07 JULY 2019
The Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock (centre) with Meg Munn and Phil Johnson
VAGUE and evasive talk of culture change” over safeguarding is “not enough”, the Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, told the General Synod on Sunday.
In a presentation, the Bishop said that the Church’s approach to survivors had been “inadequate”, and that all had a part to play in improving safeguarding practice.
“Vague and evasive talk of culture change is not enough,” he said. “It is driven by structures, appointments, and decisions. . .
“My challenge to Synod is that, if you are concerned about safeguarding in the Church, now is the time up to stand up, be counted, and get involved.”
A survivor who formed part of the presentation group, Phil Johnson, was one of the first to come forward, in 1996, with allegations of sexual abuse by a former Bishop of Gloucester and Lewes, Peter Ball. Mr Johnson is a member of the National Safeguarding Panel.
Mr Johnson told the Synod that safeguarding should be simple. “It is about vigilance, protection, and compassion,” he said. “It is not about endless bureaucracy.”
He said that the Church should not think that its safeguarding was necessarily better simply because it was spending more money on it.
Mr Johnson went on to say that the work to create a survivors’ reference group was very difficult, largely because so many victims had an “immense lack of trust” in the Church and the National Safeguarding Team (NST).
He was glad that the Safe Spaces project was close to completion, although he noted that he had first proposed it nearly six years ago, and, although money had been allocated for it, not a single penny had yet been spent on survivors. “This typifies how the Church does things,” he said. “We all need to come together to make things simpler, more efficient, quicker, and more cost-effective.”
The session began with a period of silence, and the Bishop said a prayer that had been written by a survivor of abuse: “Teach us to thirst for justice and righteousness in our Church . . . We lament the safeguarding failures of our Church. . . Helps us to repair broken lives so that those our Church has harmed may no longer survive but thrive.”
Safeguarding questions had been split from the rest of the questions, which were heard on Friday, to allow proper space for them. Bishop Hancock thanked the Business Committee for this approach; a presentation on safeguarding was given by the bishop, Mr Johnson, and Meg Munn, the chair of the National Safeguarding Panel.
In response to a question from Carolyn Graham (Guildford) about safeguarding cases’ being “passed around from diocese to diocese”, Bishop Hancock said that work was under way on an information-sharing system. A national case-management system would mean wider access to information lodged centrally. This would bring rigour. Asked by Canon Gavin Kirk (Lincoln) about survivors whose experience had led them to distrust the diocese where they lived, Bishop Hancock said that the voices of survivors must be heard in the process of redrafting safeguarding guidance.
He told Canon Rosie Harper (Oxford), who asked about the “moral imperative to restore and heal”, going further than “bare minimum legal redress”, that one part of the answer was to have a “standards-based approach to safeguarding”, and another was a charter “to provide survivors with confidence there is going to be consistency across dioceses”.
Some responses to safeguarding issues had been “woefully inadequate”, he said. He also reported that there had been attempts to establish mediation between survivors and the NST and some work had recently been commissioned on “restorative justice”.
In his presentation, Bishop Hancock said that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) hearings had not been an easy experience for the Church. Some “justifiably difficult questions are being asked of us”, he said. But the inquiry had shone a “helpful light” on the C of E’s safeguarding procedures and failings.
He strongly urged every member of the Synod to read the two interim reports already released by IICSA: one on the case study of Chichester diocese and Peter Ball, and one on child sexual abuse in the context of religious institutions. The key findings in both reports, which were “harrowing and difficult to read”, were that clericalism and deference were causing “significant harm” (News, 9 May
A new case-management system for both national and diocesan safeguarding teams, which had been “sorely lacking”, was finally almost ready and would be rolled out next year, he reported.
He also said there would be three new lessons-learned reviews of the cases of John Smyth, the Revd Trevor Devamanikkam, and the late former Bishop of Chester, Victor Whitsey (News, 10 February 2017, 16 June 2017, 24 May).
A working group had been convened to examine whether the Clergy Disicpline Measure (CDM) was fit for its purpose in relation to safeguarding, he said. The group would have its first meeting in October (News, 31 May).
Ms Munn paid tribute to the three survivor representatives on the panel, who, despite being so damaged by their experiences of abuse, were still able and willing to help the Church become a safer place.
“The Church is late to this work: it needs to catch up; it has a lot to do,” she said. “I see a lot of people with good intentions, but you all need to do more, and do more, more quickly.”
SAM ATKINS/CHURCH TIMES Phil Johnson
Mr Johnson praised the leadership of Ms Munn and said that he was hopeful that this increased level of scrutiny would bear fruit. In particular, he was convinced that the CDM procedure was inadequate and needed reform.
The proposed redress scheme was very important for survivors and would need to be well funded, Mr Johnson said. It must include all cases of abuse, including those that had already come to financial settlements; many of these were agreed out of fear that the survivor might be landed with the Church’s “astronomical” legal costs.
He also supported the introduction of mandatory reporting of abuse allegations, along the lines developed by the pressure group Mandate Now. Two-thirds of current safeguarding cases were still dealt with exclusively in-house, he noted. Without actual sanctions for people who failed to pass on disclosures, the culture would never change.
