Tag Archives: Archbishops’ Council

May 21 2019 – Bishop Gavin Ashenden on Bishop George Bell and The Deleted Files – Anglican Unscripted 505 [Time: 20.45 to 28.05]

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Bishop Gavin Ashenden

The implications of hiding crosses in churches. Anglican Unscripted 505.

Anglican Unscripted 505 – Bishop Gavin Ashenden on Bishop George Bell [Time: 20.45 to 28.05]

Ref: “Footprints In The Sand – tracking changes in online content” – A short report for The Bell Society by Peter Crosskey

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2019/05/20/may-20-2019-footprints-in-the-sand-tracking-changes-in-online-content-chichester-cathedral-website-a-short-report-for-the-bell-society-by-peter-crosskey/

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May 14 2019 – “George Bell Group issues new statement” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’ – Simon Sarmiento

George Bell House - 4 Canon Lane - Chichester Cathedral

George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester Cathedral – before the name change [Picture: Alamy]

George Bell Group issues new statement

George Bell Group issues new statement

The George Bell Group has issued this: Statement May 2019.

Since October 2015 when the Archbishops’ Council announced that they had paid compensation to the woman given the pseudonym ‘Carol’, who alleged that she had been abused by Bishop George Bell, his defenders have criticised the Church authorities for never once affording the Bishop the presumption of innocence.  Now, after the inquiries of Lord Carlile and Timothy Briden, it can be seen that the allegations against Bishop Bell were unfounded in fact.

THE CARLILE REVIEW

The Carlile report, whose conclusions (save as to publicity) the Church accepted, criticised the investigation of Carol’s allegations as a rush to judgment predicated on Bell’s guilt. It concluded that the decision to settle with Carol was indefensibly wrong and that the process completely ignored the Bishop’s reputation and the interests of his surviving family, including his very elderly niece.

The original statement by the Archbishops’ Council in October 2015 claimed that none of the expert independent reports had found reason to doubt Carol’s veracity. But Lord Carlile discovered that the only expert consulted by the Church thought it very likely that Carol’s experience of abuse in her first marriage had affected her recall, and that the possibility of false memories was a real one.

Regrettably Archbishop Welby added his authority to the destruction of Bell’s reputation: on Good Friday 2016, before the Carlile report was completed, he told BBC Radio that the investigation of Carol’s claim had been ‘very thorough’ and the finding of abuse correct on the balance of probabilities. We now know how far from the truth that was.

The Archbishop told Lord Carlile during his inquiry that if there had not been a proper investigation of Carol’s story, the Church would have to apologise. But sadly, when the Carlile report was published in December 2017, he chose not to do so. To the disappointment of Bell’s defenders, he appeared to reject the presumption of innocence; instead he commented that there was still ‘a significant cloud’ left over Bishop Bell’s name without giving any explanation of why he continued to hold that view in the face of Lord Carlile’s conclusions.

THE ‘FRESH INFORMATION’ AND THE BRIDEN PROCESS

The publicity given to the Carlile report appears to have triggered a copy-cat claim by the woman given the name Alison. The Core Safeguarding Group which had been responsible for the shambolic investigation of Carol’s claim now set about trying to substantiate that by Alison. They may well have hoped that the similar facts alleged by Alison would corroborate the discredited Carol. But within weeks the police, to whom the Core Group had reported the matter, closed their enquiries.  Next an investigation by a senior retired police officer commissioned by the Church quickly showed that Alison’s evidence was unreliable and incapable of supporting any adverse finding against the Bishop.

Mr Briden reported that her account not only had internal inconsistencies but was also contaminated by her having read Carol’s story, a contamination revealed by her repeating verbatim some of Carol’s words which had been reported in the press. He ended his report by saying that all the allegations against George Bell remitted to him were unfounded.

Many will have hoped that on reading Mr Briden’s report Archbishop Welby would have publicly acknowledged that the cloud of which he had previously spoken had been dissipated. He did not do so.

THE DUTY OF THE CHURCH NOW

The history of the treatment by the Church of England of the reputation of George Bell has become a scandal. It is now the plain duty of the Church of England, nationally and in the Diocese of Chichester, to make amends by working to restore Bishop Bell’s reputation, not least in institutions which were once proud to adopt his name.

We welcome the decision of Canterbury Cathedral to revive a commission to create a statue of Bell and note the expression of ‘delight’ with which the Archbishop of Canterbury has responded. We acknowledge with gratitude the firmness with which the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford have maintained and cherished the chapel there dedicated to Bell’s memory throughout the controversy. We note that the meeting room dedicated to Bishop Bell remains, as before, at the World Council of Churches in Geneva.

It is only in Chichester itself, the place in which Bishop Bell lived and worked for almost thirty years and where his ashes are interred in the cathedral, that any public adoption of his name is now suppressed.

We find the public stance of the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, incomprehensible and indefensible. The Bishop’s ‘Response’ to the Briden Report, published on 24 January 2019 and now promoted on the websites of the diocese and cathedral, only went as far as to acknowledge that ‘Bishop Bell cannot be proven guilty’. He added that it could not be ‘safely claimed that the original complainant [i.e. Carol] had been discredited’. This is a most regrettable insinuation that there was, or likely was, substance to Carol’s allegation and hence that Bell was to be suspected of abuse.

The Bishop emphasised the defamatory innuendo by asking ‘those who hold opposing views on this matter to recognise the strength of each other’s commitment to justice and compassion.’ There is, regrettably, no evidence in this response of the Bishop’s commitment to justice or of any compassion towards those who are wrongly accused. His words have been repeated verbatim by the Bishop at Lambeth in response to a Question at the recent session of the General Synod of the church. Indeed, the Bishop even invoked the authority of the House of Bishops in support of this view. So far as we are aware the House has never even discussed the matter.

