'This has made us even stronger': Mum who fell in love with vicar and gave birth to their child speaks out
A churchgoer who fell in love with a vicar and gave birth to their child says she hopes they can go on to become a happy family.
The Reverend David Huntley, from West Rainton, became vicar at St Lawrence's, in Horsley Hill, South Shields,in 2011.In 2014, the 52-year-old, who had divorced from his wife in 1998, began a relationship with single mother-of-two Charlene Goudie, who was one of his parishoners.Their relationship developed and she became pregnant, giving birth to their child in October 2015.But after notifying his superiors of the situation, Rev Huntley, who had also previously worked in Houghton and Hartlepool, was banned from the church for two years following a ruling by the Bishop of Durham. This was then upheld at a Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal of the Diocese of Durham and again under right to appeal in the Chancery Court of York earlier this year.
Now, in an exclusive interview, Charlene says she and Rev Huntley hope to put the situation behind them and one day get married and be a happy family.
The 27-year-old said she and Rev Huntley became great friends and would talk for hours.
After a while it became apparent they were in love and talked about what it would mean for them and what they wanted for the future.
It came as a shock when Charlene discovered she was expecting a baby.
She said: "It was never, ever an option to have a termination, we both said straight from the beginning."
Charlene said having to step away from his work was so hard for David, even though the couple have accepted the penalty for their actions.
She said: "I could see it in his eyes, he was absolutely heartbroken. He loved his work and was very good at it. He loved being able to help people.
"The hope is that he can return to the ministry and we can get married and be a proper family. It has not been the best situation, but we know that God has his plans and this has happened for a reason."
Charlene added: "We have had a lot of support from people at the church, from other churches and the community.
"I think this whole thing has made us even stronger.”
"I love David with all my heart, my heart still skips a beat. I do wish that it all happened in a different order but I am so happy for David and for my daughter, I feel so lucky to have them."