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Bishop George Bell, memory, and identity

by
04 December 2015

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From the Revd Professor David Jasper and others

Sir, — We write as members of the family of Dean Ronald Jasper, who wrote the official biography of Bishop George Bell nearly 50 years ago. For a long time, Bell’s presence was keenly felt in our household.

Much has been written in the past few weeks concerning the matter of justice and the need for care to be taken over every aspect of such dreadful and distressing cases. A great deal has been said in public, and yet still little clear evidence has been provided.

As a result of Bell’s courageous public ministry in the Church of England, we remain indebted to him within the tradition that he represented to such a high degree to the point of his inclusion in the Common Worship Calendar.

At Bishop Bell’s memorial service, Archbishop Fisher stated that “in days to come when the Catholic Church recovers again its lost unities [we] will still remember the debt for that recovery owed to George Bell.”

Lest we forget this in the present situation, and until there is clear evidence to the contrary, we should be mindful that we are a Church united across the ages, and if we forget what has been given to us in ages past for the sake of present expediency, we are in danger of losing our identity altogether.

DAVID JASPER, ALISON JASPER, CHRISTINE READE, NICHOLAS READE
c/o Theology and Religious Studies
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ

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