Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Bp Michael Reid, Peniel Church Brentwood, quits over affair

(Ed: And what all of us should be thinking is, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." See further reflections on this here.)

With his reputation for charismatic sermons, Bishop Michael Reid held sway over a huge congregation on subjects including the virtues of fidelity and family values.

The 64-year-old came to national prominence in 2005 when he spearheaded a campaign against the BBC's broadcast of the musical Jerry Springer: The Opera.

But his Pentecostal church in Brentwood, Essex - one of two ministries he runs with a collective turnover of millions - has been left in disarray after it emerged the married father of three did not practise what he preached.

His flock were left in shock on Saturday after he admitted he had "sinned by committing adultery" and was quitting after more than three decades of service.

His wife of 36 years, Ruth, is standing by him and is understood to have accompanied him abroad to his other ministry, in the American state of Arizona.

This is despite the revelations about the eight-year affair and rumours she caught her husband with his lover at the £600,000 family home in Brentwood.

Scandal: Sheila Graziano, the 49-year-old mother of two who is the choirmistress at Bishop Reid's church, is believed to be 'the other woman'

The other woman is believed to be 49-year-old married mother-of-two Sheila Graziano, who worked alongside Bishop Reid as music director at the Peniel Church in Brentwood.

There was no answer yesterday at her £300,000, 1930s semi-detached house a mile from the church.

In a statement to his congregation, Bishop Reid said: "I confess that I have sinned by committing adultery. I recognise that I have failed in my duties and acted in a way that harmed the church.

"I apologise to my wife and family and all of you whose trust I have betrayed and ask for your forgiveness and prayers." Read more
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Peter Kirk said...


Do you have a source for this story? I suppose it is this Daily Mail article. I hope this is accurate, since you are passing on unconfirmed rumours about a Christian lady, Mrs Graziano. Of course the damage you can do is nothing to what The Sun has already done, including publishing a photo of her.

Simon Jones said...

I've written a post on my blog about this. In it I ask the question why it is that other church leaders don't feel obligated to approach wayward leaders like the 'Bishop' and at least try to bring them back into line.

Revd John P Richardson said...

Dear Peter, I didn't realize I'd left off the link to the Daily Mail article which you correctly identify as the extract I've posted. As you will be aware, most of the items on this blog are news pieces from other sources to which I then add a link. It was, sadly, evident from the Mail's article that this story was factual as regards Bishop Reid's actions and resignation. As this concerned a significant Essex church, I felt it was specifically relevant for this blog (Chelmsford Diocese, for those who don't know, covers Essex). I do not, however, have any editorial control over the content of news stories to which I provide links and trust that people will read them with the appropriate level of scepticism and critical awareness - ie don't believe everything you read in the papers! Newspapers can be sued, but I trust the same would not apply to a blog which links, in good faith as one usually must, to a story.

I did, however, refrain from publishing one comment which violated the 'disclosure of name and location' policy and was, I felt, unnecessarily personal in its remarks about Bishop Reid. The wrong of what he has done is self-evident.