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News in brief


Faith pledge
The Conservative leader, Michael Howard, gave the Faithworks address to churches via a live webcast on Wednesday of last week ( web page, 28 January). He promised a "fairer deal" for faith-based organisations involved in social action. www.faithworks.info

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Inspection
The Prince of Wales talks to Joel Lafferty, a craftsman who worked on the restoration of Christ Church, Spitalfields, in east London. They met at a viewing of the work last week. Empics photo

Assembly to scale down
CHURCHES TOGETHER in Britian and Ireland (CTBI) said at its three-yearly assembly at Swanwick in Derbyshire last week that it could be the last time that the assembly meets on such a large scale. The assembly reviewed how the CTBI had worked together over the past 18 years, and agreed to be more closely integrated with the national ecumenical bodies for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and to give itself "a more flexible shape". The Assembly affirmed that it was a body that should continue in some form, not be scrapped nor split into national bodies. www.ctbi.org.uk


Bishop to sign treaty
THE BISHOP of Hereford, the Rt Revd Anthony Priddis, is to sign a petition calling for an end to nuclear proliferation. Hereford Peace Council has invited the anti-nuclear campaigner Bruce Kent to the city to encourage people to sign the petition in the run-up to the Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is to take place in New York in May.


CMS on the move
THE Church Mission Society (CMS) is to move from its premises in Partnership House, Waterloo Road, in London to a site in or around Oxford, it announced this week. An agreement whereby Partnership House accomodates USPG and other mission agencies in addition to CMS expires at the end of 2007.


Increased security at Lea Cross
HEREFORD DIOCESE won permission last week to take "all measures that seem appropriate" to keep the church and grounds of St Anne's, Lea Cross, secure, after locks were unlawfully removed. The church has been the subject of a seven-year dispute between the diocese and four self-appointed trustees (News, 11 February). The Diocesan Chancellor, Roger Kaye QC, called the ignoring of a court order "an intolerable situation".


Abuse of 'possessed' children condemned
CHURCHES involved in "deliverance ministry" with children must be like Jesus, "approachable, gentle and never frightening", David Pearson, director of the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS), said last week. He said that churches must follow strict guidelines, which included asking the child and parents for permission, referring to the proper authorities in the church, never telling a child that he or she was demon-possessed, and making sure to spot psychological or physiological factors, which "are far more likely to be the real cause of the child's difficulties". Mr Pearson gave evidence at the inquiry into Victoria Climbié's death in disturbing circumstance five years ago. Abuse could "never be overlooked or mitigated by cultural or religious factors", he said.

The Evangelical Alliance (EA) and the African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance (ACEA) have also condemned churches that put children in danger because of bad practice in exorcism. The Revd Joel Edwards, director of EA, said this week that "Churches undertaking this kind of ministry must be scrupulous and transparent, exercising discernment between spiritual and psychological needs, and act in the best interests of the individual concerned."

The Revd Katei Kirby, general manager of ACEA, said: "We want to make sure that everyone is aware of child-protection issues, and has policies and procedures in place."

An investigation was broadcast on Newsnight on BBC2 last week.


'To my PM - on Mothering Sunday'
CHILDREN should send a Mothering Sunday card to the Prime Minister to urge him to save lives in the developing world, the Mothers' Union has suggested: in Africa, a woman is 100 times more likely to die in childbirth than in the UK. Cards can be downloaded at www.themothersunion.org .

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Top feature

Putting Passion into performance

Putting Passion into performance

Pat Ashworth talks to the originators of two home-grown Passion stagings, one musical and the other theatrical  Subscribe to read more

Question of the week
Should parishes be able to sell treasures that no longer reside in their churches?

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Top comment

My faith in the Church of England

David Cameron expresses his pride in its openness, beauty, social action, and pastoral care  Read More

Sat 19 Apr 14 @ 10:57
RT @martindsewellPlease pray for Denise Inge http://t.co/SzGeeoek7a @BishopWorcester

Fri 18 Apr 14 @ 10:27
RT @seatroutExtremely long profile of Justin Welby (I wrote 3,800 words) in the Guardian today http://t.co/kDvwJoa6hW Not all nonsense.