Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 16 May 2020

Nicholas Henshall ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…to Being Focused on Our Own Significance

Savitri Hensman Church of England Newspaper Sharing burdens and showing kindness

Gilo Surviving Church Elites, the Church and the Dynamics of Social Power

Christina Beardsley DLT Books Blog Feeling Unsafe

Steve Morris Church Times Many are on the brink of financial disaster
“Credit unions are needed more than ever to help those who face money troubles”

K Augustine Tanner-Ihm Church Times Social distancing is a race issue
“It is a permanent reality for people of colour”

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Kate
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Kate

It really is as bad as Christina Beardsley says. The situation for individuals who change gender role is definitely regressing. Abuse and threats of violence have become commonplace.

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

Re: Gilo’s searing critique of Establishment power: The success of Sir Stephen Lamport’s ‘parachute jump’ into the Church of England Establishment will be measured, by me, on how he deals with the monstrous, continuing injustice done to the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

Richard, I think you would gain more sympathy for the cause of George Bell if you also showed a little concern, or just awareness of, the many victims and survivors of other abusers who are still alive and suffering. Decisions taken by and with Ecclesiastical impinge directly on their – our – welfare.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Janet, it behoves us all to right the wrongs done to victims and survivors of sexual abuse – and victims and survivors of those falsely (or wrongly) accused of sexual abuse. If one is at the expense of the other, then gross miscarriages of justice will inevitably occur.

Kate
Guest
Kate

I don’t understand what involvement Ecclesiastical, much less a non-exec, have in the George Bell matter?

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

Think about it Kate. Ecclesiastical – as Church of England’s principal insurers – would have advised on the insurance claim of ‘Carol’ who claimed Bishop Bell abused her as a child. A “kangaroo court” was set up by the Church. She was compensated with a payment of £16,000+. Two extensive legal investigations [Carlile & Briden] have concluded the allegations of ‘Carol’ were unfounded. One can be forgiven for assuming Ecclesiastical have advised the Church not to formally apologise and fully exonerate Bishop Bell for its part in his character assassination – probably because of the likely claims for considerable damages… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

I’m not sure that there was any insurance cover in that case. The church’s own ‘investigation’ as summarised in Lord Carlyle’s report very much indicates that it was handled wholly in-house, albeit in an utterly shambolic and amateur fashion, without using external expert forensic and legal services.

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

As far as I know, there was no insurance cover, but as Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner makes very clear at the IICSA in March 2018, the Church’s insurance company at the time – presumably Ecclesiastical? – was fully involved in (and I’m sure was fully paid for) the advice to the Church, and presumably its Core Group, regarding Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’: https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2019/01/13/jan-13-2019-from-the-archives-iicsa-march-2018/ Day 8 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 14 March 2018 – Page 21 Fiona Scolding QC “The other matter I want to put to you is [quoting Lord Carlile]: ‘There was no organised or valuable enquiry or… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

Thank you for the clarification. I agree that it makes what happened more shocking.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Oh, they probably have been involved in the past but you said, “The success of Sir Stephen Lamport’s ‘parachute jump’ into the Church of England Establishment will be measured, by me, on how he deals with the monstrous, continuing injustice done to the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell.” Looking forwards, I stilldon’t see how Ecclesiastical as insurer is involved in what is essentially a closed matter and, even if they are, why a non-exec would get involved.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Then I can’t help you Kate.

David Lamming
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David Lamming

Bishop Martin Warner’s answer to Fiona Scolding’s question at IICSA on 14 March 2018 about the involvement of insurers in the settlement of ‘Carol’s’ claim (see the link below in Richard Symonds’s comment) appears to be at odds with information he provided to me in 2016. At General Synod on 8 July 2016 I asked a question about the contribution to the settlement made by the Church Commissioners. The question was answered by the then First Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Andreas Whittam Smith. In the light of his written answer, I asked by way of a supplementary “whether insurers were… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

So, the present Bishop of Chichester was ‘economic with the truth’ in either 2016 or 2018. Either way, General Synod and IICSA should investigate a serious breach of the law which has contributed to a serious miscarriage of justice.

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

Richard: That is not a conclusion that you can fairly or properly draw. I pointed out the apparent difference between +Martin’s e-mail answer to me and his answer to Fiona Scolding’s question at IICSA since, as Rowland Wateridge said in an earlier comment, “I’m not sure that there was any insurance cover in that case. The church’s own ‘investigation’ as summarised in Lord Carlyle’s report very much indicates that it was handled wholly in-house.” Ms Scolding’s question did not ask about the involvement of insurers in the Bell core group. Her question, which you quoted in your previous comment, was,… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

“There was nobody there to speak for Bishop Bell…”

David, if that is not a serious breach of the law which has contributed to a serious miscarriage of justice, I don’t know what is.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Is the present Bishop of Chichester in lockdown and in denial about a past Bishop of Chichester?

http://anglican.ink/2020/05/21/letter-to-the-editor-ninth-commandment-concerns-about-the-bishop-of-chichester/

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

I think perhaps people are being too strict about what the Bishop said, and that another interpretation is possible. (I have absolutely no axe to grind in this matter.) It is perfectly possible, it seems to me, that the lady solicitor being brought into advise the Church happening to be the same solicitor regularly acting for EIG could have caused the Bishop to have made the connection with EIG inadvertently in his evidence at the IICSA hearing. If we are honest, I’m sure all of us have done similar things at times. And if one reads the extract below, he… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
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Richard W. Symonds

“the lady solicitor being brought into advise the Church happening to be the same solicitor regularly acting for EIG”

Excuse me!!!???

