Diocese of Worcester vicar waiting for dismissal case ruling

Rev Mark Sharpe The Reverend Mark Sharpe wants to take the diocese to court for constructive dismissal

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A Worcestershire vicar who wants to sue the Church of England for constructive dismissal has been told he will have to wait until next year for a decision.

The Reverend Mark Sharpe, 44, stepped down from Teme Valley South in September 2009, due to poor health.

Mr Sharpe told a hearing in Birmingham that he had not been given proper support by the diocese, an allegation the Church has rejected.

Members of the clergy are not currently covered by employment law.

Under legislation, clergy are treated as office holders rather than employees, which means that in the eyes of the law they are employed directly by God.

Mr Sharpe wants to change that and is asking the hearing for permission to take the Diocese of Worcester to court.

He said he had been subjected to abuse and harassment from local people and that the Church had failed to support him and his wife.

The Church denies Mr Sharpe's claims.

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