Thinking Anglicans

Churches appeal to Patriarch Kirill

Updated 22 March

As you would expect, churches have called for peace in the war between Russia and Ukraine:

The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury have both spoken by video to the Patriarch of Moscow: Welby, Kirill, and Pope Francis discuss peace in Ukraine by Paul Handley

The official statements from each side:

Analyses of this:

To understand the theological views of Patriarch Kirill, you need to study the viewpoint of the other Orthodox churches:


Religion News Service Jack Jenkins How Putin’s invasion became a holy war for Russia

Church Times Jonathan Luxmoore Patriarch Kirill backs Putin’s denial of Ukrainian independence

Archbishop Cranmer Why doesn’t Patriarch Kirill excommunicate Putin forthwith?

Toronto Star Michael Coren Ukraine’s suffering mirrors that of Easter — we must help this proud nation rise again


Bishop of Blackburn to retire

The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Julian Henderson, has announced that he will retire in July, immediately after the Lambeth Conference. There are details on the diocesan website and in an open letter from the bishop to his diocese.


Dean of Carlisle announces retirement

The Dean of Carlisle, the Very Revd Mark Boyling, has announced that he will retire later this year. Details are on the diocesan website.


Same Sex Marriage Research 2022

Press Release from the Ozanne Fondation

It starts with

Same Sex Marriage Research 2022

Same sex marriage – a clear majority of Anglicans believe same-sex marriage is right despite the church’s refusal to permit same sex marriage.

Fast changing attitudes within society and the Church of England have led to a broad acceptance of same sex marriage, with well over half (55%) of those identifying as Anglican and living in England believing same sex marriage is ‘right’. What is more, nearly three quarters (72%) of those under 50 believe that it is ‘right’, despite the Church of England’s official stance against same-sex relationships.

The Poll, commissioned by the Ozanne Foundation and conducted over by YouGov, repeated a question asked about people’s attitudes to same-sex marriage in 2013, 2016 and 2020. It shows a constant increase over time in the number of people who self-identify as Anglican believing same-sex marriage is ‘right’ (from 38% in 2013 to 48% in 2020 to 55% in 2022) and a marked decrease in numbers believing it is ‘wrong’ (from 47% in 2013 to just 29% in 2022).

An overwhelming majority of the British public now clearly support same sex marriage, with just a fifth opposed to it. This is a significant change in just 9 years.

and continues with details of the poll results and links to the full results.

The Church Times has this report: YouGov poll: more than half of Anglicans believe same-sex marriage to be ‘right’.


Anglicans respond to the crisis in Ukraine

Anglican responses to the Ukrainian crisis include the following.

The archbishops of the Church of England issued a Pastoral letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, together with A Prayer for Ukraine, and urged that Churches prepare for National Day of Prayer for Ukraine. Ely Cathedral provided a translation into Ukrainian.
The Archbishop of York also spoke about Ukraine in a debate in the House of Lords.

The Scottish Episcopal Church issued Primus on Ukraine crisis: “Let us pray today for peace”.

The Church in Wales issued Ukraine – A statement from the Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John

The Church of Ireland has published Prayers in a time of war in Ukraine.

The Diocese in Europe has a chaplaincy in Kyiv and several in Russia, and has issued this invitation Prayers Across Europe for Peace in Ukraine (includes Youtube link):

All are invited to join together for
Prayers Across Europe for Peace in Ukraine

Tuesday 1st March
1800gmt / 1900cet / 2000eet (Kyiv) / 2100gmt+3 (Moscow)

Led by: Bishop Robert Innes
Rev’d Canon Malcolm Rogers, Chaplain of St Andrew’s, Moscow and Area Dean of Russia and Ukraine and Representatives of Christ Church, Kyiv

Also there is Bishop Robert Prays for Ukraine (for Chaplaincy Service use) which includes a video link.

Earlier, the CofE published ‘Please pray for peace for Ukraine’: the Church of England congregation which meets in Kyiv.

