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Former Methodist President banned from ministry following safeguarding investigation

by Marcus Jones
Reverend Steven Wild Credit Cornwall Isles of Scilly Mthodish Church.png - Banner image

One of the Methodist Church's most senior leaders won't be permitted to return to ministry after a safeguarding panel revealed the results of an investigation into a complaint made against him.

Rev Steven Wild, who was chair of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Methodist Circuit and a former president of the Methodist Conference, was suspended in September 2021 after allegations were made.

The detail of the allegations has not been revealed by the Methodist Church despite requests from Premier.

The only information given was the complaint didn't involve children.

In a statement, Mark Dunn-Wilson, deputy chair of District said: "The Connexional safeguarding panel has considered the complaints, which did not relate to children, and concluded that the information provided to them was sufficient to determine that Mr Wild should not be permitted to return to his ministry. 

"A new Chair of District had already been nominated and subjected to Methodist Conference approval, will assume their responsibilities in the District in the summer. 

"This process has been an extremely difficult and upsetting one for all those concerned and I would ask that you pray for everyone involved and be gracious in your response to this announcement."

The results of the investigation have been met with scorn by Rev Steven Wild. In a statement seen by Premier, he said: "I have been deeply saddened at how the Methodist safeguarding team has treated me, the length of time it has taken for their process to unfold, and on several occasions the profoundly disturbing manner in which the processes have been undertaken. 

"As a direct result my physical and mental health, and that of my family, has suffered hugely.
"I want to make it absolutely clear that I categorically deny that I have ever - or would ever - intentionally behave in a way that would bring the Church that I have loved and faithfully served for over 40 years into disrepute. 

"I have requested an independent investigation into how this process has been conducted and consequent judgements made, and that has been agreed. I hope at that time it will become clear to all that there have been countless failures in this investigation at all levels."

Rev Wild, who was born in Rochdale, decided to become a Christian at the age of 12.

He's been a popular preacher in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly since he became Cornwall District Evangelism Enabler in 1998. A decade later, he became chair of the Cornwall District.

He served a year as President of the Methodist Conference from July 2015.

He was due to retire in the summer.

Ending his statement, he said: "I have been so grateful for the hundreds of letters of support I have re-ceived and they have been a great source of strength to myself and my family.
"I would now be grateful if we can be left alone in my retirement to reflect and seek to rebuild our lives."


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