Behind closed doors: Smyth, Fletcher, secrets and lies

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Comments

  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Do you think people objected to the idea of training cadres of public school boys to be leaders in church, schools, military, etc? Well, you could argue that public schools do that anyway, but apparently some Christians saw it as their opportunity to train leaders. My mind boggles, which probably shows how naive I am.
    I imagine 'people', as in the great unwashed, might very well have objected, had they been privy to the real object of the exercise - but given that it seems the only people who were privy to it, stood to gain from the perpetuation of the system of which it is a part, I'd guess, no.
    Grabbing for the reins of power just looks to me like fundamentally the wrong way to spread your religion, if your religion happens to be Christianity. It's not meant to work like that.
  • Our churches are broken and empty.
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Oh, and @quetzalcoatl, if you really want your mind to boggle, look up the Federalist Society (part-way down the article, headed 'Three justices and counting'). Not just a British problem.
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    Our churches are broken and empty.
    Despite which, they can come up with a million dollars, if there's a plebiscite to be influenced, or a hundred thousand, for a spoiled brat who's experiencing delusions of martyrdom...
    (I'm not having a go at you, btw, Simon Toad, it's just...hard not get bitter, about this stuff.)
  • cheers mate. I understand. I wish we were angrier about this as Christians. I reckon our mainstream churches in Australia could probably run themselves as investment and lobby groups without the need for congregations.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    I'm curious as to how the various factions overlap.

    The -ICCU with which I was familiar was practically a front organisation for the local Anglican Reform church, which was very Calvinist, anti-charismatic, anti-liturgical, anti-Catholic, and which would not even allow women to lead Bible studies if men were present. It had virtually seceded from the diocese and hung around with like-minded churches instead.

    Not a shack high in the hills of Western Sheffield? If not there must be two of them!

    More than two I think, although I get the impression they only exist in certain key strategic locations ...
  • Meanwhile I'm sure some in Evangelical churches will be looking to articles like this from Christopher Ash for advice, guidance and comfort.

    It occurs to me that given the current progress of the IICSA and the way in which abuse has been silenced in the past, its particularly inappropriate to put this article out at this time.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    anoesis wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    Our churches are broken and empty.
    Despite which, they can come up with a million dollars, if there's a plebiscite to be influenced, or a hundred thousand, for a spoiled brat who's experiencing delusions of martyrdom...
    (I'm not having a go at you, btw, Simon Toad, it's just...hard not get bitter, about this stuff.)

    I missed that hundred thousand. Both payments were disgraceful and a use of donors' money that probably was not contemplated. To make matters worse, by the time that the million was promised, it was clear that Yes was going to win and the payment wasteful.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited July 2019
    Meanwhile I'm sure some in Evangelical churches will be looking to articles like this from Christopher Ash for advice, guidance and comfort.

    It occurs to me that given the current progress of the IICSA and the way in which abuse has been silenced in the past, its particularly inappropriate to put this article out at this time.

    Wow. That article verges on victim-blaming.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    cheers mate. I understand. I wish we were angrier about this as Christians. I reckon our mainstream churches in Australia could probably run themselves as investment and lobby groups without the need for congregations.
    • Who is we?
    • Is it supposed to include me?
    • If so, what specifically is the 'this' I am exhorted to be angrier about?
  • bloody hell. I see your objection Enoch.
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    cheers mate. I understand. I wish we were angrier about this as Christians. I reckon our mainstream churches in Australia could probably run themselves as investment and lobby groups without the need for congregations.
    • Who is we?
    • Is it supposed to include me?
    • If so, what specifically is the 'this' I am exhorted to be angrier about?

    Simon Toad was replying to my reply to him. I understood him perfectly adequately.
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    edited July 2019
    Meanwhile I'm sure some in Evangelical churches will be looking to articles like this from Christopher Ash for advice, guidance and comfort.
    It occurs to me that given the current progress of the IICSA and the way in which abuse has been silenced in the past, its particularly inappropriate to put this article out at this time.
    The word which came to my mind was shameful.
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Wow. That article verges on victim-blaming.
    Take out the "verges" and you've got it in one.

