Thinking Anglicans

ISB controversy episode 8

1. Today at General Synod, very many supplementary questions about the ISB have been asked, and many of the answers were unsatisfactory. We’ll publish more on them in due course.

2. A specific problem was raised concerning two questions, 40 and 41, attributed to Martin Sewell concerning the safeguarding investigation relating to the treatment of Martyn Percy by the Diocese of Oxford and the staff of the Archbishops’ Council.   This was originally assigned to the ISB but was later removed from them by the Archbishops’ Council. However, it turned out that the published questions were not the ones that he had asked.
The published questions and printed answers are here together with the original versions of Martin’s questions. The supplementary questions Martin Sewell asked are here.

UPDATE I now have a transcript of Answers by ABY to supplementary Qs re Q40 & Q41 7.7.2023.

3. Janet Fife has written about the ISB for the Church of England Newspaper, reproduced at Surviving Church, the title is  Wrestling with Jellyfish.

4. Anglican Futures has published General Synod: A case of ‘shuffling the pack’?

5. Susie Leafe has written at Christian Today Will the Archbishops allow General Synod to speak.

6. The Church Times has a report by Francis Martin, Archbishops agreed to ‘unanimous decision’ to disband ISB, spokesperson confirms.

7. The final action taken by the ISB on 5 July was to send this letter about the case of Mr X to both archbishops.

8. Christian Today publishes  another Susie Leafe article: Trust falls over CofE safeguarding debacle. That includes a link to a video clip of the Archbishop of Canterbury responding to a question about how he had voted.

9. Steve Reeves has commented on Twitter about the request from the Archbishops’ Council to share details of those survivors involved in ISB review

For reassurance – we were asked by AC to share details of those involved in ISB reviews (only after we flagged the risk), but when we said that we would need consent and the timescale was too tight to do that, the public announcement went ahead. No data was shared without consent.
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Froghole
Froghole
11 months ago

I note in Ms Fife’s apt piece her comments about the ‘labyrinthine’ nature of the Church’s safeguarding processes. They are presumably such in order to accommodate diverse and competing political interests within the Church, with the needs of abuse victims as a secondary, or even lower, consideration. The effect is often perhaps to visit further abuse on victims and to obviate the entire purpose of the whole convoluted structure. The Church needs only one safeguarding body: it does not need 47 agencies for little more than 500,000 members. Whatever the reasons for this futile and self-indulgent complexity, I am reminded… Read more »

Realist
Realist
11 months ago

I’m not going to repeat everything he posted here, but interested parties might want to look at what Andrew Graystone has posted on Twitter. In his Tweets, he records a source as saying both Archbishops voted against the disbanding of the ISB at Archbishops’ Council, but were outvoted. He also records the claim that a majority of Bishops on AC were opposed to terminating Steve and Jasvinder’s contracts. If this is true, I will be one of the first to apologise to the Archbishops and other Bishops for attributing the actions they voted against to them. But I will still… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

How the two archbishops voted on the proposal to disband the ISB and terminate the contracts of Jasvinder Sanghera and Steve Reeves was revealed today by the Archbishop of Canterbury in answer to a supplementary question by Sam Margrave following the written answer to Question 12. Archbishop Justin began by saying that he knew the answer but was not sure if he was permitted to give it. Following a brief exchange with the chairman, Canon Izzy McDonald-Booth, when it appeared that he would be given advice later as to whether he could answer and, after his then asking whether the… Read more »

Realist
Realist
Reply to  David Lamming
11 months ago

Thanks David. I suppose I should be commending ++Canterbury for making a move in the direction of honesty and transparency. But it doesn’t feel right to do so. I’m reminded of the phrase about there being no honour among thieves. The Archbishop’s answer, interesting though it is, feels rather like throwing more junior colleagues under the bus when some of them have quite literally torpedoed their reputations trying to defend the indefensible and, to this point, all have maintained the line of collective responsibility. Some contributors on here have also mentioned in other threads of there being an earlier assertion… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  David Lamming
11 months ago

It is now well established that the authorities breached their own ISB TOR and then proceeded to sack Ms Sanghera and Mr Reeves peremptorily when things started to get awkward. If the safeguarding debacle is the Church of England’s Watergate, those sackings were like the ‘Saturday night massacre’ of 20 October 1973 when Bork fired special prosecutor Cox after Richardson and Ruckelshaus had quit in protest at Nixon’s order. By abrogating any pretence of collective responsibility, Archbishop Welby has pointed the finger, and diverted the blame, towards his colleagues on Archbishops’ Council. I wonder just how they feel about that.… Read more »

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Froghole
11 months ago

Excellent analysis, once again, Froghole.

