Shock suspension of Methodist bishop Paul Verryn
I’ve heard news that Methodist Bishop Paul Verryn has been suspended by the Methodist Church, and is to face a disciplinary hearing.
Paul Verryn was bishop of the Central District of the Methodist Church, which included Johannesburg, and has been in the news recently because he allowed the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg to be used my homeless refugees as a place to sleep.
It is too early to say why he has been suspended, but some news reports can give some clues to possible reasons, and I give links to some of them, and ask people to pray for Paul Verryn and other Methodist leaders, and also for the refugees who have been staying at the church, and for the government officials who deal with them, and for a speedy resolution to the political problems in Zimbabwe, which is the ultimate cause.
The Methodist Church of South Africa has suspended Central Methodist Church head Paul Verryn – but will not disclose the charges he faces. Attorney Bongani Khoza, representing the church, said yesterday that Verryn was ‘charged and would appear before a church disciplinary hearing on February 1’.
‘This follows a lengthy investigation by the district disciplinary registrar of the church. Following that, the registrar decided to charge Paul Verryn,’ Khoza told The Times.
Verryn, whose term as a bishop ended last month, was suspended on Tuesday.
Zimbabweans were shocked at the news, as Paul Verryn has been known for his ministry to Zimbabwean refugees, and has been criticised for allowing homeless refugees to sleep in the church rather than on the street.
Johannesburg Central Methodist Church (CMC) Bishop Paul Verryn, a man who has played a leading role in administering to the welfare and needs of desperate Zimbabwean and other refugees in the South African city of Johannesburg, has been suspended The Zimbabwe Times has been told from his position in the church.Verryn has been under a lot of pressure from the church after applying to the Johannesburg high court for the appointment of a curator at the Church last year.
The presiding bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Ivan Abrahams said the application was invalid.
Bishop Paul Verryn wanted a court to appoint a legal curator for some of the children who were staying at the church, to look after their interests.
In earlier news, from last month, the Sowetan – News reported:
The high court ruled last Tuesday that children living at the church would spend their Christmas there, after the Legal Resources Centre, representing Bishop Paul Verryn, agreed with the government not to move the children.
Verryn brought an urgent application to the court to appoint a curator who will decide whether or not the children should be moved.
The proposed curator, Dr Ann Skelton, is a director at the Centre for Child Law and an advocate at the Johannesburg high court. An affidavit in court shows that more than 50 children live at the centre and that most of them are boys.
Advocate Steven Budlender said: “Both parties have agreed that there be no attempt to move the minor children from the Methodist Church pending the outcome of the application.”
The report went on to say that
Previous attempts by the government to move the children backfired after the children refused to leave the shelter.
The children said the social workers were rude and threatened to remove them by force if they refused. They said they had also heard that staff at the shelters were xenophobic.
Bishjop Paul Verryn perhaps has good reason to fear for the safety of children forcibly removed from his care, in the light of events that happened twenty years ago, as reported in testimony before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. SAPA – 03 Dec 97 – STOMPIE KILLED ON WINNIE’S ORDERS TO COVER UP ASSAULTS, TRC TOLD:
Stompie Seipei was killed on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s instructions to prevent the Mandela ‘crisis committee’ discovering how badly the Mandela United Football Club had assaulted four youths they had abducted from the Soweto Methodist Manse, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard on Wednesday.
Former club ‘coach’ Jerry Richardson testified that Madikizela-Mandela decided to kill Seipei to cover up what had happened.
The Mandela crisis committee, made up of church, community and ANC leaders, was formed to secure the release of four boys, including Seipei, who were abducted from Methodist minister Paul Verryn’s manse in late December 1988.
‘I slaughterd him (Seipei) like a goat,’ Richardson said, as Seipei’s mother, Joyce, left the hearing hall in tears.