Lord Sentamu – statement from the Bishop of Newcastle

First published on: 27th July 2023

A statement from the Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Dr Helen-Ann Hartley: 

In May this year, as a result of his public response to criticism of him contained within the Trevor Devamanikkam independent Learning Lessons Review, I required Lord Sentamu to step back from active ministry in Newcastle Diocese, until both the findings of the report and his response to it could be explored with him. Following this, our Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor and the National Safeguarding Team met with Lord Sentamu and concluded that he would respond appropriately today to any disclosures made to him in the Diocese of Newcastle and in his wider ministry. 

However, following my meeting with Lord Sentamu on 25th July, my concern remains that his public statement, following the Learning Lessons Review, is inconsistent with the tone and culture I expect around safeguarding in Newcastle Diocese, and has had a significant impact on survivors and undermined public confidence. It is for these reasons that I have asked Lord Sentamu to reflect on his words, and in particular the impact of them, and to offer an apology.

I am extremely disappointed that Lord Sentamu feels unable to make an apology at this time, and it is with sadness that I do not feel able to grant him my Permission to Officiate within the Diocese of Newcastle, or delegate authority to him. My door remains open, and the matter is in his hands. 

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell has been kept fully informed through this process and remains supportive of my decision and continues himself to pray that a way forward may be found. The Diocese of Newcastle remains committed to the highest standards of safeguarding which seek always to place victims and survivors at the heart of this vital work.

Right Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley

Bishop of Newcastle


For more about Trevor Devamanikkam Independent Learning Lessons Review review, click here.

If you or anyone you are in contact with are affected by the publication of this report and want to talk to someone independently, please call the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056 or visit safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk

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