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BRENTWOOD: Bishop Reid had two affairs

By This is Essex  |  Posted: December 02, 2009

  • BOMBSHELL: The Peniel Church, Coxtie Green Road

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A DISGRACED bishop had an affair with not one but two women prior to his dismissal from a local church, an employment tribunal has heard.

Michael Reid, former leader and founding member of the Peniel Church in Pilgrims Hatch, was sacked after his eight-year affair with his choir mistress was publicly revealed in April 2008.

Just days later, another woman – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – claimed to have had a relationship of "many years" with Reid, which involved a "possible abuse of his position".

The revelation was made at an employment tribunal in east London where Reid, 66, is suing the church for unfair dismissal.

It comes in the same week Reid had his police bail extended over rape allegations.

Church trustee Meiare Cleminson told the tribunal: "It is important to note that from the point the news broke, the congregation were in complete shock.

"This was a bombshell that rocked the foundations of our church. It is without doubt the biggest crisis of the church's 33 year existence."

Mrs Cleminson said she warned Reid about his relationship with choir mistress Sheila Graziano three years ago.

"They became very close in their work environment," she said.

"He would often go to her house during the day or in more recent times he would book a hotel."

Reid would tell trustees they were simply working on his "thesis", it is claimed.

"I distinctly remember saying to him that people would think there was something amiss," she said.

"I suggested he should abstain from any appearance of evil."

But Reid told her he "would not be told what to do by those with filthy minds".

She added: "I was concerned with his attitude as it appeared to contain a great deal of hypocrisy.

"I genuinely think he believed the issue would just go away. He gave the impression he regarded this as a private family issue and didn't want it to come out.

"It struck the heart of his position and everything that he said he stood for. He had been a very strong advocate for family values."

On April 5 2008, Reid admitted the affair during a sermon but his son Matthew took the pulpit to expose Mrs Graziano as the subject of his father's affections.

Days later Reid and his wife Ruth fled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, it is said.

While he was away another woman, known as Lady X, came forward.

Mrs Cleminson said: "Lady X referred to matters of grave concern.

"Aside from being a further incident of adultery, suggested a possible abuse of position by Michael."

She said it became "evident the congregation no longer could accept Michael as their pastor".

"The breach of trust was enormous in light of all that Michael said he believed," added Mrs Cleminson, "He appears completely oblivious to the devastation his own actions have caused and regularly blames everyone else."

Mrs Cleminson later added people in the congregation cried when he announced his "sin" during a sermon.

"This was not someone causing offence, this was someone committing adultery and causing serious emotional harm to a family and congregation," she said.

"You must look at it in the light of a man who stood for such strong family values and people will have followed him through thick and thin because they believed he lived what he preached."

Reid, of Testimony House, Coxtie Green Road was suspended from the church on April 25 2008 and took three months off sick for stress before he was dismissed by the church later that year, when he lost an appeal.

It is claimed he argues the decision was "too harsh".

The hearing continues.

Reid was arrested in the early hours of Thursday August 27 following an allegation of rape. He was due to answer bail on Monday, but it has been extended until Wednesday December 23.

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    Simon, Bucks  |  January 29 2010, 4:33PM

    'But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. " Expel the wicked man from among you". 1 Corinthians Chap 5 v 11 -13 NIV Why do so many Christians put their faith in the big preachers and not go directly to God?¿.here is a story of yet another charismatic leader who has been caught with his pants down. I learnt along time ago not to follow any man or woman in this world (either in the church or outside the church) or for that matter any particular denomination, sect, new truth/revelation, new blessings or any other group or individual who claims to be a spiritual giant; amongst us humble Christians with normal human faults and ordinary lives. In my view it is only weak minded people who need to look up to some kind of Christian leader in awe for their personal faith and direction. It never surprises me that when a big spiritual man/woman falls as often they do, that they take many of their blind followers with them. Find out for yourself the truths in the Bible; Leave the rest to the Holy Spirit to reveal His truth to you. Don't depend on any ¿go-betweens¿; it can be dangerous to follow just one priest, 'father', minister, self -appointed apostle or prophet, confessor, elder, deacon or even counsellor.. If you submit to such a person you are leaving yourself open for a tumble; if and when they are found wanting. They are no better than you, nor closer to God than you. So why look up to them or depend on them for your faith?.. Remember a good tree does not bear bad fruit... The hurt and damage this man has caused to so many is horrendous, he is a total hypocrite, a very dangerous man, a wolf in sheeps clothing, deceiving guliible and naive Christians. And it seems despite all he has done some are still blindly following him; they must be deluded if they can't see this man is con man , who is living a great lie and it seems some people around him are allwing him to continue to live that lie. Like a sinking ship when he goes under he will take the foolish people who are still on board his ship down with him! How sad this man was given such power and was accountable to no one for so many years; the leaders of the church should hold their heads in shame for allowing this to happen. Brushing the dirt under the carpet and carrying on as though nothing has happened is not the way forward, the whole truth needs to be exposed and the church leaders who allowed him to do such wicked deeds for so long should stand down immediately. Those who have been hurt and damaged by this would do well to find another church and move away from this church, if it is still in denial and won't face up to the terrible truth that the 'wolf in sheeps clothing' was allowed to deceive and hurt so many people for so long. This matter has brought shame on the Christian faith in the UK and it is not just 'Bishop' Reid who should be held to account, but all those who were complicit; in doing nothing to stop him. 'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing'. Edmund Burke.

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    Alan, Shenfield  |  December 22 2009, 10:13AM

    Yes you can write, but put on your hard hat first!

