Southern Pines rector resigns following indecent exposure arrest

The Bishop of North Carolina is set to hold a parish meeting at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Southern Pines tomorrow to answer questions in the wake of the resignation of the church’s rector following his arrest on charges of indecent exposure.

On 3 Oct 2014 the Rev. John Tampa (62) and a 79 year old man were arrested by a Southern Pines police officer after he observed the two engage in a sexual act in a public park. Fr. Tampa and the other man have been charged with indecent exposure and a court hearing has been scheduled for 28 Oct 2014.

An email sent to members of the congregation following an emergency meeting of the vestry on 14 Oct, stated Fr. Tampa had resigned as rector with immediate effect. The email told parishioners:

“An article will appear in The Pilot Wednesday, regarding an incident involving our Rector, Father John Tampa. Your Vestry requests that you do not make any judgments until the legal process has been completed.

“Because of this incident, Father John has concluded that he can no longer be effective as our Rector. He offered his resignation this evening, effective immediately. It is with the greatest regret that the Vestry has accepted his resignation. Father John is leaving because he loves this church and does not want to be the center of any controversy. He has consulted with Bishop Curry and has the Bishop’s full support in making this painful decision.

‘Please know that, with a heart filled with love, it has been a true joy and blessing to serve God with you in this community,’ Father John said. ‘I ask for your prayers, and please know you will be in mine as well.’ The Vestry acknowledges all of the outstanding work that Father John has done during his tenure as Rector, and we deeply appreciate his service and ministry.”

The Bishop of North Carolina, the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, will meet with the parish on 16 Oct 2014 to discuss the situation.  A 1998 graduate of the Virginia Theological Seminary, Fr. Tampa is a married father of three adult children. He previously served as curate at St David’s Episcopal Church in Wayne, Pa and as rector of St. Peter’s Church in Great Valley, Pa., from 1999 to 2006 before being called to Emmanuel Church. 

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