Thinking Anglicans

Wycliffe Hall: council member resigns

Religious Intelligence has reported that there is a New crisis for Anglican college as council member resigns by Ed Beavan.

A COUNCIL member of the under-fire Oxford theological college Wycliffe Hall has resigned because of her concerns over failures by the body to ‘respond to allegations of bullying, intimidation of Council members and a lack of transparency in its decision making’.

Clare MacInnes announced her resignation in a letter to the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, who is chair of the Council of Wycliffe Hall, which she also sent to The Church of England Newspaper.

Mrs MacInnes said she had decided to put the letter in the public domain because of the ‘importance of the issues for the ongoing welfare and governance of the Hall and the wider church’.

In the letter she says that that the Council had ‘failed to observe due process’in the areas of terminating staff employment, staff recruitment, the Listening Process, records of Council discussions, and Council membership…

The story is also reported in the Guardian by Stephen Bates under the headline College council member quits over ‘bullying’.

…In her letter of resignation this week, council member Clare MacInnes told the Rt Rev James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, who is chairman of governors: “I am disturbed by the council’s failure to respond to allegations of bullying, intimidation of council members and a lack of transparency in its decision-making … I regret I have no confidence in the chair, the principal or the council as a whole to address these serious matters of governance, employment practice and simple human relationships.” Her letter suggests that a decision to pay Dr Turnbull a salary thousands of pounds above national pay scales was not properly appraised by the council when he was appointed two years ago.

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NP
NP
13 years ago

Sad to see more tensions…..but I still trust Dr Turnbull and Bishop James Jones.

Wait to hear their side of things before rushing to judgment

John Omani
John Omani
13 years ago

In the Guardian Stephen Bates notes that Clare MacInnes letter reveals that a decision to pay Turnbull a salary thousands of pounds above national pay scales was not properly appraised by the council when he was appointed two years ago.

Is it possible that we now have sleaze to go with the disregard for due process, intimidation, bullying, obfuscation, stonewalling, and suppression of dissenting voices? What will it take for the appalling management at Wycliffe to offer a mea culpa for this outrageous farce?

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

John

I think this is one of the times that the solution will not come from within. The cup has been emptied of all but those who like the tea bag.

The tea bag needs to be thrown out by a bigger hand…

JohnF
JohnF
13 years ago

NP, My initial opinion on this issue was to support the Principal and the Chairman on the Council on this issue – it would be natural to do so. However, given the extreme situation which is continuing to unravel with vast numbers of highly qualified individuals resigning, both from the academic staff and from the governing council, it must be realised that the situation is reaching somewhat of a tipping point. I heard in media reports that approximately half of the academic staff have resigned from Wycliffe Hall – this must constitute a tipping point. I do not know the… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

Oxford should shut the place down.

Pluralist
13 years ago

That’s a very interesting and colourful way of putting it Cheryl. I’ve not heard such an expression before – is it yours? It is very good.

Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
13 years ago

It is quite possible that some few of those removed from Wycliffe may be consulting their lawyers particularly if the astonishing revelations in the resignation letter of council member Clare MacInnes are to be believed. And you have to admire her repeated brave attempts to resolve this matter before she resigned. If those with responsibility now find themselves before an employment tribunal and are found to have breached employment regulations would it then be fair to expect them to resign? If the college avoids a hearing and decides to pay sizeable compensation to those removed – should the Principle and… Read more »

NP
NP
13 years ago

JohnF – yes, but note the last 3 “to leave” were actually removed….so, I think we have to wait and see why what has happened has happened. It is very significant that Bishop James Jones is still giving the principal his full support.

Merseymike – why should Oxford do that? Because WH academics (including those who have left) do not agree with you that certain sins are suddenly not sins?

Pluralist
13 years ago

As a matter of interest, I had an interview today in an education institution for a post that involves equality and diversity issues, and thanks to the institution of the Church of England and the Hereford case I was able to speak with some knowledge about these matters, of which we might say there are “undertones” here (to use Eeva John’s word about the implications of narrow theology at Wycliffe). I was able to say just how public authorities cannot and should not behave in the way the Church of England has been doing (and impressed how ridiculous the Church… Read more »

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
13 years ago

NP: what WOULD it take you to accept that Wycliffe might be in serious trouble? The Parousia? Joseph Smith’s Golden Tablets?

Neil
Neil
13 years ago

I think it is too early to comment on the salary issue yet – and that this was rather below the belt. However, if people are pushed into such a corner that they have no alternative, then this is what happens – even if sad.

Terry Henderson
Terry Henderson
13 years ago

Things have got so bad that those who can do something about
this college – need to act before more harm is done to the teaching of theology in Oxford.

