Thinking Anglicans

Martyn Percy’s departure from Christ Church

Updated again Thursday 19 May

Rosie Dawson reports for Religion Media Centre on the farewell service: Dean Percy’s parting shot: You think I am leaving in disgrace … I am not

Rosie Dawson attended Martyn Percy’s farewell service in Oxford on Saturday. In an interview conducted shortly beforehand he told her why he’s calling on congregations to withhold their giving from the Church of England, and why he’s not leaving quietly….

…Christ Church College, Oxford, where Martyn Percy had been the dean for eight years, refused to host any sort of farewell. The University Church of St Mary was proposed as an alternative venue but became unavailable once it became clear that the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, and the dean, who is also professor of theological education at King’s College London, could not agree on the content of the service.

In the end it took place in the 19th-century chapel of Exeter College just off Broad Street. The chapel is outside the jurisdiction of the bishop, and he did not attend…

…Following the settlement with Christ Church, the Bishop and Martyn Percy entered into discussions about what form a leaving service should take. In correspondence seen by the Religion Media Centre, Bishop Croft wrote that he was unable to allow him to preach. Dean Percy protested: “Your letter treats me with cruel indifference. It seems to me that you do not really want this service. You clearly think I am leaving in disgrace … I am not.”

The Diocese of Oxford said in a statement: “Mindful of Dr Percy’s stated intention to the bishop to leave the Church of England and also some concerns about Dr Percy’s behaviour behind the scenes, it was not possible to permit Dr Percy to preach at a leaving service organised by the diocese”.

There is a video of the sermon available here. And the text is published over here.

Update 1

The Church Times reports: Diocese of Oxford praises ‘hair-stroking’ complainant for going public. Much of this information was in a Telegraph article at the weekend, behind a paywall. But in addition:

…A statement by the diocese of Oxford, issued on Saturday, criticises Professor Percy and praises Ms Jeune: “We are deeply saddened by the inaccurate and unevidenced claims Dr Percy makes in his media interviews.

“We’ve long said that the actions of some of Dr Percy’s supporters have left people damaged and hurt. None more so than Alannah Jeune. It’s a courageous decision to tell her story given all that she has experienced, but hers is a powerful account that counters the vitriol sent her way. Her story deserves to be widely read.”

(I have checked with the diocese and that is the full text.)

Update 2

There is an audio recording of the entire service available here.

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Sam Jones
Sam Jones
1 month ago

Why did Martyn Percy need permission from the Bishop of Oxford to preach or hold a leaving service? Another example of overreach from Stephen Croft, just like his threat of legal action against the Archbishop Cramner blog. Croft has handled the situation appallingly and should be considering his position.

Ray Anglesea
Ray Anglesea
Reply to  Sam Jones
1 month ago

Really- do you know the inside story or just what you have picked up from the swirling accusations that Anglican Twitter is prone to. A time of silence might be more appropriate from these distinguished and eminent theologians and leaders so that healing and reconciliation might take place. I hardly recognise Martyn and Stephen any more.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Ray Anglesea
1 month ago

There is a fascinating book by Derek Scally about the Irish Catholic child abuse scandal, called “The Best Catholics in the World”. One of his key themes is that it’s not that the lay people did not know what was going on. Many of them knew or suspected exactly what was gong on but stayed silent. The social pressures around not criticising church authorities were so strong. And now, looking back, these same people carry a huge burden of shame and guilt about their past silence. You are right that at times silence may be appropriate and help to facilitate… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Simon Dawson
Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Sam Jones
1 month ago

Clergy require Permission to Officiate to preach. The statement “it was not possible to permit Dr Percy to preach at a leaving service organised by the diocese” suggests that the Bishop had no choice in the matter. This is almost certainly incorrect: there does not appear to be any law or higher authority compelling a bishop to refuse permission to preach (which is covered by PTO) under such circumstances. Presumably what is meant was “The Bishop decided not to permit …”. Why would the Bishop be afraid to “own” their decision, I wonder?

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

A fast-growing ‘cancer’ is killing the soul of the Church of England – especially within the hierarchies of the Diocese of Oxford and Chichester: a pathological inability to admit any wrongdoing.

Simon
Simon
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

Since I assume most would add the Diocese of Winchester to that list/category, at least until someone is appointed to undo the impact of the last 11 years, it does seem the Church faces a very significant recovery task in Central Southern England. Let us all hope and pray that we are better served by the next generation of Church leaders than we have been by the current/past one.

