Thinking Anglicans

Dean of Christ Church to claim damages at employment tribunal

Updated again 29 February

The Mail on Sunday reported: Revealed: The emails dripping in poison that dons at Oxford’s most prestigious college tried to cover up – including one which read, ‘Think of the Morse episode we could make when his wrinkly body is found!’

And: The alma mater of 13 Prime Ministers, Christ Church is Oxford’s grandest college… but now a toxic feud among its dons is set to spill out in court – threatening what one distinguished alumnus calls ‘a horror movie’

There are later reports (£) in the TelegraphOxford College dons in ‘poison’ email row over attempt to oust Christ Church Dean who was labelled ‘little Hitler’
and in The TimesOxford dons and dean of Christ Church in feud over email slurs

Oxford Mail Christ Church dean Martyn Percy was ‘labelled little Hitler’ in leaked email

Oxford BlueVery Reviled: Dons damn the dean in Christ Church email scandal

Christ Church has issued this statement: Christ Church statement in response to media interest 14 Feb 2020

In response to recent media interest, we can confirm that we are in receipt of two Employment Tribunal claims from the Dean of Christ Church. We are all too conscious that a disagreement over pay and remuneration with the Dean has led, over the last two years, to significantly-heightened tensions between him and Governing Body. Personal relationships have undoubtedly suffered, and we all regret this deeply.  We take our responsibilities towards all members of our community very seriously, and believe that we have acted in the best interests of Christ Church, including its students and staff.

While the specific matters being raised by the Dean should be left to the Employment Tribunal to consider, the Governing Body remains committed to achieving a satisfactory resolution. Christ Church expects members to show respect towards one another at all times, but equally we acknowledge that individuals are entitled to their personal opinions. Frustrations conveyed about – but not to – the Dean, exacerbated by the dispute over his pay, were in the past expressed in some private emails. However, mediation with the Dean, funded by Christ Church, resumed in November 2019 and is now ongoing. We very much hope that we can find a way forward through this process, and avoid considerable further cost.

The Diocese of Oxford has issued this: The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy

Sunday 16 February: following media reports this weekend the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, has issued this statement:

“Martyn is a close and valued colleague, widely respected across the Diocese of Oxford and the wider Church. What happens next is for the employment tribunal to determine, but it is never too late to begin a process of reconciliation. This will require acknowledgement of responsibility, and also transparency on all sides. Recent events, while painful, are but a moment in the lifetime of this historic and unique dual foundation which contributes so much to the University and to the Diocese of Oxford. My thoughts and prayers are with all involved.”

+Steven Oxford

79
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
13 Comment threads
66 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
38 Comment authors
Rowland WateridgeNJWCharles ReadAngusianGod 'elp us all Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
John Swanson
Guest
John Swanson

It’s a bit of a shame that the only non-paywall accounts are on the Daily Mail site, a site that I would suspect quite a few of us make a point of trying to avoid lending our support to by clicking links.

Michael O’Sullivan
Guest
Michael O’Sullivan

The Daily Mail article is priceless. I’ll be very surprised if the others are anything like as entertaining. Don’t knock it. I laughed out loud.

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

I don’t see anything entertaining in the Daily Mail articles. On the contrary, they are disturbing and sad.

Toby Forward
Guest
Toby Forward

The Daily Mail is a free site. I look at it every day. You don’t have to agree with a single word that not says, but it’s the easiest, quickest way finding out what most people are taking an interest in. I think that’s useful knowledge, especially for anyone in a pastoral or teaching rôle.

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

The Daily Mail online is the most popular newspaper website in the world with almost 200 million views per month. Mr Swanson may not like the fact that millions can read about an Anglican Dean. But we can’t choose which media the majority prefer.

John S
Guest
John S

Now that the risk of derailing the thread from the main and serious issue has passed, may I briefly return to the Daily Mail issue? The Mail stable seem to me to embody (and proudly so) several values that are pretty much directly contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Delighting in finding fault with others; the “othering” of people not like us; misogyny; objectification; general fomenting of anger rather than love; preservation of status and power; one could go on. By clicking on stories from that stable, we are directly supporting and encouraging the propagation of those attitudes. I am… Read more »

David
Guest
David

Martyn Percy thinks David Jenkins believed in the resurrection. It would be better for the Church and College if he resigned.

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

David Jenkins did believe in the resurrection and the incarnation but not in the empty tomb or the Virgin birth.

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

David Jenkins certainly did believe in the resurrection and testified to it very effectively.

