Friday, 6 July 2007

Jonathan Aitken: Wycliffe row a personality clash

[...] To understand the disputes' origins it is necessary to appreciate the impact of a confidential Church of England report on Wycliffe following a visit by inspectors in 2004. They recommended an overhaul of the management in order to make "ministerial formation central rather than peripheral to both the ethos and the managerial structure of the college"; a business plan; an improvement in chapel services; and the direct accountability of certain tutors, particularly the director of ministry, to the principal. The hall council decided a new broom was needed to make the changes, so they appointed Richard Turnbull, a former Hampshire vicar, church historian and chairman of the business committee of the General Synod.

Turnbull swept vigorously. Only time will tell whether his new staff appointments, which look good on paper, will succeed in practice. But those who opposed his right to change staff were surely fighting on the wrong battlefield. This is where personal grievances, sometimes bitterly expressed, entered the equation. Read more

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