News by email Donate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Jonathan Fletcher.jpg header4.jpg
Jonathan Fletcher.jpg
UK News

London church apologises for initial response to Jonathan Fletcher abuse report

by Kelly Valencia

A church in London has apologised for their initial statement in response to the report looking into spiritual and sexual abuse by former vicar Jonathan Fletcher.

The report, by safeguarding charity Thirtyone:eight, was published last month and was followed by an Independent Advisory Group (IAG) review from its external members, which contained further recommendations and highlighted the need for explanations about why Jonathan Fletcher was allowed to speak at several Christian events while accusations about his behaviour were being investigated.

The London church, St Helen’s Bishopsgate, had been criticised for defending a member of staff, Brian O'Donoghue, who is also a trustee of a church plant alongside Fletcher and for also suggesting the IAG’s external members review had political motives.

In his initial statement, Rev William Taylor, the lead vicar at St Helen’s, defended O’Donoghue saying he had acted “with impeccable integrity” and added that “there is nobody I would trust more that Brian O'Donoghue.”

He also called the IAG’s review “politically driven” and said it had “cheapened” the Thirtyone:eight report.

The subsequent report is made up of four members of the IAG, one of whom is a victim of Jonathan Fletcher.

For this, Rev Taylor has apologised in a new statement saying: “In our church family, as well as in the wider church and society, there are many who are survivors of abuse and injustice of many kinds, including those who suffered from abuse by Jonathan Fletcher and, amongst them, the victim member of the Independent Advisory Group (IAG).

“I deeply regret that my statement last week has caused you pain. I fully accept that this has been the case and this unreserved apology is to you,” he said.

Rev Taylor went on to say that he believed the Thirtyone:eight report was “a substantial and serious piece of work” and apologised for his comments about the IAG’s review undermining the work carried out by Thirtyone:eight.

In his initial statement, Rev Taylor also had mentioned a text message sent by John Stevens, the National Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, that was understood to be Stevens agreeing with Rev Taylor’s response. Consequently, Stevens also received a lot of criticism, especially on social media.

“I quoted from John’s text without first seeking his permission. I have apologised to John already and express that publicly here. John has been one of the faithful partners in the gospel who challenged me privately about my statement last week. 

“John, I am sorry that by quoting your text I gave people the impression that you endorsed my statement and I regret the very difficult position my words have put you in,” Rev Taylor said.

“I am sorry, really sorry. I hope those who have been hurt by what I said will forgive me. And I hope you will find real comfort from the Lord Jesus”, it concludes.  

You can read a full guide to other responses here

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email

Connect

Donate

Donate