John Wallace
Guest
John Wallace

David This below from Wikipedia but well referenced. Martyn is a great scholar who fits well into the accepted spectrum of belief in the C of E as + Steven confirms. He is keen to ensure that our presentation of the Gospel is neither diluted into salesmanship, nor blighted by managerialism. ‘David Jenkins’s selection as Bishop of Durham was controversial due to allegations that he held heterodox beliefs, particularly regarding the virgin birth and the bodily resurrection.[2][3][4] Between his selection and consecration, he said in an interview: “I wouldn’t put it past God to arrange a virgin birth if he… Read more »

FrDavid H
Guest
FrDavid H

David Jenkins did believe in the Resurrection saying it was more than a conjuring trick with bones

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker
Kate
Guest
Kate

I am struggling to see the relevance of the beliefs of David Jenkins to the dispute between the House and its Dean?

God 'elp us all
Guest
God 'elp us all

While sadly agreeing with Toby I also think we should think about what we are paying for, and not. Thinking of the position of Dean Percy- he is an employee and therefore has access to an Employment Tribunal (which those of us that are ‘office holders’ are denied; he also has been on a salary of £90,000 a year (if I understand right) however ‘poor’ that might be compared with other Masters/Principals so arguably better able to face the ‘economics’ of going to law. The crowdfunding site for Martyn is still open. Rather as it might be thought that Australia… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Is the Dean an employee? Although the selection process is different at Christ Church, this is a Crown appointment and it was announced from the Prime Minister’s office at 10 Downing Street. (I haven’t read the newspaper reports, and I am not commenting on the merits of the case.)

Tim Chesterton
Guest

I’m afraid he lost me at ‘£90,000’ (plus accommodation, I believe) and ‘pay increase’.

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

Christ Church is trying to portray Martyn as a greedy so-and-so asking for a pay rise. We don’t know that that’s actually true. It’s abundantly clear that he has been, and is, being very badly treated by the Governing Body. The accusations were proven false; the legal proceedings were deliberately dragged out in an apparent effort to increase his legal costs; CC have delayed in paying those costs, leaving him still hundreds of thousands of pounds out of pocket; and their latest statement still shows bias rather than neutrality. I don’t see why Martyn should fail to get our sympathy… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

He’s the head of one of Oxford’s largest and most prestigious colleges. That immediately places him at the upper end of the professorial scale as he is, by virtue of his post, a professor with a lot of additional responsibilities. He would be paid that much even if Christ Church as a college were entirely unaffiliated to the Christ Church as a church. Of course, the heads of other colleges will point out that Martyn Percy’s academic record would not, of itself, get him a post as head of such a disaffiliated ChCh, and it is his church credentials which… Read more »

american piskie
Guest
american piskie

I don’t think he “is by virtue of his post, a professor”. He is indeed a member of the Faculty of Theology at Oxford (he probably has been since the time he was Principal of Ripon College), but his chairs are at other institutions, and have nothing to do with the deanery. [From the Christ Church website: He is Professor of Theological Education at King’s College London, a Professorial Research Fellow at Heythrop College (University of London) and Visiting Professor at the Centre for the Study of Values, University of Winchester, and for the Centre of Theologically-Engaged Anthropology, University of… Read more »

Cassandra
Guest
Cassandra

I thought Bishop Steven was on sabbatical, with Bishop Colin standing in? When the Oxford Diocese responded to the Bishops’ pastoral statement, it was Bishop Colin who commented. But now Bishop Steven breaks his sabbatical?

Fr. Dean Henley
Guest
Fr. Dean Henley

Cassandra, we’re not supposed to use the term ‘sabbatical’ anymore; ‘extended study leave’ is the new terminology, presumably on the basis that it sounds rather more industrious. As Stanley has commented it’s noticeable that some clergy seem to be awarded ESL every time the wind changes direction and the rest of us sometime never.

Cassandra
Guest
Cassandra

Ah, so he isn’t supposed to be stepping away from his role, making it OK to comment. But then why the silence on the pastoral statement?

David Exham
Guest
David Exham

Cassandra, I fail to see why the fact that Bishop Steven is on sabbatical precludes him from publishing a statement in support of a senior member of the Diocesan staff who may well be, for all I know, a personal friend as well.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Have people actually read any of the articles? Is there no outrage about the thoughts expressed in the emails and the language used?
Are you all so blasé that this is normal for you?

