Thursday, 01 Febuary, 2018
Church House, Westminster
Joanna: That will be useful. This would be an appropriate moment because we are all busy people to check at about resolutions.
[unattributed]: I’m here [inaudible]. He would like to say a few words in relation to one of the resolutions, No 2, would you like to take that now. This relates to the request for a face‑to‑face meeting with Barbara Whitley. That offer has now been made to the Bishop. The Bishop has found himself in a difficult position that that request came whilst he was aware of the new information that has been alluded to, and did not feel comfortable in speaking to her, knowing about that and not being able to have a full discussion with her which would not have been able to refer to that information at that time. Now obviously there was a statement yesterday regarding some fresh information, that offer for a meeting once the investigation is concluded has been made. It doesn’t affect the wording of what you say. You are welcome to call for it.
[unattributed]: Could I ask for clarity, when did the Bishop of Chichester know about this supposed allegation?
[unattributed]: The statement says there is new information and that has been provided and the church became aware of it after Lord Carlile published his report.
[unattributed]: There seems to have been long gap since yesterday.
Joanna: May we quickly do the resolutions. Archbishop Justin Welby to apologise for his ‘significant cloud’ concerning Bishop Bell. I recommend we pass the resolution. If we have to have any further discussions it is not helpful if we are told there is already a significant cloud. It seems to me we should look at the thing in a neutral way and any future information simply adds force to that requirement. However, people may like to vote. Do you wish [th]at Justin Welby is invited to apologise for his significant cloud statement concerning Bishop Bell?
[unattributed]: Could I ask one question. Sometimes people apologise and it is not really an apology.
Joanna: We will have to leave that to Justin Welby.
[unattributed]: Withdrawal and apology
Joanna: Let’s not go into too much detail. He made what has been recognised by many as an unhelpful suggestion using the word ‘significant cloud’. It is likely he will say he cannot withdraw it and it will go on for years and years but it would be useful that he should apologise. I don’t know, we can ask, I would simply ask that he apologises because he could do that without necessarily feeling he has to withdraw anything. I don’t know, I am just being the chairman here as a stickler for sticking with words. If you would rather not vote you can abstain. We will only take it that we have passed a resolution if it is a clear majority. Those in favour. Now someone will have to count. 11 in favour. Those against? And the rest abstain and the number of people in the room left is 20 in the room. That gives us a majority of one. So I suppose the resolution is passed. What do we feel?
[From the floor]: Yes.
Joanna: I want to be sure, I have deliberately left out the stenographer. The next resolution. Bishop of Chichester is invited to meet Barbara Whitley for a face‑to‑face meeting. We have heard he has agreed to do that. We could if we wanted be kind say we thank the Bishop of Chichester for agreeing to meet Mrs Whitley and we look forward to hearing about this having happened. We don’t ask what is said. Something like that. We thank him for this, we look forward to hearing that it happened? Yes?
FROM THE FLOOR: Yes.
Joanna: In favour? Hands up please. 15. Now we know how many there are in the room, that is a majority.
[unattributed]: We are missing the two who have gone.
Joanna: Yes I know, that is why I pushed it forward, also the collection as you will see, prudence there. Thanks. Ask to know when meeting happens.
[unattributed]: The result of the meeting.
Joanna: When it happens, I don’t think we have any right to know exactly what takes place in a private meeting. If the lady is not happy she will presumably say so. So he would like to know it happened so they have a meeting.
[unattributed]: We want to know what has come out of it don’t we?
Joanna: Up to a point. I am not sure we are entitled to know everything, she might want to say privately ‘I think you are a rotter and a cad’ and may not wish everyone to know she said it. It is a meeting.
[unattributed]: Perhaps Barbara Whitley herself might like to tell us.
Joanna: I assume it would be understood that they would be personal and non personal aspects of the thing. Number 3, Chichester Cathedral Dean and chapter to restore the name of 4 Cannon Lane to George Bell house. In favour? 12, 14.
[unattributed]: With immediate effect.
Joanna: I gather they have made a little model plaque that says Archbishop Rowan opened 4 Canon Lane which is silly because when he opened it, it was George Bell House. It seems absurd. Those of us who might object. This building being called Church House, it would be foolish if we now announce it should be called Church of England House because it offends ecumenical sensibilities of those who attend another building. It would be silly to put up a new plaque.
Richard: Could I say that this is a small version of a very large portrait which actually is in storage in the private library at Chichester cathedral. [I made a] request for it to be taken out of storage at the cathedral and to be on display here. Unfortunately it was a written request [, made] twice, and I received no reply.
Joanna: The story continues. Chichester Cathedral’s Chancellor and Canon Librarian should permit the reinstatement of Bishop Bell’s portrait and plaque. In favour? 14. Chichester Cathedral Dean, Steven Waine to correct page 37 of the cathedral guide, this is the one that expunges Bishop Bell’s authentic information. It is written out [of the current edition], it should be restored to the earlier wording. It is the cathedral guide, Society and Faith, of which I have not seen a copy although I have seen the text of it typed out, someone sent me an email about it. To correct page 37 of the cathedral guide, Society and Faith. Those in favour? 14.
[unattributed]: I think the guide used the word “probability,” which should definitely go.
Joanna: Finally General Synod to undertake a full debate regarding the serious implications from Carlile’s report. In favour:
[unattributed]: You can add Lord Dear because he brought that up.
Joanna: At any rate these are all passed.
Note: These notes were originally provided as a communication aid for a deaf or hard-of-hearing person. They should not be regarded as a fully-checked or verified verbatim note. They have no legal standing.