Clergyman faces eviction

A DISABLED vicar who has already lost his job and now faces being made homeless by his former employers last night pledged not to give up the fight.The Rev Tim Breene has worked as assistant minister at Kesgrave's All Saints Church since 1999, but for the past five months his post has been funded by residents and charities.

A DISABLED vicar who has already lost his job and now faces being made homeless by his former employers last night pledged not to give up the fight.

The Rev Tim Breene has worked as assistant minister at Kesgrave's All Saints Church since 1999, but for the past five months his post has been funded by residents and charities.

And now the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich - which axed his position last October - has begun legal proceedings to repossess his house in Martlesham Heath.

Mr Breene, 44, suffers from dystonia, a debilitating problem with the muscles in his neck, and claims he is unable to apply for jobs elsewhere as a result.


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Speaking to the EADT last night, Mr Breene said he was consulting with lawyers at the union Amicus, but confirmed it was a "strong possibility" he would take action against the diocese.

He added: "I don't have anywhere else to go. Having consulted both the union and the CAB, they told me to stay put. If I left I would be voluntarily making myself homeless and could expect no help."

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Mr Breene continued: "It's all a bit scary - it is not the sort of thing that one expects the church as a constitution to do."

Mr Breene explained the difficulties with the diocese date back to July 2001 and claimed that, despite numerous attempts to resolve the situation, he has received little response.

He added: "My health has suffered. But if you live with a disease such as dystonia, you get used to having to fight.

"When you are dealing with something like vocation, you don't give up easily. The church have taken my job, my income and are now trying to take my home - there's not much more they can take."

Mr Breene also thanked the community for their backing, saying: "I've been given incredible support.

"The important thing in life is to try and find hope in difficult situations and in each other - that's what it's all about."

In a statement Nicholas Edgell, diocesan secretary, confirmed that legal proceedings to repossess Mr Breene's house had begun.

He said that the diocese offered him the property, rent-free, on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy between November last year and April 2004 as a "base to plan his future."

"Despite several reminders, Mr Breene has chosen not to sign the tenancy document, but has been allowed to remain in the house," he added.

"The Board of Finance is moving to regain possession of its property, at the end of the six month period.

"As a charity, the Diocesan Board of Finance, on behalf of Suffolk's churchgoers, is under an obligation to manage its assets appropriately and it is not minded to allow this unlawful occupancy to continue."

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