Popular Vicar Who Converted To Catholicism Taking Half His Flock With Him

Popular Vicar Who Converted To Catholicism Taking Half His Flock With Him

Switch: Father Donald Minchew outside St Mary’s Catholic Church, Croydon, south London, where he has been based since he left the Church of England

A vicar led half his congregation in converting to Catholicism after complaining that the Church of England is telling believers in traditional values to ‘sod off’.

Father Donald Minchew was followed by 70 of his flock in 2012 when he left the Anglican church where he has led services for nearly two decades to join a Catholic church less than 500 yards up the road.

He said the extraordinary leap of faith made him feel like the ‘Prodigal Son’ returning to a church with established beliefs after years of enduring the ‘pick and choose’ attitude of the CofE where congregations are fed on a diet of ‘pap and banality’.

The 63-year-old quit St Michael’s and All Angels parish church in Croydon, south London, to move to neighbouring St Mary’s Church because he opposed many decisions by the General Synod, including the ordination of women priests and bishops.

When he first told his congregation at St Michael’s of his plan during a service there was ‘surprise and astonishment’, he said.

‘They faced a stark choice – to follow me or stay where they were with what was left.

Leap of faith: Monsignor Broadhurst with some of the people he converted at a church just 500 yards away


‘I never bullied or pressured anyone to join me. I let them make their own choices.

‘In the end about 70 of the congregation of 120 came with me.

‘They are very brave because they have answered the call of God and done it at great cost, often causing rifts and divisions with family and old friends.

‘The Anglican bishop and Archdeacon of Croydon were extremely understanding and supportive.

‘But from within St Michael’s there were a few false rumours put around to try to keep members of the congregation, including the ludicrous claim that the Catholic church would be ordaining women within a decade.

‘It was a little uncomfortable but I have no regrets.

‘When I was ordained in the Church of England in 1976 there were some things that would never be challenged.

‘But now it just seems that everything has come up for grabs.

‘Those of us who believed in traditional values and opposed the ordination of women and other innovations, who were once an honoured and valued part of the Cof E, are now just being told to ‘sod off’. That’s the bottom line.

‘They all talk of being inclusive and being a broad church when what they really mean is bugger off if you don’t believe in what we believe.

‘Making the move has been like coming home. I feel like the Prodigal Son returning.

‘It is a return to a faith that has fixed values that are not going to change at the next meeting of the General Synod.

‘The Church of England has become like a buffet where you pick and choose which commandments and doctrines you want to follow.

‘We are being fed this pap diet of common worship and banality upon banality rather than the Book of Common Prayer.’

Father Minchew and his followers were received into the full communion at St Mary’s Church last week. Former Anglican bishop Monsignor John Broadhurst received and confirmed the group, who will now form the Croydon Ordinariate.

Father Minchew said 2,000 people attended the mass at St Mary’s on Easter Sunday – more than ten times the congregation he got at his previous church on an Easter Sunday.

He said: ‘In the Catholic Church they take their faith seriously compared to the take it or leave it attitude of the Church of England, where there’s a sense of ‘I don’t fancy it this Sunday.’

The father of four, who is a widower, spent a year deciding on whether to make the move which had serious financial implications for him and his family.

He sacrificed his £11,500-a-year pension – which he was due to start drawing in 18 months – and will have to leave his vicarage home because of his decision.

Parishioner Barry Barnes was one of those who left after 30 years in the congregation at St Michael and All Angels.

He said: ‘We saw where the church was going and decided we could no longer stay in the Church of England.

‘My wife and I decided the Church of England was no longer where we wanted to be and we joined the Ordinariate for a number of reasons.

‘Their attitude towards homosexuality and in light of the possible ordination of women as bishops, neither of us can accept that.’

A spokesman for the Diocese of Southwark, said while they regretted losing Father Minchew and some members of his congregation, ‘we wish them well for their future Christian journey’.


source: DailyMail


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