Thinking Anglicans

Fr Alan Griffin: unrest in London continues

Updated 3 October, and again 11 October

The Church Times had this report yesterday: Bishop Mullally seeks to tackle ‘deficit of trust’ in Two Cities Area. Here’s an extract:

Unrest in London still keen after death of Fr Alan Griffin

…Minutes of a meeting of the Two Cities Greater Chapter earlier this month, seen by the Church Times, record that the response of the diocesan leadership to the death of Fr Griffin is considered “wanting in several significant respects”, with a feeling that Bishop Mullally had “demonstrated insufficient pastoral care for her clergy”, especially among those named in the brain-dump report, some of whom felt “a sense of rage, indignation, bewilderment, frustration and sorrow”.

In a letter to clergy in the Two Cities sent earlier this month, Bishop Mullally wrote: “I am resolved to continue the process of cultural change in the Two Cities Area which was already a pressing priority . . . There is currently a deficit of trust. This must be addressed by a continual striving for transparency, approachability, collegiality, sensitivity, respect and kindness as characteristics of our relationships with everyone.”

On Wednesday, she spoke first of her concern for the friends and family of Fr Griffin. Asked about culture change, she said that this process had been ongoing since her arrival in the diocese in 2018. Among her findings on arrival was that clergy spoke of “a sense of isolation. There is a competitiveness; people were anxious about needing to prove themselves. . . There are potential tribes here. . . And also I have to say the fact of being the first woman bishop also brought some of its own complexities within that.

There was a need to create a “more collaborative” environment. Other work had included increased support for mental well-being, including support for those going through the Clergy Discipline Measure process.

“Culture change isn’t just me: it’s about us,” she said. “Some of the reason why people feel isolated and anxious is about us and how we treat each other . . . The unfortunate death of Fr Alan made people articulate that we are still on a journey.”

Asked about the clergy named in the brain-dump report, she said: “We have to recognise that the coroner put that in the public domain, and I am sorry for the hurt that that has caused. . . There is no doubt in my mind that there are things that we will learn through it, not least that we are already beginning to bring in a triage system around those things that come forward to safeguarding…”

I recommend reading the news report in full.

There is also a report in this week’s issue of Private Eye which includes:

“…Private Eye learns that a majority of clergy in the Two Cities area of London Diocese… held a closed meeting on 14 September at which feelings ran high. Many were friends and former colleagues of Fr Griffin. Some spoke of “rage, indignation, bewilderment, frustration and sorrow” at the failure of the senior diocesan staff to care for them in the face of allegations made against them. One, driven to despair, said they had not received a kind communication from diocesan leaders in three years.

Some are quietly planning legal action against their own diocese. Others, encouraged by the threatened vote of no confidence that led to the defenestration of the Bishop of Wiinchester… are now proposing a similar vote against the Bishop of London.”

From the earlier diocesan report as mentioned in our article of 24 August:

“The full Terms of Reference (subject to consultation) will be published on the Diocese of London website when consultations are complete (anticipated early September 2021).”

As of 2 October, these have not yet appeared.
CORRECTION: These were published on 13 September, and are dated 3 September. Link to the ToR document below:

Terms of reference published 13 September 2021.

Chris Robson has been appointed as the independent reviewer. Chris worked for the Metropolitan Police Service for 30 years in a wide range of roles. Since 2017 he has been the independent chair of a number of safeguarding boards and he has undertaken various safeguarding reviews.

With regard to the review, the LDF’s privacy notice can be found here

Update 11 October:

The latest issue of the Church Times contains two letters to the editor which are both well worth reading: they can be found here.

  • Bishop of London is failing justice for Fr Alan Griffin
    From the Revd Roderick Leece
    From the Revd Nick Pigott

There is also an update to their news reporting on the topic: Review of Fr Griffin case will not apportion blame.

