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News in Brief

In conversation
Participants in the Islington Conversations: Eclectics met at St Mary’s, Islington, on Saturday. The annual one-day meeting is for clergy and lay people. This year’s theme was leadership.

Archbishop sees merit in Pullman’s works
THE Archbishop of Canterbury said this week that school pupils could gain from reading the works of the atheist novelist Philip Pullman. Dr Williams told a meeting of theologians and academics at 10 Downing Street how he had been interrogated by schoolchildren at a performance of Mr Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials. It was important for children studying RE to be exposed to the inner tensions of belief, he said.

Dr Williams and Philip Pullman are to discuss His Dark Materials at the National Theatre, London, on Monday. Tickets have sold out.

Warm reception
Dr Williams with Tony and Cherie Blair at Downing Street. PA photo

New music Master
THE QUEEN has appointed Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who is 69, as Master of the Queen’s Music for a ten-year period. Sir Peter was conductor/composer of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and has published almost 300 works. The post is an honorary one, with no fixed duties, although he may be asked to compose music for state occasions. He succeeds the late Malcolm Williamson CBE.

GM plans condemned
THE Government is “irresponsible to ignore public opinion on GM crops”, said Dr Donald Bruce, director of the society, religion and technology project for the Church of Scotland, this week. The Government has given the go-ahead for limited cultivation of GM maize in England. Dr Bruce said: “The Government has consulted the people and then ignored them.”

Call for mental care
SUFFERERS from Alzheimers disease and dementia must have their religious and spiritual needs addressed, the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Colin Bennetts, said this week.

Bishop Bennetts, who has first-hand experience of caring for a dementia sufferer, was giving his maiden speech in the House of Lords. He said: “What is clear is that, if we are to continue to value them as children of God, we must also continue to treat them as those who are made in God’s image.”

Bible Society celebration
A SERVICE to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Bible Society at St Paul’s Cathedral was attended by 2000 people on Monday. The Archbishop of Canterbury preached. Church leaders, MPs and representatives and supporters from Bible Societies around the world attended.

Rector resigns
THE FORMER Rector of Bath Abbey, the Revd Simon Oberst, who resigned his post in November, has been disqualified from exercising the functions of a priest in the Church of England. Mr Oberst admitted having an affair with a woman, and apologised for the hurt he has caused.
Job of the week

Inter Religious Affairs Programme Officer

London and Home Counties

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Top feature

Keeping the faith under fire

Keeping the faith under fire

Large numbers of clergy volunteered to be military chaplains during the Great War. Peter Street tells some of their stories  Subscribe to read more

Question of the week
Is there enough reason now to impose tougher sanctions on Russia?

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Top comment

Can Catholics back women bishops?

Christopher Hill asks whether Catholics can back women bishops  Subscribe to read more

Sat 26 Jul 14 @ 11:18
The FT explores @HTBChurch's church-planting in London. http://t.co/kxPlfMhjgM

Fri 25 Jul 14 @ 16:40
Is there an Anglican revival in London? The @FT investigates http://t.co/KuOZ4utBHM