Thinking Anglicans

Christ Church Oxford: latest commentary

Archbishop Cranmer published an article yesterday written by Martin Sewell: Institutional bullying in the Church of England: it’s time to face the liturgical music.

There are some related items in the Questions asked at the General Synod session that starts tomorrow. See below the fold for details.

Surviving Church has published The Christ Church Percy Affair. Is it possible to be neutral?

Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Secretary General:
Q99
The September 2018 Fact Sheet of types of abuse adopted and published by the Church of England recognises inter alia a category of abuse known as “Organisational and Institutional Abuse”: given the multiple layers and, breadth of parties potentially caught within such a definition, to whom should such a complaint be initially addressed to avoid difficulties of conflict of interest from the outset?

Mr William Nye to reply as Secretary General:
The 2018 Types of Abuse Fact Sheet statutory definition quoted from the Care Act 2015 refers specifically to “Neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one’s own home”. This means it is very unlikely to apply in a church context.

However, organisational bullying or harassment may occur, and unless there is reason to believe this is a safeguarding matter, in which case it should be raised with the DSA, this would be dealt with through the HR process of the institution concerned.

Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Secretary General:
Q100 Does the Church have any mechanism to ensure that the misleading of Bishops through documents submitted under the CDM process is thoroughly and independently investigated?

Mr William Nye to reply as Secretary General:
The Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 sets out the process that must be followed in relation to allegations of misconduct against bishops, priests and deacons. The first part of that process involves the bishop considering an allegation in the light of a report prepared by the diocesan registrar. If a question were to arise about a document that had been submitted with the allegation, it would be for the bishop, advised by the registrar, to consider what might be required in terms of investigation

(The Index to Questions at the start of the document lists Q100 as “Safeguarding: Percy case”.)

 

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Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
19 days ago

In Q100 – how can a question arise in relation to a document if the process means that the person who knows it is false never sees it? Or doesn’t see it till after it has been incorporated into a decision which affects them?

Revd Jan Rushton
Revd Jan Rushton
19 days ago

I am appalled by the persecution of Martyn Percy, I do understand the insular power politics of Oxbrdge colleges which remain medieval institutions, what I find so sad to hear is that Bishop Steven Croft is taking such an intransigent stand against Martyn for reasons I cannot understand when he has been cleared of sexual impropiety (if accepting he may have acted unwisely – actions which he denies). I knew Bishop Steven when he was Head of Fresh Expressions and helped me once a month at St Michael and All Angels Summertown, where he was measured in preaching in a… Read more »

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Revd Jan Rushton
18 days ago

The tragedy is that if the Church embraced both the Decision of Dame Sarah and the clear implications, announcing that the Dean is both safe and in good standing with the Church – THAT would bring early closure.. If the CofE publicly declared him to be of good standing it becomes harder for the malcontent dons to say this HR issue , based on an awkward social interaction ( it was never a Safeguarding matter ) to say the matter is “ scandalous immoral and disgraceful”. This IS the implication of the President’s Decision, and we just need the leadership… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
19 days ago

In these circumstances, one wonders at the Biahop of Oxford’s dogged determination to allow the persecution’ of Dean Percy to be countenanced by the Church of England. Is this what ‘episcope’ is really all about? – Obedience to a clique of dons to get rid of the Dean of Christchurch?

Charles Read
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
18 days ago

I am puzzled by this like Jan. I worked with Steve Croft for 5 years and found him to be a man of integrity and courage. He was an excellent boss. I have not seen him to speak to in over a year of course and would not discuss the Percy case with him anyway. I do wonder if there is something more going on here? Legal people telling him to keep out of the way? He may well be doing more to support Martyn behind the scenes – who knows? Whatever is happening it is worrying since it appears… Read more »

Matt Ineson
Matt Ineson
Reply to  Charles Read
17 days ago

Dear Charles and Jan, Steven Croft is nowhere near as good as you write. His safeguarding record is atrocious. Read the SCIE independent safeguarding audit carried out covering Croft’s time as Bishop of Sheffield. It will make you hair curl! So bad! In my case alone he ignored 4 written disclosures of abuse from me, two in writing, did not report the disclosures to anyone at all, no risk assessments were carried out and after my priest abuser, from the diocese of Oxford, was charged with 3 counts of rape and 3 counts of indecent assault he then took his… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Matt Ineson
17 days ago

There are two major power systems in conflict within the Church of England establishment, and one is seeking ‘full spectrum dominance’. At present, this system is in control.

The likes of Steven Croft, Christ Church and Archbishop Justin Welby are part of this power system which seeks total domination and submission. Whether or not they are aware of this is unknown, but have contributed in making cover-up an art form.

The likes of Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, and former Archbishop George Carey are part of the other power system. They oppose total domination and submission.

Over-simplification?

Last edited 17 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
16 days ago

I don’t get the impression George Carey opposed total domination so long as it was him in charge.

Charles Read
Reply to  Matt Ineson
16 days ago

Matt, are you gainsaying my experience and that of Jan? Surely you of all people would not do that?

Matthew Ineson
Matthew Ineson
Reply to  Charles Read
15 days ago

Charles, I’m simply saying that Croft has done some terrible things at the expense of people like myself.

Alison Baker
Alison Baker
18 days ago

Having read Martin Sewell’s characteristically careful and well-argued piece on Archbishop Cranmer’s blog, and writing as someone who worships at a Chaplaincy in the Diocese in Europe, I was unsettled to discover his reliance on a document about bullying, knowing something of the context out of which it has come. I wish I could say that it needs to be read in conjunction with the report of a recent enquiry into allegations of bullying undertaken by Bishop Trevor Wilmott. Unfortunately, the wider publication of this report (even in redacted form) has been suppressed on grounds cited under the minutiae of… Read more »

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Alison Baker
18 days ago

Alison, I understand your point and the report referenced, like any document, needs to be read with care. Where I find it useful – regardless of who compiled it and why – is that it serves as a useful Aide Memoire to the various papers and legal principles to which one must have regard. These citations seem to me helpful to know, regardless of the individual context from which they emerged. Put at it worst ( and making no imputations) a bad case can cite good law. A report in a bad case ( no imputation) can reference sound principles.… Read more »

Alison Baker
Alison Baker
Reply to  Martin Sewell
16 days ago

That’s fair enough, Martin. I was simply concerned that you may be being (unwittingly) drawn into something and, by even loose association, being seen to endorse something that could (if all the details emerged at a later date) prove to be an example of the very behaviour you are seeking to expose. In all other respects, I think I speak for a lot of people in being very grateful for all you are doing in relation to Christ Church and what Martyn Percy is being made to endure.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
15 days ago

Something which has long puzzled me, and I have yet to see any explanation.

Can anyone explain the set-up at Christ Church where HM the Queen is both Visitor of ‘the House’ and of the Cathedral? Where does this leave the jurisdiction of the Bishop in the Cathedral? William Nye, on behalf of the Church of England, asserts that the CDM applies to clergy in ‘non-Royal peculiars’ as justification for the CDM against Dean Percy, thus putting Christ Church in that category. But with the Queen as Visitor, how can that be? It really does need explaining.

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