A LETTER to the Church Times from a cleric in the Church in Wales, calling for the suspension of the Bishop of Llandaff, the Rt Revd June Osborne, has drawn a prompt response from the Archdeacon of Margam, the Ven. Mike Komor, and the Archdeacon of Llandaff, the Ven. Rod Green.
The Revd Vicki Burrows, Vicar of Radyr, St Fagans, and Michaelston-super-Ely, and Garth Ministry Area Leader in Llandaff diocese, said that she spoke for many clergy in describing a “culture of fear” in the diocese (Letters, 31 December).
The finding of a disciplinary committee of the Church in Wales — that Bishop Osborne had a “case to answer” in regard to the charges of bullying and harassment brought against her by the Dean of Llandaff, the Very Revd Gerwyn Capon — should have led to the Bishop’s suspension while the seriousness of the allegations was investigated, she said.
She also made reference to an open letter, signed by Dr Nicholas Mason and 22 others from Llandaff Cathedral, and published the previous week in the Church Times (Letters, 17/24 December). The signatories described the cathedral as a “spiritual wasteland, in which pastoral sensitivity has been replaced by managerial authoritarianism, and where reputation and power matter more than the gospel and truth”.
They declared their intention to ask the Archbishop of Wales, the Rt Revd Andrew John, to “institute a comprehensive, transparent, and fully independent inquiry into the senior leadership of Llandaff diocese since the appointment of Bishop Osborne”.
The letter from Ms Burrows had “come as a surprise to us”, the Archdeacons said in a response circulated by email to all the Llandaff clergy. “Our door is always open, and we would have preferred to have had one-to-one conversations about any matters of concern.”
The pair invited clergy to “speak with us about concerns you have about the Diocese. This would be treated as a pastoral conversation and would be in complete confidence.
“The senior leadership team is committed to hearing your views in light of the recent letters and we’re asking Matt Batten [director of communications for Llandaff] to put together a survey that you should find in your inbox in the coming days. Your feedback will be completely anonymous and is entirely voluntary.”
The survey has not yet gone out. There is reported to be scepticism among some of the recipients of the email, however, about the guaranteed anonymity of respondents. One pointed out the ease with which survey organisers could trace the names of individual respondents, in the prevailing “climate of fear” identified above.
Read the letter here