In the questions following the presentations, the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, on a point of order, asked the view of the Synod on mandatory reporting, to which a majority raised their hands in favour. It was one of the recommendations of the IICSA report on Chichester diocese.
The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked whether the Church still had a problem with clericalism, and whether it hindered good safeguarding practice.
Mr Johnson said that there had been a lot of deference, but that this was not a problem only for the Church. He gave the example of football clubs, where coaches had a great deal of authority. This was evident in the conviction of Barry Bennell, a former coach at Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra, and the conviction of Bob Higgins, the former Southampton coach, both for child sexual abuse.
The natural tendency to keep things in-house was a problem, Mr Johnson said. “Watching IICSA this last week, there’s clearly evidence that this remains,” he said. It was everyone’s responsibility to address this, and to make these subjects non-taboo. “Things should be recorded in a routine manner,” he argued.
He received a standing ovation for his words during the Synod debate.
There was criticism that there was not a full Synod debate on safeguarding. Last week, Martin Sewell, a representative from Rochester diocese, called the Synod “lazy and incurious” (News, 5 July).
Matthew Ineson, a survivor, who was handing out leaflets outside York Minster on Sunday morning, said: “The Archbishops blocked the debate [on safeguarding]: they are manipulating the Synod.
“There is a cover-up going on from the very highest parts of the Church; Archbishop Welby has persistently taken no further action. The way victims are treated is just diabolical.”
At the end of the service, before the blessing was given, Dr Sentamu led the congregation in prayer for those who were part of IICSA, and for survivors.
See our earlier article Senior Blackburn clergy reflect on IICSA reports on Chichester Diocese and Peter Ball.
The BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme carried an interview by Donna Birrell with the Bishop of Burnley, Philip North (starts at 32 minutes, 45 seconds).
BBC Radio Cornwall has a longer version of this interview, listen over here.
A transcript of this (longer) interview is copied below the fold.
Witness Name: The Reverend Nick Flint
Statement No.: 1
Dated: 24 May 2018
INDEPENDENT INQUIRY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
Witness Statement of The Reverend Nick Flint
I, Nicholas Angus Flint, will say as follows:-
Statement given to Brian Tyler
Statement given to the Independent Peter Ball Review
12 In October 2015, I attended a meeting with Bishop Warner. I had arranged to see him so that I could discuss with him my frustration about not being able to move post within the Diocese. He advised me that he did not have anything for me in his diocese and that I should look in the Church Times as this was where other dioceses advertised their vacancies. The meeting took place shortly after Peter Ball had been sentenced and Vickery House was still on trial. It was therefore an additionally difficult time for me since Fr House was an old friend who had preached at my First Mass and at my wedding. After his arrest he had attended my church until this had been unilaterally halted by the intervention of Archdeacon Douglas McKittrick without reference either to me or the Police. In an email the Police stated they were happy for Fr House to continue attending my church. I sought to query this and my concern that a man at the time presumed innocent had been scared off by the Archdeacon but he ignored my messages and Bishop Warner did not offer a satisfactory explanation for that decision or lack of communication. I was struck at this meeting by the Bishop’s total absence of any regard for my well being. Indeed as far as I was concerned it was at this point he crossed the line from previous neglect to actual bullying. If he had read his notes before this meeting he would have known how vulnerable I was. Either he couldn’t be bothered to inform himself or he took advantage of my vulnerability. As well as my parish posts I have since 2002 been part of the Deliverance Ministry Team in Chichester Diocese. Members of this team are advisers to the bishops in the field of the paranormal. From this specialist background and experience I would identify what I see in the diocese as ‘occult activity’. By this I do not of course think that senior clergy are dabbling in arcane pagan rituals, but that they have been known to abuse power through knowledge, rather than modeling transparent holiness.
Statement of Truth
I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true.
Signed: _________Nicholas Flint SMMS ________________________________
Dated: ____________24 May 2018___________
1992/3 – Ball resigns from Gloucester – “The Jimmy Savile of the Church of England – Ball conned and duped everyone – including Bishop Bell” – RWS
2012 – Flint provides Warner [and Police] with info about James Francis. Neither are interested, it seems.
2015 – James Francis alerts Police to the extent of Ball’s abuse. Ball pleads guilty. Flint was unaware of extent of Ball’s abuse. Flint close friend with Vickery House. Flint’s meeting with Warner.
2016 – Pre-Gibb Harrington police investigation. Flint approached by Police for information about James Francis. Francis arrested.
2017 – Gibb Report. Flint now fully aware of extent of Ball’s abuse. Gibb very reliant on the testimony of James Francis (who felt Francis was “unreliable” and said so]
SURVIVORS of sexual abuse by members of the clergy have raised concerns about the Church’s handling of a formal complaint against the Bishop of Chester.
The Standard has spoken to two victims of historic abuse who fear a Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) brought against Bishop Peter Forster will not be judged objectively.
One is priest Matt Ineson who was raped in the 1980s by a Bradford vicar who took his own life on the day of his first court appearance two years ago.
