St Helen’s Bishopsgate Church Wardens
The Church Wardens at St Helen’s Bishopsgate issued the following statement to the parish after their Rector, The Revd William Taylor, revealed that he had been a victim of John Smyth in the early 1980s.
“We want St Helen’s to be a loving and safe church, where people can hear of Jesus and grow in their love for Him free from harm in a kind and caring church family. We encourage all of us to pray that would be the case and to engage in the various reviews we are conducting.”
“It would have been William’s choice to keep his experience private, but he has decided (and, with sadness, we agree) that it should be shared now. 40 years on, and due to relentless and inappropriate pressure, largely via social media, William and his family have been wrongly deprived of their right to privacy in relation to the abuse he suffered, and to which privacy all victims should be entitled.”
“Please continue to hold William and Janet in your prayers at this time. They are much loved by us all and we know that our church family share our thankfulness to God for them, and for their unstinting service here at St Helen’s and beyond.”
“In all of this, we are conscious of the pain and suffering caused to those abused by Jonathan Fletcher, John Smyth and others, and our prayers continue to be for all those affected by it.”
The Rector at St Helen’s Bishopsgate has often been mentioned in relation to the Jonathan Fletcher and now John Smyth scandals. He received considerable criticism when the Fletcher story broke in April and some even called for his resignation. The blog, www.survivingchurch.org has been a focal point for some of those who have understood Taylor to be at least partly to blame for Fletcher’s behaviours.
The Church Wardens of St Helen’s Bishopsgate concluded their statement by providing information on how to report other abuse or to find someone to discuss issues arising out of the parish letter.
“It may be that you are a survivor of abuse and you want to talk to someone outside St Helen’s about your experience or about any issues that this letter has raised for you. If so, we would encourage you to contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team (firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7932 1224) or Safe Spaces (email@example.com or 0300 303 1056).”