Sex scandal church gets new chaplain

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The Independent Online
A new chaplain has been appointed to the former members of the scandal-hit Nine O'Clock service in Sheffield.

The Rev Philip Allin, 52, a trained marriage guidance counsellor and former schools chaplain, will have to help a community which discovered that its charismatic former leader, Chris Brain, had exploited up to 40 female members for sexual gratification.

Mr Brain resigned his priesthood and went to America in search of a career as a rock musician.

A core of about 25 members remain of what was once the Church of England's most hopeful liturgical experiment; most of the members of the community seem to have abandoned Christianity altogether.

The Nine O'Clock Service pioneered the use of rave music and theatre as a way of presenting the Gospel. Originating from fundamentalist roots in an evangelical church run by the Rev Robert Warren, now the Church of England's National Officer for Evangelism, the group was widely criticised for behaving more like a rock band than a Christian community, but was also widely imitated.

The scandal came to light as a result of efforts to turn it into a completely free-standing congregation, with its own priest and churchwardens.

Some of the churchwardens complained to the Archdeacon about Mr Brain's attitude to women and money, and he was removed from his post and took shelter in a psychiatric hospital.