Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 20 July 2022

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

Martyn Percy Surviving Church Rampant Sacred Irrationality
and Respair, Not Despair

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 adventure

21 Comments

National survivor survey to inform Church’s safeguarding work

Press release from the Church of England

National survivor survey to inform Church’s safeguarding work
18/07/2022

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.”

Notes

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

Bishops of Birmingham and Peterborough announce their retirements

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.

The Bishop of Birmingham
Bishop of Peterborough announces retirement

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

Opinion – 16 July 2022

Martyn Percy Surviving Church Respair in a Time of Tumult
Re-mortgaging the Church

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

Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office

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.

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Director of Central Secretariat

Press release from the Church of England

Simon Gallagher appointed Director of Central Secretariat for the Archbishops’ Council and Clerk to the Synod
14/07/2022

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.

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House of Bishops – Thursday 14 July 2022

Press release from the Church of England

House of Bishops – Thursday 14 July 2022
14/07/2022

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

Crown Nominations Commission central members 2022-2027

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:

Clergy
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)

Laity
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

Dean of York

Press release from the Prime Minister’s Office. There is more information on the York Minister website.

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.

Background

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

Is the Safeguarding Board really Independent?

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 Church􏰀s safeguarding activity, to hold the Church to account for our actions as part of the ISB􏰀s remit to learn lessons from safeguarding matters. Given its remit the ISB􏰀s 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 Church􏰀s 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 ISB􏰀s 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.

Yours sincerely

Martin Sewell
Rochester 390

In connection with the letter (also linked above) there is also a press release.

47 Comments

Opinion – 9 July 2022

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 E

4 Comments

The Dean of Southwark announces his retirement

News from the Diocese of Southwark

The Dean of Southwark, The Very Revd Andrew Nunn, has announced his intention to retire on 4 July 2023 following the 40th anniversary of his ordination as Deacon…

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London diocese: Update on fraud investigation

London diocesan press release

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that Martin Sargeant, former Head of Operations in the Two Cities, has been charged with fraud and money-laundering, dating back to between 2009 and 2019. Mr Sargeant left the Diocese in 2019, following a review of his role instigated by the new Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally. At the time there was no suspicion or evidence of criminality but, last year, the London Diocesan Fund (LDF) made a report to the Action Fraud unit of the Police, and a serious incident report to the Charity Commission, after a parish raised concerns about funds they had not received.

Over the past year, the LDF has worked closely to support the Police and to maintain the confidential, sensitive nature of their complex investigation at the Police’s request. Trustees of the LDF were first informed on a confidential basis, with permission of the Police, earlier this year. Any church or other organisation known to be relevant to these enquiries has already been approached as part of the investigation. The fraud is historic in nature, and does not relate to Common Fund or the present day funding of parishes. The Police’s work has involved extensive analysis of financial records relating to both the Diocese and the individual over a long period and the securing of a court order to freeze the individual’s assets. The total sum of money involved is believed to be in the region of £5m, affecting a number of different organisations.

Richard Perry, Chair of the London Diocesan Fund’s Audit and Risk Committee:

“Following the reporting of our concerns to the Police, our priority has been to support their work, and to do all we can to secure the defrauded funds. Our independent auditors have also carried out an urgent review of our present-day financial controls, to confirm they are robust. A second independent inquiry will report to the London Diocesan Fund’s trustees and look at what happened and how, and will make any further recommendations for the future, once the current case has been closed.”

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, said:

“This appears to be a gross betrayal of trust for all those who knew and worked with this individual. After I came to the Diocese in 2018, his role was reviewed and he left the following year. While there was no evidence of anything inappropriate at the time, with the further information that has subsequently been uncovered, it now seems he exploited his position for personal gain.

“I want to thank the Police, and the London Diocesan Fund’s financial team, for their work over the past year, as they continue to investigate the extent of this complex fraud that was perpetuated over a decade.”

The LDF continues to support the Police with their investigation but will not be able to comment further publicly at this time.

23 Comments

Ecclesiastical Insurance pays damages for privacy breach

Updated 12 July

This news story is now reported in a fourth place:

This news story is reported in three separate places:

There are varying amounts of detail in these accounts, but what is notable is that Church of England officials are also implicated in the handling of this matter.