Such words simply preserve the impression that there was, and remains, a case against Bell. A not dissimilar state of mind was revealed by the Chichester Diocesan Safeguarding Officer when he told the Child Abuse Inquiry in March 2018 that ‘all the indications we have would suggest that the simplest explanation for why someone comes forward to report abuse – because they were abused – is likely to be the correct one’.

As the High Court Judge Sir Richard Henriques has pointed out in his report to the Metropolitan Police on allegations against prominent individuals, such an assumption results in an investigation which does not challenge the complainant, tends to disbelieve the suspect and shifts onto the suspect the burden of proof, ignoring any presumption of innocence. It becomes a premise for a miscarriage of justice such as can now be seen to have been inflicted on the reputation of George Bell.

It should be sufficient to observe that like Professor Anthony Maden, Lord Carlile did interview this first complainant. We note Lord Carlile’s statement of 1 February 2019, made to the local campaigner Mr Richard Symonds: ‘The Church should now accept that my recommendations should be accepted in full, and that after due process, however delayed, George Bell should be declared by the Church to be innocent of the allegations made against him.’

We are more than conscious that this saga represents a wider pattern in the Church and across society where many other such miscarriages of justice have become notorious. Now it is surely essential that if all the many safeguarding bodies, national and diocesan, are to be retained by the Church of England their work must be placed under real legal discipline and in the hands of officers who observe fully the expectations and rule of law and act without fear or prejudice.

There must never again be any repetition of such a discreditable, indeed disgraceful, performance.

Andrew Chandler, Convenor of George Bell Group, 9 May 2019

COMMENTS
Susannah Clark

“it can be seen that the allegations against Bishop Bell were unfounded in fact.”

What does that precisely mean? If the group is saying that the case is ‘unproven’ then I’d agree, because it is impossible to prove one way or the other whether her allegations against the Bishop are true or untrue. If it is saying that ‘Carol’s allegations about George Bell can be proved to be untrue, then that is a slur on a woman whose narrative they have repeatedly said is false. To say that George Bell *is* innocent (except in legal terms) is a false claim.

What I read in this statement is the use of insinuation.

“The possibility of false memories was a real one.” Yes. But ‘possibility’ means just that. It’s also possible her recall of who abused her was not false. Possibility either way is not the same as fact.

“They may well have hoped that the similar facts alleged by Alison would corroborate the discredited Carol.” Setting Alison aside, why is Carol described as “the discredited Carol”. That is offensive to a woman whose claims remain unproven one way or the other. It is slur.

As Dr Martin Warner correctly acknowledges: “Bishop Bell cannot be proven guilty.” But he is also right to add that it could not be “safely claimed that the original complainant [i.e. Carol] had been discredited.” That is not insinuation. It is fact. The fact remains that Carol may or may not have been abused by George Bell.

Process was faulty, and reform in the Church’s safeguarding procedures is overdue, but at the same time, this campaign group has created an incredibly hostile and partisan environment for an abuse victim herself. ‘Carol’ in all likelihood has indeed suffered abuse. It may have been committed by George Bell. With the passage of time we shall probably never know. However, assertions that – as a matter of fact – Carol’s claims are false… that is a disgraceful shutting down of an abuse victim’s experience and allegation.

Yes, the accused need safeguarding protection too… few deny process needs improvement… but no, it CANNOT “be seen that the allegations against Bishop Bell were unfounded in fact.”

That is a falsehood, a false assertion. If we create a virulent and hostile environment for people with the courage to come forward to accuse abusers – and it takes incredible courage – then we should be ashamed, because what it will do is drive victims back into secrecy and silence.

In addition, we must never lionise powerful men, even good men of known courage, to the extent that hagiography silences those who – in some cases – are nevertheless victims of the very dark side of human character. Great men can be flawed. We cannot simply disbelieve women because of their abuser’s reputation. That cannot wash. What we need is process that is discreet, measured, and factually very precise with its language. And non-partisan.

We do not, factually, know if George Bell was innocent or guilty. I doubt we ever will. Carol may be right.

T Pott
“We do not know, factually, if George Bell was innocent or guilty.” If that were so, it would put him in exactly the same position as everybody else who has ever lived. So, perhaps, we should simply remember people for what we do know about them.
Susannah, if you make an allegation I raped you when you were 5-years-old, the onus is on you to provide evidence that I raped you. The onus is not on me to prove I am innocent.

If you cannot provide that evidence in a court of law, then however convinced you are that it was me who raped you, I am to be presumed innocent. That’s the law.

After two investigations (Carlile & Briden), ‘Carol’ – who has had the benefit of anonymity and been paid nearly £30,000 (?) in compensation – has provided zero evidence that it was Bishop Bell who abused her.

Therefore, Bishop Bell is to be presumed innocent. That’s the law.

But the Church seems to consider itself above the law by presuming Bishop Bell’s guilt and presuming the innocence of ‘Carol’.

May 13 2019 – The George Bell Group Statement – May 2019 – “The history of the treatment by the Church of England of the reputation of George Bell has become a scandal” ~ Dr Andrew Chandler

George Bell House - 4 Canon Lane - Chichester Cathedral

George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester Cathedral – before the name change [Picture: Alamy]

Home

The George Bell Group

We are an independent group whose members represent a concentration of experience in public life, in the fields of law, policing, politics, journalism, academic research and church affairs. This group began to meet in response to the 22 October 2015 statement issued by the Church of England about Bishop George Bell. See this BBC report for the original story. On 15 December 2017 the Church of England published the independent review of Lord Carlile and issued three statements made in response by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Chichester and the Bishop of Bath & Wells.

