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Scottish bishop faces double investigation into claims of bullying

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Source: Facebook

Claims of bullying made against Scotland's first female Bishop have prompted two formal investigations into her conduct. 

The Rt Rev Anne Dyer, the Anglican bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, is facing a number of accusations from priests and church staff who say she made their working lives "intolerable".

The claims have prompted the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) to conduct an independent review of the situation. Another investigation led by church trustees in Aberdeen found that Bishop Anne had behaved in an "unchristian" manner, according to leaked information obtained by the Times. 

Bishop Anne was involved in the closing of St Andrew’s cathedral in Aberdeen and a relocation to the city’s St Mary’s Church, which then became a temporary cathedral. She claimed that Christopher Cromar, the director of music at St Andrew’s, 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. 

The trustees' findings 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, but 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 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".

The SEC says their review is now complete and that the findings will be shared with the College of Bishops. They noted that the report is not being made public at this stage.

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