From the Church Times:

Gilo also welcomed the mediation from EIO “over their repeated public dissembling around the review into my case. The bishop mandated to implement the review recommendations [the then Bishop of Crediton, now the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally] and the secretary-general of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, remained silent to every question and request for help on this. Eventually a Subject Access Request revealed complicity between the Archbishops’ Council, NST, and Ecclesiastical, and showed they had sought to work together on reputational management.”

And his earlier comments in September 2020 can be found here: Thoughts on the Elliott Review ‘translation’ by Archbishops Council.

From Surviving Church:

Ian Elliott, the internationally recognised safeguarding expert and reviewer, has said:

“I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and welcome the agreement to reach a mediated settlement with Ecclesiastical Insurance regarding the dissembling that has marked their response to the review that I undertook of a historic abuse case for the Church of England. Over the course of the years since I produced the report, EIO have made comments on national television, on their website, and in evidence to the Inquiry (IICSA),  regarding the accuracy of my assessments, claiming that they were flawed. These damaging statements are completely untrue. Despite this, they were never publicly withdrawn and no attempt has ever been made by EIO or the Church to set the record straight. Telling the truth is important and when that does not happen, trust is damaged and lost.”

From Insurance Business:

A spokesperson for the Church of England, which was not involved in the settlement and was unable to comment on it but was involved in the Elliott Review, said that “the rights of survivors and victims to protect their data and our duty to use that data properly in any aspect of our work is paramount.”

“We will continue to unreservedly apologise for the Church’s poor response to survivors and victims, as highlighted at IICSA, and are committed to engaging with them to inform our future work,” the spokesperson said.

As Andrew Greystone says (Surviving Church)

I wish the House of Bishops in England would step up and take responsibility for the damage the church has done. Instead, victims and survivors of abuse in the Church of England find the church’s hierarchy resistant at every stage. It’s not that the bishops don’t care about justice and healing for victims of church abuse. Some certainly do. It’s just quite low on their list of priorities.

As Gilo and many others know only too well, every engagement with the church on this issue is an uphill struggle. Some survivors who have already lost years to fighting to have their voices heard, fear that they will face further years of legal battles to persuade the church to make redress.

Bishops need to understand that healing for victims of abuse is not a drag on the mission of the church. It IS the mission of the church.”

From Insurance Post:

Richard Scorer, head of abuse law team at Slater and Gordon and Gilo’s solicitor in this case, said: “The outcome of this case speaks for itself. Ecclesiastical initially treated the claim as a claim for a minor data breach. But it has now paid substantially more by way of damages than would ordinarily be paid for a simple breach.

“In addition, its CEO Mark Hews has provided an unreserved apology, and it has agreed to a further mediation about the wider issue of its public treatment of the Elliott review. By settling the matter in this way, it has in reality acknowledged that this data breach occurred in a wider context of EIO failings towards survivors, some of which were explored in IICSA, and that those failings significantly aggravated this data breach. I hope that these events will be part of an urgent and radical reshaping of EIO’s behaviour towards survivors, and the full implementation of the Elliott report”.

2 Comments

General Synod – 8 to 12 July 2022

This post will be updated as the meeting proceeds.

The Church of England’s General Synod is meeting this weekend. The timetable is here, the papers are here.

Live Video etc

All sessions are streamed live on YouTube and remain available to view afterwards.

Friday afternoon
Saturday morning and afternoon
Sunday
Monday morning
Monday afternoon
Monday evening
Tuesday morning

There is an official Twitter account.

Order Papers

OP1 – Friday afternoon
OP2 – Saturday morning
OP3 – Saturday afternoon
OP4 – Sunday afternoon
OP5 – Monday morning
OP6 – Monday afternoon
OP7 – Monday evening
OP8 – Tuesday morning

Business done

Friday 8 July 2022 PM
Saturday 9 July 2022 AM
Saturday 9 July 2022 PM
Sunday 10 July 2022 PM
Monday 11 July 2022 AM
Monday 11 July 2022 PM
Monday 11 July 2022 EVE
Tuesday 12 July 2022 AM