Dave
Dave
1 month ago

The Diocese of Oxford said in a statement: “and also some concerns about Dr Percy’s behaviour behind the scenes,” What! vague, petty and unnecessary remark … any clarity — Actually, one cannot help but think that there are clear concerns about Bishop Croft’s behaviour behind the scenes. The Bishop’s actions towards Dr Percy in not permitting him to preach seem petty and actually cruel. But as ever, one may say this in this place but who will square up to the Bishop and say this in Oxford Diocese? Its clear that if one does the Bishop may well spend the… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Amazing that the collective wisdom of four bishops and four archdeacons, and no doubt a well stocked senior leadership team and Bishop’s Council, could not have prevented the pastoral reputation of the diocese ending up like this. Likewise, the safeguarding team, usually so keen to ensure a diocese is seen as open and approachable to those wishing to raise safeguarding concerns, could surely have cautioned against such excessive push back against criticism. The drawbridge is firmly pulled up, but who is left within the keep?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

Earlier this evening a contributor to ‘Surviving Church’ reported that he was present at a service today at which Emma Percy announced her resignation as Chaplain at Trinity College, Oxford.

Peter
Peter
1 month ago

I have never met Martyn Percy. I disagree with many of his theological positions. I doubt he would solicit my affirmation if he did know me.

However, even his theological opponents such as myself should now wish him consolation and peace.

Furthermore he is entitled to freedom of speech. If he has something to say it should be heard.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

This is the kind of decency we need as a Church, where people with differing views show love and grace toward one another. You just dignified the conversation. Thank you and God bless you as you follow your own conscience and beliefs.

american piskie
american piskie
1 month ago

In the end it took place in the 19th-century chapel of Exeter College just off Broad Street. The chapel is outside the jurisdiction of the bishop” [sc. of Oxford].

This was not the view of that eminent canonist Dr E W Kemp whom I consulted on the question “who is the ordinary of Ex Coll chapel?”. The position was (in his view) not as simple as what is stated in the above quotation.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  american piskie
1 month ago

Equally intriguing is the Bishop’s ‘standing’ at Christ Church. He is not the Visitor. Is he the Ordinary? Can he be the Ordinary in a ‘peculiar’? A similar question arose over another non-Royal peculiar recently, Jesus College, Cambridge (in the context of the Rustat memorial). I suggested, and one of our distinguished TA contributors seemed to agree, that there the Bishop of Ely was Visitor but not the Ordinary, Doubtless such things will baffle our overseas Anglicans and possibly some at home as well.

Frances James
Frances James
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

It is the sort of debate that causes vines to lose their saltiness and makes them unable to finish the race.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Frances James
1 month ago

‘Ripe for reform’ hardly fits the withered vine, but reform – will it come? A favourite comment some years ago, from Australia, “if there’s a way of making something complicated, the English (or it might have been British) do! I suspect it will require more than the Internal Governance Review commissioned by Ch Ch or the C of E’s ‘lessons learned’ report. We can only wait to see what happens.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
1 month ago

If any of us ever doubted that the Diocese of Oxford was being partisan in this whole sorry saga, we no longer need to. Once upon a time, I would have said that the Church of England is better, much better, than this. Now, it is the new normal as the lawyers and the reputational managers scramble, unconvincingly, to assure us that there is no insecurity or decay at the heart of the institution. I am not, for one minute, suggesting that the young woman who has broken her silence should be any further diminished than she believes she has… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
1 month ago

“Now, it is the new normal as the lawyers and the reputational managers scramble, unconvincingly, to assure us that there is no insecurity or decay at the heart of the institution” – Bill Broadhead

Lawyers and reputational managers are like psychologists and psychiatrists: useful servants but lousy masters.

Allow them to take control of the agenda – as the Church of England has done – and lawyers will become ‘lawyers unto themselves’ and reputational managers – such as the PR/Communications ‘experts’ – become propaganda merchants..

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

An interesting point Richard which seems not to be generally understood by some on TA – and other blogs. The legal profession (both branches) is possibly the strictest regulated. Lawyers can and must act on clients’ instructions. They must advise and assist clients who can be misguided, especially in matters of potential libel. In spite of this, some clients disregard advice. I suspect that there is input by PR companies in the recent Oxford Diocese statements. The style suggests that. As I have indicated, the role of lawyers would be to vet them, and no question of having an independent… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

I suspect that there is input by PR companies in the recent Oxford Diocese statements. The style suggests that.”

