divided along state and provincial borders. Each state or provincial church was supported by and affiliated with the regnal house—if it was Protestant—in its particular region; the crown provided financial and institutional support to its church. Church and state were therefore, to a large extent, combined on a regional basis.[3] Monarchies of Roman Catholic dynasties also organised church bodies that were territorially defined by their state borders. The same was true for the three republican German states within the pre-1918 Empire. In Alsace-Lorraine the Napoleonic system of établissements publics du culte for the Calvinist, Jewish, Lutheran and Roman Catholic congregations and umbrellas remained in effect.

Austria-Hungary

Karl Lueger‘s antisemitic Christian Social Party is sometimes viewed as a model for Adolf Hitler’s Nazism.[4] Hitler praised Lueger in his book Mein Kampf as an inspiration. In 1943, Nazi Germany produced the biographical film Vienna 1910 about Lueger, which was given the predicate “special political value”. Anti-Semitic Christian Social Party poster of 1920, depicting a Judeo-Bolshevikserpent choking the Austrian eagle; Text: “German Christians – Save Austria!”

Weimar Republic

With the end of World War I and the resulting political and social turmoil, the regional churches lost their secular rulers. With revolutionary fervor in the air, the conservative church leaders had to contend with socialists who favored disestablishment.

After considerable political maneuvering, state churches were abolished (in name) under Weimar, but the anti-disestablishmentarians prevailed in substance: churches remained public corporations and retained their subsidies from government. Religious instruction in the schools continued, as did the theological faculties in the universities. The rights formerly held by the princes in the German Empire simply devolved to church councils.

Accordingly, in this initial period of the Weimar Republic, the Protestant Church in Germany now operated as a federation of 28 regional (or provincial) churches. The federation operated officially through the representative German Evangelical Church Confederation (Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchenbund (DEKB)); the League was itself established in 1922 by the rather loose annual convention called Church General Assembly (Kirchentag), which was composed of the members of the various regional churches. The League was governed and administered by a 36-member Executive Committee (Kirchenausschuss) which was responsible for ongoing governance between the annual conventions of the Kirchentag.

Save for the organizational matters under the jurisdiction of the national League, the regional churches remained independent in other matters, including theology, and the federal system allowed for a great deal of regional autonomy.[5]

Nazi Germany

See also: Religion in Nazi Germany German Christians celebrating Luther-Day in Berlin in 1933, speech by bishop Hossenfelder

Ideology

The Deutsche Christen were, for the most part, a “group of fanatically Nazi Protestants.”[6] They began as an interest group and eventually came to represent one of the schismatic factions of German Protestantism.[6]

Their movement was sustained and encouraged by factors such as:

The Deutsche Christen were sympathetic to the Nazi regime’s goal of “co-ordinating” (see Gleichschaltung) the individual Protestant churches into a single and uniform Reich church, consistent with the Volk ethos and the Führerprinzip.

The editor Prof. Wilhelm Knevels of the journal Christentum und Leben (i.e. Christianity and Life) also worked for the “Institute for Research and the Elimination of Jewish influence on German Church Life“—and his journal published articles like “Heroic Christianity” (“Heroisches Christentum”, 1935) and “Why not only God? Why Jesus?” (“Warum nicht nur Gott? Warum Jesus?”, April 1942).

The “Martin Luther Memorial Church” (Martin-Luther-Gedächtniskirche), which was built in Berlin from 1933 to 1935 included a pulpit that showed the Sermon on the Mount with a Stahlhelm-wearing Wehrmacht soldier listening to Jesus and a baptismal font which featured an SA stormtrooper.[8] The swastikas were removed after the war and the former church has been reconstructed as a memorial to Nazi crimes against humanity.[citation needed]

Under the authority of Alfred Rosenberg and his religious theories the Protestant minister Wilhelm Brachmann established an Institute of Religious Studies as part of the Advanced School of the NSDAP.[9]

Formation

The Deutsche Christen were organized as a Kirchenpartei (church party, i.e. a nominating group) in 1931 to help win elections of presbyteries and synods (i.e. legislating church assemblies) in the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union, the largest of the independent Landeskirchen.[6] They were led by Ludwig Müller, a rather incompetent “old fighter” who had no particular leadership skills or qualifications, except having been a longtime faithful Nazi. He was advised by Emanuel Hirsch. In 1931 the book Salvation from chaotic madness by Guida Diehl, the first speaker of the National Socialist Women’s League, got an admiring review by the National Socialist Monthly—she was praised for fighting against the “ridicule of Christ” and “showing the way for German Christians”.[10] The Berlin section was founded by Wilhelm Kube in 1932. The group achieved no particular notoriety before the Nazi assumption of political power in January 1933. In the Prussian church elections of November 1932, Deutsche Christen won one-third of the vote.[11]

Hitler was appointed Chancellor on 30 January 1933 and the process of Gleichschaltung was in its full sway in the first few months of the regime. In late April 1933 the leadership of the 1922-founded German Evangelical Church Confederation, in the spirit of the new regime, agreed to write a new constitution for a brand new, unitary “national” church, which would be called the German Evangelical Church (Deutsche Evangelische Kirche or DEK). The new and unified national DEK would completely replace and supersede the old federated church with its representative league.

This church reorganization had been a goal of the Deutsche Christen for some time, as such a centralization would enhance the coordination of Church and State, as a part of the overall Nazi process of Gleichschaltung. The Deutsche Christen agitated for Müller to be elected as the new Church’s bishop (Reichsbischof).

Bishopric

Müller had poor political skills, little political support within the Church and no real qualifications for the job, other than his commitment to Nazism and a desire to exercise power. When the federation council met in May 1933 to approve the new constitution, it elected Friedrich von Bodelschwingh as Reichsbischof of the new Protestant Reich Church by a wide margin, largely on the advice and support of the church leadership.[12]

Hitler was infuriated with the rejection of his candidate, and things began to change. By June 1933 the Deutsche Christen had gained leadership of some Landeskirchen within the DEK and were, of course, supported by Nazi propaganda in their efforts to reverse the humiliating loss to Bodelschwingh.[13][14] After a series of Nazi-directed political maneuvers, Bodelschwingh resigned and Müller was appointed as the new Reichsbischof in July 1933.[15]

Aryan paragraph

Further pro-Nazi developments followed the elevation of Müller to the DEK bishopric: in late summer the old-Prussian general synod (led by Müller) adopted the Aryan paragraph, effectively defrocking clergy of Jewish descent and even clergy married to non-Aryans.[16]

With their Gleichschaltungspolitik and their attempts to incorporate the Aryan paragraph into the church constitution so as to exclude Jewish Christians, the Deutsche Christen entered into a Kirchenkampf with other evangelical Christians. Their opponents founded the Confessing Church in 1934,[17] which condemned the Deutsche Christen as heretics and claimed to be the true German Protestant Church.

Impact

Logos used by the German Christians in 1932, 1935 and 1937

The Nazis found the Deutsche Christen group useful during the initial consolidation of power, but removed most of its leaders from their posts shortly afterwards; Reichsbischof Müller continued until 1945, but his power was effectively removed in favor of a government agency as a result of his obvious incompetence.

The Deutsche Christen were supportive of the Nazi ideas about race.[18] They issued public statements that Christians in Germany with Jewish ancestors “remain Christians in a New Testament sense, but are not German Christians.” They also supported the Nazi party platform’s advocacy of a “Positive Christianity” that did not stress the belief in human sinfulness. Some went so far as to call for the total removal of all Jewish elements from the Bible, including the Old Testament.[1] Their symbol was a traditional Christian cross with a swastika in the middle and the group’s German initials “D” and “C”.

It was claimed and remembered by the Deutsche Christen, as a “fact”, that the Jews had killed Christ, which appealed to and actively encouraged existing anti-Semitic sentiments among Christians in Nazi Germany.

Precursors

19th century

The forerunner of the Deutsche Christen ideology came from certain Protestant groups of the German Empire. These groups sought a return to perceived völkisch, nationalistic and racist ideas within traditional Christianity, and looked to turn Christianity in Germany into a reformed intrinsic folk-religion (Germanarteigene Volksreligion). They found their model in the Berlin Hofprediger Adolf Stoecker, who was politically active and tried to position the Christian working-classes and lower-middle-classes against what he perceived as Jewish Überfremdung.

The Bayreuther Blätter devoted its June 1892 issue to a memorial of Paul de Lagarde and it emphatically recommended his work to its readers. Ludwig Schemann, one of the most prolific of Bayreuth Germanics and racists, and later the author of a full-length biography of Lagarde, summarized his life and work and concluded that “for the comprehension of Lagarde’s whole being one must above all remember that he always considered himself the prophet and guide of his people — which of course he actually was.” For Schemann his legacy consisted largely of his struggle against the Jews: “Not since the days of Schopenhauer and Wagner is the German thinker so mightily opposed this alien people, which desecrates our holy possessions, poisons our people, and seeks to wrest our property from us so as to completely trample on us, as Lagarde has” It was this image of Lagarde, the anti-Semitic prophet of a purified and heroic Germany, which the political Wagnerites and the Bayreuther Blätter kept alive. Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Wagner’s son-in-law and intellectual disciple, wrote: “For us, the Deutsche Schriften have for a long time belonged to our most precious books, and we consider Lagarde’s unabashed exposure of the inferiority of Semitic religious instincts and the pernicious effects on Christianity as an achievement that deserves our admiration and gratitude.”[19]

In 1896 Arthur Bonus advocated a “Germanization of Christianity”. Max Bewer alleged in his 1907 book Der deutsche Christus (The German Christ), Jesus stemmed from German soldiers in the Roman garrison in Galilee and his preaching showed the influence of “German blood”. He concluded that the Germans were the best Christians among all peoples, only prevented from the full flowering of their spiritual faculties by the materialistic Jews. Julius Bode, however, concluded that the Christianisation of the Germans was the imposition of an “un-German” religious understanding, and that Germanic feeling remained alien to it and so should remain exempt from it.[20]

20th century

On the 400th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, in 1917, the Flensburg pastor Friedrich Andersen, the writer Adolf Bartels and Hans Paul Freiherr von Wolzogen presented 95 Thesen[21] on which a “German Christianity on a Protestant basis” should be founded. It stated:

The newer racial research has finally opened our eyes to the pernicious effects of the blood mixture between Germanic and un-German peoples and urges us, with all our forces, to strive to keep our Volkstum pure and closed. Religion is the inner strength and finest flower in the intellectual life of a people, but it can only strongly affect expression in popular culture … a deep connection between Christianity and Germanness can only be achieved when it is released from this unnatural connection, wherever it stands nakedly approached by the Jewish religion.

For the authors of the Thesen, the “angry thunder-god” Jehovah was the same as the “Father” and “[Holy] Ghost”, that Christ preached and that the Germans would have guessed. Childlike confidence in God and selfless love was, to them, the essence of the Germanic “people’s-soul” in contrast to Jewish “menial fear of God” and “materialistic morality.” Church was not an “institution for the dissemination of Judaism”, and they felt religious and confirmation materials should no longer teach the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments, nor even the New Testament, which they held to be of Jewish influence that had to be “cleaned” so that the child Jesus could be used as a model for “self sacrifice” and “male heroism”.

