Details, from a neighborhood in South London:
A vicar led half his congregation in converting to Catholicism after complaining that the Church of England is telling believers in traditional values to ‘sod off’.
Father Donald Minchew was followed by 70 of his flock when he left the Anglican church where he has led services for nearly two decades to join a Catholic church less than 500 yards up the road.
He said the extraordinary leap of faith made him feel like the ‘Prodigal Son’ returning to a church with established beliefs after years of enduring the ‘pick and choose’ attitude of the CofE where congregations are fed on a diet of ‘pap and banality’.
The 63-year-old quit St Michael’s and All Angels parish church in Croydon, south London, to move to neighbouring St Mary’s Church because he opposed many decisions by the General Synod, including the ordination of women priests and bishops.
When he first told his congregation at St Michael’s of his plan during a service there was ‘surprise and astonishment’, he said.
‘They faced a stark choice – to follow me or stay where they were with what was left.
I never bullied or pressured anyone to join me. I let them make their own choices.
‘In the end about 70 of the congregation of 120 came with me.
‘They are very brave because they have answered the call of God and done it at great cost, often causing rifts and divisions with family and old friends.
‘The Anglican bishop and Archdeacon of Croydon were extremely understanding and supportive.
‘But from within St Michael’s there were a few false rumours put around to try to keep members of the congregation, including the ludicrous claim that the Catholic church would be ordaining women within a decade.
‘It was a little uncomfortable but I have no regrets.
‘When I was ordained in the Church of England in 1976 there were some things that would never be challenged.
‘But now it just seems that everything has come up for grabs.”