Devout churchgoers for more than 30 years, Janet and Nick Nelson sat on the parochial council, organised fundraising events and had their photograph featured in the Church Times.
But despite their busy schedule, they also found the time to run an X-rated fetish website.
The site – “Janet’s Sexy Dressing” – had 7,500 members who used it to make contact with like-minded people.
It contained a series of explicit pictures including one of 52-year-old Mrs Nelson topless and frolicking in mud.
One of her captions read: “Just added a new wetlook scene to my latest sexy dressing group. Hope you all enjoy.”
She also informed the visitors to the site: “I’m always looking for other ladies who enjoy this sort of thing and who would like to play with me.”
There was an introductory warning saying: “This is a gentle site, no hardcore porn. All graphics, photographs and content are the property of Janet and Nick. If you don’t like seeing ladies in sexy poses with almost nothing on, please leave now.”
The site was discovered by an unnamed parishioner who instantly informed the vicar at St Mary’s Church in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. The Rev John Hunnisett called in the couple to explain their double life, and has since ordered them to stand down from all parish groups. The website was also removed from the Internet.
But the Nelsons are still welcome to worship at St Mary’s, said a spokesman for Hereford Diocese.
“If we only catered for saints our churches would be empty,” she said. “Fortunately, we also look after sinners, and are thus reasonably full during services.
“The Nelsons are very welcome in church. I presume that for them to be together for that length of time in an age when divorce is so common must mean they are a happily married couple. They are consenting adults and what they do in private is up to them.”
The couple, who live in a former medieval jail in Ross-on-Wye, run their own business supplying commercial laundries worldwide. They set up their website in October 2002. It featured underwear shots and topless photographs of Mrs Nelson. In some pictures she was shown wearing seethrough rain macs in outdoor locations including muddy ditches.
Last year the couple were photographed in more decorous pose for the Church Times, after appealing for churchgoers to offer them accommodation during a fund-raising pilgrimage to Canterbury.
The Nelsons said they planned to visit 77 churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary. They wrote 162 letters to the incumbents and churchwardens of all the churches, telling them of their visit and asking for help with accommodation.
“On the 24 nights we were away we had 22 very comfy beds, one night in our tent in a pub garden, and one night in a church hall,” Mrs Nelson told the Church Times afterwards. “Everybody treated us royally. It was like a blind date every night.”
A spokesman for the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, defended the decision not to take any further action against the couple.
He said: “The Nelsons have been married for over 25 years, which the bishop welcomes in an age when divorce is becoming increasingly common.”
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