We warmly welcome the Report written by Timothy Briden and congratulate him on his thorough examination of the evidence which led him to the explicit conclusion that the new allegations against Bishop Bell were unfounded. There are no other allegations.

It is time to conclude a matter which has lasted altogether three and a half years. The investigative activities and processes of the church authorities themselves have been devastated by independent legal judgement. The assurances with which these authorities have justified themselves and effectively promoted a case against Bishop Bell in public have been discredited. Bishop Bell’s reputation is today vindicated and affirmed by authoritative opinion. What remains of the story is only a matter of contemporary church politics.

Read the full response of the George Bell Group (May 2019)

Statement May 2019

Since October 2015 when the Archbishops’ Council announced that they had paid compensation to the woman given the pseudonym ‘Carol’, who alleged that she had been abused by Bishop George Bell, his defenders have criticised the Church authorities for never once affording the Bishop the presumption of innocence.  Now, after the inquiries of Lord Carlile and Timothy Briden, it can be seen that the allegations against Bishop Bell were unfounded in fact.

THE CARLILE REVIEW

The Carlile report, whose conclusions (save as to publicity) the Church accepted, criticised the investigation of Carol’s allegations as a rush to judgment predicated on Bell’s guilt. It concluded that the decision to settle with Carol was indefensibly wrong and that the process completely ignored the Bishop’s reputation and the interests of his surviving family, including his very elderly niece.

The original statement by the Archbishops’ Council in October 2015 claimed that none of the expert independent reports had found reason to doubt Carol’s veracity. But Lord Carlile discovered that the only expert consulted by the Church thought it very likely that Carol’s experience of abuse in her first marriage had affected her recall, and that the possibility of false memories was a real one.

Regrettably Archbishop Welby added his authority to the destruction of Bell’s reputation: on Good Friday 2016, before the Carlile report was completed, he told BBC Radio that the investigation of Carol’s claim had been ‘very thorough’ and the finding of abuse correct on the balance of probabilities. We now know how far from the truth that was.

The Archbishop told Lord Carlile during his inquiry that if there had not been a proper investigation of Carol’s story, the Church would have to apologise. But sadly, when the Carlile report was published in December 2017, he chose not to do so. To the disappointment of Bell’s defenders, he appeared to reject the presumption of innocence; instead he commented that there was still ‘a significant cloud’ left over Bishop Bell’s name without giving any explanation of why he continued to hold that view in the face of Lord Carlile’s conclusions.

THE ‘FRESH INFORMATION’ AND THE BRIDEN PROCESS

The publicity given to the Carlile report appears to have triggered a copy-cat claim by the woman given the name Alison. The Core Safeguarding Group which had been responsible for the shambolic investigation of Carol’s claim now set about trying to substantiate that by Alison. They may well have hoped that the similar facts alleged by Alison would corroborate the discredited Carol. But within weeks the police, to whom the Core Group had reported the matter, closed their enquiries.  Next an investigation by a senior retired police officer commissioned by the Church quickly showed that Alison’s evidence was unreliable and incapable of supporting any adverse finding against the Bishop.

Mr Briden reported that her account not only had internal inconsistencies but was also contaminated by her having read Carol’s story, a contamination revealed by her repeating verbatim some of Carol’s words which had been reported in the press. He ended his report by saying that all the allegations against George Bell remitted to him were unfounded.

Many will have hoped that on reading Mr Briden’s report Archbishop Welby would have publicly acknowledged that the cloud of which he had previously spoken had been dissipated. He did not do so.

THE DUTY OF THE CHURCH NOW

The history of the treatment by the Church of England of the reputation of George Bell has become a scandal.

It is now the plain duty of the Church of England, nationally and in the Diocese of Chichester, to make amends by working to restore Bishop Bell’s reputation, not least in institutions which were once proud to adopt his name.

We welcome the decision of Canterbury Cathedral to revive a commission to create a statue of Bell and note the expression of ‘delight’ with which the Archbishop of Canterbury has responded. We acknowledge with gratitude the firmness with which the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford have maintained and cherished the chapel there dedicated to Bell’s memory throughout the controversy. We note that the meeting room dedicated to Bishop Bell remains, as before, at the World Council of Churches in Geneva.

It is only in Chichester itself, the place in which Bishop Bell lived and worked for almost thirty years and where his ashes are interred in the cathedral, that any public adoption of his name is now suppressed.

We find the public stance of the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, incomprehensible and indefensible. The Bishop’s ‘Response’ to the Briden Report, published on 24 January 2019 and now promoted on the websites of the diocese and cathedral, only went as far as to acknowledge that ‘Bishop Bell cannot be proven guilty’. He added that it could not be ‘safely claimed that the original complainant [i.e. Carol] had been discredited’. This is a most regrettable insinuation that there was, or likely was, substance to Carol’s allegation and hence that Bell was to be suspected of abuse.

The Bishop emphasised the defamatory innuendo by asking ‘those who hold opposing views on this matter to recognise the strength of each other’s commitment to justice and compassion.’ There is, regrettably, no evidence in this response of the Bishop’s commitment to justice or of any compassion towards those who are wrongly accused. His words have been repeated verbatim by the Bishop at Lambeth in response to a Question at the recent session of the General Synod of the church. Indeed, the Bishop even invoked the authority of the House of Bishops in support of this view. So far as we are aware the House has never even discussed the matter.

