Broughty minister resigns

A BROUGHTY Ferry minister has resigned after his congregation was divided into two opposing factions comprising those who wanted him to leave and those who wanted him to stay.

The Rev. Jonathan Bower’s departure from St Mary’s Scottish Episcopal Church, 164 Queen Street, was announced following a campaign to remove him by disgruntled members of the vestry and congregation.

Five members of the vestry had sent an open letter to the congregation expressing concerns about the incumbency of Jonathan Bower at St Mary’s Broughty Ferry and listing aspects of his behaviour which included locking the organ to prevent anyone other than the director of music from playing it.

However, the minister’s backers wrote to the diocese stating that the majority of the church-attending Christians at St Mary’s did not know this was on the cards and stressing that many of them would support Mr Bower.

They suggested that the vestry did not appear to be representing the congregation and those who admired the new rector were devastated.

In the letter they say that they had hoped he would weather the storm and that the vestry members who could no longer support the rector would do the right thing and resign from an organisation where they no longer supported the view of the rector and wider church.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Episcopal Church said that the claims by the congregation had already been thoroughly investigated.

She continued: “We are aware of the circulation of a document some time ago by some members of the congregation.

“The Acting Bishop of the diocese, the Rt Rev Dr Robert Gillies, took action to investigate the concerns raised in this document and had submitted a confidential report to the vestry.

“There have been no disciplinary proceedings raised against Mr Bower and he has resigned on his own initiative, having sought a position elsewhere.”

She concluded: “The Bishop will be in touch with the vestry of the congregation to work out arrangements for ministry at St Mary’s once the vacancy begins, which is expected to be mid-April.”