That’s my impression too.

David Runcorn
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
1 month ago

‘I am not, for one minute, suggesting that the young woman who has broken her silence should be any further diminished’ . Really? So why then tell a story about the risk to ministers of being alone with a parishioner who swings from biggest fan to chief detractor and call it ‘useful’ for viewing this situation?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

David, I agree with you that the young woman in question should not be criticised or diminished even by inference. However, the fact that an Appeal Court Judge (Dame Sarah Asplin) concluded that Percy had no case to answer in response to her complaint is hardly a minor matter.

Happy Jack
Happy Jack
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Dame Sarah didn’t conclude Percy had no case to answer. Here’s her decision: “When determining whether there is a case to answer upon which a disciplinary tribunal should adjudicate, I must also bear in mind that the CDM is designed to deal with serious misconduct and that section 8(1)(d) of the CDM should be read in that light. Proportionality must also be borne in mind. Would it be proportionate to refer this matter to a tribunal for adjudication? In my judgment, having considered all the evidence including the interviews conducted by the Designated Officer, the answer is “no”. Although I… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Happy Jack
1 month ago

And, ergo, equally inappropriate for it to be referred to a Christ Church ‘Independent Internal Tribunal’ in which the only prescribed penalty is dismissal from office. Nevertheless that went ahead in spite of the CDM result with the appointment of a woman QC as chair, and it only did not proceed to a hearing when Ch Ch settled the claims of the Dean and Ms X. I think it’s fairly evident that Dame Sarah wasn’t aware of the draconian terms of the Statute under which the Tribunal was set up. Had she been, her comment would have been totally at… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Happy Jack
1 month ago

Her final sentence is clearly a statement that there is no case to answer. “I consider this matter is not suitable to be referred to a tribunal”. It’s plain English

David Runcorn
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Peter. My comment was specifically on the use of the story of a predatory parishioner. I have not made comment on the case itself. Nor would I.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

One small, but significant, point, David: I didn’t refer to a ‘predatory’ parishioner in my recollection. You have simply made that assumption. There are many reasons why a priest may not wish to be alone with a particular person. And you should know far better than me how parish dynamics can work, especially when an incumbent becomes a focus for disaffection because s/he is not dancing to the tune of those who once imagined they were pulling the strings and now find that they cannot control things.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 month ago

Exactly, David. Archbishop Michael Peers used to say that we should always talk about people as if they were actually in the room. Mind, you, sadly, I don’t think ‘the young woman’s’ obvious presence (she may well be present as a silent listener) on this thread would necessarily change the tone of some of those who comment. Not all, but some.

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Bill Broadhead
1 month ago

Then, without warning, they become the vicar’s chief detractor in the parish, once they realise things aren’t going their way.”
What a cleric-centered perspective.
Perhaps it’s once they realise, from better evidence, that the vicar isn’t what he or she had appeared to be.

Alison Baker
Alison Baker
Reply to  Jeremy
1 month ago

Sometimes, Jeremy, the cleric can be the weaker, bullied figure in parish dynamics, especially where lay people (and I am one of these) abuse the boundaries of their authority, where senior clergy are reluctant to emphasise that e.g. churchwardens are not the vicar’s line manager and that a priest is accountable to his/her bishop for his ministry. There are a lot of crypto-Methodists out there, with churchwardens acting like Society Stewards and using the PCC as the ‘Church Council’ to assess the vicar’s performance. It cuts both ways and I don’t read Bill Broadhead’s comment as in any way promoting… Read more »

Susannah Clark
1 month ago

At this point (May 16th) the communications department of Oxford Diocese is in my view getting things badly wrong. I’m assuming this draft is released by Steven Buckley: “We’ve long said that the actions of some of Dr Percy’s supporters have left people damaged and hurt. None more so than Alannah Jeune. It’s a courageous decision to tell her story given all that she has experienced, but hers is a powerful account that counters the vitriol sent her way. Her story deserves to be widely read.” This is partisan PR at work, isn’t it? Should the Diocese of Oxford not… Read more »

Peter
Peter
1 month ago

Why on earth is the Diocese of Oxford putting out such an obviously partisan statement as that reported in the Church Times on Saturday which admonishes not just Martyn Percy but his supporters ?

Are they now going to give us a running rebuttal commentary every time Percy speaks ?

The Diocese seems to have lost its grip on sense and reason in relation to this matter.

Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Further to my comment above, and as balance to it, I want to whole-heartedly wish well to Alannah Jeune. She has an absolute right to report and speak out about any events she believes happened. Too often people don’t, understandably. I personally think there should be no association made between her specific claim, and the earlier and years long campaign to remove Martyn Percy from his role as Dean. I think third parties who try to ‘bolt’ her case on to that campaign do Ms Jeune no favours. What she needs and deserves are processes of complete impartiality, accompanied not… Read more »

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
1 month ago

All it needs now is for someone to say that although Dr Percy has been cleared of all charges a ‘significant cloud’ continues to hang over his name. Then we’ll have the full set.

Happy Jack
Happy Jack
Reply to  Toby Forward
1 month ago

Except he never was cleared of the allegation of sexual harassment – it was settled after a process of mediation and the claimant reportedly received a payment of £50k. It could have rested there, but for Percy publicly calling her a liar in a press interview.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Happy Jack
1 month ago

would you mind providing evidence for your assertion “he called her a liar”. Or withdraw your assertion.

This is a good time and place for responsible speech and choice of words

James
James
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

He denied ever touching her in his interview. She said he stroked her hair for 10 seconds and said “I couldn’t take my eyes off you during the service.” He said he was putting eye drops in at the time. He made no comment on her statement that he compared their ages to her (the thirty year difference) after asking her her age. That amounts to calling her a liar in the press.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Happy Jack
1 month ago

He was cleared of the allegation of sexual harassment, by Dame Sarah Asplin in her review of the case. Nor did he settle with Ms Jeune – the settlement was reached between Christ Church and Ms Jeune. Dr Percy has consistently denied touching Ms Jeune’s hair.

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Happy Jack
1 month ago

Wrong on all three counts.
See the other replies for detail.
We await your retraction.

James
James
Reply to  Toby Forward
1 month ago

You are mistaken. He wasn’t “cleared of the allegation of sexual harassment”; instead the judge said the act, if it happened, wouldn’t amount to a CDM offence and was in any case a matter for Christ Church college to decide. Percy effectively called Alannah Jeune a liar by denying the hair touching (and chat-up words) had happened, as she claimed. That is the only conclusion you can draw. That is why she spoke to the Telegraph. If he had kept quiet and not spoken to the press, I imagine she would have kept quiet as well. She was once one… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  James
1 month ago

You seem to seek an Orwellian world in which people accused of wrong doing cannot speak in their own defence because to do so is construed as calling their accuser a liar. It is nothing of the sort. Percy is entitled to state his own recollection of the incident. It’s called due process and protects us all from tyranny

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
Reply to  Toby Forward
1 month ago

And for a ‘lessons learned’ review costing a vast sum of money plus the appointment of a well paid diocesan bureaucrat to supervise the recommendations!

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Sam Jones
1 month ago

If it’s anything like the review commissioned by the Diocese of London into the death of Fr Alan Griffin, we may assume that it will simply never happen.

(That review was due to be published in 2021. The last we heard of it was that an updated time for publication would be announced in March 2022. It’s hard to resist the conclusion that it will never be published and indeed that there was never an intention to publish it.)

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 month ago

The only notice about the review on the C of E website (on the safeguarding pages) is dated 24 August 2021 and states: “The Diocese of London, working with Lambeth Palace and the National Safeguarding Team, has responded to the Coroner following the Inquest into the death of Fr Alan Griffin. Details of an independent lessons learnt review have also been announced.” The terms of reference (ToR) for the review are dated 3 September 2021 and were published on 13 September 2021 (copy downloadable from the website). At para 4.1 the ToR state: “The Report will be drafted ready for… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  David Lamming
1 month ago

There is a website safeguarding dot london dot anglican dot org with the following: Update on progress of the Independent Review – 25 March 2022 Chris Robson, the Independent Reviewer, has confirmed that he is in the process of finalising a draft of his report. The process of working through all the necessary pre-publication checks, as set out in the Terms of Reference, can then take place. Due to the necessity of consulting with a number of individuals, it is not possible for Chris to give a target completion date at this time. We recognise and apologise for the uncertainty this causes,… Read more »

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  David Lamming
1 month ago

There actually is an update on the site: Update on progress of the Independent Review – 25 March 2022 Chris Robson, the Independent Reviewer, has confirmed that he is in the process of finalising a draft of his report. The process of working through all the necessary pre-publication checks, as set out in the Terms of Reference, can then take place. Due to the necessity of consulting with a number of individuals, it is not possible for Chris to give a target completion date at this time. We recognise and apologise for the uncertainty this causes, but offer our assurances that the… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
1 month ago

