An Episcopal priest in Massachusetts has been removed from his post after being accused of stealing his sermons out of a book he ordered from Sermons.com.
Rev. John McGinn, 65, was placed on administrative leave by officials at St. John’s Episcopal Church in the Cape Cod town of Sandwich, Mass. It is believed that he has been delivering, and even publishing, sermons from a book called “Dynamic Preaching” since 2006.
The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts wrote a letter to the 300 or so families that regularly attend McGinn’s services.
“This is a serious breach of the pastoral relationship between John and each of you,” wrote Bishop M. Thomas Shaw. “I am sorry that this matter has caused pain and will likely cause further pain in the parish. As difficult as this situation is, we know that truth telling helps to bring about healing, and our renewal follows repentance."
McGinn first came under suspicion of plagiarism a year ago and was approached by church elders. He assured them at the time that everything was on the level. “We investigated further,” wrote Shaw, “and have documentation that not only did he continue to copy sermons and preach and publish them verbatim, in print and online, as his own, but he had been doing so for many years.”
Sean Randall, a senior warden of the church, issued a statement on behalf of the local parishioners.
"For 17 years Fr. John McGinn has raised thousands of dollars for local charities and provided pastoral care for hundreds of people on the Upper Cape. Our prayers are with him as the diocese, St. John's Church and Fr. McGinn work to resolve this," Randall said
McGinn doesn’t sound overly concerned about the situation, The Daily Mail reported.
“I'm going to retire,” McGinn said. “I loved my time at the parish. That's all. I think I did a good job.”