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Suspended Scottish Bishop, Anne Dyer, must face disciplinary tribunal

21 May 2024

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Bishop Dyer

Bishop Dyer

THE suspended Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney, the Rt Revd Anne Dyer, is to face a Clergy Discipline Tribunal this autumn over allegations of conduct unbecoming of a cleric, the Scottish Episcopal Church has confirmed.

A statement published on Friday reports that an investigation has been carried out by the Church’s Preliminary Proceedings Committee (PPC) of several complaints lodged against Bishop Dyer under Canon 54 (the Church’s clergy-discipline canon). Last November, the PPC had referred these to the Procurator for further consideration.

“The Procurator, Paul Reid KC, has now decided to take three of those complaints to a hearing before the Clergy Discipline Tribunal, and Bishop Dyer has been formally notified of this decision,” the statement says. “The alleged canonical offences concern behaviour or conduct unbecoming of a member of the clergy, which brings or is likely to bring the Church into disrepute. The other complaints will not be pursued further by the Procurator.”

Bishop Dyer was first suspended in August 2022 after two formal complaints of misconduct, understood to relate to accusations of bullying, but appealed against the decision and was almost immediately reinstated (News, 10 August 2022). Two months later, however, the Episcopal Synod rejected her appeal and the suspension was reinstated.

Allegations about Bishop Dyer’s conduct first came to light in October 2020, after the trustees of St Andrew’s Cathedral, Aberdeen, commissioned a review of a dispute with the director of music. A second review was commissioned the following year, this time by the Primus, after allegations of bullying were made by the Provost of the cathedral, the Very Revd Dr Isaac Poobalan (News, 6 March 2021).

Bishop Dyer’s lawyers 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).

The tribunal hearing is to take place in Edinburgh on 10 September — “in public, unless determined otherwise by the Tribunal,” the statement concludes.

“Bishop Dyer now has one month to enter a plea in respect of the accusations. She remains suspended during the Canon 54 process.”

The Rt Revd Dorsey McConnell continues to serve as Acting Bishop of the diocese.

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