“No justification for lack of name” – Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson – Chichester Observer Letter – June 20 2019
The phrase that 4 Canon Lane was ‘formerly known as George Bell House’ is misleading. 4 Canon Lane is a street address. The building was given to the cathedral to commemorate Bishop George Bell, funds were raised for its renovation as George Bell House and it was dedicated as such in 2008 by Archbishop Rowan Williams. It has never been undedicated. The name ‘George Bell House’ therefore still stands. The right of the cathedral authorities to attempt to remove it without due consultation with all parties concerned is highly contentious.
In view of the findings of two senior lawyers that the allegations made against George Bell are not only unproven but unfounded, there is no justification for the continued absence of his name from the building. On the contrary, there would be every justification for all those who contributed to the renovation of George Bell House to request their money back unless the name is immediately reinstated, or to take other action as they deem appropriate.
The statement that ‘Chichester Cathedral Friends has no official position on the George Bell issue’ beggars belief. George Bell founded the Friends in 1939. It was entirely in order to raise this question at their anniversary meeting on 6 June. The reply given at the time was that it would now be considered. We await a further statement with interest.
Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson
“Injustice on the Sisters and us” – Charlotte A Evans – Chichester Observer Letter – June 20 2019
Your report on the demonstration at George Bell House [4 Canon Lane] seems slightly to misrepresent the issue, in stating that its purpose was “to highlight the ‘injustice’ on the former Bishop”.
As I understand it, the protesters were gathered to highlight, first, the injustice on the Sisters* who donated the house, and on all of us who contributed financially to the renovation of the former Archdeaconry.
It was formally opened by Archbishop Rowan Williams as “George Bell House”, in 2008.
Thus, the commemoration of Bishop Bell was integral to the establishment of the centre, and ought not to have been suppressed by the Dean & Chapter.
You are right, of course, to report the sense of injustice regarding Bishop Bell.
Many of your readers will be aware of the petition to restore the name to George Bell House, which [I believe] has over a thousand signatories so far.
Thank you for your reporting.
Charlotte A Evans
* Anglican Sisters of the Community of the Servants of the Cross
Amy Sim of Cathedral Enterprises Ltd is right to say of 4 Canon Lane (“Lots on offer in cathedral precinct”, Observer, March 28):
“The former archdeaconry is now a centre for vocation, education and reconciliation…”.
May I also add that 4 Canon Lane was formerly called George Bell House up until 2015.
It is hoped the restoration of that name will happen before the Coburg Conference in October at the Cathedral.
This international conference will celebrate the pioneering ecumenical work – especially in Germany – of the late, great wartime Bishop of Chichester, George Bell.
Richard W. Symonds
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street, Ifield Village
Crawley, West Sussex