News in brief

23 October 2008

Religious think tank backs anti-God ads

A THINK TANK, Theos, which was supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Westminster when it was launched two years ago, has contributed £50 to the Atheist Bus Campaign, which is being organised by the British Humanist Association. The cam­paign hopes to advertise on London’s buses using the message: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Theos’s director, Paul Wooley, said he made the donation because it would encourage people to think about God. Professor Richard Dawkins had pledged up to £5500 to match donations to pay for the publicity.

Government minister warns of disestablishment

PHIL Woolas, the new Immigration Minister, warned that the Church of England could be disestablished within 50 years because of plans to reform the House of Lords. Speaking to The Times, he said: “It’s the way things are going”; a modern society was multifaith. But the Ministry of Justice issued a statement on Tuesday to say that it had no intention of disestablishing the Church as part of constitutional reforms, and that it valued the establishment. Mr Woolas also prompted questions when, in the same interview, he said immigration should be limited.

See Comment

Dr Ambrose leaves vicarage

THE Revd Dr Tom Ambrose, the former Vicar of St Mary and St Michael, Trumpington, Cambridge, has left his vicarage, six months after being told by the Bishop of Ely that the Bishop supported an ecclesiastical tribunal’s findings that the serious pastoral breakdown that had occurred could not be remedied if he stayed (News, 18 April). Dr Ambrose, who rejects the findings, which included inappropriate modernisation of the church, and alleged spitting, told a local paper this week: “The whole thing is very sad.” He doubted whether anyone else would want to take the post.

Realigned San Joaquin clerics face deposition

THE 52 clerics who opted to leave the Episcopal diocese of San Joaquin and realign with the Province of the Southern Cone are deemed to have abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church in the US, the diocesan standing committee ruled this week. They will be removed from its ministry if they do not recant within six months, the Episcopal News Service reported.

Covenant too late for US debate

IF a proposed Anglican Covenant is released in May, as is planned, it should not be discussed by the Episcopal Church in the US’s General Convention in July, its Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, told a meeting of the Convention’s executive council when it met in Helena, in the diocese of Montana, on Tuesday. It was “inappropriate” to make so weighty a decision after such a short time for discussion, she said.

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