Church Society review finds no evidence of misconduct

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Dear Church Society Members

Thank you for your concern and prayers regarding two matters we wrote to you about on 12th February.

One of those allegations was of dishonesty against our Director, Lee Gatiss. We are pleased that this has now been resolved. Following our own review, Church Society Council consider that the complainants, Nick Howard and James Mendelsohn, have not provided compelling evidence to substantiate their accusations of dishonesty. The complainants have responded to indicate that they do not wish for an independent third-party review, which we offered to commission.

The other aspect to the allegation concerns toleration of alleged antisemitism from someone who used to be a member of Church Society. Church Society utterly repudiates antisemitism, as our Director wrote in a blogpost, along with all other forms of racism, as abhorrent to the gospel and offensive to God. We were willing to have the allegations concerning Church Society’s relationship with Stephen Sizer considered by an independent third party, due to their seriousness, but that offer has also been declined.

We therefore want to make it clear that our Director, the Revd Dr Lee Gatiss, continues to have the full confidence and total support of Church Society’s Council and Staff. The delay in making this public statement was simply caused by our willingness and desire to look carefully at the claims and to be open to independent external scrutiny. We very much regret the time gap between the accusations in November 2020 and this exoneration, and wish to emphasise again, that at no point should our willingness to engage with external review have been taken to indicate or assume any suspicion of guilt.

We remain grateful for your prayers for all concerned, and are likewise thankful for your prayers, support and partnership as we continue working towards our great aim: the reformation and renewal of the Church of England in biblical faith.

Andrew Towner on behalf of the Church Society Council