    And don't forget the "helpful" action from Emmanuel Wimbledon, which is to set up its own website for people affected by Fletcher - in other words don't just sweep it under a carpet but keep it under our carpet.
  • ExclamationMarkExclamationMark Shipmate
    edited July 2019
    (Seeing he is at Tyndale House one is bound to ask Do all roads in this context lead to Cambridge?)
    Yes. There is a link with the CU, The Round Church and Iwerne. I was at Cambridge in the late 1970's and attended CICCU from time to time. Also the Round Church where Ruston was Vicar. I didn't get invited on one of the trips down the Cam on his houseboat though.

    I was looked upon as an oddity in that environment. But not for my theology - I wasn't a chap, you see. I hadn't been to Iwerne, I didn't come from a "known" con evo church (though I was and am one - although more charismatic now), I came from a working class background and home, and being older than most, I'd worked as a labourer which was my gap year and more. How on earth did someone like me ever get there, let alone a scholarship and a good degree? (Laughs)

    The conversations in the early days tended to revolve around which preachers you rated, which camp you'd been on and who your leader had been. A lot of Iwerne chaps from those times are movers and shakers.

  • I wasn't a chap, you see.

    Is that Cambridge-speak for rah?
  • Of course Iwerne went on to develop camps for girls - some tosh about sisters feeling left out.

    The Titus Trust, which was the re-branding to distance itself from John Smyth, has never stopped using the name Iwerne, and it is on the Trust website that we find their statement about Jonathan Fletcher - you can see it here - with links to their own safeguarding people (! hubris), Southwark's and ... this from Emmanuel Wimbledon.

    Do these a*s*h**es never pause to question their own righteousness :rage:
  • TubbsTubbs Admin
    edited July 2019
    Meanwhile I'm sure some in Evangelical churches will be looking to articles like this from Christopher Ash for advice, guidance and comfort.
    It occurs to me that given the current progress of the IICSA and the way in which abuse has been silenced in the past, its particularly inappropriate to put this article out at this time.
    The word which came to my mind was shameful.
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Wow. That article verges on victim-blaming.
    Take out the "verges" and you've got it in one.

    And don't forget the "helpful" action from Emmanuel Wimbledon, which is to set up its own website for people affected by Fletcher - in other words don't just sweep it under a carpet but keep it under our carpet.

    I didn't make it to the end of the article but there didn't seem to be much on investigating what happened and why to see if similar incidents can be prevented in the future.

    I realise not everything can be prevented "because people" but really?! It read like so much self-serving, nothing to see here puff ...
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    I wasn't a chap, you see.

    Is that Cambridge-speak for rah?

    Oh yes. Not PLU
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Anything incarnational here? At all? Anything the obviously worse off, sadly lacking, unchurched need?
  • Annoyingly, yes.

    Go read the parable of the wheat and the tares.
  • How the mighty have fallen … makes you wonder who's next and what else will come out. As pointed out above there's much to be made of the link between Smyth, Fletcher and Rushden … the 1982 investigation was hardly that of an outsider was it?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Annoyingly, yes.

    Go read the parable of the wheat and the tares.

    Good answer.
  • edited July 2019
    Galilit wrote: »
    Actually, the matter was mentioned in the latest Private Eye - which arrived in my post today and I wondered if that was where CJCfarwest, Shipmate got his OP

    Ah, found it in the back pages (p40, issue 1499, should Mssrs. Carter-F*ck be on the prowl).
    [Fletcher] established a personal trust...[which] makes gifts to various charities with strong evangelical links - and, oddly, to what appears to be the Latin Mass Society in the RC Diocese of Arundel and Brighton

    It goes on to explain than another trustee in Fletcher's trust has links to the Society of St Pius X. Some kind of Calvinist-Jansenist alliance along the lines of Molotov and Ribbontrop? The Eye mentions this second trustee is linked to Max Moseley, of all people.

