The following letter was printed in the Jersey Evening Post this lunchtime.
We are now over 10 weeks into a divisive dispute with the Bishop of Winchester.Â This dispute is seriously harming relations between the Island and the Bishop, as it is not just about a â€˜Safeguarding â€˜ issue, but is more about the constitutional relationship between the Diocese of Winchester and the Deanery of Jersey.
Jersey is unique within the Anglican Church in having its own Ecclesiastical Law, a law that was revised after 15 years of debate between many people in the Deanery of Jersey and the Diocese of Winchester, adopted by the States of Jersey in December 2011 and approved by the Privy Council in March 2012.
It is clear that the Bishop of Winchester does not like answering questions, even through his London based PR consultancy, Luther Pendragon. I therefore thought that the people of Jersey should consider these questions.
Twenty Questions for the Bishop of Winchester
The Korris Review
1. Please explain the sequence of actions leading to your decision to commission the Korris Review into a complaint made by a woman (HG) against a churchwarden (no longer in office) and resolved by the Dean nearly five years ago.
2. Why were the terms of reference not discussed with the Dean, The Bailiff of Jersey and the Attorney General (AG) of Jersey prior to the start of the Review?
3. Are you aware of the oath of office sworn by the Dean in the Royal Court of Jersey on appointment as Dean of Jersey? If so, why did you not acknowledge this in your Press release on 8th March 2013 announcing the â€œsuspensionâ€ from office of the Dean, when you knew, or ought to have known, that you had no power to suspend the Dean?
4. Were you aware of the context of the passing into law of the Jersey Canons in March 2012 and the differences that exist between the Jersey Canons 2012 and the Anglican Church Canons 1969 (as amended) on which the Jersey Canons are based?
5. Why was the previous reported behaviour of HG, in two separate Parishes of the Diocese of Winchester, both of which were known about by the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer, not investigated and reported on as a part of the Korris Review? It is mentioned on page 35 of the Review.
6. Page 40 of the Korris Review states: â€œIt is debatable whether, once the police case had been settled, this remained a Safeguarding issue. As soon as H.G. began to make complaints against Officers of the Church in December 2008 it may have been helpful for the task of investigating this to have changed hands.â€ If this is a conclusion, why did the Review happen at all?
7. Why does the Korris Review compare the Jersey situation to the Butler-Sloss Report of 2011, when the core issue there was a paedophile ring being operated by clergy in the Diocese between 1970 and 1984, and having no connection with the alleged procedural failures of the handling of the HG case in Jersey between August 2008 and October 2010?
The Dame Heather Steel Investigation
8. On 8th March 2013 you announced â€I have now ordered an immediate and thorough investigationâ€. We are now 70+ days after your announcement, yet the investigation has not started and Korris (Page 12) criticised the Dean for a 45-day delay. Why are different rules being applied?
9. Have you agreed the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the Investigation with the authorities in Jersey? (The Bailiff, Lieutenant Governor and AG) If so, why are they being kept secret?
10. How will the laity have an opportunity to submit evidence and comment to the Investigation?
The Bishop Gladwin Visitation
11. Given that the constitutional relations between the Island and Diocese are in question, were the TOR for the Visitation agreed with the Dean, Bailiff, and AG of Jersey before they were announced; if not, why not?
12. Now that you understand the legal position regarding Jersey and the Jersey Canons, will you abandon paragraph 3a of the TOR that seeks to question the validity and relevance of Jersey Canon Law 2012 that was so recently adopted by the States and approved by the Privy Council?
13. How is Bishop Gladwin to be orientated on the legal, social and economic situation in Jersey before starting his Visitation?
14. How much has the Korris Review and subsequent actions, including travel and accommodation, legal advice, press releases, the preparations for the Investigation and Visitation cost to date?
15. What are the budgeted costs of the Investigation and Visitation?
16. Given the Dioceseâ€™s declared economic difficulties, where are the funds for the Korris Review and subsequent actions coming from?
17. Specifically, what is the budgeted cost of the employment of Luther Pendragon, PR Consultants, in relation to this dispute, given that there appears to be a team of three consultants available to the Diocese around the clock?
18. Do you recognise that you unfairly traduced the Dean in your message to the Islandâ€™s Anglican clergy of 8th March 2013?
19. Do you recognise the hurt you have caused to the Key family, not just through the Korris Review, but through your suspension of Daphne Key from her employment as PA to the Dean, and your instruction to the Dean at the time of his â€œsuspensionâ€, banning him from speaking to his own clergy in clear breach of his human rights?
20. How do you think you will ever repair the substantial damage to your ministry in Jersey as our Bishop?
Bruce Willing is a retired British Army Brigadier (for US Readers, equivalent of Brigadier General / 1 Star General) living on Jersey.
The letter comes on the back of a previous letter a few days ago and the continued refusal of the Diocese of Winchester to release the Terms of Reference for the Dame Heather Steel investigation.