In 1920 minister Karl Gerecke published Biblical anti-Semitism in the Volksverlag of Ernst Boepple, one of the founders of the German Workers’ Party.

Dietrich Eckart, an early mentor of Adolf Hitler, also emphasized the “manliness” of Jesus Christ and compared him to the Norse god Baldr.

In 1921 Andersen wrote Der deutsche Heiland (The German Saviour), in which he opposed Jewish migration as an apocalyptic decision:

Who will win, the six-cornered star or the Cross? — The question is, for now, not yet evident. The Jew goes on his way purposefully, in any case … his deadly hatred will defeat his opponent. When the Christian Good Friday is celebrated, it should at least not weigh in his dreams; … otherwise there could come a whole lot of terrible Golgothas, where Jews across the whole world dance their jubilee songs on the grave of Christianity as heirs of a murdering people, singing to the Jahu they destroyed.

Against the “contamination by Jewish ideas”, mainly from the Old Testament, the Churches and Germany should (he argued) be “mutually benefits and supports”, and then Christianity would win back its status as “a religion of the Volk and of the struggle” and “the great exploiter of humanity, the evil enemy of our Volk [would] finally be destroyed”.

In the same year, 1921, the Protestant-dominated and völkisch-oriented League for German Churches (GermanBund für deutsche Kirche) was founded in Berlin. Andersen, pastor Ernst Bublitz and teacher Kurd Joachim Niedlich brought out the twice-monthly The German Church (GermanDie Deutsche Kirche) magazine, which in 12,000 articles advanced the Bund’s ideas. Jesus should be a “tragic-Nordic figure” against the Old Testament’s “religious idea”, with the Old Testament replaced by a “German myth”. Each biblical story was to be “measured under German feelings, so that German Christianity escapes from Semitic influence as Beelzebub did before the Cross.”

In 1925 groups such as the Bund united with ten völkischGermanophile and anti-Semitic organizations to form the German Christian Working Group (Germandeutschchristliche Arbeitsgemeinschaft). The Christian-Spirit Religious Society (GermanGeistchristliche Religionsgesellschaft), founded in 1927 in Nuremberg by Artur Dinter, saw more effect in the churches, striving for the ‘de-Judification’ (GermanEntjudung) and the building of a non-denominational People’s Church (GermanVolkskirche).

The proposed abolition of the Old Testament was in part fiercely opposed among Christian German nationalists, seeing it as a racist attack on the foundations of their faith from inside and outside. The theologian Johannes Schneider, a member of the German National People’s Party (GermanDeutschnationale Volkspartei or DNVP) (a party fairly close to the political aims of the NSDAP), wrote in 1925:

Whoever cheapens the Old Testament will soon also lose the New.

In 1927 the Protestant Church League (GermanDeutscher Evangelischer Kirchenbund) reacted to the growing radicalization of German Christian groups with a Churches Day in Königsberg, aiming to clarify Christianity’s relation to “Fatherland”, “Nation”, “Volkstum“, “Blood” and “Race”. Many local church-officers tried to delineate, such as with regards to racism, but this only served to show how deeply it had intruded into their thinking. Paul Althaus, for example, wrote:

Volkstum is a spiritual reality … certainly there will never be a Volkstum without the precondition of, for example, the blood unit. But once a Volkstum is begotten, it may exist as a spiritual reality … even foreign blood may be lent [in]to it. How great the significance of blood might be in intellectual history, but the rule is, even if one is born into a Volkstum, the spirit and not the blood.

On this basis, the radical German-Christians’ ideas were hardly slowed down. In 1928 they gathered in Thuringia to found the Thuringian German Christians’ Church Movement (GermanThüringer Kirchenbewegung Deutsche Christen), seeking contact with the Nazi party and naming their newsletter “Letters to German Christians” (GermanBriefe an Deutsche Christen).

Pagan and anti-Christian trends

Alfred Rosenberg‘s book The Myth of the Twentieth Century (GermanDer Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts) resonated in these circles and gave them renewed impetus. His polemic against all “un-German” and “root-stock” elements in Christianity was directed against the Christianity and the denominational organisations of the time. Marxism and Catholic Internationalism were attacked as two facets of the Jewish spirit, and Rosenberg stated the need for a new national religion to complete the Reformation.

The Associated German Religious Movement (GermanArbeitsgemeinschaft Deutsche Glaubensbewegung), founded in Eisenach at the end of 1933, was also an attempt to create a national religion outside and against the churches. It combined six earlier Nordic-völkisch oriented groups and a further five groups were represented by individual members. Jakob Wilhelm Hauer became the group’s “leader and representative” by acclamation, and other members included the philosopher Ernst Bergmann (1881–1945), the racial ideologue Hans F. K. Günther, the writer Ernst Graf zu Reventlow, the historian Herman WirthLudwig Fahrenkrog and Lothar Stengel-von Rutkowski.[22]

Attempts to “de-Judaize” the Bible

See also: Anti-Judaism

In 1939 with the approval of eleven of the German Protestant regional churches the Eisenacher Institute for the Study and Elimination of Jewish Influence on German Church Life (called the “Dejudaization Institute”) was founded, led by Siegfried Leffler and Walter Grundmann.[23] One of its main tasks was to compile a “People’s Testament” (GermanVolkstestament) in the sense of what Alfred Rosenberg called a “Fifth Gospel”, to announce the myth of the “Aryan Jesus”.[citation needed] It became clear in 1994 that the Testament’s poetic text was written by the famous ballad-poet and proprietor of the Eugen-Diederichs-Verlag, Lulu von Strauß und Torney. Despite broad church support for it (even many Confessing Christians advocated such an approach, in the hope that the disaffiliation of 1937 to 1940 could be curbed), the first edition of the text did not meet with the expected enthusiastic response.

After 1945

After 1945, the remaining German Christian currents formed smaller communities and circles distanced from the newly formed umbrella of the independent church bodies Evangelical Church in Germany. German Christian-related parties sought to influence the historiography of the Kirchenkampf in the so-called “church-historical working group”, but they had little effect from then on in theology and politics. Other former members of the German Christians moved into the numerically insignificant religious communities known as the Free People’s Christian Church (GermanFreie Christliche Volkskirche) and the People’s Movement of Free Church Christians (GermanVolkskirchenbewegung Freie Christen) after 1945.

In 1980, in the context of a statement entitled “Towards Renovation of the Relationship of Christians and Jews (Zur Erneuerung des Verhältnisses von Christen und Juden), the Synod of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland stated that it recognized and “confess, with dismay, the co-responsibility and guilt of German Christians for the Holocaust.” [24][25] On May 6, 2019, eighty years after the founding of the “Dejudaization Institute”, the “Dejudaization Institute“ Memorial” was unveiled in Eisenach at the behest of eight Protestant regional churches. It is intended to be understood as the Protestant churches’ confession of guilt and as a memorial to the victims of the church’s anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism.[26]

See also

Notes and references

  1. Jump up to:a b c Bergen, Doris L. (2005). Levy, Richard S. (ed.). Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution, Volume 1. Oxford, England: ABC Clio. pp. 172–173. ISBN 1-85109-439-3. Retrieved 27 February 2018. The Deutsche Christen (German Christians) were a group of clergy and laypeople in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s who sought to synthesize National Socialism and Christianity. They aimed to purge Christianity of everything they deemed Jewish and to create a German church based on “blood“. Most of the approximately 600,000 members were Protestant, although a few Catholics were involved. By mid-1933, Deutsche Christen had acquired key posts in the Protestant establishment – in national church governing bodies and university faculties of theology, as regional bishops, and on local church councils. Many kept those positions until 1945 and beyond.
  2. ^ Only in the regional church bodies of Bavaria (Lutheran)Hanover (Lutheran)Hanover (Reformed)Schaumburg-Lippe, and Württemberg had no majorities of German Christians in their synods, thus protagonists of the Confessing Church considered these church bodies as constitutionally unadulterated (so-called intact churches).
  3. ^ The ruler of each state was also the highest authority (summus episcopus) in that state’s churchSee generally the Wikipedia article on the German Empire and its constitutive states, as it existed before the end of the First World War.
  4. ^ Fareed Zacharia, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, Norton, 2003, 2007, p. 60
  5. ^ For a fuller and more detailed account, see the article on the Confessing Church.
  6. Jump up to:a b c Barnes p. 74.
  7. ^ Verses 1-7 are the most pertinent; verses 1-2 read as follows (New International Version):Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
  8. ^ Bettina Vaupel, in: Monumente Journal. Published by the Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz“Heiligenschein und Stahlhelm”. (i.e. “Halo and Stahlhelm”), August 2013 (includes a picture).
  9. ^ Ernst Klee: Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich, Frankfurt am Main 2007, p. 68.
  10. ^ Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte. Issue 21. December 1931. Editor: Alfred Rosenberg. Original in German: “gegen die Verhöhnung der Christus-Persönlichkeit”, “zeigt gleichzeitig den Weg zum deutschen Christentum”. Page 46.
  11. ^ Bergen p. 5.
  12. ^ Bodelschwingh was a well-known and popular Westphalianpastor who headed Bethel Institution, a large charitable organization for the mentally ill and disabled. His father, also a pastor, had founded Bethel. Barnett p. 33.
  13. ^ Evans p. 223.
  14. ^ The new Reichskirche (or DEK) church constitution required a two-thirds majority for the election of its bishop and no candidate in the April contest could achieve this supermajority initially. After several ballots, Bodelschwingh prevailed by a landslide of 91 to 8.
  15. ^ The entire Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union (both Müller and Bodelschwingh were members of this largest regional church, which was of course only an administrative unit after the adoption of the new constitution establishing the DEK) was placed under police jurisdiction; pastors were fired, suspended and sometimes even arrested or placed under house arrest; and the Deutsche Christen and Müller carried on a vicious campaign against Bodelschwingh. Barnett p. 34.
  16. ^ In 1933 the Protestant churches in Germany employed about 18,842 pastors (1933); 37 of them were classified by the Nazi terminology as “full Jews” (GermanVolljuden). However, before the promulgation of the Nazi’s racist Nuremberg Laws, there was no standard definition of who was a “Jew,” or which Mischling would be deemed “Jewish” for purposes of Hitlerian racial policy, so the net would certainly have swept wider than this rather small fraction. The extension of the prohibition to address the wives of German pastors was surely, to many middle-of-the-road Protestants, shocking. See Barnett p. 33-36. The Evangelisches Pfarrhausarchiv (about in English: Evangelical Archive for Pastors and their Families) recorded for all of Nazi Germany 115 Protestant pastors with one up to four grandparents, who were enlisted in a Jewish congregation. Cf. Wider das Vergessen: Schicksale judenchristlicher Pfarrer in der Zeit 1933-1945 (special exhibition in the Lutherhaus Eisenach April 1988 – April 1989), Evangelisches Pfarrhausarchiv (ed.), Eisenach: Evangelisches Pfarrhausarchiv, 1988. No ISBN.
  17. ^ The Confessing Church grew out of the Pastors’ Emergency League (GermanPfarrernotbund) founded by Martin Niemöllerin 1933. See article on Confessing Church for more detail.
  18. ^ Bergen, Doris (1996). Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-8078-2253-1.
  19. ^ Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrunderts, 5th ed. München 1904, p.lxii. This is taken from Fritz Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair: a study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology. copyright 1961 by The Regents of the University of California. ISBN 0-520-02626-8
  20. ^ Rainer Lächele: Germanisierung des Christentums — Heroisierung Christi, in: Stefanie von Schnurbein, Justus H. Ulbricht (Hrsg.): Völkische Religion und Krisen der Moderne. Entwürfe „arteigener“ Glaubenssysteme seit der Jahrhundertwende, Königshausen und Neumann GmbH, Würzburg 2001, ISBN 3-8260-2160-6, S. 165–183
  21. ^ See The Ninety-five Theses of Martin Luther.
  22. ^ Ulrich Nanko: Die Deutsche Glaubensbewegung. Eine historische und soziologische Untersuchung; Marburg: diagonal-Verlag, 1993
  23. ^ Jochen Birkenmeier, Michael Weise: Erforschung und Beseitigung. Das kirchliche „Entjudungsinstitut“ 1939–1945. Begleitband zur Ausstellung, Eisenach, 2019, p. 46-53 (in German).
  24. ^ “Judentum, christlich-jüdisches Gespräch”EKiR.de – Die besten Internetseiten der evangelischen Kirche im Rheinland – Ihre evangelische Kirche zwischen Saarland und Niederrhein (in German). Evangelische Kirche im Rheinland. 14 December 2005. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  25. ^ “Towards Renovation of the Relationship of Christians and Jews” [Zur Erneuerung des Verhältnisses von Christen und Juden]. Sacred Heart University Connecticut. Synod of the Evangelical Church of the Rhineland, Germany. 12 January 1980. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  26. ^ Jochen Birkenmeier, Michael Weise: Erforschung und Beseitigung. Das kirchliche „Entjudungsinstitut“ 1939–1945. Begleitband zur Ausstellung, Eisenach, 2019, p. 110-111.

