Thinking Anglicans

Prime Minister announces Appointments Secretary

Press release from the Prime Minister. The Anglican interest is in the second paragraph.

Prime Minister announces Appointments Secretary
The Prime Minister has announced that he has appointed Mr Richard Tilbrook to be his Appointments Secretary.

Published 13 August 2020
From: Cabinet Office and Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The Prime Minister has announced that he has appointed Mr Richard Tilbrook to be his Appointments Secretary following the retirement of Edward Chaplin CMG OBE at the end of last year.

Mr Tilbrook will work with the Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary on the consultations for diocesan bishop and Crown deanery appointments, attending meetings of the Crown Nominations Commission as appropriate.

Mrs Helen Dimmock in the Cabinet Office remains responsible for parochial appointments where the Crown or Lord Chancellor is patron.

Mr Tilbrook is Clerk to the Privy Council and has been acting as the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary since January, having previously served as Deputy Appointments Secretary. His earlier civil service career was spent at the Government Communications Headquarters, in the Department for International Development and in the Cabinet Office, where he oversaw the operation of the honours system for a number of years. He is also responsible for advising the Prime Minister on the appointment of Lord-Lieutenants.

Mr Tilbrook is a communicant Anglican, worshipping at St Andrew’s, Naunton, in the Diocese of Gloucester. A classicist, he is an alumnus of Queens’ College, Cambridge, and the Royal Grammar School, Guildford.

16 Comments

Opinion – 12 August 2020

Jonathan Bish All Things Lawful And Honest Tune in, or Turn Off

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Peter Principle. Incompetence and the Church

9 Comments

Charity Commission asked to intervene in CofE safeguarding

A letter has been sent to Baroness Stowell, chair of the Charity Commision,

“to ask that the Charity Commission exercise its powers of intervention to address the failures of the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England (charity number 1074857) to devise a safe, consistent and fair system of redress to all parties engaged in safeguarding complaints…”

The letter is signed by a wide range of people including Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE, QC, Lord Lexden, His Honour Alan Pardoe QC, Sir Jonathan Phillips KCB, Prof Sir Iain Torrance KCVO, Kt and Prof Nigel Biggar. It has also been signed by many survivors of sexual abuse.

The full text of the letter and the list of signatories can be found here.

There is a petition at change.org the Micah 6:8 Initiative, to enable others to add their names to this list. The notes at the end explain:

If you wish to support this initiative publicly please sign the petition.

Some may wish to signify support privately by sending an email to nomorenstinjustice@gmail.com with your name/chosen signifier, any brief self description you choose, and if appropriate, your CofE Diocese so that the range of support can be seen. We shall send this list to the Charity Commission with the request that it remain private.

We link to the booklet We asked for Bread but you gave us Stones which compiled a number of survivor responses to the experiences received at the hands of the Established Church. Plus a link to the book Letters to a Broken Church which includes some of our signatories as contributing authors.

The full text of the letter also appears at Surviving Church: Letter to Charity Commissioners over concerns about Church of England Safeguarding.

And it is also available at Archbishop Cranmer: Calls for Charity Commission to intervene in CofE safeguarding saga.

The Times has this news report: Bishops take aim at ‘unjust’ handling of abuse claims. It includes this:

..Four of the past five archbishops of Canterbury and York had been the subjects of formal complaints about their alleged failures to act against clergy accused of sexual abuse.

Lord Carey of Clifton, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002, has been prevented from performing his religious duties while the church’s national safeguarding team investigates his past conduct.

The Bishop of Lincoln, the Right Rev Christopher Lowson, has been suspended for more than a year. He has been accused of failing to respond “appropriately” to safeguarding allegations. He has said that he is bewildered by the accusations. The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, had apologised for failing to respond correctly when he was told about domestic violence by one of his priests when he was Bishop of Reading…

The Church Times has a news article: Charity Commission asked to tackle C of E safeguarding ‘failings’. In addition to reporting on the letter above, it also has this:

…Separately, seven survivors have written to Bishop Gibb; the director of safeguarding, Melissa Caslake; and the chair of the National Safeguarding Panel, Meg Munn, calling for the Bishop at Lambeth, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, to resign pending further safeguarding training.

