This afternoon the Archbishop of Canterbury outlined changes to the Lambeth Calls process; details are on the Conference website and are copied below.
Lambeth Calls – An update on the process
In this afternoon’s Lambeth Calls session on Safe Church, Archbishop Justin outlined some changes to the Lambeth Calls process.
The Bishops will continue to discuss the calls at their tables, recording feedback and observations, and this will be given to the group working on Phase 3 of the Conference so that the voices of bishops will be heard as the process continues. Six groups will have the opportunity to give verbal feedback during each session, on a randomly selected basis.
However, having listened to the bishops, Archbishop Justin advised delegates that electronic recording of choices will not be in place for the remaining calls, an announcement that was greeted with supportive applause.
An opportunity will be given at the end of each session for a verbal indication of agreement. If the calls gain clear assent they will be sent forward for further work.
31 July 2022
For reference the arrangements before today’s changes are here.
Today’s session was the second Lambeth Call. The first Call (on Mission and Evangelism) was yesterday and details are here. It is interesting to note that 464 Bishops
voted responded to the Call. Since there are more than 600 bishops at the conference it appears that a substantial number failed to respond in any of the three ways available.
Savitri Hensman Ekklesia Cloaking prejudice in the guise of anti-racism
Simon Butler ViaMedia.News Purist, Principled, Pragmatic? A Good Friday Agreement for the Church of England
Fiona Gardner Surviving Church Institutional Betrayal – compounding the Trauma
Jarel Robinson-Brown OneBodyOneFaith Bishops, where on earth are you?
Martyn Percy Modern Church Lambeth Conferences and Calls – A Lessons Learned Review33 Comments
Updated Friday evening
text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s first Keynote Address (delivered Friday evening)
The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches issued this press release earlier today: Orthodox Bishops to offer their own ‘Lambeth Resolution’ re- affirming Lambeth 1.10 & will not receive holy communion alongside gay-partnered bishops. It starts:
ORTHODOX bishops at the Lambeth Conference – representing 75% of the Anglican Communion – announced today (29JUL) that they will be tabling their own ‘Lambeth Resolution (Call)’. They will invite fellow bishops, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, to re-affirm Lambeth Resolution 1.10 as the Anglican Communion’s ‘official teaching’ on marriage and sexuality.
The bishops also want the Communion to impose sanctions on Provinces which ordain bishops in same-sex relations, and conduct same sex weddings – something which has led to schism in the Church. They have also revealed that at the two Conference’ Eucharists at Canterbury Cathedral, orthodox bishops will not receive Holy Communion alongside gay-partnered bishops, and those who endorse same-sex unions in the Church’s faith and order. They shall remain seated.
There is a Church Times report: Lambeth 2022: Global South Bishops press for re-affirmation of Resolution 1.10.
There is a Live Stream Programme. It starts with a keynote address by The Archbishop of Canterbury at 1945 today (Friday 29 July).
Anglican Communion News Service Anglican Bishops from around the world gather for the 15th Lambeth Conference
Episcopal News Service With same-sex marriage in the spotlight, where does it stand across the Anglican Communion?
Giles Fraser UnHerd Why is the Church obsessed with gay sex?
St Chrysostom’s Church, Manchester UK Polygamy, Reincarnation, Traditional African Religions and…Lambeth
Religion Media Centre ‘It may be time to pull the plug’ on the Lambeth Conference
report of an interview with Diarmaid MacCulloch
Prospect Magazine Brief Encounter: Justin Welby
“The Archbishop of Canterbury reflects on his regrets, what he’s changed his mind about and unexpected reactions to sermons”
LGBTQ Faith UK Asking the wrong question
Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The hidden Cost of an NDA in the Church of England
Mark Hill Law & Religion UK Principles of Canon Law and the Mind of the Anglican Communion
Charlie Bell ViaMedia.News Lambeth: Colonialism, Power and Pawns73 Comments
Following the controversy over the text of the Lambeth Calls to be considered at the Lambeth Conference that starts today (see the many links and comments on my earlier post here), a revised version of the Calls was issued today. The press release is copied below. The original Lambeth Calls Guidance and Study Documents is here.
