Churches oppose legal-aid cuts
PLANS by the Legal Services Commission, announced last week, to reduce the number of law firms able to offer legal aid from 2400 to 1300, have been severely criticised. Rachel Lampard, of the joint public-issues team of the Methodist, United Reformed, and Baptist Churches, said that cutting the legal-aid budget would put “already vulnerable people at greater risk of being returned to dangerous situations”. The chief executive of the Refugee Council, Donna Covey, said the plans would mean “asylum-seekers will either be forced to pay for legal services themselves or, more likely, to go without.”
Parishioner guilty of harassment
A MALE parishioner has been found guilty of harassing his female parish priest, the Yorkshire Post reported. Leeds Magistrates Court heard that Nigel Abraham had become obsessed with the Revd Christine Wilson, who is now the Archdeacon of Chesterfield, when she was Priest-in-Charge of Goring-by-Sea. The Yorkshire Post reported that sentencing was postponed to allow time for psychiatric reports to be prepared, and Mr Abraham was granted conditional bail.
‘Pay staff living, not minimum, wage’
THE CHARITY Church Action on Poverty is urging churches to make sure that their staff, such as administrators and cleaners, are paid the living wage of £7.60 an hour, or £7.85 in London, and £7.15 in Scotland. A statement said: “Thousands of hard-working families are still in poverty because people are paid just the National Minimum Wage. For Christians, this denigrates the fundamental dignity of humanity.”
Radio listeners to be invited back to church
THE Church of England is advertising this year’s Back to Church Sunday campaign on the radio stations Classic FM and Heart FM, with the aim of reaching 1.3 million listeners. The advertisements will be broadcast in the week running up to Back to Church Sunday, 26 September, on Classic FM in the Midlands and Heart FM in Essex and Kent.