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    Karen, Romford  |  December 22 2009, 1:23AM

    Brilliant comments on this article! I assume I can write at length here about my belief in invisible magic pixies, without fear of mockery?

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    Alan, Shenfield  |  December 17 2009, 9:40AM

    It says something about people in general. They cant be content to see someone exposed. The jackboots have to be pulled on and a good kicking administered. Did any of you at any time think Mr Reed wasnt just a mere human being? - Like the rest of us! We are all hypocrites to some degree or another.

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    A Jones, Essex  |  December 14 2009, 1:30PM

    Claire, you're the idiot - British troops are dying because Labour refuse to properly arm them. They are their because of the 9/11 atrocity by Al-Qaeda. Roman, Peniel are worth millions. Reid is a total hypocrite, who deserves everything he now gets. He was always taking others to court. Now, finally, he is on the receiving end. Tuyre, are you linked to Peniel and/or Reid ? Reid preached against immorality and in favour of marriage and the family; whilst all the time he was knocking off married women. This is totally unacceptable. At last, he has been exposed for the fraudster he really is. Will you be arguing that the charge of rape isn't really that serious ? Everyone is now seeing Reid for the nasty, meglomaniacal, bullying, sad, neurotic conman he really is and always was. The Bible is God's Word and Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation. Reid is not God and is getting his just desserts for prostituting Christianity for decades. Peniel must think we're all gullible fools - looking forward to celebrating Christmas and the future - no normal minded person would touch Peniel with a barge pole. For years Reid's opponents couldnt get anything to stick on him. Since 2008 he's destroyed himself. The Bible says that whoever exalts himself will be humbled; witness the arrogant, self-deluded Reid. Brentwood would be a much better place without Reid and Peniel.

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    michael, brentwood, essex  |  December 13 2009, 12:54AM

    lance, Essex Yes the Bible is a book. It is a history, a history of Christianity over a long period of time. You cannot disbelieve it just because it is a book! That would put all history and science books into fiction status. But how else would so many years of history be remembered? The only way, until wikipedia, was to write them down. That is the only way to pass the information accurately on to the next generation. Now you may not believe the subject matter. And that is your choice. It does not make you any better or worse than those who believe, it just gives you a different lifestyle to follow.

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    Tuyre, Essex  |  December 12 2009, 4:43AM

    The comments made are interesting. People have strayed from the case at hand. What has happened? A man had an affair with a woman. Did he break a criminal law? No. Did he break a civil law? No. What this man has done in the past is to break a social tabu of adultery. He has not killed anyone, so why the fuss from anyone who was not a part of his congregation or not within his family? Only those connected with him should be throwing stones. His congregation have a right to oust him based on the rules of the religion. Those who use this to attack Christianity for over two years... I have to chuckle at you all... havn't you got anything better to be getting on with for the last two years? Anyone would have thought that two people making love would not be a serious as the real issues going on in this world. LOL. GET A LIFE you lot who use this to attack Christians... I'd love to see just one of you attack Islam and see where you end up... DEAD!

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    Michael, Essex  |  December 11 2009, 12:08PM

    People dying abroad has nothing to do with this topic. People of all religions die for what they believe, not just christians. The soldiers fighting other countries fight for what they believe, and for their people. I agree with what Roman is saying. Reid made mistakes, was an idiot, and generally made people life a misery. This was all capped by the lies and deceit of the three relationships shared with other women. But that has ended now, if Reid sees that he has done wrong, then forgiveness is the right way forward. The principle of forgiveness as stated by Roman is true... What Reid taught in his sermons was founded on christian morals and values. He made a mistake some time ago, and since has failed to live the life to back up his teachings. This does not make him unforgivable. Now Reid is fighting for his church, he wants it back. But wont get it, he has lost his followers. Peniel Church was built on the hard work and dedication of its members. It was not built by one man. It is Gods church and will do as he wishes with it. Reading the bible is not like watching paint dry. It is like reading any other book. Christians read it for a purpose, not just because they feel it is a good read. Lance... you are coming from a non-religious perspective on the bible, that will make it boring to read. The content states morals and values used by people of all religions today. Just by making rough predictions with large time periods doesnt mean you are a prophet, it makes you just like me, or any other person in this world. There is no sense arguing about Christianity here... what Reid did was wrong in many religions and societies. The article is about the mistakes of one man, not about his religion! An accountant committing adultery is just as wrong as a pastor doing the same, in Gods eyes. Reids actions do not depict what every Christian is like. It shows the perverse nature of one man.

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    Claire, Shenfield  |  December 11 2009, 8:03AM

    Roman , British soldiers are dying abroad for Christian idiots like you . Start being a man .

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    Roman, Chelmsford  |  December 10 2009, 9:48PM

    Roop Dal, I can see where you are coming from. Mr Reid is reaping what he sowed but then again we should not be judgmental about him. I may sound like I am defending Mr Reid but apparently his theology was spot on but he kind of failed to practice what he preached. This is the beauty of God. All of us have messed up as all of us are sinners and have broken God's law and all of us deserve to go to Hell but through the sovereign Grace of God, he forgives us and gives us everlasting life. Even though Mr Reid has messed up and hurt many people, we should still forgive him as God has forgiven us. Matthew 18 is quite a nice topic about forgiveness. Even though Peniel might be on expensive land which was purchased decades ago, it does not actually have millions of pounds within it's bank accounts. You say, they have loads of profitable businesses, please can you give me some examples. I understand what you are saying about casting pearls before swine but Jesus told us to preach the gospel and that is what I am trying to do. I might be addressing Lance and George but other people are reading this as well. If God uses this to change the heart of one person then I am happy with that. All of this has been worth it. Thanks for your encouragement, I really appreciate it.