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Let me get this straight..

According to Sir Andreas Whittam Smith, the Core Group was headed up by the Bishop of Chichester in the Diocese of Chichester who, on his IICSA testimony admitted “that there was nobody there to speak for Bishop Bell”. In that Core Groupo there was a “lady solicitor” – presumably Paula Jefferson – wearing two hats at the same time – one hat for the Church and one hat for Ecclesiastical. Presumably she left her ‘Ecclesiastical’ hat outside. A Billingsgate aroma is being picked up here…

Gilo
Guest
Gilo

My understanding is that Ecclesiastical Insurance was not involved in the Bell core group. Bishops are not insured for abuse committed by themselves so any payment in respect of alleged abuse by a bishop is made by the Church Commissioners. Paula Jefferson was present in the Bell core group as the lawyer brought in by the diocese to advise on payment. The difficulty here is – Jefferson is always EIG’s lawyer (even when she is “not”) so we meet our old friend “conflict of interest” which the Church has never got to grips with. Barely a rizla paper separates her… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Thank you Gilo for setting out the conflict of interest I was struggling to see..

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

Martin Sewell’s article linked in Gilo’s post is worth re-reading. In fact it is essential reading for anyone who still tries to justify the Church’s own in-house handling of the Bishop Bell case. There seemed to be no awareness from the outset that this needed to be out-sourced to independent experts in this specialist field. (Incidentally, that ought to have been equally true if it had involved the most exalted bishop or the humblest curate. I’m reminded of Mr Crawley in Trollope’s ‘The Last Chronicle of Barset’.) As Martin Sewell states, what happened makes excruciating reading for people, like myself,… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

In Bishop Bell’s case, and many others like it, the Church broke that ‘golden thread’ running through British justice – the presumption of innocence – and the Church also broke a legal ‘golden rule’ of separating the investigation and adjudication of a complaint.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Just received this from Dr Gerald Morgan, which might interest some readers on TA: “It is not in the interests of the Church of England for the case of George Bell, Bishop of Chichester 1929-1958 and a great English churchman, to remain unresolved. “The presumption of innocence is the heart and soul of English law and of our sacred English heritage. “It is not for us to prove the innocence of Bishop Bell. His innocence stands secure above the ferment of self-interested arguments. “The Archbishop of Canterbury is not above the law any more than an English Prime Minister. “The… Read more »

andy gr
Guest
andy gr

What a good set of articles!

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Yes indeed. The Nicholas Henshall one is especially interesting. “Ascension Day …stained glass windows…If Christ is ascending unwounded, then the artist has completely missed the point.” I thought of the huge Ascension sanctuary window (was behind and above me as celebrant) in my final parish. I could not remember, so I too a look at a photo. Sure enough, the ascending Christ does indeed bear the wounds of the passion.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Over the centuries the artists, sculptors, carvers and stained-glass makers for our churches have often had a deeper grasp of theology than is sometimes credited.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: “a deeper grasp”, which raises the matter of artistic creativity. Pace Henshall, perhaps an artist working with the ascension as subject matter might have something to say in a presentation of the ascension without the wounds of the passion, or without an actual ‘body’ at all? Along those lines one thinks of Christ Recrucifie at Eglise Saint Jean, Caen, just for example.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Gilo’s latest piece and the comments are like blows upon a bruise. Just when one thinks things can’t sink any lower, they do. As I’ve said before, every revelation contributes to the shame I feel at being a public representative of the Church of England. Some posts on TA have chided critics of the institutional church on the ground that we are not ‘playing nicely’, which we should do in order not to frighten the horses. This is not so, of course. It is possible for a priest to work for the Kingdom while at the same time drawing attention… Read more »

Martin Sewell
Guest
Martin Sewell

One simple thing Stanley is to encourage those elected to represent your Diocese at General Synod are engaging with those working within that context. There are good people asking questions and others just providing quiet encouragement to those who have the knowledge confidence and experience. Try and find out who is helping and ensure that such folk (incumbents or outside candidates ) are elected. They come from across the traditions. This is not party political.

Richard W. Symonds
Guest
Richard W. Symonds

Martin, as an outsider looking in, I see the General Synod – at present – as a bullied, compliant ‘patsy’ to the Archbishops’ Council with its powerful domination and obsession to control.

