Jonathan Fletcher and Emmanuel Wimbledon

The review on Emmanuel Church and Jonathan Fletcher has now been published. Horrible reading for Conservative Evangelicals in the CofE.

https://walkingwith.uk/review
«13456

Comments

  • Horrible reading for Conservative Evangelicals in the CofE.

    They have been trying to gradually disassociate themselves from Fletcher for a while.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Just skimming.

    The words I could never
    fall from grace, I'm far too clever
    (Game On, Catatonia) are on my mind.

    I recognise a lot of the attitude from my own time in CofE Evangelical churches. The wider connections to other Evangelicals being more important to our connections to the rest of the CofE, frequently regarded as Liberal (boo!), "High and Dead", which was often seen as a marriage of convenience while we went as far as we could get away with in ignoring them.
  • Another person well-known to ++Cantuar proves to be a wrong-un. Let's see how much or little he claims to know of JF.

    Borrowing from Wilde To know one evangelist with a predilection for flagellation may be regarded as pure chance, to know two looks like ... - well, I'd say that "carelessness" doesn't really cover it.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    Host Hat On

    Collectively, as Shipmates and as Hosts, we’re going to have to be careful with this thread. I think there is plenty of scope for serious discussion about the perils of and remedies for abuse by church leaders.

    But we had better be careful about comments re individuals named in the report bearing in mind Commandment 7. It is of course legitimate to reflect on matters in the public domain and I note the admissions of fault contained in the linked articles.

    So please think before you post re individuals named in the report.

    Barnabas62
    Purgatory Host

    Host Hat Off
  • Youtube interview with the curate (1995-2013) at ECW can be found here. It gets interesting at about 28 minutes.
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    edited March 24
    Youtube interview with the curate (1995-2013) at ECW can be found here. It gets interesting at about 28 minutes.

    There's some commentary on this video at the Surviving Church link I posted above. This part seems particularly apt:

    "From this video I gained a greater insight into a Christian culture that says one thing, but then is blind to the same thing happening in its back yard. The Iwerne/con-evo/conservative Christian culture also seems to have remarkably little insight into the nature of power. As I have said elsewhere there is always going to be a problem around power for any group who presents as if they have been entrusted with infallible teaching or access to final truth. When there is a Christian culture that admits no doubts, there will be also be a hesitancy or reluctance to question or challenge leaders who are straying morally. "
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited March 25
    The Iwerne/con-evo/conservative Christian culture also seems to have remarkably little insight into the nature of power. As I have said elsewhere there is always going to be a problem around power for any group who presents as if they have been entrusted with infallible teaching or access to final truth.
    I'm sure that the innate and unconscious sense of superiority in some social groupings doesn't help, either. I come from a fairly privileged background (not Iwerne material though) and it took me years to realise the assumptions I was making.

  • The Iwerne/con-evo/conservative Christian culture also seems to have remarkably little insight into the nature of power. As I have said elsewhere there is always going to be a problem around power for any group who presents as if they have been entrusted with infallible teaching or access to final truth.
    I'm sure that the innate and unconscious sense of superiority in some social groupings doesn't help, either. I come from a fairly privileged background (not Iwerne material though) and it took me years to realise the assumptions I was making.

    Just to be clear -- those are not my words but a quote from the article on the Surviving Church blog which has now written a follow-up.

    FWIW one of the terms of the inquiry (set by ECW) was that no names would be included in the final report. The report implies that those in charge may want to consider stepping down, something the current vicar has ruled out.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    The Iwerne/con-evo/conservative Christian culture also seems to have remarkably little insight into the nature of power. As I have said elsewhere there is always going to be a problem around power for any group who presents as if they have been entrusted with infallible teaching or access to final truth.
    I'm sure that the innate and unconscious sense of superiority in some social groupings doesn't help, either. I come from a fairly privileged background (not Iwerne material though) and it took me years to realise the assumptions I was making.

    Just to be clear -- those are not my words but a quote from the article on the Surviving Church blog which has now written a follow-up.