Official press releases

Archbishop of York’s Presidential Address
Synod endorses plan to reach net zero carbon by 2030
Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech in Synod debate on the war in Ukraine
General Synod welcomes £3.6bn investment in mission and ministry
General Synod safeguarding session
Synod debates review of Strategic Development and Lowest Income Communities Funding
More funding needed for palliative care, General Synod hears, in debate on Assisted Suicide
Synod hears of suffering of Ukrainian citizens as it votes to condemn Russian invasion
Synod backs motion affirming disabled people in the life and ministry of the Church
General Synod calls for stronger age verification for pornography websites
Global Anglican Communion given greater voice in choice of future Archbishops of Canterbury
Synod welcomes new report setting out proposals for Clergy Conduct Measure
Archbishop of Canterbury pays tribute to Her Majesty The Queen at General Synod

Press reports etc

Church Times
Synod approves net-zero routemap after climate protest
Five overseas Anglicans will help choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury
Love knows no boundaries, Bishop Poggo tells Synod congregation
Synod rejects assisted dying by a large majority
Synod debates what justice might look like in Ukraine
Government must legislate to protect children against porn, Synod resolves
Synod strongly supports swift overhaul of clergy discipline
What happened at the General Synod in York?

David Pocklington at Law & Religion UK

Synod endorsement for “net zero” plan
Synod vote on “assisted suicide”

Synod members’ blogs

Andrew Nunn
A long weekend in York
Hot air
The Garden of England
A day of rest
From pounds to PCCs to porn
Wonderfully made

Nick Baines
General Synod: Ukraine

Jo Stobart
General Synod (8-12 July, 2022)

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Safeguarding Questions to the House of Bishops

There are 11 Questions to the House of Bishops on Safeguarding, all to be answered by the Bishop of Rochester. They are all listed here.

Mrs Kat Alldread (Derby) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q3 Please can you tell us how many cases have been referred to the Independent Safeguarding Board for their review and the dates of those referrals?

A One case has been referred. The date of referral was 08 April 2022.

Mr Clive Billenness (Europe) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q4 Paper GS 2263 (Update on Safeguarding) states at Paragraph 18 that the Independent Safeguarding Board can 􏰂scrutinise or review how the Church has handled a particular case􏰆.if it decides to after a case has been referred to it􏰂. Have criteria and procedures been published about such referrals of cases – e.g., who may refer a case, in what circumstances, and on what basis will the ISB decide what cases to scrutinise?

A Review activity by the Independent Safeguarding Board will vary in different cases.
Referrals to the ISB could come from a range of possible sources, including individuals; parish or diocesan safeguarding bodies; the NST; clergy, or the NCIs. Its remit is to bring forward lessons and to recommend and promote best practice.
Decisions are reached on a case-by-case basis after consideration as to whether the ISB􏰀s remit covers what is requested. The ISB will decide on whether the Board should undertake a review, and if so, what its nature should be.
This approach is comparable to that seen in case review sub-committees of safeguarding partnerships or boards in wider society, where a range of actions may or may not follow their deliberations.

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 Church􏰀s safeguarding activity, to hold the Church to account for our actions as part of the ISB􏰀s remit to learn lessons from safeguarding matters. Given its remit the ISB􏰀s 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 Church􏰀s 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 ISB􏰀s 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.

(more…)

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When was Issues in Human Sexuality added to the selection process?

Updated 9 July

A Private Member’s Motion has been tabled at the General Synod relating to the use of Issues in Human Sexuality in the ordination process. The text of that motion is copied below:

Vocations process and Issues in human sexuality

Revd Mae Christie (Southwark) to move:

‘That this Synod request that the House of Bishops remove any requirements relating to Issues in Human Sexuality from the Vocations (Shared Discernment) Process.’

In connection with the above, there is also a Question, published today, which is also copied below:

The Revd Mae Christie (London) to ask the Chair of the Ministry Council:
Q62 When and by what mechanism was Issues in Human Sexuality formally written into the Selection Criterion of the Church of England?

The Bishop of Chester to reply as Chair of the Ministry Council:

A We do not have a record of the date or the mechanism by which Issues in Human Sexuality was formally written into the former Selection Criteria. Unfortunately, since the information is not readily available it could not be obtained within the time-frame available for responding to Synod questions.

The answer is quite extraordinary. Maybe some of our readers can help out here?