There is much discussion about the religious aspects of the dispute. Commenters include:

Church Times reports:

Church of England ditches shares in Russian firms

‘A repeat of Cain’s sin’: Orthodox leaders condemn Russian attack on Ukraine

Ukraine invasion is ‘a call to action’, Cottrell tells Lords

Ukraine invasion: Church leaders and charities react with horror and dismay


Bishop of Kensington to lead new Centre for Cultural Witness

News from the Church of England

Bishop of Kensington to lead new Centre for Cultural Witness

  • Bishop Graham Tomlin to lead work to explore how the Church can explain and share with others its profound and transforming story in public.
  • Project to be based based at the Lambeth Palace site and run in partnership with prominent UK-based theological faculties.
  • Output to include a magazine website, explaining aspects of Christian faith in accessible language and Christian perspectives on culture and contemporary life.
  • It will offer a learning and training programme for senior Christian leaders and emerging communicators, and theological research into the task of Cultural Witness in the contemporary context.

The Bishop of Kensington, Dr Graham Tomlin, will step down in August 2022 to lead the new Centre for Cultural Witness, a project to underpin the Church’s work of being a Christian presence in every community, by exploring how the Church can communicate and share with others its profound and transforming story in its public witness.



Questions about senior recruitment

There were a number of questions raised at General Synod concerning two recent senior Church of England appointments. Earlier there had been two letters in the Church Times, first one about the appointment of the new Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments, see here, and then a further letter (scroll down, from Mr John Brydon) concerning this, and also about the appointment of the new Third Church Estates Commissioner.

At Synod, four Questions were raised.

  • Two Questions concerned the appointment of the new Third Church Estates Commissioner.
  • Another two Questions related to the appointment of the new Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments.

The Church Times reported  in detail on all this: Archbishop quizzed about selection of Appointments Secretary. This article includes details of a supplementary question from Rebecca Chapman (see first letter above):

…She asked the Archbishop to confirm that “prior to appointing Mr Knott to this role, you were aware of the contents of the lawyer’s report sent to your office in April 2017, which explicitly lays out seven identified breaches of employment law perpetrated by Mr Stephen Knott when dealing with my return to work at Lambeth Palace following maternity leave, and whether or not you shared that information with the panel who approved Mr Knott for this role.”

After hearing Mrs Chapman’s question, the session’s chair, Debbie Buggs (London), said that it contained “imputation” and “shouldn’t be asked”. The Archbishop need not reply. This was later challenged by Jayne Ozanne (Oxford), to a “Hear, hear” and applause from the floor…

…The lawyer’s report, a private legal opinion prepared by a solicitor, Jane Stuart-Smith, has been seen by Church Times. It says: “Two days before Rebecca Chapman’s return to work she had no job, no office and there appeared to be no serious attempt to address the situation by her line managers. Rebecca Chapman made all the running and found a creative solution to a situation that was totally unacceptable.

“Lambeth Palace narrowly avoided a tribunal claim for sex discrimination, unfair dismissal and breach of the Part Time Workers regulations and breach of the Maternity and Paternity Leave Regulations. Fortunately, the situation was resolved because she took the initiative.”

It does not name Mr Knott and the Church Times understands that while his duties included the administration of HR duties, he was not responsible for decisions taken. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Lambeth Palace said: “Rebecca Chapman was a valued employee who remained in post and later went on to leave her role at Lambeth Palace on good terms…

…Ms Stuart-Smith’s report was paid for by Mrs Chapman’s husband, who in a letter, also seen by the Church Times, informed the Archbishop that he would be providing a pot of £20,000 to enable access for staff at Lambeth Palace to legal employment advice and guidance if needed. Mrs Chapman confirmed on Tuesday that it had been used by staff.


Dean of Canterbury to retire

News from the Diocese of Canterbury

The Dean of Canterbury, The Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, has announced that he will cease to be Dean at midnight on 16 May 2022, the eve of his 75th birthday…

The Church Times covers this story here.


