The Church Times has this report by Bill Bowder: Principal’s changes lead to resignations and wall of silence. It starts out:
WYCLIFFE HALL, Oxford, is the focus of a dispute involving allegations of a culture of bullying and intimidation, and of an ultra-conservative attitude to women.
The governing Council of the theological college, a permanent private hall of the University, is chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd James Jones. This week it said that it had embarked on a review of the college’s governance.
The complaints centre on the management style of the Principal, the Revd Dr Richard Turnbull, and his appointment of the Revd Simon Vibert as Vice-Principal. Mr Vibert had made public his belief that women should not teach men.
He co-wrote, with the Revd Dr Mark Burkill and the Revd Dr David Peterson, a Latimer Trust paper that argued that a woman on her own should not teach men about faith or lead a congregation (Ministry Work Group Statement concerning the ministry of women in the Church today). [PDF file]
Since Dr Turnbull was appointed in 2005, six full-time or part-time academic staff have resigned posts. In a letter of resignation to Dr Turnbull in March, the former director of studies, Dr Philip Johnston, accused him of leadership “without significant regard for your staff colleagues”. Dr Johnston wrote that the new Vice-Principal had been appointed despite a “very strong consensus” of staff and students in favour of a different candidate…
The Church of England Newspaper has, via Anglican Mainstream this report: Wycliffe Council backs Principal in process of change. Part of the report:
A LEADING evangelical theological college this week responded to allegations of bullying and deep divisions among staff due to it becoming more doctrinally conservative.
The Council of Wycliffe Hall, which is part of the University of Oxford, admitted the college was going through a period of change which was ‘unsettling’. The statement follows a document circulated to the press which claims the college in ‘in crisis’ after being ‘taken over’ by a ‘highly conservative evangelical faction who are deliberately trying to drive out longstanding and highly respected staff members by their aggressive, homophobic behaviour’.
The anonymous document claims that since the appointment two years ago of the current Principal, the Rev Dr Richard Turnbull,the culture at the college has ‘become increasingly hostile to women priests and openly homophobic’, and that a ‘culture of bullying and intimidation began to develop’.
It adds that unrest grew at the college when Dr Turnbull signed the controversial ‘Covenant for the Church of England’, a document drawn up by conservative evangelicals proposing alternative Episcopal arrangements for their churches in the row over homosexuality. The document claims that several members of the teaching staff have already resigned as they feel alienated and intimidated by the college management, and calls for the Church of England to intervene.
It concludes: “This college is no longer fit to be recognised either as a training institution for the ordinands of the Church of England or as a permanent private hall of Oxford University. It is not a safe place for women or gays … the Church and university must act to do something.”
A further report is in Cherwell24 Crisis at Wycliffe Hall as five staff resign in protest