The letter refers to internal email correspondence from Bishop Thornton, who sits on the National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG), about one of the survivors. The letter states: “The attitude displayed here confirms what many survivors have long thought: that the adversarialism towards victims of abuse has not just extended to their litigation and insurance agents, but has its roots in the most senior members of the Church’s structure.”

Before publication of the letter, the Church of England had issued a press release, which was also sent to all members of General Synod: Charity Commission complaint – message from Lead Safeguarding Bishop, Jonathan Gibbs. It includes the following:

…I am very aware of the current criticism of our core group process and some of this seems to be based on misunderstandings about what is involved.  There has been confusion as a result of them being likened to core groups in the statutory sector which have a different purpose and follow different processes.  Revised guidance will make it very clear they are more equivalent to a statutory strategy meeting (there will also be a change of name to help make this clear), where decisions are made collaboratively about what the next steps should be. This may include an independent investigation of allegations that have been made, including that senior members of clergy have not followed due safeguarding processes.  As part of such investigations, those concerned are given details of any allegations and the opportunity to respond.  These processes are confidential while they are taking place and therefore we cannot give public explanations of everything that is happening, which of course brings its own challenges.

It is evident that about three quarters of current national cases are about senior clergy failing to act rather than a direct allegation of abuse, but that can still have serious consequences. We always try to make that difference clear, and although the current guidance does not distinguish between those accused of abuse and those accused of failing to act properly on information received, the revised guidance will address this difference.  Statistics about the number of cases involving senior clergy (currently around 30) can also be misleading as a significant number relate to concerns raised about the past conduct of now retired clergy…

20 Comments

Special Session of General Synod on 24 September 2020

The two Archbishops have called a special session of General Synod on Thursday 24 September 2020. The only business expected will be a draft measure to allow Synod to meet remotely in November (and subsequently) if necessary. The Archbishops wrote to all synod members last month to explain why this measure is necessary and can only be taken at an in-person meeting; their letter is copied below.

It is hoped that most members will not exercise their right to be present, but arrangements will be made to ensure that enough do attend to provide a quorum in each of the three houses.

Subsequently the text of the draft measure and explanatory notes have been published.

GS 2175 Draft General Synod (Remote Meetings) Measure – First Consideration
GS 2175X General Synod (Remote Meetings) Measure – Explanatory Notes

Letter from the Archbishops

22 July 2020
To: All Members of General Synod

Ref: Special Session of General Synod on 24 September 2020

Standing Order 2(6)(b), provides that in circumstances of special urgency or importance, the Presidents of the General Synod may summon a special session.

We consider that such circumstances exist. It is not practically possible at present to hold a group of sessions in the usual way and we do not know when it will be again possible to do so. Nor is it currently possible, under the Synod’s Constitution and Standing Orders, for the Synod to transact business remotely. There is important business which the Synod must transact before the end of this year. This includes the approval by the General Synod of the Archbishops’ Council’s budget for 2021, which is a statutory requirement under the National Institutions Measure 1998, and the approval of Fees Orders for 2021. Other business the Synod needs to address without delay includes amending safeguarding legislation to take account of recommendations from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and the giving of final approval to the Cathedrals Measure.

For those reasons, we need legislation that will enable the Synod to meet and transact business remotely should it still not be possible by November for it to meet in the usual way. The Government has not been able to make time for this in Parliament. We therefore need to legislate by Measure and are summoning a special session of the General Synod for this purpose on Thursday 24 September 2020.

This meeting will be held physically at Church House, London. Although no Synod member can be denied admission to this meeting, we will in practice hope to work with the three Houses to ensure that only a quorum-plus of members need attend to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements.