Safeguarding: Graham Gregory case review

Church of England press release

Graham Gregory: Lessons Learnt Review


The independent lessons learnt review into the Church of England’s handling of allegations against the late Revd Graham Gregory across five dioceses, has been published today. Gregory was sentenced to three years imprisonment in 2014, on two counts of non-recent indecent assault on a girl under 13 years and was further convicted in 2018 of three non-recent indecent assaults against three separate victims, all children and was sentenced to four years four months in prison. He died in jail in 2019.

The review was commissioned by the National Safeguarding Team and carried out by Ray Galloway, who previously led the Jimmy Savile Inquiry at Leeds General Infirmary and was part of the Church of England’s Kendal House review team. The reviewer’s work was informed by the five diocesan reviews in; Chichester, Sodor & Man, Southwark, Southwell & Nottingham and York (to where he retired).

Its purpose is to allow the Church to take steps to enhance and improve its response to allegations of abuse and, thereby, to ensure a safer environment for all. It also considers both good practice and failings in safeguarding practices in respect of Graham Gregory, and the appropriateness of responses by Church bodies to allegations and concerns raised across each diocese in which he held any post…

The full text of the review is here.

…press release continued

Statement from Ray Galloway:

The events recorded in this report demonstrate the scale of Graham Gregory’s betrayal of the trust placed in him, the impact of which has been profound and enduring. Accordingly I should like to pay tribute to his victims for their courage in sharing their experiences with the Review Team so allowing us to build our knowledge and understanding of Gregory’s history of abusive behaviour.

Robust and reliable evidence, gathered over more than 25 years, shows that Gregory was a determined and persistent abuser of children who actively sought out and created opportunities to harm his victims.

The children he abused included his own vicar’s daughter, the daughter of a family relative and daughters of his congregants. The latter included one child whose parents were visually impaired and had trusted Gregory with the safety of their daughter when in his company.

Arguably the gravest and most regrettable conclusion of the Review is that of missed opportunity and the harm done that may have been avoided. This was possible because, despite child victims and victims’ parents repeatedly seeking support and protection from members of the clergy, including senior members, they were not listened to nor was action taken. This lack of action continued for almost 50 years. Indeed on at least one occasion an allegation was actively suppressed by a senior member of the clergy and Gregory merely moved to another diocese. That allegation contributed to Gregory’s conviction when it was reasserted some 25 years later.

Whilst for much of Gregory’s ministry safeguarding matters did not benefit from the profile and awareness that they do today, there was still a fundamental moral and professional duty to protect children. It is clear that this duty to the vulnerable was not met where and when most needed.  This resulted in Gregory continuing, unchallenged, and further abuse being perpetrated.

Clear and multiple opportunities were missed by the Church to listen to victims, scrutinise Gregory’s behaviour and to take action to protect those children and families involved. This would have stopped Gregory’s abuse, brought him to justice sooner and shown a demonstrable commitment to the welfare of the vulnerable. It is vital that the Church acknowledges and accepts the findings of this Report and makes meaningful and transparent arrangements to address these findings.



Bishop of Kingston to retire

News from the Diocese of Southwark

The Bishop of Kingston, The Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham, announced today that he will be concluding his term of office on 17 October 2022, the 20th anniversary of his consecration. He is one of the longest-serving stipendiary bishops in the Church of England…


General Synod – 8 to 10 February 2022

This post will be updated as the meeting proceeds.

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

Live Video

All sessions are streamed live on YouTube and remain available to view afterwards.