Such words simply preserve the impression that there was, and remains, a case against Bell. A not dissimilar state of mind was revealed by the Chichester Diocesan Safeguarding Officer when he told the Child Abuse Inquiry in March 2018 that ‘all the indications we have would suggest that the simplest explanation for why someone comes forward to report abuse – because they were abused – is likely to be the correct one’.

As the High Court Judge Sir Richard Henriques has pointed out in his report to the Metropolitan Police on allegations against prominent individuals, such an assumption results in an investigation which does not challenge the complainant, tends to disbelieve the suspect and shifts onto the suspect the burden of proof, ignoring any presumption of innocence. It becomes a premise for a miscarriage of justice such as can now be seen to have been inflicted on the reputation of George Bell.

It should be sufficient to observe that like Professor Anthony Maden, Lord Carlile did interview this first complainant. We note Lord Carlile’s statement of 1 February 2019, made to the local campaigner Mr Richard Symonds: ‘The Church should now accept that my recommendations should be accepted in full, and that after due process, however delayed, George Bell should be declared by the Church to be innocent of the allegations made against him.’

We are more than conscious that this saga represents a wider pattern in the Church and across society where many other such miscarriages of justice have become notorious. Now it is surely essential that if all the many safeguarding bodies, national and diocesan, are to be retained by the Church of England their work must be placed under real legal discipline and in the hands of officers who observe fully the expectations and rule of law and act without fear or prejudice.

There must never again be any repetition of such a discreditable, indeed disgraceful, performance.

Andrew Chandler, Convenor of George Bell Group, 9 May 2019

May 3 2019 – “More fallout from the Panorama programme” [‘Scandal in the Church of England’] – ‘Thinking Anglicans’ – Simon Sarmiento

2000px-Logo_of_the_Church_of_England.svg

More fallout from the Panorama programme

More fallout from the Panorama programme

An open letter has been published by Justin Humphreys, chief executive of the charity now known as thirtyone:eight (formerly Churches Child Protection Advisory Service):
An open letter to the leadership of the Church of England following BBC’s Panorama.

…It has been clear for some time that the past cases review conducted between 2007 and 2010 was flawed in a number of respects. For there to be any confusion or uncertainty about what happened to those cases that were identified, often referred to as the ‘Known Cases Lists’ is also inexcusable. The Panorama program did well to uncover what were clearly points of discomfort for the church hierarchy. For key representatives of the Church to either not be able to respond clearly to questions about the number of cases or be unprepared to do so, calls the management of these cases into serious question and makes one wonder who exactly is in control? The need for transparency and true accountability has never been as needed as it is today.

What is needed within the Church of England (and frankly elsewhere across the wider Church and beyond) is authentic leadership. Leadership that is prepared to lead by example in a proactive exercise of self-reflection that leads to open and honest dialogue (particularly with survivors). Leadership that is not governed, coerced or muzzled by either insurers, lawyers or any other stakeholder that may stand to lose from just exposure and open remorse and repentance. This would be the right thing to do!

We may ask, what (or who) is being served by this ongoing catalogue of failures, missed opportunities and resistance to effective change concerning past, present and future safeguarding matters? It certainly cannot be said that survivors are being well-served. It is also of great concern that the Church itself is being further damaged by a continual denial of the truth and avoidance of any tangible reparation.

If the public at large is ever again to say of the Church that it is a safe place, a haven or even a sanctuary for those who are suffering, the Church must be prepared to be laid bare and be held accountable for those things it has failed to do well. This humility would be the greatest strength of the Church in seeking to deal with this sad catalogue of shame. The time has come for those that stand in the way of what Jesus would so clearly have done to be challenged, held accountable and where needed placed elsewhere – where they have less opportunity to exert their negative influence and to stand in the way of the restoration that is desperately needed…

Do read the whole letter.

Stephen Parsons at Surviving Church has written a second blog, this one is titled: Panorama on C/E. Further reflections. Again it’s worth reading in full, but the concluding paragraph says:

…Panorama indicated to us that control of information is a tactic of power still actively employed by the central Church authorities.  The originators of this tactic do not appear to be the bishops themselves but the highly paid Church House officials at the centre of things.   Unfortunately for them, their control of the levers of power was all too easy to spot in both the recent television interviews.    The interview of Archbishop Welby on Channel 4 was, like that of Bishop Hancock, unconvincing and somewhat contrived.  The bishops themselves both had personal integrity and human warmth but nothing could not disguise the fact that they were speaking for someone other than themselves.  The Church cannot continue to go down a path of fielding individuals to act as spokesmen for the institution.  The public want, as far as possible, to encounter real human beings who can speak for the church.  The people of England relate to real people, people who, like them, are living lives of joy mixed with pain.  They will never want to identify with a group when they suspect that the information put out is being manipulated and managed before it is shared with them.  In short, let bishops be bishops, shepherds of the flock, not puppets being controlled by forces that are invisible and are not necessarily working for the good of all.

The Church Times has published a letter from Andrew Graystone which can be found here (scroll down)

Panorama programme won’t be the last scandal

Sir, — Church leaders, from the Archbishops up, acknowledge that the Church is failing in its care of victims of clergy abuse. But ask them who is responsible for sorting out the mess, and nobody knows. Is it the job of the Archbishops’ Council? or the General Synod? or the National Safeguarding Steering Group? or Lambeth Palace? or the House of Bishops? Or is it, perhaps, a matter for each individual diocese?

