A female vicar has been accused of bullying her church choir in a row described as a "disgrace" to the Christian community.
The Revd Catherine Relf-Pennington is embroiled in a bitter feud with members of the historic 12th century Wymondham Abbey in Norfolk.
The 63-year-old, who became the first female vicar of the abbey in 2017, was accused of bullying choristers and exhibiting an "over-authoritative and high-handed" management style.
It is claimed that her "less traditional approach" and services which "reflect modern society" are at the centre of animosity between her and more conservative worshippers.
A former High Court judge, who stepped in to investigate, said the dispute was a "disgrace" and had bred "fear, resentment and unhappiness".
Thirty-seven complaints were originally made against the vicar, primarily by members of the choir.
Nineteen were referred to the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, who in turn passed them to the Church of England's Clergy Discipline Commission.
The Revd Relf-Pennington denies the claims against her and has been contacted for comment.
Former High Court judge, Sir Mark Hedley, was then asked by the Church of England to step in and investigate the dispute to avoid it having to go through a costly and publicly-aired tribunal.
A report written by him in November last year, which was leaked to a local newspaper, described the conflict as "a disgrace to a Christian community" and concluded that both sides should reconcile their differences.
Sir Mark wrote: "On the one side are a group of choir members and others associated with them. Their complaints are essentially of high-handed and over-authoritative behaviour amounting to bullying.
"I must confess myself sceptical that these parties have the requisite Christian maturity to handle what would be a lengthy and inevitably painful experience.
"Attitudes are clearly hardened and must now be recognised as such. However... if Ireland could do it in 1997, who are we to say that Wymondham could not do it in 2020."
His findings raised concerns about the legitimacy of the allegations, saying some showed "an unusual emotional fragility".
He warned that some complainants faced possibly being "publicly branded" as liars if the case went to a full tribunal hearing.
The Rt Revd Graham Usher said in a statement: "Following a number of formal complaints about the Revd Catherine Relf-Pennington, the vicar at Wymondham Abbey, the Clergy Disciplinary Tribunal has recommended that a process of conciliation is entered into to try to resolve these difficulties.
"The Church of England takes complaints about its clergy very seriously and seeks where possible to find ways in which a community and its priest can come together and move forward.
"I urge all involved at Wymondham Abbey to find ways to demonstrate the love and grace of Christ to one another and to work together in healing hurts and divisions."
Wymondham Abbey was founded in 1107 and built as a Benedictine priory by William d'Aubigny , a notable Norfolk landowner and Master Butler of Henry I.
During the 15th Century, Pope Nicholas V granted Wymondham Priory the right to become an abbey. It was extended in 2015 with the building of a new refectory and chapel.
The Revd Relf-Pennington, who was born in Australia and raised in Hong Kong, was a research scientist in the field of artificial intelligence before becoming a priest.
Kevin Hurn, the Mayor of Wymondham, said: "She is a radical thinker and takes a less traditional approach. Some services have been changed to reflect modern society, and I wonder if the town is ready for that."