On SAGE Insight: Hillsborough and a theological reflection on the role of the Church of England

Article title: Hillsborough and the Church of England

From Theology

Hillsborough was the biggest sporting disaster in British football. The original inquests returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’. For over 20 years the families of the 96 who died and the survivors campaigned against this verdict. After one of the longest inquests in British legal history, the jury in the court case gave its determination of ‘unlawful killing’.

This article reflects theologically on the public and pastoral role of the Church of England and its mission to wider society. This article is a reflective narrative about the roles of the author as Bishop of Liverpool (1998–2013) and as Chair of the Hillsborough Independent Panel (2010–12). It is offered as raw material for those who wish to explore and research the role of the Church of England and one of its pastors in contemporary society.


Abstract

In 1989, 96 Liverpool Football Club supporters were killed at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield. It was the biggest sporting disaster in British football. The original inquests returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’. For over 20 years the families of the 96 and the survivors campaigned against this verdict. In 2010 the government set up an Independent Panel with myself as its Chair. Its remit after consultation with the families and survivors was to access and analyse all the documents related to the disaster and its aftermath and to write a report to add to public understanding. The Panel’s Report was published in 2012 and led to the quashing of the original verdicts and the setting up of fresh inquests. After two years and the longest inquests in British legal history, the jury gave its determination of ‘unlawful killing’. Here I reflect theologically on the public and pastoral role of the Church of England and its mission to wider society.

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Article details
Hillsborough and the Church of England
James Jones
First Published January 6, 2017
Theology
2017, Vol. 120(1) 3–10
DOI: 10.1177/0040571X16669277

 

 

     
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