Everybody points to someone else. Nobody steps forward. After a decade or more of crisis, which continues to eat away at the Church’s standing in society, there has been a complete failure from those in authority to grasp the issue. One reason that some survivors of church abuse are so painfully vocal is that they are filling a vacuum of leadership on this most crucial of issues for the Church.

Monday’s Panorama, with its focus on the shameful mismanagement of abuse in Lincoln diocese, was entitled Scandal in the Church of England. It could have been made at any point in the past decade, and it could have focused on almost any diocese. Stories will continue to emerge, and the scandal of abuse past and present will continue to undermine the Church’s wider mission, until some individual or body takes responsibility and institutes decisive action.

In the mean time, it is victims of abuse, past and present, who bear the cruelty and pain of the Church’s failure.

COMMENTS

Andrew Graystone says in the Church Times: “Church leaders, from the Archbishops up, acknowledge that the Church is failing in its care of victims of clergy abuse. But ask them who is responsible for sorting out the mess, and nobody knows…”

If that is the case, intervention is required by The Supreme Governor of the Church of England Her Majesty The Queen – just as the Pope was required to intervene in the Catholic Church.

April 14 2019 – Church of England Governance Structures

https://www.churchofengland.org/about/leadership-and-governance

Leadership and Governance

The Church is led by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and 106 other bishops. They provide guidance and direction to the churches across the country and make decisions on the Church in society. The General Synod is an assembly of bishops, clergy and laity, and creates the laws of the Church. The seven National Church Institutions work together to support the mission and ministries of the Church.
Archbishops of York and Canterbury face each out outside cathedral

 

The Archbishop of Canterbury is responsible for churches in the southern two-thirds of England. He also fills a unique position in the world-wide Anglican Church as spiritual leader. The Archbishop of York is the senior bishop responsible for churches in the northern third of England. Together they lead the vision and direction of the Church of England.

Each of our 42 dioceses has a lead bishop known as a diocesan bishop. Most are supported by other (suffragan or area) bishops. All diocesan bishops are members of the House of Bishops, along with a small number other elected bishops. The House of Bishops is one of the three houses of the General Synod. The General Synod is an assembly of bishops, clergy and laity, which meets at least twice a year to debate and decide the Church’s laws and discuss matters of public interest.

Our two archbishops and 24 other bishops sit in the House of Lords, making a major contribution to Parliament’s work. They are known as Lords Spiritual.

Her Majesty the Queen is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. The Queen appoints archbishops, bishops and deans of cathedrals on the advice of the Prime Minister.

There are seven national administrative bodies that work together to support the mission and ministries of the Church. These are called National Church Institutions (NCIs).

Each has a role to play in helping the day-to-day work of churches across England. They serve as the Church’s central office, managing finance, education, communications, and more, to keep the Church of England growing.

They work with parishes, dioceses (regional offices), schools, other ministries and our partners at a national and international level.

The seven NCIs are:

  • The Archbishops’ Council
    Leadership, strategy and executive responsibility (see below)
  • Lambeth Palace
    The office and home of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • Bishopthorpe Palace
    The office and home of the Archbishop of York.
  • The Church Commissioners
    Manages the national Church’s investment fund and provides money to support the Church’s work.
  • The Church of England Pensions Board
    Provides retirement services for those who have served or worked for the Church.
  • National Society for Promoting Religious Education
    Our education department.
  • The Church of England Central Services
    HR, Finance & Resources, IT, Legal, Communications, and Record Centre.

The NCIs are separate legal entities, but they are a common employer. The present arrangements were established under the National Institutions Measure 1998.

THE ARCHBISHOPS’ COUNCIL
The Archbishops’ Council was established in 1999. The Council is a charity, set up in law to co-ordinate, promote, aid and further the work and mission of the Church of England. It does this by providing national support to the Church in dioceses and locally, working closely with the House of Bishops and other bodies of the Church. The Archbishops’ Council is one of the seven National Church Institutions.

Our objectives

The Archbishops’ Council has nine objectives.

Evangelism
To bring more of the people of England to the faith of Christ through the Church of England

Discipleship
To strengthen the Christian faith and life of all who worship God in the Church of England

Ministry
To ensure there are sufficient ordained and lay ministers of the required gifts and qualities who are effectively deployed to enable the Church of England to fulfil its mission, and to support those ministers in their calling, development, ministry and retirement

Common good
To contribute to transforming our society and communities more closely to reflect the Kingdom of God through loving acts of neighbourliness and service to all

Education
To promote high quality Christian education in Church of England schools and voluntary education settings, and through our Church contribution to other schools, colleges, further and higher education institutions

Resources for the Church
To help dioceses and cathedrals to be most effective in their mission, by providing cost-effective national and specialist services and advice

Safeguarding
To ensure all children and vulnerable adults are safe in the Church

Governance
To operate the national governance arrangements of the Church of England as cost-effectively as possible in pursuit of the Church’s mission

A Church for all people
To be a Church that can provide a home for all people in England
The Archbishops’ Council plans for 2017.

 

Safeguarding: to ensure
all children and vulnerable
adults are safe in the Church,
by continuing to build
infrastructure and processes
for the National Safeguarding
Function to promote a safer
Church at all levels, including
the development of policies
and practice guidance, longterm audit processes, training,
high-level casework handling,
survivor engagement and
responding to the Independent
Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
(IICSA).

 

 

Archbishops’ Council

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archbishops%27_Council#Committees_and_Staff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Archbishops’ Council is a part of the governance structures of the Church of England. Its headquarters are at Church House, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3AZ.