NP
NP
13 years ago

mynster – if Bishop James Jones withdrew his support for the Principal, I would worry…..his continues support keeps me from rushing to judgment given you and I are not in possession of many facts really

Sarah
Sarah
13 years ago

Unfortunately, I don’t know who these people are ‘who can do something about this college’, other than the Principal and Council. The Council is self-appointing, and the Principal has the support of (most of) the Council at this point. As a post on Ship of Fools points out, Ministry Division can only withdraw accreditation – a drastic measure which would seem improbable given the healthy numbers at Wycliffe. The Charity Commissioners could get involved but are unlikely to do so. The University might terminate Wycliffe’s PPH status, but this is another ‘nuclear option’. What’s really called for is a further… Read more »

dave p
13 years ago

NP: “if Bishop James Jones withdrew his support for the Principal, I would worry”

And what if the Bishop is part of the problem?

Such as:
MacInnes: “I regret I have no confidence in the chair (i.e the Bishop), the principal or the council as a whole to address these serious matters of governance, employment practice and simple human relationships.”

But, if you insist, the beatings will continue until morale improves.

dave p
13 years ago

NP: “his continues support keeps me from rushing to judgment “

But you’re so *GOOD* at rushing to judgment of people with whom you disagree. It’s pretty much one of your core competencies.

Why stop now?

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
13 years ago

Funny, NP – the mounting toll of worrisome stuff out of Wycliffe leads me to wonder at the soundness of episcopal judgment. Odd how we differ.

L Roberts
L Roberts
13 years ago

The salary allegation is very serious indeed.

Matthew B
Matthew B
13 years ago

NP: your other posts demonstrate that you consider a good many Anglican bishops to be fallible – have you stopped to consider that Bishop James Jones and the council may be part of the problem rather than the solution?

We’ve seen a great deal of evidence already, some of which is plainly stated above, that the Council’s handling of the situation leaves very much to be desired.

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

Pluralist The tea bag imagery could be my own or simply a sharing with the source forgotten. There can be terrible times in institutions’ histories where evidence is destroyed or hidden, as we have seen in orphanages and boarding schools. John at last count 8 of the 13 academic staff had left in the last year (I don’t know if Eeva now makes that 9). That is way outside of normal numbers. Clare’s conscience is obviously concerned. She might be heartened by Obadiah or Malachi. Malachi 2:4-9:””…you will know that I have sent you this admonition so that my covenant… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

“The Council is self-appointing”???

Well, there you have it in a nutshell.

NP
NP
13 years ago

dave p – I do not rush to judgment…. I merely point out when people are contradicting scripture, tradition and the reason in agreed Anglican positions (normally to justify their own behaviour, funnily enough)

mynster / Matthew B – sure, +Liverpool may be wrong. I do not know. But he is a good egg. I think he deserves some trust and I doubt he would be backing Dr Turnbull without good reason.

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
13 years ago

Hi Cheryl-

You write: ‘History at this time requires an end of aggressive strategies’.

?? So aggressive strategies were ok up till now? :o(

Surely they never have been and never will be ok unless as a last resort.

See my comment on the next Wycliffe post.

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

NP wrote. “+Liverpool may be wrong. I do not know. But he is a good egg. I think he deserves some trust and I doubt he would be backing Dr Turnbull without good reason.”

Experience indicates, that people defend their mistakes when they have “screwed up big time” – as the saying goes.

Besides, it is not “he is a good egg”, it is “a bad egg”. The imagery is not about “good” but rotten.

Nor is it done to say, as you did in another thread, to Lapinbizarre that he is “an interesting case”. Simply not done.

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
13 years ago

NP (of +Liverpool) “I think he deserves some trust” I recall a comment from a senior priest I once knew, “The reason bishops wear those funny split hats is nothing to do with the flames of the Holy Spirit – it’s because they are forced to speak with forked tongue.” Or one from (I believe) the current +Lincoln “A shiver of fear went round the House of Bishops, seeking in vain a spine down which to run.” Apologies to those in the purple who might be looking in, but the constraints of the job make boat-rocking terribly difficult. Could +Liverpool… Read more »

NP
NP
13 years ago

mynster – maybe the brave clerics standing up for truth against corrupt institutions today are +Duncan and Dr Radner and Canon Harmon et al?

L Roberts
L Roberts
13 years ago

How we need JC Ryle in this dire situation.

He was one occupant of the See of Liverpool, who not afraid to knock heads together !

Now, HE really was an Evangelical !

I am a spiritual descendant of his, on one side. AND being informed by him, inspired means that, in today’s changed world, the message has not stood still, either ! He wanted no parrots in his wake !