Assuming that Pete Broadbent posting here is indeed the Bishop of Willesden, and speaking for the Diocese, I am going to take the liberty of challenging his claim that the Diocese is “anxious” to publish the review. The time taken to complete the review was clearly woefully underestimated, and so the review was, equally clearly, inadequately resourced. If a review that was supposed to take about three months had still, by mid-March, six months later, not yet emerged in draft form, then action should have been taken to speed it up, possibly by augmenting the team working on it. By… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 month ago

Fair enough, thanks for that. But my point about the Diocese of London mismanaging this review stands.

Pete Broadbent
Pete Broadbent
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 month ago

It is one reviewer, not a team. He is independent, not part of the Diocese. He dictates the timescale, not the Diocese.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Pete Broadbent
1 month ago

That is, frankly, an excuse, and not a good one. The Diocese commissioned the review and laid out the timescale in the Terms of Reference. If a team was needed, they should have commissioned a team. This is, as I’ve said, bad management on the part of the Diocese.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Sam Jones
1 month ago

Has anyone on here received training which referenced the detailed recommendations of a lessons learned review? I would rather they were called “lessons to be learned” – just because the reviewer has written some things down doesn’t mean that anyone has learned anything (apart, perhaps, from the reviewer).

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
1 month ago

Can someone explain how Martyn Percy’s successor will be appointed. I know it’s a crown and not a diocesan appointment but what does that actually mean in practice?

Who draws up the job spec? who advertised the role? who draws up a short list? who does the interviews? who takes the decision? who takes up references etc?

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Sam Jones
1 month ago

who wants it?

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Sam Jones
1 month ago

I asked this question at the Oxford Diocesan Synod in March. Basically it seems as though the reviews will interrupt the process (and rightly so) though no-one in the Diocese can make a definitive statement. Next Oxford Diocesan Synod 11 June – no doubt something will be said. I also asked at the March Synod whether a farewell service for Martyn Percy would be arranged with good notice so people could attend. I am really sorry that did not prove possible, in spite of the intentions then expressed.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Sam Jones
1 month ago

Possibly in the same way as the recent appointment of the Sub-Dean which appears to have been entirely internal to Christ Church. In a nutshell, my understanding is that the selection process is internal to Ch Ch, effectively the Governing Body or a core within it, and the chosen name is submitted to the Crown via the Prime Minister’s office which also announces the appointment when made by the Queen. Martyn Percy’s appointment is (or was in the last few days) still appearing on the C of E website as announced from 10 Downing Street. Even the learned editor of… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

The Governing Body is in the driving seat, as it should be. It is quite another matter as to when the prospectus for a new Dean can be issued. No even half decent candidate is going to engage with any process until the governance issues are categorically resolved. That could take at least a year. The particulars issued in late 2013 included the following: The Dean of Christ Church is formally appointed by Her Majesty the Queen on the advice of her responsible ministers. In practice, both the College and Cathedral parts of the joint foundation are involved in formulating… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 month ago

“The successful candidate becomes a member of the bishop’s senior staff…” Interesting. As a member of the bishop’s senior staff, was Martyn Percy owed safeguarding and – if needed – intervention as successive attempts were made (as I perceive them) to hound him from office? And when that (in my view) persecution ravaged his mental health and drove him to nervous breakdown? Here is a man who had given his life to the Church in ordained ministry (and all the givenness and sacrifices that implied). He was one of the Church’s own. And he was – based on Anthony’s reference… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

The role description of the recently advertised (and I hope appointed) Diocesan Canon was significantly changed to reflect the pastoral needs on the ground, and is initially for a three year term. The main point of my question at Synod was to give some attention to the pastoral care of the Cathedral community, and whether the provision of care took the likely reality of a delayed appointment into account.

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 month ago

I am sure that the post was advertised in the Church Times last time round, my memory being that one could link to the particulars of the post which looked massively wide-ranging, albeit in the case of the cathedral side being mostly delegated (?) to the Sub-Dean. But at the moment I am unable to trawl the archive. The advert may not, of course, of itself identify who actually appoints.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  peter kettle
1 month ago

I didn’t mean to suggest that it wasn’t advertised externally. I was referring to the appointment process being internal and, of course, I may be wrong although I’m pretty certain that I have read that the Dean was chosen by the Governing Body. That may turn out to be an over-simplification, but it’s as I recall things.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

“…an Appeal Court Judge (Dame Sarah Asplin) concluded that Percy had no case to answer in response to her complaint…” – ‘Peter’

So, Martyn Percy – in the eyes of the law – is innocent.

