Tag Archives: George Bell House

March 26 2018 – “Bishop Bell’s memory” – Daily Telegraph – Letter – Christopher Hoare

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“Bishop Bell’s memory”

Sir – Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson’s letter (March 24) puts the case for the late Bishop George Bell very well.

Those of us who live in the Diocese of Chichester suffer a further frustration. Within days of the Church’s original finding being published, orders were given to remove almost all memorabilia to George Bell. In places where this was not possible, such as in the south aisle of the cathedral, a notice was displayed for many months referring to being a cloud over George Bell’s name.

At the same time, a building in Canon Lane that had been refurbished with nearly £1 million pounds of funds and named “George Bell House” was renamed “4 Canon Lane”.

Dr Hildebrandt Grayson asks how long we shall have to wait for the Archbishop to have the grace to admit that the Church made “the most colossal error of judgement”.

We in Chichester are asking how long before we can see the restoration of his name, and particularly of George Bell House.

Christopher Hoare

Chichester, West Sussex

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February 13 2018 – Letter to a Dean – Hugh Wyatt CVO and Christopher Hoare

Hugh Wyatt CVO

December 2017

Very Revd. Stephen Waine

Dean of Chichester Cathedral

The Royal Chantry

Cathedral Cloisters

Chichester

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Following the publication of Lord Carlisle’s report on the Church’s handling of Bishop George Bell’s case. The time has surely now come to re-dedicate the house in Canon Lane (presently known as 4 Canon Lane) to the name it carried before it was summarily re-named i.e. GEORGE BELL HOUSE.

The re-naming and re-dedication of this building would create an immense amount of goodwill among the many worshippers at the Cathedral and citizens like myself who have never believed the accusations made against the Bishop and feel that proper remembrance, respect and love should be restored to him as soon as possible. This re-dedication should also be signal for schools and local authorities to restore his good name.

The Cathedral Chapter should make it their urgent business to re-dedicate this building as soon as possible and suggest that the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, be invited to return to Chichester to re-dedicate it.

Yours faithfully

Christopher Hoare

January 26 2018 – “Church loses legacy over paedophile bishop ‘myth'” – Daily Telegraph + Letters: “Welby must change his stance on Bishop Bell”

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https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-daily-telegraph/20180126/281736974881073

January 7 2018 – “The Seven Resolutions” – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Morning Conference – Church House Westminster – February 1 2018

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Thursday February 1 2018 – Church House Westminster

http://rebuildingbridges.org.uk/

The Seven Resolutions for the ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Morning Conference at Church House Westminster on Thursday February 1

To call for:
1. Archbishop Justin Welby to apologise for his “significant cloud” comment concerning Bishop Bell. Any effective ‘rebuilding of bridges’ is almost impossible without this Apology.  
2. Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner to invite Barbara Whitley, Bishop Bell’s niece, for a “face-to-face” meeting [she has already requested such a meeting]. The Bishop of Chichester has already met ‘Carol’.
3. Chichester Cathedral’s Dean and Chapter to restore 4 Canon Lane back to George Bell House – and to invite Lord Rowan Williams to re-dedicate the new plaque at George Bell House.
4. Chichester Cathedral’s Chancellor and Canon Librarian, Revd Dr Anthony Cane, to permit the display of Bishop Bell’s Portrait (in storage within the Cathedral Library) at Church House on Feb 1.
5. Chichester Cathedral’s Dean, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine, to correct Page 37 of the Cathedral Guide “Society and Faith”:
6. General Synod to undertake a Full Debate at the earliest opportunity, regarding the serious implications arising from Lord Carlile’s report.
7. Prayer

 

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This Portrait is in storage within the Cathedral Library [September 9 2017] – No Public Access [except on Heritage Open Days eg September 9 2017]

The Plaque reads:

“Bishop Bell has a worldwide reputation for his tireless work for international reconciliation, the arts, education, and church unity. The House that bears his name provides a place where work in these areas can continue and prosper. The generosity of an Anglican Order, the Community of the Servants of the Cross (CSC) has enabled the purchase of the House. Canon Peter Kefford (Treasurer of Chichester Cathedral 2003-2009) was the prime initiator in establishing George Bell House as a centre for Education, Vocation and Reconciliation” 

Photograph: Howard Coster, 1953. It is the last portrait photograph of Bishop Bell.

