Updated Saturday, Monday and Wednesday
Both the Church Times and Law & Religion UK have been looking at items on the agenda for the forthcoming meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod.
Law & Religion UK
Law & Religion UK
Church Times15 Comments
Updated again Saturday morning
Previous episode here.
1. BBC Hardtalk has broadcast an interview with the Bishop of Dover, Rose Hudson-Wilkin. This covers many other topics, but one small segment deals with safeguarding in general and the ISB in particular. You can find that starting at 12.30. Bishop Rose said she disagreed with both the Bishop of Birkenhead, Julie Conalty, and with Andrew Graystone, on this topic. Transcript now available.
2. The English Churchman has published this article: The End is Nye?
3. The National Secular Society has published NSS urges Charity Commission to investigate CofE safeguarding
4. Via Media.News has published: Archbishops’ Council: Reset Required by Gilo
5. The Church Times has several relevant items, first of all four relevant Letters to the Editor, under the heading Disbanding of the Independent Safeguarding Board. They are from: nine survivors, another survivor who had an ISB case review pending, David Lamming, and Vasantha Gnanadoss.
6. Church Times: Angela Tilby: Archbishops’ Council is too powerful
7. Church Times: Opinion: Radical changes need the General Synod’s scrutiny
8. Civil Society Charity Commission mulls intervention at Archbishops’ Council
…The Commission said the charity reported itself to the regulator and it is considering its response.
A spokesperson for the regulator said: “In line with our guidance, the Archbishops’ Council has reported a serious incident in relation to these matters. We will engage with the trustees to determine whether a regulatory response is required”.
A Church of England spokesperson said: “The Archbishops’ Council has already submitted a Serious Incident Report to the Charity Commission in relation to the independent safeguarding board, in line with the reporting criteria of the Charity Commission…
9. There is a change.org petition Safeguard victims in the Church of England – ask the Charity Commission to intervene now!
Martine Oborne ViaMedia.News Thirty Years of Women Priests in the Church of England and Still Two Thirds of Paid Posts Are Held by Men
Mike Higton kai euthus Disagreement, Conscience, and Harm
Charlie Bell ViaMedia.News Trust and Transparency – it’s Time for Change64 Comments
Appointment of Dean of Carlisle: 28 June 2023
The King has approved that The Reverend Jonathan Brewster be appointed as Dean of Carlisle.
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 28 June 2023
The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Jonathan Brewster, Interim Mission Community Leader, Cartmel Peninsula, in the Diocese of Carlisle, for appointment as Dean of Carlisle, in succession to The Very Reverend Mark Boyling following his retirement.
Jonathan was educated at University College, Buckinghamshire and King’s College, London, and trained for ministry at Trinity College, Bristol. He served his title at St John’s, Great Horton, in the Diocese of Bradford (now in the Diocese of Leeds) and was ordained priest in 1995.
In 1998, Jonathan was appointed Chaplain at Westminster University, in the Diocese of London. From 2003, he served as Vicar at Christ Church with St John and St Saviour, Highbury and, from 2014, additionally as Area Dean of Islington. In 2017 he was appointed Canon Treasurer at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Jonathan was appointed to his current role as Interim Mission Community Leader, Cartmel Peninsula, in the Diocese of Carlisle, in 2021.5 Comments
Latest Update Wednesday afternoon
1.Briefing Note: Dispute Notice – Key Points
This briefing outlines the key points of the Dispute Notice issued by Jasvinder Sanghera CBE and Steve Reeves MBE on 24th May 2023.
Update: The full text of the PDF is copied below the fold.
2. Today, Monday, on BBC Radio 4 WATO, there was an interview with Jasvinder Sanghera, which you can listen to over here, starting at 33.45, in which she refutes the claims made in earlier radio interviews by Alison Coulter and Stephen Cottrell. Transcript now available here.
3. A notice was posted on the website of the ISB: Statement from Independent Safeguarding Board
You will be aware of the announcement from the Archbishops’ Council regarding the Independent Safeguarding Board.
We will continue to honour any reviews or complaints that are underway or are due to start. We will be in contact as soon as possible with survivors and complainants and reviewers to ensure these are completed.
The ISB is working with the Archbishops’ Council to put in place alternative arrangements to handle complaints while work is undertaken to develop an independent oversight body for safeguarding. Once the detail is in place an announcement will be made.
