An updated statement from Trustees in response to Safeguarding Reviews concerning John Smyth and Jonathan Fletcher
Released 9 July 2021
In April 2021, we issued a statement on behalf of the Trustees of the South Central Gospel Partnership in response to the John Smyth Independent Case Review, produced for Scripture Union, and the Independent Lessons Learned Review concerning Jonathan Fletcher and Emmanuel Church Wimbledon. We had been alarmed by what the John Smyth Independent Case Review termed a “clear indication of inappropriately limited information-sharing” on the part of the Titus Trust. Three of our small group leaders and tutors who were or who had been employed by the Titus Trust offered to step back from active involvement in the Course, at least until a public response became available from the Trust. We urged the Titus Trust to comply with their obligations to the satisfaction of Scripture Union and safeguarding professionals.
We made it clear in our statement that we did not regard this as a final judgment on the situation. Since then, on 21 June 2021, Scripture Union issued a subsequent Statement withdrawing that claim of inappropriately limited information sharing on the part of the Titus Trust. As Trustees, we were very pleased to read this because it allayed our specific safeguarding concerns.
We want to thank those who stepped aside from their roles in the Ministry Training Course for the gracious way in which they have handled this whole situation. Naturally, it has not been easy for them, but they have each shown the fruit of the Spirit in great measure in the way they have responded. We would be delighted to welcome each of them back to their roles if they would like to serve in this way again.
Finally, we want to express our sympathy for those who are the victims of sinful behaviour in churches. A number of those who have suffered abuse have spoken to us since our original statement, and we admire the courage it has taken them to do so. We will continue to pray for them and for the UK church as a whole as the situation continues to unfold in the months and years to come.
James Muldoon and Peter Comont on behalf of the South Central Gospel Partnership Trustees