The Rector of Haverhill and Withersfield has been placed on ‘Bishop’s extended leave’ after ‘financial irregularities’ at his church.
Revd Canon Ian Finn said he has paid back all of the money, which was from weddings and funerals and he says due to an ‘accounting error’.
The Archdeacon of Sudbury, the Ven David Jenkins, read a statement about the situation to the congregation of St Mary’s Haverhill on Sunday (February 16).
“The church diocese and the Revd Can Ian Finn have discussed financial irregularities with Can Finn’s work for the church,” read the statement.
“The irregularities result from the church result to the payment of part of the fees that should have passed to the diocese for services taken including weddings and funerals.
“Ian has explained that this was due entirely the result of administrative and accounting mistakes rather than any deliberate actions.
“He has already refunded the diocese what he currently believes to be owed.
“He acknowledges that a great deal more work needs to be done by him with the assistance of an accountant to ensure that the accurate financial position is established.
“Ian is currently on leave, booked some time ago before the financial irregularities came to light, and the Acting Bishop, the Right Revd David Thomson, has agreed to extend that leave to enable Ian to devote his time to assisting in the investigation, which will be complex.
“He has already cooperated fully over the matter and will continue to do so.
“He has been offered pastoral support and we hope you and the church family will be understanding and support him and his loved ones while he is not with us.
“The diocese is working for the church to be cared for by the other local clergy and the rural dean Revd Cheryl Collins is to take charged with immediate effect.”
A spokesman for the church wardens said: “Church life is continuing and we will be supported by other local clergy who will take benefice services, minister to the needs of our congregation and ensure the smooth running of our church during his absence.”
Capt Andrew Payne has insisted that Mr Finn’s absence will not impact upon the church’s community work.
“Revd Finn will be in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” he said.
“The church is doing some great stuff in Haverhill and all the things we are involved with will not be compromised in any way and will continue.”
No complaint has been made to Haverhill Police, and Insp Ferrie said: “We have not been contacted about this and if they do come to us we will look into it.”
For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, February 20) Echo.