CONCERNS about the treatment of the Very Revd Charles Taylor, who stood down as Dean of Peterborough in October (News, 7 October), have been raised in Parliament.
The MP for Lichfield, Michael Fabricant, submitted a written question to the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Caroline Spelman, last week, asking “what assessment the Church of England has made of the appropriateness of procedures and practice relating to the Dean of Peterborough Cathedral standing down”.
In her answer, Mrs Spelman said that there had been “no reason” to conduct such a review. When the Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, had initiated a formal visitation of the cathedral, in July, he had noted that it was “going through a cash-flow crisis. It is taking too long to pay some bills, and paying the staff at the end of the month has been a close thing twice recently.” In response to requests from the Bishop and the Chapter, the Church Commissioners had provided “advice, support, and financial back-up”. This week, they intended to increase the loan facility to the cathedral.
Speaking this week, Mr Fabricant said that he believed that Dean Taylor — a friend — had been “treated shabbily over this matter, and that the Bishop and Chapter of Peterborough have questions to answer. Charles is currently unemployed, and the Church has not offered him suitable replacement work, and his pension is jeopardised. I have not seen much of the Judaeo-Christian ethic at work here.”
Mr Fabricant intends to raise the matter in the Chamber of the House of Commons, “not just for the sake of Charles Taylor, but for other deans who may find themselves in a similar position in years to come”.
A spokesman for the Church Commissioners said: “As a matter of policy we do not discuss contractual or employment issues of individuals.”
In his farewell sermon, Dean Taylor hinted that the decision to leave had been forced upon him. “The pattern of the Good Shepherd has been hijacked by the model of the Chief Executive Officer,” he said.