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The telegraph

Aid from ex-Archbishop of Canterbury ‘tried to blackmail minister over allegations of racism’

An aide to the former Archbishop of Canterbury is accused of attempting to blackmail a minister into retracting racism claims in order to retain his license, The Telegraph may reveal. Bishop John Fenwick, 70, heads the Free Church of England (CFE), a Church of England splinter group that was forged in the mid-19th century. Lord Carey’s former adviser, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, is already facing questions as the charity examines allegations that stem from the sale of a ‘missing’ £ 300,000 church. West Midlands Police have also said they are looking into an allegation of fraud to establish whether any breaches have been committed by the FCE. However, it has now emerged that Bishop Fenwick is also accused of attempting to “blackmail” another minister, the Reverend Arthur Kay, by retracting the allegations made against him, ranging from racism, breaches of doctrine and an allegation abuse of process related to the closure. from the church which was then sold for £ 300,000. Reverend Kay, who served as a minister for nearly 40 years, warned that the CFE’s “culture of secrecy” could lead to the dissolution of the entire Christian denomination. Reverend Kay claims the Bishop told him that he had “burned his bridges” after filing charges against him, and gave him three options: “to withdraw gracefully”, withdraw his license or accept an authorization to leave. officer (PTO) but only within his own congregation “on condition that I say that I accept it willingly and that I will drop the charges against him”. “It sounds like blackmail” Reverend Kay rejected all options. “It sounded like some kind of blackmail,” he told The Telegraph. “In particular, I believe it is an abuse of our denomination’s disciplinary processes to demand that charges under those processes be dropped in exchange for keeping a mere shadow of my former ministry.” He added: “It seems that anyone who raises questions about what the bishop is doing is penalized for it.” We don’t really have archbishops in our denomination, but he behaves like one trying to exercise the power in every church in England. ”Despite its distinction, the FCE maintains a formal relationship with the Church of England and the clergy can move between the two churches. It is headed by three bishops: Bishop Fenwick, who acts as as Bishop Primus and Bishop of the Diocese of the North, supported by Bishop Paul Hunt, Bishop of the Diocese of the South, and Bishop Josep M Rossello, Bishop of the Diocese of South America – who is not allegedly involved in any wrongdoing. Following these allegations, Bishop Rossello has since called his eldest son, In March, Reverend Kay wrote to the CFE’s second in command, Bishop Hunt, alleging that Bishop Fenwick had made comments of a racist nature about Bishop Rossello, including that he was “the highest paid minister and he was not even English. He also raised concerns over the closure of £ 300,000 St Stephen’s Church in Middlesbrough and the removal of his minister. He says it was these complaints that cost him his ministerial post in the FCE. Instead of apologizing, he alleged that Bishop Fenwick maintained an atmosphere of “secrecy and intimidation”. “Atmosphere of Fear” “There is a defined atmosphere of fear,” said Rev. Kay. I think people are afraid to say anything against him because he is a bishop. People see how bossy he is, and that he can do nasty things to people, and they feel inferior to him. When asked why he decided to speak out, Reverend Kay added, “For me it was a matter of conscience. It cost me a lot of sleepless nights. The congregation begged the bishop to restore my license and he refused. “I have never spoken to the press about anything like this, and I do so only now in a painful way and with the greatest reluctance. I was torn in two. Only the advice and the exhortations of the people I respect influenced me. Unfortunately, the bishop will not listen to anything else. “In such circumstances, anyone else would have resigned to allow an independent investigation. Time and time again different people from the FCE have spoken to him, but he simply ignores all negative comments and never says he’s sorry for everything he has done. “It’s not the kind of thing every Christian wants to do. I didn’t do this out of spite or because it’s something I wanted to do. It cost me a lot to do it. “When asked if he thought such allegations of wrongdoing could lead to the downfall of the CFE, he said: ‘It could – and perhaps this is what is needed: a death and a resurrection. In response, Bishop Fenwick said: “In October 2020, I informed my Diocesan Synod of the processes I expected to be guided by when evaluating whether or not to grant a new license to a priest aged over 70 years: at 70. All clergy under pastoral supervision must submit their license to the bishop of the diocese. “However, after consultation with the local congregation and other persons concerned, the bishop may reissue a license to him on an annual basis … Thus, a priest can be invited to lead worship as long as he is fit and capable, but he is not normally expected to be responsible for a parish after the age of 70 .. “As Reverend Arthur Kay’s 70th birthday approached, I contacted the churchwardens of the Church where Mr. Kay was the Assistant Minister and asked them to consult with the congregation. At the same time, I consulted the diocesan officers and the high clergy and laity of the denomination as “others concerned”. “The result of the consultation was that while the congregation wanted Mr. Kay to continue to administer them, the assessment of his wider contribution to the diocese and denomination was substantially negative. My offer to grant Mr. Kay PTO in Tottington was intended as a pastoral way to resolve the polarized outcome of the consultation. “I am deeply sorry that Mr. Kay declined the offer and responded to my olive branch like he did.”



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