Text of Calls to be discussed at Lambeth Conference published
The Calls which will be discussed by bishops from around the world at the Lambeth Conference 2022, which begins in Canterbury this week, have been published.
The document Lambeth Calls includes revisions to a number of draft Lambeth Calls which were released last week as part of Lambeth Calls: Guidance and Study Documents.
It includes revisions to the Call on Human Dignity, agreed by the drafting group following consideration of widespread responses from bishops and others.
There are also revisions to the draft Calls on Discipleship, Mission and Evangelism and Inter Faith Relations.
Bishop Tim Thornton, Chair of the Lambeth Conference’s Lambeth Calls Subgroup, said:
“We have listened carefully and prayerfully to what bishops and many others have said in response to the draft Calls, especially that on Human Dignity. Archbishop Justin has invited the bishops of the Anglican Communion to come together as a family to listen, pray and discern – sometimes across deeply-held differences.
It is our prayer that these Calls can offer a basis for those conversations – and that all of our discussions will be marked by the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
Please continue to pray for us that we may continue to listen, walk and witness together.”
Notes to Editors:
During the conference bishops will consider each of the Calls together and will then be able to respond with one of three options:
Calls chosen by the bishops at the conference will be formally issued in the report of the Lambeth Conference 2022.68 Comments
In view of the references now being made to the 1998 conference, and in particular to the adoption then of Resolution I.10, I thought it might be helpful to reproduce the commentary on the latter that I wrote at the time.
The full extent of those reports can still be found on the web, here: Unofficial News from the Lambeth Conference. But to save you ploughing through all of that, I have extracted those parts which relate specifically to the debates on sexuality, and put them into a PDF, which is available here. As you can see, if you are bothered to look, it was far from a straightforward process to agree what emerged.20 Comments
Chantal Noppen ViaMedia.News The Actual Value of Women
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love General Synod chaplain resigns under homophobic pressure
Fergus Butler-Gallie Church Times Sacramental eavesdropping
‘Jonathan’ Surviving Church My Experience with an NDA in the Church of England8 Comments
The 2022 Lambeth Conference opens on 26 July.
Anglican Communion News Service A message from the Archbishop of Canterbury to bishops attending the Lambeth Conference
Guide to the Lambeth Conference
Draft Lambeth Conference ‘call’ threatens to reignite 1998 row over homosexuality
Lambeth ’22 can resolve divisions if you are gracious and bold, Anis tells Global South bishops
John Harvey Taylor Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles The Bishop’s Blog: Bait-and-switch Lambeth Conference
Church of England press release Living in Love and Faith Next Steps Group Statement on the Lambeth Calls
clarkinholyorders The Commonwealth of Heaven The mind of the Anglican Communion?
Kirk Petersen The Living Church Bishops Object to Lambeth Proposal on Sexuality
Mary Frances Schjonberg Episcopal News Service After LGBTQ+ resolutions smoothly moved through #GC80, Anglicanism’s human sexuality debate returns ahead of Lambeth Conference
Jennifer A Reddall Episcopal Diocese of Arizona The Lambeth Calls for Whom?
Marcus Green The Possibility of Difference Lambeth Walking?
