Thinking Anglicans

Latest developments in Christ Church Oxford saga

Updated 23 March and again 24 March

Two separate news reports have been published today:

Much of this article reports an online AGM meeting last Saturday of the Christ Church Association which represents 9,000 past and present members of the college, and which spent 50 minutes scrutinising Christ Church’s treatment of its head, Dean Martyn Percy, which was strongly defended by Canon Sarah Foot, who referred to the recently published report by Sir Wyn Williams.

It also reports on a legal opinion commissioned by friends of the Dean, Edward Fitzgerald QC, a specialist in human rights law and joint head of Doughty Street Chambers in London, and his colleague Paul Harris. They  conclude that it would be “unlawful and improper to convene a second tribunal”. They go on to say that if the complaints were proven,  “… it seems very doubtful whether those facts could be regarded by any reasonable tribunal as sufficient to merit the severe sanction of dismissal…The sustained, repeated and entirely groundless campaign to drive the dean from his job would seem to fall within the definition of harassment in Sections 2 and 7 of the Protection from Harassment Act, 1997.”

This news report describes the safeguarding risk assessment measures taken by the College and Chapter, that were approved by Richard Woodley,the Oxford Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, who said:

“…because this was an “interim assessment of risk” rather than a formal risk assessment, it did not need to comply with the Safeguarding (Clergy Risk Assessment) Regulations 2016, which stipulate, among other things, that the person being assessed be consulted and given 14 days to query it, and, when it involved “certain facts which are in dispute . . . must set out the matter and the nature and the extent of the dispute”.

Also, it was an error for the name of the consultant who conducted an investigation into the alleged incident, to have appeared on the risk assessment document.  Kate Wood said:

“I have never undertaken a risk assessment in this matter or been party to the assessment of risk in any regard. I have never even seen the risk assessments conducted by the college and cathedral. My role was to conduct an initial investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment. This is a very different role to conducting a risk assessment. . .

“…I asked the college several times to publicly explain the error and to confirm that I had not conducted a risk assessment. I also asked the college to engage with those people who had been most vocal in criticising me on this false narrative. This public correction does not appear to have happened, though I am told that the error has now been corrected on the document.”

A spokesperson for Christ Church confirmed that Ms Wood’s name had been incorrectly included in an early “risk assessment draft”.

The Church Times also reports on the progress of the CDM action against the Dean: the Bishop of Birmingham, to whom the responsibility has been delegated by the Bishop of Oxford,  has decided to proceed to the tribunal stage, despite the Dean being unable to respond to the complaint due to illness.

Updates  (items published on 21 March)

Archbishop Cranmer If Martyn Percy kills himself, the Church of England will have blood on its hands

Surviving Church Averting a catastrophe in the Church of England. Is it too late

Oxford Diocese has published this (24 March): The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy which links to a letter from the Sub Dean. The same material is on the Christ Church website: Response from Christ Church Cathedral to public speculation.

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Adrian
Adrian
3 months ago

It will be no comfort to the Dean that these matters mimic a Norse saga, a great sorrow indeed to my mind that they do. A fine piece of journalism in choosing that headline.
Which saga does this most reflect? Beowulf perhaps or Ragnarok?

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
3 months ago

“Dean Percy, therefore, faces three concurrent investigations: the CDM; a second core group set up by the National Safeguarding Team; and a second tribunal set up by the Christ Church Governing Body under statute 39, “seeking the removal of the Dean from office for good cause”. In the earlier Christ Church tribunal, to consider a complaint lodged in 2018 (News, 9 November 2018), Dean Percy was exonerated of every one of the 27 charges against him (News, 23 August 2019)” – Church Times So, three quasi-legal kangaroo courts ‘lynching’ the unwell Dean – with injustice, cruelty and brutality – inflicted… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
Kate
Kate
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
3 months ago

It is worth remembering that tens of thousands of people a year face similar pressure, within the Church of England, in other work and vocational spheres, in debt, in benefits claims, n immigration and even in the criminal justice system. In far too many cases, the resources of large organisations, or the State itself, are brought to bear on an individual, who has frequently been made vulnerable by the process itself.   Statistics for civil disputes aren’t readily available but a massive 26% of female inmates had received mental health treatment in the year before custody ( http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/WhatWeDo/Projectsresearch/Mentalhealth ). And… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Kate
Innocent Bystander
Innocent Bystander
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
3 months ago

Is Dean Percy very unwell? I notice he has a book coming out very soon, Humble Church, which looks like a major work. Hopefully that’s a sign that he’s on the mend!

