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Church News

Calls to publish report on bullying claims against Scottish bishop

The author of a report detailing bullying accusations against a Scottish bishop is calling for their findings to be published. 

A cohort of priests and church employees have claimed that the Right Rev Anne Dyer, the Anglican bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, has made their working lives "intolerable". 

Following the allegations that Bishop Dyer had behaved in an "unchristian" manner towards others, Church of Scotland moderator Professor Iain Torrance was instructed by the Scottish Episcopal Church to investigate the various claims. He found "turbulence and discontent” within the diocese, taking testimony from more than 100 witnesses.

However, as yet, he has not been permitted to release his report. 

“The College of Bishops gave an undertaking that it would be made public to ensure transparency and independence,” Torrence said, according to the Times. “The narrative and conclusions of my review should be made public as the bishops undertook.”

Torrance added: “An honest acknowledgement of the difficulties faced by the diocese and active steps taken to repair the hurt done to certain individuals are the only way to restore trust and confidence.”

The church’s College of Bishops has said that it is ordering a further review into the matter. "The report provides very useful information and views for the college," it said. "But it also raises additional issues and questions which require further exploration before the college can consider next steps.”

The College of Bishops noted that three individuals are set to carry out the additional review, and that the resulting report would be examined alongside Torrance’s work. “The college will then consider how it is able to support everyone in the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney in moving forward,” it said.

Bishop Anne was involved in the closing of St Andrew’s cathedral in Aberdeen and its relocation to the city’s St Mary’s Church. She claimed that Christopher Cromar, the director of music at St Andrew’s at the time, became "agitated and angry" after being told his services were no longer required. After a series of "robust" emails were exchanged between the pair, Cromar was reportedly ordered to return his key and never return to the church. 

Bishop Anne claimed that she was so “terrified and shaken” by Cromar's behaviour that she locked herself in the vestry of the church, convinced that she was going to be attacked. 

However, another investigation by church trustees in Aberdeen disputed this version of events, noting that "none of the witnesses support the assertion of Bishop Anne that Christopher Cromar was agitated". 

The initial review also noted that Bishop Anne deemed Cromar's actions to be "unforgivable", before suggesting that this view is "difficult to reconcile with the Christian values espoused by the church".

According to a friend, Cromar attempted to publicly tell his congregation how poorly he felt he'd been treated by the leadership. However, when he attempted to address parishioners from the front of church, he was drowned out by the organ. 

"After the mass had finished — at a point where people have previously been invited to have their say - he stood up," the friend and churchgoer previously told The Times. "All he was able to say was ‘good morning’ before the organ started and he was drowned out.”

Lord Glenarthur, a church member and a former minister for Scotland, wrote to The Most Rev Mark Strange, primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, in January after becoming increasingly concerned by Bishop Anne's conduct. Lord Glenarthur said that the trustees' findings were “devastating” and called for the second review to be made fully public.

The trustees said they were “deeply disappointed” that their report had been leaked, adding that the bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney "supported the process but did not agree with all of the report’s findings".


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