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Bishop's suspension stands after failed Church appeal

Bishop's suspension stands after failed Church appeal
Bishop Anne Dyer took up her role in the diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney in 2018
Scotland's first female bishop has failed in a bid to have her suspension over bullying allegations over-turned.

By Huw Williams
BBC Scotland reporter
October 1, 2022

The Scottish Episcopal Church's bishops voted by three to two that Anne Dyer should stand back from the Aberdeen and Orkney diocese while complaints are investigated.

The Church said the suspension did not imply there had been any misconduct.

Bishop Dyer has said that she faced "significant bullying and harassment" since taking up the role in 2018.

Her lawyers have accused "a small cabal of church members" of carrying out "a relentless campaign" against her.

The suspension was announced in August, but almost immediately set aside when the bishop said she intended to appeal.

That process has been delayed twice - firstly because one of the parties said they needed more time to prepare their case, and again in September after the death of the late Queen.

The seven bishops of the church make up an Episcopal Synod - the body that decided on the appeal. Bishop Dyer was not allowed to vote on her own case and the Primus or Senior Bishop, Mark Strange, who imposed the suspension could not vote either.

Dr John Armes, Bishop of Edinburgh, will serve as Acting Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney while the complaints are considered by the church's Preliminary Proceedings Committee. It will assess if they should be thrown out, or go on to be decided by a church trial held under the provisions of its Canon law.

Last year, a report into allegations of bullying against Bishop Dyer recommended she leave her role, after finding that her diocese was suffering from "systemic dysfunction".

A separate document has been submitted to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, alleging concerns about finances and governance in the diocese.

'Relentless campaign'

Lawyers acting for Bishop Dyer said she had been subjected to a campaign of misinformation while being obliged by church processes to stay silent.

Callum Anderson, of the law firm Levy & MacRae said: "As a result, an entirely one-sided and self-serving picture has been presented by a handful of people who fundamentally object to same-sex marriage and to Bishop Dyer's appointment as the diocese's first female bishop.

"Whilst Bishop Dyer is hugely grateful for the enormous support she has received from her wider diocese, clergy and congregations, she is clearly frustrated at being unable to respond publicly to the very personal and gruelling attacks on her."

He added: "Following the 3-2 split judgement on her appeal, she is most keen to see a full, prompt and transparent accounting of the entire circumstances of this unsavoury episode.

"The speedy resolution of this matter must now be a priority, not just for the bishop but for the diocese and the wider Church."

To read more click here: https://www.scotland.anglican.org/episcopal-synod-decides-appeal/


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