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UK news in brief

03 March 2011

Methodist criticises council over soup-run ban

THE President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Alison Tomlin, has criticised a bylaw being proposed by Westminster City Council which would ban rough sleeping and soup runs in a designated area around Westminster Cathedral. The proposals are “nothing short of disgusting”, and punish people “solely for their misfortune”, she said. Westminster Council says that soup runs encourage people to sleep rough on the streets.

Canterbury to Rome not a ‘one-way street’

AT LEAST 14 priests have left the Roman Catholic Church to be received into the ministry of the Church of England in the past five years, the Second Church Estates Commisioner, Tony Baldry MP, told the House of Commons this week. In answer to a question from Bob Russell MP, Mr Baldry said that, although “national newspapers give the impression that there is a one-way street for disaffected priests going to the Roman Catholic Church . . . that is certainly not the case”. He said that the figure could be higher, as not all instances are recorded centrally (Synod, 11 February).

Council considers federation to keep schools open

SHROPSHIRE County Council, which last month announced the closure of five small Church of England schools (News, 18 February), is considering federation as a way of keeping 20 further schools open, writes Margaret Holness. Seven of these are C of E schools at Newcastle, Clun, Clunbury, Buck­nell, Kinlet, Stoddesdon, and Farlow. All are in Hereford diocese. The diocese would help the schools to make a robust case against closure by emphasising their strengths, the diocesan director of education, Philip Sell, told a meeting of head teachers and governors. Small schools offered edu­cation tailored to the needs of individual children, he said. “They are es­sential to the life-blood of the places they serve.”

Parents of missing children attend vigil in York Minster

PETER LAWRENCE, the father of the missing chef Claudia Lawrence, was joined by Kate McCann, mother of Madeleine, who disappeared in Portugal in 2007, for a vigil for Ms Lawrence at York Minster on Sunday. Sunday would have been Miss Lawrence’s 37th birthday. Mr Lawrence, who attends York Minster, also addressed the inaugural meeting of the All Party Parlia­mentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults on Tuesday.

Fairtrade wine sales keep growing

POTERION FAIRTRADE announced this week that sales of Fairtrade com­munion wine have reached 60,000 bottles. The Staffordshire company began importing the wine from the Stella Winery in South Africa four years ago.

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