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Innocent Bystander
3 months ago

No, he’s very unwell, sadly. Books take a long time to get to publication day.

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
3 months ago

The malcontent dons and their lawyers “sold“ the dodgy risk assessment to the Governing Body on the basis that it was an official CofE document compiled by people with the requisite qualification and competence to do so. They prayed in aid the authority the CofE logo and Kate Wood’s name though she was plainly embarrassed to be associated with it. I was unhappy at her being involved in an exercise outside her core expertise. The failure by the College and lawyers to correct that false impression or correct it in a timely way when requested by her to do so,… Read more »

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
3 months ago

I ought to briefly address the decision of the Bishop of Birmingham to progress the matter whilst the Dean has been assessed as unable to engage in legal proceedings by his treating Psychiatrist. His lawyer knows the proper legal practice that one cannot act for such a person and were the lawyer to purport to do so they would be doing so improperly and moreover any decision taken by the respondent, under harassment for a reply, would not be valid. We have come to terms with the Church not complying with the Human Rights Act. Now we need to accept… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
3 months ago

There would seem here – to an outsider – to be a whiff of injustice being perpetrated by the Church of England; in its treatment of the situation of the Dean of Christchurch. The seeming instransigence of the University Dons who want him out is not being challenged by the Church – or at least, that it what appears to be the case from this side of the world, in Polynesia.

Neil
Neil
3 months ago

It is interesting that virtually all commentators seem to be taking Dean Percy’s side. Is this because of his theological views and general position on Church politics? This I could understand given that I agree entirely with his criticisms of Archbishop Welby re managerialism and the poor and misguided leadership he gives. And also I agree with those who feel a great injustice was done to the saintly Bishop George Bell. But I don’t think it was Dean Percy’s finest hour when he and his wife (or possibly vice versa) hounded out Bishop Philip North whom God had called to… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Neil
3 months ago

There is no moral equivalence between the behaviour of the Christ Church Governing Body and the behaviour of Martyn Percy. To attempt to do so only adds to the obfuscation, perpetuates the injustice and cruelty, and justifies the unjustifiable and unacceptable.

Last edited 3 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
Charles Read
Reply to  Neil
3 months ago

What faith said – well put. As for the Sheffield debacle I would add: Martyn and Emma Percy did what theologians do and asked hard questions – as summarised by faith. Philip North could have formulated a coherent reply by saying that he thought the C of E had no authority to ordain women without ecumenical agreement (with Rome…) but instead he gave no answer – accounts of his meeting with he women clergy of Sheffield bear this out too – they pressed him and no answer did he give (so it was not just the Percys doing this). The… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Read
Anne Farthing
Anne Farthing
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

‘Philip North could have formulated a coherent reply… but instead he gave no answer’ says Charles Read. Wrong. Both at the time Martyn and Emma Percy were orchestrating their campaign (sad, because I admire them both) – and subsequently – Philip North made it clear that he is not ‘against’ the ordination of women (as people adopting a rather sloppy lack of intellectual rigour often caricature him as being). He made it clear then, and still does, that there is no fundamental impediment to women being ordained to the three historic orders of ministry. It is simply that he is… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Anne Farthing
3 months ago

This is way off piste for this particular thread but, since it has been raised, Philip North is quite entitled to hold his nuanced view that the time is not right for women’s ordination but, since the CofE has decided unequivocally that it is, he is not suitable to be a diocesan bishop in any diocese, least of all one with such a high proportion of women priests.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
2 months ago

You clearly have neither read nor understood the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests and the five guiding principles contained therein.