The Council was created in 1999 to provide a central executive body to co-ordinate and lead the work of the Church. This was a partial implementation of the recommendations of the report “Working Together as One Body” produced by Michael Turnbull (then Bishop of Durham) in 1994.

Objectives and Objects

The Council describes its objectives as:

  • enhancing the Church’s mission by:
    • promoting spiritual and numerical growth,
    • enabling and supporting the worshipping Church and encouraging and promoting new ways of being Church, and
    • engaging with issues of social justice and environmental stewardship
    • sustaining and advance the Church’s work in education, lifelong learning and discipleship;
  • enabling the Church to select, train and resource the right people, both ordained and lay, to carry out public ministry and encouraging lay people in their vocation to the world; and
  • encouraging the maintenance and development of the inherited fabric of Church buildings for worship and service to the community.

And its objects as:

  • giving a clear strategic sense of direction to the national work of the Church of England, within an overall vision set by the House of Bishops and informed by an understanding of the Church’s opportunities, needs and resources;
  • encouraging and resourcing the Church in parishes and dioceses;
  • promoting close collaborative working between the Church’s national bodies, including through the management of a number of common services (Communications, Human Resources, IT etc.);
  • supporting the Archbishops with their diverse ministries and responsibilities; and engaging confidently with Government and other bodies.

Legal Status and Membership

The Archbishops’ Council was established by the National Institutions Measure passed by the General Synod of the Church of England in 1998.[1] It has its own legal identity and is, in addition, a charity.

The Council is made up of:

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are the joint Presidents of the Council, but the Archbishop of Canterbury normally chairs its meetings.

The Council is one of the “National Church Institutions”;[3] the others include the Church Commissioners, the Church of England Pensions Board and the General Synod.

Committees and Staff

The work of the Council is assisted by a number of committees:

  • Mission and Public Affairs Council (including the Hospital Chaplaincies Council)
  • Board of Education
  • Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns
  • Council for Christian Unity
  • Central Council for the Care of Churches
  • Committees of the Ministry Division
    • Committee for Ministry of and among Deaf and Disabled People
    • Deployment, Recruitment and Conditions of Service Committee
    • Theological Education and Training Committee
    • Vocation, Recruitment and Selection Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Audit Committee

In 2006, the Council employed about 250 staff. The senior posts include:

  • Secretary-General to the Council and the General Synod

  • Chief Education Officer
  • Director of Mission & Public Affairs
  • Head of Cathedral and Church Buildings
  • Director of Ministry
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Head of Legal Office and Chief Legal Adviser to the General Synod
  • Clerk to the Synod and Director of Central Secretariat

Finances

The members of the Council are also members and directors of the Central Board of Finance of the Church of England. Technically, the Board of Finance is a separate legal entity, however all major decisions are taken by members of the Council in their capacity as the directors of the Board.

In 2006, the Council had a budget of approximately £61 million, principally derived from the Church Commissioners (about £32 million) and contributions from each of the dioceses(£24.5 million).

Spending in that year included grants to the dioceses (£31 million), training clergy (both funding for colleges and allowances for individuals in residential training – £10 million), grants to organisation such as Churches Together, the Church Urban Fund and the World Council of Churches (£2.2 million), and housing assistance for retired clergy (£2.8 million).[4]

Notable members

  • William Fittall, Secretary-General from 2002 to 2015
  • Philip Fletcher, 2007 to 2016
  • David Lammy, 1999 to 2002[5]
  • Jayne Ozanne, 1999 to 2004
  • Mark Russell, CEO of the Church Army, 2005 to 2011 and since 2015
  • Glyn Webster, current
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyn_Webster
  • Safeguarding controversy and CDM complaint

    In May 2016 Webster was one of six bishops accused of misconduct by somebody who claimed to be a survivor of child sex abuse. He was cited in the Guardian and Church Times along with Bishops

  • Peter Burrows,
  • Safeguarding controversy and CDM complaint

    A survivor of child sex abuse made a formal complaint in May 2016 under the Clergy Disciplinary Measure procedure against Burrows and five other bishops (Steven CroftMartyn SnowGlyn WebsterRoy WilliamsonJohn Sentamu) for failing to act on his allegations. The survivor said he first told Burrows in 2012 about his abuse by a serving priest. All five bishops dismissed the complaint owing to the one-year time limit imposed by the CDM process.[4][5]

  • Steven Croft,
  • Protest at his enthronement

    Protest Brochure

    Two survivors of clerical child sexual abuse staged a peaceful protest outside Croft’s inauguration as Bishop of Oxford on 30 September 2016.[18] One of them claimed he had told Croft three times in 2012 and 2013 when Croft was formerly Bishop of Sheffield of his rape by a serving priest, but the bishop and other senior figures had failed to respond or take action despite the abuser still being alive. The cover of the protest brochure handed out to the public pictured all six bishops[19] who the survivor claimed had failed to respond, including John SentamuArchbishop of York.[20] The survivor commented to the Church Times that he was angry that the C of E had the “nerve” to enthrone bishops after safeguarding complaints had been made against them. He went on to say

    This is absolute proof that the Church of England does not truly recognise the profound and long-lasting impact such abuse has on survivors at all.[21]

    The protest was shown on ITV[22] and the BBC.[23] Croft met with one of the survivors in front of the news cameras.

