Canon Stephen fires a few explosive shots

Minister-on-the move Rev Stephen Grey – soon to become a canon of Liverpool Cathedral – has made a series of potentially explosive remarks as he packs his bags for his new parish…

In a statement to Garstang Freelance News Agency the candid cleric took a pot shot at Wyre Council and expressed admiration for what he described as the town’s independent spirit.

Father Stephen took his last service at St Thomas’s, Garstang, on Sunday.

His five years as vicar of Garstang has seen the completion of building work on the stalled parish / community hall project – which became centre of controversy when Wyre Council offered to “chip in” to finish the scheme at the same time as planning to sell off the town’s old community centre / council offices.

The council’s intended involvement in the hall plans, announced on the eve of the previous local elections n May 2015, backfired and was followed by a war of words out between “church and state.”

Now the embers of the controversy, which has never been fully explained (though certain emails about the matter are known to exist), could be re-ignited.

In a statement issued today, Father Stephen said: “I have decided, after much deliberation and prayer, to lodge a complaint with regard to Wyre Council’s somewhat damaging actions and behaviour. If I do not receive a satisfactory response then I intend to take the matter to the Ombudsman.”

His said he had been delighted to see so many people from both the church and the Garstang community at his final service last Sunday.

He added:”I will miss Garstang greatly and it will always have a special place in my heart.

“I have always admired the strong independent voice of the town which had been a great support to us in our struggle to get the hall project completed.
“It vastly outweighed the opposition the church encountered in the whole hall project process from others – especially the elected representatives of Garstang.
“Long may the independent voice of this community continue.”

Photos: Father Stephen in the community hall prior to its completion, and head and shoulders of the soon-to-be appointed canon.
* Report by Anthony Coppin, Garstang Freelance News Agency.