New Acting Dean of Lincoln appointed amid possible legal action

A new Acting Dean has taken over at Lincoln Cathedral in place of Christine Wilson, who is seeking legal action in order to return to her post.

The Venerable Mark Steadman, Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey, was appointed as Acting Dean of Lincoln on Friday, November 22.

He will continue his role as Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey, but he will now also help with the governance and functioning of Lincoln Cathedral.

The Very Reverend Christine Wilson took a voluntary leave of absence after less than three years in the role in April 2019 amid investigations into a historical safeguarding complaint. Chancellor, Reverend Canon Dr Paul Overend agreed to step down at the same time for separate reasons, connected to the one issue.

She has since made various pleas to enable her return to the ministry, but all have been disregarded.

After seven months, the President of Tribunals determined the complainant and bishop had “not followed the proper process”, making it invalid, and that another complaint may be put forward.

She has revealed that she has hired lawyers to “bring an end to the long running saga” over her absence.

A Church of England spokesperson said: “The Church is taking this issue very seriously and is aware how difficult it is for all parties involved.

“As the Dean said in her statement, the President of Tribunals made a determination that the complainant and bishop had not followed the proper process at the outset, that this was ‘unfortunate’ and the complainant may wish to issue another complaint.

“The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team will be issuing another complaint, however, it should be noted that the President of Tribunals made no decision on the actual substance of the complaint.

“Nothing further can be said as this process continues but we ask prayers for everyone involved.”

The Right Reverent Dr David Court.

The Right Reverent Dr David Court, who stepped in as acting Bishop of Lincoln in May in place of Christopher Lowson, appointed the acting Dean of Lincoln.

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.”

Dean of Lincoln Cathedral Christine Wilson and Chancellor Paul Overend.

It was confirmed upon the two absences 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.

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.