Tuesday afternoon
Wednesday morning
Wednesday afternoon
Thursday morning
Thursday afternoon

Order Papers

OP1 – Tuesday 8 February PM
OP2 – Wednesday 9 February AM
OP3 – Wednesday 9 February PM
Erratum to Order Paper 3
This erratum also contains an error – the word “update” should be deleted from the first line of paragraph (b).
OP4 – Thursday 10 February AM
OP5 – Thursday 10 February PM

Business done

Business Done complete

Official press releases

Archbishop of Canterbury’s presidential address to General Synod
Lack of action on racial justice is ‘chilling’, Lord Boateng tells Synod
Archbishop Justin’s remarks in racial justice debate
Racial Justice: update to Synod on racial justice work
Synod approves legislation to help churches meet carbon-reduction target
Unanimous backing from Synod for call to protect child survivors of trafficking
Synod invites engagement on ideas to simplify Church of England’s governance

Synod invites engagement on ideas to simplify National Church Institutions governance structures
Synod unanimously condemns persecution of Christians around the world
Farewell to the Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes

Press reports

Church Times
The strong thrive, the weak suffer: Welby challenges the pandemic narrative
Lord Boateng holds Synod’s feet to the fire over Church’s racism record
C of E safeguarding yet to come good, says new Independent Safeguarding Board
Full steam ahead for cleaner church boilers, General Synod agrees
Archbishop quizzed about selection of Appointments Secretary
New border proposals undermine current anti-slavery legislation, Synod hears
Bishop Seeley tells Synod of short- and long-term financial pressures

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby criticises delay in removing slavery plaque

The Telegraph
Justin Welby suggests Cambridge college should remove slavery-linked donor plaque

The Living Church
C of E Synod: Financial Woes, Safeguarding & Boilers

Members’ blogs

Andrew Nunn
Looking out
Old boiler
The last lap
Give us our Archbishop back?

Helen King
General Synod, February 2022: what felt most bizarre

Jo Stobart
General Synod (February 2022)

1 Comment

Radical proposals for the role of bishops


On Monday, Kaya Burgess published an exclusive report in The Times, provocatively headlined Behold the Bishop of Brexit as church models itself on politics, and there was also a leader article The Church should eschew the temptations of political intervention. There was then a follow-up report on Tuesday (today): Church of England: Brexit bishop idea fails to inspire clergy. All this refers to an as yet unpublished document presented to the College of Bishops  last September.

The above items are of course behind a paywall. Fortunately, the Church Times (some free access permitted) has now published a detailed analysis of the same original document. This gives a clearer account of the document, and makes it sound more sensible than earlier reports had suggested. I recommend reading the CT article carefully:

Madeleine Davies Fewer dioceses, specialist bishops: Archbishops’ confidential paper revealed in detail.

Update 12 February

The Church Times has: Leader comment: Bishops in the driving seat.

The text of the consultation document (PDF) is now available here.

Further update: The full text of the consultation has also been published by the Church Times here.


Pre-Synod news and comment

The Church of England’s General Synod meets from Tuesday to Thursday of this week. There are links to the papers here and to the Questions here. Safeguarding is on the agenda for Wednesday and there are several questions on this topic – see our article here.

Other news and comment includes:

David Pocklington Law & Religion UK “Net zero” and the faculty jurisdiction

The Telegraph Your net zero push could force churches to close or leave our parishioners shivering, Welby is warned

Helen King sharedconversations February 2022 General Synod – before it starts

Gavin Drake General Synod Update February 2022

Church Times General Synod to focus on race, trafficking, and persecution
The latest Letters to the Editor include three on the proposed changes to the membership of the Crown Nominations Commission.


Christ Church Oxford settles dispute with Dean

Updated Friday evening

 Christ Church press release

Christ Church confirms successful conclusion of mediation with the Dean

Statement by Christ Church: 

A process of mediation has been taking place to try to resolve a number of outstanding issues between the Dean of Christ Church and the Governing Body.

This includes an allegation of sexual harassment made against the Dean.

Christ Church has always regarded the safety and well-being of its students and staff as its highest priority. Any such allegation will always be thoroughly investigated and addressed, whilst respecting the right to a fair hearing for the accused.

