A parishioner who says he has been wrongly exiled has placed his faith in the Supreme Court.
The first sign of trouble for Bruce Haddon came at an impromptu meeting with his pastor, the Reverend Dominic Steele, the conservative rector of St Aidan's Anglican Church in Annandale. Mr Steele informed Mr Haddon that he had become aware, via members of Mr Haddon's home Bible study group, that he had questioned the accuracy of the Old Testament. As punishment, Mr Haddon says, he was banned from his ministry role within the church, where he had been appointed to greet parishioners arriving at Sunday evening services.
But it was just a hint of what was to come for Mr Haddon largely sparked by a single email sent two years later in February 2008, containing allegations that Mr Haddon believes implied he was guilty of sexual misconduct towards women in the church. He claims it is all part of a vicious campaign to force him out of the church because of his liberal beliefs.
However a spokesman for the diocese said: ''Both Mr Steele as minister and Mr Batten (a parishioner) as parish councillor had a duty of care to the young women of the congregation which compelled them to act in the face of complaints. This legal action against them for upholding that duty will be actively and strenuously defended.''
Damaging rumours began to spread shortly after he was banned from duties, Mr Haddon believes, because the congregation was not given an explanation. He asked Mr Steele to clear the air by explaining to the congregation that the ban was on theological grounds, but that was not done. Shortly after, Mr Haddon was formally expelled, he says, without the opportunity to appeal.
Among Mr Haddon's beliefs are that the Bible contains factual errors, that women should enjoy equality in worship and marriage and that Jesus was not born of a virgin.
The case is set down for hearing in the Supreme Court from March 22.
COMMENT: The Head of the Family Firm's lackie sounds like a right cult to me.