Thinking Anglicans

Original safeguarding complaint against Dean of Lincoln declared void

Lincoln diocese issued this brief statement yesterday:

The Venerable Mark Steadman has been appointed as acting Dean of Lincoln

The Rt Revd Dr David Court, acting Bishop of Lincoln, has appointed the Venerable Mark Steadman, Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey, as acting Dean of Lincoln from Friday 22nd November 2019. This decision is to enable the continuing governance and functioning of the cathedral. Mr Steadman continues in role as Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey alongside his new duties.

The Lincolnite has two news reports that shed further light on what has recently happened:

The most surprising item in the first report is this:

Dean Christine Wilson added that on Monday, the President of Tribunals made a determination that a complainant and the bishop had not followed the proper process at the outset and therefore the complaint, which led to Christine’s absence, was void and invalid.

The President of Tribunals stated that this was “unfortunate” and the complainant may wish to issue another complaint.

It now appears that this is likely to happen, which leaves the cathedral without their dean for a further period of time.

She added that she had over the last seven months respected the processes of the church throughout the inquiry and cooperated fully.

And this is further amplified in the second report:

…A Church of England spokesperson said: “The Church is taking this issue very seriously and is aware how difficult it is for all parties involved.

“As the Dean said in her statement, the President of Tribunals made a determination that the complainant and bishop had not followed the proper process at the outset, that this was ‘unfortunate’ and the complainant may wish to issue another complaint.

“The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team will be issuing another complaint, however, it should be noted that the President of Tribunals made no decision on the actual substance of the complaint.

“Nothing further can be said as this process continues but we ask prayers for everyone involved…”

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Rowland WateridgeFr. Dean HenleyAlan DaviesRevDaveStanley Monkhouse Recent comment authors
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Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

The C of E statement and the two news reports add hardly anything to the minimal information available to date. The C of E spokesperson states that the “National Safeguarding Team will be issuing another complaint”, clearly implying that they were responsible for making the previous complaint, but “had not followed the proper process at the outset”. Surely that should be a matter of concern. Very strong doubts were raised in earlier TA threads whether the suspension of the Bishop of Lincoln, in the terms in which it was announced, was lawful on a strict interpretation of the CDM. The… Read more »

Simon Butler
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Simon Butler

I’m not sure that speculation on TA counts as very strong grounds to contest the legality of anything.

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

It wasn’t speculation, but carefully analysed legal argument. I wonder whether you troubled to refer back to the relevant posts before making that comment.

Fr. Dean Henley
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Fr. Dean Henley

I’ve been involved in quite a number of CDMs in my former role as a union rep. Bishops making up the rules to suit themselves was a feature of almost all of those cases. If the cleric (the respondent) had the nerve to sit tight it would unravel in their favour. In one of the last cases I dealt with the archdeacon (in the role of complainant) hadn’t filled in the paperwork properly or checked that one of the protagonists was who she purported him to be! As a bystander I could perhaps see this as a hoot – as… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

Far from being a hoot (I know you are not saying it was) aren’t these scenarios terribly shocking? I have no idea how a CDM can be “void” but in the civil (lay, if you prefer) courts a dismissal doesn’t give the prosecutor or claimant a second bite of the cherry. Amendment of a charge or pleadings is possible, with the court’s permission, or a re-trial might be ordered if there had been some genuinely serious procedural fault, but that would happen in the course of the proceedings, not after the case had effectively been dismissed. Something as fundamentally wrong… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

“Nothing further can be said as this process continues but we ask prayers for everyone involved…” Prayer is a very solemn thing. It is asking for the Lord to intervene. To deliberately withhold information from someone you ask to pray is offensive. I don’t care if there are legal restrictions – our first loyalty is to the Lord not Caesar and, when we ask for prayers, we invoke that loyalty to the Lord. As usual, I will probably the only one who finds that statement objectionable but I do. Actually, I think the whole situation smells of reliance on the… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

Sorry, my reply to Simon Butler wasn’t helpful, and I can only put this down to recovering from a recent head injury. This will be my final post on this topic. Yes, I agree that the legal situation is not for us to be dogmatic about, but I consider the following observation is justified. Accepting that we don’t know any of the facts in the CDM against the Dean of Lincoln, it certainly seems unjust (to me, at least) that she potentially faces another CDM complaint because the first one wasn’t done properly. If I am right about that, I… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
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The only possible prayer is Amos 5:24. What are the chances, do you think?

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

Not certain. But Micah 6:8 would be wonderful “What does the Lord require of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God”. We all know the hymn, but there is a far more beautiful musical setting by Samuel Sebastian Wesley in one of his anthems, though for the life of me I can’t remember which one at the moment.

Stanley Monkhouse
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Micah – I always had that on Remembrance Sunday, usually read by the Mayor whose pronunciation of ‘micah’ varied with the person. We had Micca in 2017.Perhaps that’s correct.

Alan Davies
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Alan Davies

“To deliberately withhold information from someone you ask to pray is offensive.” Really? Are we unable to simply trust God to be God, as the one to whom all desires are known and from whom no secrets hidden? Often, I find that having ‘too much information’ can lead to telling God (repeatedly) what he already knows; as well as the worse tendency to play games with God by letting him know that we possibly know more than anyone else and certainly as much as God knows. Listen to the intercessions this coming Sunday in church, and spot the subtle but… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

I think Kate’s point is that the secrets are hidden from us, not from God.

RevDave
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RevDave

We all know that “justice delayed is justice denied” yet victims still seem to wait years for justice, and those who have been unjustly accused still seem to wait years to clear their names.

If the Church wants to show it takes safeguarding and justice seriously, surely both must be resourced to address all cases in a timely manner!