Book Reviews: Baptism & Confirmation & Patterns for Baptism

Book Reviews Baptism and Confirmation Church House Publishing, 2022 (ISBN: 9780715123522, 468pp, £40) Patterns for Baptism Church House Publishing, 2022 (ISBN: 9780715123492, 392pp, £25) These handsome volumes are the latest additions to Common Worship, the Church of...

The Diverse Excellencies of Jesus Christ: Gospel-Driven Anglicanism

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles The Diverse Excellencies of Jesus Christ  The American Theologian and Pastor, Jonathan Edwards (1703 -1758), once preached a sermon entitled “The Admirable Conjunction of Diverse Excellencies in Jesus Christ”. The...

The Cancelling of the Creator

The Cancelling of the Creator The headline from a national newspaper popped up on my phone: “Daniel Radcliffe is surely the world’s most ungrateful man”. It’s not a title many would be scrambling to win for themselves, but the opinion-piece made the case. Daniel...

Melville-Knox Christian School Opens in Aberdeen

Melville-Knox Christian School Opens in Aberdeen Melville-Knox Christian School Aberdeen officially opened on Monday 7th November after years of prayer, planning and organisation. We give thanks to the Lord that we have been able to reach this significant milestone;...

Barnabas Report: At Least 21 Christians Killed in Mozambique

Barnabas Report At Least 21 Christians Killed in Mozambique During October At least 21 Christians have been killed by Islamist extremists in violent attacks throughout October in northern Mozambique. Jihadists set fire to a church building and several houses in the...

Sanctuary Foundation Offers Free Advent Resource

Sanctuary Foundation Offers Free Advent Resource  Sanctuary Foundation has been aiding those trying to offer assistance for those fleeing the war in Ukraine through its, “Homes for Ukraine” scheme.  The charity has been serving as a liaison by resourcing hosts and...

Annual Clive West Memorial Lecture Set for Belfast

Annual Clive West Trust Lecture Set for Belfast The 2022 Clive West Trust Lecture will take place on Thursday, 22 November at St Nicholas’ Church on the Lisburn Road in Belfast at 19:30. This year’s featured speaker is the Revd Dr Tim Ward.  Ward earned his PhD from...

Church of England Council Rejects Croft’s Position

Church of England Evangelical Council Rejects Croft’s Position In a press statement following the pronouncements of Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, the Church of England Evangelical Council repudiated the departure of biblical teaching advocated by Croft. It said,...

On Transubstantiation: Reformation Anglicanism

Reformation Anglicanism On Transubstantiation By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins Transubstantiation became the official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church at the Fourth Lateran Council that began, November 11, 1215. The Council of Trent in 1551 went on to confirm the...

Oxford Good Stewards Trust Announced in Response to Bishop of Oxford’s Revisionism

St Paul’s Banbury, Oxford Answers Bishop and Announces  The Oxford Good Stewards Trust The Revd Dan McGowan, Vicar of St Paul’s, Banbury in Oxford Diocese has answered Bishop Croft’s revisionist declarations about same-sex matters and announced the formation of The...

Charity Commissioners Issue Strong Warning to Trustees of Christ Church, Oxford

Charity Commissioners Issue Strong Warning to Trustees of Christ Church, Oxford

Rebuke Directly Related to Actions Toward Former Dean

Christ Church has been involved in long and costly disputes involving its former Dean, who left his role earlier this year following a mediation process. In 2020 the Commission had told the parties to the dispute to enter into formal mediation.

The Commission has found that trustees failed to act on its previous advice, given between 2019-2020, to continue to have “close oversight of costs” in the dispute. In December 2021, the Commission asked the trustees to provide information about the costs of the actions connected to the former Dean and how these costs were being managed. The trustees were unable to provide the information in a timely manner. The Commission was later informed that the trustees had not set a fixed budget for the costs associated with the dispute, and instead that the full trustee body agreed expenditure retrospectively. Between August 2018 and late January 2022 the college had spent over £6.6m on legal and public relations fees in various actions related to the former Dean, of which over £5.3m appears to have been approved retrospectively.

The regulator is also critical of the trustees’ failure to ensure the college was accountable for its expenditure on legal and public relations fees during the dispute. The Commission has found that the charity’s published accounts (for years ending 2018-21) categorised costs associated with the charity’s actions involving the former Dean as “other direct costs – teaching, research and residential”. The Commission says that this has the potential to mislead the readers of the accounts. The trustees had been advised by the charity’s auditors to consider reporting on actions related to the dispute specifically, and to seek advice on its reporting.

The regulator has determined that these failures and omissions amount to misconduct and/or mismanagement in the charity’s administration.

The Official Warning sets out the actions that the Commission considers should be taken by the charity to rectify the misconduct and/or mismanagement and to address its concerns, including:

  • Completing a full independent Governance Review and taking all reasonable steps to implement its recommendations. This work is already underway.
  • Keeping the Commission informed of the progress and implementation of the Governance Review at key milestones.
  • Ensuring that the charity’s accounts and Trustee Annual Report for the year ending 31 July 2022 comply with the legal requirement to ensure the charity is accountable.

Failure to take steps to remedy the misconduct and/or mismanagement may lead to further regulatory action being taken against the charity’s trustees.

Helen Earner, Director of Regulatory Services at the Charity Commission, said:

These long and protracted disputes risked undermining the reputation of Christ Church and harming wider trust in charities.

It is not for us as regulator to take sides in disputes. Our role is to ensure that charities are governed effectively and that charitable funds are properly accounted for. All trustees must demonstrate sound financial stewardship, regardless of the level of resources available to them.

We consider that the actions of the trustees at Christ Church amount to mismanagement and/or misconduct, after they failed to manage the charity’s resources responsibly or ensure that the charity is accountable in the context of a costly dispute.

The Commission welcomes the fact that an independent governance review is now underway at the charity, led by the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve KC, and we expect the trustees to keep us updated on its progress.

Good governance should be a priority for all trustees, especially those involved in important national institutions such as Christ Church, Oxford”.