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A discreditable scene has been enacted at Barnstaple, in connection with the Baptist Church In that town. Some time ago the pastor, the Rev. J. Rootham, suspended five members for an alleged irregularity. He was threatened with an action if he did not apologise and re-admit them. No apology having been made, one of the suspended members attended the monthly meeting, but the pastor desired him to leave, being an “ intruder,’’ and as the offending member refused to do so, the rev. gentleman closed the the meeting. At the monthly meeting in November two of the suspended members (Messrs Turner and Green) made another attempt to assert their right of attending. Their visit had been anticipated, and the extraordinary step was resorted to of employing a policeman to guard the entrance to the chapel. A brother of one of the suspended members warned the constable against interfering, as an action at law was pending. Mr Turner demanded admission, but was pushed back. The noise brought out the pastor, and some one fetched the Mayor, a Nonconformist* of some influence in the city, in the hope that he would be able to act the part of the peacemaker. The Mayor expressed his sorrow at seeing a body of Christians engaged in such an unseemly squabble, but his efforts to pacify them had no immediate effect. Mr Turner made a rush at the door, and one of the pastor’s friends seized him round the waist. The Mayor shouted “ Gentlemen, genltemen!” and implored them to desist, but they continued the struggle for some time, Mr Turner’s coat being torn. Eventually, seeing that a large crowd had been attracted, the suspended members, to avoid further scandal, withdrew under protest. It is expected that the parties will figure in the Police Court.

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Bibliographic details

A CHURCH SCANDAL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 523, 31 December 1881

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A CHURCH SCANDAL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 523, 31 December 1881

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