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
2 months ago

I can assure you, Fr Dexter, that I have read the document many times, ad nauseam in fact. That is a matter of fact. Whether or not I have understood it is a matter of opinion, and it seems likely that we have different opinions on that. The reason for the nausea I mentioned earlier is that, with each successive reading, the shameful deception at the heart of the document becomes ever more apparent. The document has been cleverly worded, deliberately, so as to admit different interpretations and understandings. The most glaring such deception occurs in the first GP, where… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
2 months ago

It is certainly true that we appear to approach this matter from different positions. What you see as deception I see as trying to acknowledge the matters about which there is disagreement. There are different views within the Church of England, and in the wider Anglican Communion, about the ordination of women. The 5GPs were an attempt to find the highest degree of common ground that could hold people together, and without them the 2014 settlement that enabled women to be consecrated as bishops might not have been reached. The sadness for a number of people, on different sides of… Read more »

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Neil
3 months ago

Neil. I can assure you that I and others take a stand on a very simple platform – Transparency, impartiality, accountability, proportionality and adherence to the basic principles of Natural Justice and the Human Rights Act. i have inter alia defended a dead Anglo Catholic Bishop, a retired Evangelical Archbishop, the liberal Dean, survivors of varying churchmanship and none (including one from a different faith entirely). At present, those seeking my advice and pastoral support tend to be clergy getting unfair treatment. Given how critical I have been of the Conservative Evangelical community over Smyth and Fletcher, I am surprised… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Neil
3 months ago

As I tried to make plain, my objection is something being described as “justice” where there is a significant disparity in resources. By all means raise a tribunal, subject him to CDM and a Core Group but give him a parity of resources so that there is a basic justice. And, as I have said, I am saying that generally about English “justice”.

highchurchwomannotflourishing
highchurchwomannotflourishing
Reply to  Neil
3 months ago

Your comments re Bishop Philip North are most revealing, Neil. In my mind it raises the question of whether the actions taken against Dean Percy are actually motivated by revenge. A truly horrifying thought and I sincerely hope that I am wrong.

Neil
Neil
Reply to  highchurchwomannotflourishing
3 months ago

Revenge perpetrated by whom? I don’t know any of the Ch Ch dons, but I think you’ll find that the ‘system’ in the CofE and the majority are theologically on the side of Dean Percy. The Percys’ hounding of Bishop North was nasty (as was the initial hounding of Percy). Also it should not have solely been for North to answer the questions posed by Charles Read. The ‘system’ should have tried harder to make the appointment work, and a way found through all the contradictions.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Neil
3 months ago

“Revenge” is only one of a number of primary motivations of those obsessed with the Dean’s removal.

Innocent Bystander
Innocent Bystander
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
3 months ago

There are rather a lot of ‘dons’ involved, if I’m reading this right – why do they all want ‘revenge’ against Reverend Percy? And can he really go back and work there if so many of them hate him? (38 or 41, both numbers seem to pop up in different places but anyway it sounds like quite a few.) Surely it would be better for him to go elsewhere. Someone with such an impressive record and such warm support in the Church should be able to find a place that will appreciate him better. Christchurch is mostly a non-Church organisation,… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Innocent Bystander
3 months ago

There are a lot of dons involved and thus, inevitably, there are a lot of motivations involved – often conflicting. But, as a body, the over-arching objective seems to be the removal of the Dean – at any cost and by any means. But why should Martyn Percy go? I cannot see any good reason for him to do so – and his departure will only play into the hands of the malevolent. Health-willing, I hope Dean Percy weathers the storm and comes out fighting. It’s the malevolent who should go – their malevolence is bringing Christ Church into disrepute… Read more »

Innocent Bystander
Innocent Bystander
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
3 months ago

Sorry, I still don’t get why 38-41 academics are ‘malevolent’ towards him – and can so many dons really be made to leave? It sounds as though there has been a mighty falling-out and that there may be no way back from it. Also there is surely a very good reason for him to leave voluntarily, which is that his true worth is clearly not recognised at Christchurch. Faith made some very persuasive comments about how he is underpaid, and would be better paid in many other institutions. He would be able to command a much higher salary, and be… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Innocent Bystander
3 months ago

‘Innocent Bystander’, I did not say ALL of the Governing Body have malevolent motivations. All have different motivations and probably all would like to see Martyn Percy “leave voluntarily”; but SOME have malevolent motivations against the Dean, and they are in control – or think they are. It’s the malevolent cabal who should “leave voluntarily” or be forced to leave – not Dean Percy.

