A FEMININE vicar accused of bullying choristers has claimed she is the victim of sexism and an “immoral” campaign in opposition to her after a bishop ordered her to apologise.
The Rev Catherine Relf-Pennington, SIXTY FOUR, alleged that the Bishop of Norwich, the precise Rev Graham Usher, had taken the facet of “a small circle of white, wealthy, strongly interconnected men” rather than helping his personal clergy.
The vicar has been accused of bullying a choir at a twelfth century church and in November was once ordered via her bishop to apologise to everybody who complained about her.
String of complaints
She has faced a string of complaints approximately her intended “authoritarian style” since taking over her position at Wymondham Abbey, Norfolk, four years in the past.
They come with claims that she assaulted a chorister after banning her from the choir and reversed her truck into a parked automobile in the car park, causing a “six-inch-lengthy gash” earlier than riding away.
The vicar has prior to now argued she was once bullied by way of the choristers, who were “anti-lady monks”.
However, the vicar introduced a rare assault on her bishop, accusing him of conducting an “unethical, immoral and self-serving” campaign towards her.
The accusations have been made in a 12-web page broadside claiming that she and her wardens were the victims of “false allegations, delays and threats, and unremitting grievance of a church neighborhood doing its perfect in very tricky times”.
In response, a diocese commentary on Monday said the vicar had a legal responsibility to comply with the bishop’s instructions and failure to accomplish that could lead on to disciplinary motion for misconduct.
It said that the bishop notes the response from the vicar and her churchwardens to his instructions printed in November, after the formal visitation to the parish right through 2021, following “a bunch of concerns relating to the ministry of Wymondham Abbey”.
It mentioned: “As yet, a number of the bishop’s instructions stay to be complied with, and he’s going to be operating to make sure that those matters are properly addressed. The bishop is very prepared to resolve matters in Wymondham for the convenience of the whole community.”
Deeply felt division of opinion
The row dates back to a couple of months after the vicar was once appointed in 2017, whilst 37 lawsuits were made in opposition to her alleging inappropriate behaviour, all of which she denied.
It led to an investigation in 2019 through a retired Top Court Docket pass judgement on, Sir Mark Hadley, who ordered the two sides to unravel their variations.
In November the bishop issued a sequence of suggestions for the vicar and the abbey’s church council, including ordering Rev Relf-Pennington to apologise to her congregation.
In his own 2021 investigation, the bishop stated the allegations against the vicar – whom he claimed had an “authoritarian style” – “mirror a deeply felt division of opinion between parishioners who are supportive of the vicar and people who’re now not”.
Alternatively, her 12-web page response – which has been printed on the church web page and is claimed to be from her and the abbey wardens – mentioned that they “have been confused” amid “unrelenting” power.
It said: “We consider the goal has been to break the vicar, holiday the PCC parish church council and to damage the worshipping community.”
It went on: “Throughout some of these approaches the diocese has listened a lot more to a couple individuals – particularly a small circle of white, wealthy, strongly interconnected males, all hostile to the vicar, who’ve a huge influence over the matters at Wymondham Abbey and in the leadership of the diocese.”