CDMs are the Church’s in-house disciplinary process and are always escalated to the Diocesan bishop – or sometimes the archbishop – to pass judgement.
Critics say the lack of public accountability and ‘behind closed doors’ nature of the complaints procedure make it easy for senior clergy to cover up allegations of abuse.
The CDM filed at the end of March against Bishop Forster relates to reports that in 2009 he ignored a letter from Warrington vicar Charles Gordon Dickenson confessing to child abuse.
Dickenson, now 89, was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court last month after admitting eight counts of sexual assault against a boy in the 1970s.
Former vicar Charles Gordon Dickenson was jailed for historic child sex abuse.
The Diocese of Chester has accepted its failures, admitting that the letter should have been passed to the police for investigation a decade ago. Dickenson remained free to officiate in the diocese until his retirement in 2014.
The CDM against the Bishop of Chester is being brought by Sir Roger Singleton, interim safeguarding director at the Church and former chief executive of children’s charity Barnardo’s.
It has been confirmed that it will be considered by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.
But Mr Ineson and another survivor, who wishes to remain anonymous, say that Mr Sentamu has himself been the subject of a CDM and allege he has previously ignored disclosures of abuse.
Mr Ineson was raped and abused aged 16 by former Bradford vicar Trevor Devamanikkam between 1984 and 1985.
He says his disclosures to the Church fell on deaf ears, leading him to file CDMs in 2016 against five bishops, as well as Mr Sentamu.
However, the complaints were never investigated by the Church because they were brought outside of the 12-month time limit.
Devamanikkam took his own life on June 6, 2017 – the day of his first court appearance.
Mr Ineson and others claim the Church of England (C of E) uses its own arbitrary 12-month rule to block investigations into historic sexual abuse that are more than a year old.
Indeed, permission is still being sought from the Church’s President of Tribunals to bring the CDM against Bishop Forster ‘out of time’.
Mr Ineson told this newspaper: “Victims of church abuse, including myself, have raised concern about Archbishop Sentamu handling the complaint into Bishop Forster as they say he is compromised as he himself has been subject to complaints that he ignored disclosures of abuse and left at least one priest abuser years to go unchecked.
“The priest in my case was eventually charged with six serious sexual offences and killed himself the day he was due in court. The church used the one-year rule to block any investigation into the archbishop and refuse to investigate him.”
In response, a spokesman for the office of the Archbishop of York said: “When a complaint comes to an Archbishop, he routinely considers with the benefit of advice, as to whether there are any circumstances which would make it inappropriate for him to deal with the complaint.
“If he considers there are, then he will ask the other Archbishop to deal with it. As the process has only just begun in this case– still awaiting decision on whether the complaint can be brought ‘out of time’ – there is nothing further to say on this procedure at the moment.”
Archbishop of York John Sentamu.
The second survivor said he had taken out a CDM against the Bishop of Durham over the handling of his own abuse case, only to see it dismissed by Mr Sentamu. However, he later received a 20-page response from the Bishop of Durham that reportedly expressed “bitter regret” at the way the case was handled.
Both he and Mr Ineson say they have heard of other complaints being either dismissed or no further action (NFA) taken.
The Standard asked the Church of England for statistics on the number of CDMs brought against bishops and archbishops, and their outcomes.
Survivors claim that no bishop or archbishop has ever been disciplined as a result of a CDM.
The only exception is former Bishop of Lewes and of Gloucester, Peter Ball, who was already serving jail time for sexually assaulting 18 teenagers and men between the 1970s and 1990s.
The offices of the Bishop of Salisbury and the Bishop of Lincoln were also approached for the CDM statistics as they are leading a review of safeguarding procedures in the Church.
The Church is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, and clear figures have not been provided. However, a C of E spokesman indicated that some were available in the annual reports of the Clergy Discipline Commission, which oversees CDMs.
These show that between 2015 and 2017 (the last year for which statistics are available) a total of 19 fresh complaints were made against bishops or archbishops. Some also carried over from previous years.
The reports state that 11 complaints were dismissed, two were NFA, and one ‘penalty by consent’ was imposed in 2015. There was also one ‘prohibition following conviction’, thought to relate to Peter Ball.
The outcomes of the remaining CDMs are not stated and the Church spokesman has not elaborated on these. No names are given in the annual reports.
Full statistics prior to 2015 are not available as complaints records held at Bishopthorpe Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of York, were destroyed in floods at the end of that year.
Records held at Bishopthorpe Palace near York were destroyed by flood water in 2015.
In 2010 the C of E published the outcome of its Past Case Review (PCR), which was a two-year investigation into historic allegations of abuse across all dioceses.
A subsequent review of the PCR by Sir Roger Singleton found the Church disregarded dozens of allegations.
The PCR examined more than 40,000 files but found that just 13 cases of alleged child sexual abuse warranted formal action.
In June last year, Sir Roger said he believed the Church “downplayed” the issue in public statements to avoid damage to its reputation.
But he also found “no evidence whatsoever of a deliberate attempt to mislead” or that anyone broke the law.
