The Church of England has issued this: Statement on resolution of disciplinary process regarding Bishop of Lincoln
…The Bishop of Lincoln, Christopher Lowson, has accepted a penalty for misconduct in relation to the management of one safeguarding issue. At their meeting the Archbishop apologised to the Bishop for the long process that he has endured. The Archbishop expressed his full support for the Bishop as he now begins the process of returning to ministry as the Bishop of Lincoln.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said: “I am very sorry that Bishop Christopher and his wife Susan have had to endure such an ordeal over the last 20 months. I have expressed my regret to Christopher and am very grateful to him for the gracious way he has responded. I want to make it clear that I am fully supportive of Christopher returning to ministry as the Bishop of Lincoln. We have both agreed that there are many lessons we and the Church need to learn from this very difficult season, as we also continue to learn lessons from the scrutiny of IICSA which highlighted our poor response to survivors…
And the Diocese of Lincoln has issued this: Letter to the people of the Diocese of Lincoln
We write as episcopal colleagues to the people of the Diocese to share news of the Bishop of Lincoln’s return to ministry and our shared sense of encouragement for the future.
1. What has happened?
On 12th January 2021 the Bishop of Lincoln had a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury. They met together to pray and discuss next steps following the conclusion of the clergy disciplinary process instigated after the Bishop’s suspension in May 2019, and subsequent investigation. That process resulted in a judgment by the President of Tribunals, Dame Sarah Asplin, following which the Bishop agreed to accept a rebuke in relation to his handling of an allegation made against a priest in the diocese. Bishop Christopher has offered an unreserved apology for the way in which he handled this matter.
Archbishop Justin expressed his full support for Bishop Christopher as he now begins the process of returning to ministry as Bishop of Lincoln…
The Church Times carries this report: Bishop of Lincoln can return to duty after 20-month safeguarding investigation. That account reminds us how it began:
…The Church’s safeguarding procedures were triggered in May 2019, after police informed the church authorities about an allegation (News, 17 May 2019). Bishop Lowson was immediately suspended because, as Archbishop Justin Welby said at the time: “If these matters are found to be proven I consider that the bishop would present a significant risk of harm by not adequately safeguarding children and vulnerable people.”
Bishop Lowson agreed to co-operate fully, while expressing his bewilderment at the charge, and hoped that the investigation would be completed “as quickly as possible”.
Part of the delay was down to the police, who did not conclude their investigation until January 2020, deciding that, on the evidence before them, there was no case to answer. The Church’s investigation, carried out for the National Safeguarding Team, began at that point, and it was later confirmed that Bishop Lowson was being investigated under the Clergy Discipline Measure…