Thinking Anglicans

Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney suspended

Update

There has been a second press release (and the Church Times article has been updated).

Bishop’s suspension is lifted after appeal lodged
August 10, 2022

The suspension of the Rt Rev Anne Dyer has been lifted with immediate effect, after the Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney gave notice of an appeal against the decision to suspend her from office.

It was announced earlier that Bishop Anne had been suspended by the Primus, Bishop Mark Strange, while canonical process takes place following receipt of formal complaints alleging misconduct by the Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney.

The suspension ceases to have effect until the appeal is determined by the Episcopal Synod. It is expected that a meeting of the Episcopal Synod will be arranged as soon as possible.

Press release from the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Canonical process confirmed in Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney
August 10, 2022

The Scottish Episcopal Church can confirm that two formal complaints have been received which allege misconduct by the Rt Rev Anne Dyer, Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney.

Due process will now follow, through the clergy disciplinary canon.

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop Mark Strange, has suspended the Bishop from office until further notice, following commencement of the disciplinary process.

The suspension will be kept under regular review. It does not constitute disciplinary action and does not imply any assumption that misconduct has been committed.

The Rt Rev Dr John Armes, Bishop of Edinburgh, will serve as Acting Bishop of the Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney during this suspension while continuing his duties in the Diocese of Edinburgh, and an Acting Convener will be appointed to the Institute Council.

The Primus said: “The decision to suspend has been taken bearing in mind the interests of both those making the accusations and Bishop Anne.

“I would now ask that those who pray, pray now for the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney, for those personally involved in this process, and for Bishop John. Please allow the process to follow its path without speculation or pre-judgment so that, at the end, all have been heard and all have been respected.”

The complaints will be considered in the first instance by the Preliminary Proceedings Committee. The full disciplinary process is detailed under Canon 54 of the Scottish Episcopal Church Code of Canons.

The independent mediation process set up in October last year in response to difficulties experienced in the Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney is expected to be put on hold pending the outcome of the disciplinary process.

The Church Times reports this with background information: Bishop Dyer is suspended from duty in Aberdeen & Orkney.

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Archbishops’ Council and ISB: letter to Charity Commission

We have reported previously on the issue of whether the Independent Safeguarding Board is indeed an independent body in any meaningful sense. See below for links to earlier articles.

Martin Sewell has written a Letter to the Charity Commission setting out in comprehensive detail (13 pages) the relationship between the Archbishops’ Council and the Independent Safeguarding Board. This has now been copied to the Secretary General (William Nye) and all members of the Council.

It is well worth taking the time to read the whole letter, which urges the Charity Commission to investigate further the operations of the Archbishops’ Council. The letter also notes (para 34):

I am sharing this letter with some aggrieved parties and think you will see the full extent of the problem when those who have written to me share their stories with you on a private and confidential basis. I am inviting them to do so, so that you can better understand the widespread and deep malaise of which Archbishops’ Council has long been aware, but as yet has been indecisive or evasive in its response.

Previous articles (which include links to many of the documents mentioned in the letter):

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Opinion – 10 August 2022

Jeremy Morris Ad fontes Reflections on Lambeth 2022 – ‘Can it stretch, or will it break?’

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Has Lambeth 2022 blown fear of change out of the water?

Megan Castellan Red Shoes, Funny Shirt Lambeth Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

Richard Peers Oikodomeo The Lambeth Roller Coaster: a personal view

Diocese of Chelmsford Bishops of Chelmsford Diocese write to clergy and lay ministers about the Lambeth Conference

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Lambeth Conference 2022 closes

The Lambeth Conference closed yesterday with a Eucharist in Canterbury Cathedral.

Here is our final roundup of news from the Conference. There is earlier news here, here, herehere, here and here.

Lambeth Conference website
The Fifteenth Lambeth Conference closes in song at Canterbury Cathedral
The Closing Service of the Lambeth Conference – Service Programme [There is a recording of the service on YouTube.]
Church must learn to ‘speak confidently and courageously’ on science in changing world – Lambeth conference told
Bishops observe silence for Hiroshima Day as Lambeth Conference remembers violence and conflict around the world

Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop Justin’s sermon at the Lambeth Conference closing service
Archbishop of Canterbury gives final Keynote Address at the Lambeth Conference

Episcopal News Service
In final Lambeth address, Archbishop of Canterbury calls the church to tell, teach and transform
Bishops wrap Lambeth Conference with look ahead to unity, despite persistent divisions
As Lambeth Conference winds down, bishops show solidarity with regions facing crises, from gun violence to climate change

Church Times
Lambeth 2022: Now is time to deepen relationships across Communion, urges Welby
Lambeth 2022: The way ahead, guided by scripture
Lambeth 2022: Global South leaders talk of impaired communion
Lambeth 2022: Revolution is our calling, declares Welby
Lambeth 2022: Bishops pledge support for places in crisis and conflict
Lambeth 2022: New Science Commission launched
Lambeth 2022: everything you need to know about the sexuality row

