4 February 2022
The Governing Body of Christ Church has announced that mediation processes have concluded with the Dean and a resolution reached that is satisfactory to all parties.
The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, has issued the following statement:
Christ Church have announced this afternoon that the Dean has agreed to step down from his duties as Dean following a long and protracted series of disputes with the governing body and a process of mediation.
A complaint of sexual harassment brought against the Dean by a member of staff has also been settled in a parallel process of mediation. The allegation was unrelated to previous disputes.
A settlement has been agreed with the Dean and, separately, with the complainant.
The complainant has felt discredited and disbelieved. The Dean has felt hurt and isolated. The complaint and previous disputes have also been painful for Cathedral Chapter, the congregation of the Cathedral and many others. The settlement brings to an end a damaging period in the life of the Cathedral and the College.
There is a moment and opportunity now for grace and, over time, for a process of reconciliation and healing of relationships.
My own encouragement to all is to seek the peace to which Christ calls us. This will understandably take time, and I commend all concerned to the continued prayers of the diocese. I have written to Martyn to repeat my offer of conversation and dialogue about his next steps.
The college will seek to appoint an independent chair for a governance review proposed by the Charity Commission. The Diocese of Oxford and the Church of England nationally will contribute to that review in due course.
Both the Dean and the complainant have requested an independent lessons learned review of the processes followed by the diocese and the Church of England nationally. The Bishop’s Council have agreed to this, and we are seeking the support of the Archbishops’ Council for this to be jointly commissioned.
Martyn continues to be held in respect and affection by many across the Diocese of Oxford, the wider Church and internationally for his gifts as a priest and writer. Many will be grieved by the disputes that have led to his departure.
Together we hope and pray, by the grace of God, for a hopeful and fruitful future for all concerned.
Please note: A statement from Dr Percy was first circulated after the publication of the diocesan statement on Friday 4 February 2022. We are happy to include a link to Martyn's statement below, alongside the link to the announcement by the college.
Statement from Christ Church
Statement from Martyn Percy
- Christ Church is a complex institution and, uniquely in the Church of England, the Dean of the Cathedral is also Head of an Oxford College.
- The terms of service of the Dean and the residentiary canons of the Cathedral are set out in the Statutes of Christ Church. The post of Dean is indivisible; the different aspects of the Dean's duties cannot be separated.
- The allegation made against the Dean was unrelated to previous disputes at the college, and the individual brought her complaint to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM).
- In June 2021, the President of Tribunals, Dame Sarah Asplin DBE, decided that it would not be proportionate to refer the complaint to a CDM tribunal, noting that there was another means of redress, i.e. the internal Christ Church process.
- The Diocese of Oxford is fully committed to justice and fair process. We have offered significant support for those involved. This included work to ensure proper procedures and offers of pastoral support and counselling for all parties. Where possible, Bishop Steven has been in regular personal contact with everyone involved.
- Christ Church Cathedral is unique in the Church of England in that it is outside the scope of the Cathedral Measure 1963 and subsequent Cathedral legislation. The Crown is the visitor, not the Bishop.
- The institution of Christ Church was founded as both a cathedral of the Diocese of Oxford and as a college of the University in 1546. Christ Church Oxford is [therefore] unique as a joint foundation comprising both College and Cathedral.
- All parties are agreed on the need for a governance review once the present situation is resolved.