December 28 2017 – “Bishop George Bell: the saga continues (2)” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – Christopher Hill

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Christopher Hill

https://rothercottage.wordpress.com/2017/12/28/bishop-george-bell-the-saga-continues-2/

Bishop George Bell: the saga continues (2)

I wrote to The #Bishop of Chichester, @DrMartinWarner, on 14th November 2015, asking some basic questions about the Church’s handling of the allegations against @BishopGeorgeBell. Dr Warner sent a prompt and courteous reply, dated 19th November.

At that time it was not even known that the complainant, later known as ‘Carol’, was a woman, and no detail had been published of where the alleged molestation had taken place. Nor was anyone allowed to know who had seen the evidence in the case, though there is no legal requirement for such secrecy. Even the #DeanofChichester had no direct knowledge of the facts, but relied on an assurance that he had been given that the evidence was incontrovertible.

Dr Warner’s letter to me contained some difficult passages. To start with, having said that the allegation against Bell was indeed disturbing, he asserted “We are all diminished by this.”

I do not know what this flourish means. It is plainly false to say that we are ALL diminished, but perhaps the Bishop meant that he and other church people were diminished in the public estimation by the way in which they had handled the case.

Dr Warner went on: “All facts that were capable of independent corroboration were corroborated.” Again, I do not know what this means. @LordCarlile’s review of the Church’s procedures yields little evidence of anyone trying to corroborate any facts.

Dr Warner went on to say that “evidence was exchanged.” This is uninformative, without any details being given of the parties to the exchange.

With regard to the conduct of the investigation he said “independent advice from all the professional disciplines which are usually involved in such claims was obtained, including of course independent legal advice, and the survivor ( this is what Church insists on calling her) was questioned in person about their (sic) evidence.”

I do not know what professional disciplines Dr Warner had in mind. Lord Carlile does record that two psychiatrists were instructed, with different terms of reference. @ProfessorAnthonyMaden, the one who was asked to comment on Carol’s credibility, said that the truth of her allegations could not be established without corroborative evidence, and that false memory could not be excluded.

An illustration of the unusual procedures of the Core Group, the investigative and decision-making body set up by the Church, is that Professor Maden’s report was circulated to some members in full, and to others only in summary.

Apart from the psychiatrists, there was contact with the police. Are these the “usual disciplines”?

As for legal advice, It was indeed available from a solicitor who advised the Group,but Carlile comments several times on its failure to instruct any criminal lawyer to advise it on the strength of the evidence.

Finally, in response to my question about the removal of Bell’s name from #GeorgeBellHouse, the Bishop answered that this was a matter for the Dean and Chapter. Yet they seem to have been almost as much in the dark as everyone else.

From these remarks by Dr Warner it does seem that he was not well informed about the proceedings of the Core Group, which appears to have been unable to investigate systematically, or to make decisions based on rational assessments. His relative ignorance is in a way understandable, as his attendance at the Group had been sporadic,and he was apparently not even invited to its fifth and final meeting.

But surely he must have been aware of the consensus to which the Group found its way, first that Bell was probably guilty, then that he probably had abused other children, and in the end that his name must be published, a public apology made and compensation paid? After all,in the end it was he who had to accept responsibility and sign thx letter.

One cannot tell what was going through Dr Warner’s mind, but he does seem to have been the victim of lax procedures and muddled thinking, which somehow affected his own assessment of the case.

In a day or two I shall continue the exegesis of pronouncements on the Bell matter by Dr Warner, @DrJustinWelby (the #ArchbishopofCanterbury) and perhaps other prelates.