I fear, though, we will continue to see and hear more of the ‘gas’ than anything else in this ‘gaitergate’ affair.

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  David Lamming
11 months ago

Can I answer; am I allowed …’Both archbishops wished to wait a bit’. How long? The corporate/ democratic line? Unanymity? A ‘sense of the room’, a nod and a wink?? Methinks the ABC may have been unwise, ‘ill-advised’, reckless, playing with fire? IIRC he did not require/demand the closure of churches during lockdown; he did not suggest that ‘the people’ should pay homage to the king; and he did not require/ allow/ support the sackings of ISB personnel, then. An unholy Eton Mess? What is ‘truth’? That question is too embarrassing- out of order. Let the AC Minutes show- a… Read more »

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  David Lamming
11 months ago

After reading the Church Times story that came out late yesterday afternoon saying that Church House announced that the archbishops DID vote to end the ISB I have been trying to square the circle. So… First Supplementary to Q12 asked for the rationale for ISB having only one hour’s notice. ABC response was about needing to get Synod papers out on time – is that about changing the initial agenda to delete the planned presentation by ISB??  Then the second supplementary from Sam Margrave asked how the archbishops voted on this issue at AC. Left unclear whether ‘issue’ here was… Read more »

Realist
Realist
11 months ago

I’ve also posted a reflection on episode 7 in response to ++York’s Presidential Address, which having now read the transcript, I see as a demonstration of manipulative abuse of power. Some may want to go further, and I could well understand any claim that it is also spiritually abusive.

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

Apologies, confusion reigns here, too!

My reflection is posted in the Comments for the ‘General Synod – 7 to 11 July 2023’ thread.

Martyn
Martyn
11 months ago

I’m grateful as ever to Froghole for the refreshing use of analytical interlocutors in what can be observed on these first hours of Synod. Joseph Tainter’s work is highly relevant. Tainter studied anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley and Northwestern University. His Collapse of Complex Societies (1988) is a landmark text, and of particular interest is his notion of diminishing returns in a context of growing complexity being the ultimate cause of micro social implosion. Obvious examples of micro social implosion in institutions, and when faced with too many external/internal demands/complexities, and diminished returns on believing/belonging include marriages, local… Read more »

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Martyn
11 months ago

Thank you for the aide memoire, Martyn. Tragic though the subject matter is, though I couldn’t bring myself to watch the video feed from General Synod (and still can’t), I can certainly bring myself to re-watch Apocalypto. So that’s today’s watching organised, once tomorrow’s sermon is written!

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Martyn
11 months ago

Very many thanks indeed again. Your remarks about parish officers do reflect my experiences of travelling around the country. The majority of parish officers are well on in years. Many will have retired after 2000 when annuity rates collapsed, and are on fixed incomes which are being eviscerated by the present inflation (interest rates are still significantly net negative). The cost of labour and materials has escalated rapidly, and fixed price deals (where they have been available) are rapidly coming to an end. It is getting to be rather too much, yet has been for some time. Naturally, insofar as… Read more »

Martyn
Martyn
Reply to  Froghole
11 months ago

Many thanks, Froghole. Happy to continue this one offline if you’d like, but equally happy to continue the debate here. It strikes me that the CofE faces problems both on the ground and at the very top. On the ground, it is increasingly hard to find willing (let alone competent) hands to manage the ordinary risks faced by PCCs in their fiduciary roles as trustees and as holders of office such as wardens. I have observed that even quite well attended CofE evangelical churches can’t persuade the laity to be wardens. Leading ministry teams, home groups, pastoral visitors can be… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Martyn
11 months ago

