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St Edmundsbury: Canon on leave while church investigates financial irregularities

00:17 25 February 2014

St Edmundsbury Cathedral

St Edmundsbury Cathedral

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An honorary Canon at St Edmundsbury Cathedral is on extended leave from his job as a parish rector while “financial irregularities” at his church are investigated

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The discrepancies relate to fees for weddings and funerals that should have been passed to the diocese.

A church of England spokesman said Rev Canon Ian Finn, who is Rural Dean of Clare and Rector of Haverhill, has paid all of the money believed to be outstanding to the diocese and he says the irregularities are due to an accounting error.

Last night, Suffolk police confirmed that no complaint had been made to them and that they are not involved in the investigation.

The EADT was unable to contact Rev Canon Finn but John Howard, spokesman for the Church of England in Suffolk, said the Archdeacon of Sudbury, Ven David Jenkins, had been in discussions with him about his work for the church.

Mr Howard added: “The irregularities relate to the payment of part of the fees that should have been passed to the diocese for services taken, including weddings and funerals.

“Ian has explained that this was entirely the result of administrative and accounting mistakes, rather than any deliberate acts.

“He has already refunded to the diocese what he currently believes to be owing.

“He acknowledges that a great deal more work needs to be done by him, with the assistance of an accountant, to ensure that the accurate financial position is established.”

In November 2011, Rev Canon Finn was installed as an Honorary Canon of St Edmundsbury Cathedral. The 55-yr-old father of three is involved with schools in Haverhill and is a member of two local school governing bodies. He was also St Edmundsbury Borough mayor’s chaplain from 2012-13.

Mr Howard said Rev Canon Finn was currently on leave, booked before the financial irregularities came to light.

He continued: “The Acting Bishop, the Rt Rev David Thomson, has agreed to extend that leave to enable Ian to devote his time to assisting in the investigation, which will be complex.

“He has already co-operated fully over the matter and will continue to do so. The diocese is arranging for the church to be cared for by other local clergy while Ian is away and the Rev Cheryl Collins is to act as rural dean with immediate effect.”

A spokesman for the church wardens at St Mary the Virgin in Haverhill, said: “Church life is continuing and we will be supported by other local clergy who will take benefice services, minister to the needs of our congregation and ensure the smooth running of our church during his absence.”

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