PS Mthr Mae has not moved dioceses.

For the benefit of those wondering what exactly was in the former selection criteria about this,, here’s the wording:

E 5: Candidates should be able to accept the standards of sexual morality expected of ordained ministers
Evidence for this may be drawn from a candidate’s capacity to:

  • Confirm that he/ she has read the House of Bishops’ Guidelines Issues in Human Sexuality and is prepared to live within them. (This is normally handled by the DDO and evidenced in the Diocesan Sponsoring Papers)
  • Reflect on how he/ she will work with those with whom he/ she differ in this area

And in the new (current) selection criteria, it says this

  • Have you discussed with the Candidate, and have they read, understood and agreed to live within the guidelines in Issues in Human Sexuality

Update

The following supplementary question was put on Friday evening by Mae Christie

If it cannot be established that IHS was inserted into the discernment process , having been ordered so by the House of Bishops, and is therefore in place illegitimately, will the house of bishops, in coordination with ministry division, consider removing it from the shared discernment process with immediate effect?

This was ruled out of order by the chair on the grounds that it raised a hypothetical situation.

 

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Where is the budget for the Redress Scheme?

Another question related to Safeguarding.

Mr Paul Waddell (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the Finance Committee:
Q55 In February 2020 John Spence told Synod that 􏰂This is not about affordability, it is about justice. . . The funds for redress will be found. 􏰂 How much money has been budgeted for redress payments to survivors of church abuse, and where does it appear in our budgets for the coming year?

Canon John Spence to reply as Chair of the Finance Committee:

A That commitment stands but the speed of progress is dependent on numerous factors. The redress scheme must be survivor focussed and not limited by existing budget lines.

Appropriate responsibility for redress needs to be taken at every level of the Church. On the subsidiarity principle, costs should be met by the most appropriate body and all responsibility should not fall on the national Church.

The national Church future spending plans include an allowance towards redress scheme costs, but a formal budget has not yet been set. The matter of where redress scheme payments will be included in future budgets and the budget level will be considered as the work on developing the redress scheme is progressed.

The costs of the project to develop a redress scheme are within the safeguarding line of the Archbishops􏰀 Council􏰀s budget. This work is being overseen by a Project Board which includes survivor representatives.

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Safeguarding question re NST and Dr Percy

In two earlier TA articles (first this and then that one) , we have linked to criticisms  (first here and then here) of the ISB’s current role in relation to the Oxford Christ Church investigation. We also linked earlier to the text of a reply from William Nye to the first of the two letters of criticism.

Among the Questions for the General Synod in York this weekend, there is one which relates directly to this.

The Revd Canon Simon Talbott (Ely) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
Q123 Given the material that members of the Archbishops’ Council have been copied into relevant to the case of Dr Percy, have any of them submitted a Serious Incident Report to the Charity Commission and if not, why not?

Canon Dr Jamie Harrison to reply on behalf of the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:

A There have been long-running and some public exchanges with the Archbishops’ Council and members of General Synod and others relating to the process followed by the National Safeguarding Team and Dr Percy. This includes some correspondence directly with the Charity Commission, following which discussions took place between the Council and Charity Commission senior officers. Recent correspondence from Dr Percy and some Synod members sets out a difference of views as to how best to introduce independent oversight into Church of England safeguarding. The Archbishops’ Council does not assess that such correspondence meets the threshold for a serious incident report.

Given this is question number 123, it seems unlikely that supplementary questions will occur.

What is this Charity Commission Serious Incident Report procedure?
An explanation is here: How to report a serious incident in your charity
And there is a lot more detail here.

The relevant category in this case is presumably

  • harm to people who come into contact with your charity through its work

which is elaborated as:

  • protecting people and safeguarding incidents – incidents that have resulted in or risk significant harm to beneficiaries and other people who come into contact with the charity through its work
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General Synod Questions

The Questions (and Answers) for this weekend’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod were published today. The Question sessions (on Friday and Saturday evenings) will be devoted to supplementary questions.

Questions Notice Paper July 2022
Questions Notice Paper Annex – Q168

Update

The original version of the Questions Notice Paper contained a number of errors (listed in Notice Paper 11) and has been replaced (at the same URL) by a corrected version.

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