Thinking Anglicans

Charity Commission writes to Christ Church Governing Body

The Charity Commission has written to each of the 65 members of the Governing Body of Christ Church, Oxford, concerning the proposed second tribunal relating to the Dean, Martyn Percy.

The full text of the two page letter is available here: Christ Church – Charity Commission letter to trustees 27.1.2021 and the salient portions are copied below.

The College has issued this press statement:

Statement in response to media interest

Christ Church’s Governing Body and Cathedral Chapter earlier this month decided to take forward internal disciplinary proceedings, following a complaint of sexual harassment made by a junior member of staff. Christ Church is clear that, as an employer, a charity, and an educational institution, it will always treat such an allegation fairly. We should not and cannot ignore such serious allegations.

Christ Church has followed the formal requirements in our statutes to deal with such an allegation, as well as the Charity Commission’s guidance on “Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees,” in the handling of this complaint. On 12 January 2021, we provided a further update to the Commission accordingly. We welcome the opportunity to share the process in a transparent way with the Charity Commission and we know they will take as seriously as we do all accusations of sexual harassment. We continue to keep the Commission fully informed and respond to any questions they may have.

Extract from Charity Commission letter:

…We are writing to all members of the Governing Body in their capacity as trustees of the above foundation which was registered as a charity in August 2011…

…Further to the earlier stages of our regulatory engagement with the charity, we have concerns about the prudent application of charitable funds and the proper process of decision making within the charity as the dispute involving the Dean continues. We understand from your legal adviser that members of the Governing Body have now agreed to establish a second Tribunal to examine the conduct of the Dean.

We have determined that it is appropriate in these circumstances to:

  • contact each member of the Governing Body in their capacity as charity trustees about their responsibilities and duties for the management and administration of the charity; and
  • advise each member of the Governing Body of the actions we are taking to verify that they have acted in accordance with their responsibilities and duties as charity trustees and complied with our published and regulatory guidance.

To begin with, we will be seeking further information and assurances from the members of the Governing Body about why establishing a Tribunal is:

  • in the best interests of the charity and its beneficiaries.
  • a responsible use of the charity’s resources.

We will also examine how, when reaching this decision, the members of the Governing Body:

  • took account of our published guidance and previous regulatory advice; and
  • identified and managed any conflicts of interest and / or loyalty.

This is not an exhaustive list. Full details of the information and assurances we require will be set out in a separate letter to the charity’s registered main contact.

We acknowledge that the Governing Body may have sought professional advice about these matters. That does not relieve them, as trustees, of their responsibilities – collectively and individually – for the management and administration of the charity, although that will be considered accordingly. For that reason, we may want to discuss these matters with individual trustees directly…

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Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
8 months ago

The most interesting sentence for me is the one referencing the legal advice, but nevertheless pointing out that the trustee obligations remain joint and several. I speculate whether this is a veiled warning about relying on the advice of highly conflicted lawyers Winkworth Sherwood . Many on the governing body will be trustees of other charities and it implies individual costs exposure. 

If I were a trustee I would seek a wholly independent opinion on the worst case scenario of the consequences for me, if I too have been “played “” like the Church has been by the malcontents.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Martin Sewell
8 months ago

It’s not just the Christ Church Trustees and the Church of England Safeguarding Team who are being “played”. Also being “played” are the Media, Martyn Percy and the Lady in the Vestry – among others. Who is “playing” us? The answer will not be pretty.

Last edited 8 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
Kate
Kate
Reply to  Martin Sewell
8 months ago

‘If I were a trustee I would seek a wholly independent opinion on the worst case scenario of the consequences for me, if I too have been “played “” like the Church has been by the malcontents.’   It’s more than that. Aren’t the trustees – as a body – going to have to decide whether or not to reveal legal advice they have sought and received to the Charity Commission? That’s not a trivial question.   The biggest danger here, however, is that the Governing Body here is likely to require extensive and expensive advice on how best to… Read more »

Geoffrey Haines
Geoffrey Haines
Reply to  Martin Sewell
8 months ago

Who will pay for this independent advice, the individual trustees or the Charity ?

