Vicar Rev Paul Meier dismissed from St Margaret's Church in Horsmonden after his behaviour "fell short of the standards" expected
A vicar at a village church has been dismissed this week with immediate effect after a year-long probe into events in his past.
The Rev Paul Meier, until now vicar of St Margaret’s Church in Horsmonden, has been accused of falling “short of the standards of behaviour which the Church expects” and that he had “betrayed the trust placed in him”.
The accusations were made in two statements issued by the Diocese of Chichester, where the father-of-two previously worked, and the Diocese of Rochester, which is responsible for his ministry at Horsmonden.
Paul Meier, the former vicar in Horsmonden
Mr Meier’s connection with the Chichester Diocese springs from the time before his promotion to Horsmonden when he was based at the Storrington Deanery of West Sussex.
He was suspended from St Margaret’s Church in October 2012 when the Bishop of Rochester issued a statement saying it concerned matters which “arise from events in the past”.
Since then Mr Meier, who has two young daughters, has been on paid gardening leave, living with his family in the church’s vicarage at Rectory Park Road.
A spokesman from Rochester Diocese said this week: “Mr Meier and his family will be leaving the rectory in due course, but will be given a period of grace in order to make sensible arrangements.”
St Margaret's Church, Horsmonden
Nowhere in the statements issued is there an explanation of what exactly Mr Meier was accused of, despite a list of written questions put to the Chichester Diocese, which led the inquiry.
Spokesman Lisa Williamson said: “We will not be making any further comment.”
One local resident, who asked not to be named, described Mr Meier as “hippy-ish” and slightly unconventional in his clothing.
He said: “He was friendly and outgoing. He has huge uncut hair and would wear jeans under his clerical robes, but people took to him.
“This is all a bit of a puzzle.”
- Click here for more Maidstone news
- Click here for more news from across the county