The only business we envisage being on the agenda for the special session is a draft Measure to enable the Synod to meet and conduct business remotely. It is proposed that all stages of the Measure would be taken at the special session. We do not expect to have any other business at this meeting, even urgent business outlined above. These items will be taken to the November Group of Sessions.

Members will receive further details, including the draft Measure, from the Synod Office in due course.

Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of York
Presidents of the General Synod

22 Comments

Opinion – 8 August 2020

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley Not Going into a Church for Private Prayer

Giles Fraser UnHerd The neoliberal revolution within the Church
“The ancient institution has been asset-stripped by an expanding bureaucracy of management-speak types”

Paul Bradbury His Light Material Is pioneer ministry a ‘neoliberal destruction’ of the parish system?

Janet Fife Surviving Church Bethel Sozo Part 2 Being Sozoed
Part 1 is here.

Kelvin Holdsworth Every Eucharist is a Virtual Eucharist

Religion Media Centre Holiness and desire: how the C of E can keep the conversation open

38 Comments

Opinion – 5 August 2020

Giles Fraser The Telegraph Is the Church of England determined to kill off the parish church?
There are some letters in response to this article in today’s Telegraph.

Silvia Gosnell Institute of Sacred Music Inside!

Andrew McGowan Journal of Anglican Studies Communion and Pandemic

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Human evil -individual and corporate

Ian Paul Psephizo Bishops should throw away their mitres

108 Comments

Delayed consecrations – Doncaster and Sherwood

The consecrations of the new bishops of Doncaster and Sherwood were postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. They will now take place in two separate services in York Minster on Monday 21 September.

The Minster has this morning published these details of who will consecrate and preside.

The Revd Canon Sophie Jelley, former Director of Mission, Discipleship and Ministry in the Diocese of Durham and Canon Missioner at Durham Cathedral, will be consecrated as Bishop of Doncaster in the Diocese of Sheffield. Sophie will be consecrated in the morning by The Archbishop of York, The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, assisted by the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler and the Bishop of Sheffield, Pete Wilcox.

In the afternoon, the Revd Dr Andrew Emerton, former Dean of St Mellitus College, London, will be consecrated as Bishop of Sherwood in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. Andrew will be consecrated by the Bishop of Durham, the Right Revd Paul Butler, assisted by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally and the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Paul Williams. The Archbishop of York will preside at both services.

There is more detail here.

34 Comments

More criticisms of CofE safeguarding procedures

Andrew Brown has written at Religion Media Centre: Church of England safeguarding inquiries go to the top.

The Church of England has admitted that there are about 30 separate safeguarding inquiries under way into senior clergy — bishops or cathedral deans…

…A C of E spokesman said: “We have approximately 30 national cases with the majority being where senior clergy or church officers have not reported allegations of abuse to the relevant safeguarding adviser, the local authority or the police, or made other inappropriate decisions.”

The highest-profile involve the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and a predecessor, Lord Carey, who are subject to inquiries for safeguarding lapses, Carey for the second time. ..

The article lists some of the other cases and discusses the apparent inconsistencies in the handling of them by “core groups”.

Surviving Church has published the text of a letter from seven clerical sexual abuse survivors to the Lead Bishops, Director of Safeguarding, and Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel (Bishop Jonathan Gibbs, Bishop Debbie Sellin, Melissa Caslake, Meg Munn): “Neither here nor there”.

This letter complains about the handling of survivor complaints, with specific reference to the Bishop at Lambeth and the National Safeguarding Steering Group. It asks for various actions to be taken to improve the processes for dealing with survivors. Receipt of the letter was (as shown in the article) acknowledged in a reply of 7 July.

1 Comment

Opinion – 1 August 2020

Stephen Stavrou All Things Lawful And Honest Watch your language

Giles Fraser UnHerd Church philistines have got high culture all wrong

Janet Fife Surviving Church Bethel Sozo Part 1: Coming to a Church near You?

