Bishop Mike Hill withdraws from public service throughout the racism investigation

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Former Bishop of Bristol, Rt. Rev. Mike Hill, has withdrawn from all public services while a racism charge is under investigation.

Bishop Hill retires in the Bath & Wells diocese. On Wednesday afternoon, Bishop of Bath & Wells Rt. Rev. Peter Hancock wrote to his clergy that Bishop Hill had agreed to resign as honorary bishop in the diocese with immediate effect, "and will withdraw from the entire civil service The appeal against him has been negotiated. "

The case affects Pastor Alwyn Pereira, Vicar of St. Michael and the Ascension of Aldershot in the Guildford Diocese. Mr. Pereira was ordained a priest in the Bristol Diocese in 2011, but had difficulty finding a post after being curated in St. Edyths, Sea Mills. During the search, he worked on a non-C-of-E project and asked for permission to serve in the diocese.

The Reverend Alwyn PereiraOn July 5, 2016, Bishop Hill, who was still in office at the time, wrote to a senior priest in the diocese and asked him to oversee him "to give him one last chance to be rehabilitated in the Church of England."

In his letter, Bishop Hill wrote that he liked Mr. Pereira "immensely", but "that he saw accountability structures as a restriction rather than an exemption".

He continues: "I think the only other thing I have to say after working very closely with people from the Indian subcontinent in my past is that I think there are cultural differences in the way how people like Alwyn communicate and actually deal with questions of truth and clarity. “Mr. Pereira was born in Kenya to Indian-Portuguese parents and was mainly educated in England.

Mr. Pereira received a copy of the letter when he asked for his file. He also exposed an email path from 2014 in which Bishop Hill informed the diocese senior team that he was "at a loss" about Mr. Pereira's inability to secure a term. He writes: “Lee (Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon) mentioned to me that his application was culturally eccentric, but this is somewhat dangerous since Alwyn is, of course, a minority ethnic Anglican (whose cause we should promote, according to the National Church).

“In our view, cultural could be interpreted by others as racist. . . I think this is a difficult and potentially harmful situation for us. "

Mr Pereira first complained in October 2017. He called again in January 2018 and was asked to write to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He did so on March 4, 2018. He received several responses, including from Bishop of Lambeth, Rev. Tim Thornton: “I'm afraid it took me longer to get advice on possible ways forward. ”

When he tried to appeal in November 2019, a labor court ruled in November 2019 that his application was late. A later complaint against the Bishop of Lambeth for the delay was dismissed for similar reasons, and because Mr. Pereira had not mentioned the 2003 clergy's disciplinary action in his first complaint.

This year's appeals against both judgments were dismissed, but last week the deputy president of the CDM trial wrote that Bishop Hill had received an opinion by July 1.

In a statement, Bishop Hill accepted that he "had used racist stereotypes that were unacceptable and offensive. . . I deeply regret the incident and wholeheartedly apologize. "

On Friday, Mr. Pereira said that "this is not just a bad apple. It's not just about Mike Hill. "None of the other members of the diocesan leadership team questioned his comments." This is a current problem. It didn't happen ten years ago. You defended this in February. "

The problem, he said, was that all judgments about him and his character were untrustworthy, "tarnished by racist stereotypes that have now been exposed".

Earlier this year, he wrote to the Church Times: “For an ethnic minority, I can't describe the feeling of hurt, betrayal, and humiliation when you discover that of everyone, a bishop, someone who has been very well respected and as highly valued spiritual father should house racist stereotypes.

"This was reinforced by the fact that I was told one thing on my face and even in my training manager, but something different behind the scenes, privately to senior executives."

He believes the same prejudices have undermined his attempts to find a job. In one minute of a meeting in November 2015 about an application to a congregation, it said: “The congregation said they didn't want an African priest because they were lazy. + M (Bishop Mike Hill) and staff spoke to them about racism. + M does not believe that people who meet AP would know that he has an ethnic minority background. "

The current Bishop of Bristol, Rev. Vivienne Faull, said in a statement this week: “I have committed to tackling institutional racism and to recruiting and supporting more BAME ministers. I stand behind these and my other commitments. This work will not be easy, but I will work tirelessly to bring about change. "

Bishop Hancock wrote: “In this diocese, as in the entire Church of England, we have to do so much to combat institutional racism. We have failed in the past and it is clear that we are still failing now. We are committed to listening and acting to address racism and inequality in our diocesan structures and in our church communities. "

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