A female priest has suspended her hunger strike after a week.
On Sunday night, Reverend June Major, 46, had her first meal in six days after embarking on a hunger strike last Tuesday.
For nearly a week, she slept in a tent on the pavement outside Bishop Garth Counsell’s office at Zonnebloem Primary School.
She claims Counsell bad-mouthed her in a letter to a potential employee when she applied for a job in Australia.
The single mother broke her fast with butternut soup on Sunday evening after a brief visit by Archbishop of the Anglican Church of South Africa, Thabo Makgoba.
Yesterday, she also went to the Woodstock Day Hospital for observation, fearing kidney failure.
Major says: “The archbishop came to see me [Sunday] afternoon and agreed that we would meet with Bishop [Garth] Counsell and our legal teams.
“I ate based on the agreement that we would meet today [Monday] but now their legal representatives are not responding to email or phone calls from my legal team.
“I hope this was not a ploy for them to get me to eat because I would be very disappointed.
“I feel lousy and drowsy and I am just very angry.”
Meanwhile, the church has shot down Major’s allegations.
Reverend Micheal Weeder says in a statement: “Contrary to what is being reported, Ms Major was not dismissed by the Church but chose to formally resign in 2014.
“Bishop Counsell was contacted by the Bishop of Wangaratta [Australia] and had an open and honest conversation with him.”
He says Counsell never wrote to the Bishop as Major claims.
“Ms Major unfortunately engaged the services of attorneys and subsequently a letter of demand was issued.
He says Major has not followed the proper channels to get “permission to officiate” in her matter.
“It remains open to Ms Major to make proper application to a diocesan bishop for ‘permission to officiate’.
“The Bishop has never refused to meet with Ms Major and the Church remains open to any meeting with Ms Major and her appointed attorneys,” reads the statement.