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Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
16 days ago

“Asked about the clergy named in the brain-dump report, she [The Bishop of London] said: “We have to recognise that the coroner put that in the public domain, and I am sorry for the hurt that that has caused. . .” Err, am I alone in thinking that sounds like an attempt to blame the coroner in some way? I find it hard to see how there can be any culture change or rebuilding of trust until the hierarchy in London recognises that it bears a heavy responsibility and stops trying to wriggle out of that.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
16 days ago

You are not alone, Fr. “We are sorry” that the coroner made it public. Do ecclesiocrats EVER stop to think of how their messages will come across to the recipient? It seems not. Preaching and teaching depend upon such a skill.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
16 days ago

Fr Dexter, you are not alone in thinking the Bishop of London’s remark [“the coroner put that in the public domain, and I am sorry for the hurt that that has caused”] sounds like an attempt to deflect criticism and blame others. ‘Private Eye’ puts it succinctly: Lexden [Lord Lexden who resigned from the Ecclesiastical Committee – Ed] was particularly angry that the diocese urged the coroner at Griffin’s inquest, Mary Hassell, not to include in her report “any concerns that may be taken as a criticism of clerics or staff for not filtering or verifying allegations”. She ignored the… Read more »

Last edited 16 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
15 days ago

The Coroner couldn’t bring Fr Griffin back but she absolutely gave him justice though sadly posthumously. The others mentioned in the ‘brain dump’ might justifiably be furious with Dame Sarah but I’d hazard a guess that they’re grateful to the coroner for exposing the toxic tittle tattle to scrutiny. Sunlight has a bleaching effect. I presume that Luther Pendragon charge bargain basement fees; I can’t think they were appointed for their effectiveness.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
15 days ago

*back (not sack)

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
15 days ago

I presume that when Bishop Sarah talks of having to recognise that the coroner, Mary Hassell, “put [the brain-dump report] in the public domain”, she is referring to the coroner’s regulation 28 ‘Prevention of Future Deaths report’, dated 9 July 2021 (“the PFD report”) and placed on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website on 15 July 2021 (https://www.judiciary.uk/subject/suicide/page/2/) from where it was picked up by the media and given publicity.   Such reports (and there are many on the judiciary website) are quite properly made public in this way, since the prevention of future deaths is clearly a matter of… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
15 days ago

I agree, Simon, that I would have expected the ToR to be included (or a link to them to be provided) in the ‘Latest News’ section of the website. It was only when, like you, I couldn’t find any reference to them there that I entered ‘Griffin’ in the search box, which took me to a page with six references, the first being to the ‘Submission to Coroner’ on 24 August 2021 (i.e. the response of the diocese to the PFD report), but not one to the ToR. It was only when I clicked on the fifth item ‘Safeguarding’, despite… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  David Lamming
14 days ago

How splendid that the Terms of Reference were shared in such an open and transparent way by the diocese. I can feel the explosion of trust and confidence as the culture shifts in the Two Cities Area…

James Nye
James Nye
16 days ago

There were many voices raised, at the time of Sarah Mullally’s appointment, as to whether she had the necessary gravitas for the role. Her reported comments in relation to Fr Griffin are just one more indication that those questions were valid and remain so. Her background as Chief Nursing Officer is bound to have shaped a significant institutional loyalty, and I suspect those senior figures on the CNC at the time of her appointment will have recognised this. Her predecessor’s capacity to think for himself and come to his own independent judgement, straying from the Lambeth line where he felt… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  James Nye
16 days ago

Interesting.

But as an aside, have you ever heard the term ‘gravitas’ applied to a woman? I don’t think I have. I suspect some of those looking for ‘gravitas’ are subconsciously excluding women from the candidates.

What I think of more concern is her history of institutional loyalty, as you rightly say.

