Bishop Verryn to face disciplinary committee

2010-01-22 14:13

SUSPENDED Johannesburg Central Methodist Church Bishop Paul Verryn

will appear before a disciplinary committee on February 1.

“He has been charged with transgressing the laws and discipline of

the church, essentially the constitution of the Methodist Church of Southern

Africa,” the church has said.

An attorney working for a firm that acts on behalf of the church,

Bongani Khoza would not state the reason for Verryn’s suspension. He was

suspended on Tuesday but the church only announced it yesterday.

Verryn applied to the high court last year in a bid to get a

curator appointed for unaccompanied minors living at the church.

The application followed ongoing wrangles between the church and

the Gauteng government, which accused Verryn of refusing to co-operate with

social workers who had wanted to move the Zimbabwean children to proper homes

and shelters.

Subsequent to Verryn’s application, children’s rights lawyer Dr Ann

Skelton, from the Centre for Child Law, was appointed by the High Court in

Johannesburg to act as the legal guardian to the 56 unaccompanied children. She

was expected to compile a report making recommendations on the care of the

children by February 8. The church’s head Ivan Abrahams said at the time:

“Bishop Paul Verryn has acted unilaterally and without the support of the

Methodist Church of Southern Africa.”

Following a visit to the church building, chairperson Molebatsi

Bopape said at the time: “Children are being exposed to abuse, babies are

sleeping on the floor ... the place is so filthy that we couldn’t even

breathe.”

In December, the government said it was considering taking court

action to remove children from the church.

At the time, Legal Resource Centre attorney Jason Brickhill said

the application for curatorship took place in the context of the government’s

statements.

He said Verryn believed he was unable to “adequately safeguard the

best interest of the children at the church, or if and when they are

relocated“.

Last year, the SA Council of Churches said the primary villain in

the refugee saga was not Verryn, but the government.



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