Thinking Anglicans

Co-chair named for Wilkinson Jay response group

Church of England press release
Independent co-chair for safeguarding Response Group appointed

Lesley-Anne Ryder, an experienced CEO and chair who has worked in national and local government and the health and charity sectors, has been appointed the independent co-chair of the Response Group looking at two important reports on independence and safeguarding in the Church of England. These are from barrister Sarah Wilkinson and former IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) chair Alexis Jay.

Lesley-Anne brings a proven track record in leading complex change management and restructure programmes involving safeguarding professionals and volunteers in diverse organisations and is an experienced leader, coach and mentor of senior teams. She has more than 20 years’ experience of work supporting vulnerable adults and children and has played an active role in shaping Health and Social Care policy at a senior level in the NHS, worked on a Government department merger and continues with a range of charity work which has included being a supervisor for Cruse Bereavement Care and chair of a local charity.

An independent recruitment firm was responsible for the selection of candidates and Lesley-Anne was interviewed by members of the Response Group including meeting with survivor representatives. One of the key criteria for selection was a professional, external voice who had not previously worked with the national Church. She will start work this week.

Speaking on her appointment Lesley-Anne said: “I am delighted to bring both my experience of leadership and managing complex change in a variety of settings, along with my personal experience and qualifications in engaging and supporting those whose trauma and circumstances have in some way stopped them having a voice. I believe that I inspire confidence, commitment and focus for those that I am called to lead and support, and that this role provides a unique opportunity for me to use my skills to the full. I have chaired several multidisciplinary boards, and I look forward to working closely with Bishop Joanne and the whole of the Response Group. I am an active member of my local church and work to support vulnerable people in my local community”.

The Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop and co-chair of Response Group, Joanne Grenfell, said: “I welcome this appointment and the wide-ranging professional experience Lesley-Anne will bring to this role. It is vital that we have an independent voice that can offer challenge and scrutiny while the work of the Response Group moves forward on these two important safeguarding reports.”

The ToR for the group have been updated to include this: Wilkinson and Jay Reports Response Group Terms of Reference

Some additional information is available at LinkedIn and at Anume.

The Church Times reported it this way (scroll down):

New independent co-chair for Response Group

THE independent co-chair of the group responding to recent reports on safeguarding in the Church of England (News, 15 March) has been appointed. It is Lesley-Anne Ryder, a former charity chief executive with experience of work supporting vulnerable adults and children. She has worked on social-care policy in the NHS, is a supervisor for Cruse Bereavement Care, and chairs a local charity. The other co-chair of the Response Group is the Bishop of Stepney, Dr Joanne Grenfell, who is the lead safeguarding bishop. It is understood that the Response Group will conduct a consultation on responding to the recommendations in the reports by Professor Alexis Jay (News, 23 February) and Dr Sarah Wilkinson (News, 15 December 2023). The announcement on the C of E website, on Tuesday, says that an independent recruitment firm was responsible for the selection of candidates, and that Ms Ryder was interviewed by members of the Response Group and survivor representatives.

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Independent reviewer and the appointment process for Bishop of Blackburn

A report by the Independent Reviewer, Canon Maggie Swinson, on the process leading to the nomination of the Bishop of Blackburn, Philip North, was published yesterday. The report is here.

For two rather different views of the report read

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LLF Programme Board members announced

The Church of England has published this: LLF Programme Board update.

Details of LLF Programme Board membership confirmed

Following an update last month on the new Programme Board to steer the next steps of Living in Love and Faith (LLF), progress has been made in forming this Board, together with the three working groups.

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, has agreed to Chair the Programme Board, supporting the Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow, in his ongoing work as the lead bishop of LLF.

Additionally, the Bishop of Stockport, Sam Corley, the Acting Bishop of Coventry, Ruth Worlsey and the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich will also serve on the Programme Board, with a further member to be appointed.

Ex Officio members will be Jamie Harrison, Chair of the House of Laity, Alison Coulter, Vice-chair of the House of Laity, Luke Miller, Prolocutor of the House of Clergy and Kate Wharton, Prolocutor of the House of Clergy. They will be supported by staff from the National Church Institutions (NCIs).