James Nye
James Nye
Reply to  Janet Fife
15 days ago

I’m sorry, Janet, but I find this response absolutely astounding and, somehow, too easily accomodating of a kind of anti-intellectual snobbery in certain parts of the Church of England. Of course there are women of gravitas serving in the ordained ministry of the Church of England. How about Angela Tilby, Lucy Winkett, Sarah Coakley, Judith Maltby, Jane Shaw, Jenn Strawbridge, Erica Longfellow, Joanne Grenfell (one of the few bishops to have held an academic appointment in a university), Jessica Martin… and that’s just for starters. It may be that you turn in limited circles in the C of E if… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  James Nye
15 days ago

I have never questioned whether there are plenty of women who would make excellent leaders (of course there are), but merely whether the language we use might sometimes reveal or conceal hidden prejudices. And, until your comment above, I have indeed never seen the term ‘gravitas’ applied to a woman. Nor are the circles I move in solely Anglican, or solely Christian. I don’t think the word ‘gravitas’ is often applied to female politicians either – I’ve never seen it done and I read pretty widely. Clearly you aren’t prejudiced against women, and don’t disqualify us from leadership. But ‘gravitas’… Read more »

αnδrεw
αnδrεw
Reply to  Janet Fife
15 days ago

Gravitas was a word often associated with the Iron Lady!

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  αnδrεw
15 days ago

But what does it mean, and why does a bishop need it? Does the Bible refer anywhere to ‘gravitas’. Sound mind – yes. Capacity to love – yes. Kindness – yes. But what exactly was Sarah Mullally alleged to be lacking at her appointment, that meant she lacked ‘gravitas’ (whatever that specifically is, which I have no idea)? If it means being like Margaret Thatcher, I’m not sure everyone would agree that was a desirable attribute. Surely ‘gravitas’ is whatever people subjectively think makes a person seem ‘serious’ or ‘solemn’ or ‘dignified’. What does that constitute, and don’t different people… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Susannah Clark
15 days ago

Thank you Susannah, you’ve said it better than I did.

James Nye
James Nye
Reply to  Janet Fife
14 days ago

My only response, Janet, is to say I can’t be responsible for the prejudged assumptions other people might bring to my words. I still find it extraordinary that anyone (esecially someone who doesn’t know me – I don’t *think* we’ve ever met) would assume that, just because I am a man, I am by default an unreconstructed mysogynist who believes ‘gravitas’ and ‘woman’ cannot be used in the same sentence. Yes, gravitas is a subjective term; but so is ‘prejudice.’ I’ll make a note to put on my tin helmet before commenting next time.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  James Nye
14 days ago

James, I did not read Janet’s comment as accusing you of being ‘an unreconstructed mysogynist’ just because you are a man. While she agreed with you on institutional loyalty, in response to your comment about ‘many voices raised, at the time of Sarah Mullally’s appointment, as to whether she had the necessary gravitas’, Janet wondered whether ‘some of those looking for “gravitas” are subconsciously excluding women from the candidates’ – not all but some. Though you then explained what you had meant by ‘gravitas’, not everyone uses the term in that way and it is surely not beyond the bounds… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  James Nye
14 days ago

Hi James, I’m not sure anyone was attributing sexism and prejudice to you as an individual. You are absolutely right to say that we cannot know your own views and values, nor are you responsible for others holding prejudiced attitudes, consciously or unconsciously. If I may return to my point – what actually IS this gravitas being referred to in your own words: “There were many voices raised, at the time of Sarah Mullally’s appointment, as to whether she had the necessary gravitas for the role…” with recent events offering “indication that those questions were valid and remain so.” What… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Susannah Clark
14 days ago

Someone with ‘gravitas’ – whatever the gender – is unlikely to say:

“the coroner put that in the public domain, and I am sorry for the hurt that that has caused”

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
14 days ago

Someone with ‘gravitas’ – whatever their gender – is unlikely to say:

“a significant cloud is left over his name”

where no cloud has ever been found to exist over the name.

Someone with ‘gravitas’ is likely to question and challenge such groundless comments, and they are unlikely to be swayed by those in power – whatever their position.

