Archbishop of York says Minster”s bell-ringers sacked “on safeguarding grounds”
The Archbishop of York has defended the decision to sack all 30 of York Minister”s bell-ringers and said they showed “repeated disregard” for its safeguarding policies.
Dr John Sentamu said he had to take action regarding a bell-ringer “on safeguarding grounds” in the summer.
He said advice was taken to “minimise risk to children, young people and vulnerable adults”.
The bells fell silent last Tuesday in order for a new team to be recruited.
Speaking at a news conference, Dr Sentamu backed the decision made by the Minster”s governing body, the Chapter of York, in order to make the church “a safe place for everyone”.
He said: “Earlier this summer, it was necessary for the Chapter to take action regarding a member of the bell-ringing community on safeguarding grounds.
“This came after complex multi-agency activity involving City of York Council, York Diocese Safeguarding Adviser and the Church of England”s National Safeguarding Officer.
“The decision was taken in line with advice from safeguarding professionals, and with regard to national policies and guidance, including the Church of England”s on minimising risk to children, young people and vulnerable adults.”
Dr Sentamu said some bell-ringers had “consistently challenged the Chapter”s authority on this and other important matters”.
“Repeated disregard of the Chapter”s attempts to fully implement the Church”s national policies for safeguarding, health and safety and security meant that decisive action was required,” he said.
“This is why the Chapter took the decision to disband the bell ringing team last week. New arrangements for bell ringing at the Minster will start in the New Year.”
A petition calling for the bell-ringers to be reinstated to peal the bells on Remembrance Sunday, Christmas Day and New Year”s Eve has received more than 15,000 signatures.