*** DEBUG END ***

Methodist minister in housing dispute with Anglican monastic order tapes mouth shut

16 November 2018


A METHODIST minister who says that he is being forced out of his home by an Anglican monastic order taped his mouth shut to draw attention to his dispute.

The minister, the Revd Paul Golightly, ran St Antony’s Priory, in Durham, for 14 years, but his contract was ended this summer after he fell out with the Society of the Sacred Mission, which owns the retreat centre.

He alleges that the Society has treated him in a “cold and cruel” way by trying to bully him and his wife — who also worked at the priory, as an administrator — out of the house, which was tied to the post.

Their contracts were ended in August, but, because they have not yet found a new place to live, they are still living in the home. Last month, the Society served them a court summons, demanding that they move out by December or face eviction, Mr Golightly said on Tuesday of last week.

On Monday of last week, he was photographed by a local newspaper with tape over his mouth outside the priory to protest against the Society’s handling of the case.

Mr Golightly said that he was trying to move out, but had not yet been able to finalise the process of buying a new home. His contract was terminated after he went through a formal grievance procedure with the Society, who appointed his successor in January, and intend to take the priory in a new direction, Mr Golightly said.

No one from the Society had contacted him before serving the summons, he said, but this account is disputed by the order.

When asked to comment on Mr Golightly’s claims, the Society said in a statement that they had offered to discuss the situation with the couple on multiple occasions, but had been ignored. “The trustees dispute the account of events as reported by the Golightlys, and point out that several invitations to discuss their issues have gone unanswered,” the statement said. “These date back some months.

“The trustees do not intend to comment further on matters that are sub judice, but request that actions designed to intimidate and harass staff members are terminated.”

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events


Church Times/RSCM:

Festival of Faith and Music

26 - 28 April 2024

See the full programme on the festival website. 

Early bird tickets available


Intercultural Church for a Multicultural World

28 May 2024

A Church Times/Church House Publishing webinar

Tickets are FREE


Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available


Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)