I am absolutely scandalised. And that doesn’t happen often.
If any of this is true, the whole management of Christ Church should resign, not Martyn Percy.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Erika, I have read the articles I can read without paying to subscribe to a UK newspaper. I agree that the emails and the language are shocking. I suspect that it is more normal than we would like to think, if more private emails were made public we’d probably be even more shocked. My problem is that I’ve been in full time ministry for 40 years, half of it in tiny isolated communities in northern and western Canada. I’m now making a better salary than I’ve ever made in my life, and yet Mr. Percy makes twice what I do,… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I still haven’t read the newspaper reports, and I am still not commenting on the merits of the case. Dean Percy’s situation is, I believe, unique within the C of E in that he is at the same time the Dean of Oxford Cathedral, head of the Chapter and Head of the House of Christ Church which is both Cathedral and College rolled into one. He was appointed by letters patent of the Crown. In normal circumstances he is virtually “the whole management” of Christ Church, but the Statutes enable the Governing Body (which includes the Cathedral canons as well… Read more »

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

Now that some of the vitriolic e-mails have been leaked to the media (and set out in the letter from the Revd Jonathan Aitken to Lord Patten: a letter it appears he was happy to be made public) which, it would appear, are quoted in Sir Andrew Smith’s judgment, would it not be both appropriate and right to make that judgment public (and with no redactions) so that speculation can end and we can all see the rights and wrongs of what is, on any view, an unedifying dispute? If this would lead to calls for the resignation of certain… Read more »

David Exham
Guest
David Exham

The governing body of Christ Church suspended Dean Percy for many months, thereby denying the Cathedral of his important services, and did so without any justifiable cause, motivated, judging by the emails, by malice. This has cost the Dean a considerable sum of money, and he is entirely within his rights to seek redress from an employment tribunal. The size of his income doesn’t alter this at all.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Dear Tim; aren’t you trying to compare the stipend of a parish priest with that of a university professor? Even I know this is a very different situation from that of an ordinary parish priest. Academia has its own standards – necessarily quite unconnected with those of the financial emoluments of pastoral ministry.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Ron – please re-read the last paragraph of my reply to Erika and you’ll get where I’m coming from. I’m not arguing one way or the other, and it’s really none of my business. I’m simply giving the reasons why I personally can’t muster up the emotional energy to get on board with Mr. Percy’s cause.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

To put some context to what Father Ron says about this, in their 2018 accounts on the Charity Commission site Christ Church had 409 employees and assets of £600 million+. The Dean is the Head of House, but I’m still not sure that he is legally an employee. The figures speak for themselves

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Erika, the emails quoted in the Mail are pretty representative of whisperings in academic common rooms after too much Madeira. The language of academic rivalry is often puerile and scatological, and expressed with a degree of vitriol that’s inversely proportional to the intelligence of the speaker. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that academics are intelligent. Some are. Some even live in the real world. Mind you, when two or three clerics are gathered together, their conversation can be similar. The mistake is putting these things in print, or to fail to understand that nothing on the web is private.… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Can’t say I’m remotely shocked, but no, it’s not acceptable.

Most of all, I’m dismayed that this utter pettiness has been allowed to escalate to anywhere close to such a squalid public brawl. Why this wasn’t resolved quietly behind closed doors is truly baffling.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Erm, wouldn’t mediation have been sensible *before* £2m was spent?

Charles K
Guest
Charles K

Goodness – what a lot of silly responses to a genuine human tragedy here. We have watched a good man and a fine theologian be vilified and bullied by the college. At a huge emotional cost, and financial cost, Martyn has retained his dignity. I am reminded of the words of Archbishop Tutu in the Truth and Reconciliation Committee in South Africa, talking about the painful road to reconciliation, saying “we have to look the beast firmly in the eye”. I hope this can happen, rather than a rather immature “donnish” approach to this which is to snipe poisonously under… Read more »

Daniel Lamont
Guest
Daniel Lamont

I think we should separate the question of Martyn Percy’s salary level from the question of the way he has been treated and the behaviour of his accusers. Yes, by comparison with the average person, he is very well paid indeed but, in comparison with many senior academics with responsibilities comparable to those of the Dean of CC, he is moderately paid and his salary is not paid by the CofE. As a retired academic, I too am familiar with the tone and language of many academics and I know all too well that they may not be very intelligent,… Read more »

