Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Jersey's Dean--Laity's JEP Advert

When I published my previous Blog, due to technical difficulties, I was unable to publish the advert which appeared in the Jersey Evening Post on Saturday 10th August, thanks to the assistance of fellow Bloggers I am now able to publish it in full which should be helpful to readers outside the Island.
THE STEEL INVESTIGATION
Following the advertisement placed by the Rt. Rev, the Lord Bishop of Winchester on 3rd August 2013 a group of concerned members of the laity of the Anglican Church in Jersey wish to affirm their confidence in the love of God made real in the faith and lives of those who make up the Church in Jersey, and in particular their trust in all those who offer pastoral care in their name. We wish to affirm our reliance upon the whole Church in the Island as it tries to live out the love of God made tangible in Jesus Christ and made effective by the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who respond to that love.
The love of Christ, expressed through the Church, mends broken lives, brings hope to the hopeless, purpose to the wounded, and forgiveness to those in need of it.
The Church in Jersey has a long record of living out this love and providing a safe space for those in need.
We retain the highest confidence in the safeguarding record and practice of the Anglican Church in Jersey. It has fed the hungry, housed the homeless, comforted and tended the sick, and called the powerful to account. Countless lives have been transformed by Christ’s presence in a caring Church in Jersey.
Safeguarding provides for the care of the vulnerable, but also provides protection for those who offer that care. Courageous support is often provided by the Church for people who are deeply disturbed in the most challenging circumstances.
The Church is not, and cannot be perfect, and sadly, from time to time, confidence and hope can be damaged by people getting things wrong.
INVITATION TO GIVE EVIDENCE ABOUT THE CONDUCT OF THE BISHOP OF WINCHESTER
Many in the Island may feel that the Bishop of Winchester’s response to one ‘safeguarding issue’ has been disproportionate, has caused widespread anxiety and hurt, and has wrongly undermined public confidence in the Church in Jersey.
The launching of two simultaneous and unco-ordinated inquiries, apparently aimed less at caring for the vulnerable and more at assaulting the constitutional relationship between Jersey and the Diocese of Winchester, may have caused a loss of confidence in the Diocese.
Some may have experienced that relentless public assault on the Church in Jersey through a PR company as placing power before pastoral care.
Others may be alarmed at the alleged expenditure of hundreds of thousands of pounds on lawyers, public relations consultants, and two extensive inquiries; they may be worried about this expenditure of money raised by sacrificial giving from people who have generously sustained the mission of the Church.
The terms of reference of the Steel inquiry invite evidence from the public of inappropriate or unbecoming conduct by clergy in relation to events of the recent past.
The Bishop of Winchester is a member of the clergy.
If you have experienced the conduct of the Bishop of Winchester as inappropriate, or unbecoming, please write to Dame Heather Steel at heather.steel@churchofengland.org and copy it to noconfidenceinwinton@gmail.com (End)
Since the advert was published it has been revealed that members of the laity from both Jersey and Guernsey held a private meeting organised by Senator Bailhache. The information coming to hand is that the meeting enabled attendees to raise concerns emanating from the Bishop’s Visitation and their relationship with the diocese of Winchester.
I would put a few pence that if safeguarding was on the agenda it was way down the list. I would put even a few more pence that the Dean's handling of HG’s complaint or concerns about her welfare was not even on the agenda.

The Saga began with concerns over safeguarding and the alleged failure of the Dean and others to deal with a complaint against a Church Warden, those concerns now seem to be forgotten and is more about the clergy's self preservation than caring for the vulnerable.

Given that Senator Bailhache was involved it is likely that the subject of a break away from Winchester was high up on the agenda. The Senator not content with political independence appears to be looking at religious independence, is he using the Winchester farce as a trial run for greater events to follow? 
We don’t know whether those behind the publication of the advert are the same people involved in organising the meeting but it is interesting to note that the advert contains the following: “The Church is not, and cannot be perfect, and sadly, from time to time, confidence and hope can be damaged by people getting things wrong.”
Those responsible for the advert have got things badly wrong, they have done so anonymously and are asking members of the public who have experienced inappropriate or unbecoming conduct of their Bishop to write to Dame Heather and copy them in. If they do not have the courage to disclose their identity, how can they expect people to have courage to submit their comments to an anonymous group?
One wonders whether Bishop Dakin is aware of his revolting clergy or whether he really cares. Apparently he was not available but when asked for a comment but a “spokesman” on behalf of the Diocese of Winchester released the following statement.
"The Bishop of Winchester is fully committed to the historic relationship between Jersey and the rest of the Diocese of Winchester. The current safeguarding inquiries are focused purely on ensuring that vulnerable people in the Island, and the Diocese as a whole, are given all the support they need. The Church of England's recent General Synod made clear that safeguarding is of paramount importance throughout the Church. Every single Diocese, including the deaneries and parishes that form them, is expected to take safeguarding equally seriously. 

"Significant concerns were raised around the handling of a serious abuse complaint by a vulnerable young woman in Jersey in 2008. It would have been wholly irresponsible for the Diocese and the Bishop to have ignored these concerns and the current independent inquiries have been given the full support of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Dean of Jersey and the Chief Minister. The central Church of England is also funding a significant proportion of the cost of the inquiries because of its wider commitment to safeguarding. 

"The Bishop of Winchester and Dame Heather Steel agreed that her investigation should be carried out as openly and transparently as possible. As such, she placed a public notice in the Jersey Evening Post, calling for anyone with information or evidence that could aid her work to come forward." (End)

If one reads Dame Heather’s TOR (below) they will note that it states that she is going to conduct her investigation in private, therefore why is the “spokesman” saying the investigation should be carried out as openly and transparently as possible.

Also why did the spokesman not take the opportunity to comment on the advert and more importantly confirm whether Dame Heather is content to receive evidence of the Bishop’s perceived inappropriate conduct.

As there is no comment I  have written to Dame Heather asking what part if any she has had in publishing the advert and has she agreed to receive evidence of the Bishop’s inappropriate conduct. As her TOR are unclear I have also asked whether she will be investigating HG's arrest, detention and deportation from Jersey in line with the Korris recommendation? As yet I have not received a reply. 

Dame Heather Steel's Terms of Reference can be read HERE

The Korris Report can be read HERE

The following Blog by Tony the Prof is well worth reading please click HERE

37 comments:

  1. *revolting clergy*?!

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    1. Only some are in revolt I'm told.

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  2. My impression is that the dieses Winchester is handling this matter very professionally. Any potential disciplinary process is fraught with all sorts of traps that can let off any miscreants, and also reward them with significant financial compensation. It happens very frequently.

    What makes this case particularly difficult is the uncertainty over who is the employer of Jersey clergy and who is responsible for their discipline. The diocese needs to sort this out so that it does not get into the unwelcome situation where disciplinary action is recommended but it does not have the power to carry it out. Hence running the two enquiries together is a very sensible approach. If it turns out that the Jersey church is responsible for discipline then they appear to be irremediably biased.

    There is also the issue that HG herself may be entitled to pecuniary compensation. Would any claim be against the Diocese or the Jersey church. The two enquiries should provide strong guidance on this question.

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    1. I agree with you, Anon. Yes, the cost is a concern but worth far as I am concerned if it clears up a messy situation. My other concern is that Bishop Tim is hiding behind a PR Company. I don't think he's a bad man and tried to do the right thing but he needs to take more of a lead and not be bullied by things such as this
      Laity advert, which brings the Church into disrepute as far as I'm concerned

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    2. You may well be right, but there has been very little evidence to date. There is evidence that the Terms of reference lack clarity, the Steel panel is conflicted and communication between the witnesses and investigators has been exceedingly poor.

      I agree that there needs to be clarity in respect of responsibility but surely that matter should have been addressed before the Dean was suspended.

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    3. I agree on all of that, especially areas of responsibility. I can quite see why HG does not want the Steel investigation to go forward

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    4. Bob, I think the Bishop was taken by surprise. After all, no one expects the Jersey inquisition.

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  3. Dear Bishop Tim, are aware that your clergy are revolting?

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    Replies
    1. I have to admit, this comment made me chuckle!

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    2. Do you think he was worked out who they are?

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    3. The reason he wont speak to them is that he thinks they are revolting too.

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  4. An interesting posting, and very revealing.

    It was full of the Church is good, feeds , cares for blah blah people, but occasionally makes mistakes to me appears as an afterthought tagged on but not meant.

    One point written, that is completely correct is that the Church has damaged its reputation further. Why on this earth is the CoE being given taxpayers money when they carry on like this. This applies to the Jersey lot and depending on the final TOR's the UK bunch also.

    Good research Mr Hill.



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    Replies
    1. It is difficult to know how much damage has been done and will further be done. But hanging out one's dirty washing can be expensive financially and to one's reputation.

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  5. Once again, Phil Bailhache is telling us the real tragedy is not the horrible abuse of the vulnerable but the attempt to hold those responsible for abuse to account. That is the only message he is issuing, here.

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  6. What a good blog entry and commentary here, with excellent points made about responsibility for compensation and authority for discipline.

    It could be the ultimate twist if Phil Bailhache is successful in gaining independence for the Church of...E or J (?) particularly if HG is then able to establish that one of the two organisations owes her compensation. Legally, if she took the Jersey Church to a Jersey court for compensation, which would all but certainly be denied, she would still have the legal right to appeal through the UK. Wouldn't some ultimate legal precedence be required for a decision on any new case law? As your second commenter said, this sort of compensation case happens frequently.

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  7. I don’t think it is a question of compensation but one of justice and ensuring that policies are in place so that future allegations are investigated without fear or favour.

    That said, can one be really confident that Winchester is really up to the challenge.

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  8. This whole issue has at last brought us to bring to the front if Jersey is Independent or if Jersey is not! HG, there are people who do care about you in Jersey, hang in there. Quite frankly COE stands for Church of England and it is their rules we must adhere too, Jersey can't have it's bread buttered on both sides! and due to this issue being brought to the forefront at last decisions can be made as to which one we are!

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    Replies
    1. Could't agree more, Anon!

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  9. The church has turned its back on HG and catastrophically failed her and ruined her life. Only you (Bob) and the Jersey Bloggers have supported her and she is very fortunate to have you fighting her corner because a more determined and ethical man she will not find. I fully support HG and the fantastic work you are doing Bob.

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  10. Independent Jersey church would mean that Jersey pays the clergy salaries and provides the houses. Paycut anyone? paycut, revolting clergy?

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    1. I think if we went independent, there would be a recruitment and staff problem, as Wincheater may recall clergy, as well as headaches about who owns what.

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    2. and the states would have to pay for clergy training etc, it could be fun if Bailhache gets his way, watching the states with the new burden of the church.

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    3. put Revd. Key in a non-quals slum! :):):) the Diocese can sell the Deanery and houses to cover the costs of investigation and the States can fund new houses for the clergy! The States can pay for islanders to be trained as clergy in the UK, and the island clergy lose all their perks like flights to conferences and synods and free training and retreats in the UK. Then maybe they wont be jetting off to America to study cult practices so much either!

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    4. I have a feeling that if Jersey does go independent, you could be first on the excommunicated list.

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    5. one happy Catholic :)

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  11. * It would have been wholly irresponsible for the Diocese and Bishop to ignore these concerns*
    and yet they did, for a very long time, and it is pretty much too late now.

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  12. Hear,hear! Although, as HG herself says, some in the Church did support her (I have met one personally) so let's not tar them all with same brush. I support her and I'm still a Churchgoer, although,only just as I feel let down by Church treatment of HG.

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    1. Don't give up church for my sake!
      (you could consider becoming a Catholc though!) HG

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  13. As flawed as the Korris report is it's still the only document in circulation which supports HG. I hope HG will take part in the ongoing reviews so her treatment by Bob Key and the church warden can be examined more fully. Bailhache and the laity ought to be ashamed of themselves.

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  14. It is right for the COE to investigate how Jersey operates in terms of the vulnerable. It is wrong for people like Philip Bailhache to throw their dummies out of the pram when questions are being raised. Did Dame Steel get back to you Bob, if not why not? this is in the Public's interest, if she has a huge conflict of interest, then she must go! or it will end up costing more money later on down the line, funny, eh! money seems to flow when it comes to paying money for people like Dame Steel and nothing for HG, typical! Dame Steel if you are reading this, give up your salary and do the right thing or get out now before we find out you have a huge conflict of interest with your buddies! like Birt, like Philip... I know you are great friends with them.

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    1. Unfortunately Dame Heather like others involved with the investigation has not thought it fit to acknowledge let alone reply to my emails.

      I have no idea why I have subjected to the cold shoulder treatment and it would be interesting to know whether others have received the same treatment.

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  15. So she is already making herself unavailable to the Public by doing that, so why oh why was she chosen?, seems a waste of time and money to me. We need someone completely neutral to really investigate this issue properly.

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  16. Senator Bailhache is not in favour of neutral or fair and prefers to look the other way and ignore the word conflicted.

    The hijacked electoral commission is proof for all to see with the silly unbalanced biased questions offered to the public.

    Why should his involvement in this business be any different ?

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  17. Senator Bailhache has his own agenda and although he hijacked the Electoral Commission he could only do so with the support of other States Members.

    It is well known that he is keen on Independence, the Dean's handling of the complaint has brought conflict between Winchester and Jersey and it has given him an opportunity to further his aims, but remember he can only do so with the support of the clergy.

    Are they sheep or Lemmings?

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  18. Interesting to see that the church of England's Twitter archives have removed all articles and references to the apologies by the Bishop and Archbishop to HG.
    They have removed the whole story.
    I wonder why.
    I suppose it is because the only way they can get out of the mess they have created is by damning HG, and they wont want people to remember the apologies.

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  19. Thanks for your Comment. I was not aware of the removal and would be interested to know why.

    I am not familiar with the Church of England Twitter Archives and would be grateful if you could send me a link.

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