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Statement in response to the publication of our Lessons Learned Review report

23 March 2021, Thirtyone:eight

Tuesday 23rd March 2021 sees the publication of the report from our independent lessons learned review concerning Jonathan Fletcher and Emmanuel Church Wimbledon.

This review process has been a long and painstaking one and has required the involvement of many individuals. We are particularly grateful to the authors of the report, Dr Lisa Oakley and Simon Plant who have dedicated themselves and made many personal sacrifices throughout the many months since this process began. We are also very grateful to all who have contributed to the review; many of whom will have done so at great personal cost. This is especially the case for the victims and survivors who have exercised great courage in sharing their personal experiences.

Thirtyone:eight welcomes the statement from the Trustees and Elders of Emmanuel Church in response to the report of the Lessons Learned Review into Jonathan Fletcher and Emmanuel Church Wimbledon. We acknowledge their willingness to publish the report in full, the apologies that have been made, and the commitment to take action in implementing the recommendations made in the report. It is encouraging to see the efforts already being made to convene an implementation group for this purpose, guided by some external support and accountability.

Whilst this review was commissioned by Emmanuel Church Wimbledon with a focus on themselves and the activities of Jonathan Fletcher, we have always been very aware that no individual or setting exists within a vacuum. We have therefore consulted widely and have provided a range of recommendations that are for both Emmanuel Church specifically, and others within a broader Conservative Evangelical constituency and beyond.

The report speaks for itself in painting a very concerning picture of how the abuse of positions of power and influence can have such a profound and damaging impact for so many. However, we would like to make some key observations that we believe underpin the process of the review and the conclusions and recommendations that have been reached.

First, we would like to be clear about the independence of this entire process. Once the scope for the review was agreed with Emmanuel Church, we have been given freedom to explore all aspects of that scope in order to gain the fullest understanding of the events and activities in question and to report on them without interference.

Second, we believe that the report produced at the conclusion of this review is fair, balanced and comprehensive in its exploration of the agreed scope. This has always been of importance and something that we have guarded throughout the process as we seek to operate with openness and integrity in dealing with a great deal of extremely complex and distressing information.

Third, we have always been aware that neither Jonathan Fletcher nor Emmanuel Church Wimbledon exist in an environment completely disconnected from the world around them. The establishment and maintenance of cultures, attitudes and behaviours require a range of facilitating factors both internally and externally. For this reason, we wish to highlight the wider learning that is carried in this report.

We hope that the lessons learned through this process will not only be taken forward by Emmanuel Church, but all others who are able to see the potential for the issues raised to exist within their own spheres of influence. Whilst individual responsibility must be taken for acts of omission and commission, including a need to reflect, lament and repent, we must also commit to collectively stand against any and all forms of abuse and harm perpetrated within the Church. We hope and pray that this report will assist in this process.

We strongly believe it is in the public interest for all details contained within this report; its background, findings, conclusions and recommendations, to be published. We recognise that some of the content of this report may be distressing and so we have provided a range of services where support can be sought which are detailed at the end of the report and on our website.


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