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