It’s legal costs that drive many disputes to end.

Linda Woodhead
Linda Woodhead
8 months ago

This Charity Commission intervention is a very big deal indeed. Its implications go way beyond Christ Church to the whole Oxbridge system. By writing to every member of the governing body, the CC points out that they are responsible individually as well as severally for the College’s action. They are trustees of a charity which should be run responsibly and for public benefit. They cannot even hide behind ‘professional advice’, as the letter makes plain. Depending on how this investigation plays out, it may be that every Oxbridge college will have to move to the model of having a small… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Linda Woodhead
8 months ago

Yes, this really is a very big deal and could prompt substantial changes in structures.
 
Were I a fellow / trustee in one of the many other Oxbridge colleges, at this point I would be seeking advice as to whether it was possible to change to a trustee corporation with the fellows directors of the corporation. Alternatively, I would be asking about Trustee Indemnity Insurance if it wasn’t already in place.
 
If I felt that the personal implications of trusteeship had not been adequately explained, I would also be considering whether a change of professional advisors was required.

Last edited 8 months ago by Kate
John S
John S
Reply to  Linda Woodhead
8 months ago

St John’s College Oxford have announced they are closing the Lamb and Flag pub. Part of their explanation is that as a charity they cannot use funds to support a loss-making activity not directly related to their charitable purposes. That suggests to me that there are places within the Oxbridge system where there is a better appreciation of charitable governance than seems to prevail at Christ Church.

[Not directly relevant to your point, this just seemed the best place to drop in this minor contribution]

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  John S
8 months ago

I’m sorry about the Lamb and Flag. It’s one of the hostelries where the Inklings, (C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkine, Charles Williams, etc) used to meet regularly.

Shamus
Shamus
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

Though I think the main hostelry was “The Eagle and Child” (The bird and the baby). I was thrilled to see Prof. MacCulloch in The Inklings corner when I visited some years ago, discussing theology, maintaining I felt, an honourable Oxonion tradition.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

I am sorry too. It’s where, according to family folk-lore, my grandmother Gertie (an Oxford charlady) knew about the meetings and was able to regularly cadge half pints of stout from C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien, Charles Williams, etc.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Simon Dawson
8 months ago

What a lovely family tradition!

The Inklings used both the Eagle and Child and the Lamb and Flag at different times. I’ve forgotten why they switched from one to the other, or which came first.

John S
John S
Reply to  Janet Fife
8 months ago

It feels a little inappropriate to be discussing favourite pubs in a thread that is basically about the unfolding car crash of a man being relentlessly hounded by agencies including the church …

….but…

the St John’s College statement could allow one to infer that the closure is a temporary measure to stem losses during Covid, and once business returns to usual, they might consider re-opening it.

Kate
Kate
8 months ago

A truism which often circulates among professional advisors is that no person who understands trust law well enough to be a trustee would ever want to be a trustee given the potential for personal liability.

Last edited 8 months ago by Kate
Linda Woodhead
Linda Woodhead
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

£3m in various fees between 60 trustees = a liability of £50k each.

Last edited 8 months ago by Linda Woodhead
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Linda Woodhead
8 months ago

The Dean is, of course, also a trustee. I don’t read anything in this to suggest that the conduct and expenditure in the first Tribunal is also under consideration. I suppose that is not impossible if the investigation revealed matters making it to become appropriate.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

Indeed. I was highly relieved to learn that I was no longer a trustee of a charity which I thought wasn’t conducting itself properly. However, I concluded subsequently that things were not as bad as I had thought, but I was never informed of my trusteeship’s demise, and only discovered it when making a Charity search. The point about trustees’ joint and several liability was also made on TA at the time of the first Christ Church Internal Tribunal.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
8 months ago

This is a significant development. The Commission is devoting its resources (which are sometimes criticised as being limited) to the case and will have taken the advice of Counsel to ensure it has embarked on the correct course to enable it to exercise its powers to the full. It seems to fall short of a warning under the Act, but that would be the next step. It has put each Trustee on notice as to their individual responsibilities (dons don’t tend to ‘get’ charity law) and it will clearly summon senior members of the Governing Body (including the Chapter) to meetings. These will include… Read more »

Graham Holmes
Graham Holmes
Reply to  Anthony Archer
8 months ago

Would an email banning trustees from communicating directly with the Charity Commission not be analogous to Contempt, and certainly against the Public Interest?