Last edited 14 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  James Nye
14 days ago

I didn’t at all assume that you are or were any kind of misogynist. I merely queried the value of the observation that, at the time of her appointment, many people thought Dame Sarah had insufficient gravitas for the role. My reasons for doing so have been amply explained by others as well as myself. As I said in my original comment, this is a side issue. The important thing is that she has handled the case of Fr. Alan very badly and is showing no signs of being able to learn from her initial mistakes. She also has a… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Janet Fife
14 days ago

To clarify further, I was reflecting on the possible misogyny on the part of the people who said that Bp. Sarah hadn’t got ‘gravitas’, not on you for reporting the comments.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Janet Fife
15 days ago

How about Queen Elizabeth II; The Princess Royal; Dr June Raine; Prof Dame Sarah Gilbert; Baroness Thatcher; Baroness Lawrence; Baroness Boothroyd; Baroness Grey-Thompson; Lady Butler Sloss; Lady Hale; Dame Katherine Grainger; Dame Margot Fonteyn and Prof Ann Loades?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Fr Dean
15 days ago

You’re demonstrating that you can think of women you feel have gravitas; you aren’t disproving my theory that for a lot of people, ‘gravitas’ is a term subconsciously associated with men. It’s one thing, when challenged, to come up with a list of impressive women who might be described as having gravitas. It’s quite another to say, ‘For this job we need a person with gravitas’, and immediately picture in your mind’s eye a group of women. See Susannah’s comments above.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Janet Fife
15 days ago

Maybe “bottom” would be a better word, Janet. But I would hesitate before applying it to a woman.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Allan Sheath
15 days ago

The size or shape of a person’s bottom has nothing whatever to do with their qualifications for being a bishop.

Can’t we just say we want a person of intellectual depth, moral seriousness, genuine faith, and pastoral sensitivity?

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Janet Fife
15 days ago

Bishops’ chairs are often very wide, presumably to accomodate even the largest posterior.

Father David
Awaiting approval
Reply to  T Pott
12 days ago

If I were the Bishop of St. Asaph, I might well take exception to T Pott’s latest comment!

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
Reply to  Janet Fife
12 days ago

It is perhaps late to come to this comment but, for what it’s worth, in ‘The Guardian’ Long Read for 5th October 2021, Charlotte Higgins quotes Bernadine Evaristo speaking of the effect of winning the Booker Prize (alongside Margaret Atwood): ‘Suddenly I was given a kind of gravitas, and respect and authority’. I have heard the word ‘gravitas’ applied to a woman – in this case, Lady Hale, the former President of the Supreme Court.

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  James Nye
15 days ago

whether she had the necessary gravitas for the role…”

What does that mean? What exactly is ‘gravitas’ in the context of a bishop?

David Emmott
David Emmott
Reply to  Susannah Clark
15 days ago

A bishop of my acquaintance said that when people ask of a candidate for interview, ‘does he have sufficient gravitas?’, they mean ‘is he boring enough?’

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
Reply to  James Nye
13 days ago

Friends who were in senior nursing positions in the NHS when she was Chief Nursing Officer were less than complimentary about the way she carried out that role.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
16 days ago

The lack of awareness – of self, and others, and how she’s coming across – in the bishop is breathtaking. Fr. Alan’s death was not ‘unfortunate’ – it was tragic, and the events that led to it an outrage. This is not the time for her to be talking about the culture change which was already necessary before she arrived. She needs to be accepting responsibility, showing repentance, and disciplining those at fault in this terrible episode.

Stanley Monkhouse
15 days ago

Why do I keep thinking of HMS Pinafore? “Gilbert & Sullivan’s fantastical farce follows the frantic antics of a bunch of unqualified misfits in positions of power.” Or is that HM Government? I am easily confused. Plus ça change ….

