Comments: Bishop of Winchester issues update on Jersey safeguarding

This is a curious case that has been running for some time now. It looks like the Diocese of Winchester is caught in a trap of what is ultimately its own making.

A suppressed report, new investigative bishops flown in over the head of an existing one, a nuanced press release - far from quietening down this is turning into a cause célèbre.

Posted by Concerned Anglican at Sunday, 24 November 2013 at 9:30am GMT

This case seems to have a life of its own and the Bishop of Winchester must be regretting getting involved to the extent he has. The matters at issue well predate his consecration and it would have been open to him to say that he would wait until others had investigated the issues, which are clearly complex. As I understand it, there has been an initial report (six years after the alleged incident(s)), an ongoing report in two parts by a retired diocesan and a retired High Court judge (the latter of which, nearly complete, is now not going to be published) and now a planned joint visitation by the Bishop of Dover and Bishop in Lambeth (with the blessing of the ++ABC whose team need to be diverted for the purpose). There is talk of 2,000 documents, no doubt many being angry emails. All of this stems from a safeguarding issue allegedly involving a Churchwarden and parishioner on the Island. How can this all be? There is clearly a spiritual side to all this, given the monstrous distraction it is causing to the mission of the church. It is entirely possible that none of these new initiatives/actions will allow a line to be drawn under the issues, in which event the best advice must be to stop now. Chichester discovered that it just needed to learn the lessons and ensure that for the future safeguarding was handled far better. Winchester should do the same.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Sunday, 24 November 2013 at 8:05pm GMT

It is concerning to note that the investigation is still being kept internal to the Church.

Has anyone thought of approaching the local authority to undertaken a review of the case? This would provide far greater transparency and give people more confidence in the findings, outcomes and recommendations.

Posted by Mary Peterson at Monday, 25 November 2013 at 9:12am GMT

The intervention of a Jersey Senator reported by Peter Ould on his blog turns this fiasco into a fully fledged disaster, Sir Philip Bailhache says only the bishop's staff or the author of the earlier report could have anything to lose by its publication (the previous bishop has a dog in this fight too).

This was just what the bishop did not want to read.

Just who has seen the draft report that has produced this reaction?
It's not over yet, expect legal moves to see this report published.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Monday, 25 November 2013 at 10:23am GMT

This is all very interesting if not a little sinister. I too have had a very negative experience of the Diocese of Winchester. I can't say too much at present as the investigation is ongoing but it basically revolves around false allegations being made against a close family member by the church authorities and when outside agencies rejected these claims further attempts were made not only to discredit my close relative but also myself, my children and any member of the congregation who dared to speak up for us. There has been a complete cock-up in the provision of pastoral care. Although the case in question is much more serious than mine I can see several parallels between them. Is it time we had a vote of no confidence in the Bishop of Winchester? We should dispense with the 'divine right of bishops' and instead ensure that they are accountable to the laity for their actions. Likewise the laity must take more responsibility for what is being done in their name. I have learnt the hard way that a clerical collar (or even a mitre) is no guarantee of a commitment to God or His Holy Church. We say we are a protestant church so perhaps it's time we started protesting.

Posted by Ceri Edwards at Monday, 30 December 2013 at 9:04pm GMT
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