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‘Serious breach’

07 June 2013

by a staff reporter

A PRIEST in the Episcopal Church in the United States has been suspended for plagiarising sermons, passing them off as his own to parishioners and on the Church's website.

The Revd John McGinn, of St John's, Sandwich, in Massachussetts, has been copying sermons from a book for many years, the diocese said.

They were allegedly taken from Dynamic Preaching, a book which is available online with a subscription.

In a letter to the parish, the Bishop of Massachusetts, the Rt Revd Thomas Shaw, said: "Last April, we received a complaint against John, alleging plagiarism in his sermons. I spoke to him on May 2, 2012, at which point he assured me that it had been a one-time event and that he would never do it again. We investigated further, and have documentation that not only did he continue to copy sermons and preach and publish them verbatim, in print and online, as his own, but also that he had been doing so for many years. He admits to having done so."

Bishop Shaw said that it was a "serious breach of the pastoral relationship", and that Mr McGinn's conduct "raises serious doubts about his honesty in dealing with his congregation and with his bishop".


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