    FWIW one of the terms of the inquiry (set by ECW) was that no names would be included in the final report. The report implies that those in charge may want to consider stepping down, something the current vicar has ruled out.

    That was the bit that stuck out to me. It's actually a very big thing to say when you think through the implications.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I've been thinking about this Iwerne thing. If I didn't know otherwise I'd think someone was making it up.

    Not only did this Nash bloke think that naturally the source of God's chosen leadership would align with the social and economic elites of British (read English) society, but also no-one, over decades, noted that the whole concept was batshit.

    That's quite apart from the barbaric practices therein that didn't come out at the time.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    <snip>The report implies that those in charge may want to consider stepping down, something the current vicar has ruled out.

    It’s more direct than that. Here’s what the report says
    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).

    The present vicar was a curate under Jonathan Fletcher from 1999-2003. It is clear from the report that following the present vicar’s appointment in 2012 there has been a significant change in culture at Emmanuel Church, which some there have opposed. I’m not sure that he is one of those who the report has in its sights.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    I've been thinking about this Iwerne thing. If I didn't know otherwise I'd think someone was making it up.

    Not only did this Nash bloke think that naturally the source of God's chosen leadership would align with the social and economic elites of British (read English) society, but also no-one, over decades, noted that the whole concept was batshit.

    That's quite apart from the barbaric practices therein that didn't come out at the time.

    Hasn't that been a standard Christian practice over centuries in many countries?
  • BroJames wrote: »
    <snip>The report implies that those in charge may want to consider stepping down, something the current vicar has ruled out.

    It’s more direct than that. Here’s what the report says
    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).

    The present vicar was a curate under Jonathan Fletcher from 1999-2003. It is clear from the report that following the present vicar’s appointment in 2012 there has been a significant change in culture at Emmanuel Church, which some there have opposed. I’m not sure that he is one of those who the report has in its sights.

    Apart from reports in the press that he fobbed off victims complaints.
  • BroJames wrote: »
    It’s more direct than that.

    Actually, returning to this quote, it's fairly obvious that there are aspects of the current culture at ECW (and more broadly ..) that the Reviewers consider unhealthy.

    "It is the opinion of the Reviewers that the aspects of unhealthy culture at ECW .. might only be addressed fully .."

    So I think in that context it is still worth asking who they consider to have 'played a key role' in the 'establishment and maintenance' of that culture.
    The present vicar was a curate under Jonathan Fletcher from 1999-2003.

    Following which he was a mission partner and then member of ECW.
  • The thing to be noted is that the boundaries of the thirtyone:eight review were set by ECW.

    If you want a well-balanced take on it you might be interested in this.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    I've been thinking about this Iwerne thing. If I didn't know otherwise I'd think someone was making it up.

    Not only did this Nash bloke think that naturally the source of God's chosen leadership would align with the social and economic elites of British (read English) society, but also no-one, over decades, noted that the whole concept was batshit.
    There's a good section on the influence of "Bash" and his camps - the predecessors of Iwerne - in Pete Ward's "Growing Up Evangelical" (see this link and go back to p.37): https://tinyurl.com/39fee6zt

    Also John Eddison, a former associate of "Bash", wrote a book about him. Clearly it is more of an encomium than a critique, and I can't find it online, but here is an interesting review: https://tinyurl.com/43jscmhv

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    The thing to be noted is that the boundaries of the thirtyone:eight review were set by ECW. <snip>
    I think it was not as simple as that suggests. It’s clear from their report that thirty one:eight played a major role in establishing the scope of the report.

    I would be surprised if they were willing to accept boundaries which would limit what they would consider to be the necessary and proper scope of their review.
  • @BroJames they weren't allowed to set out a timescale, nor were they allowed to give any indication of who was in what position at what time in ECW: since that covers people who are still there and to whom disclosure was made about JF's activities I'd say those were pretty major limitations.
  • BroJames wrote: »
    The thing to be noted is that the boundaries of the thirtyone:eight review were set by ECW. <snip>
    I think it was not as simple as that suggests. It’s clear from their report that thirty one:eight played a major role in establishing the scope of the report.