Kelvin Holdsworth The Lambeth Conference: Homophobic by Design
David Hamid Eurobishop The mind of the Communion
Stephen London Anglican Diocese of Edmonton Bishop’s Statement on Lambeth Calls
Susan Brown Snook Episcopal Diocese of San Diego Lambeth Calls
Bishops of the Church in Wales Draft Lambeth Call “undermines and subverts” LGBT+ people – Bishops
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love An Open Letter to the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England
Mark D W Edington The Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe Lambeth Stuff
Andrew Nunn Reflections from the Dean of Southwark Lambeth calling … London calling
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Lambeth Call on Human Dignity draft didn’t include Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 [includes statement by Bishop Kevin Robertson]
Bishop of Ely and Bishop of Huntingdon Lambeth Conference 2022 – Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Ely
Religion Media Centre Fury at inclusion of same sex marriage ban on Lambeth conference agenda
Affirming Catholicism Open letter to the archbishops and bishops attending the 2022 Lambeth Conference
Church Times Lambeth Resolution 1.10 ‘was not discussed’ in human dignity drafting group
Barbara Gauthier Anglican Mainstream Lambeth Calls: Can a Church truly deal with the brokenness of the world if she herself is broken?
The Guardian The Guardian view on the Lambeth conference: don’t make it about sexuality
The Guardian Motion to oppose same-sex marriage forces rethink of Anglican summit
Michael Curry The Episcopal Church Statement from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Lambeth Calls
Bishop Tim Thornton Chair of the Lambeth Calls Subgroup Statement on Lambeth Calls
Church Times Lambeth attempts to head off sexuality row in Canterbury with new draft
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Revisiting the Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 plenary session
Modern Church The Lambeth Conference: Modern Church’s Response
The Church Times today has several items about safeguarding in the Church of England. Each of them is worth reading in full. Here are the links, with only brief quotes from each.
SURVIVORS of church-based abuse and their advocates have expressed dismay both at further delays to the national redress scheme promised by the Church of England and that the cost of it is to be met by dioceses and PCCs…
…In a written question to the General Synod, published two days before the meeting in York, Tina Nay (Chichester) asked whether the timeline for the full redress scheme was on track, in line with the “15 to 18 months” given by the lead bishop for safeguarding, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, in a BBC interview in October 2020.
Responding, Dr Gibbs wrote that the comments had been made before a project team had been employed (in April 2021), and that, having researched other schemes of a similar scale, and owing to a planned procurement process and possible legislation, the full scheme was now due to be final completed in 2024 or 2025, with a pilot phase to be completed in 2023…
Links to items mentioned in this article
- General Synod Questions and Answers on Safeguarding
- Update on national Redress Scheme 06/07/2022
- Letter from Andrew Graystone (scroll down) which concludes this way
…Still more alarming was the news from the Chair of the Finance Committee that the costs of redress will not be met wholly by the Church Commissioners, but by individual parishes, dioceses, cathedrals, colleges, and so on. Nothing in the Church’s recent history of caring for victims suggests that this will go well. When the scheme eventually opens, I fear that we will see an ugly and protracted scramble as each institution seeks to minimise its responsibilities. Some colleges, cathedrals, and dioceses that are likely to face multiple claims, such as Sheffield, Chester, and Chichester, may well be bankrupted by it. More importantly, this process will pitch survivors into a nightmare of long and costly legal battles, sometimes with multiple church bodies.This is not what redress should look like. The re-dressing of survivors’ wounds is not a drag on resources, but a missional opportunity for the national Church. It is a chance to do justice, and to begin to reverse the mainstream perception that the Church doesn’t care for those whom it has wounded.Where the national Church is serious about missional issues such as racial justice or the environment, funds are provided by the Church Commissioners. Surely, we need the same commitment from the Commissioners, together with a far greater urgency, in doing justice for those whose lives have been devastated by their contact with the Church.
A COMPLAINT by a survivor of clerical abuse that the first chair of the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB), Professor Maggie Atkinson, broke data-protection rules during their correspondence, has been upheld by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)….
And, by the way, the twice promised website for the ISB has still not yet appeared at the time of writing.
There is a further letter to the editor, just below the one from Andrew Graystone. This one is from David Lamming about the ISB, and its role in relation to the Christ Church Oxford dispute. He concludes:
…There is a clear need for the fully independent inquiry that Dr Percy is seeking. The problem is that the issue is at one and the same time too small and too big. It is too small to justify a formal inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 (which would need to be ordered by a government minister), such as the current Infected Blood inquiry. But, in embracing both Christ Church Cathedral and the College, it is too big for either to handle.