We made clear throughout the various dispute processes with the Dean that no resolution could be reached unless the concerns of the individual making the allegation of sexual harassment against him were fully addressed.

Christ Church can now confirm that the mediation process has been concluded and that a resolution has been reached that is acceptable to all parties.

The Dean has agreed to step down, voluntarily, from his role as Dean of Christ Church, and the individual who made the allegation of sexual harassment against the Dean has agreed to settle her claim on terms which on her request are confidential.

At the request of the individual concerned, Christ Church will within twelve months commission a comprehensive review of its policies and procedures in relation to sexual harassment to be led by an independent expert. This review will ensure that any future cases are dealt with fairly and expediently.

We are grateful to the individual involved that they have agreed to work with us to ensure that these procedures fully reflect the experience they endured. The review will seek to strengthen further those measures which Christ Church already has in place to protect the students and staff, and to ensure that a safe environment for teaching and learning is maintained.

Christ Church is deeply sorry for the hurt that this individual has suffered and we regret the time that it has taken to bring these matters concerning the Dean to a conclusion.

Statement by ‘X’ 

In October 2020 I brought a claim of sexual harassment against the Dean of Christ Church.

The Dean has always denied this claim. He has also denied that he victimised me including after I brought Employment Tribunal proceedings against him.

I have to accept, incredibly reluctantly, that it is my word against his that the incident took place. I am acutely aware that this is a situation faced by many women who bring complaints of a sexual nature. Sadly, the various processes that have followed have not altered this situation. However, I want to acknowledge that Christ Church, to their credit, has always supported my right to make this complaint.

I know what I experienced on that day and I want to ensure that no other student or member of staff has to go through the ordeal that I have.

I am pleased that the Dean has agreed to step down from his role at Christ Church and, in return, I have agreed to settle my outstanding claims against him.

I am reassured that Christ Church has begun the important work of ensuring that its practices and policies provide the best possible support and protection for all members of its community. I will be working with Christ Church to ensure that whatever changes they adopt take into account my experiences.

I sincerely hope that in some way this will help to ensure that other students and staff avoid the distress that I have experienced.

I would like to thank Christ Church for bringing about a resolution to my complaint against the Dean.

Of course, I wish that a resolution could have been achieved more quickly and without the pain and stress I have endured, so that the sense of injustice I have long felt could have been, if not entirely eradicated, made more bearable.

The resolution that has now been reached brings the matter to a formal close, and I hope that we can all move forward in a positive manner.

Oxford diocese press release

The Very Revd Martyn Percy

4 February 2022  The Governing Body of Christ Church has announced that mediation processes have concluded with the Dean and a resolution reached that is satisfactory to all parties.

The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, has issued the following statement:

Christ Church have announced this afternoon that the Dean has agreed to step down from his duties as Dean following a long and protracted series of disputes with the governing body and a process of mediation.

A complaint of sexual harassment brought against the Dean by a member of staff has also been settled in a parallel process of mediation. The allegation was unrelated to previous disputes.

A settlement has been agreed with the Dean and, separately, with the complainant.

The complainant has felt discredited and disbelieved. The Dean has felt hurt and isolated. The complaint and previous disputes have also been painful for Cathedral Chapter, the congregation of the Cathedral and many others. The settlement brings to an end a damaging period in the life of the Cathedral and the College.

There is a moment and opportunity now for grace and, over time, for a process of reconciliation and healing of relationships.

My own encouragement to all is to seek the peace to which Christ calls us. This will understandably take time and I commend all concerned to the continued prayers of the diocese. I have written to Martyn to repeat my offer of conversation and dialogue about his next steps.

The college will seek to appoint an independent chair for a governance review proposed by the Charity Commission. The Diocese of Oxford and the Church of England will contribute to that review in due course.

Both the Dean and the complainant have requested an independent lessons learned review of the processes followed by the Diocese and the Church of England nationally. The Bishop’s Council have agreed to this and we are seeking the support of the Archbishops’ Council for this to be jointly commissioned.