    I would be surprised if they were willing to accept boundaries which would limit what they would consider to be the necessary and proper scope of their review.

    It's literally in the rubric that ECW determined the scope of the review and insisted that no names were named.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    And my reading of the tone is that thirtyone:eight weren't happy about it.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    I've been thinking about this Iwerne thing. If I didn't know otherwise I'd think someone was making it up.

    Not only did this Nash bloke think that naturally the source of God's chosen leadership would align with the social and economic elites of British (read English) society, but also no-one, over decades, noted that the whole concept was batshit.
    There's a good section on the influence of "Bash" and his camps - the predecessors of Iwerne - in Pete Ward's "Growing Up Evangelical" (see this link and go back to p.37): https://tinyurl.com/39fee6zt

    Also John Eddison, a former associate of "Bash", wrote a book about him. Clearly it is more of an encomium than a critique, and I can't find it online, but here is an interesting review: https://tinyurl.com/43jscmhv

    It's incredible when you look at it in the cold light of day. A cadre of posh vicars perpetuating the class system: the CofE should hang its head in shame. How could they have so misused the heart of the gospel message?

    Just imagine the harm done to really good and spiritual people who didn't come from the "right" background and so were ignored.

    I now see with clarity what was gone on in one of "their" churches when I had the misfortune to be there. The Vicar's approach to "manliness" was 100% along the lines of Fletcher: surrounding himself with nice young male students indeed! All very hush hush and if one ever talked about their trips out well, it got some very dirty looks indeed.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    @BroJames they weren't allowed to set out a timescale, nor were they allowed to give any indication of who was in what position at what time in ECW: since that covers people who are still there and to whom disclosure was made about JF's activities I'd say those were pretty major limitations.
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    BroJames wrote: »
    The thing to be noted is that the boundaries of the thirtyone:eight review were set by ECW. <snip>
    I think it was not as simple as that suggests. It’s clear from their report that thirty one:eight played a major role in establishing the scope of the report.

    I would be surprised if they were willing to accept boundaries which would limit what they would consider to be the necessary and proper scope of their review.

    It's literally in the rubric that ECW determined the scope of the review and insisted that no names were named.

    @TheOrganist @Doc Tor Clearly I have missed this in my reading of the report. Please can you point me to chapter and verse.

    My reading is that thirtyone:eight very largely determined the scope of the review including timescale (pp. 24-27 of the report) and that anonymity was a decision by the Reviewers (p.33) due to the fear expressed by participants.

    The culture of fear, of course, is a major focus of criticism in the report.
  • The scope of the report (section A2) was agreed with ECW. Look at what is, and isn't there.

    The Archbishop Cranmer link has it more bluntly:
    The report will attract attention from various quarters, although what one sees in it may depend upon what one is looking for. Some will naturally be disappointed. If you are looking for a clear exposé of those who were complicit in the abuse by their silence, by looking the other way, or by closing their minds to the obvious, you will not find it. Names are not named: this was not permitted by the terms of reference set by Emmanuel Wimbledon.

    If you seek clear chronologies setting out who did what to whom and when, thereby enabling the abuse of others through a culture of obedience and sotto voce threats of exclusion for non-compliance, you will also be disappointed. Such detail is simply not there: it was not allowed.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    ... Just imagine the harm done to really good and spiritual people who didn't come from the "right" background and so were ignored. ...
    It might not have felt like that at the time but wouldn't you now think that for anyone ignored or excluded this has turned out to be a significant blessing?

  • A reminder that the SU commissioned report into John Smyth was also out this month: https://soulinformation.org/su-report-executive-summary

    It contains at least one reference to Fletcher, in connection with him running a separate camp to which only a subset of Iwerne attendees were invited.
  • It's incredible when you look at it in the cold light of day. A cadre of posh vicars perpetuating the class system: the CofE should hang its head in shame. How could they have so misused the heart of the gospel message?

