Sydney stays out of court
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
THE DIOCESE OF Sydney has reached a confidential out-of-court settlemenwith a woman who sued her rector and an assistant bishop for defamation.
The woman, Dr Belinda Goodenough, a psychologist who specialises ipaediatric pain-management, was stripped of her lay-ministry roles in heparish last year, after what she said was a light-hearted email exchange witits Rector, the Revd Steve Bainbridge, of St Pauls, South Coogee, a beachsidsuburb (News, 31 March). Although she immediately apologised, Mr Bainbridgsaid her comments demonstrated unsuitability for a leadership role in thchurch.
Press reports stated that Dr Goodenough was removed from her position, whicinvolved working with children, during a Sunday service in February 2005, awhich she was not present. She claims she was not given prior notice, and thashe became the subject of ugly gossip, after the Rector said she had been stoodown for inappropriate action. A select meeting convened by the Bishop oSouth Sydney, the Rt Revd Robert Forsyth, supported the Rector. Dr Goodenougthen sued for defamation in the NSW Supreme Court.
Bishop Forsyth issued a statement indicating that a small payment had beemade for a sum less than Dr Goodenoughs legal expenses. He also expressed hisupport for the Rector, and for the right and responsibility of the ministeto stand down from voluntary public ministry in the church those whom he cometo believe may not be suited for it.
Dr Goodenough was quoted as saying, What intelligent woman is gointo want to join a denomination like this