The Scottish Mail on Sunday

How can vicar face the axe for offering a hug?


I was horrified to read about the treatment of the Reverend

Charlie Boyle by his Archdeacon, Antony MacRow-Wood, at All Saints Church in Poole, Dorset.

Here is a Christian vicar who loves his job, yet suddenly he is at risk of losing his position as well as his home for supposedly breaching

Covid guidelines.

Which of us would not feel moved to hug one of our family or, in this case, flock to support them at a funeral?

Mr Boyle sounds like the sort of vicar who is greatly loved and appreciate­d by his congregati­on, unlike his cold and unChristia­n superiors.

Sylvia Hawkins, Halstead, Essex ‘He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.’

I suggest the Archdeacon examine himself and, unless he has kept to all the coronaviru­s regulation­s at all times (no matter how silly), withdraw his action against the vicar.

M. Edwards, Herefordsh­ire

I am so annoyed after reading this. I wish the Church of England acted as quickly when dealing with allegation­s of sexual abuse within its ranks.

Norrie McGeachie, Corby, Northampto­nshire

Why should the vicar be allowed to flout coronaviru­s rules when the rest of the nation has had to adhere to them?

E. Field, Berkshire

I would have thought the Church has enough trouble getting people to actually attend its services rather than sacking a vicar who is succeeding in raising attendance through kindness and common sense.

Clive Jacobs, Aldenham, Hertfordsh­ire

What is the Church about if a vicar cannot offer comfort and solace to his parishione­rs in times of hardship and sorrow?

J. Roberts, Manchester

Opposition to the Rev Boyle no doubt comes from the ‘old guard’ who don’t want change and have made consistent and petty complaints against him in order to undermine his position.

R. Smith, Enfield

Mr Boyle is a great vicar and his services were better than the hundreds I was forced to endure in my youth.

V. Davies, Poole

Is it possible that there is more to this story?

If he has broken Covid rules when he is expected to set an example to his community, then what other rules might he have broken? We are hearing only the vicar’s side.

Name and address supplied

Churches should never have been closed during lockdowns. And as for the ban on singing in churches, what’s the difference between singing and talking? These are ridiculous accusation­s and it’s hardly Christian of the Archdeacon to tell Mr Boyle to

‘go quietly’. It sounds more like the Mafia.

B. Brown, Kent

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