    Police Investigation

    In 2018 it was reported in media that Croft was being investigated by South Yorkshire Police, alongside Archbishop Sentamu, Bishop Martyn Snow and Bishop Peter Burrows, for failure to respond properly to a report of clerical child abuse. The priest against whom the allegation was made went on to commit suicide the day before he was due in court in June 2017.[24][25][26] The Archbishop of York’s office said:

    The diocese of York insists that Sentamu did not fail to act on any disclosures because that responsibility lay with Ineson’s local bishop, Steven Croft, who was at the time bishop of Sheffield.[27]

    Guardian editorial contrasted Sentamu’s response to a statement from Archbishop Welby at IICSA, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, in which Justin Welby stated

    It is not an acceptable human response, let alone a leadership response to say “I have heard about a problem, but … it was someone else’s job to report it”.[28]

    Matt Ineson, the victim of the alleged abuse, has called for the resignations of Sentamu and Croft.[29] In May 2018, Archbishop Welby declined to discipline Croft, and said he “will take no further action” other than ensuring that Dr Croft received further safeguarding training and understood his responsibilities as a diocesan bishop.[30]

  • Martyn Snow,
  • Safeguarding controversy

    In May 2016 Snow was one of six bishops cited in the Guardian and Church Times as subject of Clergy Disciplinary Measure complaints owing to their alleged inaction on a survivor’s disclosure.[16][17] The bishops contested the complaints.[18] All six bishops were pictured on a protest brochure which the survivor handed out at Steven Croft‘s enthronement as bishop of Oxford later that year.[19][20] In 2018, Snow was reported in the media to be one of several bishops being investigated for failure to act on this safeguarding disclosure. The priest against whom the allegations were made, killed himself the day before due to appear in court.[21][22][23]

  • Roy Williamson and Archbishop of York,
  • John Sentamu as subject of Clergy Disciplinary Measure complaints owing to their inaction on the survivor’s disclosure.[5][6]
  • Safeguarding clergy disciplinary measure complaint and police investigation

    Protest brochure

    In May 2016 Sentamu was one of six bishops accused of procedural misconduct by a victim of child sex abuse (the accusation was to do with how the complaint was handled; none of the six were involved in the abuse). Sentamu was named in the Guardian[59] and Church Times[60] alongside Peter BurrowsSteven CroftMartyn SnowGlyn Webster and Roy Williamson, as subject of Clergy Disciplinary Measure complaints owing to their inaction on the survivor’s disclosure. The bishops contested the complaints because they were made after the church’s required one-year limit. Sentamu had acknowledged receipt of a letter from the survivor with an assurance of “prayers through this testing time”. But according to the Guardian report, no action was taken against the alleged abuser nor support offered to the survivor by the church. A spokesperson for the archbishop said that Sentamu had simply acknowledged a copy of a letter addressed to another bishop. “The original recipient of the letter had a duty to respond and not the archbishop”, the spokesperson said. All six bishops appeared on a protest brochure which the survivor handed out at Steven Croft’s enthronement as Bishop of Oxford.[61] In April 2018 it was reported that Archbishop Sentamu and four other bishops were under investigation by South Yorkshire Police for failure to respond properly to a report of clerical child abuse. A memo from June 2013, seen by The Times and other media revealed that Sentamu had received the allegation but recommended that ‘no action’ be taken. The priest against whom the allegation was made went on to commit suicide the day before he was due in court in June 2017.[62][63][64] The Archbishop of York’s office said:

    The diocese of York insists that Sentamu did not fail to act on any disclosures because that responsibility lay with Ineson’s local bishop, Steven Croft, who was at the time bishop of Sheffield.[65]

    Guardian editorial contrasted Archbishop Sentamu’s response to a statement from Archbishop Welby at IICSA, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, in which Justin Welby stated

    It is not an acceptable human response, let alone a leadership response to say “I have heard about a problem, but … it was someone else’s job to report it”.[66]

    Matt Ineson, the victim and survivor at the heart of the case, has called for the resignations of Archbishop Sentamu and Bishop Steven Croft.[67]

  • The bishops contested the complaints because they were made after the church’s required one-year limit.[7] All six bishops were pictured on a protest brochure which the survivor handed out at Steven Croft’s enthronement as Bishop of Oxford later that year.[8][9]

Sources

References

  1. ^ National Institutions Measure 1998 Archived December 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine on the Office of Public Sector Information website – retrieved 6 May 2008
  2. ^ Members of the Archbishops’ Council – retrieved on 19 October 2011
  3. ^ “National Church Institutions – The Church of England”http://www.churchofengland.org.
  4. ^ Annual Report 2006 Annual Report and Finance Statements 31 December 2006 – retrieved 6 May 2008
  5. ^ “LAMMY, Rt Hon. David (Lindon)”Who’s Who 2017. Oxford University Press. November 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2017Archbishops’ Council, 1999–2002

March 5 2018 – “‘Wilful blindness’ existed towards Church child abuse in Sussex, inquiry hears” – West Sussex County Times – Michael Drummond

https://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/crime/wilful-blindness-existed-towards-church-child-abuse-in-sussex-inquiry-hears-1-8403316

‘Wilful blindness’ existed towards Church child abuse in Sussex, inquiry hears

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is taking place in London

MICHAEL DRUMMOND Email Published: 17:21 Monday 05 March 2018

A damning image of ‘wilful blindness’ in historic cases of sexual abuse of children who were ‘terrified and silenced’ by clergy in Sussex has been set out at a public inquiry. Fiona Scolding QC, lead counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), said abuse that left an ‘indelible scar’ on children was often ignored or forgiven.

In one segment, Miss Scolding described abuse by a Reverend Colin Pritchard: “There have been suggestions about the culture of abuse operated by Reverend Pritchard and that Bishop Peter Ball turned a blind eye to that abuse.” Reverend Pritchard, who was vicar of St Barnabas in Bexhill, pleaded guilty in 2008 to seven counts of sexual assault on two boys and was jailed for five years.

