The Archbishop of Canterbury confirmed recently that the Church of England would not use Non Disclosure Agreements, but they seem alive and well in the form of Confidentiality Clauses. In January 2021, my vicar husband was asked by the Bishop of Derby to sign a NDA after being bullied out of St Peter’s Stapenhill by a small group, Bishop Rod Thomas and Derby Diocese.
Given that Church Society’s recent 45-page character assassination of me and my husband was full of false claims, inaccuracies and misleading statements from start to end, I am very glad that we did not sign a NDA / Confidentiality Clause proposed by Derby Diocese. This would have prevented us from speaking out about the situation and correcting the untruths about us. At the time of writing, I have still not corrected everything in Lee Gatiss’s 45-page ‘report’ on us – and there is a lot to correct.
More to the point, why would the Church of England want us to sign a NDA / Confidentiality Clause if we were the ones who had behaved wrongly? It would not be in their interests. What do they have to hide? If Church Society were correct in the narrative that they are pushing about us, nobody would have tried to shut us up. However, if what I have said is true (and it is), then Derby Diocese, Bishop Rod Thomas and Church Society would have every interest in gagging us.
Some might think that there is no connection between Derby Diocese’s desire to gag us and the Church Society 45-page document. That connection is Bishop Rod Thomas, who gives extended oversight to St Peter’s Stapenhill under the authority of the Bishop of Derby – and who is also the President of Church Society. Correspondence obtained by Subject Access Request shows, contrary to Church Society’s claims in their document, that Rod Thomas was in regular contact with Church Society about the situation in our parish. Indeed he was sharing confidential information about us with the Church Society leaders even before he became their President – surely not appropriate behaviour for a bishop?
I find myself wondering if Church Society waited so long before saying anything because they perhaps hoped that by the time they did, we would be firmly gagged and unable to respond? It would be worth asking Church Society for their views on NDAs and whether they support the attempt to use one against me and my husband. In any case, the fact that we were asked to agree to a NDA by Derby Diocese strongly undermines the narrative of events that Church Society is trying to bully us with.