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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 January 2008, 14:08 GMT
Tribunal advises 'sack' for vicar
St Mary and St Michael Church in Trumpington
The Rev Dr Tom Ambrose is vicar of a church in Trumpington, Cambs
A vicar accused of intimidating his congregation should be removed from his post, a church tribunal has ruled.

Rev Dr Tom Ambrose, of St Mary and St Michael Church in Trumpington, Cambs, would not be able to mend relationships with his congregation, its report said.

The vicar had wanted to modernise the medieval church but met with resistance which he "could not tolerate".

The tribunal advises the Bishop of Ely, Dr Anthony Russell, to declare the post vacant and advertise for a replacement.

In a 37-page report members of the tribunal are "united in being satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that serious pastoral breakdown has occurred in Trumpington parish".

"We recommend that the bishop executes a declaration of avoidance declaring the benefice of Trumpington to be vacant," says the report.

Bishop to decide

"We do not consider that the serious pastoral breakdown in Trumpington parish can be remedied if Dr Ambrose remains as the vicar there."

The ruling comes after a rare five-day hearing in the City of London last September over allegations of a breakdown in pastoral relations.

Dr Ambrose, 60, was described at the hearing by Justin Gau as a "square peg in a round hole" who lost his temper if he did not get his way.

It was alleged the vicar inundated members of the congregation with letters and e-mails when they opposed his views.

Dr Ambrose, who joined the parish in 1999, denied that there has been a pastoral breakdown.

He also denied being aggressively confrontational and claimed that "envy" had been at the heart of the allegations against him.

The tribunal was held after extensive efforts at mediation and reconciliation.

The Diocese of Ely said the full text of the report had been handed to Dr Ambrose's legal team who had been given three weeks to submit representations before the bishop decided on action.

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