Delusional vicar ran church like a cult with exorcisms, abuse and £170,000 spa

A vicar who claimed he had a hotline to God ran his church like a cult with alleged naked massages in a bizarre church spa.

The Rev Michael Hall, a former RAF man and boxer, "spiritually abused" and physically bullied congregants, using the "fear of Hell" to shut down criticism, according to a recent report.

According to the report by the Diocese of Oxford Hall, Michael Hall, who died in 2021, used coercion and control on a significant number of people at St Margaret's Church in Tylers Green, Buckinghamshire.

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The report – triggered after a former member of the congregation took their own life in 2020 – told how Hall engaged in "sexually inappropriate" behaviour with members of the congregation, which was witnessed by children, including "naked massages".

It allegedly took place in a sauna and "spa" built by Hall in the church's parish rooms using £170,000 of church money, where he said congregants could be "cleansed" and "relax" from the stresses of life, according to The Times.

The Times reports Hall also arranged for men to touch women sexually as they arrived at a party, shut people in cupboards until they "turned to Christ" and punched some who tried to leave his services.

Parishioners were "targeted" if deemed disloyal, creating a "cultist" environment where Hall warned his followers that he alone "had a hotline to God".

Hall was vicar at St Margaret's Church in Tylers Green from 1981 to his retirement in 2000.

Hall, who was married and had four children, died aged 88, before the allegations could be put to him.

His family are said not to have co-operated with the inquiry.

Speaking for the first time to The Times, the widow of the man who killed himself after years of abuse by Hall said he was forced to witness exorcisms.

She said: "Michael Hall was delusional and told my husband he had a direct line to God and that the second coming was soon.”

The Church of England Lessons Learnt Review made 13 recommendations to avoid similar abuse occurring.

The Rt Revd Alan Wilson, the current Bishop of Buckingham, said people had "described feelings of being trapped and experiencing distorted family lives that persist to this day".

He said: "I am in no doubt that what happened was wrong and I think that there can be no excuse for Hall's actions.”

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