The Archbishop's former adjutant faces questions in regards to the sale of church property
(Photo: Unsplash / Andrew Seaman)
The Charities Commission is investigating complaints about the handling of a church property sale and claims the proceeds have disappeared, reports The Telegraph.
West Midlands Police are also investigating whether fraud has been committed in connection with the sale of St. Stephen & # 39; s, a Free Church of England (FCE) church in Middlesbrough.
Pastor Dr. FCE Bishop Primus John Fenwick and former advisor to retired Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey reportedly assured parishioners that £ 300,000 from the sale was held in the FCE Central Trust.
The complainants allege that the charity accounts do not contain a record of the money deposited.
They also claim that Bishop Fenwick and another FCE bishop, Rev. Paul Hunt, "seduced" elderly parishioners into handing over their status as trustees of church property.
That property was then allegedly registered by the trust in its own name with no payment or the value reflected in charity accounts, the complainants say.
Bishop Fenwick told the newspaper that a consultation was held with the St. Stephen & # 39; s Ward prior to making the decision to sell because it was found to be in a dangerous condition.
The bishop said some of the proceeds were then used to hire a new minister, but he was fired in February this year after his appointment failed to increase attendance.
The FCE Central Trust told the newspaper on behalf of both bishops that it "vigorously rejects the allegations".
"If they are indeed the subject of investigations by the Charity Commission and the police (although no one has contacted the Trust), it would be inappropriate to make further comments," it said.