Priest ‘Bullied’ Out of Parish

For challenging binge  drinking culture among worshippers.

Vicar fell foul of some of his flock after trying to enforce a ban on excessive alcohol consumption.

Priest 'bullied' out of parish for challenging binge drinking culture among worshippers

A liberal vicar dubbed ”The Cyber-Priest” was bullied out of his parish after just nine months in the job when he unearthed a culture of binge drinking among his congregation.

Newly appointed Fr Simon Tibbs, 41, fell foul of traditional elements of his flock after he tried to enforce a ban on excessive alcohol consumption by ”unchristian” worshippers who were said to be treating the church ”like a social club”.

Those enraged by the Church of England cleric’s crackdown, plus his sacking of a Sunday School teacher, began a whispering campaign against the vicar.

They called for others to demand Fr Simon quit as ”Priest-in-charge” of St Faith’s church in Crosby, in Liverpool where the late former Achbishop of Canterbury Dr Robert Runcie was a once member of the congregation.

One parishioner claimed Fr Simon was “not blessed with skills to develop relationships” and said the vicar “upset several parishioners” over his dismissal of the Sunday School teacher.

Last September Fr Simon stepped aside from his post and a retired bishop began an ”Episcopal Visitation” into claims of “serious relationship difficulties” between the vicar and his worshippers.

Today, a report by the Rt Rev Stephen Lowe blamed a mysterious unnamed ”inner circle” which turned against Fr Simon after he challenged their after-service drinking.

Bishop Stephen described its findings as “disturbing and distressing” and the report has now led to calls for a ”new fire to be kindled” at the church…

More here.



4 thoughts on “Priest ‘Bullied’ Out of Parish

  1. Sadly some folks see the Church as a kind of ‘social club’. In the Uk when I visited there in the 1960’s it was quite usual for folks to go and have a meal after church at the Pub. Admittedly, drinking hours were different then. ( I think they were open from 12noon until 2pm for lunch and then open again in the evening from 6p.m. until 10p.m.) ‘Binge’ drinking is a symptom of our secular society and many see this type of behaviour as a release from the stresses of the work week. I can’t for the life of me think how some folks manage to going on a Binge Friday and Saturday nights ( and sometimes midweek too!) and then manage to make it to church on Sunday. My liver certainly couln’t take it! By God’s grace I do not drink today. I drank heavily as a young man, but i could not face the Lord at church if I’d been out on a Saturday night, probably because He knew that I couldn’t really handle booze.
    I remember once travelling on a suburban train in Cape Town having been out on the town the night before and suffering terribly from a dreadful hangover. There was a huge Billboard with the words from Habbakuk 2: 15 which reads “Woe to him that giveth drink unto his neighbour…” Sadly it took many years for it to sink into my head.
    On days such as these when i did enter a church (I had lapsed then for a number of years) I would sheepishly go into the back pew and vow to the Lord never again to do this, only to be out again the following mid- week and weekend on a pub crawl. Those days i had one foot in the World and another in the church, and only in church when i chose to go.

    One can only admire the vicar for his stance, but some may have thought his views on this were extreme. Then again, one must follow one’s conscience and do what God requires in matters such as these. It is my choice not to drink because i know what drink has done to me in my own life.

    When i was working in Bangkok, the vicar of Christ Church at the time issued an open letter to the congregation regarding single men and women who attended Christ Church. He quite rightly expected that their lives should be celibate if they were single and faithful to their spouse if they were married.( Bangkok is a city of many temptations!) Many ‘farang’ (foreign) male parishioners however thought that he went to extremes when he would watch on the corner of Convent road waiting to see which of his parishioners came out of the bars and massge parlours at 2 a.m on a Sunday morning and then came to Church at the 10 o’clock service without any conscience about what they’d been up to in the bars the night before! he would publicly rebuke them and refuse to give them Communion if he knew or suspected what they had been up to.

    For me, I know that it is only by God’s grace that I am relieved of the affiction of drink and its consequences today, and that I have this daily reprieve from this suffering by choosing not to drink, just for today.

    It must have been pretty bad for the vicar to have to address the issue in the first place. Then again, the C of E has compromised on so many issues because of secular pressures.
    However, for the parish to indulge in a smear campaign against him, and to run him out of the parish on so called “relationship difficulties” seems pretty un-Christian to me.

    I respect people’s right to drink if they want to; it’s their business. But one thing i do know for sure, if drinking affects parish life and the church becomes a social club, that is cause for concern.

    Drink affects peoples lives in such a way that, in many cases, they do not know where to turn but somehow in their suffering they do attempt to seek God, and often find Him in places where they would least expect to find Him.

    I guess in the final analysis, Luke 16:13 KJV comes to mind: “… You cannot serve God and mammon.” It is when we are at our lowest ebb that we seek refuge in God and understand His grace so freely given when we repent and believe.
    “This is a true saying and worthy of all men to be received, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” as St Paul tells us in the ‘comfortable words’ from the BCP service of Holy Communion. It is by god’s grace alone that we are made whole and made ‘a new creature’ in Him. Alleluia! What a Saviour!

  2. the good vicar must answer to God someday…for the souls under his care – and that is the greater issue at stake here! if he is maligned and mistreated along the way…while upholding Gospel values, so much the greater his merits in the Kingdom.
    John the Baptist preached repentance…to make ready the way–making the rough path smooth…to recognize & receive Christ. is the good vicar doing anything less?

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