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
15 days ago

I thought the same about IICSA. When the Church of England is subjected to forensic external scrutiny it does not always look that impressive. A coroner is used to dealing with tragic deaths and to analysing the causes. Whereas the coroner may have made some factual errors she does not feel obliged to spare the feelings of anyone in the Church of England. This is uncomfortable for the powers that be in the Church.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
15 days ago

Bishop Sarah’s words in the article are hardly reassuring, especially the claim that those things in the ‘brain dump’ that ‘weren’t proven or were wrong, they were given no standing anywhere’: surely if that were true, Alan Griffin would still be alive? It might appear (perhaps incorrectly) that she does not understand the difference between good safeguarding practice – which might include consulting a specialist promptly on concerns which might well turn out to be unfounded – and gathering scraps of gossip and innuendo over many years, along with what might be evidence requiring investigation, then using this material unfiltered… Read more »

Charles Clapham
Reply to  Savi Hensman
15 days ago

Keeping a permanent record of information about individuals which has not been assessed for accuracy (ie a ‘brain dump’ of rumour, innuendo or gossip) is in any case a breach of GDPR, as all those involved in this case should have known.

Last edited 15 days ago by Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Reply to  Savi Hensman
15 days ago

And where (if) there were genuine safeguarding concerns, these should have been reported by the head of operations through the proper procedures immediately this information was known to him, not ten years later (?) when he came to retire.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Charles Clapham
14 days ago

Yes indeed to both, Charles – and one might have hoped that someone with valuable leadership experience in wider society might have had a better grasp of good safeguarding practice. From my perspective it is fine to go promptly to a safeguarding expert with a concern, even if it turns out to be unfounded, so that they can advise and if necessary investigate and act or alternatively set everyone’s minds at rest, without undue delay. But this is very different indeed from what happened in the Diocese of London.

Kate
Kate
15 days ago

Reading the reports of the House of Bishops, the Bishop of London seems to be stretched very thin. One practical step would be to release her from all those extra responsibilities so that she has the time and focus needed to settle a diocese which is displaying clear signs of ineffective leadership.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Kate
15 days ago

Yes there are too many dioceses struggling to survive. Few bishops need a national profile. Time to shelve the idea of ‘lead bishop for….’ for a while, and see if anyone really misses the workstreams, strategising, and envisioning meetings.

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
14 days ago

The so called ‘unfortunate’ death of Fr Griffin does more than articulate people are on a journey. It reveals the journey that is going on is vindictive, vicious and immoral and is not being dealt with. If this is the best that the current Bishop can come up with it is time to step down. Blaming the Coroner is one example of shifting responsibility away from where it lies – a culture that protects gossip, innuendo and homophobia. You would hope the church would have grasped by now the urgent need to deal with the hatred behind these nasty and… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Marise Hargreaves
14 days ago

The bishops are behaving like the Pharisees two thousand years ago. Some are slightly better than the others, and a few a markedly worse. The institution of the church is clearly more important to them than individuals.

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
Reply to  Kate
14 days ago

I think they have more in common with the Sadducees – hanging on to power, see themselves are elite and are corrupt and disconnected from regular people. Either way the current house needs to fall and the Temple cleansed. Ezekiel had stern warnings and words for so called shepherds like this. The blood of the innocent still cries out for justice. May it come speedily in our day.

Father Ron Smith
14 days ago

This episode in the life of the Church of England is proof positive that the Church can learn a lot from society in matters of social justice. Sometimes bishops of the Church are more anxious to preserve their credibility for ‘justice’ for the claims of the faithful – than their need to consider the principle of proof required for unjust accusations made against innocent clergy. This would seem to demonstrate a knee-jerk reaction to real abuse.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
13 days ago

Indeed Father Ron. These miscarriages of justice are regularly occurring because the Church hierarchy are wilfully flouting three core principles of social justice – the principle of proof, the presumption of innocence, and innocent until proven guilty. These principles of justice are fatally compromised by an establishment which operates a centuries-old system of cover-up.

Last edited 13 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
13 days ago

Being a Bishop in todays church is poisoned chalice. The only Bishops who have a smooth ride are those who appear to do little, and let things just move along. Taking action in your diocese can lead to trouble with the laity. Not doing enough is trouble with the clergy. Aberdeen, Winchester, and London come to mind.

