Monmouth Bishop absent amid mediation with team

Right Reverend Richard Pain Image copyright Church in Wales
Image caption It is understood complaints have been made against Rt Rev Pain by some staff

The Bishop of Monmouth has been absent for six months amid speculation about a personality clash with some members of his senior team.

BBC Wales understands complaints have been made against the Right Reverend Richard Pain by some staff.

Officials have said the bishop has not been suspended, but they are aware of "speculation" about him and "relationships within his senior team."

The Archbishop of Wales John Davies has refused to comment on the matter.

Bishop Pain became Bishop of Monmouth in July 2013, having already served in the diocese for almost 30 years.

He was Archdeacon of Monmouth for five years, a vicar in Monmouth, Risca, Six Bells and Cwmtillery, and was a curate in Caldicot.

A church investigation found there was no case to answer in relation to the dispute. But it failed to end it, and the church has moved to a formal attempt at arbitration.

The Church in Wales said the Archbishop of Wales was "actively engaged" with a mediation process to try to settle the issues.

"In recent weeks there has been speculation regarding the Bishop of Monmouth and about relationships within his senior team," it said in a statement.

"The Archbishop of Wales is aware of these issues and remains actively engaged, with all parties, in a formal process of mediation which seeks to resolve them.

Image caption The church has said the Archbishop of Wales John Davies is involved in the mediation process

"For reasons of confidentiality, and out of respect for those concerned in the ongoing mediation process, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

"We understand that many people are concerned and frustrated with the situation but we continue to ask for their patience until the matter is resolved.

"The work of the diocese continues, and the staff in the diocesan office and the senior clergy of the diocese will continue to provide guidance and support for those who need it.

"The archbishop has written to the diocese asking people to continue to hold Bishop Richard, his family and the diocese as a whole in their prayers."

One source said it amounted to a personality clash between the bishop and some of his staff.

The source also said there was no suggestion that anything criminal was involved and it was not as serious as some people might think.

The Church rejected claims parishioners were not paying money into the diocese in protest at the treatment of the bishop.

Bishop Pain has been asked to comment.

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