November 22, 2019 12.51 pm This story is over 31 months old

Dean of Lincoln makes legal bid to return to cathedral post

“I am desperate to resolve the issue”

The Dean of Lincoln Christine Wilson is seeking legal action to bring an end to the “long running saga over her absence from the cathedral”.

It follows a number of senior absences, connected to safeguarding investigations.

She has revealed that she has hired lawyers after making pleas to “a variety of people in the church to enable her return to the ministry”, but these were disregarded. She now faces an extended absence.

The Dean said in a statement issued on Friday, November 22: “I am desperate to resolve the issue so I can return to my ministry.”

The Very Reverend Christine Wilson took a voluntary leave of absence after less than three years in the role in April 2019.

At this time, the Chancellor, Reverend Canon Dr Paul Overend also agreed to step away from his post. The cathedral said at the time it was for separate reasons, connected to one issue.

It was confirmed that police outside of Lincolnshire were investigating a historical safeguarding matter reported to the Diocese of Lincoln. The Church of England said at the time that the situation was linked.

Dean Christine Wilson added that on Monday, the President of Tribunals made a determination that a complainant and the bishop had not followed the proper process at the outset and therefore the complaint, which led to Christine’s absence, was void and invalid.

The President of Tribunals stated that this was “unfortunate” and the complainant may wish to issue another complaint.

It now appears that this is likely to happen, which leaves the cathedral without their dean for a further period of time.

She added that she had over the last seven months respected the processes of the church throughout the inquiry and cooperated fully.

In May, the Bishop of Lincoln Christopher Lowson was suspended from office, facing separate allegations that he did not adequately safeguard children and vulnerable people. Peers said he was not accused of committing these.

A fourth senior figure was found to have stepped aside as part of investigations. Chapter Clerk and administrator of Lincoln Cathedral William Harrison was among those to step back in April.