Search for new vicar goes on

A CHURCH which was rocked by the shock resignation of its vicar who was said to have embarked on an affair with a female curate is still waiting to appoint a replacement.

A CHURCH which was rocked by the shock resignation of its vicar who was said to have embarked on an affair with a female curate is still waiting to appoint a replacement.

The Rev Keith White, vicar of St John the Baptist Church in Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich, and the Rev Lynne Thorpe, an ordained minister who works in the parish, quit their roles in September citing “personal reasons” for their sudden departure.

A church insider later claimed Mr White, a married father-of-three, and Mrs Thorpe, also married with three children, had started a relationship.

Today, more than six weeks on, the position of vicar remains unoccupied.

Diocesan spokesman Nick Clarke said the parish was still trying to create a profile of the type of person they were looking to recruit.

He said: “Once a vicar has departed there is a process where the parish has to consider its needs for the future.

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“They draw up a policy statement and a profile and then the process moves forward. The situation at St John's is that they are still at that first stage.”

Special prayers for Mr White and Mrs Thorpe, of King Edward Road, south east Ipswich, take place at church services.

Mr Clarke said because of the delicate nature of the episode, the job of finding a replacement could take longer.

He said: “There is an element of healing that needs to go on at St John's. The time taken to put a new vicar in place is driven by the parish.”

In the meantime, Mr Clarke said a ministry team would continue to oversee the running of the church.

Merseyside-born Mr White, who lives in the vicarage in Cauldwell Hall Road, increased the congregation at St John's by making references to his favourite football team, Everton, and posting his sermons on the internet.

Mrs Thorpe, 44, began her church career as a community link worker and was later ordained a priest at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

Neither has ever commented on their resignations.

WEBLINK: www.stedmundsbury.anglican.org/stjohnsipswich/index.html

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