We are deeply saddened and appalled by the abuse exposed by these reviews and our hearts and prayers go out first and foremost to the many victims whose lives have been irreparably scarred and damaged.
We give thanks to God for those who have contributed to these documents: for those who have shone light into dark places and for those who have bravely shared their stories of abuse. Our prayer is that their labour will prove not to be in vain and the recommendations made by these independent voices will be heard and implemented in full.
We fully support the recommendations of the 31:8 Review and long to see an end to the ongoing culture of fear they describe and the conclusion that:
‘It is the opinion of the Reviewers that the aspects of unhealthy culture at ECW and more broadly across the affected CE constituency might only be addressed fully by those having played a key role in the establishment and maintenance of that culture to no longer enjoy the influence they have had to date (i.e. considering their positions and stepping down). It is not for this review to determine the details of how this should take place, but it should be recognised and considered as a necessary part of a demonstrable commitment towards a safer, healthier culture.’
In the light of this, we are concerned that if this element of the review is ignored, victims will have good reason to believe that there are no consequences to the failures uncovered and no real costly commitment to change.
We believe that the probing questions asked by the IAG, regarding the sequence of events from 2017-2019, require full, frank and public answers from all involved. We note that in their public statements, those who took responsibility for urging people not to invite Jonathan Fletcher to minister, (Right Revd Rod Thomas, Revd William Taylor, Canon Vaughan Roberts and Revd Robin Weekes) have not yet offered any such answers.
Anglican Futures was formed to provide practical and pastoral support to faithful Anglicans. As part of our work we have already led five Ideas-Exchanges on ‘Loving Local Churches: How can we avoid abusive cultures’. As part of our contribution to implementing the recommendations of these reviews, we are offering to facilitate learning and discussion based on this resource to PCCs or other church groups. Please contact us if we can assist you.
We believe complete transparency is necessary for the sake of the victims, the integrity of Anglican conservative evangelicalism and its witness to the love and grace of God in Christ, and above all, for the honour of the Lord Jesus Christ whose name we bear.
Signed: Revd Melvin Tinker (Chair), Canon Phil Ashey, Mr Dan Leafe, Revd Matthew Mason, Mrs Susanna Sanlon