His was a radical inner vision of faith …

I like to think he’d understand my own radical stance on gay-lib ….

cryptogram
cryptogram
13 years ago

+Liverpool could always resign – which is what happened in the college I was part of 30 years ago. There seem to be quite a few Area Bishops in Oxford diocese who have a connection with WH, and could step into his shoes. The “looking for a spine” comment is an old chestnut: I first heard it from Jeremy Thorpe in an Oxford Union debate c.1963, when it referred to the then Tory front bench. IIRC his opponent was the then Tory MP for Wimbledon, who held high office in the Evangelical Alliance, and was rooting for the expulsion of… Read more »

NP
NP
13 years ago

L Roberts – I am sure you would like to think you had faithful JCR on your side…..any evidence to show he ever preached it is fine ignore scriptures which condemn particular sins?

Pls do read JCR’s “Holiness” again – it is because of this sort of writing that I am not able to accept the view that God is somehow less worried about holiness in certain spheres (only) today

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

NP
“mynster – maybe the brave clerics standing up for truth against corrupt institutions today are +Duncan and Dr Radner and Canon Harmon et al?”

You really shouldn’t crack jokes like that, this is a serious site!

NP
NP
13 years ago

seriously, Erika….Harmon, Radner and Duncan are calling their church back to the bible, back to God’s word…….they remind me of Elijah calling the leadership of Israel back from sinful drifting away from God

cryptogram
cryptogram
13 years ago

To plenty of others, NP, they sound more like Zedekiah ben Chenaanah urging an unholy and unblessed conflict.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“back to the bible,”

1. The Bible is not God

2. The Bible is not the Gospel.

3. The Church never left the Bible.

4. You can no more construct Christianity out of the Bible than you can build a PC from it’s user’s manual.

You are proof of the dangers of failing to realize these basic truths.

NP
NP
13 years ago

Ford says “The Church never left the Bible.”

– you talk of “The Church”……. now, is that TEC (USA) which is seriously out of line with most of the AC (let alone most protestants and Catholics in the US as well as the rest of the world?

– or is it The Church which TEC is defying and trying to deceive with ambiguous statements and weak promises.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

NP, Meaningless question. How can the Church have “left” the Bible, whatever that is supposed to mean, when She is grappling with its teachings, trying to live by the “Spirit of the Law” which Her Lord’s command for Her? Claiming that because many in TEC disgree with you, they therefor have no faith at all, that selling the lie that there is some horrid nest of pagans trying to destroy the Church and is oppressing the few faithful left there, that defending horrid betrayals of the Gospel just because they are done by someone who demands the degree of legalism… Read more »

NP
NP
13 years ago

Dear Ford.
I think this analysis shows just how TEC(USA) has in certain important ways left the bible as it defies agree Anglican positions.
http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=238

NP
NP
13 years ago

Ford – I thought you would appreciate this

http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=223

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
13 years ago

Hi Ford- There are two mistakes in your position: (1) assuming that no portions of Scripture can be easy to interpret, whereas in fact Scripture is such a huge library that it is bound to contain (among much else) thousands of things that are dead easy to interpret, in addition to having had more man-hours already devoted to helping us in its interpretation than any other book/library. (2) assuming that the spirit and letter of the law will give you vastly different conclusions. The ‘letter’ is subservient to the ‘spirit’, but you want it to be actually opposed to it,… Read more »

ruidh
ruidh
13 years ago

“assuming that the spirit and letter of the law will give you vastly different conclusions. The ‘letter’ is subservient to the ‘spirit’, but you want it to be actually opposed to it, leaving us with no clue concerning why anyone bothered to write the ‘letter’ in the first place. It almost becomes a ground rule that the bible never means what it says.” Now that’s a vast overreaction. The Parable of the Good Samaritan is illustrative here. The Jews who passed the beaten by man did so so as to not defile themselves before the Sabbath. They were more concerned… Read more »

NP
NP
13 years ago

ok ruidh – funnily enough, it is mainly people with vested interests, seeking to justify certain sins who see the Spirit and the law conflicting in the presenting issues….. you sure the Spirit is not calling people to repentance in the light of the scriptures?

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

Christopher, I make no such assumptions. Much of Scripture is dead easy to interpret. Like for instance, “Thou shalt not kill”. Yet, the Church seems to have decided this is quite unclear, at least when the State want us to kill one or many. And “This is my Body, this is My Blood” also seem pretty clear, yet they are the only statements of Scripture that fundamentalists do NOT take literally! How odd! I also do not wish to oppose the spirit of the Law to the letter of the Law, neither do I assume that they will always be… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
13 years ago

The danger is that we will take the spirit of the law to be opposed to the letter on those very occasions when we *want* it to be so, for our own reasons.

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