The second survivor who spoke to The Standard said he has little hope that Bishop Forster will be held accountable for failing to report Dickenson’s abuse in 2009, but added that he could be made a scapegoat.
He said: “This CDM looks like selective accountability. What about other bishops who walked away from disclosures? What about the bishops who presided over an industrial-scale whitewash in the Past Case Review period (2008 – 2010) in which many dozens of cases were quietly ignored? What about bishops who’ve denied disclosures and distanced themselves from their own inertia?
“The crisis of the senior layer of the Church of England is that they haven’t found a way of putting hands up to past mistakes and owning their own failure.”
He and survivors group MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) highlighted a report published on April 4 this year by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).
A MACSAS spokesman said the document “illustrates the Church of England’s comprehensive failure in the treatment of victims of its own abuse”.
SCIE’s independent research indicates that fewer than one in five people who reported abuse in the church say they received a satisfactory response, and more than half never received any meaningful response at all.
The group spokesman said: “Those of us whose lives have been devastated by clergy abuse know this from long and bitter experience. We are victimized first by our abusers, and again by the church’s ‘defensive responses’ to criticism of its failings.
“For many years the Church of England has responded to the crisis of clergy abuse by saying ‘You can trust us. We’ve got this in hand’. The SCIE report confirms what we have known all along – that the church can no longer be trusted to manage disclosures of abuse.
“We repeat our call that this work should be handed over to a fully independent body.”
There is currently no UK law that requires the mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse – although campaigners have been pushing for such legislation.
However, bishops at the head of their dioceses have responsibility for safeguarding issues and are expected to pass on intelligence about suspected criminal activity to the police.
The Church has stressed it treats all complaints seriously and, aside from the CDM, Bishop Forster’s actions in 2009 are also being investigated by its National Safeguarding Team (NST).
The Bishop of Chester has said he will make no further public comment until after the NST review.
Bishop Forster has led the Diocese of Chester since 1997 and is said to be the Church of England’s longest serving bishop. He is due to retire by March next year when he turns 70.
In a statement released earlier this month, he said he had delegated all safeguarding matters to the Bishop of Birkenhead until the end of the NST review, which is due to begin shortly.
He said: “I have taken this decision in response to recent comment into my handling of the Gordon Dickenson case in 2009.
“An independent review will seek to identify where any failures in procedures arose, and what lessons can be learned and I look forward to contributing to the review and to giving a full account of my actions in relation to this matter.
“The Diocese of Chester takes seriously its safeguarding responsibilities at every level. Whilst an independent review into my actions takes place, I recognise that I should not continue to lead the safeguarding arrangements in the Diocese.
“I will continue in all other duties relating to my role of Bishop of Chester.
“I will not be making any further public comments in relation to this matter until the outcome of the independent review.”
Sodor and Man: How Anglican “Shariah” law trumped democracy on the Isle of Man
NEWS ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY
By David Virtue, DD
November 6, 2016
This is a black week for democracy and Christianity in the British Isles. In Belfast, a court ruled against Christian bakers who refused to bake a gay a cake with a slogan “Supporting Gay Marriage.” Just across the water, on the Isle of Man, the Bishop of Sodor and Man, used Anglican “Shariah” law to subvert the democratic process and pervert the course of justice in the world’s oldest Parliament.
Aided and abetted by his Archdeacon Andie Brown, “professional” victim Andrea Quine, ordinand Mark Payne who was offended by having his preaching critiqued, and two disaffected churchwardens, Alan Grace and Timothy Henwood, Bishop Robert Paterson used the Clergy Discipline Measure to silence the island’s Canon Theologian and scupper his Petition of Doleance to Tynwald, the Isle of Man’s parliament–the longest continually functioning parliament in the world.
In 2015, the Revd Dr Jules Gomes took two Petitions of Doleance to the island’s open parliament on Tynwald Day. The custom of bringing a petition before the island’s parliament in full view of the nation is a remarkable custom that continues to be celebrated on the Isle of Man. It is a vehicle for citizens to address a grievance when all other avenues of justice have been exhausted.
One of Dr Gomes’ petitions called for an investigation to assess if clergy had adequate protection from bullying and harassment. Speaking to the press on that day, Dr Gomes made it clear that he had been bullied and harassed by Bishop Robert Paterson over the last two and a half years.
The bishop responded by filing a Clergy Discipline Measure against Dr Gomes. In a court of law, the credibility of the plaintiff and witnesses are indispensable to justice being done. Such a system of Western jurisprudence has its origins in our Judeo-Christian heritage. The book of Deuteronomy requires two or three witnesses to establish a charge. It warns against a ‘malicious witness’ (19:15-19).
Malicious witnesses have malicious motives. Bishop Paterson’s motives are obvious. If Tynwald appointed a Select Committee as a result of Dr Gomes’ petition, witnesses would have privilege to testify against him without fear of reprisal. A number of cases of bullying and harassment of clergy would tumble out of the closet.
Did the cabal cloistered around the bishop have malicious motives? If so, what were they? The bishop and his chaplain, Margaret Burrows, instigated Andrea Quine to complain against Dr Gomes after he allegedly shouted at her one evening. The matter would have been resolved internally. Dr Gomes offered to apologize through his churchwarden. Quine initially accepted. The bishop then stepped in and asked her not to accept Dr Gomes’ apology, but to lodge a formal complaint.