Full details of the membership of the three working groups – Pastoral Guidance, Pastoral Provision and Prayers of Love and Faith (PLF) – will be shared once all members have been appointed.

Together for the Church of England has published this Public Statement on LLF from Together (April 2024)   (This organisation is an amalgamation of GSGSG (General Synod Gender and Sexuality Group and MOSAIC (The Movement of Supporting Anglicans for an Inclusive Church).

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Bishop of Aston

The Bishop of Aston, the Rt Revd Anne Hollinghurst, is to become the new Principal of the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education in Birmingham. Aston is a suffragan see in the Diocese of Birmingham.

Details are on the websites of the Diocese of Birmingham and the Queen’s Foundation.

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Bishop of Wakefield to retire

The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield, has announced that he will retire on 31 August 2024. He is one of five Area Bishops in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds.

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Oxford disciplinary tribunal decision

Updated 7 April and again 9 April

Law & Religion UK reports: Dean Richard Peers CDM decision

On 21 March 2024, the Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Oxford handed down its Decision The Revd Canon Richard Peers – March 2024 and reasons in relation to facts and conduct.

Updates

Comments on this article remain closed.

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Survey for initial response to Jay report

Press release from the Church of England

Survey for initial response to Jay report
21/03/2024

A survey has been published today for anyone who wishes to make an initial response to the recommendations made by Professor Jay in her report on the Future of Church Safeguarding. The report from Professor Alexis Jay, former chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, IICSA, makes recommendations for a new independent safeguarding and scrutiny body for the Church of England. Professor Jay was commissioned by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to carry out this work in July 2023 and her report was published in February 2024.

Survey findings will be presented to the Wilkinson/Jay Response Group (see revised Terms of Reference) and will be available on the Church of England website. All survey responses are anonymous and no names or identifying details will be requested or produced. The survey closes on April 18.

Further information on safeguarding in the Church and independence

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Suffragan Bishop of Burnley

Press release from the Prime Minister’s office

For further information see the Blackburn diocesan website.

Appointment of Suffragan Bishop of Burnley: 22 March 2024

The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Dr Joseph Kennedy for appointment as Bishop of Burnley.

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
Published 22 March 2024

The King has approved the nomination of The Reverend Dr Joseph Kennedy, Vicar of Oxton St Saviour in the Diocese of Chester, for appointment to the Suffragan See of Burnley in the Diocese of Blackburn in succession to the Right Reverend Philip North, following his translation to the See of Blackburn.

Background

Joe was educated at Edinburgh University and at St Hugh’s College and Keble College, Oxford, and trained for ministry at St Stephen’s House, Oxford. He served as a Curate in the Diocese of Oxford, at Stratfield Mortimer (St Mary) and Mortimer West End with Padworth, and at Abingdon, and was ordained Priest in 2003.

In 2005, Joe was appointed Dean of Chapel, Chaplain and Fellow at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and additionally served as Chaplain and Senior Member at Newnham College. In 2008, Joe took up the role of Principal, College of the Resurrection, Mirfield.

In 2011, Joe was appointed to his current role as Vicar of Oxton St Saviour, in the Diocese of Chester, additionally serving as a Lecturer and Tutor at St Mellitus College from 2015 until 2020, and as Rural Dean of Birkenhead since 2021.

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Parish Finance Statistics 2022

The Church of England has recently published its Parish Finance Statistics 2022. These provide the latest financial information, including:

  • Income
  • Expenditure
  • Giving

Tables showing parish finances aggregated to diocese level are available as an excel file. Finance statistics for previous years, and other publications of the Research and Statistics Unit can be found on the resources, publications, and data page.

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Safeguarding: Advert for Wilkinson/Jay Response Group Co-Chair

Updated

This advertisement has appeared on Guardian Jobs, originated by Charisma Recruitment.

The full text is copied below the fold.