Martyn, I’m sorry to say that you have misrepresented the Archbishop of York’s replies to Martin Sewell’s supplementary questions (see link above – both of which, incidentally, I drafted, though Martin shortened them slightly in delivery). Stephen Cottrell did not ‘obfuscate’ in his reply, nor did he dismiss the change in wording of Martin’s questions as ‘an unfortunate error’. Rather, he made it clear that he did not know the questions had been changed until he arrived at Synod yesterday, saying that Martin deserved an explanation and that he would like an explanation as well. The suggestion that the questions… Read more »

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
11 months ago

Goodness me (or other stronger expletive of your choice – I’ve stuck with the ‘All Gas and Gaiters’ ersatz courtier speak favoured by those in authority over us at General Synod sessions as a mark of grace, collaboration and deference, for once. I’ll leave hanging the fact that the signifier ‘collaboration’ has a more chequered etymological and cultural history than those who advocate it as the great panacea for pretty much everything might like to admit…) how very embarrassing! The Archbishop’s reply read as a man seriously out of his depth at being caught ‘on the hop’ – there were… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

Agreed we must wait for some hard evidence (if it is forthcoming), but I’m afraid I cannot under any circumstances ‘buy’ the concept of “an honest mistake” in relation to a document which has not only been altered without the author’s consent (I have experienced that more than once), but to compound that fact (it can hardly be an error) additionally substituted a wholly different and conflicting text. For the avoidance of doubt, I am not suggesting that there has been the criminal offence of forgery (which requires specific intents) but what I have summarised above are part ingredients of… Read more »

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
11 months ago

I can’t buy it either, Rowland, and will greet any such explanation with scepticism (to say the least). But having been almost entirely critical thus far, I am attempting to maintain a little balance in how I present things. There is always the possibility that sheer incompetence is an accurate explanation, but I’m afraid I am far more likely to think as you do.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

I’m straining to work out how incompetence could, e.g., merge two possibly separate factual documents by different authors into a single work of fiction attributed to the wrong author! Cutting and pasting errors? Perhaps I should not speculate such possibilities!

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
11 months ago

I was thinking more letting a ‘compiled’ set of questions out into the public domain in place of the correct ones, or the kind of incompetence where somebody advises A.N. Other that they stand any chance at all of getting away with it when the actions of the executive are being scrutinised in a way they never seem to have been before…

Those things don’t answer the basic question of why the changes were made in the first place…but hey, let’s give ‘credit’ for sheer incompetence where credit is due!!!

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

At face value this is a very serious transgression, arguably falsification of a document to the detriment of both Martin Sewell and Martyn Percy. Incompetence would be a very weak and very unconvincing ‘defence’.

Martyn
Martyn
11 months ago

Much is being made of the Archbishops not wanting early foreclosure on the ISB. And with only 50 minutes notice given between a decision and a public announcement, so swift. We don’t know at what point the Archbishops Council made their decision – that day, some days before, even weeks earlier? Without sight of the minutes of the Archbishops’ Council and the voting, we cannot know if this new ‘information’ that the Archbishops were still in favour of extending the life of the ISB is truthful. The ISB are supposed to see relevant minutes of Archbishops’ Council, and I’m reasonably… Read more »

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
11 months ago

We rightly know how our members of Parliament vote why should votes on the Archbishops Council be a secret ? How do they justify this Stalinist approach to Church governance ? I suspect if the vote had been public, the ISB would still exist.

Martyn
Martyn
Reply to  David Hawkins
11 months ago

Put in an SAR for the minutes of the Archbishops Council and when the meetings were that discussed the ISB, and what the voting was. It should all be recorded on paper. The Audit Committee have requested minutes, incidentally. But their request has been denied.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Hawkins
11 months ago

David, I have asked Ian Paul on his Psephizo site (see LLF article comments) how he voted.

I think his answer makes it clear how he voted, but I will not put words in his mouth.

