A HEREFORDSHIRE vicar has been sacked after he was filmed carrying out a baptism at someone's house in his underwear.

A Church of England tribunal into Rev Clive Evans's misconduct found that he had acted in an unacceptable way, with one of the victims "shocked" as he undressed in front of the family.

The panel said that by carrying out a baptism in just his boxer shorts, Rev Evans had acted "inherently inappropriately" and the vicar suffered a "loss of dignity."

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The tribunal ruled that the vicar should be banned from holding office in the Church for six months, and was sacked from his role as vicar for Bromyard's St Peter's Church and at the nearby St Peter and St Paul's Church in Stoke Lacy.

Emotional state

The tribunal heard that Rev Evans was called while he was eating breakfast and a parishioner, who cannot be named for legal reasons, asked if he could carry out a baptism that day at their home.

He told the tribunal, held over four days in December 2021, that it was not convenient because he was due to go on holiday with his wife to Liverpool.


But it was after he spoke on the phone directly to the person who wanted to be baptised – who was in an emotional state – that he agreed to carry it out.

Rev Evans claimed it was an emergency baptism due to the circumstances surrounding it, but the panel disagreed as there was not an imminent danger of death.

After finishing his breakfast and packing for his holiday, he arrived at the house and then informed the family he would be undressing, rather than asking if it was OK.

'Why is he undressing completely?'

One of the family members told the tribunal of the shock.

"Clive then started to remove his shirt which I thought was fair enough seeing as he didn't want to get it wet, however when he started taking his shorts off I was shocked and thought to myself why is he undressing completely in front of my mother, my sister and I," they said.

The whole incident, captured on camera, showed that the person being baptised was wearing a "polo shirt and knee-length (outerwear) shorts", rather than just boxer shorts as claimed by Rev Evans.


The panel rejected his excuse that he did not have time to consider what to wear due to the emergency nature of the baptism, but the tribunal's decision document said that he had "ample time to consider what it would be appropriate to wear".

Hereford Times: Rev Clive Evans at the top of St Peter and St Paul's Church in Stoke LacyRev Clive Evans at the top of St Peter and St Paul's Church in Stoke Lacy

He also knew at the time of the phone call that it was to be a "full immersion using the bath".

By his own admission, he finished breakfast and packed for his holiday, giving him time to "collect what he needed to conduct the sacrament of baptism appropriately and also ensure that he was subsequently comfortable on his journey".

'There is a loss of dignity'

The tribunal document said: "Although we accept that the family did not indicate unhappiness about his state of undress, and indeed only person two has expressed reservations about it, the panel has concluded that no agreement was reached with the family to his taking off his clothes leaving only his boxer shorts."

The document added: "The panel considers that underwear is intimate apparel. It is qualitatively different to, and has different associations from, other forms of clothing, or even of swimwear.

"As such, there is a loss of dignity by stripping down to underwear in the circumstances in which it occurred which is inherently inappropriate and unbecoming.

"There was no extreme urgency which might conceivably be imagined to justify a state of semi-nakedness and public display of underwear."


It was therefore the panel's unanimous verdict that the vicar had engaged in conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders.

Rev Evans, an experienced clergyman, a long-serving parish priest and someone who would have been respected due to his age and experience, was initially suspended from all duties in April 2019.

The Diocese of Hereford, which has oversight of the Bromyard church, said at the time it was so "an enquiry can be carried out in relation to a complaint" that had been received".

The Bishop of Hereford, The Rt Rev Richard Jackson, said after the tribunal's decision: "The behaviour and actions of Rev Evans are in no way reflective of acceptable church practice.

"We fully support the findings of the tribunal and the decision to apply the penalty to remove him from office, which takes immediate effect."