Skip to comments.Rev John Suddards: The Dangers of Fulfilling a Christian Duty
Posted on 02/17/2012 12:13:24 PM PST by nickcarraway
The 59-year-old unmarried vicar had arrived last July at the parish of St Marys in the quiet medieval market town of Thornbury in south Gloucestershire. It was to be, the former barrister had said, a retirement posting, closer to his extended family in Dorset than his previous incumbency in Essex. But that didnt mean he was cutting any corners in his ministry. In a sermon last October, Mr Suddards spoke of what he called his Christian duty to open the door of his vicarage to all vulnerable strangers and offer them shelter and support. Its a bit risky, he added, you dont know who youre letting in to your home.
He appears to have paid the highest possible price for that Christian duty. Avon and Somerset police are following up the theory that one of his callers stabbed him to death, leaving his body to be found by builders on Tuesday morning. It is a murder, says the Archdeacon of Gloucester, the Venerable Geoffrey Sidaway, that once again highlights the dangers routinely faced by clergy. Many on a daily basis open their homes and churches to people, and clearly that can put them in a vulnerable position.
The Church of England, with its national role, has long insisted that it must be a presence in every area of the country, whether it be peaceful villages dominated by beautiful churches, or down-at-heel urban areas where only a tiny minority are churchgoers. The welcome on offer is the same in all places, available for anyone who needs it regardless of their belief.
In practice that means that the vicarage is open all hours, even when the church itself is locked and all the other professionals posted in the area teachers, social workers and GPs have long since headed off
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...