Bishop’s swine-flu instructions
THE Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd John Gladwin, has ordered the use of holy-water stoups to be suspended in his diocese during the pandemic alert. Parishioners are urged not to attend church if they have flu-like symptoms; pastoral visiting of flu patients is strongly discouraged (phone contact is to be preferred), as is communion by intinction or on the tongue, as “These customs increase the possibility of spreading the virus.” In residential homes, it may be prudent to give communion in one kind, the Bishop writes. The full briefing is at www.chelmsford.anglican.org
Church sale to Roman Catholic society blocked
THE SALE of St George’s, Gorton, in the diocese of Manchester, to the Roman Catholic Society of St Pius X (News, 27 March) will not go ahead. At a hearing at the Church Commissioners in London on Wednesday, the Commissioners ruled that the sale should not proceed. In his submissions to the Commissioners, the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, said that the sale would not be in the interests of community cohesion or interfaith work. The diocese of Manchester received 100 letters of objection to the sale.
Concern about Thought for the Day
CHURCH leaders have voiced concerns over the possibility of changes to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, such as opening it up to non-religious contributors. Mark Damazer, controller of Radio 4, said that the programme could include secularists and humanists. Martyn Atkins, general secretary of the Methodist Church, said he “would be saddened to lose those crucial few minutes of spiritual reflection”. A C of E spokesman said the Church “would strongly resist moves to add non-religious voices” to the slot.
Alliance comments on conductor’s death
THE Care Not Killing Alliance has described the assisted suicide of conductor Sir Edward and Lady Downes in Switzerland as a “sad but unusual case”. It said that the House of Lords was wise last week not to approve any change to the current law, under which assisting suicide is illegal.
Criminal Records Bureau checks to reduce fee
THE Home Office this week announced that the fee for a standard disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau, a requirement for clergy and those working with children in church, will reduce from £31 to £26.