  • ExclamationMarkExclamationMark Shipmate
    edited July 2019
    How the mighty have fallen … makes you wonder who's next and what else will come out. As pointed out above there's much to be made of the link between Smyth, Fletcher and Rushden … the 1982 investigation was hardly that of an outsider was it?

    Ruston …. geographical error. IIRC his houseboat trips were supposed to be closely guarded secrets ,,,
  • Galilit wrote: »
    Actually, the matter was mentioned in the latest Private Eye - which arrived in my post today and I wondered if that was where CJCfarwest, Shipmate got his OP

    Ah, found it in the back pages (p40, issue 1499, should Mssrs. Carter-F*ck be on the prowl).
    [Fletcher] established a personal trust...[which] makes gifts to various charities with strong evangelical links - and, oddly, to what appears to be the Latin Mass Society in the RC Diocese of Arundel and Brighton

    It goes on to explain than another trustee in Fletcher's trust has links to the Society of St Pius X. Some kind of Calvinist-Jansenist alliance along the lines of Molotov and Ribbontrop? The Eye mentions this second trustee is linked to Max Moseley, of all people.

    AFAIK SSPX have no Jansenist connections at all.
  • On the wider context of the IICSA enquiry, it appears that the same set of institutional failings that were present in the RCC are present in the CofE, with exactly the same set of barriers to change and reform:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07flh1l

    The lawyers for the victims have expressed the concern that the CofE simply 'reverts to type' once the inquiry is over.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited July 2019
    To my certain knowledge there are links between senior Evangelical Alliance figures and the upper echelons of the Roman Catholic Church these days, because a couple of such EA figures have told me as much in person. They see much common ground on the authority of Scripture and ethical issues.

    I'm not sure to what extent this overlaps with Anglicans in general or Iwerne folk in particular, though. Or to what extent the EA is being taken for a ride by the older and cannier RCC.

  • AFAIK SSPX have no Jansenist connections at all.

    Yes, that was a lazy way for me to try to link well 'ard tendencies on both sides of the Tiber. It's interesting that Eutychus suggests that links exist. Who is playing Poland? :smile:
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    To my certain knowledge there are links between senior Evangelical Alliance figures and the upper echelons of the Roman Catholic Church these days, because a couple of such EA figures have told me as much in person. They see much common ground on the authority of Scripture and ethical issues.

    I'm not sure to what extent this overlaps with Anglicans in general or Iwerne folk in particular, though. Or to what extent the EA is being taken for a ride by the older and cannier RCC.
    The RCC will get into bed with anyone it feels will give it support for its position on things like abortion, contraception, etc - as witness the stitch-up it managed at the Cairo Conference on Population with representatives from the Muslim nations and the Al-Azhar university.

  • AFAIK SSPX have no Jansenist connections at all.

    Yes, that was a lazy way for me to try to link well 'ard tendencies on both sides of the Tiber. It's interesting that Eutychus suggests that links exist. Who is playing Poland? :smile:


    The links that Eutychus highlights are somewhat different, and I have always assumed exist across a number of faith groups - as allies with shared interests on different fields of contention.

  • This is in the news again. And I assume the occasion is the publishing of the IICSA report.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/13/justin-welby-church-scrutiny-sadistic-christian-camp

    Denying cooperation isn’t a good look, but it appears to be a lesson that the Titus Trust is yet to learn.
  • anoesis wrote: »
    Do you think people objected to the idea of training cadres of public school boys to be leaders in church, schools, military, etc? Well, you could argue that public schools do that anyway, but apparently some Christians saw it as their opportunity to train leaders. My mind boggles, which probably shows how naive I am.
    I imagine 'people', as in the great unwashed, might very well have objected, had they been privy to the real object of the exercise - but given that it seems the only people who were privy to it, stood to gain from the perpetuation of the system of which it is a part, I'd guess, no.
    Grabbing for the reins of power just looks to me like fundamentally the wrong way to spread your religion, if your religion happens to be Christianity. It's not meant to work like that.