The AC members will have to disclose their votes. It is absurd to have some of them being transparent and others insisting it is classified information

Martyn
Martyn
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

Peter, I’m not sure how GS will get to know the votes, but this has become an urgent matter of probity and integrity that needs full and transparent disclosure whilst GS are meeting. Not least because the story keeps changing. ABY on R4 clearly stated it was a unanimous decision to shutdown the ISB. Now there is a different narrative. GS need clarity. So do all those impacted by the termination of the ISB.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

Peter, perhaps you could copy and paste Dr Paul’s reply here, or provide a link to it? Or, failing either of those, tell us the title and/or date of the specific blog? Thanks

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Janet Fife
11 months ago

If I may provide links to Ian’s comments on three recent occasions:

July 3rd – note paragraph 3
July 8th
July 8th – different page, paragraph 2

I’ve also outlined a sequence of events in reply to David Lamming, which may hopefully be accepted and online soon.

Thank you very much for your article, by the way.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Janet Fife
11 months ago

Janet. please see below, via this link

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Janet Fife
11 months ago

Susannah has done so below. To be clear, I regret the fact Ian Paul is ending up at the centre of this cauldron.

If you ask him a question, he gives a straight answer which is to his credit. In this instance it means he is being singled out in way that is unfair.

The gravity of the situation means there is no alternative to demanding answers but it is the AC that is culpable, not one individual.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

I concur with this. There’s a lot I don’t agree with about Ian’s views, but he is at least forthright. To be clear, I refer to his comments because they are a relevant part of the narrative: a year before the deadline (Dec 2023) the ISB members were set for completing their planning for Phase 2, he makes clear that he (and others) were already pressing to disband and reset. However, as you say Peter, this involves ALL the people on the Archbishops’ Council, not just one. I have spoken to a Council member and that member admits they messed… Read more »

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

Thanks for sharing this, Susannah. How very sad that the Council member you’ve spoken to can’t convince their colleagues to collectively admit they messed up, so we could all set about the task of salvaging something from this horrific mess. I’ll be praying for that person, as to see and admit they messed up takes some humility and courage. Are you listening Archbishops? (Assuming of course Susannah’s source is not one of them – if they are, I apologise to whichever of them it is) As to Dr Paul, well as I’ve written before, I totally agree with Peter that… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

Realist: “I’ll be praying for that person, as to see and admit they messed up takes some humility and courage.” You’re right. It did. It was quite humbling actually. I didn’t expect it, and I was moved, because I thought ‘Oh you – you actually have a humble heart and are willing to own that it’s all a mess, and wrong decisions were taken.’ No it wasn’t one of the Archbishops. It would be very wrong for me to identify the person against their will, but if it came to a court of law, then I could stand up and… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

Realist, I have challenged Dr Paul on his blog to recognise the enormous damage that had been done by the AC. I also challenged him to accept he was doing enormous damage to his own reputation by giving the appearance of insouciance with regard to safeguarding. (To be clear, I think he is actually a decent and careful man and takes safeguarding seriously. However, if you are at the top of the Church of England you have to be aware of how things will appear). It is absolutely mystifying how and why he and the rest of the AC have… Read more »

Peter
Peter
11 months ago

The Church Times are reporting the disbanding of the ISB was a unanimous decision of the AC

Francis James
Francis James
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

The ISB disbandment soap opera just gets better & better. First it was unanimous decision by the AB council, & car-crash defended on R4 by ABY & another member. Then it was suggested that ABY & ABC were not in agreement with speed of decision (all very vague & classic CofE wishy-washy), & now we are back to unanimous(ish).
Secularists such as Toksvig are upping their campaign against continued existence of ‘The Lords Spiritual’ as an exclusive CofE club, and this ongoing shambles is not helping CofE case. 

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Francis James
11 months ago

Absolutely, Francis. They have no credible authority to speak into any situation outside the C of E whilst all this is going on, whatever rights the power of their position give them to do so. Even in our own churches this is now a major problem. I agonised over my sermon for tomorrow in a way I have never done before. I’m not ashamed to say I cried in frustration at one point, re-reading the Gospel reading set for the Principal service tomorrow in the light of what has been going on. Thankfully, much of the idiocy and pointless deferential… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Francis James
11 months ago

For myself I take no pleasure at all at the events unfolding before us.

The two people who served on the ISB have had their reputations traduced. The AC has clearly pointed the figure at them.

Only the enquiry that is being demanded would establish the facts. However, the facts we do have cast the AC as a completely incompetent group.

