Lessons Learned Review – Father Alan Griffin
The Lessons Learned Review regarding Fr Alan Griffin has today been published by the Diocese of London. External safeguarding practitioner, Chris Robson, was commissioned to conduct the review following the coroner’s inquest in 2021 into Fr Alan’s death the previous November. The review report has been released in full, alongside the Diocese’s response.
I am profoundly sorry for all that Fr Alan Griffin endured and apologise unreservedly to his family and friends. Homophobia and bias, conscious or unconscious, have no place in our Church – the culture has to change. It is heart-breaking to read of the failings that occurred in the lead-up to November 2020, alongside the lack of understanding and proper pastoral care at the time of his HIV+ diagnosis and non-fatal suicide attempt in 2010.
Chris Robson’s report clearly identifies our past mistakes, alongside the improvements which have since been made, and the areas where work is still required. I am grateful for his approach and honesty, and for the efforts of the Review Steering Group in informing our response. We owe it to Fr Alan to ensure what happened to him can never happen to anybody else.
Chris Robson has provided the following statement:
“I would ask that those who read the Review see it as a document that will help the Diocese of London and wider church to improve safeguarding practice. Those people I have spoken to at a senior level have recognised the issues raised in the review and I am encouraged by their response.
“Whilst it is very clear that improvements to practice are necessary, I acknowledge that significant progress has already been made. In particular, the Diocese has a strong leader in Bishop Sarah and I can see she is driving that positive change. It now requires collective effort across the entire diocese with new and improved practice being ‘lived and owned’ by the whole church community.
“I would like to thank those who spoke to me for their candidness, often during difficult and emotional interviews. I have been privileged to speak with representatives of the family and friends of Father Alan during this process. The dignity, honesty and patience they have shown has been remarkable given the circumstances and I thank them sincerely for the part they played in the review.
“Finally, when reading this Review, I would ask that you remember Father Alan Griffin, a much-loved man. It is important that lessons are learned from his death and everything possible is done to ensure these or similar circumstances are never repeated.”
I recognise that the hugely difficult issues raised today will affect you all in different ways. An email invitation was sent to Two Cities Clergy last Friday offering several opportunities to meet face to face. For clergy in the other four Areas there will be a gathering on Zoom this Friday, for which please register here and then email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link.
Pastoral care is of course available and in the first instance I would ask you to contact my Chaplain, Sandra McCalla, at email@example.com so she can assist with finding and referring you to appropriate sources of pastoral care.
I have witnessed the distress, across the Two Cities Area in particular, in the wake of Fr Alan’s death. There is much for us to do to ensure we all learn the lessons from this tragedy. In particular, I am concerned to focus on how we work with each other as disciples of Christ. A culture that evolved over decades will not be transformed overnight, but I am committed to ensuring that change comes. I hope and pray that we can all contribute to that process. We are stronger when united in Christ’s love.
The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBEAG-report-Final-Report