Bibliography

English

German

  • (in German) Friedrich Baumgärtel: Wider die Kirchenkampflegenden; Freimund Verlag 19762 (19591), ISBN 3-86540-076-0
  • (in German) Otto Diem: Der Kirchenkampf. Evangelische Kirche und Nationalsozialismus; Hamburg 19702
  • (in German) Heiner Faulenbach: Artikel Deutsche Christen; in: RGG [de]4, 1999
  • (in German) Rainer Lächele: Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Glaube. Die „Deutschen Christen“ in Württemberg 1925–1960; Stuttgart 1994
  • (in German) Kurt Meier: Die Deutschen Christen; Halle 1964 [Standardwerk]
  • (in German) Kurt Meier: Kreuz und Hakenkreuz. Die evangelische Kirche im Dritten Reich; Munich 20012
  • (in German) Klaus Scholder: Die Kirchen und das Dritte Reich
    • Volume 1: Vorgeschichte und Zeit der Illusionen, 1918–1934; Berlin 1977
    • Volume 2: Das Jahr der Ernüchterung 1934; Berlin 1985
  • (in German) Günther van Norden u.a. (ed.): Wir verwerfen die falsche Lehre. Arbeits- und Lesebuch zur Barmer Theologischen Erklärung
  • (in German) Marikje Smid: Deutscher Protestantismus und Judentum 1932–33; München: Christian Kaiser, 1990; ISBN 3-459-01808-9
  • (in German) Hans Prolingheuer: Kleine politische Kirchengeschichte. 50 Jahre evangelischer Kirchenkampf; Cologne: Pahl-Rugenstein, 1984; ISBN 3-7609-0870-5
  • (in German) Joachim Beckmann (ed.s): Kirchliches Jahrbuch für die evangelische Kirche in Deutschland 1933–1945. It: Evangelische Kirche im Dritten Reich, Gütersloh 1948
  • (in German) Julius Sammetreuther: Die falsche Lehre der Deutschen Christen; Bekennende Kirche Heft 15; Munich 19343
  • (in German) Leonore Siegele-Wenschkewitz (ed.): Christlicher Antijudaismus und Antisemitismus. Theologische und kirchliche Programme Deutscher Christen; Arnoldshainer Texte Band 85; Frankfurt/M.: Haag + Herchen Verlag, 1994; ISBN 3-86137-187-1

it (S. 201–234) Birgit Jerke: Wie wurde das Neue Testament zu einem sogenannten Volkstestament „entjudet“? Aus der Arbeit des Eisenacher „Instituts zur Erforschung und Beseitung des jüdischen Einflusses auf das deutsch kirchliche Leben“

  • (in German) Karl Heussi: Kompendium der Kirchengeschichte; Tübingen: Mohr, 198116ISBN 3-16-141871-9; S. 521–528

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Deutsche Christen.

FEBRUARY 27 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [JANUARY 24 2018] – “LORDS CRITICISE CHURCH’S HANDLING OF GEORGE BELL CASE” – DAILY TELEGRAPH – PEERS CALLED ON THE GOVERNMENT TO “UPHOLD THE CARDINAL PRINCIPLE [OF JUSTICE] THAT AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVED GUILTY” – THE PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE

Lords criticise Church’s handling of George Bell case as Bishop of Peterborough calls for ‘a major review of anonymity’ 

In a debate in the House of Lords on Monday peers called on the Government to "uphold the cardinal principle that an individual is innocent until proved guilty".  
Peers called on the Government to “uphold the cardinal principle that an individual is innocent until proved guilty”.   CREDIT: PA ARCHIVE 

24 JANUARY 2018  

Peers including the Bishop of Peterborough have called on the Government to protect the identity of people accused of a crime after their death. 

One member of the House of Lords said Anglicans were “deeply ashamed” of the Church of England’s handling of the case of Bishop George Bell, who was accused of abusing a child several decades after his death in 1958. 

A report published at the end of last year by Lord Carlile found that the highly-respected bishop’s reputation had been unnecessarily damaged by the Church when it publicly named him in an apology to the alleged victim in 2015. 

In a debate in the House of Lords on Monday peers called on the Government to “uphold the cardinal principle that an individual is innocent until proved guilty”.In cases until there is overwhelming evidence to suggest guilt, it seems reasonable for people’s reputations not to be damaged in this public way.

Official historian of the Conservative Party Lord Lexden asked home office minister Baroness Williams whether the Government would “review the law governing the naming of deceased individuals against whom criminal allegations have been made”.

He called on the Government to review the law in order to to ensure the anonymity of dead suspects accused by “one uncorroborated alleged witness”.

Fellow peer Lord Cormack added that the case was “deeply shocking” and said “the reputation of a great man has been traduced, and many of us who are Anglicans are deeply ashamed ​of the way that the Anglican Church has behaved”.

The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister echoed the calls and added: “In all cases where the complainant has a right to be anonymous, there seems to be a case for the respondent also to be anonymous, and in cases until there is overwhelming evidence to suggest guilt, it seems reasonable for people’s reputations not to be damaged in this public way.”

However Baroness Williams said the Government “do not have plans to review the law”. 

“Any decision to name an individual where that is considered to be in the public interest will necessarily be specific to the circumstances of an individual case,” she said. 

Related Topics

FEBRUARY 26 2021 – SAFEGUARDING AND “THE BANALITY OF EVIL” 1 – NATIONAL SAFEGUARDING TEAM [NST] AND CORE GROUPS – ‘INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING STRUCTURES FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – PROPOSED INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS – 2021 [PHASE 1]’

SAFEGUARDING AND “THE BANALITY OF EVIL” – NATIONAL SAFEGUARDING TEAM [NST] AND CORE GROUPS – “INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING STRUCTURES FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – PROPOSED INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS – 2021 [PHASE 1]

“Nuremberg at 75: Trials and Tribulations” by ‘Anonymous’

– ‘Surviving Church’

Anonymous

EXCERPTS

One of the little known facts about the rise of early Nazism relates to the professions that were most represented in the rank and file of the party and movement.  By several furlongs, the answer is: academics at German universities and colleges. You may think that is shocking enough.  But be prepared for the after-shock: many academics were also members of the clergy…

Most people might assume that faced with the shock, trauma and reality of the death camps, they might, in Old Testament terminology, “rend their hearts and garments”. Some did. But if you watch grainy old film footage of townspeople walking through their local neighbourhood death camp, marshalled by allied troops, you see other reactions too. Some hold their heads high, and look away – a proud, almost haughty posture, as though somehow they have been confronted with “fake news” and odious allied propaganda. Others, stand and stare, and weep in disbelief…

The classic study of cognitive dissonance and religion – for that is what we are dealing with here – is Leon Festinger’s 1956 epic, When Prophecy Fails.  Less well-known is Festinger’s distinctive articulation of ‘social comparison theory’.  Namely, the premise that people have an innate drive to accurately evaluate their opinions and abilities, so seek to evaluate their opinions and abilities by comparing them with those of others.

This is important in the church – and always has been – as Christian groups like to say what they are most like (comparison), but equally, that they are special, so un-like anything else. This will produce distinctive grammars and cultures.  So, in terms of safeguarding, the Church of England has ‘Core Groups’ – but not like anything else you can find on any other planet. Clergy have ‘annual appraisals’ too; but again, not like anything else you can find on any other planet.  The church runs all kinds of systems that sound as they will be comparable to their secular counterparts. They never are.

Festinger had a distinctive take on cognitive dissonance too, and at its most basic, his hypotheses went something like this.  The existence of dissonance (or inconsistency), being psychologically uncomfortable, will always motivate a person to try to reduce their dissonance and achieve consonance (or consistency).  When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance…

The banality of evil is commonplace.  ‘Banal’ means ‘common’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘shared’. Arendt’s phrase gets right under the skin of what communities, societies, groups and churches find to be so utterly normal they cannot see its actual evil.  Racism, sexism, abuse of all kinds: these are part of the ecology of churches. We have just got so used to this stuff. We no longer notice it.

But it shocks others. And when they see it, they are furious. Their anger can be uncontrollable. You can understand perhaps, just a little, why allied soldiers, when they found camp guards hiding amongst the concentration camps, mercy was in short supply. The murderous rage that the liberators felt might be in all of us, somewhere.

This is where I struggle with the Church of England, NST and safeguarding. I see only captives and the oppressed. I see no sign of any liberators.  I cannot name a Diocesan Bishop who has, so far, acted with moral courage, or acted with any moral agency to call out the abuses.  I see only process: just our numbed mitred-ones, “only obeying orders”.  The banality of evil is contagious. And compulsory.

