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International News Archive
March 14 -  March 20, 2001


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This page contains news for the period March 14, 2001 through March 20, 2001.



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Saturday, March 17, 2001

Choirmaster "living in sin" settles against British church

A story published today in the Church Net UK reports that a worker who lost his job because he was "living in sin" has been paid a settlement of 7,500 by the British church where he worked for 34 years.

Stephen Hartley was fired as choirmaster and organist of St James's Church, Wetherby, West Yorks, when the vicar found out he was living with his girlfriend. Mr Hartley, 63, had held the 3,000-a-year job since1967 and planned to sue the Church of England for damages amounting to 30,000. The settlement was reached days before his employment tribunal hearing.

The church council issued a statement saying it had reached "an amicable agreement". It has paid Mr Hartley 7,500 and given him a job reference. Rev. Philip Evans, evangelical vicar upset worshippers with liturgical changes and then sparked protests when he asked the choirmaster to reconsider his position. Rev. Evans said the Church's position on marriage was clear: "Life-long marriage or celibacy are the two options commended by the Holy Scriptures and the tradition of the Church."

Last summer, the parishioners forced a vote of no confidence in the parochial church council, of which Rev. Evans was chairman. The vicar was given compassionate leave and said he would resign when he found a new job. Rev. Evans is currently looking for another position and continues to live in the vicarage.     



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