Village in turmoil as ousted vicar who won't quit insists he is being 'guided ... trends now
A village is in turmoil after its local vicar refused to step down after being voted out of his job - while claiming to be guided by the 'Holy Spirit'.
Father Oliver Learmont of St Mary the Virgin Church in Steeple Ashton, Wiltshire, was ousted by his local parish council in a unanimous vote after five years of service.
The village choir have now stopped singing after the vicar was pushed out over claims the centuries-old church has 'drifted and declined' under his watch.
Parishioners say improvement projects, including restoring the 18th century church organ pipes, have been brought to a grinding halt since he took the job.
Father Learmont is, however, defying the parish council's orders while claiming he is being 'guided by the Holy Spirit' in refusing to give up his position.
Father Oliver Learmont (pictured) of St Mary the Virgin Church in Wiltshire is refusing to step down from his job after being ousted by the Parish Council
The church choir has put singing 'on a pause', and the Parochial Church Council's treasurer and secretary decided not to stand for re-election.
In the latest blow, St Mary's last remaining church warden, Michael Moore, 60, has also said he will step down after 20 years.
Moore wrote to Father Learmont on December 31 last year warning that unless the he left, he would step down as church warden. As of May 30 had received no reply.
He wrote: 'If I