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Cash sought for Dr Balia

16 June 2010

by Ed Beavan

THREE academics are calling for compensation for Dr Daryl Balia, the former director of the Edinburgh 2010 mission conference, whose sus­pen­sion was revealed on the eve of the centenary event (News, 4 June).

Three former colleagues of Dr Balia — Professor John Hull, Dr An­thony Reddie, and Dr Evie Vernon — have demanded £100,000 in com­pen­sation for him from the University of Edinburgh and the Church of Scot­land, who co-ordin­ated the confer­ence.

They say he should be com­pensated for the “grief and isolation” he experienced, and for the “unwar­ranted damage to his status and future employment prospects”.

Dr Balia was barred from the 2010 conference, which he had spent three years organising, and announced his intention to resign during the event (News, 11 June).

He said he first ran into problems with the conference’s executive committee in November 2008, when a conservative, the Assistant Bishop of Kampala, Dr Zac Niringiye, was pro­posed as one of the main speakers. Dr Balia opposed this, saying that such a speaker “would have diverted atten­tion away from the mission agenda”.

He was also in favour of opening the event to people of other faiths, but this move was opposed.

His views on this were shared by Canon Andrew Wingate, Director Emeritus of the St Philip’s Centre in Leicester, who has written that “in this area of mission, 2010 was behind its time” (Letters).

The University of Edinburgh, Dr Balia’s employer, declined to com­ment.

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