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Truro Cathedral.jpg
Truro Cathedral.jpg
UK News

Review of Truro Cathedral finds 'unhealthy culture'

by Sophie Drew

A review of the management at Truro Cathedral has raised “serious concerns” about an “unhealthy culture” within the place of worship.

The report, commissioned by Bishop of Truro, Rt Rev Philip Mountstephen in January 2022, found urgent change was needed.

A “visitation” was held, revealing a number of areas of concern including “discordant leadership, conflictual working relationships, underperformance and an unhealthy culture".

The bishop confirmed that changes were already being made. In an interview with Radio Cornwall he said the cathedral was already a “very different place” following the report, and that he hoped permanent changes would be in place by 2024.

Those changes will be reviewed in twelve months.

He initially commissioned the visitation after cathedral staff made him aware of “issues”, but said he generally kept the cathedral “at arm’s length”.

The former dean, Rt Rev Roger Bush, retired in September after ten years at the helm, plus a number of roles within the Diocese of Truro prior to his deanship dating back more than 28 years.

Bishop Philip told Radio Cornwall on Friday that Rev Bush had done a “wonderful job” but did not have the “skill set” to deal with the direction the cathedral was heading.

However, he said he has “full confidence” in the interim dean Fr Simon Robinson.

In a statement, the bishop said: “During the Visitation, the team identified some improvements in practice which had taken place between the conclusion of the Review and the conclusion of the Visitation.

“This was particularly obvious following the arrival of the interim Dean in October 2022; they saw a step change, with swift and positive developments relating to vision setting; expectations around culture and behaviour, and practice; improvements in finance, health and safety, and safeguarding.

He called for a “culture of safeguarding” to be “embedded” in “all aspects of cathedral life,” laying down the law on DBS requirements.

“As a result, they have made clear their full confidence in the interim Dean’s leadership and their appreciation of his responsiveness and competence in dealing with any matters that were raised both in relation to the earlier Review findings and to the work of Visitation. I wholly concur with that judgement,” Bishop Philip added.

He went on to say he has made a number of “Determinations” in regards to the leadership and management culture within the cathedral, as well as the safeguarding and decision-making processes.

He continued: “I have made these Determinations in the fervent prayer that Truro Cathedral might enter a new season of fruitfulness in the mission and ministry of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as a place which is both sacred space and common ground for all the people of Cornwall and beyond.”

Responding to the report, Dean Robinson described the “immense privilege” of leading the cathedral through the many changes to come. He said: “Working together, I am confident that the necessary improvements clearly spelled out in Bishop Philip’s Determinations can be achieved by God’s grace, through prayer and through hard work.

“We will need to be courageous, to build on what is good and to change what must be changed.

“My prayer echoes that of Bishop Philip’s, that together Truro Cathedral enters a new season of fruitfulness in the mission and ministry of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and that we grow in confidence in our callings and our responsibilities to serve the people of Cornwall and beyond.”

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