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Private Eye - Issue No 1059

26th July 2002

Church News

YET MORE tales of dysfunction in the cathedral close. This time the dean of Ripon, John Methuen, is at the centre of "calls to resign" following the departure of several senior staff and reports of "autocratic" behaviour.

A predictably botched private inquiry into the dean's "management style" commissioned by John Packer, the bishop of Ripon and Leeds, has only fuelled the flames. Now there is every prospect of a Lincoln-esque standoff between the bishop and a dean who refuses to resign.

Dean Methuen is no stranger to controversy. At the height of the Westminster Abbey organist dispute (Eyes passim), a group of senior congregants signed an open letter to dean Wesley Carr, challenging him to answer specific questions about his behaviour. Methuen, with touching loyalty to a fellow dean but a rather tenuous grasp of the facts, wrote an emotional letter on Carr's behalf, warning the signatories to back off for "the sake of their immortal souls". Bishop Packer had better take care!

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