Corazon Miller is a NZ Herald reporter

Former dean of Napier Cathedral wins battle against Anglican church

Michael Godfrey is hoping to be reinstated as dean of Napier Cathedral. Photo / Warren Buckland
Michael Godfrey is hoping to be reinstated as dean of Napier Cathedral. Photo / Warren Buckland

The Anglican Church is committed to talking through the future of the former dean of Napier Cathedral who was stood down over two affairs he had 25 years ago.

Since the decision in May, Dr Michael Godfrey has been fighting to reverse the church decision - a battle he appears to have finally won.

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 Godfrey over his future.

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

Godfrey was stood down in May, 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.

NZME understands the battle to overturn the decision has been won and a church internal appeal tribunal has ordered his reinstatement to the ministry.

A section of the decision document given to NZME read: "the appeal is allowed, and the Appeal Tribunal sets aside in its entirety the determination of Bishop [Andrew] 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."

Godfrey never denied the affairs, but the former Anglican dean disagreed with the decision, which he felt was not in line with how a "community of grace should work".

When he was stood down Godfrey told NZME he wasn't proud of what had happened and that it "fell well short of the standards of integrity I expect [of] myself, let alone the church's expectations".

He said he had the affairs "in a terrible week in my life and following a serious sexual assault on me, and when married to my first wife".

The former dean also said the affairs had been with consenting adults, not with minors, as was originally alleged by church authorities at the time.

Godfrey was made dean in 2013. He had formerly been based in the Northern Territory of Australia and was archdeacon of Southern Rural Darwin, rector of the Parish of the Good Shepherd in Freds Pass and chaplain at Kormilda College and Anglican secondary school in Darwin.

He had been a broadcasting cadet for Radio New Zealand, a specialist broadcaster in Adelaide and an auxiliary firefighter for the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, which he was also chaplain to.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 31 Mar 2017 02:18:08 Processing Time: 505ms