first_img“We (him and his wife Sarah-Jane) are actively looking for a ministry elsewhere. It has been a challenging time. I am on a sabbatical break for three months.” A vicar has been  forced to apologise after sending out a letter accusing some of his “grumbling” church members of  “actively sabotaging his ministry”. Rev Andy Thewlis has taken a “sabbatical break for three months” after the letter to his  congregation at All Saints Church in Burbage, Wiltshire said that Sunday morning services were marred by “gossip and disunity”.He apologised after an urgent meeting with the Bishop of Salisbury The Rt Rev Nick Holtam.In the original letter Rev Thewlis also complained that despite repeated requests he had not been provided with a comprehensive list of songs known to the congregation which “demonstrates an unwillingness to co-operate”. And he claimed there is also a culture of “non compliance in terms of organisation with respect to the law of the land and correctly implementing the policies and practices of the Church of England”. “The Sunday morning worship experience is neither warm, nor welcoming. It does not portray real love joy or peace. Rather it reflects an organisation that is characterised by grumbling, gossip, and disunity,” he wrote.“Criticism and negativism are predominant behaviour traits in too many church members. Some people through their actions are actively sabotaging the ministry of their vicar and their church….. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img “The arrogance of some church members through e mails and conversations on an almost daily basis is wearisome. It drains energy robs enthusiasm and reveals that some as we were told would prefer not to have a vicar.”Towards the end of the letter he says “we are not prepared to sacrifice our health or our marriage for a local church in which internal politics and unnecessary power games cause such hurt and division”.  The Salisbury Diocese said:”Upon being made aware of the letter sent to church members in Burbage the Bishop of Salisbury met with the Rev Thewlis at the earliest opportunity “Mr Thewlis has now written a letter of apology to those who received his letter which was inappropriate in both tenor and content. “The Bishop has also offered Mr Thewlis pastoral support including sabbatical time to consider his future and he has accepted this.”In the second letter Rev Thewlis told his congregation:”I recognise that the (first) letter was inappropriate and came as a shock. I should not have sent it to all church members nor should I have named individuals within it. I apologise unreservedly for the upset and hurt it has caused.”Mr Thewlis – who has been the Vicar for a year – added: ”I had a conversation (with the bishop).last_img