Napier dean Michael Godfrey reinstated following appeal

By Victoria White

2 comments
After being stood down for having extra-marital affairs 25 years ago, former Dean of Napier Cathedral Michael Godfrey has been reinstated.
After being stood down for having extra-marital affairs 25 years ago, former Dean of Napier Cathedral Michael Godfrey has been reinstated.

A Hawke's Bay dean stood down for having extra-marital affairs 25 years ago has been reinstated.

In May the Dean of Napier Cathedral, Dr Michael Godfrey, was stood down after the Bishop of Waiapu said that in committing adultery, twice, and in failing to disclose the affairs, he had fallen short of what was expected of an Anglican priest.

When he was stood down, the diocese said the "historic matter of behaviour" had related to church law and was not expected of a priest in the Anglican church. Bishop Andrew Hedge had advised the church that the issue was not related to the diocese of Waiapu.

A month later, Dr Godfrey told NZME he had a lawyer and would be appealing the judgment which saw him kicked out of the Anglican Church after being a priest for 27 years.

His appeal was allowed recently through an internal appeal tribunal, whose decision also stated "the appeal tribunal sets aside in its entirety the determination of Bishop Hedge dated 4 May 2016".

"As a consequence of the appeal tribunal's determination of this appeal, the outcomes of deprivation and admonishment must be revoked and Dr Godfrey restored forthwith to office and ministry."

Yesterday he said he could not comment, and referred queries to his lawyer.

Church spokesman Jayson Rhodes was unable to divulge details of any recent church decision due to confidentiality clauses, but said it was prepared to work with Dr Godfrey over his future.

"The church is committed to sitting down with Michael and talking this through, but it won't be publicly."

When he was stood down in May, Dr Godfrey told Hawke's Bay Today that he had two affairs, 25 years ago, "in a terrible week in my life and following a serious sexual assault on me, and when married to my first wife".

"In the years that followed I made full disclosure not only to my first wife when confronted with my betrayal, but with the most appropriate authorities available to me by the standards and understanding of the time," he said.

"I am not proud of that, and acknowledge that this fell well short of the standards of integrity I expect [of] myself, let alone the church's expectations of a cleft person."

He said the liaisons had been with consenting adults, not as was originally alleged by church authorities before he was stood down, as predatory or with a minor.

Dr Godfrey was appointed as dean in 2013, replacing former dean Helen Jacobi.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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