    Just imagine the harm done to really good and spiritual people who didn't come from the "right" background and so were ignored.

    One question that needs to be asked is this:

    How many people who went through this explicitly elitist system are still in positions of power and influence in the C of E? How many "graduates" are now vicars, archdeacons or bishops? And what, if anything, is being done to reverse the elitist assumptions and practices so prevalent in the C of E? This is not just about Iwerne or ECW - elitism exists in other places in the C of E organisation.

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    The scope of the report (section A2) was agreed with ECW. Look at what is, and isn't there.

    The Archbishop Cranmer link has it more bluntly:
    The report will attract attention from various quarters, although what one sees in it may depend upon what one is looking for. Some will naturally be disappointed. If you are looking for a clear exposé of those who were complicit in the abuse by their silence, by looking the other way, or by closing their minds to the obvious, you will not find it. Names are not named: this was not permitted by the terms of reference set by Emmanuel Wimbledon.

    If you seek clear chronologies setting out who did what to whom and when, thereby enabling the abuse of others through a culture of obedience and sotto voce threats of exclusion for non-compliance, you will also be disappointed. Such detail is simply not there: it was not allowed.

    I’ve read Martin Sewell’s post on the Archbishop Cranmer blog, and he provides no support for his “it was not allowed” statement.

    I think he was hoping for something that the review expressly states that it isn’t (my emphasis):
    A Lessons Learned Review is not a formal fact-finding investigation but is to provide an external individual or organisation the opportunity to gather and analyse information from a range of sources in relation to an event or series of events in order to draw evidence- based conclusions and make recommendations

    As far as scope is concerned
    The scope of the Review was developed by thirtyone:eight and finalised by the IAG. (p.4)
    An initial scope was drafted following discussions between the Commissioning Group. Justin Humphreys (Joint Chief Executive; thirtyone:eight) and Karen Eakins (Head of Consultancy and Engagement; thirtyone:eight) compiled this in conjunction with Sarah Hall (Safeguarding Officer and Women’s Worker; ECW) as a lead representative of the Commissioning Group for ECW. (p.24)
    Then A3.1.1 shows the scope being widened to include other relevant matters at the Reviewers’ discretion.

    Certainly it was, as you say, agreed with ECW, but that is different from “ECW determined the scope of the review”, and the report makes it clear that anonymity was the reviewers’ decision.
  • That's a charitable reading, and difficult to argue against. However, in the sense that some of the 'victims' were perpetrators worried about their standing in the ConEvo community, the report is clear that without the promise of anonymity, they wouldn't have talked to the investigators.

    So, while it's important that the truth is known, it's also allowed those who aided, abetted and confounded by silence or deed, the abuse that Fletcher has reportedly done, to essentially 'get away with it'.

    I do hope all those concerned - it goes far wider than ECW - consider their positions, but because we don't know who they are, nor what they did or what they knew, we have to trust the honour of dishonourable men to do the right thing.
  • How many people who went through this explicitly elitist system are still in positions of power and influence in the C of E? How many "graduates" are now vicars, archdeacons or bishops? And what, if anything, is being done to reverse the elitist assumptions and practices so prevalent in the C of E? This is not just about Iwerne or ECW - elitism exists in other places in the C of E organisation.
    It's interesting to set this against the as-yet-unpublished report proposing (if I've got it right) that 30% of new CofE ministerial candidates should come from BAME background. To my mind even the suggestion that the Church hierarchy may be an elite "gentlemen's club" would be extremely off-putting for potential candidates from these backgrounds, and may help to explain their low numbers up till now.

  • One question that needs to be asked is this:

    How many people who went through this explicitly elitist system are still in positions of power and influence in the C of E? How many "graduates" are now vicars, archdeacons or bishops? And what, if anything, is being done to reverse the elitist assumptions and practices so prevalent in the C of E? This is not just about Iwerne or ECW - elitism exists in other places in the C of E organisation.

