Dean Martyn Percy re-instated at Christ Church, Oxford

Justice is now being served. and Christ Church, Oxford, can resume its eirenic ministry of inclusion. (Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand)



Christ Church Dean reinstated after accusations quashed – Premier – The Very Revd Dr Martyn Percy will return to his position at Christ Church college at the University of Oxford after an allegation made against him was dismissed.


  • Sally Barnes I think there will have to be some sorting out about the “charges”, the way they were worded which were damaging in themselves, the way it was conducted, and the huge amount of money the whole thing cost..Delete or hide this
  • Haydn Rawstron Ronnie, the judgement was crystal clear: the complaints fell ‘very far short’ of ‘good cause’ for dismissal. It seems that the announcement of Dean Martyn Percy’s acquittal was not made by The Dean, himself, but by those who brought the action against the Dean. Their account does not of course reveal that their attempt to remove The Dean from his position was a country mile away from what could reasonably be called appropriate. The Governing Body (GB) could be said to have squandered half a million pounds on a seemingly senseless, imbecilic action. The waste of money is one thing. The poisoning of college life throughout a whole academic year for undergraduates and graduates in such a confined environment as Christ Church is another. The damage done to the college’s reputation and the number of alumni who have written Christ Church out of their Wills or are reconsidering making donations to the college is yet another. But worst of all was the draconian treatment of The Dean himself. The charges were not sexual, behavioural or anything to do with ‘modern charges’, though the GB outrageously left those possibilities hanging in the air for several months, before being obliged to clarify the situation regarding the charges. They were about pay, rights and presumably ‘authority’, the authority of the Dean versus the ‘authority of the Governing Boday in general’. What has caused outrage among many alumni of Christ Church was the manner in which the GB chose to defeat Martin Percy’s authority, resorting to a medieval vehicle to achieve its ends. At the beginning of the news release published since the Dean’s acquittal, is written that the process originated from ‘A COMPLAINT’ which a Christ Church statute (from the 16th century) required to be investigated: this complaint first needed to be made by seven members of the GB! Seven apparently intelligent men and women decided to proceed against Dean Percy, using college funds to carry forward their action, by means of this archaic principle of ‘tribunal’, knowing that Dean Percy, in order to defend himself, would probably need first to bankrupt himself. Was that the GB’s strategy all along, to present the Dean with such an enormous financial challenge that he would resign rather than impoverish his family? Adding insult to aggression, the GB removed the Dean from his college duties and then had the gall to remove him also from his clerial duties as cathedral Dean, even though its quarrel with the Dean had nothing to do with the cathedral per se. This is a terrifying example of how a collective of intelligent men and women can behave against a single comparatively defenceless individual. We would condemn outright such behaviour on the playground. Who is there to censure such behaviour among adults?
    • Ronnie Smith Thanks, Haydn, for this stunning account of the injustice of the Christ Church Governing Body – in their spiteful action against Dean Percy, whose reputation – and the reputation of the College – has been besmirched, causing irreparable damage to both the Dean and the Cathedral and College Community. Surely, the GB should be called to account and replaced – if that is possible.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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