Vatican News
Cardinal Tagle at Lambeth Conference: ‘Let us dream together’

Lambeth ’22 Resource Group
GSFA Official Communique following Lambeth Conference 2022
Orthodox Bishops at the Lambeth Conference reaffirm Lambeth I.10 as Anglican teaching on marriage & sexuality

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Lambeth Conference 2022 – even more news and comment

There is earlier news here, here, herehere and here

Lambeth Conference website
Christians today can change the world like the original disciples – Lambeth Conference hears
Join with us to fight world crises such as climate change and poverty – Bishops’ invitation to leaders of other faiths
Lambeth Conference Calls for Church Unity amid ‘ecumenical emergency’
Global environmental restoration plan launched at Lambeth Conference

Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop Justin Welby’s second Keynote Address at the Lambeth Conference

Anglican Communion News Service
Anglican bishops from across the world offer their thoughts on the 2022 Lambeth Conference

Lambeth ’22 Resource Group
Orthodox Bishops map out a robust future & hopeful of a re-setting of the Anglican Communion

Episcopal News Service
At Lambeth Palace, bishops and spouses celebrate launch of Anglican Communion forest initiative
Spotlight turns toward ecumenical, interfaith relations in Lambeth Conference sessions
Spouses’ program at Lambeth forges bonds across geographic and ideological divides
Bishops at Lambeth Conference are encouraged to prioritize making disciples centered on Christ
COVID-19 at Lambeth: Few precautions, but also few cases – so far
Archbishop of Canterbury calls churches to be ‘revolutionary’ to meet modern challenges

Church Times
Lambeth 2022: Don’t ignore darker side when engaging with other faiths, bishops told
Lambeth 2022: What unity do you desire, bishops are asked
Lambeth 2022: Anglican Communion has shifted on sexuality, says Bishop Vann
Lambeth 2022: Discipleship — from pew-warmer to Jesus-shaped life
Lambeth 2022: Prayer vigil highlights starvation facing millions in East Africa
Lambeth 2022: Revolution is our calling, declares Welby
Lambeth 2022: Focus on bigger picture, Makgoba tells Lambeth Conference participants

The Living Church
Bishops Set Terms for Post-Lambeth Sexuality Debate
Bishops Focus on Church Unity, Interfaith Relations
Lambeth Launches a Global Forest Project

The Guardian
Justin Welby says it is ‘very difficult’ to hold church together over sexuality

Andrew Goddard
The End of (the) Communion? (i) What has been said?
The End of (the) Communion? (ii): So where are we now?

Kelvin Holdsworth
Fact checking Sandi Toksvig

Archbishop Cranmer
Sandi Toksvig and her caricature Church of England

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London diocesan fraud: a further update

We reported on this previously here: London diocese: Update on fraud investigation.

Today, the Birmingham Mail reported this development: Former church official from Dudley accused of ‘defrauding charity of more than £5million’

A former church official from Dudley accused of clocking up “more flights than globetrotting broadcaster Alan Whicker” has appeared in court charged with defrauding a charity of more than £5 million. Martin Sargeant worked as operations manager for the Church of England’s Diocese of London from 2008 until his retirement in 2019 and was clerk of the City church grants committee.

The 52-year-old is accused of defrauding the charitable trust – set up by an Act of Parliament in 1891 to support and fund the restoration of churches and chaired by the Archdeacon of London – of about £5.2 million over 10 years. Sargeant is also charged with money laundering after allegedly spending the funds on gambling and flying more than 180 times with British Airways..

…The fraud charge alleges Sargeant abused his position as operations manager to make a gain of about £5.2 million between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2019. He is accused of fraudulently requesting grants for funding for dysfunctional churches to steal the money by transferring funds through church bank accounts he controlled as part of his job.

The money was then allegedly moved into accounts he controlled and that were in his name, before Sargeant spent it on “personal entertainment or frivolous things like gambling,” said Mr Packenham. Magistrates decided the charges were too serious to be dealt with in the magistrates’ court and sent the case to Southwark Crown Court, where Sargeant will appear at a later date.

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Independent safeguarding chair steps back

Updated Friday

The Church Times today (Thursday) has this report: Independent safeguarding chair steps back after second data-breach

THE chair of the fledgling Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB), Professor Maggie Atkinson, has stepped back from her role after a second complaint that she breached data and confidentiality was upheld…

You read that right: a second complaint.

Earlier, there was this Church Times report: Information Commissioner’s Office upholds survivor’s complaint against chair of ISB

But today’s report says:

..The Church Times understand that Dr Gibbs’s statement refers to a separate incident…

The statement from Bishop Jonathan Gibbs is here: Statement on ISB from lead safeguarding bishop. In full, it reads:

“A complaint to the National Church Institutions from a data subject about a data and confidentiality breach by the chair of the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB), Professor Maggie Atkinson, has been upheld. We have notified the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Archbishops’ Council has made a Serious Incident Report to the Charity Commission.