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

Agreed, and if he were solely an academic you’d expect him to be paid on the same level as professors etc. (Though very many junior academic staff are genuinely struggling.) The anomaly of the job being linked to that of cathedral Dean is the problem. Probably when the system was inaugurated most ‘higher’ (fffphh!) clergy would expect to be paid at that sort of level. But why should one Christian minister be paid any more than any other? OK, maybe they need entertainment allowances and other expenses, but the basic pay should be the same as a parish priest. It’s… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Cathedral Deans are paid differently as they have entirely different functions. Like bishops, in the C of E they are Crown appointments. I pointed out in an earlier post that, according to the Christ Church Statutes, the Dean is remunerated from two separate funds in respect of his two separate, but simultaneous, roles. So a distinction is to be drawn between being Dean of the Cathedral (which carries the right to occupy the Deanery) and his role as Head of House in the College which is the equivalent to a Master or Warden in other Oxford Colleges. The Sub Dean’s… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

I defer to no-one in my admiration for Martyn Percy, and I think he is in all regards A Good Thing. That said, Kissinger’s old saw that the reason disputes in academia are so vitriolic is because the stakes are so low does appear apposite. Outside academia and the church, either Martyn Percy would have been “compromised out” (a compromise agreement precluding a tribunal, a sum of money and some form of NDA) or more likely his antagonists would have been transferred, made redundant or similarly compromised out. It would cost a few hundred thousand pounds, attract little to no… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

So you think Martyn Percy needs to chill out and accept the settlement, just like all those actresses were advised to chill out and accept the settlement after being raped or abused by Harvey Wenstein. What you propose puts the interest of the institution above the interests of people, and unless the processes used by dysfunctional institutions are challenged and made transparent (often at huge personal cost to the challenger) they will never change, and people will continue to be damaged in perpetuity. Ask the CofE abuse survivors. They are facing the same issue.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

One the one hand, a powerful, articulate senior man with a high public profile, a wide-ranging support base who are willing to fund his legal defence, the means to publish his views and affect national debate (as in the Philip North case) gets involved in a war of words with his staff and his employer, and it spills over into an unedifying employment tribunal which will serve no-one well. On the other hand, the rape and sexual exploitation of powerless and unheard young victims by powerful, well-connected sexual predators who are able to silence survivors by threats that they will… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

This is a Tom Sharpe Porterhouse Blue affair, not a church matter. IO’s analysis is on the button IMHO and as he says this will not end well for anyone. I began in academic life in 1976 and over the years was instructed by the union to participate in several “strikes” and “works to rule”. I ignored them all on the grounds that nobody cared about academics in the big scheme of things and that I would not disadvantage the medical students in my care. The public perception of academics then was that by and large they were whinging wastes… Read more »

Sam Jones
Guest
Sam Jones

Totally agree. Either Percy or a large number of Christ Church fellows need to leave. I don’t see the latter happening, and can’t see how Percy can remain in place with the current governing body (or why he would want to), so the matter can only be closed with by agreeing a settlement with Percy. I doubt he will have a problem getting a suitable academic job elsewhere.

ACI
Guest
ACI

Correct. At 57 he is in a tricky space. One fears he is pursuing a path that has no good off-ramps. Compensation agreements never span more than a couple of years. He is probably in the cushiest job he could have. This goes back to restricting the possible candidates to those in Orders, and so the pool of the very top academic cvs is cut in half. One wonders if in future this post will have to be reconfigured. Hard to believe John Webster once had this post. He left for Scotland in his early fifties.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Comments like this are really wide of the mark. The unique nature of Christ Church and the dual roles of the Dean have been explained time and again, not only in this thread but in earlier ones dealing with the suspension. The Dean is first and foremost Dean of Oxford Cathedral and head of the Cathedral Chapter. Of course he is ordained and has to be. To put things in context, the Preamble to the Christ Church Statutes states: The corporate designation of the House remains, to the present day, “The Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral Church of Christ… Read more »

ACI
Guest
ACI

How so? I am well aware of all the roles at Christ Church and your comment explains very little that hasn’t been aired repeatedly. I have known previous incumbents well. At issue, as has been noted up thread, is where all this is going, finally, to lead. Prudence is difficult to maintain when one feels they are harmed or being insufficiently compensated, but it remains critical all the same.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Well, I didn’t intend to be confrontational, but you did say “this goes back to restricting the possible candidates to those in Orders” when, of course, there could not have been (and still cannot be) any alternative. Wasn’t John Webster a Canon of Christ Church?