Laudable Practice Why I Support The Ordination Of Women: A High Church Reflection

14 Comments

Suffragan See of Ludlow not to be filled

The Rt Revd Alistair Magowan, the Suffragan Bishop of Ludlow in the Diocese of Hereford, retired on 30 April 2020. The Diocese has now announced that he will not be replaced; there is an explanation of this decision here. As with his recent predecessors the bishop was also Archdeacon of Ludlow. The plan is to replace the existing combined Bishop/Archdeacon of Ludlow role with a full time Archdeacon.

41 Comments

Bishop of Bristol to take up national safeguarding role

Press release from the Church of England

Bishop of Bristol to take up national safeguarding role
29/07/2020

The Bishop of Bristol, Bishop Viv Faull has been appointed a deputy lead bishop for safeguarding, with a focus on liaison with diocesan bishops on behalf of the National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG) and with the wider Anglican Communion, and to speak on safeguarding in the House of Lords.

She will work closely with the lead safeguarding bishop, the Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs and the other deputy lead Bishop Debbie Sellin who took up their roles earlier this year. All three bishops will continue to work closely with Melissa Caslake the Church of England’s national director of Safeguarding to continue to develop the Church’s safeguarding practice.

Speaking about her appointment Bishop Viv said:

“I was a Chester Diocesan ordinand when Victor Whitsey was Bishop, and a Deacon in Gloucester when Peter Ball was Bishop. Though they did me no individual harm I have seen the great harm done to others and the whole Church of God. Safeguarding has therefore been an urgent concern throughout my time as Dean in Leicester and in York where I led changes of process and culture and learnt much. I am aware of how much the Church still has to learn and will do my best to contribute to debates and to enable fellow diocesan bishops to participate fully and be supported in their roles.”

Bishop Jonathan said: “We are delighted that Bishop Viv has agreed to take up this role bringing her long experience of ministry and absolute commitment to good safeguarding. She will play a key role as a link between the NSSG and other bishops, as well as with the wider Anglican Communion.”

4 Comments

Opinion – 29 July 2020

Andrew McKinnon University of Aberdeen Questioning the evidence for rapid growth of ‘orthodox’ Anglican churches in sub Saharan Africa
[A preprint of the original journal article is online here.]

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Clergy Discipline Measure – RIP?

Pam Bishop St Bride’s Liverpool The ‘New Normal’ in a Liverpool Anglican City Centre parish

John Gillibrand Ekklesia Equal marriage: time for full acceptance from all churches

1 Comment

Complaint made into how Welby dealt with a safeguarding complaint

Updated again Thursday morning

Channel 4 News reported on Monday evening: Church launches investigation into how Welby dealt with complaints about an alleged serial abuse

This programme can reveal that the Church of England has launched an investigation into how the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, dealt with complaints about a serial abuser of young men.

John Smyth was alleged to have beaten dozens of young men in the 1970s and 1980s.

One of those abused has now written to the Church of England, launching a formal complaint against Mr Welby, saying he failed to act properly when he learnt of the abuse.

More details are in the video (3 minutes).

The Church of England has responded with this statement:

It is in the public domain that when Lambeth was contacted in 2013 about an allegation against Smyth it liaised with the relevant diocese. This was to ensure that the survivor was being supported, police had been informed and that the bishop had contacted the Bishop of Cape Town, where Smyth was then living. However, since a formal complaint has now been received by the National Safeguarding Team, it is reviewing information and will obviously respond on this to the person who brought the complaint and take any further action if needed.

These issues will all be considered by the Makin Review which the Church commissioned last year into the Smyth case and is expected to publish into 2021.

The Telegraph has also reported on this: Church of England investigating complaint over how Archbishop of Canterbury dealt with abuse claims at Christian camps.