Charles Read
Reply to  Innocent Bystander
3 months ago

It is about justice. That is worth more than money. Martyn is a man of integrity.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Innocent Bystander
2 months ago

Surely it would be better for him to go elsewhere.”

That’s what the Governing Body wants.

It’s called giving way to bullying.

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  highchurchwomannotflourishing
3 months ago

Your thought is understandable, and Martyn Percy’s intervention may not have endeared himself to those who nominated Philip North to the see of Sheffield, the circumstances surrounding which and +North’s subsequent withdrawal of acceptance of the nomination were the subject of a report by the ‘Independent Reviewer’, Sir Philip Mawer, in September 2017: see Independent_Reviewer_Sheffield_Report.pdf (mailchimp.com). . However, what prompted the ire or venom of certain members of the Governing Body of Christ Church (note: not the Church) was the Dean’s challenge to the Governing Body (GB) following his discovery that the college’s safeguarding policies/procedures were not up-to-date and fit… Read more »

highchurchwomannotflourishing
highchurchwomannotflourishing
Reply to  David Lamming
3 months ago

Thank you for that clarification, David.

Faith
Faith
3 months ago

Responding to Neil briefly. He needs to read the Smith Tribunal judgment. a. The Dean did not ask for a pay rise, but rather requested transparent processes in setting pay – others first, and then his. b. For having the temerity to challenge the dons on ‘transparency’, they saddled him with a charge of “immoral, scandalous and disgraceful conduct” – and for four months refused to even explain what lay behind the charge. Most laypeople would assume adultery or much worse – but it suited the dons (again) to not be transparent. c. They are at it again – “serious… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Faith
3 months ago

Regarding point d), Philip North’s views may or may not be exactly as you describe. But in any case, his views are allowed and upheld by the Five Guiding Principles which General Synod voted through in 2014 and to which every ordinand has since then had to assent before ordination. I for one found Dean Percy’s heavyweight opposition to Philip North’s appointment unreasonable, given the Church of England’s settled and generous position on the matter as enshrined in the Five Guiding Principles. The fact that bishops representing the full spectrum of views can work and flourish together in the same… Read more »

Charles Read
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
3 months ago

The Five GPs do not allow you to believe that women have not been ordained.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Charles Read
3 months ago

Up until the point of Dean Percy’s written intervention the CNC, Philip North and others felt PN’s appointment was within the scope of the 5GPs.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
3 months ago

There was widespread unease about Philip North’s appointment to Sheffield, just as there had been about his appointment to Whitby a couple of years earlier. The reasons for this have been capably outlined by Faith and Charles Read. Martyn Percy’s intervention in the Sheffield instance was very welcome, but it’s neither fair nor accurate to attribute Bp North’s withdrawal solely to Dr. Percy. The Sheffield women priests, among others, had a role in Bp North’s withdrawal from that appointment. In Whitby Archdeaconry, women priests (including myself) and the then Archdeacon of Whitby played a part. The Archdeacon’s comment at the… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
3 months ago

Your recollection, Stephen, and mine differ because I recall the fundamental problem wasn’t Philip’s views per se (because he was pretty reticent about expressing them) but his membership of the Society under the patronage of St Wilfrid and St Hilda. The Society holds views (such as requiring unbroken and untainted male apostolic succession) that many of us consider are not in accordance with the Five Guiding Principle and which, I think, can be justifiably criticised.   Personally I think Philip would make a fantastic Diocesan bishop, but I don’t think any member of the Society should be a diocesan.  … Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Kate
Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Kate
3 months ago

Kate, if I felt that Dean Percy deserves the treatment he is getting I would have said so. Up until Dean Percy’s written intervention the CNC and Philip North thought that the Five Guiding Principles allowed for his appointment.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

The House of Bishops’ Declaration, in which the Five Guiding Principles are listed, states that those who hold the position outlined by the Society “continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion”. Why, then, shouldn’t someone from that tradition be a diocesan?