Martyn continues to be held in respect and affection by many across the Diocese of Oxford, the wider Church and internationally for his gifts as a priest and writer. Many will be grieved by the disputes that have led to his departure.

Together we hope and pray, by the grace of God, for a hopeful and fruitful future for all concerned.

+Steven Oxford


Statement from Martyn Percy NB not referenced or linked in either of the above statements


 The Governing Body of Christ Church Oxford has agreed to drop all charges and processes against the College’s Dean, the Very Rev Prof Martyn Percy. A settlement – including a substantial sum in compensation and the payment of the Dean’s outstanding legal fees – was endorsed by the GB at a meeting today (FRIDAY). The College has also agreed to an independently-led review of its governance. 

As part of this settlement, Dr Percy will relinquish his position as Dean at the end of April. 

Dr Percy said: 

“Despite the trials and troubles over the last four years, we will miss Christ Church enormously.  It is a special place, and our family have been blessed with great support and friendship from students, staff, congregation and colleagues over this time.  Those friendships and our gratitude will endure and remain.  Our own faith in the constancy of God has been sustaining, and evidenced by the goodness, kindness and care we have been shown by many, despite all else. We sincerely wish Christ Church well for the future, and will hope and pray that the governance reforms will be both effective and welcome when they are implemented.”

One colleague of Prof. Percy said: “We are relieved and pleased that Christ Church has finally agreed a reasonable settlement to a dispute which has riven the college, cost millions of pounds and caused untold distress, unhappiness and harm to those caught up in it. Christ Church appointed him as Dean in 2014 and it was soon clear that a proud and august institution needed crucial reforms to some of the ways in which it operated, including in respect of the welfare and safety of its students. 

A small group of fellows – both past and present – disagreed and orchestrated a sustained and concerted campaign to oust him. That campaign took many forms and is reported to have cost many millions. Several expensive law firms and PR companies were deployed to denigrate, harrass and humiliate him. But every time an independent tribunal or individual examined the evidence they found against the College. 

The easy thing for the Dean would have been to walk away. That would have been better for his mental health and for the wellbeing of his family. But others at the College implored him to stay until there was a guarantee of a thorough and independent review of the governance of the institution. 

Today the College has finally agreed both a settlement to the dispute with him and to an independent review, the results of which will be reported to the Charity Commission, the ultimate regulator of Oxford and Cambridge colleges. This brings to an end all litigation and complaints, though various regulatory bodies will doubtless continue to look at what went wrong with the college governance, together with the actions of their advisers. 

The Dean added: 

“I can now step aside, and look forward to resuming a normal life with my wife Emma, who has been such a rock of strength during this painful struggle. 

While the past four years have often been harrowing, I have drawn great comfort from the unwavering support of colleagues, alumni and friends. I would like also to thank my legal advisers, both official and unofficial and Unite the Union, in particular the Unite Faith Workers Branch. A free, unfettered press has also succeeded in surfacing important truths in the face of legal threats and obstructions. 

Christ Church has been around for nearly 500 years and I sincerely hope it flourishes for many centuries to come. I hope the independent review overseen by the Charity Commission will succeed. I sincerely hope that he same standards in public life we have come to expect of our most cherished national institutions – including integrity, transparency and accountability – will flourish and bear fruit here.”


General Synod Questions

The Questions (and Answers) for next week’s meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod were published today. The Question sessions (on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons) will be devoted to supplementary questions.

Questions Notice Paper February 2022
Question 34 Noticeboard Information
Question 35 Noticeboard Information
Question 36 Noticeboard Information
Question 99 Noticeboard Information


Recent Church of England Safeguarding reports

Updated Sunday evening

General Synod will be considering this subject on the morning of Wednesday 9 February. No doubt there will also be numerous Questions on the topic at the sessions on either Tuesday afternoon, or Wednesday afternoon. The Questions and Answers can now be found here. Items 53, 59, 67-74, 83 are relevant (I may have missed a few). Subject lines are listed at the end of this article.

