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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

Suppression, secrecy, and survival: the Hidden Christians of Japan

Suppression, secrecy, and survival: the Hidden Christians of Japan

A new book explores Christianity in Japan. Its author, John Dougill, talks to Malcolm Doney  Subscribe to read more

Top comment

One Church’s mission, but many opportunities

The Renewal and Reform programme needs a wide range of approaches to be successful, argues Andrew Lightbown  Subscribe to read more

Tue 27 Sep 16 @ 20:31
.@deanwestminster tracks the changes in the subject over the past century https://t.co/DY63OFd30H

Tue 27 Sep 16 @ 10:01
RT @greenbeltThe Top Ten Sellers in @ChurchTimes bookshop at #gb16 are here with 20% off before the end of Sept https://t.co/Qc2RbPF0Xi