    You can start right at the top: ++ Cantuar is ex Iwerne, lodged in the house of Fletcher's vicar at Cambridge, ex HTB.

  • One question that needs to be asked is this:

    How many people who went through this explicitly elitist system are still in positions of power and influence in the C of E? How many "graduates" are now vicars, archdeacons or bishops? And what, if anything, is being done to reverse the elitist assumptions and practices so prevalent in the C of E? This is not just about Iwerne or ECW - elitism exists in other places in the C of E organisation.

    You can start right at the top: ++ Cantuar is ex Iwerne, lodged in the house of Fletcher's vicar at Cambridge, ex HTB.

    Exactly. The culture developed by Fletcher at ECW mirrored that experienced (learned?) by him
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    edited March 26
    This is extremely interesting, being something I had no idea about, beyond reports about Smyth in the press. It is particularly interesting because it is possible that someone we are finding difficulties with has been mentioned as having links with HTB, which had not been apparent until it was mentioned by a West Indian woman priest who found the person untrustworthy as a result of this connection. It seemed, at the time, counter intuitive.
  • How many people who went through this explicitly elitist system are still in positions of power and influence in the C of E? How many "graduates" are now vicars, archdeacons or bishops? And what, if anything, is being done to reverse the elitist assumptions and practices so prevalent in the C of E? This is not just about Iwerne or ECW - elitism exists in other places in the C of E organisation.
    It's interesting to set this against the as-yet-unpublished report proposing (if I've got it right) that 30% of new CofE ministerial candidates should come from BAME background. To my mind even the suggestion that the Church hierarchy may be an elite "gentlemen's club" would be extremely off-putting for potential candidates from these backgrounds, and may help to explain their low numbers up till now.

    30% seems a little unlikely, given the composition of Anglican laity in England, unless they're planning a recruiting drive elsewhere in the communion. The CofE rather missed the boat (pun not intended but rather apt) with black Christians 50+ years ago and a target is unlikely to help. British Asians are also going to be tricky ground from which to find prospective ordinands.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited March 26
    I agree, but that's not the point I was trying to make. That was that, if this white/public school/old boys ethos and network is so deeply entrenched in the CofE, then the mere perception of it would be enough to discourage BAME folk from seeking ordination as they'd probably feel marginalised before they'd even started the process.

    https://tinyurl.com/8bkw3ze8
  • One question that needs to be asked is this:

    How many people who went through this explicitly elitist system are still in positions of power and influence in the C of E? How many "graduates" are now vicars, archdeacons or bishops? And what, if anything, is being done to reverse the elitist assumptions and practices so prevalent in the C of E? This is not just about Iwerne or ECW - elitism exists in other places in the C of E organisation.

    You can start right at the top: ++ Cantuar is ex Iwerne, lodged in the house of Fletcher's vicar at Cambridge, ex HTB.

    Exactly. The culture developed by Fletcher at ECW mirrored that experienced (learned?) by him

    Fletcher's Vicar at Cambridge (Mark Ruston) was a bachelor, living with lodgers. There were young women working at the church but they were housed well away from church - over the river in fact
  • It's only years later that the power structures at my old shack (over 10 years ago now DG) make sense. The vicar was - and is - a product of Bash camps and the whole ConEvo network thing.

    If I was in charge, I'd force all the churches that have deliberately placed themselves at arm's length from diocesan control to either reintegrate or formally leave.
  • @Doc Tor Got it in one. A lot of the ConEvo churches behave like fifth columnists. They need to be made to put up or shut up.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited March 26
    @Doc Tor with the introduction of common tenure in the C/E , might it become easier to Gently Encourage involvement with the diocese?

    And does anyone know how many Royal Peculiar parishes exist? As I understand they are exempt in some way?