    It does seem to be the way Christianity typically spread in ancient times. Not that it's the best approach nowadays.
  • This is in the news again. And I assume the occasion is the publishing of the IICSA report.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/13/justin-welby-church-scrutiny-sadistic-christian-camp

    Denying cooperation isn’t a good look, but it appears to be a lesson that the Titus Trust is yet to learn.

    In reading the article the following struck me particularly - and there are resonances here with the thread @Enoch started:

    "The Iwerne Trust invited boys and young men from public schools and top universities to attend holiday camps, with the aim of ensuring that future members of the establishment were committed Christians."

    ISTM that there is a difference between the churches mission to all parts of society being - partly - expressed by mission work to people from particular backgrounds vs trying to 'ensuring that future members of the establishment (are) committed Christians', which seems to me to have similar kinds of parallels with Erastianism that Enoch seemed to be picking up to. One is an expression of mission and the other an attempt to seize a share of power for the church.
  • When I was at university in the late 70s I was a keen member of the CU. Visiting speakers regularly told us we were the elite, future leaders of the country, who would be strategic in bringing the country back to Christ. I didn't like the line of argument then; I like it even less now.
  • We used to get similar rhetoric and exhortations in Christian Medical Fellowship (CU affiliated) when I was a student. It had an initial attractiveness of being important and responsible for somehow changing the world. It sickened on me pretty quickly. But it’s seductive when you’re young and idealistic and impressionable...
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    I led on Titus Trust camps (not Iwerne) through the 90s and belong to one of the main flagship Iwerne-dominated Conservative-Evangelical churches. The rhetoric of capturing institutions and positions of influence for sound Christianity had certainly subsided completely by my time at the camps, although there was a definite push towards being either a C of E vicar or a teacher in one of the target schools.

    At my -ICCU Christian Union in the early 90s the Iwerne set were a sizeable minority but somewhat patronisingly looked down on, e.g. overlooked for the CU presidency in each of my four years. I think they unwittingly subsided into a quasi-ghetto mentality rather than consciously tried to maintain an elitist clique.

    That mentality of continuing with faithful ministry on our patch rather than try to expand our empire politically has I think continued into the church politics of the last 30 years, with the main Con-Evo churches for the most part remaining aloof from church politics / synods etc, and producing only two C of E bishops. At its best, that shows a commendable trust in God to build His kingdom by His gospel, rather than by human power and institutional influence (or improper peer influence).
  • bigjon wrote: »
    That mentality of continuing with faithful ministry on our patch rather than try to expand our empire politically has I think continued into the church politics of the last 30 years, with the main Con-Evo churches for the most part remaining aloof from church politics / synods etc, and producing only two C of E bishops. At its best, that shows a commendable trust in God to build His kingdom by His gospel, rather than by human power and institutional influence (or improper peer influence).

    I'm not sure that squares with the practice of irregular ordinations, irregular church plants, extra-territorial bishops, Reform, GAFCON, etc. The main ConEvo churches haven't remained 'aloof', they've done as much as they can to undermine the parish and diocesan structure of the CofE as they could get away with: fortunately, locally and nationally, they have largely been resisted.

    (I was 20 years at a ConEvo CofE church, and on the staff for some of that time)
  • bigjon wrote: »
    The rhetoric of capturing institutions and positions of influence for sound Christianity had certainly subsided completely by my time at the camps, although there was a definite push
    towards being either a C of E vicar or a teacher in one of the target schools.

