Tag Archives: Chichester Observer

David Hopkinson RIP

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David Hopkinson

It is saddening to note the General Election has overshadowed the recent Memorial Service to David Hopkinson at Chichester Cathedral.

It is hoped Chichester Observer will right this wrong by writing a special feature about him after the Election.

It is important to remember this man’s huge contribution, not just to this Cathedral City but also to this county and this country.

 

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

December 2019

 

Last week’s CHICHESTER OBSERVER was an interesting read, but I was disappointed that no mention was made of the Thanksgiving Service for David Hopkinson, which took the form of Choral Evensong last Tuesday at Chichester Cathedral.

David Hopkinson, CBE, was long, and closely connected with the Cathedral – more of this below. However, nationally he was a former Clerk to the House of Commons; served on the Bank of England Advisory Committee, and for nine years was a highly successful Managing Director of M & G Investment House.

Locally, he served as Chair of Pallant House Art Gallery, and was a Deputy Lord Lieutenant. The University of Chichester bestowed on him an honorary degree, in recognition of the contribution he made to life in Sussex.

Back to his years of devoted work for Chichester Cathedral, which benefited from his acquired financial skills. A founder member of Chichester Cathedral Restoration and Development Trust, providing substantial sums of money for the preservation of the Cathedral’s fabric, he also contributed, as a Church Commissioner, to the life of the national church.

Recent coverage in the national press have recalled David’s major role in the establishment of George Bell House. (Movingly, the first hymn in David’s Memorial Service, was ‘Christ is the King! O friends rejoice’, written by the former Bishop of Chichester himself.)

George Bell, as Episcopal Visitor to the Community of the Servants of the Cross, was in close contact with the remaining Anglican Sisters of the Community of the Servants of the Cross. They gave their blessing to David, as Chairman of the Community’s Trust, to use their finances to establish George Bell House as a Conference Centre. David was, as one who knew him, commented to us, ‘the moving spirit for all the negotiations’.

In my study, sits a brass plaque, which I had designed and made. It reads:

GEORGE BELL HOUSE

“No nation, no church, no individual is guiltless

 Without repentance and without forgiveness

 There can be no regeneration.”

 Bishop George Bell 1883-1958

It is the earnest wish of the many of us, locally and globally, who have been fighting since 2016 for the restoration of Bishop Bell’s good name,  as one of the greatest of Chichester’s Bishops, and a shining light in the ecumenical movement, to have this plaque affixed to the door of what has been temporarily named 4 Canon Lane.

 

Sandra Saer                                                                                     

The Bell Society

November 2019

 

 

Nov 29 2019 – ‘Guidebook’ Letter – Chichester Observer (unpublished) – Tim Hudson of Chichester

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New Chichester Cathedral Guidebook

Friends and admirers of Bishop George Bell (who died in 1958) were appalled three years ago when a new guidebook to Chichester Cathedral was published.

A paragraph about the Bishop on page 37 accepted his identification (from a single accusation) as probably a paedophile, stating that the allegations, though never tested in a court of law, were ‘nonetheless plausible’.

An extra twist of the knife was the slightly unnecessary contention that ‘as Bell himself recognized, … supporting victims is always the right thing to do’.

The resulting outcry, in view of Bell’s previous blameless reputation, caused the Cathedral to withdraw the guidebook from its shop in the Cloisters, so that until recently the only guidebooks displayed were in French and German.

The 2016 revision could be sold to visitors who specifically requested it, but was kept under the counter as if it contained offensive material – as in a sense it did.

Now a newly revised version has silently appeared in the Cloisters shop.  In this the ‘outing’ of Bell has been removed, to be replaced by a longer account of his friendship with the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed by the Nazis in 1945.

It’s reassuring to see this evident change of view at the Cathedral over the character of one of Chichester’s greatest bishops.

Is it perhaps time now to commission for a site somewhere in or near the building a statue of this remarkable man?

TIM HUDSON

Hawthorn  Close, Chichester

Nov 20 2019 – New Chichester Cathedral Guidebook reprinted [with child abuse allegations against Bishop Bell replaced by Bell-Bonhoeffer correspondence]

Dear All

You’ll be pleased to know that the Chichester Cathedral guidebook has recently reappeared in the Cloisters bookshop – but with the paragraph on Bishop Bell’s supposed paedophilia replaced by a longer account of his friendship with Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

I have written to the Chichester Observer mentioning this, since most people won’t know about it.  I wonder if it represents the beginning of a change of stance from the Cathedral people; let’s hope so.

With best wishes,

Tim

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Front Cover and original Page 37 [with child abuse allegation against Bishop Bell]

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Original Page 37 [with child abuse allegation against Bishop Bell]

 

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New Page 37 – Re-written

 

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NOTE

The old Guidebook was printed by “Pitkin Publishing. The History Press…1/16” and the new Guidebook reprinted by “Pitkin Publishing. Pavilion Books Company Ltd…2/19” [ie printed in Feb 2019 – but on sale in Cloisters Bookshop at Chichester Cathedral in Nov 2019 – a 9-month delay]

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Dear Editor

Earlier this month, at Westminster Abbey, there was a Service of Thanksgiving for the politician and diplomat Lord ‘Paddy’ Ashdown who died last year.

In the Epilogue of his last book – “Nein! Standing Up To Hitler 1935-1944” – Lord Ashdown concludes:

“There are also, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Bishop Bell argued, moral questions to be addressed here”

Later next month, in Chichester Cathedral*, some of those questions will be addressed at the Coburg Conference which “will focus on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s and George Bell’s work, and what it can teach us in the light of today’s political situation”. 

Yours sincerely 

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

 

* October 10th to 14th. Venue: 4 Canon Lane (formerly George Bell House), Chichester Cathedral

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Dear Editor

 
Last Friday at Christ Church Oxford, by the altar dedicated to wartime Bishop George Bell of Chichester, a special service was held to commemorate those killed who resisted Hitler within Germany – including the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
 
In July 1945 a similar service of remembrance took place in London, at Holy Trinity Brompton Road, three months after Bonhoeffer’s execution by the Nazi regime.
 
Paying tribute to his murdered friend, Bishop Bell said: 
 
“Dietrich has gone…our debt to him and all others similarly murdered is immense…….he represents…the moral and political revolt of the human conscience against injustice and cruelty”
 
May we listen to history speak. 
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society

Feb 14 2019 – ‘Bishop Bell’ Letters – Chichester Observer – “Conference points of note” [Richard W. Symonds] + “Disappointment at conference” [Christopher Hoare]

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