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Bishop queries redundancy

15 August 2007

by Bill Bowder

THE BISHOP of Coventry, the Rt Revd Colin Bennetts, is to visit an Oxford college, St Peter’s, after its chaplain, the Revd Dr Andrew Moore, was “dismissed on the grounds of redundancy”.

The Bishop, who is the college Visitor, has the power to enforce the due observance of the college’s statutes. He “will be personally visiting the college quite soon in relation to matters to do with the chaplaincy”, the Bishop’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

St Peter’s was founded on Christian principles in 1929. Dr Moore, who joined the staff three years ago, has registered a claim for unfair dismissal with an employment tribunal in Reading. No date has been set for the hearing. On Wednesday, he said that he had lodged his claim to protect his position, but his principal desire was to resolve the issue privately and amicably. He said that he was not now in paid employment, but was pursuing his writing and teaching. He was a chairman of examiners of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Oxford, and was director of ordinands in the diocese in a voluntary capacity.

There have been a number of redundancies at St Peter’s in recent months, after its 2005-2006 accounts showed a drop from a £500,000 operating surplus (inflated by a windfall property sale) to a deficit of more than £350,000.

The Master of St Peter’s, the Revd Professor Bernard Silverman, has taken over the work of the chaplain since Dr Moore left in March. On Wednesday, he said there was no evidence of anger in the college about the chaplain’s leaving. “But it is always sad when you have to make someone redundant.”

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