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FCE Priest Brings Charges Against Primus for Racism & Financial Irregularities

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Repeatedly, Bishop John made comments of racist nature when he mentioned on a few occasions to Bishop Josep that he was “the best paid minister and he was not even English”.

On one occasion, it was when Bishop Josep offered to offer to buy drinks for Bishop John after the last Canons and Constitution Committee in the Hayes Conference Centre, and bishop John mentioned to Bishop Josep that he did indeed need to pay for the drinks because he was the best paid minister, and he was not even English. Later on, in the bar, he repeated the same comment but he included the Revd Jonatas who was present, “you are the two best paid ministers and you are not even English.”

Secondly, charges relating to Canon J.4/2

Holding or teaching any doctrine condemned by this Church, or contrary to its doctrinal standards:
First, within the Northern Diocese, Bishop John has caused a Trial Liturgy to be used which omits the filioque clause from the Nicene Creed.

Second, allowing doctrinal error in respect of public prayers for the dead by a minister of his diocese to go unreprimanded and unremarked in the diocese.

Thirdly, charges relating to Canon J.4/3 Habitual neglect of the exercise of his Ministerial office

Bishop John is the Minister in Charge of St John’s with Trinity, Tottington but he has twice failed to respond to a formal request from that Church’s Council regarding a reinterpretation of the Declaration of Principles. The first request was sent with the document CouncilMeetingResolution20190116.docx and the minutes of the meeting of 16/01/2019 by

Mr Neil Turner (Minister’s Warden) on 1st February 2019, the second on 17th January 2021 by Revd Arthur Kay.

Fourthly, charges relating to Canon J.4/4, namely:

Refusing to comply with the terms of the Declarations respectively made by them in accordance with the provisions hereinbefore contained in these Canons, and refusing to obey the regulations, laws and ordinances of this Church.

The charges are:

1 Misleading ND Synod of 24th October 2020 by reporting no problems at St Stephen’s, Middlesbrough and then, within weeks, initiating and pursuing a process to make the minister redundant and close the church — which all occurred within less than 6 months. This contravenes Canon C.15…


At each Annual Meeting of Convocation, as well as to his own Diocesan Synod, every Bishop shall report his proceedings, and the state and condition of the Congregations under his Episcopal care.

The reports and minutes of the last ND Synod in October 2020 expressed no concerns, financial or otherwise, regarding the St Stephen’s congregation. However, within less than six months, and before the next ND Synod, St Stephen’s has been closed and her minister made redundant.

Bishop John has acted in haste and with every attempt to suppress knowledg of what he has done from the FCE in general and the FCE General Council in particular.

General Council of 10th February 2021 simply would not have been informed that Central Trust had discussed St Stephens and her minister on the previous day, had the matter not been raised by the Revd Dr Peter Sanlon. Indeed, this attempt at suppression was the primary trigger for the letter of 12th February 2021 to General Council from several clergy and laity.

It is not adequate or accurate to exaggerate redundancy-process confidentiality to claim that General Council should not be kept informed of proceedings.

Bishop John has taken it upon himself to initiate and pursue a process of redundancy against the Revd Jonatas Bragatto initially on behalf of Central Trust, and when that was questioned, apparently on behalf of one warden of St Stephen’s, Mrs Ann Gott.

He has provided no written evidence to substantiate either the authority he has taken upon himself in this matter or the grounds upon which he proposed that St Stephen’s be closed and her minister made redundant. We believe that he has misused the authority of Central Trust and his episcopal office.

The FCE Canons and Byelaws respect the opinions of Congregations, which Church Councils are elected to represent. Bishop John, via the undemocratic body called Central Trust, has sought to bypass Congregational power, vesting himself and the process he initiated in the atmosphere of secrecy and intimidation that has, sadly, become so characteristic of Central Trust. In an email to Revd Bragatto of 18th February 2021, he even wrote: “It is not for the congregation to decide and as such I do not accept your reasons to postpone matters”.

His ultra vires actions have sought to turn Central Trust into a governing body rather than the administrative unit it was conceived to be and which it remains under charity law.

2. Misleading General Council (October 2018) by purporting to read the full report of a fellow Bishop while omitting a significant portion of the report.

3. Attempting to mislead General Council (on 10th February 2021) by not revealing Central Trust actions against Revd Jonatas Bragatto and the St Stephen’s, Middlesbrough congregation.

4. Failure to ensure adoption of the due procedures of the FCE in, for example, ordination and reception of bishops/ministers/congregations (no reports having been made to Convocation or Council) — witness the letter from the Council of St Jude’s church of 4th October 2018 and the email from Mr Malcolm Pearson of 19th September 2016. This is compounded by the more recent ordination of Sir Laurence New in October 2020. To the best of my knowledge, neither Canon D.1 nor D.2 were followed in this instance.

I reserve the right to bring further charges.

Respectfully yours in Christ,

Revd Arthur Kay
St John’s with Trinity, Tottington

FCE Priest Brings Charges Against Primus for Racism & Financial Irregularities

To: Rt Revd Paul Hunt
Bishop of the Southern Diocese of the Free Church of England
09 March 2021

Dear Bishop Paul,

In consequence of an online meeting of five members of General Council of 5th March 2021, I am writing, in great sadness but in duty, to bring charges under Canon J.11 against John [Fenwick], Bishop of the Northern Diocese and Primus of the Free Church of England.

Firstly, charges relating to Canon J.4/1

Any offence for which a lay Communicant of this Church would be amenable to discipline

Monday, March 29, 2021
Thursday, April 29, 2021


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