Sunday, 14 August 2011

Villagers try to oust vicar from historic Essex church

To the outside world the Rev Lorna Smith, priest-in-charge of St Nicholas, Trillingham, has an idyllic existence.

Her part-time appointment is to a parish whose 12th century church stands at the centre of an historic village of just over 1,000 souls in rural Essex.

But she has found herself at the centre of a row which could be taken straight from the Vicar of Dibley, and which has divided a community where the only comparable drama was the filming of a Doctor Who episode nearby in 1972.

In one camp are the more than 300 locals who have signed a petition to have her removed over a string of grievances, from claims that she refuses to carry out house calls to an allegation she shut the church when the weather was too cold.

And on the other side are her supporters in the congregation - not to mention the local bishop, who last week turned down the petitioners flat and said Mrs Smith was staying put. Read more

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