A number of churchgoers on the Isle of Man describe Andrea Quine as a “serial complainer” and a “professional victim.” ‘She has been a “serial” worshipper who drops out of a congregation, goes on to the next one and complains that she has been thrown out of every church on the island,’ a vicar’s wife told VOL.
She accused her ex-husband of beating her up and breaking her bones. She accused a friend, Jillian Carran, of trying to run over her with her car and kill her after a Sunday service. She accused a staff member at the Buchan School, of sexual harassment. She accused people at the Cathedral, where she now worships, of trying to take her voluntary role as Verger. ‘Andrea is completely mixed-up and is often on medication for mental health issues,’ women at her former church in Castletown said. Sources say that she has now returned to St Mary’s on the Harbour in Castletown and has left the Cathedral.
So why did Mark Payne, an ordinand who was training under Dr Gomes, change his testimony to implicate Dr Gomes? Payne is Head of Charitable Services for the Children’s Centre on the island. He is a self-confessed liberal. He is divorced and married to a non-Christian. After withdrawing from ordination training many years ago, he was recently granted a special dispensation that would allow him to be ordained as a divorced man.
Dr Gomes made it clear to Mr Payne that he would not let him preach in his pulpit without first vetting his sermons. Dr Gomes allowed Payne to preach only one sermon at St Mary’s on the Harbour and that, too, after asking him to rewrite it at least three times. The quality of the manuscript was so poor that Dr Gomes asked a ‘critical friend’ to make comments so he would not offend Payne.
In his report on Payne’s sermon, the critical friend stated: ‘If I had to be very honest, I would almost describe this sermon as “indulgent.” It has been written with the priorities of the speaker clearly paramount and very little discernment shown for the needs of the listener. 90% of the important theology from this extremely rich passage has been ignored completely so that the preacher can get his (slightly left-wing) message across. The impression gained is that “although Jesus obviously didn’t think the family was important, I still do.”‘ Did Payne express his grievance by betraying Dr Gomes and handing him over to Pilate like Judas did?
What about Alan Grace? Mr Grace, who was Dr Gomes’ churchwarden, had not been attending any church for around three years before Dr Gomes invited him to be a member of his church. Grace, who is divorced and remarried, part of a Hindu guru cult and took drugs at one point in his life, was also a Methodist lay preacher and resigned his position. A Methodist minister told VOL that Grace created trouble in every church he visited.
One of the most serious miscarriages of justice was made when another of Dr Gomes’ churchwardens, Timothy Henwood, accused him of swearing against the bishop and archdeacon in a private phone conversation. There is no evidence for this since there are no witnesses in a private phone conversation. Instead of dismissing the charge as hearsay, the tribunal ruled in favour of Mr Henwood. Henwood joined Dr Gomes’ church after he fell out with the Revd Paul Mothersdale, the former and now deceased of the Parish of Malew and Santon.
Bishop Paterson triumphantly announced the verdict against Dr Gomes this morning. The tribunal concluded Dr Jules Gomes had an over-inflated view of his self-importance, lost his temper and displayed anger–even with those who supported him. Speaking on Manx Radio, Dr Gomes hit back by accusing Bishop Robert Paterson of taking a dictatorial line on discipline issues, tantamount to Shariah law–the strict legal code of Islam governing public behaviour.
However, the most important charge against Dr Gomes, that of doctoring his Resume was thrown out by the Tribunal, thus vindicating Dr Gomes’ integrity.
So what? Is this a civil or a criminal offence? Wasn’t there a more Christian way of resolving this conflict? Why did the bishop spend thousands of pounds and use the Clergy Discipline Measure to punish a vicar he found problematic?
The real lesson to learn is, will the Church of England now make attempts to restrict the tyrannical abuse of the Clergy Discipline Measure for the personal and petty ends of a peeved bishop and archdeacon?
An investigation is to be carried out by the Church of England to investigate possible misuse or abuse of CDMs by bishops since the measure was first introduced in England in 2003.
St. Augustine’s Church, Douglas, Isle of Man:
RECORD OF A STATEMENT BY SIR LAURENCE NEW, CHAIRMAN OF St AUGUSTINE’S CHURCH MANAGEMENT TEAM TO THE CONGREGATION AFTER SERVICE ON SUNDAY 30 OCTOBER 2016.
There can be no doubt that the attacks and counter attacks between the Diocese and ourselves are being viewed with less and less sympathy by many church-goers on the Island. Accordingly, the Management Team have authorised me to make the following statement and issue the request in the final paragraph below to us all:
When the original announcement was made on 2 September 2015 that The Bishop and the Archdeacon were launching a Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) against Dr Gomes, the legal advice which he received from eminent ecclesiastical lawyers, one of whom is a senior clergyman and member of General Synod, was, and has remained, that because Dr Gomes was not ordained by the Church of England (C of E) and that after due notice on 31 December 2015 he had resigned from all his offices within the C of E, the CDM would be “meaningless”.
