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Scottish review to ask about discontent in diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney

19 March 2021

Professor Iain Torrance, who will lead the review

Professor Iain Torrance, who will lead the review

MORE details have been given of the independent inquiry launched by the Scottish Episcopal Church into “turbulence and discontent” in the diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney (News, 12 March).

There have been allegations of bullying by the Bishop, the Rt Revd Anne Dyer, as reported to the Unite union, but disputes in the diocese date back to before she was appointed in 2018.

The review is to be led by Professor Iain Torrance, Pro-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen. Professor Torrance is a president emeritus of Princeton Theological Seminary, and a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland. The review is expected to be completed by the end of the year, when it will be made public “to ensure transparency of the process”.

The scope and remit document for the review states that the review has been commissioned by the College of Bishops at the request of Bishop Dyer, who “reports turbulence and discontent in the diocese from the time of the episcopal vacancy”.

Bishop Dyer was appointed by the College of Bishops (News, 12 January 2018) after a failure in the diocese to agree candidates. This has previously been reported as a failure of the electoral synod of the diocese. In fact, as the Synod Clerk, Canon John Walker, points out, it was the small preparatory committee, charged with finding and interviewing suitable candidates to present to the synod, which failed on two successive occasions to identify the required minimum of three candidates.

Professor Torrance’s review will delve back to 1 November 2016, when the episcopal vacancy was announced.

The review is expected to begin on 5 April. Submissions will be invited, with a one-month deadline. Correspondents are asked to list events or actions in the diocese which were problematic, including “perception of the culture of and relationships within the diocese”, styles of leadership, and relations with the national Church.

Professor Torrance is invited to interview key staff members to amplify and explore the responses.

More details here.

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