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Updated again Wednesday evening
The Church of England has issued this Statement on Christ Church, Oxford:
Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop said: “An independent investigation into allegations that the Dean, Martyn Percy, failed to fulfil his safeguarding responsibilities has concluded the Dean acted entirely appropriately in each case. The National Safeguarding Team, NST, followed the House of Bishops guidance when the four separate allegations were referred earlier in the year relating to the Dean, a senior office holder. At no point was there any allegation or evidence that the Dean presented a direct risk to any child or vulnerable adult.
I am aware this has been a very difficult time for all parties, particularly Martyn and his family, and I would like to thank everyone for their cooperation. There will of course be lessons to learn about the processes, as there are with any safeguarding case, and that is an essential part of our guidance to make the Church a safer place for all. We welcome the Dean’s commitment to taking part in this. Now the investigation has concluded and the Dean has been exonerated of these safeguarding allegations, the NST’s involvement has come to an end. I continue to pray for his ministry and the life of the Cathedral and its mission in the diocese and wider Church.
As I have said before, the 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 Diocese of Oxford has issued this Statement on Christ Church, Oxford from the Bishop of Oxford
The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy
Statement on Christ Church, Oxford from the Bishop of Oxford
8 September 2020
In March this year it was alleged that the Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy, a senior member of the clergy and Dean of Christ Church Oxford, had not fulfilled his safeguarding responsibilities. The National Safeguarding Team (NST) duly appointed an independent safeguarding person, who was asked to investigate and report back. The report has concluded that the Dean acted entirely appropriately in each case. The Bishop of Oxford has issued the following statement:
“I welcome the news that the investigation by the National Safeguarding Team (NST) has concluded and that Martyn is exonerated. The investigation process was not without pain, and could have been concluded more quickly, but it is entirely right that allegations against clergy and church officers are properly investigated when they are made. This investigation brings full closure to the matter put before the NST, though these continue to be testing times for all at Christ Church. My prayers remain with Martyn and Emma, the Chapter and wider College at the start of this new academic year.”
The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford
The Church Times has published this news report: Dean Percy exonerated over safeguarding charges. This rehearses a good deal of the background.
Christ Church has now issued this: Statement from Christ Church on Church of England Safeguarding Investigation.
8 September 2020
“The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has announced the outcome of its independent investigation into the handling of four disclosures to the Dean of Christ Church, made by survivors of sexual assault. The NST has now informed Christ Church that its report concludes there has been no breach of the Church of England’s protocols.
“Safeguarding is of the utmost importance at Christ Church, and it is our obligation to report such concerns appropriately. After a query from a national newspaper regarding a serious sexual assault, an independent QC advised that a referral should be made to the Church of England as the handling of such disclosures fell within its jurisdiction. It is vital that everyone has the confidence to report safeguarding concerns. We will be reviewing the NST’s findings with regard to Christ Church’s safeguarding responsibilities.
“Our thoughts are with all survivors of abuse. If anyone affected by this news requires support, they should contact the police or the relevant safeguarding authority.
Martin Sewell has written at Archbishop Cranmer: Church of England clears Martyn Percy of all safeguarding allegations.
Harriet Sherwood writes in the Guardian: Church clears Oxford college dean after ‘black ops campaign to discredit him’.
Headline later changed to Church clears Oxford college dean over alleged safeguarding failures.
The Times Dean of Christ Church Oxford cleared of safeguarding failures
Stephen Parsons Loose ends in the Martyn Percy Affair.
The consultation paper is here:
Getting Married: A Consultation Paper on Weddings Law.
The consultation questionnaire is linked from this page.
Links to Welsh versions and other related documents are here.
The consultation document is very long indeed, but there is a helpful precis of what it is about here:
Law & Religion UK Reforming wedding law in England & Wales.
There are some media reports here:
Church Times Law Commission suggests sweeping marriage reforms
Religion Media Centre Wedding reform proposals allow humanist legally binding ceremonies
And there is some theological comment on the topic by Nicholas Henshall at Via Media Worldly Weddings – To Bless or Not to Bless?8 Comments
William Davage All Things Lawful And Honest By Law Established
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House of Bishops meeting Friday 4 September 2020
A meeting of the House of Bishops took place today Friday 4 September 2020 via Zoom.
In its first meeting following the Summer break, the House heard more about the shape and structure of the various workstreams which come under the auspices of the Emerging Church initiative. These are now well established and making good progress, with several due to report at the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.
Specific updates were given from the chairs of the Governance group, the Vision and Strategy group and the Transforming Effectiveness group. The House looked ahead to the detailed discussion of the Vision and Strategy workstream which will take place at a virtual meeting attended by the College of Bishops and others, led by the Archbishop of York later this month.
The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally in her capacity as Chair of the Recovery Group updated the House regarding the progress made by churches across the country in re-opening Church buildings following the lifting of the lockdown restrictions. Bishop Sarah also reviewed the national picture of the online church services and other events which have been taking place in many hundreds of communities during the lockdown.
The current position of the Church of England with respect to the distribution of Holy Communion and the use of the Common Cup during Covid was then discussed with further reflection, discussion and work on this matter planned for future meetings.
A forward look towards Autumn and the remainder of 2020 was then given on a range of subjects including the publication of LLF resources, safeguarding matters, the Archbishop’s Commission on Racism and the Autumn Synod.27 Comments
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