The Catholic theologian Clemens Sedmak says that one of the primary tasks of theology is to see it as an invitation: to wake up – to be mindful and attentive.  Black Lives Matter has a slogan: “if you are not angry, you are not paying attention”. Quite.  This is what the allies did with cinemas and walkabouts in 1945.  It was a powerful poke: wake up – just look at what has happened! Yet some still could not see, and would refuse to learn…

Curiosity leads us to searching; to self-search; to probe; to wrestle; to change; to repent; to risk; to love; to sacrifice; to empower others; to be responsible; to see, judge and act; to be accountable to one another; to become like Jesus.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any of this in the Church of England’s approach to safeguarding. Ever.

Instead, I see and hear leaders saying: “this is just the way it is at the moment”; “we are on a learning curve”; “we are on a journey”; “we are doing our best” and “we’ve come a long way”. But the best the NST does is not good enough. In fact, their best is harmful. 

I say this is after reading the recent 20-page page paper ‘Independent Safeguarding Structures for the Church of England’.  A careful scan of the proposals from the NST for an Independent Safeguarding Board left me weary and demoralised. But also deeply disturbed.

Why? Well, the rhetoric is lame, and the entire document seems to contort itself around process, but one which lacks any real bite.  Let me explain.  Herewith the Missing Words Round – a pub quiz interlude in this short essay.  Which of these words is missing from the report? Could it be justice, pain, betrayal, anger, injustice, resolution, compensation, closure, healing, repentance, atonement, sacrifice, forgiveness (yours, mine, anyone else’s), pastoral, care, kindness, suffering and compassion? Or could it be shame, stigma and guilt? Or perhaps God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Yes, they are all missing words. All of them. Not one mention for any of them in 20 pages.

Amazing. Yet someone has written a theology of safeguarding for this report, but managed to miss out all of these (key?) words. How is this done? By whom? For whom? Imposing comprehensive solutions stems from superiority. It will not realize the need for collective learning via intended authentic social intercourse and deep listening. This must be rooted in ecologies of equality, with attendant humility, compassion and empathetic bridging...

It reflects a dangerous assumption on the part of those in power: that only their injection of goodness and morality can reform society and liberate others. Countless impositions of initiatives on racism and sexism suffer from this. And now safeguarding. Lies are more common in silences than words, says Adrienne Rich. Authentic listening has to be the starting point for the NST and the Church of England. But you can be sure they will not want to hear what we have to say.

In decades to come, just as people have studied the cognitive dissonance of those on trial at Nuremberg (remember, “I was only obeying orders”), I think, anthropologists will study this small tribal cult that revolves around process, but strangely has none. The god of the NST is process, and its high priests control its’ meaning. Alas, this is only a local tribal deity, and in terms of Festinger’s notion of social comparison, it bears no relation to any other ideas of process in rest of the known world. Contact the relevant tribal elders for more information: the silent ones in the pointy hats, holding the magic staffs. They will explain why process is their god.  But it is all a mystery you see; the unseen and ultimately unknowable – such is process god.

Pope Francis has a nice line on the purpose of the church. He says it is a ‘field hospital’, not a custom house or some bureaucratic tax-revenue centre.  What does he mean by this?  That the church is here to mend and heal.  Not take and tax. The church is for reconciliation, compassion and empathy.  The church is an ITU – yes, an Intensive Care Union.  We are here to bind up the broken-hearted, to set captives free, and to deliver people from the powers of darkness, their afflictions and the stigmas and demonization, and all that oppresses them.

I have spent years now listening to those abused: the sexually abused, and the falsely accused.  And yet as I read ‘Independent Safeguarding Structures for the Church of England’, and what do I find? No heart or soul. The language of dull, dead process. It is a form of anaesthetic for the pain that the abused still bear.  You will recall Marx’s aphorism: religion is an opiate for the people.  It relieves their pain, but does nothing to alleviate the causes of their suffering and misery.

The trouble is, there is no other care or cure for the victim or patient of abuse from the NST. Now, “a patient of abuse” works pretty well as a term for our purposes here. We wait in hope. But in vain. The NST is, meanwhile, the weirdest field hospital. It bears no social comparison to any other healing institution. 

All that ever happens is this. On the ward rounds you are assessed, and promised prompt treatment.  But nothing else happens.  Your pain increases, and your anxiety too.  You feel forgotten.  So, you scream loudly, for a very long time.  Oddly, this makes the medics run away.  Eventually, they promise to operate.  But only if you calm down.  Nothing happens when you do.  So you keep screaming, and eventually the noise for everyone is so unbearable, they take you for surgery.

But then it is strange, for they ever do is gas you: they sedate you. You wake up, and they ask if you are feeling better? You say you do not. So they say they might need to repeat this procedure several times. It never works. So they discharge you, and explain your pain is all in your head. This is now your fault.

You are referred to Out-Patients in future, which alas is only open on alternate rainy days in any month beginning with an ‘R’. In the meantime, new patients arrive at the field hospital. The sedatives are in plentiful supply. Or you can just read the latest policy documents. They have the same effect.  The opiate of religion is a way of avoiding the causes of pain and disease. It ignores the poverty and social causes of the disorders and inequalities in society.

Seventy-five years ago, some people were traumatised by what the allies showed them. Some looked, and turned away. Those on trial were just running a process, and had the right moral reasons for doing so – or so they thought.  The banality of the evil was that no-one running the processes or obeying the orders exercised any moral courage or leadership.  And so the pogrom continued.  Because the cognitive dissonance was always in place.

Theology is an invitation to wake up. Abused lives matter too.  If you are not angry, indeed boiling with righteous rage and faithful fury with the proposals in the latest ‘Independent Safeguarding Structures for the Church of England’ document, then you are clearly not paying attention.  Actually, you are not awake. What would it take, I wonder, to get our church leaders to sit up, take notice, and begin a journey of real com-passion with us?  Those not just abused or falsely accused; but also those abused each and every day by the devoted disciples who belong to the tribal cult that worships this little god of process? 

The banality of evil is not waking up to the pain of your neighbour, and not being able to hear the cries and screams of the victims.  That was the education project we now refer to as Nuremberg. I long for the day when we can lead our bishops past the heaps and piles of atrocities that they have ignored for so many long, long years. 

But I know already what will happen. Some will stand and weep with shame. Some will look away, and claim no responsibility. Others will say they never knew anything about this. A few will flee with in the face of the trauma of what they have just seen and witnessed. Yet none, not one, will take responsibility. Because, as you know, the mitred-ones were just following a process; just taking orders; just a cog in the machine.  Such is the banality of evil.

“EMPOWERMENT AND DISEMPOWERMENT – THOUGHTS ON PROPOSED CHURCH INTERIM SAEGUARDING ARRANGEMENT” BY STEPHEN PARSONS – ‘SURVIVING CHURCH‘ – FEBRUARY 27 2021

EXCERPT

In the last day or two I have been wrestling with a document put out by the Church of England on the setting up of an independent safeguarding structure.  This will oversee the work of the National Safeguarding Team and other national bodies in the safeguarding realm.  Such structures are, no doubt, necessary.  Nevertheless, the document is written in such a way that one feels that the only people who will engage with the process will be people who are already familiar with the heavily formulaic patterns of church-speak. Somehow the whole safeguarding world seems to reflect the world of lawyers, managers and bureaucrats.   I already have to use Janet Fife’s useful glossary of acronyms to remember the different groups doing work in this area.  One more will confuse me, and no doubt others, who are trying to negotiate the labyrinthine world of national church organisations.  I ask myself the question.  Is this document another attempt by the Church to cling on to power to manage itself free of secular scrutiny?  How much independence is being proposed?  Is it writing documents that will exclude most ordinary Christians who should be there to respond to survivors?  What the survivors have to offer is the passion for justice, the longing for reconciliation, the prophetic challenge and the transparency of truth.   Survivors have been doing this work for years and church organisations have seldom been able to keep up.   The Church trundles along, producing more of the same and now it proposes another level of bureaucracy to face this enormous challenge of putting right past evils.  Of course, survivors are being welcomed into this new structure, but it is not one they have set up.   Will the survivors have the necessary stamina to sit with church-appointed officials and argue their case in such a way that the church will respond fairly and openly.  My problem is that after reading the 20 pages of church management speak, I am really none the wiser as to how this is going to make any difference to what goes on in the Church.  It will give Janet Fife one new acronym for her glossary.  Meanwhile, where is the Church realistically going to find a survivor or two able to give this time and stamina?    We do need more of the passion that survivors can bring to the table, but is this the right way to tap into it?

Tomorrow (Saturday) General Synod has an online session to discuss this document among other pieces of business.  I am not sure what I hope will come from that discussion.  I just know that I would like to see some of the passion for the Kingdom of God come into the exchanges.  In the Church of England we need the longing for peace, truth, righteousness and justice to be injected somehow into the process of safeguarding.   The right way forward is not moving the Titanic chairs around, but the waiting on and acting with the power from on high.   That power can indeed ‘ransom, heal, restore and forgive’ the Church and allow it to find new ways of moving forward in the realm of safeguarding.   The Church must find the way of empowering survivors and victims, having for so long disempowered them in an attempt to protect its power.

“PROPOSALS ON NST INDEPENDENT OVERSIGHT PUBLISHED” – ‘THINKING ANGLICANS’ – COMMENTS

Richard W. Symonds

Here is a link to the copy that includes the cover page (total page count 20).

Page 17 – 5. Independent roles in Core Groups The Survivors’ Focus Group noted that survivors have felt disadvantaged and unrepresented on Core Groups and that this constitutes an imbalance of power. A review of Core Groups is currently being undertaken, which will include consideration of survivors’ criticisms of present practices. The ISB [Independent Safeguarding Board], as proposed in Phase 1, is not designed to play a direct role in Core Groups. The question of how the ISB in future could help improve the working of Core Groups requires further reflection and consultation, in the light of the findings of the review, and will be pursued at a later stage.

I find it beyond disappointing, and more than disturbing, that Core Group reform is being delayed yet again: “the question of how the ISB in future could help improve the working of Core Groups requires further reflection and consultation”

Church of England Core Groups should be ‘at the very top of the list’ for immediate reform.

As the introductory quote says on page 1 of the new book ‘Sex, Power, Control – Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church” by Fiona Gardner:

“Why has everyone involved been so inept, had no sense of urgency, given their rhetoric on safeguarding” – A vicar, quoted in ‘Private Eye’

Kate

Kate 

Awful, simply awful. It fails to make the NST operational structure independent which is the critical step. It fails to remove the risk of political involvement in the safeguarding process, both to proceed with complaints for potentially political reasons or alternatively to block them. Removing responsibility for Core Groups from the independent body is equally disastrous. This looks like an attempt to claim independence of safeguarding while retaining full political control in practice.
 
At a secondary level, too little thought has been given to the risk of part time posts. Postholders may need to find appointment for the remainder of the week which can compromise their independence – a contentious chair would, for instance, find it hard to secure work from dioceses.
 
