A SELF-SUPPORTING minister (SSM) in the diocese of Portsmouth has been prohibited from ministry in the Church of England for five years from May 2022, after admitting to inappropriate conduct.
The priest, the Revd Peter Lambert, was the subject of a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM), a statement from the diocese confirmed.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Mr Lambert, who is married, is said to have pestered a vulnerable churchgoer to whom he gave gifts. It also reported that he is said to have taken her and her two children on days out to the New Forest. The woman, who is not named, reportedly stated that the cleric had used his power to take advantage of her and that she felt “massively used”.
A spokesperson for the diocese said: “The complaint was of conduct inappropriate for a clergy person. Peter has admitted this inappropriate conduct. The penalty, which was determined by the Bishop of Portsmouth [Dr Jonathan Frost], is a five-year prohibition from ministry in the Church of England, from May 2022.
“This means he is not able to lead church services or act as a clergy person during that time. After this period of prohibition, a risk assessment will be carried out before Peter is able to resume ministry.”
Dr Frost has written a letter of apology to the complainant.
Mr Lambert, who led services across Gosport, is a chartered surveyor who has worked at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.