Carey to meet disciples of `sex and rave' vicar

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The Independent Online
THE Archbishop of Canterbury will confront the followers of the Rev Chris Brain at Lambeth Palace in a fortnight and attempt to salvage the Church of England's evangelical youth policy from the Nine O'Clock Service sex allegations.

In what is likely to be one of the Church's most emotionally charged assemblies, Dr George Carey will meet a young generation inspired - and now feeling betrayed - by the 38-year-old former musician who brought rave music to religion. Mr Brain faced allegations last week that he had sexually abused female followers and used donations to fund a life of luxury.

Representatives of the 200 groups of Christians who have have spread variations of theSheffield service around the country will meet the Archbishop at his London residence, along with other members of the Anglican hierarchy who have hitherto encouraged such new forms of worship.

Dr Carey's advisers were adamant yesterday that there should be no post- mortems and no recriminations about the scandal at the heart of one of the church's fastest-growing movements. Anglican tolerance for the mixture of rave music, light shows, incense, Latin liturgy, and traditional Christianity, first developed by Mr Brain in Sheffield, should continue, they said. "New Age" worship should not be discredited by the alleged misconduct of one man.

Canon Robert Warren, Dr Carey's National Officer for Evangelism, said: "The moral collapse of one person does not invalidate a whole notion."

Canon Warren used to work in Sheffield, where he dealt regularly with Mr Brain, and remains committed to making religion attractive to the young. "The traditional methods of receiving children into the faith are no longer there," he said.

A spokesman indicated that Dr Carey, too, would view the Sheffield scandal as the result of Mr Brain's alleged failings rather than a wider problem.

Mr Brain has now been banned from ministry, and has entered a Manchester psychiatric hospital. The allegations could lead to his facing an ecclesiastical court. The Church has been criticised for not telling complainants to go to the police.