Who am I: I am Jeremy Ganga, Black British, I was ordained into the Church of England at Canterbury Cathedral in June 1995, followed by a Curacy (training post) at St Peter’s Thanet in Broadstairs, two school Chaplaincies at Felsted School and St Paul’ School, in Barnes, London. Priest in Charge of St Peter’s Fulham and Lecturer in Theology and Mission at St Mellitus College. What you will now read are events that destroyed my ministry, my family life (nearly a decade without an income), my health and my reputation. I would have preferred for these matters to be settled quietly, however, the Archbishop of Canterbury, over the past two months has refused to do so. They believe that with their power and wealth they would be able to crush anything I may try to do. It is truly appalling that the Church of England has used parishioners’ contributions to defend their indefensible behaviour to persecute a black clergyman and his family.
My story: I have been prevented from serving as a clergy person for the past decade. Our persecution started when I decided to leave St Mellitus College as Lecturer in Theology and Mission training new clergy for the Dioceses of London and Chelmsford, to try to set up a project making Theological Education accessible to school leaders in Church Schools and Community Schools. I soon realised that despite making a very a large number of applications for other posts, I was not being shortlisted unlike in the past. I pleaded with the Diocese of Chelmsford for three years to resolve our situation. In response, the Bishop of Chelmsford revoked my licence to serve as a clergyman in July 2012 with no indication that it would be replaced and despite the pleas by the Vicar of St Chad’s Chadwell Heath I had up to then been working well with for more than three years.
My case: At the beginning of 2013 I had to decide whether to walk away from ministry or make a complaint to an Employment Tribunal hoping that the hearing would reveal why I could not move on to another post. At the hearing in November 2014, the Diocese of Chelmsford used ‘financial difficulties’ in referencing posts which I applied for, more particularly, the post where I was the preferred candidate, the post of Lecturer in Evangelism and Church Growth at Queens Birmingham and Part-Time Priest in Charge of Totteridge (Diocese of Birmingham). I was not appointed.
The two days I spent under cross-examination at the Employment Tribunal allegations of financial misconduct was thrown at me of the kind that called my moral integrity into question and prevented me from being appointed to various posts. I was conflicted over the two days under cross-examination. I could not believe that four Bishops and two Archdeacons under oath (and in their witness statements), could fabricate so-called ‘financial difficulties’ in a British Court of Law. So, I blamed myself. I really did believe that I had messed up seriously by not paying back that which I owed. I was deceived and so were the Judge and her assessors.
After the Employment Tribunal and High Court (Litigant in person July 2016) hearings I went to this Court knowing something was wrong but I could not put my finger on it not helped by my poor metal health. Around mid-August of 2016 I had what I can only now describe as an awakening, it came upon me that the ‘financial difficulties’ I was said to have was entirely fabricated. I wrote emails to the Diocese of London’s finance department from whom I had taken a personal loan to cover a family emergency. The Bishop of Chelmsford’s witnesses stated under oath that the loan remains unpaid. The finance department in an email to me stated that they did a thorough check but couldn’t find anything that I owed. In a follow-up email I wrote to the Diocese of London’s property department as the Bishop of Chelmsford’s witnesses stated under oath that I had unpaid rent, the property department too denied it and also did a thorough check and stated in an email that all was clear and that I owed nothing. It was also stated by the Bishop of Chelmsford’s witnesses that I owed the church commissioners money on an outstanding car loan, email communications from the Church Commissioners showed that I had redeemed the loan in July 2007. Lastly, the Bishop of Chelmsford and his witnesses really went to town on this one, they claimed I owed the Diocese of Chelmsford over £30 000 in outstanding rent and council tax. My email records to the Diocese of Chelmsford’s property department showed that I offered to pay rent at £1500 per month before our time at St John’s Vicarage came to an end (but at the same time they were preventing us from moving elsewhere). I did so several times but they were more excited at the prospect of punishing us than resolving the matter. This whole matter was an attempt to cover up their cruel race discrimination.
How to help us: Please donate generously to help us to achieve justice our suffering without cause have been immense, black clergy have been treated in this manner for decades, this must come to an end now. So far, I’ve taken on the Church of England with our meagre family income, an organisation which makes in excess of £1 billion annually from their investments. To my fellow Christians in the Church of England and in the Anglican Communion globally, support my cause and collectively state, not in our name, not in the Church of Christ. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not only about piety it is also about justice.
What am I crowdfunding for: I would like to be in a position to return to the High Court with the new late evidence that there are no ‘financial difficulties’ and that it had been entirely fabricated, however, I need to be in a position to pay for legal representation the amount I'm asking for is substantial it's because the Church of England refuses to admit wrongdoing and this case is likely to have to go to the higher Courts. Employers should not be allowed to fabricate negative references when asked to produce them.
Black lives matter!