A statement from the Diocese of Coventry regarding highly offensive comments on social media.
We continue to be aware of highly offensive comments made on social media by an individual in this Diocese who is also an elected member of the General Synod.
As we said in our previous statement the expression of views that have been brought to our attention are those of the individual concerned and do not represent the views of the Bishop and Diocese of Coventry. The offence caused is a matter of deep regret.
We are extremely sorry when an individual makes comments that fall short of the social media guidelines published by the Church of England and fails to behave in a way fitting of their office as a member of Synod. We continue to take all the appropriate action available to us, including reporting the matter to external agencies and are working to introduce a Code of Conduct with sanctions for non-compliance to our own Synod. We have not taken these actions lightly and have only done so in view of the sheer number of complaints received from third parties, and only after other avenues have been exhausted, including repeated offers of support to the individual concerned.
As a Diocese, we believe everyone has the right to feel safe when interacting online. If you have been affected by any comments, we would encourage you to access this information sheet for helpful advice and available support. Any incidents of hate speech or malicious communications can also be reported to the Police or directly to social media platforms who will take the necessary action.
The Bishop of Coventry wishes to reiterate the following words from our earlier statement ‘Inspired by the witness of our Cathedral, the Diocese seeks to be a reconciling presence in every community and we expect those who carry its good name to strive after the highest standards of behaviour and communication and, in so doing, to adhere to the Pastoral Principles for living well together.’