    But at that point one has to start to wonder what it's actually for - apart from self perpetuation and making sure that a requisite percentage of the 'right sort of chaps' become vicars and teachers at the target schools (both of which can rapidly become deeply problematic even apart from running orthogonal to any notion of the con-evo 'gospel').
    That mentality of continuing with faithful ministry on our patch rather than try to expand our empire politically has I think continued into the church politics of the last 30 years, with the main Con-Evo churches for the most part remaining aloof from church politics

    Except 'for the most part remaining aloof' has actually mapped to being openly and fairly aggressively aloof and doing everything to signal a possible split short of actually leaving (not unlike the ERG in that regard).
    / synods etc, and producing only two C of E bishops. At its best, that shows a commendable trust in God to build His kingdom by His gospel, rather than by human power and institutional influence (or improper peer influence).

    At its worst, it demonstrates a rather worldly attachment to church of the establishment which happens to be run along Episcopal lines, even while having no truck with the Episcopacy itself.
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    I'm not sure that squares with the practice of irregular ordinations, irregular church plants, extra-territorial bishops, Reform, GAFCON, etc. The main ConEvo churches haven't remained 'aloof', they've done as much as they can to undermine the parish and diocesan structure of the CofE as they could get away with:

    The largest Con-Evo churches have I think supported these developments but not been the main instigators of them. For instance they have concentrated far more energy on the Proclamation Trust than on Reform / Church Society. And by maintaining the congregation as the prime unit of mission rather than deanery / diocese / C of E they have overall maintained the parish structure rather than (deliberately) undermined it, and have kept the diocesan structure in its (I would say appropriate) subsidiary place.

    Opinions differ I'm sure as to the level of justification for irregular church-plants etc, but saying "they've done as much as they can to undermine..." seems definitely on the harsh side to me.
  • bigjon wrote: »
    Opinions differ I'm sure as to the level of justification for irregular church-plants etc, but saying "they've done as much as they can to undermine..." seems definitely on the harsh side to me.

    Deliberate irregular ordinations, bringing in non-communion bishops to consecrate your own bishops, denying the authority of diocesans, withholding parish shares? I mean, how would you describe it?

    Reform (which I now see has bitten the dust, in a merger with the Church Society) was almost entirely a Iwerne project - lines of communication went between members, ignoring traditional structures and authority. They were more responsible to each other for their actions and words than to their bishops.
  • bigjon wrote: »
    At its best, that shows a commendable trust in God to build His kingdom by His gospel, rather than by human power and institutional influence (or improper peer influence).

    At its worst this shows a belief that only they have the gospel, and the rest of the C of E are devoid of grace.
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    bigjon wrote: »
    At its best, that shows a commendable trust in God to build His kingdom by His gospel, rather than by human power and institutional influence (or improper peer influence).

    At its worst this shows a belief that only they have the gospel, and the rest of the C of E are devoid of grace.

    I have mixed feelings myself about the wisdom of the course they / we have taken. My point was an historical one in relation to the thread topic, that I don't think Iwerne's approach for the last thirty years has been 'capture the institutions of church and state for our brand of Christianity'. Instead, it has been more along the lines of 'plough our own furrow' in isolation from other streams of Christianity. Overall, I think that's a bad thing, but 'at it's best' it is possible to spin it positively.
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    bigjon wrote: »
    Opinions differ I'm sure as to the level of justification for irregular church-plants etc, but saying "they've done as much as they can to undermine..." seems definitely on the harsh side to me.

    Deliberate irregular ordinations, bringing in non-communion bishops to consecrate your own bishops, denying the authority of diocesans, withholding parish shares? I mean, how would you describe it?
    I'll start a new thread to continue this track.
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    bigjon wrote: »
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    bigjon wrote: »
    Opinions differ I'm sure as to the level of justification for irregular church-plants etc, but saying "they've done as much as they can to undermine..." seems definitely on the harsh side to me.