4. Surviving Church has published an article: Was the Independent Safeguarding Board ever Independent? The Archbishops Set Out Their Position to a Complainant
5. Premier Christianity has published an interview with Jasvinder Sanghera: ‘The Church of England is not survivor focused when it comes to safeguarding’
6. Church Times news article by Francis Martin: Row over Independent Safeguarding Board continues
This covers much of the same information as the items above, but with some important additional details.
Episode 1 was this: Archbishops’ Council terminates contracts of ISB members
Episode 2 is here: ISB controversy continues
Today, the BBC Radio 4 programme Sunday carried a segment in which three people were interviewed by William Crawley: Jane Chevous from Survivors Voices, Jasvinder Sanghera one of the sacked ISB members, and the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell.
The BBC programme is here: go to 31 minutes, 45 seconds for the start of this item. A transcript of the interview is available here.
Professor Nicholas Adams wrote a very detailed analysis of this interview on his Facebook page, and has kindly allowed me to reproduce his comments, which are here in a PDF, include suggestions for what the archbishop might more helpfully have said. Do read it all.
Earlier last week, Justin Humphreys, of the safeguarding consultancy thirtyone:eight wrote about the Archbishops’ Council’s action in this article: Why true independence matters when it comes to safeguarding. Here is a part of it
The sad news of the departure of the members of the Church of England Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB), who have persistently pursued their mandate to provide independent oversight and support the work of the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team, is a significant setback in the progress made. It also highlights serious flaws in the way the Independent Safeguarding Board is structured in that it reports into the same body, the Archbishops Council, who oversee the day-to-day national and regional safeguarding operations that the Board has been set up to scrutinise. If a body is to exercise true independence, it must be fully independent and free from the structures and influences that it is created to oversee.
Justin Humphreys, Chief Executive at Thirtyone:eight comments, ‘While the Church of England considers its next steps, the instinct to quickly rush to “reset” the existing model should be resisted. Time should be taken to properly learn the lessons of what went wrong and why, and with the help of appropriate external expertise they must give time to understand what is needed to ensure a true and fully independent review of its safeguarding operations. This process should include victims, survivors and those with lived experience. To simply recreate what was, would be a travesty and would almost certainly be doomed to the same outcome as the arrangements we have just seen collapse.’
Helen King has written: The Independent Safeguarding Board: a ‘reset’?32 Comments
Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley Revised Church of England Ministerial Training Curriculum
Fergus Butler-Gallie New Statesman Why vicars are revolting
“Front-line clergy are turning against an increasingly managerial Church of England.”
Huw Spanner Church Times Clergy retirement: Insights into the Church’s silver service
“There are dioceses in which retired priests preside at as many as half the eucharists celebrated. Huw Spanner hears about being relied on”
The Very Reverend Dianna Gwilliams has announced that she will retire as Dean of Guildford at the end of her ten years of service in September 2023. She will have her last evensong on Sunday 17th September to mark her final day in the Diocese.6 Comments
Updated yet again Tuesday afternoon
Two dismissed members of the now defunct Independent Safeguarding Board dispute the claims made by the Archbishops’ Council. See this report in the Church Times: Hundreds support us, say sacked members of Independent Safeguarding Board.
A synod paper published today, GS Misc 1341, is titled Independent Safeguarding Board: recent developments. I do recommend reading this document, which will be among those discussed at the General Synod on Sunday 9 July.
The BBC lunchtme radio news programme. The World At One, carried interviews with Bishop Julie Conalty, Deputy Lead Bishop for Safeguarding. and Alison Coulter, an elected lay member of the Archbishops’ Council.
A full transcript is available here (not yet checked for accuracy against recording). The BBC’s own audio recording is available here.
Other audio recordings (courtesy of Mandate Now) can be found here (Conalty) and here (Coulter).
earlier press coverage:
The Church of England has published the papers for next month’s meeting of its General Synod, which meets in York from 7-11 July. I have linked to them all below the fold, but these three, in different ways, give an outline of the business.9 Comments
The Church of England’s General Synod will meet for its July 2023 group of sessions between 7 and 11 July at the University of York. In anticipation the following press release was issued today.
Church Commissioners and Church of England Pensions Board announce fossil fuel disinvestment
The Church Commissioners and Church of England Pensions Board today each announced they will independently disinvest from fossil fuels this year, as the Church of England’s National Investing Bodies (NIBs) reported back to the General Synod on progress against a 2018 Synod motion, which set out a five-year strategy to invest in climate solutions, engage with high carbon emitting companies, and disinvest from fossil fuel companies not aligned with the Paris Agreement.
