Vicar sus­pended af­ter adul­tery claim

The Church of England - - News -

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.”

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