All of this pales into insignificance in the face of the failure to specify that the ISB, and not the Church of England, should be responsible for the appointment of successors to the ISB. This is exacerbated by the failure to commit to the permanence of the posts and to long term funding.
 
This is not independent safeguarding, nor even independent oversight of safeguarding. A complete whitewash.

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds

I am reminded of the words of Rosie Harper – Vicar of Great Missenden, Chaplain to the Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson and Canon of Christ Church, Oxford – in Fiona Gardner’s book ‘Sex, Power, Control” [p 4]:

‘Everyone “is working very hard to produce new systems and more training and issue more apologies. It is hard to see this as anything other than moving the chairs around on the deck of the Titanic”‘

Judith Maltby

Judith Maltby

I cannot comment on the 20 page paper yet as it only arrived yesterday evening and, I suspect like most people, I have a pretty full day at work. But I will read it this evening as this is a matter of great importance.
Will there be a chance for discussion at Synod on Saturday or is this paper a basis for a presentation without discussion/debate/comment/questions? I confess I am slightly confused by just what an ‘informal’ meeting of Synod actually means.

Ellen

Ellen

Independence is dead easy. You set up a foundation, and give it sufficient endowment to get on with the job. That was mentioned in the bowels of this 20-page paper, but will predictably be ignored. IICSA’s final report on the CofE next summer will almost certainly recommend taking safeguarding out of the hands of the Church entirely and vesting it in a new statutory body — with the Church required to pay its share of the costs.  

Helen King

Helen King 

Typos can be revealing. Is this an example? On the ‘club mentality’ of the C of E we read that this “is exacerbated in an institution where ordination conveys authority which can leads to a culture of clericalism in which challenging the authority of the ordained becomes a kind of spiritual offence.” To me that suggests one draft with “leads to” and then someone objecting and asking instead for “can lead to”. But maybe I spend too long analysing texts… 

INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING STRUCTURES FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – PROPOSED INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS – 2021 [PHASE 1]

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Independent Safeguarding Structures for the Church of England
Proposed Interim Arrangements – 2021 (Phase 1)


Introduction


The Archbishops’ Council has approved the next steps in independent oversight of the
National Safeguarding Team (NST), with the first phase to be implemented by the summer.
The Archbishops’ Council originally voted on independent oversight in December 2020.
The paper below by Revd Dr Malcolm Brown on the proposed interim arrangements will
form part of the presentation to General Synod members on Saturday. MACSAS (Minister
and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) and members of the Survivors’ Reference Group formed
a Focus Group and considered an early draft of the proposals and their report offered
numerous comments and suggestions, with as many as possible incorporated into this
paper.
The proposals for this new structure were presented to an informal meeting of the House of
Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council on 23rd February. During the meeting members noted
the importance of being able to review the structure after a set period and further detail
needed on Phase 2 once the Board was in place. Council members approved the proposals
in the paper.


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A. Rationale

  1. Introduction
    The IICSA Report emphasised the importance of introducing an independent element into
    safeguarding arrangements in the Church of England (“the church”) (Recc. D.4). Conscious of the
    need to improve the culture of safeguarding across the church, the Archbishops’ Council and House
    of Bishops had already agreed to develop an independent structure to deliver professional
    supervision and quality assurance across its safeguarding activities. The IICSA Report gives new
    momentum to this decision.

    This would be a complex and time-consuming exercise if every aspect had to be finalised before
    anything happened. In the meantime, the lack of an independent element would become
    increasingly evident as the need had been acknowledged but not yet delivered, leading to
    understandable criticism.
    The Archbishops’ Council and House of Bishops have therefore decided to put the initial element of
    independence in place at the earliest opportunity, recognising that some questions, especially those
    involving legislation or other complex structural changes, will be addressed later. This has the
    advantage that independent wisdom can be captured at each stage. It has the disadvantage that a
    degree of uncertainty will remain for those involved in areas of safeguarding where key questions
    remain to be addressed, which includes concerns of victims and survivors. It is therefore imperative
    that progress is maintained after this interim arrangement is in place.
    This paper proposes Phase 1 of a process that will take further steps to complete. The first step is
    to appoint an Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) and the paper shows how the ISB would relate
    to different safeguarding activities and especially to areas of weakness and the need to drive culture
    change.
    The paper then gives an outline of important themes that cannot be addressed in Phase 1.
    The proposed Independent Safeguarding Board would accompany the church in shaping the tasks in
    Phase 2 and deciding how they can best be delivered.
    a) Theological Grounds for Independence in Safeguarding
    Although this proposal paper does not include a theological section, the project began with
    a theological rationale for establishing an independent element in safeguarding.
    This sought
    to establish that the proposals were not driven by managerial or presentational concerns
    but were grounded in an understanding of the relationship between the church and the
    world which could frame the independent oversight of safeguarding.
    The initial work focussed on independence as a theological concept, but as further work is
    being done on a theology of safeguarding, it makes sense to bring them together later in a
    more detailed way. Arguments about theology could also distract from the substantive
    proposals, therefore the early theological work has not been included at this stage.
    b) Involvement of Survivors
    Thanks are due to MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) and nine members
    of the Survivors’ Reference Group who acted as consultants to this project. Together, they
    3
    formed a Focus Group convened by MACSAS, and considered an early draft of the proposals
    in a meeting planned for two hours but lasting well over three. Their report, amounting to
    some 28 pages with additional documentation, offered numerous comments and
    suggestions, and as many as possible have been incorporated into this paper. They also
    raised three fundamental questions which will be of ongoing significance:
    i. There is a danger that the proposals will stall once Phase 1 has been implemented.
    Is there really the will within the church to commit energy and resources to work
    with the ISB to implement key changes in Phase 2?
    This is a crucial question, but not one that can be answered on paper. The House of
    Bishops, Archbishops’ Council and General Synod must recognise that the current
    proposals for Phase 1 are only the beginning of a more far-reaching process and that
    their ongoing commitment to this – in public and on the record – is essential.
    ii. Are the roles of the ISB members achievable in the time given them?
    The proposed time commitment of ISB members was considered against their remit
    by the NCIs Director of People and judged to be roughly appropriate, with the proviso
    that additional time may be needed at the start and possibly less at later stages. The
    wording of the proposed time commitment was adjusted to reflect this, and the
    question specifically noted for review once the ISB was established.
    iii. Survivor representation and involvement should be improved further.
    The short time frame for this project prevented it being an exercise in co-production
    rather than consultation on an already-drafted proposal. Survivor involvement has
    been strengthened in the current proposals and it is recommended that the work
    streams of Phase 2 be approached through a co-production methodology.
    c) Internal Consultation
    The proposals have been reviewed by: The Interim Director of Safeguarding; the Lead
    Bishop for Safeguarding; the Chief Legal Adviser; the Chief Operating Officer; the Head of
    People and the Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, all of whom have made
    helpful comments. There has also been liaison with other members of the Safeguarding
    Team, bishops with relevant responsibilities, and senior staff at Lambeth Palace and
    Bishopthorpe on specific aspects. Progress reports to the National Safeguarding Steering
    Group (NSSG), the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops enabled ideas and
    comments to be fed into the process.

  1. Dilemmas of Independence
    The purpose of introducing an independent structure for the church’s safeguarding work is twofold:
    to ensure good safeguarding and to challenge the internal cultures of the Church of England which
    too often have resulted in preventing best practice. A problem with all forms of culture change is
    4
    that, if the drivers of change are located too close to the organisation, they become absorbed into
    the culture themselves – but placed too far away, they have insufficient traction to effect the desired
    changes. The wisdom from business and commerce is that there is no single “right” answer to this –
    the relationship between the culture and the drivers of change must be reviewed and adjusted from
    time to time. The proposals in Phase 1 will provide experience to enable the distance between
    church and independent body to be refined in further Phases.
    Another level of ambiguity arises because, whilst IICSA has pointed to the desirability of having an
    independent safeguarding role, enacting that objective is the responsibility of the church itself. An
    independent body will also need to be funded by the church. This is not a case of an external body
    imposing control, but of the church delivering its legal responsibilities by vesting a new,
    independent, body with authority over the church itself.
    An independent body will have considerable moral authority. It has the power to blow the whistle
    publicly and expose resistance or backsliding on the church’s part. But there are many contexts
    where friction and resistance from the church could undermine the independent body. What is
    needed is a structure which the church may put in place, but which it cannot frustrate.
    As the church will be paying for this structure, the funding arrangements must not be usable as a
    lever to prevent the independent body doing its job. On the other hand, giving out blank cheques
    creates moral hazard – it is not in the interests of the independent body to have power to demand
    unlimited resources since that militates against operating efficiently and, ultimately, effectively.
    There is a tension between the statutory role of Trustees and the desire for safeguarding to be
    wholly the responsibility of an independent body. On the one hand, the Archbishops’ Council
    remains the responsible Trustee body for the Church of England’s national safeguarding work and
    can delegate, but not slough off, this responsibility. The Archbishops’ Council’s role in this area is
    subject to the regulation of the Charity Commission which is already interested in ensuring that the
    Council and its trustees exercise that responsibility. The Council could not give up that responsibility
    except by legislation to pass it elsewhere – and the Charity Commission is likely to want to be
    consulted on that move. On the other hand, if independence is secured by setting up a separate
    charitable body, there are restrictions on the circumstances in which Trustees can be remunerated.
    Given the quantity of work that we envisage falling to an independent body, its members will
    require proper remuneration. An independent charity could therefore necessitate both Trustees and
    staff – in addition to the National Safeguarding Team (NST) – introducing a new layer of nonproductive management and bureaucracy.
    Given the church’s past failings and present weaknesses in safeguarding, the bias in the proposals
    that follow is toward emphasising the independent function. The proposals give a starting point with
    this emphasis, and provide a platform for more long-term structures and resilient independence.

  1. Management and Authority
    Strong but conflicting views have been expressed about line management of safeguarding staff.
    These views are often expressed in zero-sum terms – if X is Y’s line manager, then power over Y lies
    exclusively with X. But if we look at the question of authority, line management clearly does not
    confer every kind of authority necessary for professionals to do their jobs. For example, lawyers may
    be employed and line-managed by an organisation, but their line manager cannot dictate what legal
    advice they give. In the church, healthcare chaplains are employed by, and line managed by, NHS
    5
    Trusts – and are under NHS discipline for many aspects of their job. But their judgements as religious
    professionals are not, and cannot be, dictated by NHS line managers. If a chaplain falls foul of Canon
    Law, for instance, the question is one for the church, not the NHS. In many professions, standards
    derive from the relevant professional body, not from internal line management.
    The Church of England, recognising the professional integrity of safeguarding staff, should be able to
    work comfortably with independent oversight of professional safeguarding standards alongside its
    own line management structure.
    The Phase 1 proposals leave line management of the NST with the Archbishops’ Council whilst
    drawing a clear distinction between oversight of professional safeguarding practice and
    management of the NST’s connections into church structures – the latter aimed at maximising its
    impact on the organisation. Maintaining this distinction will be vital. Decisions about whether the
    NST later becomes employed by, and wholly managed by, an independent structure – and if so, what
    kind of structure – will be addressed as a priority in Phase 2.
    There are existing models for a wholly independent charitable body to handle safeguarding.
    Exploring a variety of models, and assessing their applicability, will be undertaken in Phase 2.

