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World News

Vicar sacked after conducting baptism in underwear

by Marcus Jones

A priest in the Diocese of Hereford has been banned from serving in the Church for six months after a panel found he had "engaged in conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders".

Rev Clive Roger Evans was accused of removing his clothes to conduct a full immersion baptism.

A disciplinary hearing heard how he had reluctantly agreed to conduct the baptism in the home of a parishioner on the day he was due to go on holiday.

The 62-year-old told the tribunal that because it was an emergency baptism on his way to his holiday, he had no choice but to remove his clothes to ensure were not soaked.

The panel, which heard evidence in December last year, stated: "Rev Evans gave evidence that he finished his breakfast and did his packing before leaving (to conduct the baptism).

"The panel finds that there was ample opportunity at this stage for Revd Evans to give thought to including a change of clothing for conducting the baptism, which he knew, at this stage, was to be a full immersion using the bath.

"The panel does accept that Reverend Evans felt there was an urgency to the request and that this led him to take the unusual step of acquiescing to it and stopping off en route to his holiday to perform the baptism.

"We do not, however, accept that the degree of urgency was extreme or that it was perceived as such."

The panel said by stripping down to underwear, there was a loss of dignity which could be described as inappropriate and unbecoming.

The vicar of Bromyard and Stoke Lacy in Herefordshire has been removed from post but will be permitted to serve again in six months after he has completed training courses relating to safeguarding, appropriate working and pastoral boundaries.

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