It is a debacle and the reputation of the AC is utterly diminished.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

I think it may be fair to say that two very professional and very compassionate people have been ‘monstered’, and have – as you say Peter – had their reputations traduced. To their credit, they put survivors first and refused to be brow-beaten by the Council and General Secretary. As Martyn Percy put it, their stand for integrity (and for integrity of process) could be likened to ‘the Tank Man of Tiananmen Square, speaking truth to power and refusing to be moved. A Council favourite was parachuted in to take control of the Independent Safeguarding Board, completely ignoring the established… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Peter
11 months ago

So, publish the minutes – not just of the meeting when the decision was taken, but of all earlier meetings of the AC when the ISB or its members were discussed, together with any briefing papers (and, if there were e-mail exchanges relating to the issue, copies of those e-mails.)

Martyn
Martyn
Reply to  David Lamming
11 months ago

Agreed, David. Another narrative running is that the Archbishops’ Council had been discussing the closure of the ISB for several weeks. So that will be in the minutes, as will the voting figures. Disclosure of these documents are now in everyone’s interests, and will give Synod the clarity and transparency it is due. If the documents cannot or will not be produced, then Synod members will be able to draw their own conclusions from this.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Lamming
11 months ago

We already know that the AC has been economical with the truth.

They did not set up an Independent Safeguarding Board.

They set up a working group/task force/project board to do some preparatory thinking. That is all.

If they had been transparent about it, the current crisis would have been averted.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  David Lamming
11 months ago

If I may offer the information I have been able to gather together: 1.Ian Paul on his own site has said “I have been pressing for 8 months for the interim arrangement to be disbanded, as it was very evident that it was never going to deliver the independent safeguarding which we need.” 2.In another post Ian has said “A number of us in AC realised that the breakdown in relationships meant that ISB 1 was never going to deliver this; I and others have been pressing for a reset for six months or more.” In short, some members were… Read more »

David
David
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

Thank you for this and the links to Ian Paul’s blog which I had not seen before.
If he is claiming that the ISB as constituted was only ever a temporary structure that was going to be amended after a period and he (and apparently others) were arguing to amend it long before then end of the preliminary phase, why should anyone trust the C of E to set up a competent, truly independent organisation in the future.

Last edited 11 months ago by David
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
11 months ago

Now that we have the Archbishop of York’s explanation of the ‘changes’ to Martin Sewell’s GS questions, and Martin’s very gracious response, someone, somewhere, in the C of E should be profoundly thankful that the Forgery Act 1913 has been repealed.

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
11 months ago

Absolutely wonderful, Rowland! Bravo!

Martyn Percy
Martyn Percy
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
11 months ago

It is hard to see how substantive material changes to a question – text and meaning – is the result of confusion or an honest mistake. But I doubt that we will discover the identity of the perpetrator, or their motivations. The fundamental underlying problem is that the AC is not accountable or transparent, and nor are the senior staff at LamPal and CHW. Complaints from General Synod members will either be ignored, or smothered in obsfucations.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Martyn Percy
11 months ago

Martyn,

Is your view that there is no remedy ? If that is the case, better to face it than live with false hope.

Is that really your conviction ?

Rich
Rich
11 months ago

I’m fast coming to the conclusion that folks are not really serious about safeguarding. If they were, they would be calling publicly for welby to resign. The sacking of the independent review was indefensible. Victims must call for welby to go. Anything else is hot air as he goes from bad to worse.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Rich
11 months ago

Based on what has emerged in this thread, it seems reasonable that all members of the Archbishops’ Council (and most particularly those who drove the decision to rush ahead without discussion with survivors) should be urgently considering their positions.

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Jo B
11 months ago

I can well understand why you write that, Rich. But I’m afraid I must disagree with you that survivors bear the responsibility for salvaging this mess. I would not want to place any burden on them that adds to the ones they already carry. In my view, survivors have the credibility, and tragically, the lived experience to lead us. But it is for all of us to try to do everything we can to call those who bear responsibility to account and to try to redress the wrongs that have been done. Many of us, both survivors and allies, have… Read more »

Gilo
Gilo
11 months ago

I was puzzled by a Church Times article which quoted a Church House source saying: “efforts had been made to contact survivors in advance of the announcement”. (28 June 2023)

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2023/30-june/news/uk/row-over-independent-safeguarding-board-continues

The comment didn’t make sense. Who made these efforts and when? So I asked Steve Reeves in a tweet. Here is the reply.

