Thinking Anglicans

A new complaint about the Dean of Christ Church

Updated Friday evening

The Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, Martyn Percy is now the subject of a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure, according to the Diocese of Oxford, which has amended the statement it first issued on 18 November and it now reads as follows:

19 November 2020
Following media reports, our statement is updated as follows

We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position. The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated.

18 November 2020

The Bishop of Oxford has agreed with the Very Revd Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, that Martyn will step back from office, while a complaint is properly considered.

Christ Church is a complex institution and, uniquely in the Church of England, the Dean of the Cathedral is also Head of an Oxford College. Christ Church has written to students and staff with the following statement. The statement has also been shared with the Cathedral congregation and those at the Cathedral School.

“The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.”

The Bishop of Oxford is in close contact with all concerned. His prayers, and those of the Diocese, are with everyone at Christ Church.

Christ Church itself has today issued the following press release:

Statement regarding the Dean of Christ Church

Yesterday Christ Church wrote to internal stakeholders to say that the Dean of Christ Church has stepped back from his duties in the College and Cathedral.

There have been some suggestions in the media that the Dean has resigned. We can clarify that this is not the case. The wording of Christ Church’s statement is set out below:

“The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.”

The Church Times has reported this as Supporters warned off as Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, steps back. This story was updated on Friday, and now contains the following:

SUPPORTERS of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, have been reprimanded by the Oxford diocese. The supporters, in turn, have asked why members of the college’s Governing Body have not been criticised…

…The diocesan statement, in turn, has been criticised by David Lamming, a friend of Dean Percy and a General Synod member, as a “wholly inappropriate public comment while the current allegation is under investigation”. He objects, in particular, to the reference to “severity”, and asks for information about the authorship of the statement.
Other allies of the Dean have pointed out that the diocesan reprimand is one-sided. It is said that at least one member of the college’s Governing Body was known to have briefed journalists anonymously about the case…

 

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Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
4 days ago

The word “reportedly” in this statement is doing a suspiciously large amount of work.

Luke 12:3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
Ephesians 5:11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Inquattrogatti
Inquattrogatti
3 days ago
Reply to  Martin Sewell

“Prof Percy’s supporters describe the matter as ‘not grave’ and ‘relatively minor'”

See Religion Media Centre report, The Times, and Daily Mail.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
3 days ago
Reply to  Inquattrogatti

Initial reports in the Times and the Daily said that Dean Percy had resigned. This turned out not to be true and was later corrected. Earlier allegations against Martyn have been thoroughly investigated and dismissed. Of course this allegation also needs to be thoroughly investigated. It’s hardly surprising, however, if observers of this very lengthy and sordid Christchurch saga have grown cynical about the way a new allegation crops up every time an old one is proved to be unfounded.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
3 days ago
Reply to  Inquattrogatti

How can all supporters of the Dean of Christ Church Martyn Percy “belittle” complainants?

That’s rather like saying all supporters of the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell “belittle” those complainants of abuse.

Palpable, illogical, dangerous nonsense from the Bishop of Oxford Steven Croft.

Last edited 3 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
3 days ago

Church Times editor hastily amends article to restore journalistic balance and integrity [Hat-tip: Simon Sarmiento], but the unbalanced headline remains.

Last edited 3 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
2 days ago

Yes Simon, the reason why the Diocese of Oxford failed to show any balance is not only “the more serious issue”…it is the most serious issue. But then we enter the locked door of cock-up/cover-up/conspiracy theories to which none of us here have the key.

But what we can do is demand the media [eg Church Times, Times, Telegraph and Guardian] do their job properly as professional journalists. IPSO is one route to go down – there are others.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 day ago

As Chomsky says: “‘Objectivity’ has a meaning. It means reporting accurately and fairly what’s going on”

David Lamming
David Lamming
2 days ago
  • Richard, you assume that the Bishop of Oxford himself wrote the further statement posted on the diocesan website on 19 November. I very much doubt that he was the author. However, as diocesan bishop he must take ultimate responsibility for what appears on that website. I have e-mailed Bishop Steven as follows: “May I request, therefore, that you secure the posting of a further statement on the website explaining how the 19th November statement came to be posted, its authorship, and condemning it as a wholly inappropriate public comment while the current allegation is under investigation.” He has not yet replied.
Last edited 2 days ago by David Lamming
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
2 days ago
Reply to  David Lamming

David, surely the Bishop of Oxford Steven Croft has to take responsibility for this – not fake responsibility. The buck clearly stops with him – just as the buck clearly stops with Archbishop Welby in the Oct 22 2015 Statement.

