THE DEATH OF A VICAR IN WARNHAM, near Horsham, was reported in local and national newspapers as it appeared he had taken his own life.

Rev Christopher Loveless, the vicar of Warnham, was found hanged when Sussex Police responded to concerns about his welfare on July 17.

The 53-year-old is said to have been “struggling with stress” at the time of the incident, according to a statement from the diocese of Chichester. He leaves a wife and two children.

Police are not searching for anyone else in connection with the incident which has been described as non-suspicious.

Mr Loveless’s death highlights the extreme pressure which clergy can face; a survey likened the stress of leading a church to being the CEO of a FTSE company – but without the financial rewards.

Bishop of Horsham Mark Sowerby said the diocese would be praying for his wife Natalie and their two children as well as for Mr Loveless, who spent his whole ministry in the diocese.

An Oxford graduate who studied at Lincoln Theological College, he was ordained priest in 1992 and served as vicar of Warnham for 15 years.

Mr Sowerby said: “Christopher Loveless was a talented and experienced parish priest who was much loved in the parish of Warnham, where has had served since 1999.

“His sudden death comes as a profound blow not only to his family and the people of Warnham, but to the many friends who loved and admired him and to all who benefited from his gentle pastoral care.”

Editor’s note: How often do YOU pray for your church leader? For their spiritual wisdom, relationship with God, and their family’s health and material well-being. “And my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

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