Thursday, 26 May 2016

House of Bishops meeting reports

The House of Bishops met at Bishopthorpe this week and issued this press release afterwards:

Church of England House of Bishops Meeting May 2016
25 May 2016

The House of Bishops of the Church of England met on 23-24 May 2016.

On its first day the Bishops received an update on the shared conversations process, received a report from the Faith and Order Commission and discussed the contribution and vision of the Church of England on Education. A substantial amount of time was spent on safeguarding including receiving the report of the Elliot Review from the Bishop of Crediton, Sarah Mullally. A news release from Bishop Sarah can be found on the Diocese of Exeter website here: http://www.exeter.anglican.org/bishop-sarah-presents-safeguarding-review-recommendations-house-bishops/

In addition the House agreed to publish reports from the Faith and Order Commission (FAOC) on safeguarding in addition to a report from FAOC on “Diversity, Difference and Serious Disagreement in the Life of the Church”.

On its second day the House received an oral report from the Archbishop of York on his recently completed pilgrimage and the lessons learned. The House also received an update from the Bishop of Chelmsford on the discussions on Intentional Discipleship at the 2016 Anglican Communion Consultative Council.

The House received and agreed to publish a discussion document on welfare reform from Revd Dr. Malcolm Brown and also discussed the work of the “Turning up the Volume” Group on senior appointments and minority ethnic clergy.

The House discussed and approved work on the Renewal and Reform programme and received an update on its work from the diocesan secretary for the Diocese of Liverpool, Mike Eastwood. The House also discussed legislative proposals relating to canon law to be brought to General Synod (Canon B8 & B38) as well as other reports to be brought before Synod.

The news release from Bishop Sarah Mullally is also copied below the fold.

BISHOP SARAH PRESENTS SAFEGUARDING REVIEW RECOMMENDATIONS TO HOUSE OF BISHOPS

Posted: 25th May, 2016

The House of Bishops this week received and pledged support for the recommendations of the Elliott Review – an independent report into alleged sexual abuse committed by senior figures in the Church of England.

The Bishop of Crediton, Sarah Mullally, who originally received the report at the request of the survivor, presented key points on the recommendations to the House of Bishops.

These include; improved training, particularly for senior staff, around receiving disclosures; working to ensure financial advice is never at the expense of a pastoral response; and a commitment to revise and strengthen safeguarding structures.

The independent Review, carried out by Ian Elliott, reported back in March. It had been commissioned by the National Safeguarding Team and Diocese of London to establish what lessons could be learnt from an examination of the case.

Speaking after the House of Bishops, Bishop Sarah said: “I am encouraged the House has given me the full support to lead on implementing the recommendations but equally I am aware that for survivors this will not seem like soon enough as they have struggled for years to have their voices heard. I am committed to ensuring that the learning points from the Review are rolled out across the Church of England as soon as possible. I would also like to repeat my apology to ‘Joe’ who suffered appalling abuse in this case.”

In December the Church of England had issued a statement about the review in response to a newspaper interview with the survivor, offering an unreserved apology and confirming that a settlement had been reached.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 7:25am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
Comments

"[A] report from FAOC on “Diversity, Difference and Serious Disagreement in the Life of the Church”"? Is anyone holding their breath?

Posted by: DBD on Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 9:38am BST

Does an official Church of England press release really refer to the Anglican Consultative Council as the Anglican Communion Council?

Posted by: Jesse Zink on Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 9:52am BST

Jesse, sadly the answer is Yes. But now that you have pointed it out, I expect it will get corrected.

11 am update: Correction has now happened :-)

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 10:07am BST

+Bishop Sarah uses the noun "survivor" a number of times. If one of my relatives had not survived the experience but had taken his/her life, I would find very upsetting the exclusive use of "survivor" to refer to those affected with no mention in the press release of the unknown number who did not survive.

Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 26 May 2016 at 12:53pm BST

Kate, 'survivor' is the generally accepted terminology in the field for referring to those who have lived through abuse. I have quibbles with the term as a survivor myself, but +Sarah is just using standard language.

Posted by: Junia on Friday, 27 May 2016 at 9:43am BST

I, too, have 'quibbles', but more than just quibbles (and for a different reason from Kate), with the use of the word 'survivor'. It assumes the truth of the allegation, and in historic cases, where, many years later, evidence properly to assess the allegation may not be available, there is a danger of unjustly naming someone as an abuser.

It is now reasonably clear that this is the position with the allegation of child sex abuse made against the late and much revered Bishop of Chichester, George Bell. Anyone reading the statement put out by the Church of England media centre on 22 October 2015, in which the unnamed complainant (a much better word) is repeatedly referred to as "the survivor", would be forgiven for taking the statement as one that assumed Bishop Bell's guilt (despite subsequent protestations and explanations by and on behalf of the Diocese of Chichester that this has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt.)

There is now a cogent case, set out in the 'Review' dated 18 March 2016 conducted by the George Bell Group (http://www.georgebellgroup.org/review/), in particular in the light of the inconsistencies exposed by the interview given by 'Carol' to the Brighton Argus in February 2016, that Bishop Bell's reputation has been unjustly traduced. There is a crying need for the Diocese now to recognise that it may have got it wrong and to accept the need for an independent inquiry into the way it conducted its investigation into 'Carol's' complaint and a re-examination of all the evidence now available. A petition to the Archbishop of Canterbury "(1) To call on the Church of England to allow a fuller investigation before considering the case against Bishop Bell closed. This includes re-examining the evidence against Bishop Bell, and (2) To ensure fair and just procedures are in place for the future", has so far attracted 1,764 signatures:
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/justice-for-bishop-george-bell-of-chichester.

This case shows how the 'backlash' following the revelations against the late Jimmy Savile and in the light of the past failures of the C of E to investigate allegations of child sex abuse (especially in Chichester Diocese), must not be allowed to usurp the presumption of innocence. It may well be that 'Carol' (now in her 70s) was abused as a child but that George Bell is the victim of mistaken identity. The late Bishop's reputation and memory deserve a proper re-examination of the evidence, which should not await any investigation which may (or may not) be part of the Goddard inquiry.

Posted by: David Lamming on Sunday, 29 May 2016 at 5:02pm BST
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