    Deliberate irregular ordinations, bringing in non-communion bishops to consecrate your own bishops, denying the authority of diocesans, withholding parish shares? I mean, how would you describe it?
    I'll start a new thread to continue this track.
    See
    A Conservative Evangelical puts his head above the parapet...
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    This is in the news again. And I assume the occasion is the publishing of the IICSA report.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/13/justin-welby-church-scrutiny-sadistic-christian-camp

    Denying cooperation isn’t a good look, but it appears to be a lesson that the Titus Trust is yet to learn.
    What really is the point of this if Smyth is dead and the Titus Trust doesn't take part?

    It's a peripheral guiltfest, a waste of everyone else's time, money and stress.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    This is in the news again. And I assume the occasion is the publishing of the IICSA report.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/13/justin-welby-church-scrutiny-sadistic-christian-camp

    Denying cooperation isn’t a good look, but it appears to be a lesson that the Titus Trust is yet to learn.
    What really is the point of this if Smyth is dead and the Titus Trust doesn't take part?

    It's a peripheral guiltfest, a waste of everyone else's time, money and stress.

    The point is that before they can move on, all institutions which have in the past (and we hope not now) done their damndest to put reputation above the need for the protection of innocents, which by omission have effectively colluded with or facilitated criminals in their behaviour, need to face up to the damage they have caused and the hurt they have inflicted on people who were in their charge and/or looked to them for support guidance and, above all, regarded the institution as a safe place.

    If you regard the Church (whichever one) as a body, then it is a case that everyone knows the powerful antibiotics will help to cure infection, but there is no point in applying them if you don't first remove the infected, dead, tissue.

    As for the Titus Trust, in particular: the whole business of this organisation and its camps has brought to light some deeply unpalatable issues; moreover, the responses from some people in the CofE (and right to the very top) has been to prevaricate, to deny, in some cases to lie, and to refuse to assist in the laudable attempts to lance this particularly noxious boil. It has come out that there has been manipulation of facts and withholding of information by an organisation which still exists and which still seeks to mould the beliefs and mindset of young people.

    If, as seems increasingly likely, those Iwerne alumni who were targeted by Smyth, and his friend Fletcher and others, refuse to be cowed and browbeaten into silence, then the trail of people who have been less than open in their initial responses goes through the gates of Lambeth.
  • Was there some kind of brainwashing involved?

    I'm trying to imagine my reaction if a pastor said he wanted to beat me with a gym shoe as a light hearted forfeit. It would most likely involve a threat to insert said gym shoe rest of this sentence is more suitable for hell.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Host hat on
    Can I remind people not to post in a way which suggests or implies that allegations and claims are true unless they have been legally proved, or have been admitted by those against whom they are made. ‘Everybody knows x is the case’ has more than once shown that ‘everybody’ can be wrong in ways which are unfair to ‘x’, and further, The Ship can not afford to face litigation.
    Host hat off
    BroJames Purgatory Host
  • Enoch wrote: »
    This is in the news again. And I assume the occasion is the publishing of the IICSA report.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/13/justin-welby-church-scrutiny-sadistic-christian-camp

    Denying cooperation isn’t a good look, but it appears to be a lesson that the Titus Trust is yet to learn.
    What really is the point of this if Smyth is dead and the Titus Trust doesn't take part?

    It's a peripheral guiltfest, a waste of everyone else's time, money and stress.

    I think in the general sense it is needed to correct past institutional failures, set in place better practice and give the victims a chance to be listened to. In the christian context there may also be a need for atonement and repentance.
  • Back in the late 1970's when I entered University from a working class background (somewhat older than most), Iwerne was very much part of the Christian Union make up. Chaps would talk about which camp they'd been on and compare the teaching of the leaders on the camps.

    The recommended church was an Iwerne stalwart - attended a couple of years earlier by one J Welby (he lodged with the Vicar) and where one J Fletcher had been curate. At least one mission agency today is headed up by a chap from that era. The chaps really weren't that interested in people like me, even though theologically I was on the same page.

    There's an uncomfortable link between individuals and churches which can allow things to happen but can also permit cover ups to flourish.
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