ACI
Guest
ACI

Of course. Webster (and Oliver O’Donovan) both. And both with superb publication records. Both went on to receive senior posts at institutions in which Orders were not required and did not affect the pool of candidates. The point being made is that this combination is very hard to come by. It may prove increasingly difficult. I could easily see a day when the present arrangement comes under reconsideration. That is what I said. It is hard to decipher the contretemps inside Oxford, with dons pitted against a cleric. But neither Webster or O’Donovan complained about compensation and arrangements for a… Read more »

ACI
Guest
ACI

PS–I have wrongly assumed that Percy had a Regius or Lady Margaret Professorship. I see at Wiki his academic appointment is not at this level. Yes, these posts require one be a Canon and in Orders. I apologise for misunderstanding his actual academic rank inside Oxford. Perhaps that will make it easier for him to move laterally if it comes to that.

Froghole
Guest
Froghole

FYI, it has ceased to be a requirement that the Lady Margaret chair be in orders; the current incumbent (in post since 2015) is a laywoman, but she is a member of chapter. The association of that chair with Christ Church is comparatively recent: it was annexed to at stall at Worcester prior to 1840. The regius chair of Hebrew was secularised completely and removed from chapter in 1960 (the lead in that campaign, Sir G. R. Driver was the son of a regius professor of Hebrew, S. R. Driver, and had hoped to follow his father in that chair… Read more »

ACI
Guest
ACI

Interesting. The Regius Hebrew chair is old news of course (Williamson and Joosten are not Anglicans at all, much less in Orders in CofE), but Lady Margaret? That represents the kind of alteration of the allegedly fixed and permanent that I have been referring to. Thanks for the update.

american piskie
Guest
american piskie

Wasn’t John Webster “just” one of the Canon Professors? [Lady Margaret Chair of Divinity, 1196-2003.]

Wm. Bill Paul
Guest
Wm. Bill Paul

Hmmm. I might be mistaken but wasn’t John Webster was the Lady Margaret professor of Divinity at Oxford and a canon of Christ Church, following Rowan Williams? His was a much different position I think.

ACI
Guest
ACI

You are right. I had assumed the Dean had a similar high-level academic appointment, but I gather that he doesn’t. My point, however, is that combined academic-clerical appointments may fall between the stools given the present RAE climate. On one side, both O’Donovan and Webster left high-level academic posts so as to do academics (whatever other misgivings they may have had at Oxford). On the other side, clerics face challenges for not being ‘serious academics’ — especially if complaining about compensation/duties — from those who do not have the same perks. I am not in a position to evaluate the… Read more »

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

I rather think the focus on the Dean’s salary in the comments misses the point – he is in dispute with the governing body because he tried to bring in necessary organisational change and was attacked (unjustly) by some of the governing body. Attempts to sort this out after the investigation have not succeeded and so recourse to a tribunal is necessary. Other priest-canons such as John Webster were never in this leadership role.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I’m sorry to be so dim, and to keep hammering the point, but how does an Employment Tribunal deal with that scenario? Isn’t it the case that with now 61 posts (at the last count) on this thread, none of us knows the facts, or if any do know, they aren’t saying publicly.

ACI
Guest
ACI

Je suis d’accord.

(And by the way, I believe the source of the compensation complaint is the Dean, not others).

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Well, indeed, that is explicitly stated in the Christ Church press statement. Janet confuses (at least me) in her post below that “the pay issue was settled in 2018”. Now 66 posts on this thread!

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

Agreed, Charles. I understand the pay issue was settled in 2018, and bringing it up now appears simply another attempt to put Martyn in a bad light. If he did leave – or was pushed – who on earth would Christ Church find to take on the post after the way this Dean has been treated?

ACI
Guest
ACI

You must be joking. Shortage of applicants?

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

I’m not joking. There is a very limited pool of those who would qualify for the post (as has several times been mentioned above). Of those, who would want to take up a post where their predecessor has been treated so badly, and the atmosphere is so poisonous?

John swanson
Guest
John swanson

But, across the university, are Oxford Head of House positions primarily “serious academic” positions? Some have held their own at the highest academic levels before that appointment, but I doubt if that is the primary criterion for appointment. The potential pool of “qualified to be both a cathedral dean and a head of house” is surely rather wider than “ordained and qualified to be an Oxbridge Regius professor”?

Angusian
Guest
Angusian

Obviously he should be appointed bishop; sadly he is too bright for any likely current appointment!

Paul Waddington
Guest
Paul Waddington

The real point surely is that it is most undignified for someone in such a senior position to be going to an Employment Tribunal. It could only happen in the Church of England! Some people need to grow up!

David Exham
Guest
David Exham

What a staggeringly silly comment. It appears that Dean Percy has been very badly treated, and this has cost him a large amount of money. His entitlement to seek recompense has nothing to do with the Church of England or his dignity. He is not the one who needs to grow up.