Moreover, any inquiry would need to investigate the role of Oxford diocese and the NST as an agent of the Archbishops’ Council. All these bodies are charities, and it is for this reason, I suggest, that the Charity Commission should step in and appoint a judge-led or senior-lawyer-led inquiry with wide terms of reference. Only such an inquiry would be truly independent and command the necessary confidence.
Helen King sharedconversations A Synod Divided: York Minster on Sunday
and From a tree to a window to an installation: the visual messages of Living in Love and Faith
Emma Percy Women and the Church The CNC elections and fair appointments?
Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The cosmos, planet earth, consciousness, and energy – life’s spiritual adventure21 Comments
National survivor survey to inform Church’s safeguarding work
A vital national survey to understand how victims and survivors would like to be involved in the development and implementation of a Church of England survivor engagement framework, has been launched today. This framework will set out how victims and survivors of abuse will inform the Church’s work to develop and improve safeguarding.
The anonymous survey will run for two months and is open to any victim or survivor who would like to engage with the Church to inform its work. The questions were formed with survivors who have provided valuable input and feedback in terms of content and promotion of the survey.
The National Safeguarding Team (NST) is committed to the development and implementation of this framework with victims and survivors. The Team already engages regularly with a number of victims and survivors and wishes to see more people engaged with different strands of its work.
The survey is not about asking questions relating to victims and survivors’ past or present experiences of abuse, harm or neglect but to understand better how victims and survivors would like to be involved in developing the framework, in what ways and what formats. Its purpose is to listen to victims and survivors, including those who have not engaged with the Church previously, about how they would like to be involved in developing and implementing this framework and enable victims and survivors of any form of abuse to engage in different workstreams in the Church, including its response to victims and survivors of abuse.
The anonymous survey is available on the survivor engagement webpage of Church of England’s website and runs for two months from 19 July until 18 September 2022. Learning from the survey will inform a publicly accessible report, which will include key themes and next steps to develop the framework and will be published on the same webpage.
Bishop Julie Conalty, deputy lead safeguarding bishop for survivor engagement said: “The survivor voice is vital to our ongoing safeguarding work in the Church. It is not just about listening but acting on what we hear. This survey is part of the Church’s commitment to meaningful, transparent and impactful survivor engagement work. I hope we can learn from those who come forward and share their views to develop this new framework.”
Survivor engagement is about enabling survivors and victims of any form of abuse to have a say and active role in making the Church of England a safer place for all.
In November 2021, the National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG) endorsed NST’s strategy to develop a survivor engagement framework.9 Comments
I missed the announcements at the time, but the Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, will retire on 18 October 2022, and the Rt Revd Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough, in January 2023.
It was also announced today that the Rt Revd Mark Ashcroft, suffragan Bishop of Bolton in the diocese of Manchester, will retire in February 2023.10 Comments
Andrew Goddard Psephizo Bullying in the Church of England: Theological and Ethical Perspectives
Ian Paul Psephizo What does ordination training need to include?42 Comments
Appointment of the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary: 15 July 2022
The Prime Minister has announced that he has appointed Mr Jonathan Hellewell, L.V.O., to be the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary.
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 15 July 2022
The Prime Minister has announced that he has appointed Mr Jonathan Hellewell, L.V.O., to be the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary following the retirement of Richard Tilbrook, C.V.O., at the end of June. Mr Tilbrook will continue part-time as Clerk to the Privy Council and retain responsibility for the appointment of Lord- Lieutenants.
Mr Hellewell will work with the Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary on the consultations for diocesan bishop and Crown deanery appointments, attending meetings of the Crown Nominations Commission.
Mrs Helen Dimmock in the Cabinet Office remains responsible for parochial appointments where the Crown or Lord Chancellor is patron and will continue with some deanery appointments.