If that is the case, as I see it, the Bishop of Oxford (and significant others) think themselves above the law by presuming guilt.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

I believe the Bishop’s claim is that the judge is not asked to make findings of fact but rather set out the evidence.

Hardly a compelling argument for him to take but that, I think, would be his answer.

In a free society people are entitled to speak in their own defence. It is the attempt to muzzle Percy or crush him with reputational attacks that is so reprehensible.

I speak as a conservative evangelical who deeply opposes Percy’s theology.

It has come to something when people like me are angered by his treatment

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

“It has come to something when people like me are angered by his treatment” – ‘Peter’

If any of us are not deeply angered by this cruel injustice, we are either ignorantly unaware of the facts – which is lethally dangerous – or we are arrogantly disregarding the facts – which is even more lethally dangerous.

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
James
James
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

No, she said the alleged act didn’t meet the threshold of a CDM but could be a matter for the college disciplinary procedures.
A rather different conclusion.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  James
1 month ago

The issue is proportionality and the efforts to discipline him by the Church was found to be plainly disproportionate.

“Scraping the barrel” to see if some other means could be found to discipline him was always possible but also manifestly unfair to any reasonable observer.

The notion the Judge was meaning to infer that other means should be found to discipline him is simply a perverse reading of her conclusions.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  James
1 month ago

James, the Police made a judgement and an Appeal Court Judge made a judgement. Both came to a conclusion which neither the Christ Church Governing Body nor Ms Jeune accepted. Whose judgement would you best trust?

Last edited 1 month ago by Richard W. Symonds
James
James
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
1 month ago

Not up to me – but the Judge actually said this wasn’t a CDM matter but something for the Governing Body to handle.
Do you accept thd Appeal Court Judge’s opinion?

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  James
1 month ago

Not up to me either, but I thought I had made my view clear.

Clearly not, so I repeat:

Thames Valley Police and Appeals Court Judge Dame Sarah Asplin reached a judgement regarding Ms Jeune’s ‘hair-stroking’ complaint against Dr Martyn Percy.

The Diocese of Oxford and the Christ Church Governors reached a different judgement.

Whose judgement would you best trust?

Peter
Peter
Reply to  James
1 month ago

The judge said no such thing.

She referenced the existence of the Christ Church process for alleged incidents. That is all. It is a neutral reference to the available remedies.

Your adverse inference is entirely of your own making

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

Part of the point is that the Judge came to the conclusion that there was no material which warranted more than at most minor action under the CDM (had there been she would have ruled differently). So that deals with the materiality of the allegations (and I trust she enquired adequately over the evidence). But she was in no position to close down any enquiry by another body over which she had no jurisdiction. And there was clearly an issue which affected the Christ Church community and might be significant to it. On my reading, she concluded clearly on the… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

You are reading your own interpretation into the judicial statements.

Judges are precise and careful in their speech. The statement she makes about the Christ Church process is a category statement (she uses the general category). It is not a case specific statement. That is, she does not specify the Percy case.

A category statement is addressed neutrally to the relevant authority. No inference should be drawn about a specific case

The fact is if the judge had meant what you say, she would have taken the simple expedient of saying it herself.

She meant no such thing

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

My point is that by not taking the case to the point where a church sanction would be considered, the judge clearly took the view that no such sanction was necessary, even taking the worst possible view of the matter. Now, in a serious case, in which there were an ongoing risk, such a sanction would have been necessary. So there is an obvious implication about the level of seriousness there. No Church sanction was necessary. I don’t think I made any implication other than that from what she said, and I am not sure why you think I did.… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

You are clearly and obviously drawing inferences in relation to what she has or had not “closed down”

You use the term “close down” The judge never uses the term.

You go beyond the judge and do so in error

This is not a game. A man’s reputation has been crushed without any justification.