Daniel Lamont
Guest
Daniel Lamont

With respect, I find this a somewhat bizarre comment. It may be undignified but is it inappropriate? Martyn Percy, it would seem, has had to meet legal costs of some £400,000. What else is he to do but seek to recover those costs now that he has been exonerated. His seniority is surely irrelevant to this.

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

I don’t know the details of the situation here – but if it is “dignified” to cave in to bullies without using the means of defence at your disposal, the bullies always win. When a call to personal “dignity” is born out of the reputational fears of an institution, there is a real danger that the institution is tacitly colluding with the bullies. We are called to resist evil (amongst other things). It is true that the “dignity” of many clergy is “protected” by denying them the recourses an employee normally has: however the culture of deference implied by this… Read more »

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

It is a last resort after attempts at negotiation fail. He is not the first and may well not be the last. Better to be undignified than to let injustice go unchallenged.

Jo B
Guest
Jo B

I can’t see anything undignified about seeking justice.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I will come off the fence to the extent of agreeing with this. But does an Employment Tribunal have jurisdiction to compensate unrecovered legal costs if, indeed, that is the basis of the claims as has been surmised above (which we don’t know.) Also, is Dean Percy an employee? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but harbour doubts. Nevertheless, one must assume that the Dean has had expert legal advice before initiating claims in the Employment Tribunal. Some people are overlooking his role as Dean of the Cathedral and head of the Cathedral Chapter. In fact, in the… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I reckon those Christ Church, Oxford, Dons who so viciously attacked
Dean Percy are a relic of that institutional conservatism that,
unfortunately, still clings to some of the ‘old-time-religion’
believers. Dean Percy’s so-obvious charismatic influence with the
younger generation of students would have sorely vexed those incumbent
professors whose lives revolve entirely around the institutional
privileges and comforts of tenured security. The Dean’s openness to a
new understanding of gender and sexual differences would have caused a
flurry in the dovecotes that could have deeply troubled the cathedral close.

Kate
Guest
Kate

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/21-february/news/uk/christ-church-employment-tribunal-on-hold-until-autumn-2021-at-the-earliest

It has been suggested on TA that the Dean and Governing Body won’t be able to carry on working together. It seems as though they will have to as an ET finding is about 2 years away.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Kate: Thank you for that link. I remain genuinely puzzled by what is happening, but it seems that a long wait will be involved unless some alternative outcome becomes possible.

God 'elp us all
Guest
God 'elp us all

At least Martyn Percy should be well-advised. Chapter 41 Ministers and Employment, of this book, The Study of Ministry: A Comprehensive Survey of Theory and Best Practice,
edited by Martyn Percy, is written by Norman Doe( https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/people/view/478847-doe-norman), an expert in the field.
I dare say that however long they have to wait, an Employment Tribunal will relish the opportunity to determine the case, if indeed it is determined that there is a case they are able to determine.
Other clergy have had their cases not heard on the ground of not being an employee; we shall see, in due course.

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

He is an employee of the college and not in parochial appointment. He has a perfect right therefore to go to a tribunal. I can think of at least three other priests employed by colleges who have done so.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Is he an employee of the College, or of anyone? I don’t profess to know with any certainty, but he is, first and foremost, the Dean of Oxford Cathedral, appointed by the Crown and his status can’t be compared to the employed priests in other colleges – they are neither deans nor Crown appointments. The position of the Dean of Christ Church is unique.

NJW
Guest
NJW

I am not sure of the position regarding the Dean, but that of Sub Dean (currently being advertised) indicates that this post is ‘specifically excluded from Common Tenure’ and is subject to the condition of the college’s Staff Handbook for (non-academic) employees. The further distinctive feature is that the holder requested Permission to Officiate from the Bishop of Oxford on the basis of holding the post. All this highlights the way that Christ Church is not a ‘normal’ Church of England establishment (indeed there are many items of church legislation which recognise that it operates under its own Act of… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I don’t profess to know, but have merely pointed out that Cathedral Deans are a distinct race from other collegiate deans and clergy. But I think there is the world of difference between the Crown appointment of a civil servant and a Cathedral Dean; just to reiterate that the Preamble to the Christ Church Statutes states: The corporate designation of the House remains, to the present day, “The Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral Church of Christ in Oxford of the Foundation of King Henry the Eighth”. As has been said so often, Christ Church is unique. Possibly the closest… Read more »