Co-Chair

Employer
Church of England
Location
Remote
Salary
Unremunerated with reasonable expenses paid*
Closing date
8 Apr 2024*
Update
The asterisked items above show the advert as originally published.
The Salary line has been changed, and now reads: Supplier fee paid.
The closing date has also been changed to read 17 March.

(more…)

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Reparatory Justice: Oversight Group recommendations

Updated Tuesday

The Fund for Healing, Repair and Justice describes itself this way:

A seed for growth and change

In 2023, the Church Commissioners for England published a report into its historic links to African chattel enslavement. In penitence and hope, the Church Commissioners proposed a fund to address a legacy of racialised inequality that scars the lives of billions to this day.

The Church Commissioners appointed an independent Oversight Group to make their recommendations on how the fund should be used. This group is acutely aware that the crimes against humanity rooted in enslavement have caused damage so vast it will require patient effort spanning generations to address. They believe this fund represents a start to breaking the chains of discrimination.

The Oversight Group has a bold vision for the £100m Fund for Healing, Repair and Justice which they would like to see grow to £1bn and act as a catalyst for real change.

Other recent documents about this:

Church Times: Church Commissioners look for partners to boost reparatory-justice fund to £1 billion

Updates

Guardian Harriet Sherwood ‘It’s not a lot when you consider the harm’: Why bishop is calling for £1bn in C of E reparations for slavery (Interview with the Bishop of Croydon)

Archbishop of York We need a conversation about justice (Article in the Sunday Times)

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LLF: re-formation of working groups

press release

New programme board to help steer LLF next steps
08/03/2024

Lead Bishop gives update to Synod members

Following discussion at the February meeting of General Synod, further details of plans for a new Programme Board to oversee the ongoing work of Living in Love and Faith (LLF) have been shared with General Synod members.

The Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow, the lead bishop for LLF, has written to Synod members to outline plans for a new oversight board and the re-formation of three working groups: the Pastoral Guidance Working Group, the Pastoral Reassurance Working Group and the Prayers of Love and Faith (PLF) Working Group.

Synod members have been invited to express their interest in joining the groups which will be formed of bishops, other clergy and laity.

In addition to these working groups, meetings with stakeholders will be organised to help enable progress ahead of a meeting of The House of Bishops’ meeting May.

Two formal groups will also be formed, as agreed following the commendation of the PLF:

  • A Pastoral Consultative Group – to aid bishops, diocesan staff and others with answers to the broad questions that arise from the implementation of PLF and other LLF work. This group will comprise a small number of bishops, supported by consultants.
  • An Independent Review Panel – to consider concerns about the implementation of the PLF and application of the Pastoral Guidance, and make recommendations for addressing justifiable concerns.

A timeline is being finalised to allow these groups to make progress ahead of the House of Bishops’ meeting later in May, which will feed into the General Synod sessions in July.

Read the full letter to Synod members from the Bishop of Leicester.

Church Times report on this: Synod members invited to apply to join LLF working groups

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February General Synod – electronic voting results

Updated 7 March to add item 13 and 14

The electronic voting results from this month’s General Synod are now available online and are linked below, with links to the order papers containing the relevant texts.

Electronic voting results

Archbishops’ Commission of Families and Households (Order Paper IV)

Safeguarding Independence (Order Paper II)

Living in Love and Faith (Order Paper VI)

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General Synod – 23-27 February 2024

This post will be updated as the meeting proceeds.

The Church of England’s General Synod is meeting this weekend. The timetable is here, the agenda is here and the papers are here.

House of Laity meeting

In addition the House of Laity will meet on Sunday evening.

Live video etc

All sessions are streamed live on YouTube and remain available to view afterwards. Links have been provided in advance.

There is an official Twitter account.

Order papers

Business done

Official press releases

Press reports and comment

Church Times

The Guardian

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Safeguarding – pre-Synod news and comment

Updated Friday to add a second Church Times article

Gavin Drake Church Abuse

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Future of Church Safeguarding – A look at the Jay Report
also online at Modern Church

Ruth Peacock Religion Media Centre Celebration but concern at proposed new CofE independent safeguarding

Francis Martin Church Times Jay calls for root-and-branch reform of church safeguarding

Simon Walsh Church Times Varied responses to Jay report on Church of England safeguarding

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General Synod Questions

The Questions (and answers) for this weekend’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod were issued today. They can be found online here: Questions Notice Paper February 2024.

