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Discipline for bullying lay ministers voted through Synod

by Will Hobbs
SYNOD Lay Bullying.png - Banner image
Church of England

The Church of England's governing body has voted in favour of requesting legislation enabling church wardens and other lay officers to be banned from holding office if they engaged in bullying.

Members of General Synod have been hearing about how bullying by lay members has left people in "total misery" and struggling with their mental health.

Whereas clergy are subject to the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) process, there remains no proportionate and accessible means by which laity can be held to account for their actions.

Ven Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn, who brought the motion forward said: “Bullying and harassment are unacceptable behaviours in any environment – and especially in the Church, a community bound together by the command of Christ, ‘I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.’

“Yet since I first raised this difficult and sensitive issue I have been inundated with stories from victims and survivors, stories which have moved me sometimes close to tears.

“I know many are listening to our debate today.

“Synod, this situation is unjust and must be remedied if we are to call ourselves the Body of Christ.”

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