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Graham Holmes
8 months ago

I am of course winding them up. They do seem to have form in this area, but one of the impacts of the Charity Commission letter will be to make each Trustee reflect on their individual position. Collective responsibility might no longer be realistic.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Anthony Archer
8 months ago

“Don’t expect another Michael Moritz to arrive with a £25 million cheque.”
 
I am uncertain whether that is the case. Most big donations to Oxbridge colleges are earmarked for particular purposes and I would just expect major benefactors to be more careful in ensuring earmarking is robust than withholding donations. What are affected are the hundreds of small donations from individual alumni which are just donated to the general endowment. I would have thought the impact on such donations would be the biggest, and at a time when all colleges’ endowments are being stressed by the pandemic.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Anthony Archer
8 months ago

Mr Archer writes “dons don’t tend to ‘get’ charity law”. Neither do many (most?) on PCCs. They queue up to be nominated so they can discuss coffee mornings and flowers – which they see as PCC business. “Our family has always had a someone on the PCC”. No amount of explaining their responsibilities as trustees deters them. It’s small fry compared to ChChOx, but I wonder what would happen if spending on maintenance of the building were cut in order to pay the diocesan share. Would that be regarded as responsible husbandry of finances? To me it wouldn’t. As Kate… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
8 months ago

The point about PCCs is helpful. I can see many churches moving into severe financial distress within the next year, and I am not sure how many PCC members are aware of the implications, both for the church and for themselves, and competent to manage the process.

Susannah Clark
8 months ago

“We will also examine how, when reaching this decision, the members of the Governing Body… identified and managed any conflicts of interest and / or loyalty.” Well that’s the thing though, isn’t it. The context of the preceding conflicts with the Dean, which to many have seemed like a vendetta, mean that any process instigated by the Governing Body cannot be distanced from the suspicion of ongoing vendetta, and the fear that they may be primarily motivated by an opportunistic desire to exploit this lady’s sound right to make a complaint, in order to achieve the Governing Body’s ongoing goal… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Susannah Clark
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susannah Clark
8 months ago

Susannah: The police have already investigated and decided that no further action by them was required, i.e., in effect that in their view there was no criminal offence. It’s very doubtful that anyone would seek to reverse that decision by applying for a judicial review, and intervention by the DPP or CPS seems equally unlikely. The salient question, not so far being asked, is how (if at all) the current CDM is affected by this.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
8 months ago

One point nobody so far has mentioned on this piece (nor I think previously on this story) is the Governing Body’s communication strategy. They always seem to rush out a statement. I really question whether that is in their best interests. Had I been advising the Governing Body, at this point I would have recommended no comment and, if pushed by journalists, a reply along the lines of, “The Governing Body has not yet had an opportunity to meet to discuss this letter which we have so recently received and the college is therefore unable to comment.”   That a… Read more »

Gilo
Gilo
Reply to  Kate
8 months ago

Important point Kate. Some attention has been given elsewhere to Christ Church communications. https://archbishopcranmer.com/christ-church-pr-agency-luther-pendragon-colludes-ft-journalist/ Incidentally I was bewildered to hear later that the core group of last year – which included the censor – tried to pin safeguarding fail onto the Dean for lack of action on Jan Joosten. But nobody in the college had known! How on earth could he have acted when the police in France had not contacted anyone in UK? If accurate, this is just one part of the whole saga that needs investigating. It suggests the force of malevolence which might be at play, and… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
8 months ago

As I posted as a comment on the Surviving Church blog yesterday evening, after quoting part of the Charity Commission letter, including the sentence, “We will also examine how, when reaching this decision, the members of the Governing Body:…identified and managed any conflicts of interest and/or loyalty“, it is surely ironic that the letter should be questioning the way the members of the Governing Body, as trustees of the charity, have fulfilled their fiduciary duties, after 41 of them wrote to the Charity Commission on 20 May 2020 alleging that Dean Percy was “not fit to remain a trustee.” In… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  David Lamming
8 months ago

Not only that, but the College’s ‘Statement in response to media interest’ was rushed out before there had been any media interest.