The i has this: Justin Welby: Church of England investigating complaint over how Archbishop of Canterbury dealt with child abuse claims

Updates

The Church Times reports: NST considers safeguarding complaint against Welby. This contains a lot of background detail and also mentions that

…The NST has avoided using the term “investigation” in its statement about the allegation against Archbishop Welby. The Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, complained recently to the NST that it had caused confusion by using the same word for the both initial consideration of whether there is a case to be answered and the subsequent formal investigation instigated by a core group.

The NST talks instead of “reviewing information”…

It concludes thus:

…On Tuesday, Graham took issue with the C of E statement, saying that he had not been supported, beyond the offer of £100 for counselling; nor had the police ever been in touch with him.

On the matter of correspondence with Cape Town, he writes: “I have in front of me a copy of the letter the Church is referring to. On the simple matter of facts, it was not addressed to the Archbishop of Cape Town but to Bishop Garth Counsell, the Bishop of Table Bay. There is no evidence that this letter was in fact sent or received.

“What is undisputed is that John Smyth continued in his role as Director of the Justice Alliance of South Africa for a further three years, and that during that time he continued to meet and groom young men in Cape Town.”

A further detailed statement from the complainant can be found in two of the comments below.

On 2 February 2017, LBC’s Nick Ferrari interviewed Justin Welby about physical abuse at holiday camps: Archbishop Of Canterbury Responds To Child Abuse Reports

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told LBC he was “completely unaware” of physical abuse at a Christian holiday camp he worked at in the 1970s.

The Church of England has apologised after it emerged police hadn’t been informed of allegations about John Smyth until 2013.

Archbishop Justin Welby says he wasn’t aware of any claims of wrongdoing at the time they were colleagues…

80 Comments

Sheffield Cathedral to rebuild its music department

Earlier this week, Sheffield Cathedral issued this statement: Sheffield Cathedral Choir.

This prompted a large number of media reports, including:

Today the cathedral has published the full text of  The Dean’s Choir Address delivered at this morning’s Eucharist. It’s quite lengthy but I recommend reading it right through.

29 Comments

Opinion – 25 July 2020

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Conflicts of Interest and Church Discipline

Chris Phillips All Things Lawful And Honest Listening to the Laity

Meg Warner The Tablet Worship behind closed doors?
[Free registration is required to access this article.]

10 Comments

Lord Carlile questions lawfulness of Percy safeguarding investigation

LORD CARLILE, a leading QC, has suggested that the safeguarding investigation into the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, is potentially unlawful…

The Church Times reports:  QC has doubts over Percy investigation.

Lord Carlile is quoted as follows:

Speaking on Monday, he said: “I do not believe that the Church has got to grips with the fundamental principles of adversary justice, one of which is that you must disclose the evidence that you have against someone, and give them an equal opportunity to be heard as those making the accusation.

“And you cannot give them an equal opportunity if there are conflicts of interest involved. Anyone with a conflict of interest must leave the deliberations and take no further part. This is what lawyers understand as the law of apparent bias. It’s not to say that such people are biased: that’s often misunderstood. It is the appearance of bias that matters.

“Having people on a core group with a conflict of interest is simply not sustainable and is, on the face of it, unlawful.

“And to fail to allow the person accused to represent themselves, or be represented, in the full knowledge of the accusation, is not sustainable, and is, on the face of it, unlawful.”

The report also includes this:

…In the mean time, senior figures at Christ Church are continuing, in the words of some observers, to “weaponise” the investigation. At a recent meeting, members of the Governing Body were reportedly told by senior figures in the dispute that, with “new students potentially arriving in the autumn, the Dean is a safeguarding risk”, and that they were “constantly monitoring the risks the Dean poses”.

As a consequence, the Dean asked the NST for an unequivocal statement that he was not a safeguarding risk. The NST has complied: a statement has been posted this week on the C of E website: “The safeguarding issues referred to the NST are being looked at by an independent investigator and we would like to stress there is no evidence at this time that the Dean presents a direct risk to any child or vulnerable adult. The referral is about whether safeguarding responsibilities were fulfilled.”