As I see it, accountability is key – but there is either no accountability, or not enough.

The Archbishops’ Council should be subjected to robust questioning, debate, discussion and contestation – especially in cases of injustices, incompetence and mismanagement at the very highest of levels within the Church hierarchy.

It is critical to guarantee that the uncontrolled powers of the Archbishops’ Council do not go unchecked.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Stanley, re: your 2nd para., it is possible. It can be difficult, painful, and costly. I’m not at all conversant with your immediate context there; but there is surely a dimension to it that transcends local church culture and structures. In that regard, you might find Douglas John Hall’s, Reality of the Gospel Unreality of The churches, helpful. It is an older book from the 70s. It inspired me when I was younger. It is still widely available, and I think there may be an e-version. I’ve also attached a teaser to a Walter Brueggemann review of Hall’s final book,… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Thank you Rod. I shall pursue your leads. Your last two sentences struck me: “Anglicans are inheritors of the reformation. It’s our birthright not to take grief from company men.” Perhaps that’s part of the problem: English bishops and their apparatchiks, despite theological convictions, regard themselves politically still as catholic prince bishops answerable to no-one. “Establishment” (something you in Canada are mercifully free of) with all its appurtenances seduces them into a form of psychosis, their palaces and staff and expense accounts keeping reality at bay. The reformation was never fully realised in England.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Although, while the Canadian Church official bumper sticker says “episcopally lead, synodically governed” , in political practice and buttressed by Canon law, Canadian diocesan bishops remain the local liege lord, and are welcomed as such more often than not.

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

Interesting point about prince bishops. I’m neither a theologian nor a historian, but it seems to me that there were two sorts of ‘reformation’ on offer in the 16th century. One, which many Catholics sympathised with (Erasmus?) was getting rid of the corruption and political power of the Church; the other, a wholesale adoption of the theology of such as Calvin. The C of E went all out for the second (well, maybe not ‘all out’, but that’s where the pressure was and what we find in the BCP), but left the former virtually untouched. Hence episcopal palaces, purple shirts,… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Precisely, David.

ACI
Guest
ACI

Not just CofE. The stipends of some Bishops in TEC are in the 250K range, and come with Country Club memberships, 18% pension contribution, on it goes. I confess this is one of the things that most disgusts me about anglicanism (CofE is nowhere near this lavish). It is not every dicocese in TEC, and in some of the smaller ones (40% have less than 3K ASA), bishops will soon have to adopt a far different model. It has bred an understanding of ministries as on a scale (bishops on top). The Catholic Church in France is entirely different, as… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

The reminder from K Augustine Tanner-Ihm, ” For many people, however, being distanced by others has been their lifelong normal.” is timely. The author mentions several groups that are victims of racist suspicion, black people stopped by police in London ( a practice known here as ‘carding’), African-Americans, and Muslim women. Here in Canada there has been an increase in public attacks, linked to the pandemic, targeting Asian Canadians. Some of the attacks have been extremely violent. Tanner-Ihm’s point could be expanded to include visibly disabled people who live with being distanced by others as well. Hopefully the author’s hope… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

“It seems extraordinary that the insurer was able to observe the church’s safeguarding discussions from mid 1990s through to 2015. ”

Since the relationship with an insurer is uberrima fides I don’t find it surprising. (That doesn’t mean it is desirable, just how insurance works.)

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

Gilo’s piece was extremely troubling. So I hope people will forgive me (as a unknowledgeable American) for asking trivial, fluffy questions on an utterly peripheral point. The piece says, “This group [“the group of grandees called Operation Golden Orb”] is responsible for planning Charles’ coronation, and has worked with Lambeth Palace over a long time on such deliberations as the one-throne-or-two conundrum (Queen Camilla, or Camilla the Princess Consort with no throne of her own).” I believe Prince Philip is a Prince Consort (though I could be wrong). If so, does he get a throne? If so, why would a… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Because in law a female consort takes the status of her husband, so is a queen consort; whereas a man does not take the status of his wife, so the DofE is a prince of the UK (because he was created one by George VI) and he is the consort of the queen regnant. Prince Albert was, uniquely, specifically granted the title “Prince Consort”, but this title is not automatic. In law, as it stands right now, if and when the Prince of Wales succeeds to the throne then his wife will be Queen. Whether it is felt she should… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

I understand there is an agreement that Camilla will not be Queen, and that the agreement still stands. At least, so said an article in the Times fairly recently.

Roger Hill
Guest
Roger Hill

Now we really do seem to be slipping into our comfort zone…………….

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

There is a very good article (link) in Anglican Journal, relevant to a couple of the articles posted above. The article is billed as, “A Tract for these Covid-19 Times.” The author, The Rev Chris Brittain, is Dean of Divinity and the Margaret E. Fleck Chair in Anglican Studies at Trinity College at the University of Toronto.
https://www.anglicanjournal.com/the-eucharist-and-coming-out-of-lockdown-a-tract-for-these-covid-19-times/