Steve Robinson
Steve Robinson
Reply to  David Lamming
8 months ago

If the investigation shows that some people are not fit to remain as Trustees, then might that affect their fellowships? It certainly would if a Minister or Vicar were found guilty of the same offence

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
8 months ago

It’s almost as though the Charity Commission is reminding the Christ Church trustees of the Scriptural warnings against rushing to litigation. The lawyers are the only people who are going to benefit here from this sorry tale.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Fr. Dean Henley
8 months ago

Not necessarily. The CC letter has implications for legal advisers as well as the trustees. It is inappropriate for anyone to categorically criticise without knowing the legal advice on which the trustees chose to act. The point has been made repeatedly here that the PR company involved does not have legally-qualified directors. One suspects that they may have been responsible for the Ch Ch press statement which, as Janet Fife points out, wasn’t very intelligent in referring to media interest which had not yet happened! One hopes that lawyers wouldn’t have got that wrong! These knocks at the legal profession… Read more »

Steve Robinson
Steve Robinson
Reply to  Fr. Dean Henley
8 months ago

I’d say that the CC are warning the Trustees against stupidity. There are massive issues sitting behind this – some of them specific to Christ Church but many not. There’s a massive conflict of interest in that most if not all the Trustees receive money from the charity in fellowships etc. In churches it’s usually only the minister and/or associates

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Steve Robinson
8 months ago

In the Church of England each local PCC and each diocese is a separate charity. The vicar is paid by the diocese, or centrally, and not by the PCC, so doesn’t benefit from the trust they work for.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Steve Robinson
8 months ago

“There are massive issues sitting behind this”

Not least the activities of Luther Pendragon and Winckworth Sherwood.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
8 months ago

Talking of which, does anyone know which PR/Legal agencies are used by the Supreme Governor of the Church of England Her Majesty The Queen – if any?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
8 months ago

Solicitors: A quick Google search will provide two firms and one sole practitioner. A deceased friend of mine was offered a partnership in the better-known firm, but chose instead the life of a country ‘family’ solicitor. A man of the very highest ability and integrity. PR firms: I have no idea, but would not have thought there was any need with HM’s own personal staff.

Steve Robinson
Steve Robinson
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

Specific kinds of family, no doubt. Unless he did work pro bono for poor people

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Steve Robinson
8 months ago

Forgive me if I have misunderstood your motive in writing this, but it seems a cheap, unworthy and unnecessary jibe. My friend provided the highest quality legal services and advice to all sections of the community in a country town. He was the honorary secretary to more than one charity, including a national charity for musicians. He was a devout Christian and at least 200 people attended his funeral, possibly more, as the church was full. I’m not sure why you felt it necessary to make this comment – or to comment at all. I consider it personally discourteous.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
8 months ago

https://www.farrer.co.uk/people/julian-smith/. Farrer & Co. of 66 Lincoln’s Inn Fields (a building designed for them by Lutyens) have been retained by the royal family for a very long time. Recent solicitors to the queen and senior partners of Farrer’s include Sir Henry Boyd-Carpenter and Lord Bridges: both names with Church connections (Ripon and the Yattendon hymnal). You will see that Mr Smith also advises Oxford colleges (also https://www.legal500.com/firms/1078-farrer-co/176-london-england/; the firm’s clients include the Church Commissioners). The queen has her own press secretary (Donal McCabe), with assistants. I do not know if any private firm is retained by the press office. Certainly… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago

I would have thought it is more likely that the Charity Commission will propose appointing additional trustees of its choice next, and that is something that may not be very unpopular in both the church and other colleges. That might concentrate minds.