Follow me on Twitter: @ChristoHill3

Bishop George Bell: the saga continues (2)

I wrote to The #Bishop of Chichester, @DrMartinWarner, on 14th November 2015, asking some basic questions about the Church’s handling of the allegations against @BishopGeorgeBell. Dr Warner sent a prompt and courteous reply, dated 19th November.

At that time it was not even known that the complainant, later known as ‘Carol’, was a woman, and no detail had been published of where the alleged molestation had taken place. Nor was anyone allowed to know who had seen the evidence in the case, though there is no legal requirement for such secrecy. Even the #DeanofChichester had no direct knowledge of the facts, but relied on an assurance that he had been given that the evidence was incontrovertible.

Dr Warner’s letter to me contained some difficult passages. To start with, having said that the allegation against Bell was indeed disturbing, he asserted “We are all diminished by this.”

I do not know what this flourish means. It is plainly false to say that we are ALL diminished, but perhaps the Bishop meant that he and other church people were diminished in the public estimation by the way in which they had handled the case.

Dr Warner went on: “All facts that were capable of independent corroboration were corroborated.” Again, I do not know what this means. @LordCarlile’s review of the Church’s procedures yields little evidence of anyone trying to corroborate any facts.

Dr Warner went on to say that “evidence was exchanged.” This is uninformative, without any details being given of the parties to the exchange.

With regard to the conduct of the investigation he said “independent advice from all the professional disciplines which are usually involved in such claims was obtained, including of course independent legal advice, and the survivor ( this is what Church insists on calling her) was questioned in person about their (sic) evidence.”

I do not know what professional disciplines Dr Warner had in mind. Lord Carlile does record that two psychiatrists were instructed, with different terms of reference. @ProfessorAnthonyMaden, the one who was asked to comment on Carol’s credibility, said that the truth of her allegations could not be established without corroborative evidence, and that false memory could not be excluded.

An illustration of the unusual procedures of the Core Group, the investigative and decision-making body set up by the Church, is that Professor Maden’s report was circulated to some members in full, and to others only in summary.

Apart from the psychiatrists, there was contact with the police. Are these the “usual disciplines”?

As for legal advice, It was indeed available from a solicitor who advised the Group, but Carlile comments several times on its failure to instruct any criminal lawyer to advise it on the strength of the evidence.

Finally, in response to my question about the removal of Bell’s name from #GeorgeBellHouse, the Bishop answered that this was a matter for the Dean and Chapter. Yet they seem to have been almost as much in the dark as everyone else.

From these remarks by Dr Warner it does seem that he was not well informed about the proceedings of the Core Group, which appears to have been unable to investigate systematically, or to make decisions based on rational assessments. His relative ignorance is in a way understandable, as his attendance at the Group had been sporadic,and he was apparently not even invited to its fifth and final meeting.

But surely he must have been aware of the consensus to which the Group found its way, first that Bell was probably guilty, then that he probably had abused other children, and in the end that his name must be published, a public apology made and compensation paid? After all,in the end it was he who had to accept responsibility and sign thx letter.

One cannot tell what was going through Dr Warner’s mind, but he does seem to have been the victim of lax procedures and muddled thinking, which somehow affected his own assessment of the case.

In a day or two I shall continue the exegesis of pronouncements on the Bell matter by Dr Warner, @DrJustinWelby (the #ArchbishopofCanterbury) and perhaps other prelates.

Follow me on Twitter: @ChristoHill3

December 21 2017 – “Chichester under fire over George Bell claims” – Christian Today – James Macintyre

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/chichester-under-fire-over-george-bell-claims/121998.htm

Chichester under fire over George Bell claims

The Bishop of Chichester is under fire over his claim, made after the Carlile report into the Church of England’s handling of an allegation of sexual abuse against Bishop George Bell, that the Church did not proclaim the late Bishop Bell’s guilt.

