[Continued from Church Of England ‘Culture Of Neglect And Bullying': Part 1]
Despite pleas to the Bishops of Dudley and Worcester, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Reverend Sharpe said the church authorities have done nothing to help or support him.
He has now appealed to an Employment Tribunal for compensation. His case rests on the fact that the church should have warned him of the nature of the parish and its problems before offering him the post.
The vicar says the rectory at Hanley Broadheath has fallen into serious disrepair. The building was riddled with damp and mould; had asbestos problems; part of the ceiling had given way; the chimney was unsafe; and tiles were falling off the roof. Both he and his family became seriously ill as a result of these problems.
Reverend Sharpe said:
“My career has been ruined; my health and that of my wife and children has been shattered; and my family has suffered terribly from all the strain.
“When we came here in 2005, I was told by the church that they were looking for stability, as the last vicar had left after 18 months for health reasons.
“I found a situation that was allowed to fester for decades, where of the four parishes only three were legally constituted. The treasurer and parochial church council (PCC) were not legal entities. There was also the case of the village hall refurbishment which had not been properly managed.
“These administrative and financial problems were all eventually sorted out, but this seemed to spark a wave of resentment from the community which has culminated in my family and I living in a climate of fear in a supposedly rural idyll.
“There have been too many incidences of harassment over the last four years for them to be the odd coincidence.
“I need the Church to compensate us for the damage that it has caused so that we can rebuild our lives. Those who have failed us should also be asked to account for their actions. The Church of England also needs to recognise that it has a duty of care to their clergy generally, especially when they have a difficult parish.
“The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have been written to for their support. They seem quite happy to comment extensively on global affairs, but not on how one of the clergy has been subject to harassment.”
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