Steve Robinson
Steve Robinson
Reply to  Jonathan
8 months ago

Every charity would benefit from outside Trustees. Make sure you get some with teeth though- we all know the issues with so called independence of School and Academy Governors

Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

I’m so tired of reading about Christ Church Oxford. The Church of England is so fixated on the university-educated; no wonder it has difficulties connecting with the blue collar demographic.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

Many thanks, Mr Chesterton. I think that you have made a very fair comment. It has been my experience that the Church of England is overwhelmingly middle class, and that its appeal to the ‘C’ demographics is extremely limited. It’s almost as if it is most active where it can be assured of a financial return or it can at least keep its head above the economic waters. Think, for instance, of the fate of the Church in the former Lancashire mill town of Bacup: the last Anglican church, Christ Church, closed several years ago, the justification being given (in… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

Tim, try treating it as a Trollope/Sharpe novel. Lay aside for a moment the human costs and await the next thrilling instalment of hubristic machinations. One might think that at The House they would be mindful of the looking glass, perhaps even peering at the image therein before passing through it, but unfortunately hearts and eyes seem to have been pierced by shards of the diabolical mirror of Andersen’s The Snow Queen prologue, and nothing seems able to shift the splinters.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

Reading about any topic on TA is optional. The Christ Church saga has nothing to do with ‘university-educated’ issues. It’s about an allegation which has led to (1) a CDM authorised by the Bishop of Oxford, going ahead, as far as one is aware, and (2) an Internal Tribunal instituted by the Governing Body of Christ Church seeking dismissal of the Dean. Neither is a trivial matter. Ecclesiastical and legal issues are involved. We now have to wait to see the effect of the intervention by the Charity Commission.

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
8 months ago

The role of the NST in the current ‘case’ at Christ Church is unclear, particularly since the allegation against the Dean is now the subject of a formal complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003. However, the explanation for the involvement of an NST core group, rather than a diocesan one, is contained in this answer by the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, to a question (Q.19) by Charles Read at the informal online meeting of General Synod members on 11 July 2020: “Now complaints are only dealt with by the National Safeguarding Team under certain circumstances, usually either… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
8 months ago

Simon – I was only seeking to explain why an NST core group, rather than a diocesan core group, is involved. I wasn’t seeking to justify their involvement. You are correct that (according to Kate Wood’s report, dated 27 October 2020) the DSA for the Diocese of Oxford “had advised that this was not a safeguarding issue and should be dealt with as a disciplinary matter.” However, her report concludes by stating her opinion that “this allegation should be treated as a safeguarding matter and appropriate policies followed.”

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

‘Neither is a trivial matter.’

Quite. But many things go on in churchland that are not trivial matters. This website is called ‘Thinking Anglicans.’ I think it might be good for us, from time to time, to examine the subjects we choose to think about in the light of Jesus’ priorities as expressed in the Gospels.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

Tim, you’re absolutely right about the Church’s preoccupation with class, university education, middle class/establishment values, and so on.

But the Christ Church saga has more to it than all that. It’s a struggle between truth and falsehood, good and evil, spiritual and temporal powers which is almost archetypal in its scope and intensity – and definitely reflects gospel issues.

Having said that, it isn’t on the radar of any of my friends, whether educated or not.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

There is no shortage of materials for “Thinking” Anglicans on this website. It’s rather startling that someone should take the high ground and imply that the rest of us are falling short as Christians. It’s also rather offensive, and it would be good to reflect on that.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
8 months ago

Rowland, you may be right and I may have been over-judgemental in my comment. If so, I apologize. I’m simply concerned with the proportion. As John S says in his comment below, if all if this was playing out in a working-class parish, would it be getting the same attention?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

You simply cannot translate this scenario to a working-class parish, or any parish. Christ Church is unique in England in being both Cathedral and College with the Crown as Visitor of both. Nor in a parish could any incumbent face a CDM initiated by the Church and a separate tribunal initiated by the College seeking to oust him from office. That anomaly alone has yet to be justified. Simon Sarmiento has mentioned above a further complication with the involvement of the NST, as yet unexplained. Finally, the fact that the Charity Commission has felt it necessary to take the unprecedented… Read more »