If you cannot accept this have the decency to say nothing further.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

I think you completely misunderstand me. And I think that is your problem rather than mine. I am completely confused about the point you are trying to make.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

For the purposes of clarity I assume you agree that you want to treat the issue of Christ Church internal processes as a matter that is relevant and needs to be referenced and which the judge also referenced. I don’t think there can be anything confusing about that. My point is that, accidentally or otherwise, you thereby leave a “Yes, but…” stain over Percy’s reputation. The fact is, and I think we may agree on this, the overwhelming weight of judicial findings are not adverse to Percy. He is an essentially innocent man who has been pulverised by his enemies.… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
1 month ago

Can I just say that in all these replies, I think we are missing a huge point. We need to lament the loss of an intellectual theological heavyweight from the Church of England, and need to look at how and why it got to this, and pray that he finds a home so that his talents don’t go to waste.

David Wilbourne
David Wilbourne
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
1 month ago

As the Bishop of Southwell wrote following the untimely death of William Temple in 1944, ‘Is the Church so rich in prophets, that it can afford to squander the gifts of God?’

Struggling Anglican
Struggling Anglican
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
1 month ago

Amen to that!!
He is one of those few leaders who has made the Church of England at least a possible option.
….but look how Rowan Williams was treated and to some extent wasted when he was Archbishop!

Peter
Peter
1 month ago

May I make a general point about a point of law. If a judge has something to say, then they say it. It is a rudimentary error to seek to “join up the dots” from a judicial pronouncement and cast some kind of inference as to what they actually meant to say, despite the fact they did not actually say it. Judges regularly delineate the issue of jurisdiction where that is necessary for the proper understanding of a matter. Judge Sarah Asplin did so in relation to the different realms of CDM and Christ Church College. It is simply wrong… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

What I require is justice, said the God of the O.T. Has this been followed through in the Christ Church saga. We in the former colonies look on askance!

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

I am not entirely sure what you mean. Percy has clearly been treated with enormous harshness.

Beyond that I think we are entitled to rely on the conclusions of the judicial figures who have addressed the issues and found no Case that requires action against Percy

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

What I mean, Peter, is precisely in line with what you are saying here: That Justice has not been served by the treatment meted out to Dean Percy – not by the judicial authorities, who did their best, but by the warring College Dons and the Church! All my comments here have been made in support of the Dean.

Last edited 1 month ago by Father Ron Smith
Rodolph
Rodolph
1 month ago

Did Dean Percy also preach at Lincoln College’s Evensong on 15th May, as listed?

Susannah Clark
1 month ago

As others have said, I wish a few people here would stop inferring guilt on the part of Martyn Percy, when Dame Sarah Asplin – a High Court judge – stated that Martyn Percy’s account was ‘credible’. In fairness, the claimant’s account was also described as ‘credible’. Either could credibly have been right. That’s because it is simply one person’s claim against another person’s, with zero witnesses. But clearly, if she says that his claim is ‘credible’ then there is no basis for the Diocese or commentators here to imply otherwise. Further to this standalone episode, none of this should… Read more »

Dave
Dave
1 month ago

It is difficult to see how one can have confidence in the Bishop of Oxford – not least in his pastoral care. This also must also raise questions about the episcopacy as a whole. The lack of accountability of bishops is crying out to be addressed. Hopefully some General Synod members will have the courage to ask some very searching questions in many areas to show that more accountability is needed if the church is to be at all credible. No one, as far as I understand it, is saying that the Bishop of Oxford has acted with pastoral care… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
1 month ago

On an earlier thread about Christ Church the following was posted:

  • “An Oxford diocese parish was stunned last week when candidates for their vacant rector role withdrew from the process, citing that they would not want to work in the diocese whilst the Steven ‘the forces of darkness’ Croft remained in role.”

Is this true?

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Jeremy
1 month ago

Clergy are right to think hard about which bishops they are willing to work with. Thankfully stories of good leadership and diocesan culture are starting to emerge. These are the dioceses to head for (in a stats obsessed church someone will eventually spot the trend and roll out a national programme based on the findings) unless you are willing to be part of the process of change where the culture is toxic: getting onto diocesan synod, bishop’s council, vacancy in see committee etc.

Marcus
Marcus
Reply to  Jeremy
1 month ago

Hi

Yes it is true.

Happy to discuss/inform outside of the public glare of a comment board.

Alan Jeffries
Alan Jeffries
Reply to  Jeremy
1 month ago

Oxford is not unique in that respect. We will probably never know how many clergy have steered clear of Winchester in recent years. Only last week someone asked me if it was yet safe to consider a post in the diocese after seeing an advert. My reply was as diffident as it was equivocal.

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