Gay vicar targeted with threatening hate letters calling him ‘apostle of hell’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

An openly gay vicar has spoken out about the “vitriolic abuse” he’s received in a letter.

Rev Chris Newlands, a Church of England vicar at Lancaster Priory, received an abusive handwritten letter through the post January 16 – and it’s not the first time.

The letter read: “You’re an antichrist, Newlands, a hireling of Hell, a corrupter of souls, and a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

“You’re a scripture twister, homo’s mister, a posing, poncing, mincing trickster.”

The letter goes on two insult members of the Reverend’s family with words “I wouldn’t repeat online”, he says.

It goes on to infer that serial killers should consider him a target.

The letter, signed only as “Jonah”, continues: “I could think of worthier targets for serial killers than the poor old prostitutes.

“How about Anglican clerics?

“Not that I’m advocating such, but it would do society a service to be rid of all you enemies of the cross, you crowd of deceivers, who are the repository of impiety, blasphemy,hypocrisy, and lies; in a word, Satan and his Antichrist.”

Police are now investigating the abuse as a suspected hate crime.

The Church of England has hit back at the abuser saying it has a “a policy of zero tolerance of homophobic behaviour” and will take action on the letter.

Rev Newlands now says he’s more motivated than ever to use his religious position to create equality.

He told the Lancaster Guardian: “People need to know that this kind of hate mail is unacceptable.

“It’s very hard to get into the mindset of someone who writes that sort of vitriolic abuse which is designed to offend and cause damage.

“But I’m not letting it get to me.”

“I’m quite secure with who I am, and in what I’m trying to do, which is to achieve equality for all people and peace and love, those two terms are still as important in the world today as they ever have been.

“People who spout hatred and use this kind of language are sadly becoming more common.”

Mr Newlands posted excerpts of the letter to Facebook, where friends encouraged him to contact police.

Diocesan Bishop, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn said: “The Church of England has a policy of zero tolerance of homophobic behaviour and this kind of anonymous abuse of one of our clergy in hateful written correspondence is totally unacceptable.”