The rural Dean of Clare has been placed on extended leave after a series of “financial irregularities” were uncovered at his church.
The Rev Ian Finn, who is also Rector of Haverhill and an honorary Canon at St Edmundsbury Cathedral , is being investigated in relation to missing money received from weddings and funerals.
He says he has paid back all of the money to the diocese and any irregularities are due to an “accounting error”.
The Archdeacon of Sudbury, the Venerable David Jenkins, released a statement saying the church had met with Canon Finn.
“The irregularities relate to the payment of part of the fees that should have passed to the diocese for services including weddings and funerals,” he said.
“Canon Finn has explained that this was entirely the result of administrative and accounting mistakes rather than any deliberate actions.
“He has already refunded the diocese what he currently believes to be owed.
“Canon Finn acknowledges that a great deal more work needs to be done by him, with the assistance of an accountant, to ensure that the accurate financial position is established.”
Mr Jenkins said Canon Finn was currently on leave and this had been extended to allow the 55-year-old to assist with the investigation.
“He has already co-operated fully over the matter and will continue to do so,” he said.
“The diocese is working for the church to be cared for by the other local clergy, and the Rural Dean, the Rev Cheryl Collins, is to take charge with immediate effect.”
Suffolk Police have confirmed that they are not involved in the investigation.
“We have not been contacted about this,” said a spokesman. “If they do come to us, we will look into it.”
A spokesman for the church wardens said that church life would continue in the absence of Canon Finn, who was made an honorary Canon in 2011.
“We will be supported by other local clergy who will take benefice services and minister to the needs of our congregation,” he said. “We will not be compromised.”