The Mail on Sunday journalist Peter Hitchens, who has vigorously campaigned on behalf of the late bishop since the Church made public the claims against Bell in 2015, penned a hard-hitting letter to Martin Warner this week.

Bishop George Bell
Jimmy JamesBishop George Bell

In his letter, Hitchens focused on the impression that was left in the press after the Church issued a formal public apology and announced that it had paid £16,800 to the woman in question, known as ‘Carol’.

Hitchens wrote: ‘You said on Friday [the day the Carlile report was published], and yet again in your Radio 4 interview on Sunday that you had never proclaimed George Bell’s guilt. On Radio 4, you said ‘What we did not do and have not ever done is to make a clear statement which says “We have found George Bell guilty”. We have never done that’.

‘I must ask, in that case, why you did not write to The Times, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the BBC, the Argus of Brighton or the Chichester Observer, correcting their reports of your statement, reports which proclaimed that George Bell was guilty? Is it possible that you did so and they ignored your letters? Or did you choose to leave the impression of guilt which your statement had created, which you now insist you had not intended to create? Had you written to complain, it would have been very helpful to my own unending efforts to get these media to change their tune.’

The Church of England was criticised in the Carlile report for a ‘rush to judgment’ in its handling of the allegations against Bishop Bell, who died in 1958.

The report by Lord Carlile said that although the Church acted in good faith, its processes were deficient and it failed to give proper consideration to the rights of the accused.

Hitchens dramatically clashed with Bishop Warner and Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, at the press conference for the release of the report on Friday, accusing the Church of behaving in a ‘Stalinoid’ fashion towards the memory of the late Bishop Bell.

The new Bishop of Chichester Dr Martin Warner
The Bishop of Chichester Dr Martin Warner

The columnist also raised the removal of Bishop Bell’s name from buildings, institutions and guide books in Chichester including from the former George Bell House. He said that ‘many mentions of George Bell have been excised from the Cathedral guide book, his name has been removed from the House which used to bear it at Bishop Luffa school where I should think you might have some influence, and also from a hall of residence at the University of Chichester.

‘I pointed out to you last Friday that even the Soviet Union had eventually rehabilitated those whom it had unjustly condemned in unfair show trials (whose memories, names and pictures were likewise removed from buildings, streets, photographs, encyclopaedias and so forth).’

Hitchens concluded: ‘The Church of England is surely judged by (and should regulate itself by) a higher standard than an atheist secret police state.’

A spokesperson for the Bishop of Chichester said: ‘We have received a copy of the letter and as it is a long, detailed document Bishop Martin will be responding in the New Year. There is no actual time to do it properly between now and Christmas as this is obviously a hugely busy week.’

Bishop Warner said on Friday: ‘Lord Carlile’s Independent Review is a demonstration of the Church of England’s commitment to equality of justice and transparency in our safeguarding practice. The diocese of Chichester requested this “lessons learned” Review.

‘We welcome Lord Carlile’s assessment of our processes, and apologise for failures in the work of the Core Group of national and diocesan officers and its inadequate attention to the rights of those who are dead. We also accept the Report’s recognition that we acted in good faith, and improvements to Core Group protocols are already in place. Further work on them is in hand.

‘The Report demands further consideration of the complexities of this case, such as what boundaries can be set to the principle of transparency. Lord Carlile rightly draws our attention to public perception. The emotive principle of innocent until proven guilty is a standard by which our actions are judged and we have to ensure as best we can that justice is seen to be done. Irrespective of whether she is technically a complainant, survivor, or victim, ‘Carol’ emerges from this report as a person of dignity and integrity. It is essential that her right to privacy continues to be fully respected.

‘The good deeds that Bishop George Bell did were recognised internationally. They will stand the test of time. In every other respect, we have all been diminished by the case that Lord Carlile has reviewed.’

Bell’s niece Barbara Whitley, 93, has said she wants the reputation of her uncle restored and has asked for a face-to-face apology from the Church of England.

‘I’m determined to clear his name before I die,’ she told the BBC.