Neil
Neil
Reply to  Faith
3 months ago

Re a. From the FT (the Smith Tribunal doesn’t seem to be readily available) In December 2017 Martyn Percy emailed one of the people who set his salary. As dean of the Oxford college of Christ Church, Percy was already among the best paid clerics in the Church of England — earning more than the Archbishop of Canterbury. But he was unhappy. A priest since his late twenties, the 55-year-old was not rich by the standards of college heads. At Christ Church, with its huge quadrangles and £500m endowment, he was surrounded by wealth. He felt overworked. Perhaps, he told… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Neil
3 months ago

You may have been fortunate to work only in fairly cuddly environments but I have certainly worked in environments where, if the Dean hadn’t challenged unfairness in his pay level, he would have been seen as weak and an easy political mark. Is Christ Church like that? I don’t know (but clearly it IS at least very political), but since the Dean is unable to defend himself maybe we shouldn’t jump to conclude that his motives were base?

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Neil
3 months ago

There is a reason the Smith Tribunal report is not available. It comprehensively rejected the allegations of the malcontent dons. By suppressing it they can continue the false and misleading narrative by which the malcontents continue to slur the Dean. I know the Dean would have nothing to fear from its publication. The dons do. The publication is within their exclusive control.

Suppression? Cui Bono?

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Neil
3 months ago

Ps The dons will not release the Smith Report and if the Dean had done so he would have been accused of breaching his duty of confidentiality, and sacked – thus the cynical catch 22. They can leak against him, he cannot reply with the evidence that exonerates him. Happily the report was circulated to all Governing Body members from whom it went out to Fleet Street. The dons efforts to recall it failed. The report is “ out there” . Nobody knows how many have read it but enough to make it possible for honest people to call out… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
3 months ago

The damning sentence in the Church Times report is this: “A spokesperson for Christ Church confirmed that Ms Wood’s name had been incorrectly included in an early “risk assessment draft”. The report adds that the spokesman also said this: “This was corrected before the assessment was finalised.” . So, perhaps the anonymous spokesman for the college would care to identify himself and then answer the following questions: Who prepared the ‘draft’ risk assessment and incorrectly named Kate Wood as the author of one of the risk assessments? Was the early ‘draft’ headed or watermarked ‘draft’? On what date was this… Read more »

Gilo
Gilo
3 months ago

It seems highly irregular that a risk assessment paper had a ‘borrowed’ signature affixed. If this document formed part of the CDM, despite the protestations of Kate Wood that she had not been party to the process and wanted her name removed, then this ought to be taken seriously and investigated. It raises troubling questions about how risk assessments might be used with an ulterior purpose. It’s not something I’ve come across before. But then so much of the way in which this college has conducted itself across the past 3+ years has appeared odd. And the Church should not… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Gilo
3 months ago

Gilo: Have no fear. No legal precedent can be created by an irregularity. The two are contradictory.

Faith
Faith
3 months ago

Neil sounds like the same person briefing the Daily Mail and FT on behalf of malcontents on ChCh Governing Body. He may not be, but the same trope that the Dean is the “best-paid clergyman in the CofE” is being given another parade around the paddock. If only this horse were a runner. But it isn’t. There are many clergy in better-paid roles. Some work in the charity sector, or in NGOs. Some are in law. Military, prison and healthcare chaplains. Chaplains and others working in independent schools. Many have the edge over the Archbishop of Canterbury. But let us… Read more »

Neil
Neil
Reply to  Faith
3 months ago

I think maybe Faith is the insider? Guardian reader here who only has a few friends who were at the House, and like me are sad at the whole sorry affair. She/he pointed to the Smith Tribunal Judgment and a search brought up the FT report I quote. But if my comments are read correctly it will be seen that I accept what is alleged to have been clear from Smith (which I cannot access) that no pay rise was sought by Dean Percy. Also nowhere do I say it would be wrong for clergy to be paid more than… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
3 months ago

I am reminded of a Brighton Argus article 5 years ago [March 2016] in which former Archbishop George Carey raised serious concerns about individuals being crushed by powerful organisations.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
3 months ago

Following the excoriation of the Church hierarchy by Professor David Jasper DD FRSE, it makes me wonder whether or not action should be taken on the basis of ‘institutional abuse’.

