Truro loses second senior minister in two years

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Truro parish has lost its second senior minister in less than two years, as the wardens of the Northern Virginia parish have asked their acting rector, the Rev. Tim Mayfield, to resign.

On 25 July 2021 the vestry sent an email to the congregation calling a parish meeting for 8 August 2021. “At the parish meeting, the wardens will present an oral statement that provides more information about the process and outcome of the investigation” that led to Fr. Mayfield’s resignation.

The email explained:

“In February, the vestry received allegations against Tim Mayfield made by two adults. Consistent with the employee handbook, the vestry and diocese engaged an independent investigative team. In May, the investigators completed their work and provided the vestry and Bishop John [Guernsey] with a thorough oral report, which found the allegations credible. Tim has denied and continues to deny the allegations, but he has nonetheless chosen to resign for the best interests of the parish.”

Fr. Mayfield’s resignation follows the resignation of the Rev. Tory Baucum in 2019. Fr. Baucum had been at odds with the leadership of the diocese of the Mid-Atlantic and the Anglican Church of North America’s leadership, and had sought closer relations with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia outside the preferred ecumenical dialogue channels. In 2020 Fr. Baucum resigned his orders and was received into the Roman Catholic Church.

The vestry’s call upon Fr. Mayfield was not unanimous, however. On 24 July 2021, three members of the vestry resigned in protest over the treatment of Fr. Mayfield stating they did not believe the “results of the investigation should have jeopardized the Reverend Tim Mayfield’s relationship with Truro Anglican Church.”

Vestry members Dave Huggins, Kim Bean and Moses Perrone said the believed the “four-year-old allegations” to be “non-credible” and was “not guilty of the accusations” leveled against him.

The investigation conducted by an outside law firm was “incomplete, biased, and that no definitive conclusions could be drawn” from the review, and they opposed “any statement that implies culpability or misconduct” by Fr. Mayfield.

The three vestry members had harsh words for the diocese, alleging that “prior to July 15, 2021, we received no in-person, direct, pastoral or ecclesiastical guidance to the vestry, despite repeated requests, during the nearly 5-month investigation and deliberations.”

Mayfield’s suspension had been “unnecessary and damaging” and had left him and his family isolated and neglected, they charged. 

A better way could have been found to resolve these questions, they argued, that was “just and fair for all.”

In response to a query from Anglican.Ink concerning the minority letter, Bishop Guernsey said “”This is of course a heartbreaking situation. Please join me in praying for Truro and for all involved.” The vestry majority did not respond to our query.

Fr. Mayfield was engaged by Truro to be their senior associate rector, and became acting or interim rector upon the invitation of the vestry following Fr. Baucum’s resignation. As an associate or an acting rector, Fr Mayfield is not subject to the protections of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic’s canons Title IB 2.3 & 2.4, which govern the removal of rectors and the reconciliation of conflicts between rectors and the parish. Under canon law he is an at-will employee who serves at the rector’s pleasure, and in the absence of the rector the bishop and wardens, and has no tenure of office.