John S
John S
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
8 months ago

My first, defensive, reaction to Tim’s comment was to tell myself that the issues in play justify the attention we are giving them, whether they happen to be playing out in Oxbridge or not. The involvement of several church institutions and individuals in hounding a man, and the power structures thereby revealed, are indeed deserving attention. But honesty compels an admission that if this was playing out in a working-class parish, or indeed in a modern university, anywhere in fact other than Oxbridge and a few London establishment equivalents, it probably wouldn’t be getting the same attention. I would wager… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  John S
8 months ago

I can’t think of any other place comparable to Christ Church, Oxford, nor another where a scenario even remotely as complex as this one could be played out. To understand it, you do have to read the whole history in depth. Incidentally, I am not ‘Oxbridge’. I return to the point I made, perfectly politely, to Tim Chesterton that one has the choice whether or not to read topics on TA. The inclusion or exclusion of subjects are matters for the editors.

Last edited 8 months ago by Rowland Wateridge
Tim Chesterton
Reply to  John S
8 months ago

Thank you, John – your comment about working class parishes is exactly the point that bothers me.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
Reply to  John S
8 months ago

Oh dear. I am an Oxbridge graduate, indeed an alumnus of Christ Church and former donor (albeit on a modest scale); I was married in the Cathedral. I’m sorry that people should think that the distress and dismay of people like me at seeing an institution to which we owe a debt of gratitude are being over-represented — in fact, I would say that they have not been represented at all. People like me gave money to Christ Church to support its mission of education and research, and to maintain its heritage. We did not expect to find huge sums… Read more »

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
Reply to  John S
8 months ago

… continued What does this mean transposed to the situation unfolding at the House? Firstly, I think it is unconscionable to continue raising funds from the alumni. Frankly, it has to stop. The Governing Body has shown that it is addicted, as a body, to pursuing litigation, at very great expense, to the extent that the Charity Commission has had to intervene, and is clearly no longer fit to manage the affairs of the House. If any further proof were needed, in the middle of its extraordinary dispute with the Dean, the Governing Body has chosen to open a further dispute with one… Read more »

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
Reply to  John S
8 months ago

… last part … I was provoked into writing this by the email I just mentioned. It fails to acknowledge the existence of such matters as the dispute between the Governing Body and the Dean, the intervention by the Charity Commission, the dispute started by the Governing Body with one of its members over the Macdonald Centre, the conviction of one of the members of the Governing Body on very serious charges in France, the arrest of another already suspended member of the Governing Body on serious charges, … My first inclination would be to term this level of omission as dishonest,… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Richard Pinch
8 months ago
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  John S
8 months ago

Final final reply to you and Tim Chesterton. Richard Pinch has set it out for you at length. I had not seen his comment before writing my short comments. What he says should, surely, persuade both of you.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  John S
8 months ago

Absolutely right, John S. Matters of justice aside, I think much of the interest in ChCh is schadenfreude – glee that the stereotypical picture of self-obsessed and hubristic academics is borne out in reality – as in a Tom Sharpe novel. I worked in academia for 30 years and have been associated with churches for half a century as layman and in orders. Dealing now with tradesmen, craftsmen, artisans and the like, I see that academia and the church attract way more than their fair share of bad behaviour. But the moment you challenge it these days you’re accused of… Read more »

John S
John S
Reply to  John S
8 months ago

My analogy to working-class parishes is not perfect and was not intended to be. Whether or not it nonetheless has validity depends, I think, partly on what one sees as the key issues at stake here. If the key issue for you is the organisational complexity, indeed uniqueness, of the dual college-cathedral foundation, and the unfair twin prongs of attack that exposes Percy to, and the fact that the Visitor is the Queen and therefore one avenue of resolution is in practical terms limited for Percy, and the role of the Fellows (sorry, “Students”) as charity trustees, etc etc, then… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by John S
David Lamming
David Lamming
8 months ago

The Charity Commission letter, and the internal response of the college Governing Body, contained in an e-mail to GB members/trustees and leaked to the Daily Telegraph, is now the subject of a report on the Church Times website:
https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2021/5-february/news/uk/charity-commission-to-quiz-christ-church-trustees-over-percy-tribunal.

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