The report to Synod from the NIBs on their “Approach to Climate Change” presents the progress that has been made by the NIBs in response to the Synod motion, but notes that, while some companies have made significant progress, no fossil fuel company has passed the 2023 hurdles set by the NIBs. Today, the Church Commissioners for England and the Church of England Pensions Board each announced their intentions to disinvest accordingly.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “The climate crisis threatens the planet we live on, and people around the world who Jesus Christ calls us to love as our neighbours. It is our duty to protect God’s creation, and energy companies have a special responsibility to help us achieve the just transition to the low-carbon economy we need.”
“We have long urged companies to take climate change seriously, and specifically to align with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and pursue efforts to limit the rise in temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. In practical terms that means phasing out fossil fuels, investing in renewables, and plotting a credible path to a net-zero world. Some progress has been made, but not nearly enough. The Church will follow not just the science, but our faith – both of which call us to work for climate justice.”
The General Synod meets for its July 2023 group of sessions between 7 and 11 July at the University of York.
As well as a presentation from the NIBs, the July Synod agenda will include a motion on safeguarding redress following the publication of outline proposals for the Church’s national redress Scheme earlier in the week noting the importance of redress for survivors and victims and the allocated funding of £150 million from the Church Commissioners to be released once the key parameters of the Scheme are in place.
There will also be an update on the work of the Living in Love and Faith process following Synod’s vote in February. The proposals would not change the Church’s doctrine of marriage but would enable same-sex couples to come to church after a civil marriage or civil partnership for prayers of dedication, thanksgiving and for seeking God’s blessing on the two people.
The update includes refined texts of the proposed Prayers of Love and Faith (See GS 2303) and an outline of progress on developing new pastoral guidance and options for pastoral reassurance.
There will be consideration of recommendations from the National Church Governance Project Board, a review of the Mission and Pastoral Measure and a number of motions from Diocesan Synods.
Motions brought from Diocesan Synods will ask the General Synod to examine its response to the climate emergency (Oxford); discuss the contribution of faith to prisoner rehabilitation (Worcester) and look at fees payable to parishes for marriage services (Blackburn).
Legislative and formal business will include approval of options for churches to use electronic registers to record services, the new Clergy Conduct Measure, faculty jurisdiction (amendment) rules and a new Code of Practice on how to conduct Safeguarding Practice Reviews.
Statement from Archbishops’ Council on the Independent Safeguarding Board
The Archbishops’ Council is committed to developing fully independent scrutiny of safeguarding within the Church of England, to ensure the Church is a safer place for all. This principle was agreed in the run-up to the publication of the report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) into the Anglican Church in England Wales in 2020.
It is therefore with regret that the Council has come to the reluctant conclusion that, despite extensive efforts over recent months, working relationships between two members of the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) and the Council have broken down.
The Board – made up of a chair, a Survivor Advocate and a third member – was set up by the Archbishops’ Council in 2021 as the first step towards a new system of independent scrutiny and the intention was always to move to a second phase.
It has been widely reported that there has been a dispute between two members of the ISB and the Council. Members of the Council and our experienced safeguarding professionals have been working constructively over recent months to put the ISB on a more sustainable footing.
Nevertheless, it has now become clear that that this is no longer viable with its current membership and that the dispute itself risks getting in the way of that urgent priority of moving to the next phase of establishing a new independent safeguarding body.
The Council has therefore agreed a reset. This will involve ending the contracts of two of the members of the Board, Jasvinder Sanghera and Steve Reeves, and of the acting Chair, Meg Munn.
The Council will be putting in place interim arrangements to continue the independent oversight of existing case reviews.
Those reviews will be carried out by independent experts qualified to conduct case reviews, just as at present, and they will be independently commissioned.
In the very immediate future, we have asked Meg Munn to provide business continuity for the remaining business of this phase of the ISB’s work. Case reviews will be overseen by one or more independent chairs of Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panels.
The Council will then move swiftly towards the second phase of independent scrutiny. We want to listen to all those with an interest, to learn the lessons of the work of the ISB in the last two years, and to find a way forward to establishing independent scrutiny on a firmer basis. We will engage with victims and survivors, with other independent voices, and with safeguarding professionals inside and outside the Church, to work with the Archbishops’ Council to design a permanent independent oversight structure.
The Council recognises that this news will be concerning and unsettling to victims, survivors and others. Members of the Council will be arranging an opportunity to meet with victims and survivors to hear concerns and discuss the situation.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: “We bitterly regret that we have reached this point and the Archbishops’ Council has not reached this decision lightly. We know this is a serious setback and we do not shy away from that – we lament it.
