Tuesday, 4 June 2013
"Crackpot Emperor Doesn't Like The Idea Of Due Process"
Leading figures in Jersey's Anglican community are tonight meeting to discuss fears the Church of England wants to take over the running of the island's church.
The Dean, Bob Key, was suspended earlier this year over the way he dealt with one parishioner's complaint of abuse.
He has since been reinstated.
Some churchgoers fear an investigation into what happened could threaten the autonomy of Jersey's church.
They worry there is an ulterior motive at play and that the church in the UK wants to grab more control of the church in the island.
Senator Sir Philip Bailhache called tonight's meeting.
He said: "We're really trying to understand what the Bishop of Winchester is trying to achieve. And to discuss whether that is reasonable or not."
When asked why he doesn't just ask the Bishop directly, he said: "Well, I think the Bishop would be unlikely to give a response that would be helpful based on responses that we've had so far."
The Bishop's office say his motives are purely about ensuring safeguarding procedures are in place.
But he is not giving any interviews until the investigations are over.
It has been a torrid three months for the Anglican Church in Jersey.
The Dean was suspended on the 8th of March.
The following weekend the Bishop of Winchester flew over to explain his actions.
Rather than calm things, it led to churchgoers writing him letters calling for the Dean to be reinstated.
That then did happen at the end of April.
Far from put a lid on things, an open letter was sent to the Bishop last week saying the whole affair had caused the church "substantial damage".
But there are some in Jersey's church who see things differently.
They say these investigations are fair game, especially if you have nothing to hide.
One today called the organisers of tonight's meeting 'crackpots'.
Sir Philip said: "Well, I don't think we're all crackpots, I think we have serious matters to talk about and serious people who want to do that will come to the meeting this evening."
The meeting at Grainville Parish Hall begins at 7.30pm.