Sup­port for suspended priest

Hills Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Brookes READ ON­LINE AT Com­mu­ni­

A HILLS con­gre­ga­tion is cir­cu­lat­ing a pe­ti­tion af­ter its out­spo­ken Angli­can priest was suspended for “tones of blas­phemy” in his so­cial me­dia posts and the­atre per­for­mances.

A bar­rage of call­ers rang talk­back ra­dio on Mon­day to praise Fa­ther Chris Bed­ding, known for his work as a stand-up co­me­dian, ac­tivism for same-sex mar­riage and asy­lum seeker rights and his ir­rev­er­ent ser­mons pop­u­lar with his Dar­ling­ton-Belle­vue par­ish.

Fa­ther Bed­ding told talk­back ra­dio this morn­ing that he sensed the trial be­fore the Church Court would drag on.

“Bishop Kate Wilmot read a pre­pared state­ment and some in the con­gre­ga­tion were very an­gry and walked out,” he said. “They wanted an­swers and Kate was not pre­pared to give any.”

Bishop Wilmot stressed the mat­ter was due to “clergy dis­ci­pline” and Fa­ther Bed­ding had been suspended, pend­ing the de­ci­sion of the church’s pro­fes­sional stan­dards board.

Fa­ther Bed­ding said the com­plaint came from a se­nior and in­flu­en­tial mem­ber of the Arch­bishop of Perth’s staff.

“The per­son who made the com­plaint, did so to her­self; she then in­ves­ti­gated her own com­plaint and made her own rec­om­men­da­tion on the com­plaint,” he said.

“The process has been so bizarre and un-trans­par­ent I have to ques­tion whether I have done some­thing wrong or whether it is an or­gan­i­sa­tion that has turned on it­self and is not re­ally con­sid­er­ing the needs of the peo­ple.”

Unions WA head Steve McCart­ney, co­me­dian Paul Mon­tague, Fa­ther Chris Bed­ding and Unit­ing Church Min­is­ter Rev­erend Bren­ton Prigge.

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