Monthly Archives: June 2021

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

PETER REISS – COMMENT ON ‘SURVIVING CHURCH

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


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


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


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


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

Father Ron Smith 

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

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

Winchester Cathedral

Wiki Commons

DAILY MAIL – JUNE 26 2021

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

THINKING ANGLICANS – JUNE 26 2021

What next in the Diocese of Winchester? | Thinking Anglicans

GAVIN ASHENDEN

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

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

‘SURVIVING CHURCH’ – STEPHEN PARSONS

Return to Winchester and Dakingate – Surviving Church

HAMPSHIRE CHRONICLE

Chronic problems at Winchester Diocese revealed | Hampshire Chronicle

FURTHER INFORMATION

Winchester rebels against its diocesan bishop | Thinking Anglicans

COMMENTS

Hilary Dawes

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

PRIVATE EYE

Private Eye No 1549 – 11 June – 24 June 2021

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

Winchester woes

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Lord Bishop of Winchester Tim Dakin

Wiki Commons

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

Private Eye No 1549 – 11 June – 24 June 2021

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

Percy-cution complex

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

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

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

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

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

Winchester woes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

THINKING ANGLICANS


God ‘elp us all 

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

Richard W. Symonds

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

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

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

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

Credit: Sue Overend

‘Out of the Depths Do I Cry’

Leader comment: Is this institutional corruption?

18 JUNE 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image by ‘Goddard’

Archbishop Cranmer

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

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