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Sydney stays out of court

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

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Archbishop who was driven out of office

Holding fast in troubled waters

William Sancroft, born 400 years ago this month, was Archbishop of Canterbury in turbulent times; his period in office included incarceration in the Tower of London. John Tiller tells his story  Subscribe to read more

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Improving the future by disturbing the present

Interim minsters do much more than hold the fort: they can implement lasting change, say Helen Gheorghiu Gould and Peter Hill  Subscribe to read more

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