    I could very easily be wrong
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I've been looking at the comments under the link in BT's post. They are extraordinary. Particularly the one about how the church would react if Jesus came back and he was white!
  • I agree, but that's not the point I was trying to make. That was that, if this white/public school/old boys ethos and network is so deeply entrenched in the CofE, then the mere perception of it would be enough to discourage BAME folk from seeking ordination as they'd probably feel marginalised before they'd even started the process.

    https://tinyurl.com/8bkw3ze8

    It's a Daily Mail link! Arrrghh!
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    And a parallel universe.
  • Ethne Alba wrote: »
    Does anyone know how many Royal Peculiar parishes exist? As I understand they are exempt in some way?

    I could very easily be wrong

    There are 13 Royal Peculiars, 9 in London, 2 in Windsor, 1 in Cambridge, 1 in Edinburgh.

    Yes, they exist quire apart from the structures of the CofE. They tend to be MOR to High in churchmanship, reflecting the taste of the Supreme Governor, HMQ, who makes appointments.

  • CallanCallan Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    I've been thinking about this Iwerne thing. If I didn't know otherwise I'd think someone was making it up.

    Not only did this Nash bloke think that naturally the source of God's chosen leadership would align with the social and economic elites of British (read English) society, but also no-one, over decades, noted that the whole concept was batshit.

    That's quite apart from the barbaric practices therein that didn't come out at the time.

    To be fair most public school types think that God put them on this earth to rule, but are too well bred to point it out. Christopher Hitchens once observed that his mother had insisted he be privately educated with the words: "There is going to be a ruling class in this country and Christopher is going to be part of it".

    Incidentally, I am touched by the horror expressed that senior members of the C of E tend to be privately educated and tend to favour People Like Us. I just hope nobody breaks it to them that there used to be the occasional game of chance at Rick's Bar.
  • You mean you didn't hover your mouse over the link, check the origin and decide not to click further? Because whatever grain of truth there may be in that story, if published by the Daily Mail it will be angled to disenfranchise the CofE further from its current constituency.

    I'm not sure where that story originated as it only appears in the Daily Mail and Alternative Africa .com from a quick search, and there's nothing newer than 2015 on the Clergy Appointments page of the CofE website (link). I'd wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't a policy for the London or other inner city dioceses, but it doesn't seem to be general.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited March 26
    @TheOrganist only 13, thank you. Easier to look up!
  • You mean you didn't hover your mouse over the link, check the origin and decide not to click further?

    Tinyurl links don't show where they point.
  • Oops, I got as far as seeing the Fail and shut the window. I guess that's another link request - a bit of notice what is being clicked on.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Penny S wrote: »
    I've been looking at the comments under the link in BT's post. They are extraordinary. Particularly the one about how the church would react if Jesus came back and he was white!

    Daily Heil innit? The number of comments identifying "English" with "White". They don't even pretend not to be racist.
  • Callan wrote: »
    Incidentally, I am touched by the horror expressed that senior members of the C of E tend to be privately educated and tend to favour People Like Us. I just hope nobody breaks it to them that there used to be the occasional game of chance at Rick's Bar.

    Sure, okay. This is a good point, but the counter point is that they have it all sewn up anyway, and the pew sitters are used to that - as long as their rule is relatively benign and they obey their own codes of honour. What this series of episodes show is that at least this part of our Betters are, frankly, rubbish human beings, let alone decent Christians, and that the chief worry is not for the people who've been damaged, but for their own positions and reputations. The hoi polloi might get ideas that they can run things for themselves...
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    edited March 26
    Callan wrote: »
    Incidentally, I am touched by the horror expressed that senior members of the C of E tend to be privately educated and tend to favour People Like Us. I just hope nobody breaks it to them that there used to be the occasional game of chance at Rick's Bar.

    This is a wonderful argument for the status quo while giving oneself airs of sophistication.

    Besides I'm sure you'd get an equally horrified (and fairly aggressive) response if you pointed out to the People Like Us that the emperor had no clothes, and much of their cant was the workings out of 'worldly' power relations and not in fact 'in service of The GospelTM'
Sign In or Register to comment.