Last edited 3 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
3 months ago

Without speculating on the details of this case, and on the truth or otherwise of the latest allegations, can anyone more knowledgeable than me explain why this is a safeguarding matter? Safeguarding on my understanding is relevant either when dealing with those who are under 18, or with adults who are deemed ‘vulnerable’, that is, someone who is regarded as unable to take care of themselves because of mental or other disability, age, illness etc. But on the face of it, the latest allegation is about sexual harrassment or sexual assault (which I can see could result in a CDM… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
3 months ago

Simon, thanks for the comment. But the list of types of adult abuse in the church document you reference is drawn from government guidance which deals specifically with abuse of vulnerable adults (or adults ‘at risk’) who have diminished capacity to protect their own interests. (I think this is set out in the Care Act 2014, though perhaps others can correct me.) Sexual harrassment or assault of adults not deemed ‘vulnerable’ or at risk would not normally be considered or investigated under ‘safeguarding’, as far as I can see (?), but under some other workplace procedure, or legal provision. When… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Clapham
David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Charles Clapham
2 months ago

Charles, Kate Wood begins her report as follows: “On 18th October 2020 I was appointed by Christ Church Oxford as the Independent Investigator for a preliminary ‘fact-finding’ investigation into an allegation of sexual harassment.” This appears to have been the designation of the ‘incident’ by the Oxford DSA. . Wood later says: ” At an early stage I asked for clarification as to why the issue was not being handled as a safeguarding concern. It was explained to me that the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser for the Diocese of Oxford had advised that this was not a safeguarding issue and should be… Read more »

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Reply to  David Lamming
2 months ago

Thank you David. That is helpful (I don’t have access to the report from Kate Wood). But it is curious. The church’s definition of ‘vulnerable adult’ is set out (I think) in the 2016 Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure, and is fairly restrictive (“a person aged 18 or over whose ability to protect himself or herself from violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation is significantly impaired through physical or mental disability or illness, old age, emotional fragility or distress, or otherwise; and for that purpose, the reference to being impaired is to being temporarily or indefinitely impaired”). Presumably this definition is… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
3 months ago

Further to my last comment, it is interesting to note that Christ Church Cathedral’s safeguarding policy document makes reference to the same list you have just cited, Simon, but without making it clear that the government guidance this is based on refers to vulnerable adults or adults at risk (as a legally defined category of those who lack capacity to act for themselves), not to general members of the public. And so far as I can see nowhere in fact does the Christ Church document show that it understands the definition of vulnerable adults in the context of safeguarding. Is… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Charles Clapham
3 months ago

I can’t help feeling sometimes the only people safeguarding legislation safeguards are those who safeguard illegitimate power structures.

Last edited 3 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Charles Clapham
2 months ago

It seems to me from what I have seen reported in recent days that Dean Percy is now a vulnerable adult on the basis of his ill health. Should he not therefore be protected from the widely-discredited CDM process? Do the Bishops of Oxford and Birmingham not have a duty of care to him in their handling of this matter?

Charles Read
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
2 months ago

The problem is that the CDM process effectively means that the diocesan cannot exercise that duty of care. That is one reason why we are going to revise the CDM and why many bishops are reluctant to use it!

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Charles Read
2 months ago

I’m not sure that I understand how the Bishop of Birmingham has become involved in this. But since he is, and he is not the bishop of the diocese concerned, does he have no discretion in how to conduct matters?

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
2 months ago

The Bishop of Oxford recused himself and delegated his functions under the Measure to the Bishop of Birmingham. He did this after determining, on 5 November 2020, pursuant to section 42(2)(b) of the CDM and rule 92 of the Clergy Discipline Rules, that Canon Graham Ward had a ‘proper interest in making the complaint. It is, perhaps, arguable, whether he should have recused himself earlier. The Bishop of Birmingham is required to follow the procedure set out in the Measure and Rules, which set out various time limits for different stages.