“But it is clear that there is no prospect of resolving the disagreement and that it is getting in the way of the vital work of serving victims and survivors. So the Council has very reluctantly concluded that we need a reset so that we can move swiftly towards a new scrutiny body that is fully independent of the Church.
“And in the immediate term we want to reassure victims and survivors that the work of independent case reviews will not stop.
“We recognise that this dispute has damaged confidence. But we believe this is the only way to get independent oversight of safeguarding back on track and move forward as quickly as we can.
“We also recognise that there are lessons for the Archbishops’ Council to learn from this and it is essential that we do so for the future.89 Comments
The Church of England has published a press release headed Proposed details of Redress Scheme published
Proposed details of the Church of England’s national redress scheme for survivors of Church-related abuse have been published today…
The full text of the press release continues below. A more substantive document to which it links can be found here: Principles, Priorities, and Processes – The National Redress Scheme Survivor and Victim Working Group
The press release continues:
…The purpose of the Redress Scheme is to demonstrate in tangible and practical ways that the Church is truly sorry for its past failings relating to safeguarding.
There will be a presentation and debate at the Church’s General Synod next month and it is hoped legislation will progress through Synod in forthcoming sessions after which it will need Parliamentary approval.
Following the Church’s IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) hearings, General Synod committed in February 2020 to a more victim and survivor-centred approach.
This included making arrangements to provide redress, which was recommended in IICSA’s final report for the Church of England and Church in Wales, published in October 2020.
The final overall IICSA report in 2022 for all its investigation strands recommended a national redress scheme. The Church remains committed to implementing a scheme specifically for people who have experienced abuse in the Church of England.
The Church’s national proposals for redress are about more than money; financial payments will be offered alongside therapeutic, spiritual and emotional support, acknowledgment of wrongdoing on the part of the Church, and apology and support for rebuilding lives.
Where possible apology will be from the institution where the abuse took place (or from a part of the Church appropriate to the survivor’s needs) in a format which is most appropriate to the survivor.
The victim and survivor working group* have laid out principles for this and are developing proposals for non-financial redress, following the wider consultation with other survivors.
All survivors of sexual, physical, psychological, and emotional abuse (including spiritual abuse) relating to the Church will be eligible to apply for redress.
The initial details of the scheme, released today, have been developed under the direction of the Redress Project Board, chaired by the Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen; a victim and survivor working group* has been set up and operates at the heart of the process of developing the scheme and two members sit on the Board.
Along with the working group there continues to be extensive engagement and consultation with key stakeholder groups across the Church including a Finance Focus Group made up of diocesan secretaries and other professionals.
The Project Board has agreed that, to be as meaningful as possible, at least some responsibility for offering redress should be taken as close as possible to where the abuse was perpetrated, or harm was done.
The overall objectives of such a whole Church approach are:
- Together, as one body, the Church of England must collectively show contrition for its failings, and for the pain and suffering that has occurred.
- Nationally, the Church of England will set up a single point of access to the Scheme, to offer a consistent service and to minimise as far as practicable further delay and trauma for victims and survivors.
- To the extent possible, the Church body which is nearest in governance terms to the source / perpetrator of the abuse should make a contribution to redress.
In order to deliver this consistent service around the country, through a range of institutions, legislation will be required because the Church of England comprises a large number of free-standing legal charitable bodies subject to the oversight of trustees or the equivalent.
Appointment of Dean of Windsor: 20 June 2023
The King has approved that The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth be appointed to the Deanery of The King’s Free Chapel of St George, Windsor Castle.
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 20 June 2023
The King has approved that The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, be appointed to the Deanery of The King’s Free Chapel of St George, Windsor Castle, in succession to The Right Reverend David Conner following his retirement.
Christopher was educated at Manchester University and trained for ministry at St John’s College, Nottingham. He served his title at Christ Church, Epsom Common, in the Diocese of Guildford, and was ordained priest in 1989.
In 1992 he was appointed Chaplain at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London and from 1997 to 2001 he served as Director at the Southern Theological and Education Training Scheme (STETS). From 1999 he held the additional title of Honorary Canon at Guildford Cathedral. In 2001 Christopher was appointed Principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge.
Christopher was appointed to his current position as Bishop of Coventry in 2008. He is married and has five adult sons.15 Comments
Appointment of Suffragan Bishop of Bradwell: 19 June 2023
The King has approved the nomination of The Venerable Adam Atkinson for appointment to the Suffragan See of Bradwell, in the Diocese of Chelmsford.