The main document under consideration on Wednesday morning will be GS 2244, which will be the subject of a presentation, at which the Standing Committee has decided will include an opportunity for questions.

A follow-on motion has been filed, which challenges the practice of not allowing debate on this report, and you can read the motion here. Asked to explain it, Gavin Drake said:

“The ongoing failure to ensure effective safeguarding by parts of the Church is one of the most significant issues facing the Church of England today. Much concern has been expressed about the work, focus and effectiveness of the National Safeguarding Team and other national safeguarding functions of the Church and these have not been addressed. It is wrong that the NST should be given an opportunity to present an unchallenged “defence” of their work which ignores the very many real concerns that exist. The follow-on motion will allow proper challenge to the report and enable Synod members to express their view on the actions of the NST.”

There are a number of other recently pubished items that relate to Safeguarding:

If you are unclear what the problem is in relation to the Trevor Devamanikkam case, this earlier TA article may help: Matt Ineson challenges the National Safeguarding Team. The update says:

As stated at General Synod (November 2021), the independent lessons learnt review into the case of Trevor Devamanikkam, commissioned by the National Safeguarding Team, was referred to the Independent Safeguarding Board, ISB, for advice on how to proceed, due to delays in the process.
The Chair, Maggie Atkinson, has now responded and recommended that the review progress to publication as a very necessary part of the Church’s learning on safeguarding. She noted that this will take some time to complete given the reviewer will need to refresh her work so far and pick up what now needs to be done.
There is an ongoing invitation to the survivor to contribute and this will remain open throughout the closing phases of the reviewer’s work.
The ISB intends to contribute an initial chapter to the review outlining why it has taken as long, the stages and personnel changes it has gone through, and why the report is now being published, noting that the reviewer Jane Humphreys, is an independent expert with no C of E connections.



Christ Church Oxford: January roundup

Since our last reports here, and then here, in December, there has been extensive media coverage of the ongoing Christ Church saga. Unfortunately much of it has been behind paywalls. Nevertheless  here is a set of links, in date order, to all the items I have collected.

8 January The Times Oxford dons warned of jail over dispute with the Very Rev Martyn Percy

10 January Archbishop Cranmer Oxford Dons plan litigation against Archbishop Cranmer

14 January Cherwell Christ Church Board of Governors warned of jail time

14 January The Oxford Blue Christ Church disputes “misleading” Times article

20 January Times Higher Education Alan Rusbridger Christ Church’s internecine war is a huge failure of governance  (free registration required)

21 January Financial Times Dispute with priest threatens to mire Oxford college in scandal

21 January The Times Martyn Percy battle is disastrous, warns former Oxford college head

23 January Cherwell Dean of Christ Church indicates support for resignation deal as protests rage.

24 January The Times Oxford University: Christ Church plays down £1.5m deal to end Martyn Percy dispute

28 January Church Times Press: Pay-off won’t save Christ Church’s reputation


General Synod – news and comment

Following last week’s release of the papers for next month’s meeting of the Church of England General Synod there have been a number of press reports and online comments.

Church Times
General Synod to focus on race, trafficking, and persecution
Archbishops’ Council reckons up progress made/not made on racial equality
Angry response to parish reorganisation gives Commissioners pause
Faculty-system reform blows cold air on old-style boilers

Law & Religion UK Their latest round-up includes a summary of the proposed changes to the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules – scroll down to “Net zero” and the faculty jurisdiction.

Daily Mail Church of England will encourage priests to install more carpets and cushions to help buildings retain heat in bid to reach ‘net-zero’ carbon emissions
The Telegraph Church of England set to take ‘softly, softly’ approach by relaxing rules on cushions

Martin Sewell Archbishop Cranmer Is the Church of England about to ban prophets from Synod?

These items are not explicitly on the agenda, but may well come up in Questions.