Last edited 2 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
2 days ago
Reply to  David Lamming

And where is the Bishop on Safeguarding Dr Jonathan Gibbs on this? It’s an extremely serious safeguarding issue. Was he consulted – either by whoever wrote the Diocese of Oxford Statement or the Media? Did he consent to what was written? Surely not. My guess is Bishop Gibbs was bypassed and/or ignored. But who by?

Last edited 2 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
peter kettle
peter kettle
2 days ago

How do you know it’s an ‘extremely serious safeguarding issue’? Unless I’ve missed something, I can’t see any reference to the actual matter in hand at all, just some indications of its alleged importance.

Happy to be corrected / pointed in the right direction for further information / intelligence!

Last edited 2 days ago by peter kettle
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
2 days ago
Reply to  peter kettle

Peter, you ask: how I know it’s an “extremely serious issue?” Well, the Bishop of Oxford Steven Croft – or whoever it was – wrote in the Oxford Diocese Statement: “We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint” The use of the word “severity” would tend to suggest it’s “extremely serious”. How do I know it’s an extremely serious safeguarding issue? Well, the Oxford Diocese Statement says: “Christ Church has written to students and staff with the following statement. The statement has also been shared with the Cathedral congregation… Read more »

Last edited 2 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Janet Fife
Janet Fife
2 days ago
Reply to  David Lamming

The Bishop of Oxford is on very shaky ground here, considering the very unsatisfactory response to the Rev. Matthew Ineson’s complaint against him.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
2 days ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

Indeed Janet

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2020/08/13/july-10-2019-vicar-tells-abuse-inquiry-archbishops-not-fit-for-office-itv-news/

And did Bishop Steven Croft consult with the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding Dr Jonathan Gibbs when he ‘green-lighted’ the Oxford Diocese Statement?

Last edited 2 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Matthew Ineson
Matthew Ineson
1 day ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

Thank you Janet. Steven Croft, along with other bishops, took advantage of the 1 yr time limitation rule loophole to prevent investigation into himself. He ignored 4 disclosures of abuse, left a priest rapist/abuser 5 years to continue potentially abusing. The abuser then killed himself on the day he was due in court charged with rape & indecent assault of a child. The Bishop of Oxford is not fit for office. If he has nothing to hide why is he hiding behind this loophole and which are CofE hierarchy protecting him? Why is his position still put before victim of… Read more »

Matthew Ineson
Matthew Ineson
1 day ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

And by the way, I STILL have not received an apology from anybody for my abuse or the disgraceful way I have been treat since disclosing my abuse. NST refuse to work with me in their ‘review ‘ of the case. The whole thing is a sham and a cover up.
Nothing has changed. Reputation before victims is still the way the cofe hierarchy operate.
There has been a damning report from IICSA and not a single person has been held to account.

Last edited 1 day ago by Matthew Ineson
Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
2 days ago

I’m an alumnus of Christ Church and have in the past donated a modest amount to one of their scholarship appeals. Something has gone terribly wrong in that community, and I am lost for words to describe my feelings at this sorry spectacle. The best analogy I can think of is that of seeing an old friend succumbing to some self-destructive addiction, such as drink or drugs.

Kate
Kate
2 days ago

It seems to me that if the Bishop of Oxford feels he can describe the complaint as “severe” it is equally acceptable for the Dean’s supporters to describe it as minor. Both comments or neither, but to allow adverse comment while suppressing supportive comment is hypocritical.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
2 days ago
Reply to  Kate

It is not only “hypocritical” Kate, it is a shameful abuse and misuse of power by a small, hidden faction within the Church of England and/or Christ Church. These ‘bad apples’ threaten to contaminate the whole ‘basket’.

Last edited 2 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
David Lamming
David Lamming
2 days ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate, if you read my comment (above) you will see that I do not think the Bishop of Oxford personally wrote the update posted on the diocesan website on 19 November and commencing “We are disappointed…” (emphasis added). Nonetheless, as diocesan bishop he must surely accept ultimate responsibility for what is published on the diocesan website: hence my e-mail to him, to which he has still to reply. That said, I agree with your observation: A one-sided condemnation was wrong. An impartial note saying that everyone needs to respect due process, which would include a general self-denying ordinance on comment… Read more »

Matthew Ineson
Matthew Ineson
1 day ago
Reply to  Kate

The Bishop of Oxford doesnt describe the safeguarding complaints against himself as severe does he? Despite ignoring 4 disclosures of abuse and the suicide of the abuser in his diocese with mental health problems…and not a single risk assessment or check was ever done at all.
CofE hierarchy cover up for Croft. They have much to hide.

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