Screenshot_20230708_193245_Gallery.jpg
Jeremy
Jeremy
11 months ago

Perhaps one should no longer be shocked at anything when it comes to the CofE and safeguarding. Yet still I am shocked by the facts recounted in this paragraph in the letter to the Archbishops (item 7): “The report makes nine recommendations that would help relieve the adverse impact of the Church’s response to Mr X and prevent further, similar, cases developing in the future. Critically, recommendation seven was timebound and targeted at providing rapid comfort and support to Mr X. The report was issued to the National Director of Safeguarding on 11th April 2023 and no formal response has… Read more »

Realist
Realist
11 months ago

Somebody pointed out to me earlier today that Canon Timothy Goode, one of the Archbishops’ Council members, was announced as a Residentiary Canon of York Minster back in April. Perhaps not relevant to the issue of voting on the ISB issue, but I am always concerned when relationships are established between Trustees of any organisation that could compromise independence, particularly ones involving preferment. I have also just watched a little of the questions livestream. I have to say that I was impressed with ++York initially in his comments about needing independent oversight, in response to a question – he actually… Read more »

Realist
Realist
11 months ago

There was great rejoicing in my house!!

Clive Billeness and Gavin Drake have just attempted the most masterful use of Points of Order I have seen in many a year. It took me right back to my old trades Union days.

A pincer movement carried out with wonderful adeptness. The Chair also handled it with scrupulous fairness, I have to say.

Let’s hope it succeeds and Steve and Jasvinder get a right of reply in debate.

Last edited 11 months ago by Realist
Realist
Realist
11 months ago

…..a little further on Debbie Buggs joined the fray, and moved the SO focus to the President being able to invite whoever to address Synod. Sadly, in the meantime ++York veered into defensiveness in answering +Birkenhead (who wonderfully pricked another bubble of pomposity as she went), though there were some very telling exchanges between the former NHS managers on AC (whose approach to ‘answering’ I recognise from NHS complaint and Board settings) and ++York, which ended with Dr Harrison telling him to ‘get on with it’ when answering questions. Legal advice has prevented Ms Buggs PO being upheld on grounds… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Realist
Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

Debbie Buggs moved that Standing Orders enabled the Presidents to invite whoever to address synod. Synod was told that it was only allowed if the two Presidents were acting together. ++Canterbury was nowhere to be seen. It seems strange that he was missing for such an important debate.

Philip Johanson
Philip Johanson
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
11 months ago

I am sorry to hear that. It would have been helpful to those watching online if that had been made clear from the platform.

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Philip Johanson
11 months ago

Absolutely Philip. I’ve been speculating about his absence also, but I noted the absence of comment online about it from GS Members, so assumed something was said in the hall that those of us online had not been made aware of.

Having lost both my parents in recent years, and had the privilege of ministering to them at the time of death, I’ll be praying for him and his mother, despite his involvement in recent ISB matters.

Realist
Realist
11 months ago

Having now watched this whole afternoon session, I need to compliment the Chair (whose name was not shown on the screen). She handled the whole Session with grace and effectiveness, and dealt with the unexpected Points of Order issues very well indeed. I am delighted that democracy was actually at work, though I was disturbed to see quite a few GS members came into the chamber after Jane Chevous had spoken. I also note that we didn’t have all of the Archbishops’ Council facing the music, despite the assertions again of collective responsibility and unanimity. I commend all those who… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

Today I preached on the text “‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants” (Matthew 11:25). I could have made the connection to current events in the C of E but didn’t feel it necesary to do so.

Last edited 11 months ago by Fr Dexter Bracey
Realist
Realist
11 months ago

Cont… It also has no place when you are supposed to be expressing genuine regret, repentance and concern for those you have harmed. Who cares how clever you are or what Reports you’ve been involved in, if you damage vulnerable people? I’m also afraid I was also not impressed by Simon Butler outing (without naming) at least one survivor who is an AC Member. Others may disagree, and I’m sure he did it for the best of reasons, but I don’t think that is for him to say, and would have been furious had I been one of those people.… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

I was much less impressed with the Archbishop of York, and all of the Archbishops’Council.

