In my previous blog I made reference to a report published on the Channel TV website which said that it could reveal that the Bishop of Winchester Tim Dakin had received the Steel Report, he had formally informed Jersey's Lieutenant Governor that he was not taking any disciplinary action against the Dean of Jersey, Dame Heather had been investigating how Jersey's Church looks after vulnerable parishioners and he had set up an Impact Assessment Group to suggest ways in which the Steel Report can be published without causing harm to HG.
It is possible that the information on the Channel Website came from a letter from Bishop Dakin to the Bailiff of Jersey because that letter contains much of the same information. However the letter contains additional information because the Bishop has said that the Steel Report highlights a number of significant concerns about safeguarding in Jersey including some which are directly connected with the Canons and the laws of Jersey.
Those who have read the Jan Korris Report which was published 15 months ago will have noted her concerns and of the confusion arising from the Church of England's Safeguarding Policy and the Jersey Canon Law. The Bishop now lets on that Dame Heather Steel has also come up with that conclusion yet it is only made known 6 months after he announced that no disciplinary action was being taken against the Dean.
What is now evident is that when it comes to priorities the welfare of people like HG, the vulnerable and the general public are not as important as looking after the clergy particularly those responsible for ensuring that policies are not only implemented but complied with.
I am told that the letter goes on to say "I know that we share a common desire to ensure that safeguarding in the Church of England in Jersey is of the highest standard. I trust that we will be able to work together, with the Visitation team and the Archbishop’s Commission, to ensure that safeguarding in the Island is as good as it can be."
This leads one to ask why was the Bishop writing to the Bailiff who is our unelected Speaker and the Island's Chief Judge who should not be involved in politics. As the matter is now very much political should the letter not have been sent to the Island's Chief Minister who has been questioned on the matter several times in the States. It also leads one to ask who in Jersey is responsible for ensuring that safeguarding in the Island is as good as it can be?
This is very pertinent question because If the Bishop is saying that the Steel Report highlights a number of significant concerns about safeguarding in Jersey but the Dean is not being disciplined then where does the buck stop?
When one looks under the thin Church carpets it is not difficult to find an organisation that has not only failed itself but has lost its way. An organisation devoid of leadership and anachronistic. An organisation which has lost touch with the ordinary church goer and still believes it can overcome problems by praying for divine intervention rather than accepting that it is the cause of the problems.
The Church of England is in trouble simply because at the outset its officers were of the belief that their and the Church Warden's status outweighed the complainant's who was dismissed as a trouble maker. Fortunately the public is no longer gullible and have learnt that the likes of Savile, Hall, Clifford and other obnoxious characters not only get exposed but so too the organisations who have protected them.
It was Talleyrand who is credited for the quotation; "They have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing." That could be said of the Church of England as it continues to fail to practice what it preaches and is more content on looking after their own rather than their congregation.
HG may not have her day in court, but she is very much the winner because she has exposed the Church of England's hypocrisy who having failed her in 2008 has used her to settle an unseemly spat between Jersey's Dean and the Bishop of Winchester which has cost the Church of England hundreds of thousands of pounds and immense loss of public confidence.
To make matters worse the fall out from the Dean/Bishop spat continues as we now learn that complaints have been lodged against the Bishop for being beastly to the Dean who at least was not deported and left destitute in his pyjamas. Perhaps who ever is addressing the complaint might also address HG's complaint about the Dean because that issue is still outstanding.
The Dean's supporters are hell bent on having sight of the Steel Report which has been compiled by one of its friends. The Bishop has stalled its circulation apparently because of a legal challenge and that the Report was incomplete. We know that there are significant safeguarding concerns in Jersey but no disciplinary action is being taken again the Dean and the Report will harm a person who has not been interviewed. Is anyone listening at Canterbury or is it is a case that no-one really cares?
These are indeed dark days for the Church of England and it could be said that "You just could not make it up," sadly the facts speak for them selves.