Questions will be taken in two groups; on Friday from 5.30pm to 7.00pm, and for about an hour on Saturday morning. There are 225 questions.

Update

There is a correction to the answer to Question 62 in Notice Paper 7.

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Jay report on Church of England safeguarding published

UPDATED

This report was commissioned by the Church of England and first announced on 20 July 2023. Details followed in August: see Future of Church Safeguarding.

The report is now published: The Future of Church Safeguarding (55 pages)

There is also a press release: Report into the future of safeguarding in the Church of England

And there is a video.

There is also this Legal Advice note (35 pages)

——–

The Church of England has issued a press release.

And there is this: Terms of Reference for the Jay and Wilkinson Reports Response Group

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Bishop of Leicester writes to General Synod members

The Bishop of Leicester has written to all members of the General Synod this morning, ahead of the LLF debate at Synod this coming weekend. The original is here and I haved copied the body of the letter below the fold.

(more…)

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Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, has announced with great sadness the unexpected death of his colleague, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham.

Paying tribute to Bishop Alan, Bishop Steven said: “Alan was a dear friend and colleague to many across the Diocese. Alan has deep friendships and pastoral relationships across both church and community in Bucks. He has offered remarkable leadership to our work in education and church schools over more than a decade. Alan has been a friend and advocate for survivors of abuse and a strong ally and supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community for many years.

“Alan had recently begun a well-earned sabbatical and was planning to use the time to plan and prepare for retirement in the next year. Alan loved God and loved God’s church with a rare passion. He was a bishop who prioritised the parishes and clergy in his care above everything else and served the people of Buckinghamshire with devotion over a long and demanding ministry.

“I will miss him as a friend and colleague. The Church has lost a wise, pastoral and prophetic bishop.”

There is more on the Oxford diocesan website.

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The Wilkinson Files

Sarah Wilkinson’s report into the Church of England’s Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) was published in December. A debate on Safeguarding Independence (GS 2336) is scheduled to take place on Saturday 24 February at General Synod.

In advance of this debate six short documentary-style films (“The Wilkinson Files”) which highlight the key findings of Dr Wilkinson’s Report are being released by two Synod members. They explain these findings while displaying their precise location within the report. Each film is between 8 and about 15 minutes in duration.

The films are being released daily. So far two are available, but links are available for all six.

The films are presented by Martin Sewell and Clive Billenness, both Members of the House of Laity of the General Synod and both very active in matters relating to Safeguarding. Martin is a retired solicitor specialising in Child Protection. Clive is a Certified Auditor who is still in pracce and is also an elected member of the Audit Commiee of the Archbishops’ Council.

Clive said “When the Wilkinson Report is considered at the forthcoming meeting of the General Synod, speakers will probably only have 2 or 3 minutes each to speak about it. The Report itself reflects the legal background of its author and is packed with painstaking detail. We wanted to help Synod members to be as fully-informed as possible before Synod considers this. We have approached this like a forensic examinaon and have only included in the films any information contained in Dr Wilkinson’s Report, information of which she was aware or information in the Public Domain at the time she wrote her report.

“We have not invited anyone else to comment in our films or to appear on them in the interests of strict imparality. We leave it instead to our viewers to draw their own conclusions about how these sad events came to pass and how we can avoid a repetition. Dr Wilkinson’s report makes it clear that some fundamental changes are needed to the way the Church of England and the Archbishops’ Council conducts itself when dealing with Safeguarding.”

The films detail how the ISB was created, how it struggled to achieve the proper independence which abuse survivors and others expected, how it was closed down, followed by an detailed examinaon of the failures in governance which Dr Wilkinson highlights, a summary of the voices of the survivors who spoke to her and, finally, a short analysis of the “Magic Moments” where serious mistakes occurred which led to the failure and closure of the ISB.

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