  1. Independent roles in distinct areas of Safeguarding Work
    Safeguarding is not a single activity and the application of the principle of independence
    needs to add value in different ways to the distinct elements.
    Therefore, the ISB should have an Executive function for some purposes and an Advisory
    function for others. The division between the two functions set out below represents a
    starting point and this is an area that should be reviewed regularly.
    a) Areas where the ISB should have an Executive function.
    • Case work which has been passed up to the ISB by the NST.
    • Responding to complaints concerning alleged mishandling or maladministration of
    cases and procedures.
    • Determining how the church should respond to the needs of victims and survivors
    and other affected parties such as the families concerned in safeguarding cases.
    • Ensuring the involvement of victims, survivors and others who have suffered through
    poor handling of processes, in the development of safeguarding practices and
    policies through Phase 2.
    A strong independent element is required in the supervision and quality assurance of case
    work and the handling of complaints because they are the principal areas where trust in the
    church’s own mechanisms has been forfeited.
    An independent role in relating to victims, survivors and others impacted by a case, is
    essential. They are currently putting themselves in the hands of the very organisation
    through which the initial abuse was able to occur, or by whom they are accused, so the
    church’s response must be reinforced – and seen to be reinforced – by a structure that is
    independent of the church and its cultures. Others, such as the families of victims and of
    6
    accused persons, are often forgotten as processes unfold and the ISB should have the power
    to address their concerns where they have not been satisfactorily dealt with elsewhere.
    All these roles need to be developed in ways which reflect the different roles and levels of
    responsibility held by the ISB, the Archbishops’ Council and the Charity Commission. The
    Charity Commission guidance on safeguarding roles should be the basis for developing these
    relationships (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-duties-for-charity-trustees. )
    b) Areas where the ISB should have an Advisory function
    • Development of Policies and Codes of Practice and other initiatives addressing
    culture change within the church
    • Future development of training curricula and programmes across the whole church.
    • Staff appointments and development
    In advising on Policies and Codes of Conduct, an independent body has an important role in
    ensuring that uniform standards consistent with best practice are drawn from the whole
    safeguarding world, not just the religious sector. This must reach across dioceses.
    Patchy quality of training practice and delivery across the dioceses has been identified as a
    key failing. Raising standards to a uniformly high level cannot be done without the
    involvement of the church’s own structures, nationally in dioceses and in parishes, and the
    independent role will be most effective in helping to set and monitor standards rather than
    in direct delivery where differences in local conditions need to be accommodated.
    As part of giving professional supervision to the NST through the National Director, the ISB
    will advise on the kind of staff who should be appointed and on staff development. NST staff
    will continue to be appointed and managed through the NCI structures (HR etc.) on the
    advice of the ISB.

