Jonathan Fletcher responds to allegations of ‘physical discipline’

Jun 29, 2019 by

from Christian Today:

A retired Church of England minister has responded to allegations that he engaged in forms of “physical discipline” that amounted to spiritual abuse.

Jonathan Fletcher is accused of hitting men “on their naked backsides” and engaging in one-to-one massage with partially clothed or sometimes fully naked men as a form of “physical discipline in the context of discipling relationships”.

The accusations were described in a statement delivered to hundreds of Christians at the Evangelical Ministry Assembly (EMA) this week by Rev Vaughan Roberts, minister of St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford, Sarah Hall, safeguarding officer at Mr Fletcher’s former church, Emmanuel Wimbledon, and Andrew Wales QC, who has been assisting the church in connection with the accusations.

Allegations first surfaced in 2017 and again in late September 2018, and “involved men hitting each other on their naked backsides with a trainer for failing to meet personal targets”, Ms Hall said.

“This took place over a period of time; it happened infrequently; the number of hits was small; and we do not believe any physical injuries were sustained, though it has been described as very painful,” she said.

Allegations concerning massage came to light in March this year, with those involved alleged “to have taken turns to massage each other”, she added.

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