The BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme carried an item with this title.
Earlier this week the Rev Tom Ambrose, Vicar of St Mary and St Michael Church at Trumpington, was ordered to leave his post by the Bishop of Ely. The Bishop wrote “I am astonished and dismayed that there are two recorded occasions on which it is said that Dr Ambrose spat at parishioners, allegations which were not challenged in cross examination”.
But, according to the General Secretary of the trade union Unite, Rachel Maskell, it is often clergy who are being victimised by their parishioners, and she claims that the church, its structures and its Bishops don’t help their priests. Rachel Maskell joined Sunday along with one of those Bishops, John Packer, Bishop of Leeds and Ripon, who chairs the committee of the Archbishops’ Council which deals with clergy conditions of service.
See also these media reports:
Religious Intelligence Trade Union claims parishioners are bullying clergy
Independent Union accuses bishops of failing to help bullied vicars and a leading article: Unholy rows
Cambridge Evening News Vicar backs attack on ‘disloyal’ bishops
Here are some links to earlier articles on this topic:
December 2006 Ruth Gledhill Evil-minded parishioners making life hell for clergy
February 2007 Rachel Harden What price priesthood?
May 2007 Ruth Gledhill The parishioners who won’t spend a penny