We have apologised to the data subject for the distress caused and the chair has been asked to step back from her role as we await a response from the ICO. We would like to stress that the rights of individuals to protect their data and our duty to use that data properly in any aspect of our work is paramount.

The ISB was set up in 2021, following a decision by the Archbishops’ Council and House of Bishops to provide vital independent external scrutiny and oversight of the Church’s safeguarding activity. The 2020 IICSA report gave momentum to this decision. This independent oversight continues to be a key part of making the Church a safer place for all, but it will take time to embed its work to ensure it has the confidence of all concerned. We are in contact with the other members of the ISB, who will continue in their work and there will be further updates in due course.”

Update

The Church Times added this later:

A statement from the ISB later on Thursday said: “The ISB regrets it has been necessary to ask Maggie Atkinson Chair of ISB, to step aside whilst the ICO investigates. We support their decision. The ISB recognises and is grateful for all the work undertaken to date by Maggie. The ISB acknowledges the importance of keeping personal data safe. The work of the ISB continues with the shortly to be published first report into survivor experiences authored by Survivor Advocate Lead Jasvinder Sanghera CBE.”

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Opinion – 3 August 2022

Jarel Robinson-Brown ViaMedia.News Embodying Lambeth: Homophobia, Hope and Honesty

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Can Christianity overcome dualism?

Allison Harmon Earth & Altar The Extraordinary in the Ordinary: Disability and the Experience of God

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Different ways to read the Bible: Lambeth 2022

Steven Shakespeare Which Marriage? Whose Tradition?

Andrew Brown The slow deep hover Alpha the transformation of establishment Christianity

38 Comments

Lambeth Conference 2022 – Call on Human Dignity

The bishops at the Lambeth Conference discussed the  Call on Human Dignity in private yesterday, but there are some reports.

Lambeth Conference website
Bishops at Lambeth Conference discuss the Lambeth Call on Human Dignity

Archbishop of Canterbury
Bishops at Lambeth Conference discuss Lambeth Call on Human Dignity
Lambeth Call on Human Dignity: Read Archbishop Justin’s remarks

Church Times
Lambeth 2022: Fire goes out of sexuality argument

TransEpiscopal
Hope for the Race Before Us: A Reflection on the Lambeth Human Dignity Call

Episcopal News Service
Archbishop of Canterbury’s remarks on human dignity lift up traditional and progressive marriage beliefs
Message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Lambeth Call on human dignity

The Living Church
Sexuality Dispute Ends with Call to Truth and Unity

The Telegraph
Justin Welby: I won’t punish churches that conduct gay marriages

The Guardian
Justin Welby ‘affirms validity’ of 1998 gay sex is sin declaration

This Statement from Anglican Bishops and Primates who are keen to affirm and celebrate LGBT+ People was issued yesterday.

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Lambeth Conference 2022 – yet more news and comment

Updated Tuesday afternoon – scroll down

There is earlier news here, here, here, and here.

Lambeth Conference website
Bishops express support for ‘Anglican Congress’ meeting in the Global South
Lambeth Call – Safe Church Sunday 31 July 2022
United in prayer – bishops from around the world join in global chorus at Lambeth Conference Opening service at Canterbury Cathedral
Lambeth Conference Opening Service – the service programme [There is a recording of the service on YouTube.]

Archbishop of Canterbury
Statement on the Archbishop’s meeting with global South Primates

Lambeth ’22 Resource Group [“The official website of the Resource Group serving orthodox bishops attending Lambeth ’22”]
GSFA to Offer Bishops at the Lambeth Conference An Opportunity To Re-Affirm Lambeth I.10- Text Available August 2, 2pm

Episcopal News Service
At Lambeth, Indigenous Anglicans offer wisdom, heartache and a challenge to ‘sweep our house’
Lambeth Conference shifts to more challenging issues as bishops take up Anglican identity
Bishops advance Lambeth Call adopting guidelines to prevent abuse
Themes of service, hospitality resonate for bishops at Lambeth Conference’s opening Eucharist

Church Times
Lambeth 2022: Global South congress is proposed
Lambeth Conference ‘will not split’ over homosexuality
Lambeth 2022: Multilingual cathedral eucharist in Canterbury puts Anglican diversity on view
Lambeth Conference organisers dump electronic voting

Update

Lambeth ’22 Resource Group
Orthodox bishops reveal text of resolution reaffirming ‘Lambeth 1.10’ as the Anglican Communion teaching on marriage & sexuality
The Call to Reaffirm Lambeth I.10

Archbishop of Canterbury
Letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Bishops of the Anglican Communion

Church Times
Lambeth 2022: Resolution 1.10 is still valid, Archbishop of Canterbury tells bishops
Lambeth 2022: Global South Fellowship offers anonymous voting process on its own sexuality resolution

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