That statement can be found here:

Statement on Christ Church, Oxford

23/07/2020
The lead bishop for safeguarding, Jonathan Gibbs, has previously written a letter stating that the National Safeguarding Team (NST) has no view about, and is not involved in, the wider issues relating to the College and the Dean at Christ Church, Oxford and this remains the case.  The safeguarding issues referred to the NST are being looked at by an independent investigator and we would like to stress there is no evidence at this time that the Dean presents a direct risk to any child or vulnerable adult. The referral is about whether safeguarding responsibilities were fulfilled.

Along with this statement, the letter to the Church Times, was also published on the Church of England website  – this is the only place where updates on the independent investigation will appear. There have been no other briefings.

As Bishop Jonathan said in his letter there is no agenda behind this and we would like to thank all parties for their cooperation and hope that this safeguarding matter can be concluded quickly.

30 Comments

House of Bishops Meeting – 22 July 2020

Press release from the Church of England

House of Bishops Meeting – 22 July 2020
22/07/2020

A meeting of the House of Bishops took place today on Wednesday 22 of July 2020 (by Zoom)

Updates were given to House on a range of matters including an update by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally in her capacity as the Chair of the Recovery Group, on the Church’s activities relating to Covid. This was followed by an update from the Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, the Chair of the Vision and Strategy Group, and an update from the Bishop of Leeds on the emerging work plan for the Governance Review Group,

The House then turned its attention to Legislative Reform and Simplification. The House endorsed a proposal for a green paper to be issued on clergy terms of service. The House agreed that a report with recommendations for fresh legislation for pastoral reorganisation should be presented to Synod with a view to a draft Measure on pastoral reorganisation being brought to the synod.

The House endorsed the direction of travel relating to the planning for and establishment of an Archbishops’ Commission on Racism.

The House then turned its attention to the report from the Implementation and Dialogue Group, agreeing to publish the report and request that it go on the agenda of a future General Synod.

Further matters discussed at the meeting included Budgets, the Anglican Communion and an update on Safeguarding.

16 Comments

Opinion – 22 July 2020

Peter Anthony All Things Lawful And Honest Sound Bite Theology

Archbishop Cranmer Archbishops go on consecration strike – they will make no more bishops

Jason Loch A Venerable Puzzle The Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary And Episcopal Appointments

32 Comments

Some updates on safeguarding matters

Updated Wednesday afternoon

Several developments relating to safeguarding in the Church of England.

The Insurance Post reports that Ecclesiastical Insurance had an apologetically-worded statement in its annual report, published not long after its appearance at the IICSA hearings: Briefing: Ecclesiastical’s child abuse claims shame – CEO Hews’ admission too little too late? Scroll down in the article for the full text of the EIO statement.

The Church Times reports: Two members are removed from core group in Percy case, owing to conflict of interest

TWO members of the core group set up to examine accusations of safeguarding breaches by the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Dr Martyn Percy, have been removed after they were deemed to have a conflict of interest in the case, the National Safeguarding Team (NST) has confirmed…
…In May, Private Eye reported that the core group established by the NST of the Church of England earlier this year included two members of the college who had supported complaints against Dean Percy, including the Senior Censor, Professor Geraldine Johnson (News 29 May). The Dean is not represented on the core group, although one of the two college members was reportedly asked to represent him and declined. It is assumed that these are the two members removed from the core group…

The article goes on to report the question asked by Martin Sewell (and answered by the Bishop of Huddersfield) at the General Synod meeting on 11 July about whether, by including complainants in the core group, the Church had “embraced the concept of ‘unconscious bias'”.