Speaking on behalf of the Diocese of Chichester and Archbishops’ Council for the Church of England, Nigel Giffin QC said the Church’s response to abuse in the last few decades was ‘not nearly good enough’. The IICSA inquiry in London will look into how far institutions failed to protect children from sexual abuse within the Anglican Church. It focusses on abuse within the Diocese of Chichester, which covers all of Sussex, as a case study.

Lead counsel for the inquiry Fiona Scolding QC Members of the public heard about dozens of offences in Sussex over the last 50 years. Miss Scolding said: “As a society we have ocer the past 10 years had to examine some uncomfortable truths about our wilful blindness to such abuse.”

She noted the convictions for sex offences of Michael Walsh, Terence Banks and David Bowring, who were associated with Chichester Cathedral and local schooling. Miss Scolding also told the inquiry how Reverend Roy Cotton, who was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency with a child, was at one point an ‘alleged abuser hiding in plain sight’.

Richard Scorer spoke on behalf of many of the victims

She added: “Despite his conviction the Bishop of Portsmouth considered him suitable for ordination as a man of ‘considerable ability’ free of any trouble for 12 years. “Because of his criminal record the then Bishop of Portsmouth ensured he did not have to undertake the usual recruitment processes.”

The handling by the Church of allegations made against Chichester’s Bishop George Bell will be discussed later in the inquiry, but not the truth of them or otherwise.

Richard Scorer, speaking on behalf of many of the victims, said: “If you want to abuse children there is no more effective way of terrifying and silencing your victims than to claim to have God on your side.

The inquiry will look into how abuse by people associated with Chichester Cathedral was dealt with

“The Church of England claims to offer moral guidance to the country yet clerical sexual abuse cases powerfully undermine the claim. This leads to the cover-up of abuse.

“The question is whether the Church of England can be trusted to put its own house in order.”

In a statement read out this afternoon, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “The failures that we have seen are deeply shaming and I personally find them a cause of horror and sadness. “That children have been abused within the communities of the church is indeed shameful.” The inquiry continues.

Read more at: https://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/crime/wilful-blindness-existed-towards-church-child-abuse-in-sussex-inquiry-hears-1-8403316

November 13 2017 – Resignation of Lorna Ashworth who “has represented the diocese of Chichester on the Synod for 12 years, and was elected to the Archbishops’ Council last year”

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2017/17-november/news/uk/lorna-ashworth-resigns-from-general-synod-over-revisionism

Lorna Ashworth resigns from General Synod over ‘revisionism’

10 NOVEMBER 2017

REFORM

A CONSERVATIVE Evangelical, Lorna Ashworth, resigned from the Archbishops’ Council and the General Synod on Thursday in a letter that condemned “an agenda of revisionism . . . masked in the language of so-called ‘good disagreement’”.

Mrs Ashworth, a member of Reform and the GAFCON UK Task Force, called in July for an alternative Anglican structure in Britain, similar to the Anglican Church in North America (News, 28 July).

In her resignation letter, published on Friday, she described “an ongoing and rapid erosion of faithfulness” at the General Synod. “Instead, an agenda of revisionism is masked in the language of so-called ‘good disagreement’. In fact, ‘good disagreement’ and ‘unity’ have trumped the saving gospel message of Jesus Christ.”

The letter continues: “In light of this revisionist agenda and the heretical teaching that comes with it, I am no longer willing to sit around the table, pretending that we, as a governing body of the Church of England, are having legitimate conversations about mission.

”I refuse to be mistaken as one participating in the fanciful notion of ‘good disagreement’. As such, I am standing down from the Archbishops’ Council with immediate effect and all subsequent bodies, including the General Synod.”

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, said that he was “sad” that she had decided to resign.

“Her prayerfulness, magnanimity, and her grasp of all matters in hand has been a great asset to us all,” he said. “Those who elected her were of the view that she had much to give to the working of the Council, especially in the area of Renewal and Reform.

“However, I do not share her doubts that the Church of England will be part of God’s renewal of the Christian faith in this nation. I am convinced that the Church of England remains faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ and will move forward rooted in the Christian faith as we have received it.

“I share Lorna’s passion to make disciples in all nations and her conviction that God will continue to build his Church in this nation. I certainly will miss her in our partnership in the gospel.”

Speaking in the Synod in July, Mrs Ashworth expressed concern that it had become “unable to articulate the saving message of Jesus Christ” (News, 14 July). She warned: “Until we have a House of Bishops full of shepherds who stand only for the truth . . . our work can only offer confusion and plurality to a lost and dying world.” She praised the “foresight” of GAFCON in appointing Canon Andy Lines as a missionary bishop (News, 4 July, 2017).

Later that month, she was among the signatories to a letter to The Daily Telegraph in July, requesting an alternative Anglican structure in Britain (News, 28 July). Noting the creation of the Anglican Church in North America, the letter sought “a similar renewal of orthodox Anglicanism and of Anglican structures in these islands”. Meetings to this end were under way.

She was among those listed one year ago as members of the GAFCON UK Task Force (News, 25 November).

Mrs Ashworth has represented the diocese of Chichester on the Synod for 12 years, and was elected to the Archbishops’ Council last year.

The Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Revd Rod Thomas, also expressed sadness at her decision to resign, made “because she does not want to be drawn into compromise with those who seek to revise the plain teaching of Scripture. I pay tribute to her sincerity and courage.”