Anti-woman priest worships in a shed
Saturday 13 March 1999
The Rev Stephen Weston, who left the Church of England last summer over the ordination of women priests, has constructed a cross-shaped wooden chapel in the garden of his terraced house in Sutton, Norfolk. He calls it: "Stephen's Byzantine Shed". The former rector of Sutton with Ingham and Catfield, in the Norfolk Broads, was received into the Orthodox Church last October. Mr Weston has been licensed as an Orthodox reader, which gives him the authority to conduct services.
He has a congregation of five - mostly disaffected Anglicans - who fit quite neatly into his 18 feet by 13 feet chapel. But it's a bit of a squeeze when Father Alexander Haig, the local Orthodox priest from Colchester, visits once a month. "I'm tall and thin, so I manage," said Mr Weston, "but he is ... broader."
Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the ordination of the first women priests in Bristol Cathedral, an event which triggered the exodus of 440 Anglican clergymen. Mr Weston, 50, would have left earlier, but he had to hold on until he had done 20 years service in the priesthood in order to qualify for his pension.
"The ordination of women priests was the last straw for me," he said yesterday. "It signified that the bishops who pushed it forward did not regard themselves as guardians of the apostolic faith.
The Church of England ceased to be my spiritual home. Discovering Orthodoxy was like discovering the pearl of great price."
His chapel, which cost pounds 2,000 to build, is dedicated to St Fursey, an Irish saint who arrived in Norfolk in 633. If the congregation hits double figures, Mr Weston will have to find other premises.
"When I put in my application to the council I said it was a private chapel, not a public place of worship," he said.
"I promised that if we ever got into double figures, we would look elsewhere."
For now, Mr Weston is safe. He holds services three times a day, at which he is generally the sole worshipper . On Thursdays the full complement of five attends Bible studies and vespers, and on high days and holidays, such as St Fursey's Day in January, a record 17 turned up. "It has a semi-monastic feel about it," said Mr Weston, "but I only started in October so it's early days yet."
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
Costa Concordia finally towed from Giglio amid environmental concerns that cruise liner is a 'floating bomb'
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...