Listed Places of Worship Scheme to continue
THE Government announced on Wednesday, as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, that the Listed Places of Worship Grants Scheme, which reimburses VAT on repairs to listed places of worship, will not be scrapped. The future of the scheme had been uncertain, and last week it was announced that churches will not be able to reclaim VAT on repairs to organs, bells, and clocks from January to March next year (News, 15 October). The Bishop of London and chairman of the Church Heritage Forum, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, welcomed the decision, and said that abandoning the scheme would have been “a blow to the credibility of the concept of the Big Society”.
Pre-nuptial agreements ‘cheapen’ marriage, says Bishop
PRE-NUPTIAL agreements “are in danger of reducing marriage to the economic bargaining of historic marriage contracts and of cheapening sacred commitments into balance sheets”, the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Nicholas Reade, said in a debate on divorce settlements in the House of Lords on Monday. He said that such settlements “weaken and dilute our marriage vows of lifelong commitment”. On Wednesday, in a case regarded as a test case by lawyers, the UK Supreme Court ruled in favour of a pre-nuptial agreement of the heiress to a German paper company, Katrin Radmacher.
Pro-life activists will not be charged
TWO Christian anti-abortion activists, Andy Stephenson and Katherine Sloane, who were twice arrested for holding a banner depicting an aborted embryo outside a clinic in Brighton which carries out abortions (News, 24 September), will not be charged, it was announced this week. After the second arrest, the two were held for 14 hours at Brighton Police Station. Mr Stephenson said that they would continue to campaign “to highlight the dangers of abortion and the killings that happen in these clinics”.
Bishop welcomes Bloody Sunday report
THE Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Price, welcomed Lord Saville’s report on the events in Northern Ireland on Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972), which was released in June. Speaking in the House of Lords last week, he said that the publication of the report was a “significant milestone and achievement”, but called for more to be done to “deal with the ongoing sense of loss and bereavement in cases where no one has been brought to justice”.