Vicar suspended after adultery claim
A VICAR who was outspoken in opposition to gay marriage has been suspended for five years after admitting to a relationship with a married woman in his congregation.
The Rev Martin Howard, 46, is married with three children but has admitted a brief affair with a parishioner and been suspended for five years by the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, after a clergy disciplinary hearing.
Mr Howard, was Team Rector of Hampreston in Ferndown, Dorset. He previously served in the Diocese of Chelmsford and trained for the ministry at St John’s College, Nottingham.
He was criticised for displaying a large bright green sign outside his church saying ‘Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman’. In response, he told the local newspaper: “We wanted to state from a Christian view- point the traditional teachings of the Bible, and the wisdom of the ages, that society is much stronger where marriage is promoted, honoured and protected.”
LinkedIn, a business networking site, contains information that he is working as a training accountant at a firm of insurance brokers but an official of the firm told the Daily Telegraph there is no record of him working there.
In a statement the Diocese of Salisbury said: “A complaint of adultery has been made under the Clergy Disciplinary Measure, which has been upheld. A penalty has been imposed with Martin Howard’s consent that he be prohibited from ministry for five years. The Diocese is providing pastoral support for Martin, his wife, Liz, and their children at a difficult time.”