If the Archbishops Council were serious in the recognition of their failure and apologies then they could have said “We now recognise how badly we got it wrong. We apologise to survivors, to Synod, to the church and to Steve and Jasvinder. We know it is a big ask, but if they are willing we would like to reinstate them.”. I don’t generally find apologies meaningful when people press on anyway doing the thing they are supposedly apologising for.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate
11 months ago

Precisely Kate. The PR ‘programme’ of the Archbishops’ Council was all too evident at a survivors’ meeting last week. While members of the Council admitted they had messed up a sequence of events, the repeated mantra was “we must press forward”. Yes of course, the cause of safeguarding must press forward, but if they really did get things wrong (for example over the breach of Terms of Reference and proper due process over the appointment of MM (which precipitated the final crisis)… then it’s not sufficient to “press forward” on their own asserted terms, on their own preceding agenda, and… Read more »

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Kate
11 months ago

I can understand that Kate, and I agree with you. There was something about his demeanour yesterday that really struck me. I’m struggling to find words to adequately express it, but it’s contrast with the behaviour of the other AC Members on the platform was very marked. I think what you’re saying actually captures what I was trying to say in my final comments of my reflection having watched the whole thing – that it’s a good start, but without meaningful follow up actions it’s actually meaningless. I’d love to see a rollback now where Steve and Jasvinder are reappointed… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

The emotionally intelligent thing for the AC to do would be to re-instate Jasvinder and Steve (to widespread acclaim, but more importantly to restore the trust of survivors), to seek a new Chair (because the previous one was parachuted in contrary to the Terms of Reference, and can’t work with the existing survivors – and because that would also get widespread support), and to urgently recruit **using proper appointment process, formal interview panel, and survivor on that panel – as required by the terms of reference** three further ISB members to expedite continuing work towards utter independence. That would be… Read more »

Vasanthi Gnanadoss
Vasanthi Gnanadoss
11 months ago

“The Church of England is committed to the safeguarding, care and nurture of everyone within our church community so that all can flourish in faith and know the love of God.”
Under this heading, the link https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/safeguarding#na
gives six commitments agreed by bishops.
None of these commitments were met when Luke Miller was appointed to meet with the survivors on 3 and 4 July. Nor when he became a member of the Archbishops’ Council.

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Vasanthi Gnanadoss
11 months ago

But what for me is more interesting is that he was elected shop steward of the clergy by his peers on synod when (I think) the Martin Sargeant business was already in the public domain (but correct me if I’m wrong)

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  peter kettle
11 months ago

Yes, he was. But he was up against Simon Butler, who had invested a great deal of energy during the pandemic in alienating many clergy by his social media acitivty.

John Davies
John Davies
11 months ago

The most important thing for me, after reading through this correspondence, is the statement that Justin Welby’s mother is dying – possibly dead by now. He has more than enough problems, without the burden of bereavement, and speaking as one man who has gone through that to another, he has my deepest sympathy and support. Please, folks, back off a bit, and give him room to grieve. Thinking about what’s been said both during the synod itself and here, I’m wondering what God may be saying about this. My Christian background, as you’ve probably realised is a sort of quiet… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  John Davies
11 months ago

Thank you for your (typically) compassionate words John (and the need to pray for Justin as a human being handling the deeply personal ‘watch’ over his mother). One part of your thoughtful post jumps off the page at me: your refernce to the Magnificat. “God doesn’t respect human pride,” you write. “Mary’s Magnificat says it pretty clearly – he has pulled down the mighty from their thrones, he has exalted the humble and meek, and sent the rich away empty handed.” Yesterday in Synod I was deeply deeply moved by Jane Chevous and her speech – I hope she won’t… Read more »

Dr John Wallace
Dr John Wallace
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

I accept all these comments about the failure of safeguarding (as someone who worked for years in Social services and safeguarding).We cannot undo the past but I do think we need to look beyond the internal failures of the church to the wider world in which we should be engaging where there are ‘the hungry sheep who are not fed’ (Milton Lycidas). We have a Gospel to proclaim. let’s get on and do it. This navel-gazing wants me to leave the C of E as an entity but I will continue to support my parish church.

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