Martin Sewell also had a letter in the Church Times last week Anonymity and representation in safeguarding (scroll down)

Sir, — The inauguration of the ministry of the new Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, was a great joy to many in the Church who know his writings and enthusiasm for spreading the gospel. It is a shame that, for reasons outside his control, it occurred under the shadow of the suspicion that he enjoyed the privilege of anonymity while a safeguarding complaint was considered against him, whereas Lord Carey found the fact of his investigation in the hands of the press within three hours of his being notified.
This was wholly unnecessary. Had the recommendations of the C­­­arlile report been accepted and implemented in full, everyone under inquiry would have enjoyed anonymity pending investigation and there would have been a level playing field for both men.
Furthermore, Lord Carlile recommended that the respondent be given representation at the core group table: a recommendation that, had it been implemented, would have avoided the current débâcle over Dean Percy. In his report on Bishop Bell, Lord Carlile wrote: “There was no discussion whatsoever of the need to ensure the justice of the case by examining the facts from Bishop Bell’s standpoint. This issue seems to have been totally abandoned.”
One suspects that this is equally true in the Percy case, but we cannot know, as the Dean is refused access to the minutes.
Finally, the House Bishops Guidelines have not been updated over two years after they accepted the Carlile recommendations — except the one about anonymity –though they have applied that one in favour of someone they wish to advance.
I hope and believe that Archbishop Cottrell has the commitment to justice to drive forward the necessary change, by implementing all review recommendations, from the office to which he has now been called.

Stephen Parsons at Surviving Church has a detailed further analysis of the NST’s Core Groups and the Carlisle recommendations in Revisiting the Carlile Review: A Critique of Church Core Groups? This deserves reading in full, but he concludes thus:

…Can we detect in any way that the Core Group was being ‘managed’ to satisfy the needs of the Church communications department and its desire for good PR?  Were the Archbishop and Bishop of Chichester making statements suggested to them by their highly remunerated reputation managers?  If Carlile’s critical Review is pointing us in this direction, then it follows that similar pressures will also be at work in the 2020 Percy Group.  Are Core Groups, in other words, subject to being managed to suit the purposes of the reputation launderers working for the Church? In the comments I made about Bishop Jonathan’s responses to questions at the recent Synod, I suggested that the management of safeguarding issues was being handed over to a team of lawyers.  Such lawyers would be the ones seeking to defend the Church and protect its good name.  Now, after reading the Carlile report again, I am left wondering whether it is in fact the power of reputation managers and communication departments that we see operating behind the scenes and making the decisions for our Church.  If that is the case, then our Church will not be taking too seriously the cause of transparency, justice and truth.  These and other Christian values like honesty and right dealing may only ever be paraded in public when they can serve the purposes of good PR!

This rereading of the Carlile report and the way that it revealed rampant ‘unconscious bias’, to quote from Martin Sewell’s question at last Synod, allows us to point once again to our ongoing concerns over the Percy Core Group. Conflicts of interest still abound there. Quite apart from the inappropriate placing of two complainants in the Group, there are the collusions we have pointed to before between firms of lawyers, reputation managers and those at Christ Church who have manipulated the Church and the NST to operate in their interests. If the incompetence of the Bell Core Group was a scandal, the sheer apparent malevolence at work in this present Percy Group is one which is driving out all pretensions to ethical behaviour and Christian values. We seem to be witnessing evil and corruption on a grand scale. Will the Church at the national level be able to rescue this situation and allow it to come through this appalling crisis?

Update

There is a further article today, by Martin Sewell at Archbishop Cranmer:
Martyn Percy is challenging an entire cultural mindset of establishment privilege.

15 Comments

Tony Blair And The Bishopric Of Liverpool

In 1997 Prime Minister Tony Blair vetoed the Church of England’s nominee for the Bishopric of Liverpool. The incident has largely faded from the public consciousness, but thanks to documents inadvertently released by the Cabinet Office Jason Loch can now show us some of the behind-the-scenes drama of this remarkable event. Read it here: Tony Blair And The Bishopric Of Liverpool.

36 Comments