Adultery row vicar remarries in Bradford

Adultery row vicar remarries in Bradford

The Reverend Paul Walker leaves Bradford Register Office with his new wife Sandy Archer

The Reverend Paul Walker (right) leaves Bradford Register office with his new wife Sandy Archer

First published in News
Last updated

A long-serving Bradford vicar has been barred from leading church services after being divorced for adultery by his wife of 27 years.

The Reverend Paul Walker, who was vicar at St Cuthbert's Church in Wrose, Shipley, for about 15 years was suspended by the Church of England for 12 months after his former wife, Nasreen, complained to his superiors about his behaviour.

Plans for a church wedding to his new partner were also abandoned after Mrs Walker wrote to the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, to complain when she discovered he was apparently planning a religious ceremony.

She was assured by the Archbishop that the church wedding would not happen and instead Mr Walker married in a civil ceremony at Bradford Register Office yesterday.

The scandal unfolded after Mrs Walker decided to leave her husband and father of their five children early last year, but had a change of heart a short time later.

By that time, she said her estranged husband had found a new partner and declined a reconciliation, though she was told the relationship was platonic.

The couple's divorce went through, on the grounds of his adultery and her unreasonable behaviour, early this year.

By then Mrs Walker had already complained to the Church of England authorities, which resulted in her estranged husband being suspended for 12 months, meaning he will be unable to return to his job as a vicar until October, a situation to be reviewed by the Archbishop in the autumn.

Mr Walker, 55, of Baildon, confirmed to the Telegraph & Argus that he no longer works for the Church of England and said: "Certain conversations have taken place which were entirely private and I cannot comment on them. The reason I am in the position I am in is quite complicated."

A spokesnman for the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales said: "He is prohibited from ministry for a period of one year because of the circumstances surrounding the breakdown of his marriage.

"The Archbishop will be reviewing the prohibition this autumn."

Nasreen, 50, told Church authorities her former husband found his new partner, whom she knows as Sandy Archer, through a Christian website which had rules that it should be used only by those who were single or divorced.

She said she became aware of her estranged husband's adultery and that was one of the grounds acceptable for divorce under her Christian faith.

She told the T&A: "He carried on working as a vicar while this was going on, for up to six months, so I put a complaint in to the Church of England and they investigated it, there are processes to follow.

"I was assigned someone to support me and it was investigated from both sides."

When she contacted Dr Sentamu over the prospect of her former husband marrying in church, he wrote back stating: "I made arrangements for the matter to be investigated. I am advised that the wedding will not take place in church."

Mr Walker began his career as a vicar almost 30 years ago.

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