Fr John Emlyn

Dave
Dave
14 days ago

From the beginning of the epidemic (and I feel sure before) trust and confidence in bishops have been enormously eroded, not least among lay people. Does anyone deny that? Some courageous voices are speaking up, as we see here in London, but not enough. London is not alone in this feeling of mistrust and deep disappointment in their diocesan bishop. Sadly an aspect of the culture of the Church of England is that laity and clergy mutter and moan to one another but say little in synods or other bodies of the church. We know it takes a great deal… Read more »

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Dave
13 days ago

‘The time has come (indeed it came a while ago) for more courageous clergy and laity to challenge bishops’ …… 

Is anyone courageous enough to report that they have a good bishop?!

James Allport
James Allport
Reply to  peter kettle
13 days ago

I do. I admire the leadership the Bishop of Chichester has shown in his diocese over the last few years and, particularly, through the pandemic.

He, and the diocese, are far from perfect. But credit where credit’s due.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  James Allport
13 days ago

I live in the Diocese of Chichester and I cannot agree with Mr Allport’s estimation of Bishop Martin Warner’s courageous leadership. If there was genuine moral courage, he would have spoken out clearly against the injustice done to the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell. The silence from the Cathedral’s cloisters is deafening.

Last edited 13 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  James Allport
13 days ago

Similarly, the Bishop of Peterborough. He knows the clergy and laity of the diocese, manages his non-diocesan/national responsibilities well, and has avoided the trap of creating vision-fatigue.

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
13 days ago

Amen to that. I served in his diocese for some years, and you are spot on, Stephen.

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
12 days ago

I should also like to affirm Bishop Donald. I think ‘generosity’ is the term that comes to my mind. A spirit of generosity towards people who may not always share exactly the same views as him.

Peter Carver
Peter Carver
Reply to  James Allport
12 days ago

I agree. Martin Warner is energetic, intelligent (I almost dare not use the word ‘gravitas’!), who is thoroughly rooted in scripture, tradition and reason; and who has repeatedly put his own theological convictions to one side in order to ensure that his leadership of the diocese is for the benefit of the whole body instead of pandering to tribal loyalties. Bishop Bell aside (though I don’t want to diminish his significance), the Diocese is simply unrecognisable from the days of his predecessors, with women given an equal place at the table at all levels of leadership. A couple of weeks… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Peter Carver
12 days ago

“Richard Chartres…noted how Runcie never used his power against those who disagreed with him. That is a good definition of gravitas – and the cap fits Martin Warner very well, too!” ~ Peter Carver I would seriously challenge Mr Carver’s definition of ‘gravitas’ being applied to Bishop Martin Warner [ie “never used his power against those who disagreed with him”], especially regarding those who disagreed with him about restoring the name George Bell House in the Cathedral City [the name was erased in 2015]. The George Bell Group had this to say about the present Bishop of Chichester: “It is… Read more »

Peter Carver
Peter Carver
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
11 days ago

As I said, Richard, I wasn’t focussing on a single issue or pressure group (much as I continue to admire George Bell’s life and witness). Every bishop finds him/herself being pushed into corners at some stage. I was self-evidently referring to Bishop Martin’s leadership of the Diocese as a whole and the way he has made it a place where many people, who were previously held down by a glass ceiling, can flourish and feel affirmed.

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
Reply to  Peter Carver
12 days ago

Humphrey Carpenter’s biography of Runcie gives a very different view.

Father David
Reply to  Peter Carver
12 days ago

Would it be at all possible to have a link to Richard Chartres’ sermon commemorating the centenary of Robert Runcie’s birth please?

Peter Carver
Peter Carver
Reply to  Father David
10 days ago

The sermon begins at 42′ 50″

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mz2pzt9hxnc

Dave
Dave
Reply to  Dave
11 days ago

The comments help prove my point.
trust and confidence in bishops have been enormously eroded, not least among lay people. Does anyone deny that?”