Last edited 2 months ago by David Lamming
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
2 months ago

Not wishing to hijack Charles Read’s right of reply, Oxford recused himself due to a perceived conflict of interests. But the situation at Christ Church defies all conventional analysis. The Bishop is not the Visitor in his ‘own’ cathedral. The Dean is susceptible to a separate disciplinary process under the Christ Church Statutes as well as the CDM (how are both possible, one might ask, with the potential for conflicting outcomes in each?). William Nye has stated that clergy in non-Royal peculiars (which Christ Church is) are subject to the CDM. There is no exclusion in the CDM of its… Read more »

Charles Read
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
2 months ago

Thanks, Rowland. I would have said much the same. It is hard to explain these complex procedures to enquiring minds like Dexter because they defy rational explanation! They certainly defy justification. I can speculate that the bishop of Oxford felt a conflict of interest as Martyn is of course a member of his senior staff – and they have known each other since they were college principals . (I worked for one of them.) I think the bishop of Oxford has referred to Martyn’s work in some of his published work on the nature of ministry. Graham Ward does not… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
2 months ago

Stephen Parsons, over at ‘Surviving Church’, asks: “Averting a catastrophe in the Church of England. Is it too late?”, and concludes it is not – but… “This morning, on a sister blog Archbishop Cranmer [and elsewhere – Ed], we heard new details about the Dean Percy affair… Two things need to happen if the Church is to emerge from this disaster with any integrity.  One is that all the clergy who have been guilty of dirty tricks and abuse against Percy should be named in a new Clergy Discipline Measure process. There have been so many procedural dishonesties in this episode. One… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Richard W. Symonds
T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
2 months ago

Oxford academics are behaving like Oxford academics, or at least like caricatures of Oxford academics.. A new CDM might be right, even necessary, but it is hardly going to alter the perception that they will stop at nothing to fight each other. No officer, group or process of the Church is big enough to resolve this perception but can only be another salvo in the battles. Many people will vaguely sympathise with each side. Who has not suffered from modernising management and will not rejoice that somebody somewhere has apparently stood up against it? But who does not know sopmeone… Read more »

Michael
Michael
2 months ago

re the bishop of Oxford – there are concerns in this discussion about his role and conduct in the Christ Church Oxford saga. Concerns about him also previously raised in the manner in which he removed PTO from George Carey. What action will the bishop be taking against the Rev Tim Hewes, sentenced at the City of London Magistrates Court last Friday to 14 days in prison for contempt of court – glued himself to courtroom furniture during hearings arising from an Extinction Rebellion protest. Hewes, a retired dentist, holds PTO in diocese of Oxford.  Is a criminal record for… Read more »

Dave
Dave
2 months ago

“The Sub-Dean, Richard Peers, has taken it upon himself to prevent even the fellow members of Chapter from making contact with Percy.  Such isolating of a sick man, socially, spiritually and psychologically is desperately underhand behaviour.” (Surviving Church blog) One must question the Sub-Dean’s actions here. This together with changing pass codes etc. really does seem, to the outsider as a totally over the top reaction. Dean Percy is not accused of actions that merit this behaviour. Even if school teachers are accused of serious safeguarding issues the school doesn’t change the locks or forbid staff from speaking to the staff… Read more »

Revd Mark Bennet
Revd Mark Bennet
Reply to  Dave
2 months ago

Just to note that if someone is sick, it is sometimes appropriate to advise people not to get in touch – it may be, for example, that a doctor would advise a complete break and that the person concerned has a support structure beyond a toxic environment which is contributing to the problem … . I don’t know whether that is the case here, but the comment goes beyond the evidence and suggests a motive which may not in fact be present.

Dave
Dave
Reply to  Revd Mark Bennet
2 months ago

Yes, I can see that. However, I still think it completely over the top to change pass codes etc. for the building.

That it is reported that the sub dean has taken this action rather suggestions someone in the chapter has let this be known. I cannot help but wonder if the chapter were all replaced by women canons if this would have happened. There seems to be such a lot of male posturing going on.

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