Ian Paul Psephizo On the appointment of senior leaders in the Church
Church Times – letters from Rebecca Chapman and John Brydon (scroll down)


Episcopal arrangements for Winchester diocese

Press release from Diocese of Winchester

Archbishop confirms arrangements following Bishop of Winchester’s retirement

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written to the people of the Diocese of Winchester concerning arrangements for the episcopal vacancy in the Diocese. The full text of his letter can be found here. (also copied below)

In this letter he states that following the retirement of Bishop Tim Dakin as Bishop of Winchester on the 6th of February, he has asked Bishop Debbie Sellin to continue in her role as acting bishop during the vacancy. Bishop Debbie will work closely with Bishop David Williams, and with the senior staff team, to provide collegial oversight to the people of God in Winchester Diocese. Bishop Debbie’s role will involve leading the senior leadership team and ensuring good working relationships, working with +David in promoting clergy morale and wellbeing, ensuring that governance structures are fit for purpose and that the diocese is confident in financial sustainability, building on the Diocesan Vision for growth and preparing the way for a successful appointment of the new Bishop of Winchester.

Additionally, the letter states that Archbishop Justin has asked Bishop Richard Frith, who has been providing some support to diocesan leadership in recent months, to take up a more formalised role as the Archbishop’s Episcopal Commissary in the Diocese of Winchester. +Richard’s role will be to work closely with +Debbie as Acting Bishop, and with +David, to walk alongside the senior staff team and the church as a whole in helping the diocese to move forward from the sad events of the recent past, to enable a process of reconciliation and healing and to recover confidence and joy in the service of Christ. +Richard will provide on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as Metropolitan, oversight of the process of Winchester moving towards the nomination of its next bishop, the formal process for which is anticipated to begin towards the end of 2022.

Archbishop Justin will be coming to Winchester Cathedral for the 11am service on the 16th January, at the invitation of the Dean and Bishop Debbie, to commission the episcopal team.

Archbishop Justin says: “I am very grateful to +Debbie, +David and +Richard for the dedicated ministry they are already providing in the Diocese, and to the whole people of God for your faithfulness and heart for God’s mission“.

Bishop Debbie says: “After such a difficult 2021 for so many, we hope and pray that we may start to see signs of light in the fight against the pandemic. I pray that, as a diocese, we will continue to make progress on our journey of reconciliation together, and I am grateful for the arrangements the Archbishop has put in place. I am particularly thankful for the support and prayers of everyone across the Diocese. Your tireless work ministering to your parishes, your communities, and what you do to help one another, remains a great source of strength and inspiration to me.”

Bishop David says: “I believe that we can begin 2022 with optimism and confidence about our future together in the Diocese of Winchester, and thank the Archbishop for the trust and responsibility he has given us. Alongside Bishop Debbie and Bishop Richard, I am looking forward to supporting our vital ministry and mission across the region.”

Bishop Richard says: “I have greatly enjoyed working with +Debbie, +David and their colleagues in recent months, and I am delighted that my involvement will continue. I will do all I can to support +Debbie and +David as the Diocese moves towards the nomination of its next bishop.”

See also: Archbishop of Canterbury visits Winchester Cathedral



Winchester College report on John Smyth

Winchester College has published this statement:  Review Of Abuse In The 1970s And 1980s By John Smyth QC Of Pupils From Winchester College. It begins:

Winchester College is today publishing an independent review of the abuse committed by the late John Smyth QC against a number of former pupils who were at the College from the mid-1970s until 1982. They are some of the many victims of Smyth who were subject to his abuse over more than thirty years. The Warden and Fellows wish to thank all the victims and witnesses who came forward to assist with this review. We acknowledge the courage and determination of the victims in pursuing the truth about John Smyth: their testimony lies at the heart of this review. The College apologises unreservedly for its part in their terrible experiences…

The full text of the review is available here.

A statement from two of the survivors is published here.