But why are diocesan synods and senior (in age) clergy not speaking up more – as they have it seems in Winchester. Where else is the challenge? Where are the prophets in the church?

I think this could be a role for just about to retire clergy, or the recently retired – after listening to more junior clergy.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Dave
11 days ago

One issue is that the standing orders governing diocesan synods are generally not well known. So getting items of business on the agenda in time can be tricky and submitting motions in the correct form can appear complex. None of which are insurmountable but act as a brake on engagement. Perhaps of greater importance is the culture of disempowerment which pervades diocesan synods: the same people are seen standing at the front, the same pattern of evasion or postponing decisions, the same token discussion groups. Change comes when Bishop’s Council/Diocesan Secretary/Synod Chair actively seek out agenda items and invite discussion… Read more »

Gilo
Gilo
12 days ago

I hope this ends any speculation that the Bishop of London is Cantuarbile. Her handling of this tragedy has done her no credit. But what it has shown is that Bishop Sarah does not appear to have much wisdom or emotional intelligence. In my direct experience of her, she seems to lack the ability to join up pretty major dots. The Church needs vital acuities in its bishops and archbishops; they need to demonstrate clearly that they can place a finger on the moral pulse of such tragic events – if they are to stand a hope of redeeming the… Read more »

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Gilo
12 days ago

Gilo This will for many raise pertinent questions about the long term nature of the Church of England: some might very well conclude that the Church of England is rotten to the core and it now needs radical surgery, and some may conclude this can only be done by disestablishment, some may conclude that we are now on the tail end of Constantinian Religion, that the present situation breeds arrogance of the highest order rooted in devilish Spiritual and institutional Pride, that it needs now as an institution to be humbled for both its short and long-term spiritual health, that… Read more »

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
11 days ago

I quote from the Scottish Episcopal Church’s website: ‘The distinctive identity of the Church was shaped by the Scottish Reformation which was followed by over a century of alternating between an Episcopal or Presbyterian national church. The 1689 Revolution established the national Church of Scotland as Presbyterian and an independent non-established Scottish Episcopal Church was formed’. As the SEC was never established, it can never have been disestablished and disendowed. It always has been a small and poor church. It nearly disappeared in the eighteenth century. The sixth penal law of 1748 – The Penal Act – forbade Episcopal clergy from conducting public… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Daniel Lamont
11 days ago

Indeed, but would it be fairer to say that the SEC was the rump of the Kirk which refused to accept the political settlement of the Glorious Revolution, and that it was the Scots equivalent of the English non-jurors led by Sancroft? The non-jurors, whether English or Scots, were deprived of their livings, though not of their orders: so, in a loose sense, they were disestablished and dis-endowed as a function of their deprivation. The re-imposition of episcopacy in Scotland in 1661 had been so problematic that about a third of ministers resigned their livings, which devastated the sees of… Read more »

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
Reply to  Froghole
10 days ago

Yes, it would be quite right to say that there is some equivalance between the Scottiosh Bishops and the English non-Jurors but, of course, the history of the two churches in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was very different and Scotland was a separate state until 1707. I don’t disagree with you about the main facts but I do about your interpretation. The Church in Scotland in the seventeenth century was immensely conflicted and divided, not helped by Charles I and Laud trying to impose a new prayer book. The Restoration of 1660 did not settle things as clearly in… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Gilo
12 days ago

When it comes to “the ability to join up pretty major dots”, Richard Scorer did a pretty good job in one paragraph – over three years ago at the IICSA: March 16 2018 – IICSA Highlights – March 5 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 5 Page 129 -Paras. 2-19 – Richard Scorer [Counsel for the complainants, victims and survivors represented by Slater & Gordon]:  “…this is not simply an issue of attitude but of competence too. This is a point which has been made powerfully by Martin Sewell, who is both a lay member of the General Synod and… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
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