Statement from the Parish Council
Statement by the Council of the Parish of Darlington-Bellevue (Council)
The Parish Council does not accept the recommendation of the Professional Standards Committee to suspend our Rector Father Chris Bedding, nor the subsequent decision by Bishop Kate Wilmot to implement that suspension.
The Council was not consulted prior to the decision to suspend, even though such consultation is required by the relevant statute.
Council has not been advised of the grounds for the suspension. Council has reviewed all of the correspondence relating to this matter, and can find no justification for this decision to suspend.
No justification has been provided by Bishop Kate for the haste in imposing the suspension.
Despite making a strong case for the deferment or curtailment of the decision, Bishop Kate Wilmot advised us in the morning of Sat 30 Sept she would still proceed with her decision to announce the suspension.
Bishop Kate also decided not to meet with Parish Council yesterday afternoon, after previously agreeing it was worth meeting to consider alternatives put by Council.
Fr. Chris has guided the congregation and with the assistance of St Cuthbert’s parishioners, the parish has grown and thrived, welcoming a number of young families to its fold. In particular we have assisted a number of people and organisations throughout the parish whether or not they were part of the Anglican Church community.
Father Chris has our full and unswerving support.
Council will be lodging a formal complaint about lack of transparency and accountability in this process, which we are now aware has gone on for nine months.
Council has found this news distressing. Please be assured that we will keep you advised of any further developments.
All Council members would welcome any enquiries and will be meeting later to consider further action.
We have been advised by Bishop Kate that the pastoral and spiritual needs of the parish will be met.
Susanna Howlett, Jill Mackenzie, Lynne Evans,
James Saunders, Jon Roberts, Jan Carroll