BISHOP Michael Reid has narrowly escaped death after suffering a heart attack, which he claims was caused by stress after three years of “appalling” treatment by his former church.
The 67-year-old, who was allegedly “sacked” from the Peniel Church – now Trinity – in 2008 after admitting to an affair with a member of the church staff, collapsed at his home in Coxtie Green Road on April 16.
Now under orders to rest for at least one month, the preacher has pointed the finger at his former colleagues, who he claims have tried to harass him and his wife out of their home, just two doors from the place of worship.
He also believes that discovering his wife Ruth had been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease around the same time was partly responsible.
He said: “My mother had a quadruple heart bypass so there may be a genetic link but the stress of the last three years has had an effect on my physical being, which is appalling really, the way they have treated my wife and I.
“I need to let my body recover, which means take it easy for a month.
“I need to take medication to keep my blood thin which is normal when you have a heart attack and they gave me a diet which I am keeping to.”
The non-smoker claims to have been in an ongoing battle with Trinity Church leaders who he says are trying to evict him and his wife from Testimony House, where they have lived since 1992.
Although the property is owned by the church, he claims trustees are reneging on an agreement that they could live there for the rest of their lives.
But despite the health scare and the news that Ruth is suffering from a serious illness, Mr Reid has no intention of moving away from his “enemies”.
He said: “I am not a man who ever leaves a battlefield.
“They’ll have to bury me, which they won’t, I’ll attend their funeral, they won’t attend mine.
“This is my area, it’s not theirs, it’s mine.
“I expect to make a full recovery and have another 20 years of living to prove my enemies wrong.”
A house guest of the former minister, Adrian Simmons, responded to a plea from Mr Reid to get help after he began feeling unwell.
A first responder arrived within minutes, followed shortly by an ambulance crew. They resuscitated the bishop, who had reportedly stopped breathing for more than a minute at one point.
Following another attack while in transit, the medics changed their planned route to Basildon Hospital for Queen’s Hospital in Romford to save time.
Early on Sunday, Mr Reid was transferred to the London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green before moving to Basildon, where he spent four days recovering.
Shortly after being discharged, Mr Reid suffered a relapse, forcing him to return to hospital for a short time.