Monday 5 May 2014

Jersey's Dean --- Archbishop of Canterbury BBC Radio Jersey Interview

Yesterday morning BBC Radio Jersey broadcast an interview between Matthew Price and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. It is believed to be the first time that the Archbishop had spoken publicly on the fall out between the Diocese of Winchester and Jersey can be heard by clicking here

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.

I thank BBC Radio Jersey and Matthew Price in particular for his interview and for providing me with a copy of the interview which can again be heard by clicking here.


  1. Bob, I'll say it again - the most caring thing the Diocese could do is leave her alone! At the moment HG has a life she finds even enjoyable in parts but it is severely compromised by her fear of the Diocese ripping it away with their reports. As far as I can make out she has pastoral support in a form she can cope with.

    1. You could be right but the matter wont just again because there is now too much at stake for the Church. It is in disarray as one can see from the interview and if it dares to publish the Steel Report it will be further evidence of its incompetence and self interest.

    2. Emma is absolutely correct and has put it well.
      When the church of england aren't upsetting me, my life is well-balanced and somewhat enjoyable.
      The Church, rather than helping me, are the main threat to my newly rebuilt life.

  2. The dean covered up for an abuser in the church. You know it I know and Justin Welby know's it. Why won't Welby tell the truth isn't that what Jesus would have done?

    1. Unfortunately the Church has been unchallenged for so long that it has lost sight of what Jesus would have done.

  3. That interview would confirm your worst fears about the Church of England.

    Any man who went into an interview as badly briefed and decided to waffle his way around every question put to him should be sacked.

    If he was not badly briefed then he's a cowardly sleazeball and should be sacked anyway.

    He sounded like any bureaucrat caught in the headlights and expected to defend the indefensible.

    I hope someone keeps a copy of this interview before BBC deletes it. It is on a par with Ian Le Marquand's famous interview with the outside TV lady. Appalling.

    As you say HG needs some tangible help with no strings attached, and not necesssarily directly from a church which has abused her and continues to do so with this sort of mealy mouthed performance. The last thing that is required is clearly his brand of "pastoral care". He seems to be only concerned with the future of the church as an institution regardless of the welfare of its members.

    He needs to stop playing "happy families" and show some leadership.

    Some very funny statements there too. Bishop Dakin's staff seem to have pushed for the transfer and then Bishop Dakin put it to the Archbishop?

    Weird stuff.

    Be good if he could be brought back for another interview and Matthew (who didn't do too badly) could ask him the rest of the questions and insist on concrete answers.

    1. Polo you have made some good points and thank you.

      What the interview shows is the Archbishop's lack of empathy with the ordinary man/woman in the street and is much more at home with fellow school mates like David Cameron and Royalty.

      It was quite a coup for Radio Jersey to get the interview but I doubt whether lightening will strike twice so Matthew is unlikely to get a second interview.

    2. It was quite a waffle, basically the Archbishop trying to keep everyone happy.
      In my case it has left me angry and upset, but I don't think my welfare is of much concern to him, I think the Dean and his supporters and the Diocese of Winchester were who he was promoting, and his comment of standing by his apology to me means little when there was no personal apology.

  4. Bob.

    "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."

    So the Archbishop hasn't read the KORRIS REPORT then?

    Notice how the Archbishop ducked the question of the Dean (not) being exonerated? That's because (in the real world) he HASN'T been exonerated despite ITV/CTV and Philip Bailhache trying to pretend HE HAS!

    Furthermore has ANYBODY from the church publicly supported the victim HG yet or are the good Christian people of this island too busy supporting those who abused and failed her?

    1. People in the Archbishop's position seldom read reports but rely on briefings, as one can see from the interview he was either poorly briefed and was being economical with the truth.

      Thank you for the links and I ask that readers unfamiliar with the background read both of them.

  5. "he came across as remote, distant, ill informed and disinterested."

    Being disinterested would be commendable, nay essential, to sorting the mess out.

    Being uninterested, on the other hand...

  6. What did we learn from the interview? The Archbishop doesn't know when the commission is going to start or when it's going to finish. He doesn't know if Bob Key has been exonerated because he hasn't read the paperwork. What part did Philip Bailhache play in covering up for the Dean? Why weren't the general public asked of their opinion of the split with Winchester before Bailhache, Ashenden, Willing and cabal setting in train their elaborate cover up? How is the victim HG coping?

  7. HG is being deeply traumatized by this utterly ridiculous dragging up of the past without justice being done and wishes that these silly men would both grow up and understand that side-stepping and misleading people is harmful.
    HG intends to do a statement about the Archbishop's recent interview when she is well enough.

  8. It has been quite obvious for over 12 months that the " childish spat" is between the Dean and Bishop of Winchester with the Dean's mishandling of HG's complaint being used as a reason/excuse to justify the point scoring which has followed.

    The Church of England does not care a jot about HG, and never has. Its lack of care for her, the meaningless apologies and the failure of Dame Heather to interview her is ample evidence. Its icing on the cake will be the publication of the dis-credible Steel Report.

  9. Bob,
    Are you aware that Bailhache's lackey Deputy Le Fondre has an oral question lodged for next Tuesday asking the Chief Minister if he knows when the Steel Report is being published.

    1. I am aware that Deputy Le Fondre has lodged a question for the Chief Minister asking when the Steel Report is being presented.

      However he is not asking about HG's well being or asking when the Chief Minister is releasing the Johnson Report which is about HG'[s deportation but like Steel, Johnson has not interviewed HG, that report will be another waste of money.

  10. Bob:

  11. Bob.

    Will the Child Abuse Committee if Inquiry be asking questions of MICK GRADWELL?

    1. I would hope that the COI will be looking into all the cases that Gradwell was involved with. We should not forget that HG's complaint was made at time when Gradwell headed the CID. Therefore one should not be surprised that her allegations were knocked on the head.

  12. On the local radio today they announced the completion of Dame Steels report but no date for when it will be released, as was promised. This again flags up the CoEs' integrity. The church should be open and transparent, but is acting like a corporate entity.

    The word Hypocrite is a label the Bishop could well do without, and will only lose his followers respect.

  13. A report that is constructed by a lady who has worked with the Jersey judiciary, that never interviewed or received any sort of statement or input from HG and agreed at a meeting to provide you with transcripts of meeting but never did.
    If this is all correct, do they expect this report to be taken seriously?

    I think not, comment please Bob.

    ITV News understands the Lieutenant Governor has been told by Bishop Dakin that he is unable to give a specific timetable for when the report will be out but it should be within the next few weeks.