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 19 June 2023
The King has approved the nomination of The Venerable Adam Atkinson, Archdeacon of Charing Cross in the Diocese of London, for appointment to the Suffragan See of Bradwell, in the Diocese of Chelmsford, in succession to The Right Reverend Dr John Perumbalath, following his appointment as Bishop of Liverpool.
Adam was educated at Birmingham University, after which he worked in media before training for ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He served his title at St Paul Shadwell, in the Diocese of London, and was ordained Priest in 2008. In 2010 Adam was appointed Priest in Charge of St Peter & St Thomas Bethnal Green in the Stepney Episcopal Area of the Diocese of London.
In 2011 Adam was appointed Vicar of St Peter Bethnal Green. He additionally served as Network Chaplain, Church Revitalisation Trust from 2018 and from 2019 served as Director of Mission Development in the Two Cities Episcopal Area. In 2020 Adam was appointed Archdeacon of Charing Cross.23 Comments
Sam Maginnis Church Times Clergy need a stipend that alleviates hardship
“Rising inflation has left many clerics struggling to cover household bills and other essentials”
The following website is very useful for keeping track of developments: The Soul Survivor Situation – A Timeline. I recommend checking it daily…
Here is the Diocesan Synod Notice Paper that contains the most recent public statement from St Albans Diocese.
The Telegraph has a report on this here:Bishop cannot call for Soul Survivor independent inquiry over threat of ‘disciplinary action’.
The General Synod Private Member’s Motion mentioned in the above can be found here (scroll down). It reads as follows
The Revd Robert Thompson (London) to move:
‘That this Synod, being deeply disquieted at the continued controversies over the actual independence of Safeguarding structures within the Church of England, does not accept that an internal Church inquiry into the allegations of abuse and cover-up within the Soul Survivor network is either sufficient or right in principle.
It accordingly calls upon the Archbishop’s Council to commission, on agreed terms of reference with survivors, a report into those allegations from an independent King’s Counsel without delay.’
22 May 2023
52 signatures as at 14 June 2023
Update: 20 June 2023
The Report of Proceedings – February 2023 has now been updated to include the correction to Helen’s supplementary question; the correction is on the penultimate page. The original question and answer may be difficult to find in the report, so I have copied them and the correction below the fold. Also, Helen has added an addendum to her blog post.
The Church of England’s General Synod is due to meet at York University from Friday 7 July to Tuesday 11 July. I am expecting all the papers to be published here by the end of next week; some are already online. There is an outline of the business here but there will be at least one change to this before the full agenda is published. Synod members have been informed that sufficient members asked for a debate on the Safeguarding Code of Practice and this will no longer be deemed business (ie approved without debate).
The Audit Committee of the Archbishops’ Council and the Independent Safeguarding Board
Synod member Helen King has written about her experience of receiving a correction to a supplementary question that she asked in February: Correcting the Record: Safeguarding. The full correction is in Helen’s blog, but part of it is “AC’s Audit Committee does have the ability to commission an internal audit of all or of aspects of the work of the ISB, but that it has not done so.”
What prompted Helen to write is that she has been told that such corrections are not routinely sent to Synod members, and that despite an assurance from the Secretary General, this correction has not been included in the recently published Report of Proceedings – February 2023.
Appointment of Dean of Durham: 16 June 2023
The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Canon Dr Philip Plyming to be appointed as Dean of Durham.
From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 16 June 2023
The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Canon Dr Philip Plyming, Warden of Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham, to be appointed as Dean of Durham, in succession to The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett following his appointment as Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Philip studied German and Russian at Cambridge University followed by Theology at Durham University while training for ministry at Cranmer Hall. His PhD was awarded by Edinburgh University for research into Paul’s hardship narratives in 1 and 2 Corinthians. He served his title at Christ Church, Chineham, in the Diocese of Winchester, and was ordained priest in 2002.
In 2006 Philip was appointed Vicar of Claygate, in the Diocese of Guildford, and from 2012 he additionally served as Area Dean of Emly.
Philip was appointed to his current role as Warden of Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham, in 2017. He was made an Honorary Canon of Durham Cathedral in 2022.
Philip is married to Annabelle, who works as a palliative care consultant for a local NHS Trust, and they have two teenage sons.21 Comments
The Religion Media Centre held a day-long Religion Media Festival on Monday. The full programme of events is copied below the fold. Only a few of them have been reported on so far. If I find links to more reports I will add them, but so far all I have found is in this list: