Thousands of words have been written since the Jersey Dean, Bob Key was suspended in March last year. Very few, if any of the main players have emerged with their hallos still in tact and having listened to the Archbishop I was not inspired. I understand that he was given sight of the questions with sufficient time to be properly brief yet he came across as remote, distant, ill informed and disinterested.
The Church of England has found itself in a mess simply because of its lack of leadership and having listened to the Archbishop it is easy to see why. He had the opportunity of putting the record straight and re-assuring Channel Islanders that the Church of England really cares for every one and in particular those who come to it when in need. It will be for readers to form their own opinion on the Archbishop's answers but the following are my thoughts.
The Archbishop described Bishop of Winchester Tim Dakin as outstanding and wonderful. I believe there are a number of people who might not support that view and that is why they welcome the news that a temporary arrangement is now place whereby the Islands are now within the Bishop of Dover's remit thus breaking a 500 year old link. We heard that it was a result of discussions between the Bishop and Archbishop but we heard nothing of any consultation with the rank and file members of the Islands' congregation.
We don't know how long temporary arrangement is or how long the proposed Commission will take as no time scale was given nor who will be commissioned to conduct it, but does seem that procrastination will be the order of the day. We know that Bishop Dakin commissioned Jan Korris to investigate the Dean's handling of a complaint by a lady known as HG but we don't know what his motivation was because the complaint was made in July 2008. However we know that the fall out has caused great distress particularly to HG, hundreds of thousand of pounds have been spent (wasted) on the subsequent Visitation and a break from Winchester yet no one is accountable.
Some readers may find it surprising that the Archbishop has met Dean Bob Key only once but he has no reason not to have confidence in him. Given the shenanigans that have arisen over the past 15 months one wonders why the Archbishop has not taken the trouble to be better informed or meet the Dean because it is evident that he is in close contact with Bishop Dakin. Often more than two sides to a story but it appears that he has only listened to one side.
The Archbishop says that he stands by his apology to HG and accepts that the Church has let her down. He can keep saying that until the cows come home but it is quiet evident that he has no interest at all in HG yet he adds insult to injury by saying that he has to make sure that she is receiving "pastoral care" If he really cared and practised the spiritual love he talks about he would have personally apologised to her and ensured that she received the tangible support promised by Bishop Dakin last June.
It was also interesting to hear how he sidestepped the question about the Dean claiming he had been exonerated because he has been put back in post. Readers who have been following my and other Blogs will be well aware of the pressure put on the Archbishop by Senator Bailhache and others to reinstate the Dean, therefore he should have given an honest explanation as to why the Dean was reinstated and stated that whilst no disciplinary action is being taken against the Dean, he has apologised for the mistakes made in his handling of HG's complaint so therefore cannot be exonerated of all blame.
The Archbishop should also have been aware that the report he spoke about ( the Dame Heather Steel) has not been published and cannot be published because of Dame Heather's conflict with the Dean supporters and her bias against HG which can be found in the transcript of my meeting with her last October which neither she nor Winchester will let me have. Thus breaking a promise made before the actual meeting.
In my view the Archbishop did little to allay any fears for the future and it is a case of not doing what I do but as I say. Its no wonder why Church attendances are falling.