  1. What would Culture Change Look Like?
    Culture change is not the only solution to the church’s failures but without it there is no way
    forward. The Survivors’ Focus Group observed that talk of culture change is not always
    accompanied by any clarity about what it would look like or how one would know the
    culture had changed appropriately. The following four points give some indicators of culture
    change in the church’s approach to safeguarding. They are not comprehensive.
    a) Alertness to disparities of power becomes instinctive in all relationships. Abuse is
    rooted in the conscious or unconscious manipulation of power for personal
    advantage. Safeguarding failures can be caused or exacerbated by failure to
    understand imbalances of power, often because those with power fail to recognise
    the powers they have or allow their own vulnerabilities to obscure the power they
    have. Power comes in many forms and clergy are often ill-equipped (theologically,
    organisationally and psychologically) to recognise the power they possess, both
    personally and by virtue of their office. Better training and mentoring/supervision
    7
    can help here. There may be learning to share from the Archbishops’ Task Force to
    Combat Racism and the Living in Love and Faith process. Both are challenging those
    who have power to recognise how their power disadvantages others. There will also
    be much to learn from those outside the church.
    b) Group-think and tribalism are challenged effectively from outside the “club”.
    Professions and institutions breed a tribal or club mentality. Trust flows between
    “people like us” and identifying with one’s peers excludes and marginalises others.
    This is exacerbated in an institution where ordination conveys authority which can
    leads to a culture of clericalism in which challenging the authority of the ordained
    becomes a kind of spiritual offence. The hierarchical structure of the church can also
    lead to inappropriate deference which deters honest encounters. When someone
    from outside the culture challenges the status quo they go unheard and may be
    undermined. Both clericalism and the culture of deference have been exploited by
    abusers for their own ends. Systems intended to address abuses and failures may be
    designed and operated to respond more to internal anxieties than to criticism from
    outside. An independent function which will challenge the institution – publicly if
    necessary – thus becomes essential to the church’s integrity.
    c) Responsibility is clearly attributed and shared.
    Part of the role of an independent element will be to ensure that systems and
    structures enable all who hold responsibility to discharge their responsibilities
    properly and without confusions about their roles. A good independent element will
    ensure that there is accountability at all levels. It will be important to move beyond
    structural accounts of how responsibilities are held and promote a culture in which
    safeguarding is the concern of everyone, wherever formal responsibility lies. There
    should be no room in the church for anyone to say “safeguarding is not my concern”.
    d) Systems respond to failures by holding those responsible to account and changing
    to prevent recurrent failure.
    Prompt implementation of on-going learning is a hallmark of a responsive and selfaware culture.
    8
    B. Phase 1 Proposal
    The first steps to establish an effective level of independence in safeguarding in the
    Church of England, shall be the appointment by early July 2021 of:
  2. An Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB)
    Purpose: Professional Supervision and Quality Assurance, and consisting of:
    a) An Independent Chair – a remunerated post averaging c. 3dpw (more may be
    needed in the initial stages: possibly fewer hours later. The time commitment will be
    reviewed at key stages) with high-level experience in safeguarding or a closely
    relevant field.
    b) A Survivor Advocate –Leading liaison with survivors to ensure they are involved
    across the work of the Board and to help design the work streams of Phase 2 with
    survivors where possible. The ISB would benefit considerably if this member was
    themself a survivor of abuse within a church context and thus able to bring wisdom
    from that experience. A remunerated post of c. 2 dpw.
    c) A Third Independent Board Member with a key role in handling complaints.
    Selected to complement the other members in terms of diversity, background and
    safeguarding specialisms. A remunerated post of c. 2 dpw.
    Plus, dedicated administrative support for the ISB – Up to 1 fte post separate from the
    NST staff.
    It will be desirable to appoint a person with direct experience of setting up a regulatory function in
    other institutions, either as one of the initial three members of the ISB or available to the ISB
    through a consultancy role.
    Outline person specifications are appended in section D. The precise distribution of responsibilities
    within the ISB will be determined by the members themselves under the leadership of the Chair.
  3. Remit
    (See the summary of Executive and Advisory roles in Section A, 4 (a) and (b) above)
    In Phase 1, the ISB shall:
    a) Provide professional supervision to the Director of Safeguarding who will be
    accountable to the ISB for matters of professional conduct for themselves and all
    NST staff.
    9
    b) Responsibility for ensuring best practice in handling case work and for managing
    cases that are escalated to the ISB from the NST.
    c) Receive complaints referring to the NST’s handling of cases investigate the complaint
    with support from the National Church Institutions, and decide the appropriate
    response. (Exceptions would include complaints about legal advice given to the NST
    and other matters outside the ISB’s professional competence).
    d) Quality assure national safeguarding practice requirements issued by the House of
    Bishops under the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016.
    e) Ensure that victims and survivors, and all others who are affected by safeguarding
    cases, are heard and enabled to inform policy and practice.
    f) Make any recommendations the Chair deems necessary to enable the Church of
    England to prevent safeguarding lapses and ensure that processes for responding to
    allegations and complaints are just to all involved, timely and in line with best
    practice.
    g) Advise on the continuing development of a core curriculum for training undertaken
    by dioceses.
    h) Advise on good practice models which will set the standard for the work of Diocesan
    Safeguarding Officers (with particular emphasis on enabling the conceptual shift
    from Adviser to Officer status), support DSOs in applying these principles in their
    local context and intervene on behalf of DSOs if dioceses do not enable DSOs to
    discharge their responsibility for directing safeguarding activities in the diocese.
    i) Accompany the relevant parts of the church to advise on the development from
    Phase 1 to more long-term measures in subsequent Phases, including working with
    the NSSG and NSP to draw on their wisdom and define their future roles in relation
    to the ISB in Phase 2.
    j) Hold the church publicly to account for any failure to respond to the ISB’s
    recommendations.
  4. Resourcing
    The Archbishops’ Council will immediately commission the drawing up of a draft budget for
    the work of the ISB enabling the process of appointing the Chair and members of the ISB to
    go ahead.
    10
    The budget for the ISB should be agreed at a minimum level for an initial period of three
    years, recognising that the developments in Phase 2 may necessitate additional budget lines
    during this period.
    In addressing the issues to be resolved in Phase 2, it may be necessary for the ISB to
    commission research into (e.g.) other existing models. It may also, from time to time, need
    to seek independent legal advice. A budget for these items could either be allocated to the
    ISB or to the NST provided the ISB was able to determine its deployment.
    The ISB will need assurance that resources for the NST can be counted upon. It is therefore
    recommended that the Archbishops’ Council commits to a five-year budget for the NST. The
    ISB may, during that time, approach the Archbishops’ Council for such additional resources
    as it may deem necessary for the NST to fulfil its role.
    The overall budget (ISB and NST) will need to be reviewed if, under later proposals for Phase
    2, the employment of the NST is moved to a newly constituted body.
  5. Appointment of ISB Members
    The appointment process for ISB members needs to communicate the commitment of the
    Church of England at the highest level to the principle of independence and, at the same
    time, demonstrate that the appointment process is not being manipulated in favour of
    “safe” candidates.
    It is therefore recommended that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York nominate two
    persons, chosen for their understanding of the principle of independent oversight, to join an
    appointment panel comprising:
    • A nominee of the Archbishop of Canterbury
    • A nominee of the Archbishop of York (or the Archbishops may make two joint
    nominations)
    • A person with extensive safeguarding experience (not directly involved in the
    work of the NST)
    • Two representatives of survivor groups, including at least one who is a survivor
    of abuse in a Church of England context.
    The panel must include both women and men.
    It may be advisable to run a search through a suitable agency to maximise the field of
    potential candidates for the ISB.
  6. Operational Relationships
    a) The Director of the NST
    11
    In Phase 1, the Director of the NST will be accountable to the Chair of the ISB for the activities of
    the NST as noted in the ISB’s list of Executive functions (Section A, 4. (a)). The Director will not
    be a member of the ISB but will attend its meetings at the invitation of the Chair.
    In Phase 1, the Director of the NST will continue to be line-managed by the Secretary
    General of the Archbishops’ Council on matters which do not touch on professional
    safeguarding decisions, with a particular focus on ensuring good collaboration across the
    NCIs and providing the NST with the resources and access within the church that are
    necessary for its proper functioning. In any dispute about what constitutes a
    professional safeguarding decision, the Chair of the ISB will decide the question.
    The members of the ISB will have the right to call for reports on all safeguarding work
    that comes to the attention of the NST. On cases involving senior clergy, or of particular
    complexity, the Director of the NST will pass full details to the Chair of the ISB as a
    matter of course. On other cases which the Chair of the ISB regards as particularly
    significant (for whatever reason) the Chair of the ISB may require the Director to share
    all relevant information.
    Other staff of the NST may relate to the members of the ISB for particular purposes in
    any way which the Chair of the ISB and Director of the NST consider appropriate.
    b) The Lead Bishop(s) for Safeguarding
    In Phase 1, the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding will work closely with the Chair and
    members of the ISB, attending meetings of the ISB at the invitation of the Chair.
    The Lead Bishop will have a particular responsibility to advise the ISB, at the request of
    the Chair, on questions about the structures and cultures of the Church of England in
    order to enable the ISB to be most effective.
    In partnership with the NST, the Lead Bishop, supported by the Deputy Lead Bishops,
    will be responsible for ensuring that policies and decisions on safeguarding are
    disseminated to all bishops and that bishops understand the extent and limits of their
    responsibility. The Lead Bishop and Deputies will be responsible for ensuring that all
    bishops are properly supported to handle safeguarding issues and to understand their
    relationship to the ISB. The Lead Bishop will present and explain safeguarding policy
    questions to the General Synod and may share this responsibility with the Deputies.
    At present, one of the Deputy Lead Bishops is a member of the Lords Spiritual, it would
    be helpful for there always to be a Lord Spiritual nominated as the Church of England’s
    spokesperson on safeguarding in the Parliamentary context.
    c) The House and College of Bishops
    The lead bishop will ensure that all bishop (the College) are aware of how the
    introduction of the ISB impacts upon their roles and responsibilities with regard to
    12
    safeguarding. The lead bishop will work especially closely with diocesan bishops to
    ensure that they are aware of how their overall responsibility for safeguarding in their
    diocese will be affected by the advent of the ISB, and will work with the House of
    Bishops to monitor the way the relationship with the ISB is developing over time,
    feeding back the views of the House to the ISB Chair.
    The point may need to be stressed that the purpose of the ISB is to enable the bishops
    to discharge their safeguarding duties and responsibilities better – primarily by giving
    the ISB the authority to intervene on complex cases and set handling protocols, thus
    freeing bishops to do what they are best equipped to do, which is to be chief pastors to
    the clergy and people of their diocese. In Phase 1, the bishops will retain legal
    responsibility for safeguarding in their dioceses (this may be reviewed in subsequent
    phases) but by placing themselves under the authority of the ISB for advice and policy
    guidance, they will have a clear line of defence that currently does not exist.
    d) The Archbishops of Canterbury and York
    The Chair of the ISB will ensure that the two Archbishops receive regular overviews of
    the ISB’s activities and that any areas of concern are communicated directly to the
    Archbishops. At the outset, it is suggested that this should take place in a quarterly
    meeting between the Chair and both Archbishops. This arrangement to be reviewed in
    the period between Phases 1 and 2.
    Where the Chair of the ISB has specific concerns about the church’s response to
    safeguarding issues, it shall be the responsibility of the Archbishops to work with the
    Chair of the ISB, the Lead Bishop, the Director of the NST and (where appropriate) the
    Secretary General to identify how the issues will be addressed.
    e) The Archbishops’ Council
    The AC has trustee responsibility for the church’s national safeguarding arrangements.
    Policies regarding safeguarding are currently agreed between the Council and the House
    of Bishops and involve the coordination and development of safeguarding policy across
    the Church, the management of national safeguarding activity, and ensuring the
    application of safeguarding policy including quality control, across the Church.
    Introduction of the ISB means that, whilst the Council will retain its Trustee
    responsibilities, it will deliver its responsibilities under the oversight of the ISB who will
    also provide professional supervision and guidance to the NST. In order to deliver its
    legal responsibilities, the Council will delegate authority to the ISB for the oversight of
    safeguarding policy and professional supervision of its safeguarding staff.
    The Archbishops’ Council will remain responsible for ensuring that the NST is adequately
    resourced for its work and that the views of the Chair of the ISB on resource levels are
    13
    taken into account. The Council will assist the ISB to work across all the structures of the
    Church of England, national and diocesan. In Phase 1, the Archbishops’ Council will
    remain the employer of the NST but will hand responsibility for professional supervision
    and oversight to the ISB. The Archbishops’ Council will receive reports from the ISB as a
    standing item on every agenda, and will accede to any requests from the Chair of the ISB
    for additional agenda time at the Council’s meetings to raise matters the ISB may wish
    the Council to attend to in particular detail.
    f) The Dioceses
    The ISB will relate to diocesan safeguarding work at three levels:
    • Diocesan Safeguarding Officers
    In Phase 1, DSOs will continue to be employed by Diocesan Boards of Finance whilst
    relating to the ISB via the NST.
    In order to give substance to the shift of emphasis recommended by IICSA, from
    Advisers to Officers, the ISB may from time to time issue practice guidance, propose
    best practice models and offer general guidance to DSOs. DSOs may seek specific
    guidance and support for their decisions from the ISB and appeal to the ISB should
    difficulties arise within the diocese which compromise their effectiveness.
    • Improving coordination of safeguarding between dioceses and provinces.
    The ISB will work with the NST, the Archbishops’ Council and dioceses to determine
    the best way to ensure coherence of practice between dioceses and how the Church
    of England’s safeguarding structures can work most effectively to ensure good
    coordination with the structures in the other Anglican churches, especially the
    Church in Wales, Church of Ireland and Scottish Episcopal Church.
    The ISB, working with the NST, lead bishop and others, will consider whether a
    regional model is the right way forward for the whole Church of England and
    whether to pursue this model in Phase 2. In the meantime, the ISB should consider
    whether dioceses where safeguarding practices are currently strong should be
    encouraged to share resources and work collaboratively with neighbouring dioceses,
    and how dioceses where there are concerns about the robustness of safeguarding
    arrangements can draw on support from other dioceses. In Phase 2 or subsequently,
    the safeguarding arrangements for Lambeth and Bishopthorpe Palaces should also
    be addressed.
    • Support for Diocesan-level training in safeguarding.
    Much work in this area has been done already by the NST and the National
    Safeguarding Steering group. The ISB will have an advisory role, working with and
    through the NST and NSSG, to ensure that practices at diocesan level are robust and
    14
    DSOs properly equipped for their training roles. Building on existing work, the ISB
    will oversee the future development of national training curricula to be delivered in
    all dioceses, leaving scope for local variation in delivery methods and additional
    content. This is the baseline for establishing common understandings of
    safeguarding and of proper procedure across the whole Church of England and
    preventing clergy and others from dropping between separate systems when moving
    between dioceses. The survivors’ focus group commented that much diocesan
    safeguarding training is both expensive and ineffective when it mainly trains clergy in
    processes and not in the causes and nature of abuse. Similar criticisms come from
    some clergy. The ISB should advise on the aims and objectives of training as well as
    on its content.
    g) Existing Safeguarding Committees and Structures
    In Phase 1, existing bodies such as the National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG),
    National Safeguarding Panel (NSP) and other bodies will continue to exist. Because the
    imperative is to introduce the first elements of independence (the ISB) quickly, the
    working relationship and division of responsibilities between these bodies and the ISB
    will be worked out “on the ground”. Close liaison between the Chairs of the existing
    bodies and the members of the ISB will be essential. As part of the transition to Phase 2,
    the constitutions and remits of groups that predate the ISB will be reviewed. It has been
    suggested by the survivors’ focus group that the ISB might become responsible for the
    NSSG and NSP and this should be one option for consideration. In the meantime, in any
    dispute about which areas of work lie within the remit of which body, subject to the
    relevant legal responsibilities, the decision of the Chair of the ISB will be final.
    h) Public Profile
    To ensure maximum transparency, the ISB should establish a website, serviced by the
    administrative officer, on which all its reports, formal minutes etc. are posted. There
    should be a clear link to the ISB website from the Church of England’s own website.
  7. Review
    The Archbishops’ Council and House of Bishops will receive regular reports from the ISB and
    teething troubles, or the need to for urgent review of the ISB’s remit and relationships,
    should be raised through this mechanism. As the ISB Chair will have direct access to the two
    Archbishops, this will provide a higher-level channel for raising concerns.
    At the end of two years, a formal review should be undertaken between the ISB and the
    Archbishops’ Council (with the involvement of the NST) to assess progress and determine
    whether the ISB’s remit needs redefining as Phase 2 develops. This may be combined with a
    review of budgets and resources. In order that the independence of the ISB is fully
    scrutinised as part of that review, the review should either be led by an external agency or
    involve a substantial external input.
    15
    C. Key Topics for Phase 2 and Beyond
    The following are areas where no consensus has been reached about the changes necessary
    to achieve the desired outcomes or where the organisational implications are likely to be
    especially complex and challenging.
    Following the appointment of an ISB as Phase 1, the Archbishops’ Council and House of
    Bishops will work with the members of the ISB to follow up the possible lines of
    development below (and such others as may arise) in order to bring forward detailed
    proposals for Phase 2 and possible subsequent Phases.
  8. The Future Structure of the ISB.
    Having put an ISB in place, more work is needed on the nature of the relationship between
    the ISB and the Church of England, and its governance structure.
    One model would be to incorporate the ISB as an independent charitable body, funded by
    grants and possibly fee income from the Church of England. This might, potentially, be a
    free-standing organisation to oversee safeguarding, not only for the Church of England but
    also for other churches and/or faith communities. A drawback of this model would be that
    an independent charity could no longer draw, as a matter of course and without direct cost,
    upon shared services from the National Church Institutions, such as legal advice or handling
    subject access requests and privacy notices, which currently support the NST directly.
    The model adopted by churches in Australia (https://www.kooyoora.org.au/) would be
    worth considering in detail. A judgement would have to be made whether the time it would
    take to negotiate the establishment of an ecumenical/multi-faith agency would be justified
    by the enhanced authority, and perceptions of independence, such a body would carry.
    The survivors’ focus group noted that an independent body along these lines might be more
    effective as a foundation funded through an endowment than as a charity, as there would
    be an inherent conflict of interests in a charity dependent on the churches for donations or
    fee income. This point should be explored further in Phase 2.
  9. An Ombudsman Role?
    It has been suggested that the ISB would be strengthened by introducing the role of a
    Safeguarding Ombudsman/Ombudsperson. However, it was not clear what the relationship
    with the ISB would be. Some saw the role as a first point of contact for complainants,
    deciding what went forward to the ISB – but this could compromise the ISB’s ability to make
    independent decisions. Others saw the ombudsman as a final court of appeal on disputed
    decisions or complaints about the ISB itself. The survivors’ focus group, noting the
    emotional cost to victims and survivors of finding their way through serial layers of process,
    16
    commented that the priority should be a genuinely independent ISB rather than a further
    layer of process which survivors and victims had to negotiate.
    Much will depend upon how well and quickly the ISB establishes itself and is able to
    demonstrate its independence and ability to gain trust. In Phase 2, further consideration
    should be given to whether an ombudsman role is desirable and, if so, the shape it should
    take.
  10. The Employment and Management of the NST and DSOs
    There is a strongly held view among some stakeholders that independence in safeguarding
    would be enhanced by shifting the employment of the NST from the Archbishops’ Council to
    a new, separate, body as considered in 1. above. It has also been proposed that similar
    advantages would accrue if DSOs were also employed, along with the NST, by such a body
    (although IICSA proposed that DSOs should remain employed by dioceses).
    Against this, there are anxieties that this would lead to too great a gulf of understanding
    between the new safeguarding structures and the church, such that culture change would
    be harder to achieve, and also that the cost of making this change would be
    disproportionate to the advantages gained, for reasons noted above.
    The ISB should work with the Archbishops’ Council to explore what the costs would actually
    be and assess them against projected gains in independence and good practice. As noted,
    there is no perfect solution to the question about distance and proximity between a culture
    and structures designed to change culture. Because this cannot easily be explored until the
    ISB is in place, it must be a priority for Phase 2.
  11. Drawing dioceses into a common framework
    Serious safeguarding failures have been caused, and/or exacerbated, by failure to pass
    information freely and accurately between dioceses.
    Dioceses differ significantly in size (enabling some to have more streamlined systems than
    others), resourcing for safeguarding (leading to weak practice in some cases), and social
    profile (making some modes of delivery easier than others). Complete uniformity may
    therefore be undesirable but there remains scope for raising standards to a higher common
    level and removing procedural friction from cases that involve more than one diocese.
    Diocesan Boards of Finance (DBFs) employ safeguarding staff in order to enable the bishop
    to discharge the legal responsibility for safeguarding in the diocese. The introduction of the
    ISB needs to be understood as a way for bishops and to discharge their responsibilities
    better, and for DBFs to support them in this.
    Grouping dioceses together may assist with equalising the available resources and pushing
    all dioceses up to best practice standards. But if some regions include a large number of
    17
    weak dioceses and others combine those with the greatest resources, regionalisation could
    make matters worse.
    The question of regionalisation thus becomes an issue to be addressed in Phase 2.
  12. Independent roles in Core Groups
    The Survivors’ Focus Group noted that survivors have felt disadvantaged and unrepresented
    on Core Groups and that this constitutes an imbalance of power. A review of Core Groups is
    currently being undertaken, which will include consideration of survivors’ criticisms of
    present practices.
    The ISB, as proposed in Phase 1, is not designed to play a direct role in Core Groups. The
    question of how the ISB in future could help improve the working of Core Groups requires
    further reflection and consultation, in the light of the findings of the review, and will be
    pursued at a later stage.

    18
    D. Draft Person Specifications for ISB Members
  13. Independent Safeguarding Board Chair
    Essential:
    • Understanding of safeguarding as part of a “big picture” of organisational health.
    • Personal experience of carrying senior responsibility for institutional safeguarding.
    • Ability to demonstrate independence from the Church of England whilst
    demonstrating knowledge and critical understanding of how religious institutions
    work and the particular structures and cultures within the Church of England.
    • Experience of “speaking truth to power” and influencing policy, and the strength of
    character to do so to an institution where power is hierarchical yet dispersed.
    • Demonstrable experience in leading successful small teams to achieve common
    goals.
    • Empathy to engage with a wide variety of stakeholders, some of whom may be
    vulnerable.
    Desirable
    o Knowledge of safeguarding law and experience in applying it.
    o Direct experience of how regulatory bodies work – preferably from the inside.
  14. ISB Advocate for Victims and Survivors
    Essential:
    • A comprehensive understanding of the experiences of victims and survivors of
    abuse.
    • Experience of enabling institutions and individuals to hear and understand those
    experiences.
    • Consultative skills to engage with individual survivors and different survivor groups.
    • Ability to demonstrate independence from the Church of England.
    • Demonstrably a team player.
    Desirable:
    o A survivor of abuse in a church (preferably Church of England) context.
    o Ability to draw on personal experience and place it in the context of others’ direct
    experience.
    A Job Share post would be considered.
    Because this role is likely be emotionally demanding, and requires a complex combination of
    personal experience and professional detachment, the person appointed may wish to explore
    setting up a personal support group or reference group. Resources for such a group should be
    included in the ISB budget.
    19
  15. Third ISB Member
    Essential:
    • Ability to demonstrate independence from the Church of England
    • Demonstrably a team player.
    • Proven ability in handling complex complaints and mediation.
    Desirable:
    o Skills and experience in driving institutional culture change.
    A Job Share post would be considered.
    Among the three ISB members, it would be Desirable to have:
    o Diversity of gender, ethnicity and background.
    o Experience of setting up a regulatory body.
    o Experience of being responsibility for safeguarding in an institution whose
    primary purpose is not safeguarding itself.
    It is recommended that the Chair and Survivor Advocate are appointed first, and the Third
    ISB member appointed to complement their skills and experience.
  16. ISB Administrator
    (Job and Person Specs from standard NCI Admin roles – Band 5 or 6)
    20
    E. Some Lessons Going Forwards
    There were good reasons why the time frame for this work was severely curtailed, but it
    meant that the full implications of some of the proposals could not be explored as fully as
    might be desired. The fact that the work was conducted at pace was helpful in
    demonstrating that the Church of England is serious about independence and did not intend
    to procrastinate. But it will mean that the members of the ISB are recruited to roles which
    are not fully defined in some detailed respects and where some relationships and powers
    remain to be worked out. This calls for the recruitment of people with the skills and
    experience to negotiate uncertainties and prioritise the areas of unfinished business that
    must be pursued urgently.
    The Survivors’ Reference Group stepped up splendidly to reflect on a first draft of these
    proposals and many of their reflections are incorporated in this paper. But consultation of
    that kind falls short of a model of co-production which would have placed survivors closer to
    the whole process.
    Others impacted by safeguarding cases also need to be brought into the
    dialogue. Co-production cannot easily be done against imposed deadlines, but we now have
    an opportunity, in moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2, to consider a more thoroughgoing
    model of working together which, in itself, could add to the richness of different voices
    which is one objective of introducing an independent element in the first place.
    The Revd Canon Dr Malcolm Brown
    Director of Mission and Public Affairs
    February 2021

FEBRUARY 26 2021 – “A MASSIVE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE…ITS CONSEQUENCES COULD BE SEISMIC” – THE JOHN SMYTH CASE AND THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

Richard W. Symonds

“It still remains possible that the damage caused by these institutional failures has been so severe that the trust and respect for the Church held by society at large has been lost forever”

Stephen Parsons – Foreword – ‘Sex, Power, Control – Responding to Abuse in the Institutional Church’ [Lutterworth 2021]

Jeremy Pemberton

Jeremy Pemberton

It is almost as if they don’t want this review to come out publicly at all!

Stanley Monkhouse

Stanley Monkhouse 

… or maybe not until after ABC has resigned, retired, or, as they say these days using a lily-livered euphemism, stepped down. 

Anthony Archer

Anthony Archer 

I posted the following on TA on 28 April 2020 when Keith Makin said he needed more time to complete the review: “The good news is that it seems Makin is faced with vastly more material than he imagined, from victims and survivors, and others with knowledge. This report will analyse and dismantle the abusive culture. It will also ask searching questions about why so many people who knew about Smyth did absolutely nothing, except heave a sigh of relief that he had left the country.” I have previously disclosed on TA that I declare an interest as a former Iwerne (senior) camper, ashamed to have this connection. I also spent a gap year in 1972 at Ruzawi School, in the then Rhodesia, where years later a boy under the care of Smyth was found drowned in a swimming pool.
  
The web of knowledge would, in my opinion, have spread very quickly from the Iwerne Trust trustees and other(s) who were copied on the Ruston Report (only three of whom are alive today, to my knowledge), to most leaders involved with Iwerne in the years 1978 – 1982 or so. Few of those would not have asked (or been told) what had happened to Smyth when he finally ‘disappeared’ in 1984. And what of the barristers in his chambers? Most of course would not have been in a position requiring them to act on the information, although Makin will need to decide where that line should be drawn.

Then there are those who directly protected Smyth, inter alia by financing his move to Zimbabwe and his ‘ministry.’ The material available to Makin, from the trustees of Zambesi Trust (removed from the register in 2018) and from the very many who were interviewed as part of the Report finalised in Bulawayo in October 1993, is substantial and probably more important than the Iwerne material, given the levels of abuse that followed. Add into the mix Winchester College and Scripture Union, and others in the Church of England who may have become insiders (I used that term advisedly) at different points in time and the Review becomes a massive task.

So, I would give Mr Makin and his team all the time they need as he decides how to document and conclude on what I believe to be a massive conspiracy of silence. There is no machinery ultimately to prevent this report from being published. The lessons learned will be far reaching. Its consequences could be seismic.

FEBRUARY 26 2021 – FROM THE ARCHIVES [DECEMBER 4 2015] – “BISHOP GEORGE BELL, MEMORY, IDENTITY” – CHURCH TIMES – LETTERS

Bishop George Bell, memory, and identity

04 DECEMBER 2015

ISTOCK

From the Revd Professor David Jasper and others

Sir, — We write as members of the family of Dean Ronald Jasper, who wrote the official biography of Bishop George Bell nearly 50 years ago. For a long time, Bell’s presence was keenly felt in our household.

Much has been written in the past few weeks concerning the matter of justice and the need for care to be taken over every aspect of such dreadful and distressing cases. A great deal has been said in public, and yet still little clear evidence has been provided.

As a result of Bell’s courageous public ministry in the Church of England, we remain indebted to him within the tradition that he represented to such a high degree to the point of his inclusion in the Common Worship Calendar.

At Bishop Bell’s memorial service, Archbishop Fisher stated that “in days to come when the Catholic Church recovers again its lost unities [we] will still remember the debt for that recovery owed to George Bell.”

Lest we forget this in the present situation, and until there is clear evidence to the contrary, we should be mindful that we are a Church united across the ages, and if we forget what has been given to us in ages past for the sake of present expediency, we are in danger of losing our identity altogether.

DAVID JASPER, ALISON JASPER, CHRISTINE READE, NICHOLAS READE
c/o Theology and Religious Studies
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ

OTHER STORIES

Church statement on Bishop George Bell 11 Dec 2015

The Church of England media statement about Bishop George Bell 13 Nov 2015

Accusation and condemnation 20 May 2016