The Bishop of Lincoln has been suspended by The Archbishop of Canterbury following ‘information provided by the police.’
Bishop Christopher Lowson was suspended by Archbishop Justin Welby today. The Diocese of Lincoln includes the Deepings, Stamford and Spalding.
Most Rev Welby said he ‘wanted to make it absolutely clear’ there were no allegations of abuse against Bishop Lowson. He said: “Following information provided by the police, I have suspended the Bishop of Lincoln Christopher Lowson from office, having obtained the consent of the Bishops of Birmingham and Worcester (the two longest serving bishops in the Province of Canterbury).
“If these matters are found to be proven I consider that the bishop would present a significant risk of harm by not adequately safeguarding children and vulnerable people. I would like to make it absolutely clear that there has been no allegation that Bishop Christopher has committed abuse of a child or vulnerable adult.
“The Bishop of Grimsby, David Court, will take on episcopal leadership of the diocese. It should be noted that suspension is a neutral act and nothing further can be said at this stage while matters are investigated. I ask for prayers for all affected by this matter.”
Bishop of Lincoln, Right Rev Lowson, said: “I am bewildered by the suspension and will fully cooperate in this matter. For the sake of the diocese and the wider Church I would like this to be investigated as quickly as possible to bring the matter to a swift conclusion.”
A spokesman for Lincolnshire police said; “We are aware of the decision today of the Archbishop of Canterbury to suspend the Bishop of Lincoln from office and it would not be appropriate for us to comment on that decision.
“The first phase of the Lincolnshire Police Operation Redstone investigation into non-recent sexual abuse cases and resulted in three men being convicted.
“Phase 2 of the investigation is continuing into wider safeguarding issues and management decisions within the Diocese. Because it is a live investigation and we do not want to jeopardise the outcome, we do not intend to make any further comment.
“We are committed to ensuring the safeguarding of victims and continue to work with the full co-operation of the Lincoln Diocese.
“There is an absolute multi-agency commitment to a transparent, survivor–focussed and diligent investigation of every matter raised with the team. Anyone wanting to make contact in complete confidence can do so to the Diocese Safeguarding Adviser, Debbie Johnson who can be contacted on 01522 504081”