Pastor fired for banning women from preaching to men at his church for 25 years

Errol Campbell believed that the Bible forbids women religious from giving sermons to male parishioners – Eric LAFFORGUE/Gamma-Rapho

A senior pastor has been fired for banning women from preaching to men at his church for 25 years.

Errol Campbell believed the Bible forbade female clerics from giving sermons to male parishioners, an employment tribunal has heard.

Bishops investigating her behavior found that she created a “hostile” environment in which “it was not appropriate for women to speak”.

Mr Campbell, who had 33 years of experience, told Church of God Prophecy he was “numb” in his transition to get women more involved.

He was fired for gross misconduct in July 2020 following an internal investigation.

He took the church to court claiming his firing was a “witch hunt” and that there was a “predetermined plot” to remove him from office.

However, his charges of wrongful termination and breach of contract both fell through.

“Anecdotal Evidence” Campbell does not allow women to preach

At the hearing in Bristol it was said that Mr Campbell was ordained as a minister in 1986 before taking up the role of pastor of a local Bath church on a self-employed basis.

He moved into indentured employment in 1995 as a senior pastor for the Church of God Prophecy Trust, which owns the Bath church.

Mr Campbell called a meeting in June 2019 with bishops of the trust church to talk about the role of women, the court heard.

He felt the church was “dead callous” in its transition to increase the role and reach of women in ministry, specifically, its intention to allow them to administer the sacrament and preach to men, not just women.

The church trust told him there was “anecdotal evidence” that it did not allow women to preach in the presence of men in Bath church.

Ministers are reappointed every two years, but in light of this allegation, the bishops told Mr Campbell his would be postponed.

The court heard that as a result of this, Mr Campbell filed a complaint in November, which was dismissed.

However, in the same month, it was suspended and an international investigation was launched into claims that it denied women the opportunity to both men and women to preach.

A disciplinary hearing was held in May 2020 in which the bishops concluded that he had “created an atmosphere in which it was not appropriate for women to speak” and would threaten the pastor to “leave” if they did.

The pastor has created a “hostile environment”

They said Mr Campbell had created a “hostile environment”.

The court heard bishops express “bewilderment” that women had not preached for 25 years when men were present in Bath church.

Mr. Campbell was fired in July 2020 for serious misconduct relating to sex discrimination and has filed an appeal in court.

Labor Judge Kathryn Ann Halliday said there was clearly a “doctoral position divide between [Mr Campbell] and [the church] concerning the position of women in the Church”.

He said, “I’m satisfied with that [the church] he had sufficient evidence to conclude it reasonably [Mr Campbell] he was guilty of misconduct in allowing the Bath church to depart from accepted doctrine.

“I accept it [Mr Campbell] she has a genuine personal belief based on a specific biblical text that women should not preach or teach men.

“But you conclude that, given his role as head of the church, [the church] she had the right to fire him for creating an environment where women were not given the opportunity to preach to men as this had created a discriminatory environment.”

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