Before going on to discuss the complaints and the findings of the Tribunal, it is relevant to note there have been only four (CDMs) launched in the UK against priests within the C of E in the past thirteen months, one for theft of £30,000 from Church Funds, two for fornication with female members in the priest’s congregation and one for assault and fornication with a male and a female member of that Priest’s congregation. To undertake a CDM against Dr Gomes on the complaints indicated below would be seen by many as a significant misuse of the Clergy Discipline Measure and a clear indication not only of further intimidation and harassment, but that a separate agenda was being pursued, notably the suppression of the Tynwald Petition by Dr Gomes.
Because the legal advice has been unequivocal and consistent, Dr Gomes decided to have nothing to do with the CDM and not to defend himself or be represented. A Tribunal chaired by an officer of the Diocese paid by the Bishop, and without any defence being heard, was even more “meaningless”. Unsurprisingly, this combination led to a one-sided set of conclusions. An example of this is that the Tribunal found “no evidence whatsoever of bullying by the Bishop or the Archdeacon” (paragraph 88-89 of the Tribunal Report). They claimed that this assertion was borne out by the evidence before them that neither Dr Gomes nor his supporters had ever complained officially. In fact, two CDMs had been launched in protest against the Bishop, one by Mrs Gomes and one by Fr Robert Ferguson on his own account, detailing between them some twenty-seven specific instances of bullying by the Bishop. Both of these CDMs, incidentally, were dismissed by the Archdiocese of York. Nor was the Tribunal made aware that several very specific letters of complaint about the Bishop’s behaviour had been written to the Archbishop of York, and that there was an on-line petition which revealed that more than 129 identifiable Manx residents asserted that there had in fact been extensive bullying by the Bishop. Such omissions by the Tribunal reduced its credibility and any claim to impartiality.
In its early form, the CDM contained six complaints against Dr Gomes, trawled by the Archdeacon going back, in one case, over eight years. Two complaints were deleted on the advice of the lawyers employed by the Bishop. The remaining four complaints were:
a. That he had embellished his CV. The Tribunal found him not guilty of misconduct on this complaint.
b. That he had accused a member of the clergy of referring to him as a “darkie”. The evidence was inconsistent, but accepting the word of the clergywoman against Dr Gomes word and that of a witness statement which was not before them, the Tribunal found Dr Gomes guilty of misconduct.
c. That he had lost his temper with a church cleaner and had spoken strongly on several occasions to other individuals. Dr Gomes tried to offer an apology to the cleaner, but was told by her that she had been instructed by the Bishop not to accept it unless he was present. Dr Gomes admits and accepts this complaint, apologizes for his action and is determined that it will not recur. The Tribunal found him guilty of this misconduct.
d. That at Tynwald in July 2015 he spoke out about the Bishop and the Archdeacon’s bullying. The Tribunal found him guilty of this misconduct. Dr Gomes maintains that his remarks were not only true, but were within his democratic rights to free speech, and that a significant number of people agreed with him.
It follows that if the CDM is legally “meaningless, so, too, are the threats by the Bishop to damage or restrict Dr Gomes’ career as a preacher of the Gospel. The Bishop has no legal jurisdiction over Dr Gomes, neither has the Diocese. He remains the trusted and esteemed minister of St Augustine’s Church, a uniquely gifted preacher and Biblical scholar. In the eight months since our founding, he has brought a real joy in the Gospel to our church family.
The Management Team Prayer and Planning Meeting on Friday 28 October decided that once the recording already made by Marion Kenny with Dr Gomes had been broadcast on 31 October’s Mandate, the members of the Management Team would decline thereafter to respond in any way, on Manx Radio, in the newspapers or in social media. It would be a complete cease-fire to limit further damage and distress. They have authorized me to request that all of us, as individuals or as a church should commit to the same restraint, whether it be unilateral or not.
Reverend Canon Dr Jules Gomes
09:42 Friday 28 October 2016 17
The conduct of an island clergyman has damaged the reputation of the island’s Anglican church, a Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal has found. Rev Dr Canon Jules Gomes’s conduct was ‘unbecoming or inappropriate’ to the office and work of the clergy, the tribunal concluded.
Bishop Robert Paterson
A complaint of misconduct had been made against Rev Gomes, former vicar of Arbory and Castletown and Canon Theologian of St German’s Cathedral, by Archdeacon Andrew Brown.
Following a three day hearing last week, which Rev Gomes refused to attend as he said he didn’t recognise its authority, the tribunal adjudged the Archdeacon’s complaint as well-founded and the case against him proved.
Outlining the principal findings, tribunal chairman Geoffrey Tattersall QC said Rev Gomes had an ‘over-inflated view of his own self-importance’, and dealt with people with ‘little or no compassion or pastoral concern’. He said the clergyman lost his temper and displayed anger, even to those who continued to support him. His behaviour he had caused ‘serious harm’ to people and has caused them to leave their offices or his church, and he did not seem to understand the need to express remorse or amend his ways, the tribunal found.