Mr Hellewell is a serving civil servant, having been Director of Honours and Information in the Cabinet Office since the end of January, just as Richard Tilbrook was responsible for the honours system prior to serving as Appointments Secretary. Mr Hellewell has previously worked in Number 10 Downing Street under Prime Ministers Johnson and May, including in the Policy Unit as Head of the Civil Society Unit and as the Prime Minister’s Faith Adviser. He has also served as Assistant Private Secretary to HRH The Prince of Wales for 8 years, and ran the Lambeth Trust, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s personal charity. He was appointed a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, an honour in the personal gift of The Queen, in 2015.
The competition to appoint the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary was externally advertised and was overseen by the Civil Service Commission.13 Comments
Simon Gallagher appointed Director of Central Secretariat for the Archbishops’ Council and Clerk to the Synod
Simon Gallagher, Director of Planning at the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities, has been appointed Director of the Archbishops’ Council Central Secretariat and Clerk to the Synod.
Simon has been in his current role since June 2016, responsible for advising ministers on planning policy and practice. He has been a civil servant since 1993 in a range of economic and financial policy roles in a number of departments, most recently as Deputy Director for Welfare Spending and Reform at HM Treasury and as Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Berlin.
In his new role, Simon will lead a team of nine. The Central Secretariat oversees policy work on how the Church organises and governs itself and provides governance support and event management to the Archbishops’ Council and other Church governance bodies including the General Synod and the House of Bishops. As Clerk to the Synod, Simon will be the senior administrator of the Synod’s business under the Secretary General.
Simon will also work closely with Stephanie Harrison, Director of the Governance Project, the secretariat of the Church Commissioners, and other parts of the NCIs to support the implementation of the outcomes of the review into how the national Church institutions are governed.
Simon takes over from Becky Clark, Director of Churches and Cathedrals who has been Acting Director of the Archbishops’ Council Central Secretariat since Jacqui Philips’ departure earlier this year. Becky leaves the NCIs later this month to start a new role with the Falkland Islands Government.
Commenting on his appointment, Simon Gallagher said:
“I am excited to be joining the NCIs at this time as Director of Central Secretariat and Clerk to the Synod. The mission of the church in this country is critical and I look forward to supporting it professionally.”
William Nye, Secretary General for the Archbishops’ Council, said:
“I am delighted to welcome someone of Simon’s experience of policy and mission to the NCIs. We have an exciting agenda ahead of us, supporting the Church’s ambitious Vision and Strategy for the 2020s and work on proposals for reforming the governance of the national Church institutions. In addition, Simon will play a vital role in delivering the work essential to the smooth running of governing bodies such as that we saw at General Synod in York.
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank Dr Jacqui Philips for her splendid service as Director of the Central Secretariat, and Becky Clark for graciously taking on the role recently in parallel to her job as Director of Churches and Cathedrals, and Jenny Jacobs who has been Acting Clerk to the Synod. We wish Jacqui and Becky well for all their future endeavours.”
Simon starts his new role in the autumn.0 Comments
House of Bishops – Thursday 14 July 2022
The House of Bishops met for its July meeting by Zoom.
The meeting began with an update from the Bishop of Bristol in her capacity as Deputy Lead Bishop on Safeguarding. An overview was given on current work being done on the culture of the Church and suggested ways to embed and support safeguarding throughout the Church.
The House was then introduced to a draft reflection resource for the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) process , designed to prompt reflection during the upcoming discernment process of LLF. The House was invited to share comments and feedback on the reflection over the coming weeks.
The House was then given an update on racial justice including progress made on the recommendations of The Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Taskforce report From Lament to Action as well as the recently published first biennial report of the Archbishops Commission for Racial Justice.
The House then reviewed how the Vision and Strategy and Ministry Developments teams are working together with diocesan teams to ensure the new national Church spending plans, recently welcomed by the General Synod, works most effectively. The House was asked to contribute to the discussion, shaping the design of the new investment programme, prior to decisions being taken by the Archbishops Council later in the year.
