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Bishop Dyer case expected to cost Scottish Episcopal Church £½m

10 June 2024

Church Times

THE disciplinary process concerning the Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney, the Rt Revd Anne Dyer, is expected to cost the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) more than £500,000, The Sunday Times has reported.

Accounts published in advance of this week’s meeting of the Church’s General Synod show that £325,000 was spent last year on legal and other fees related to the investigation.

About half that amount was spent in 2022. It is projected that a further £175,000 will be spent in 2024.

It was confirmed last month that Bishop Dyer would face a Clergy Discipline Tribunal this autumn over allegations of conduct unbecoming of a cleric (News, 24 May). She was first suspended in August 2022 after two formal complaints, believed to relate to accusations of bullying, were made against her.

After she successfully appealed against her suspension (News, 10 August 2022), it was later reinstated. Bishop Dyer has now been suspended for more than a year and a half.

A year earlier, a review commissioned by the Primus of the SEC, the Most Revd Mark Strange, recommended that Bishop Dyer step back from office (News, 11 September 2021), but the Scottish Bishops instead opted to begin a mediation process (News, 8 October 2021).

A spokesman for the SEC told the Sunday Times that the costs were “significant but necessary” for a “thorough and professional investigation of complaints”.

“That process began in August 2022, and has involved detailed examination of the allegations by the preliminary proceedings committee and then consideration by the Church’s Procurator,” he said.

A spokesman for Bishop Dyer said: “Bishop Anne is confident that, once all the facts are presented, she will have clearly established her innocence as well as the motivation of the small group of individuals who have campaigned against her.”

On Monday morning, a group of those who had previously complained about Bishop Dyer’s conduct wrote to Bishop Strange, arguing that Bishop Dyer’s spokespeople had “made the baseless accusation that the complainers are homophobes and misogynists”.

Previously, lawyers for Bishop Dyer have said on her behalf that “an entirely one-sided and self-serving picture has been presented by a handful of people who fundamentally object to same-sex marriage and to Bishop Dyer’s appointment as the diocese’s first female bishop. . . She is clearly frustrated at being unable to respond publicly to the very personal and gruelling attacks on her” (News, 14 October 2022).

Monday’s letter, which was signed by Lord Glenarthur, Dr Stephen Goodyear, Andrew Bradford, the Revd Professor David Atkinson, Dr Alan Cundill, and Richard Murray, asks Bishop Strange to “state unequivocally that you do not believe that complainers are motivated by homophobia or misogyny”.

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