Finally, he made untrue statements against Bishop Robert Paterson, the Archdeacon and Rev Erica Scott. ‘We have no doubt that such behaviour on the part of the respondent has damaged the reputation of the Church,’ the judgment concluded.
Dr Gomes resigned as vicar of Arbory and Castletown and Canon Theologian last winter, citing ‘bullying and harassment’ and subsequent ill health. The troubled relationship between him and the church hierarchy in the island first became public last July when he brought a petition to Tynwald calling for the governor to request a select committee to examine employment rights of clergy relating to bullying and harassment.
In his complaint, the Archdeacon accused Dr Gomes of showing ‘an unacceptable lack of self-control in failing to control his anger, especially as regards his rage towards his church cleaner’.
In interviews with the news media Dr Gomes had made ‘untrue claims and several malicious and untrue allegations’ against the Bishop and the Archdeacon, it was claimed. The Archdeacon said the respondent had accused both the Bishop and himself of bullying and harassing him and that they were racially motivated against him.
He said the clergyman had misrepresented the facts in his CV for his current and previous posts, by listing informal and unlicensed ministries as if they were formal parochial appointments. And he alleged Dr Gomes had made unfounded allegations against another priest by accusing her of using ‘racist epithets’ in reference to himself.`
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Manx born formerly CV 9:09 PM on 29/10/2016 Psssst König (Facilitator) You have been sacked for bad spelling, living in Norfolk and being out of touch. Didn’t anyone tell you? I mean not even an e-mail? Or do you sack yourself by posting to yourself in here?
konig 9:27 AM on 29/10/2016 (Facilitator) Gomez may well be a very clever and talented man but sadly his ability and talents do not match Christianity or a role in any Christian church. As for people attending his performances, people also attended rabble rousing meetings for years. People attend church services to worship and know better The Lord and to share Christian Fellowship, not to listen to the ranting of a profoundly non-Christian promoting his own nasty agenda.
Djmw 9:28 PM on 28/10/2016 I think it is time that you all grew up and accepted the fact that Jules Gomes is a very clever and talented man, and also that a lot of people are jealous of what he has done so far. Accept the fact that he is going to be here for a long time and ask yourselves why do so many people attend his services.
konig 8:26 PM on 28/10/2016 (Facilitator) There was no need for Gomes to attend the tribunal, the nature of a tribunal is to consider the facts and reach conclusions based on them. The facts are clear and undeniable, the tribunal reached a measured conclusion that Gomes acted I a totally innapropriate manner not only as far as his role in the Church was concerned but also his disgraceful conduct, and Witness as a (supposed) Christian. I have read some of his rambling rants and anything further than works of academic value would be hard to find let alone the manner in which he expressed his rather strange ideas and the childish way that he attempted to denegrate people in high standing in Churches, people who really do represent academic excellence, knowledge of the subjects involved, and who do try to promote the teachings of Christ in today’s world. Gomes should never have been appointed in the role that he was and if the distortions he introduced in his CV had come to light it is highly unlikly that he would have been. No doubt such ‘charasmatic’ people such as Gomes appeal to a certain type of person, usually naive, often self important who see some form of odd glory-by-association with the likes of Gomes, and although such people tend to inhabit the ‘unusual’ sector of society they are usually verbose. IMO Gomes should NEVER have been appointed and had it not been for his distorted CV (not you, CV!) he most likely never would have been.
David A Pownall 7:39 PM on 28/10/2016 Why did the Bishop continue with a tribunal with only one side, his side! What did it cost, it must of been very lonely casting stones with no return. Justice has a result with only one party, truly amazing.
konig 3:31 PM on 28/10/2016 (Facilitator) In fact Gomes is profoundly unscriptural. Not content with rejecting the Anglican canon he went on by sowing discontent in a childish manner that created a very damaging schism in a small community that has seen people diverting attention from the teachings of Christmas. If no other he should take on board what our Saviour said as reported in Matthew 5:9. Maybe those who can not see what this man is should go back to study the teachings of Christ and ignore the hatred that is the stock in trade of what Gomes spreads.
Madwitch 2:47 PM on 28/10/2016 Are the Konigs here for real? Do you realise how bizarre your comments make you all sound? Konig (Facilitator) is clearly delusional and as for Konig Facilitator your comments “Simon please stop using the konig designation. You agreed to accept the findings of the recent konig collective investigation. You no longer represent the views of the konig collective. You have been living in Norfolk for too long and are out of touch. ” makes you sound like a bunch of kids in the play ground. If you are who you say you are as in the Civil Service hierarchy no wonder the Islands finances are in the state they are. The power is in the children’s hands!
freemann 2:43 PM on 28/10/2016 The Church (not the Australian psychedelic rock band formed in Sydney in 1980) in general doesn’t have a good reputation. Stories continue to come out monthly. Difficult to see therefore how the ‘respondent damaged the reputation of the Church’. This whole fiasco of infighting sets a poor example.
Y Wyddfa 1:48 PM on 28/10/2016 I am not into religion at all but a quick google search of Rev Jules Gomes gives you an indication this is a guy who likes to see his name up in lights. There appears not to be a topic he will not write an article, broadcast or post a comment on and frequently appears to castigate others who do not share his particular views. I have no problem with that but it seems at odds with being a vicar of a small local parish and I get the impression that really the Rev Gomes wants to be viewed as bigger than that. As for the dispute I have no idea about the merits but if Rev Gomes does not want to be subject to the rules of the Anglican church presumably he can relinquish his ministry or whatever it is called and do his own thing. For some reason he appears not to want. I am sure the fact that there maybe ongoing pension rights would have nothing to do with it. You get the feeling the Rev Gomes just likes the attention
Rev Coyote 1:17 PM on 28/10/2016 This is really sad – I guess the bishop needs to do some soul searching here and he is the only one thatvwill know whether he invested the time, effort and love to resolve this amicably.
Ronnie Pickerring 12:43 PM on 28/10/2016 Can these clowns please disappear? Why are they all over the news? It’s a tiny matter for a particular cult. Not really of interest to anyone! (4) (2) Rate: PaulM 12:33 PM on 28/10/2016 Sounds Like The Island could use a Celebrate Recovery ….. (8) (30) Rate: Guru 12:32 PM on 28/10/2016 If they (and the nauseatingly self-righteous commenters here) were real Christians, they’d instead be outraged about the millions dying of starvation in the Yemen, fighting their corner in the press, marshalling their considerable resources and self-sacrificing their riches to help their “neighbours” like the Good Samaritan in the parable. Instead, they’re buying each other luxury homes, infighting and squabbling from their comfortable surroundings over their expensive Internet links, whilst children are literally “skin on skeletons” according to the World Food Programme. Not a great advert for their faith. (10) (23) Rate: Shipwrecked 12:23 PM on 28/10/2016 Rev Gomes had an ‘over-inflated view of his own self-importance’ A lot will agree with this. An arrogant and at times, (despite his CV) ignorant individual. A typical self indulgent narcissist. (7) (13) Rate: Neil D 11:44 AM on 28/10/2016 That sounds more like the truth Lydia. Take no notice of Konig though, this poster doesn’t even know who he/they are from one posting to the next
Lydia Charitas 11:35 AM on 28/10/2016 This is spin doctoring at its best on the part of a failed bishop representing a failed Church of England on the Isle of Man. Dr Gomes was the best thing since sliced (brown) bread the Church has had on the island. An outstanding preacher, a serious intellectual, a highly educated man with four post-graduate degrees (including a PhD from Cambridge)–probably the most highly qualified clergyman the Manx Church has ever had. His lectures drew over 100 people each week. Now that he has left the Church of England, the new church plant of St Augustine’s is thriving. He has found a new way of expressing himself through writing articles (for a prestigious web-magazine called The Conservative Woman) that are extremely well argued and meticulously researched. The entire fiasco is down to the bishop and his cronies feeling very threatened by a vicar who has had the courage to rock the boat and stand against the corrupt establishment of a failing church.
konig 10:13 AM on 28/10/2016 (Facilitator) IMO Homes should never have been appointed, his track record and the views that he expressed are totally at odds with the position in which he was placed. The writing was writ large on the wall and with no need to be interpreted unlike the writing at Balthazzar’s feast. I am put in mind the remark from The Merchant of Venice that ‘The devil can quote scripture for his purpose’. That could certainly be applied in the case of Gomes. IMO the findings concerning his conduct are bang on the button.
Lydia Charitas 11:36 AM on 28/10/2016 You can’t even spell the surname correctly. It’s Gomes and not Homes! And it’s Belshazzar’s feast not Balthasar’s Feast. How wonderfully your own ignorance contradicts your claims!
konig Facilitator 12:47 PM on 28/10/2016 Simon please stop using the konig designation. You agreed to accept the findings of the recent konig collective investigation. You no longer represent the views of the konig collective. You have been living in Norfolk for too long and are out of touch. It is also a little bit embarrassing that you incorrectly stated his name.
Manx born formerly CV 2:12 PM on 28/10/2016 Oops..konig has fallen out with himself again.
konig jnr 6:14 PM on 28/10/2016 No I haven’t
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 01624 695695
Read more at: http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/clergyman-s-conduct-damaged-reputation-of-church-1-8206236
a. That he had embellished his CV. The Tribunal found him not guilty of misconduct on this complaint.
b. That he had accused a member of the clergy of referring to him as a “darkie”. The evidence was inconsistent, but accepting the word of the clergywoman against Dr Gomes word and that of a witness statement which was not before them, the Tribunal found Dr Gomes guilty of misconduct.
c. That he had lost his temper with a church cleaner and had spoken strongly on several occasions to other individuals. Dr Gomes tried to offer an apology to the cleaner but was told by her that she had been instructed by the Bishop not to accept it unless he was present. Dr Gomes admits and accepts this complaint, apologises for his action and is determined that it will not recur. The Tribunal found him guilty of this misconduct.
d. That at Tynwald in July 2015 he spoke out about the Bishop and the Archdeacon’s bullying. The Tribunal found him guilty of this misconduct. Dr Gomes maintains that his remarks were not only true but were within his democratic rights to free speech, and that a significant number of people agreed with him.