Thinking Anglicans

more on parish bullying

Two items on this today in the Church Times, both by Pat Ashworth:

A detailed report of the Trumpington case is headlined Ambrose caused parish breakdown, says tribunal.

And there is a preview of the guidelines on bullying that are to be published soon by the Archbishops’ Council, Parish guidelines aim to end bullying.

Elsewhere Alan Wilson has written a highly informative article on his blog at Bully pulpit — On baiting of the Clergy. (The comments there are also interesting.)

19
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
19 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
17 Comment authors
withheldChristine StandingPaulJaneLinda Kowolksi Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

the thread about the bullying at trumpington attracted one comment. so far, this thread has attracted none. i find that strange. i was the victim of bullying by a senior cleric, so serious that i lost my health, my job and my home. i know of very many others who are also the victims of bullying by clerics (especially by bishops), and not a few who have been bullied by their congregations. but no posts on this thread. bullying is the single most serious problem in the institution of the c of e. more widespread than homophobia, yet it seems… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Poppy Tupper’s comment is one of the most disturbing I have read on TA. I have no personal experience from which to comment on this, beyond observing that part of the Church of England seems to operate along the same lines as some of US academia, but perhaps more so. A “human nature”/self-righteousness thing, I suppose. No one who checks this site can imagine that the Church is immune to bullying, but this is a new one. Other readers must have first-hand experiences to contribute.

Anne Lee
Guest
Anne Lee

Thank you Poppy and Lapinbizarre for your comments. I am in total agreement with you, Poppy. I am an academic social psychologist doing research on bullying in the church. I care passionately about the good news of Jesus Christ who came to give us freedom. Unfortunately our churches are frequently not vehicles of that freedom. I wrote an article about Bullying in the Church in the Church Times of June 22 2007 and received a very large number of responses to it from people like you, Poppy. The good news is that churches in the UK, and especially the C… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Anne Lee’s article can be found here:
http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=40909

And there is a postscript to it here
http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=46147

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

I was witness to problems in a north-central Ohio (once cardinal) Episcopal church in a county seat that had most of the disaffected parishioners using the town newspaper to smear and castigate the incumbent rector (our system is slightly different, in TEC the rector is priest-in-charge and rarely delegates this to a vicar). They held meetings off of the parish grounds and postured themselves to take over after the man had been driven out. Because of all the fracus, nobody would attend and growth was impossible. The priest was one of many who had forced change during the turbulent times… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Simon: You get a pope on a rope if you use the first link.

This is the correct one:

http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=40909

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Sorry, error now fixed.

Malcolm+
Guest

There are clerical and lay bullies in the Church. One of the problems is that bullying rarely gets dealt with at all – and when it does, usually only after people and communities have been destroyed.

Churchmouse
Guest
Churchmouse

I can sympathize with anyone who has suffered church bullying. I was systematically bullied for two years by a ‘tag-team’ comprising of 2 other members of the PCC at my parish church.
When I complained it was not taken seriously and I was accused of being the one that had a ” unchristian attitude”.
I eventually left and went to another church as I could see it was not going to be acknowledged or dealt with effectively.

Jane
Guest
Jane

It is sad that at a time that the C of E needs all the support it can get, that there are still people (clergy & laity) that cannot see the broad picture and still want to play at parish pump politics. We are told that ” a house divided against itself cannot stand” and the bullies will show that this is true by driving those that would support the Church away. As Rome is now opening its arms to welcome unhappy Anglicans, those who bully may well find that they will soon have no more people to push about.… Read more »

Mary
Guest
Mary

I am investigating bullying within the Church of England and would like to know if anyone can share their personal experience with me. My concern is that the Church can do whatever it likes because it writes and polices its own rules. If someone tries to stand up to a bully they are accused of being unchristian and forced to leave.

Jay
Guest
Jay

Mary – RE. your research. I’d like to share my experiences with you. I’m a Reader and very aware of the vulnerability of my position. I’ve come to the conclusion that the CofE is institutionally bullying. Is there a way of exchanging email addresses?

Victoria
Guest
Victoria

I wonder about bullying a lot. It is so subtle and directed most likely at someone who sticks out in some way and most likely cannot defend themselves. A church is an institution however powerful and fine its roots are: Primo Levi writes about how we tend to pick on someone most eloquently “It is an age-old observation that in every human group there is a predestined victim; one who inspires contempt, on whom, by some mysterious agreement, all unload their bad tempers and their desire to hurt. “ Essentially for me it is about our well being and perhaps… Read more »

Viv
Guest
Viv

I know the pain of being bullied. I seem to be one of life’s punchbags, and although I have done my very best to change this situation in the past few years, by being as friendly as I can to others around me, I found that the bullying was still happening. I guess that some people just see me as quiet and very vulnerable. In the end there is not a lot I can do to change my personality, and since groups always seem to have a scapegoat amongst them, I now tend to keep away from crowds or groups… Read more »

Linda Kowolksi
Guest
Linda Kowolksi

Victoria,
I think you have summed it all up very eloquently.
Bullying IS insidious and by the time the victim has realised what is happening the damage has been done.
I always thought that a Church, and I use the word “Church” to represent a group of people who are supposed to be united in Christ, should be able to support each other.
Unfortunately I have found that this is not the case.
In my experience in the C of E cliques are abundant while Christian values are sadly lacking.

Jane
Guest
Jane

“My concern is that the Church can do whatever it likes because it writes and polices its own rules. If someone tries to stand up to a bully they are accused of being unchristian and forced to leave.” Mary’s comment of a year ago has resonances with me. For years my husband and I put up with the rude, intrusive remarks from 2 PCC Members until I could stand it no more. I finally challenged them and their response was that they were, basically, allowed to say these things because they were “family friends” ( ! ) This was a… Read more »

Paul
Guest
Paul

I complained to the diocesan bishop about bullying and he dealt with it by the Clergy Discipline Measure. The priest was considered not to have done anything contrary to “laws ecclesiastical” and the case was dismissed, the Registrar’s report not mentioning bullying at all. I went to appeal which again kept the matter in a legalistic setting. No one from the diocese has attempted to see me or institute any conciliation. Now it is my wife’s turn to be bullied by manipulation of the PCC to dismiss her from the editorship of the parish magazine. I think one problem is… Read more »

Christine Standing
Guest
Christine Standing

I was interested to find the article by Anne Lee but got this instead: 404 – File or directory not found. The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. In my search for the article I found this: RE Report urges Church to face up to its bullies Posted: 29 May 2008 @ 00:00 by Ed Beavan “NEW guidelines released this week by the Church of England urge dioceses to introduce harassment advisers, in an attempt to reduce the problem of bullying in the Church.” That was in 2008 and… Read more »

withheld
Guest
withheld

It is not only in the C of E that bullying occurs. I was recently the victim of church bullying in the URC church, but have also seen bullying in the C of E. God also sees it and will not leave it unaddressed, ultimately. However your efforts are appreciated. I know a URC minister who is bullied into his existence, bullied into his choices – and in turn I was the victim of the same bullying. It is wicked and unspeakable what happened to me as a widow. Prior to that, in the C of E, a bully warden… Read more »