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
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.