In a service of Evensong at Winchester Cathedral on 29 January, The Rt Revd Tim Dakin, utilising a tradition of a few hundred days, “laid aside his episcopal ministry” by placing his crozier on the Communion Table in the Cathedral. He formally retires on 6 February. In a video since removed from YouTube, Dakin lost control of his emotions as he knelt before the Communion Table.
Dakin’s episcopacy was marked by controversy. During his time in office, the episcopal oversight for the Channel Islands was removed from the Diocese of Winchester (and thus Dakin’s authority). This ended an ecclesiastical relationship that had been in place since the 13th Century. The Channel Islands now are part of the Diocese of Salisbury. Dakin faced a No Confidence vote at the last diocesan synod before he “stood back” from his role as bishop.
The EC has been told that as many as twenty clergy were turfed out of their parishes and required to sign Non-disclosure Agreements (NDAs) in order to receive some sort of financial payout to ease their departure. It has been estimated that the Diocese spent £500,000 in facilitating the NDAs.
Canon Angela Tilby who contributes to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, told Church Times in May of last year: “Dr Dakin’s appointment in 2011 was in line with the diocese’s stated priorities for mission and growth. He came with a conservative theology and extensive leadership experience in Uganda and at the Church Mission Society. He quickly made his mark as a mission-orientated disturber: one whose instinct is to ‘move fast and break things’. And he broke quite a lot of things.”
One of those clergy, the Revd Dr Rohintan Mody, was asked for comment.He said:” I am truly sorry that Bishop Tim Dakin has had to resign as Bishop of Winchester. I can really empathise with him, since I had to sign a settlement agreement with a ‘confidentiality clause’ that meant that I too had to resign my ministry from Winchester Diocese. I am praying for him. What is now required is for the Diocese of Winchester to commission an independent inquiry into all the events leading to clergy dispossession, and subsequently apologise to all clergy involved for its past unethical and unbiblical behaviour.”
The Revd Carl Chambers, Vicar at St Michael and All Angels, Wilmington in Kent described the treatment of Revd Dr Mody this way: “having walked with Ro throughout this, let me say that he was treated terribly. Appallingly. Thoroughly unethically. I would urge Winchester diocese to set up an independent “Past Cases Review” to allow prompt investigation and action.
“If you are in Winchester diocese, then get together with others and petition the powers that be to do good and establish if things need to be put right. It’s called reconciliation. Which is kind of what we stand for.”The Diocese of Winchester has chosen to not respond to our request for a response.