The House was then given a brief update and discussion on the Transforming Effectiveness work being done in Eastern and West Midlands regions with a view to future collaboration and opportunities . There was also an oral update on Bishops finances and zero based forecasting on finances as well as on See Houses.
The Bishop of Stepney then addressed the House on the Seal of the Confessional. She informed the House of the decision to commission further work regarding best practice in the hearing of oral confession, within the Sacramental Ministry of Confession and Absolution, ahead of the final report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). The House was invited to comment on the working group and its draft terms of reference.
The meeting ended in prayer.3 Comments
The election of the central members of the Crown Nominations Commission for 2022-2027 took place at General Synod on Sunday and the results were announced yesterday. Following recent changes to standing orders these members are now elected in pairs of clergy or laity. Although all Synod members (other than bishops) vote for all six pairs, there is a constraint that there must be three clergy pairs and three laity pairs. For any particular episcopal vacancy only one member of each pair may serve on the CNC; in general the two members of the pair will decide between themselves which one it will be. Details are in standing orders 136-141A.
Those elected were:
The Revd Claire Lording (Worcester) and The Revd Joanna Stobart (Bath & Wells)
The Revd Esther Prior (Guildford) and The Revd Lis Goddard (London)
The Revd Paul Benfield (Blackburn) and The Revd Canon Andrew Cornes (Chichester)
Ms Christina Baron (Bath & Wells) and Miss Venessa Pinto (Leicester)
Miss Debbie Buggs (London) and Miss Prudence Dailey (Oxford)
Mr Temitope Taiwo (London) and Mr Clive Scowen (London)
The election was carried out using the single transferable vote and there is a spreadsheet available with all the details.
The spreadsheet does not indicate whether the pairs are clergy (C) or lay (L), so I have added this to the list below of all those who stood for election.
C: Andrew Steward Dotchin, Joshua Christian Askwith
L: Venessa Pinto, Christina Baron
C: Andrew Charles Julian Cornes, Paul John Benfield
L: Prudence Dailey, Debbie Buggs
L: Nicola Jane Denyer, Mary Felicity Cooke
L: Nadine Daniel, Jane Catherine Evans
L: Benjamin John, Rebecca Hunt
C: Jonathan Stevens, Sarah Jackson
C: Robert Thompson, Anderson H M Jeremiah
C: Jo Stobart, Claire Lording
L: Nick Land, Matt Orr
C: Elisabeth Ann Goddard, Esther Tamisa Prior
C: Nick Weir, Jack Shepherd
L: Clive Richard Scowen, Temitope Stephen Taiwo
Note: The standing orders linked to above do not yet contain the changes made this week regarding the CNC membership for Canterbury.55 Comments
Appointment of Dean of York: 13 July 2022
The Queen has approved the nomination of The Very Reverend Dominic Matthew Jesse Barrington, Dean of St James Cathedral, Chicago, for election as Dean of York.
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 13 July 2022
The Queen has approved the nomination of The Very Reverend Dominic Matthew Jesse Barrington, Dean of St James Cathedral, Chicago, for election as Dean of York, in succession to The Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Frost following his appointment as Bishop of Portsmouth.
Dominic was educated at Hatfield College, Durham, and trained for ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. He served his title in the Mortlake with East Sheen Team Ministry, in the Diocese of Southwark, and was ordained Priest in 1996.
In 1998, Dominic was appointed Chaplain of St Chad’s College, Durham. In 2003, he became Priest-in-Charge of St Peter and St Paul with St Michael, Kettering, in the Diocese of Peterborough, before being appointed Rector of the benefice in 2010.
In 2015, Dominic moved to his current role as Dean of St James Cathedral, Chicago, in The Episcopal Church in the United States.35 Comments
Questions continue to be asked about whether the Independent Safeguarding Board is indeed independent in any meaningful sense. The most recent example was Question 5 which was answered last night by the Bishop of Rochester as shown below.
Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q5 When interviewed by the BBC Sunday programme about the refusal of victim Matt Ineson to co-operate with the Review into his own case, Public Inquiry Specialist and regulatory expert Kate Blackwell QC identified the necessary features of best practice for such a review as follows:
1. It must be search for the truth to shed light on what has gone wrong;
2. Scrutiny of complex issues should be done through a panel of independent experts each bringing levels of excellence from various perspectives;
3. It goes without saying that the panel must have complete independence from any party; and
4. It must engender complete faith in the survivors.
She publicly opined that the Devamannikam Review did not meet those standards and the victim has refused to participate.
Did the Archbishops Council specifically consider each of these principles before determining that the Independent Safeguarding Board was the optimal forum in which to address the various complaints of Dr Martyn Percy that for four years, he has been the victim of institutional bullying within the Christ Church Foundation in which several Oxford clergy and Diocesan advisors are alleged to have participated?
A The ISB exists to provide independent scrutiny and oversight of the Churchs safeguarding activity, to hold the Church to account for our actions as part of the ISBs remit to learn lessons from safeguarding matters. Given its remit the ISBs view was that there were likely to be lessons to be learned, the Archbishops Council and the Diocese of Oxford referred to the ISB the Churchs safeguarding activities in the last two years with respect to Dr Martyn Percy and Christ Church Oxford. They considered that it would be within the ISBs remit and the expertise of its members. They did not specifically consider the contents of the interview by Dr Blackwell. This is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all the issues around Christ Church. That would go well beyond the remit of the ISB. It is not, nor intended to be, a public inquiry.
Overnight, Martin Sewell has written to his GS colleagues:
Dear GS friends,
At Q&As yesterday I raised the issue that the ISB had transitioned from being a body scoping out its plans for future activity in February, to becoming, a few weeks later, a fully functioning Independent regulator, self confident ( despite no prior experience in the role) to invent its own Terms of Reference , its own process and implementing that in connection with the most complex case to arrive in the CofE for decades.
Evidently it thinks it needs neither the support of a supportive steering group which the Reviewer in the Fr Alan Griffin recorded he found so valuable, neither is there a quality assurance process in place. Already it has fallen foul of the Information Commissioner for mishandling data. There has been an adverse adjudication.
I asked Bp Jonathan how we could hold the ISB accountable and was told that that ship had sailed; it is asserted that it is now fully independent and beyond our reach.
I and others are by no means clear that this has actually constitutionally happened yet and if so, how? How did it make that leap without any decision recorded by Archbishops’ Council, or indeed General Synod ? There is no Measure handing away authority, so we all remain in the dark. What happened to the scrutiny stage? Where was the approval of this process? How did all this happen without any accountability?
As you know, some of us recently asked such questions in two letters to Archbishops’ Council and have yet to receive any meaningful response. The matter is not resting there.
I enclose a detailed letter sent to the Archbishops and ISB late yesterday evening by lawyers instructed by Dr. Percy; the letter is drawn by people who actually possess significant skills and experience in the field of devising and conducting proper fair functional reviews – and it shows.
I invite you to read it before the Safeguarding debate and ask the five questions devised by the late Tony Benn to ask of those in power.
What power have you got ?
Where did you get it from ?
In whose interests do you use it ?
To whom are you accountable?
How do we get rid of you?
Put bluntly by asking detailed informed questions, Dr Percy’s lawyers are undertaking the due diligence work that ought properly have been done by the members General Synod, but we have been sidelined. That is unacceptable and it will not end well
The ISB cannot hold the confidence of anyone subjected to its process until all these questions have been resolved. Members of the House of Clergy representing those most at risk ought properly to take this especially seriously.
Do read the letter , it is thorough forensic and powerful. We need answers.
Claire Lording ViaMedia.News Wanting to be One: The Rural Church Today
Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Clergy Conduct Measure
Sorrel Shamel-Wood ViaMedia.News An End to an Injustice: And the Start of a Campaign
Angela Tilby Church Times Dr Francis-Dehqani’s calm voice of hope for the C of E4 Comments