LEADING THE WAY: The Rev Peter Linnecar
A THRIVING church has welcomed newcomers into the fold in the wake of a scandal that shook it to the core.
Revelations about Bishop Michael Reid's affairs have led to major changes at the Peniel Church, in Coxtie Green Road, Pilgrims Hatch.
Worshipper Anne Brown explained that some members quit after hearing the news.
She said: "People have left but people have joined. It is just different.
"Some people certainly left with Michael, and I guess some people left because they felt it wasn't for them for whatever reason."
Last week, the church founder lost his claim for unfair dismissal against the trustees and now everyone at the Peniel is hoping they can finally move on.
The Rev Peter Linnecar, who started the church with shamed Bishop Reid, is leading the way.
Anne said: "He has been at the church almost since the beginning and has been a significant figure for many years.
"He has helped everyone through this."
She explained that its priorities and practices have changed.
"Since Michael left, I would say that we have renewed our focus on the community," she said.
"Pastor Linnecar has been going out into the community and visiting people in their homes if they cannot make it to church.
"It is more about outreach work now, addressing groups of young people and inviting people into the church.
"Everyone is involved – that is one of the amazing things Pastor Linnecar and his team have done. They have made everyone feel like they have a place and that they belong.
"It is a lovely church and it really is thriving."
Anne added: "There is a success story here, and that is the fact the church is recovering from this major blow."
At last week's employment tribunal it was revealed Michael Reid and his wife, the Rev Ruth Reid, are still living on church property and that an eviction could ensue.
However, Anne explained that the church trustees are still discussing what action to take.