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UK news in brief

01 March 2013


THE diocesan synods of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds, and Wakefield will vote tomorrow whether their respective dioceses should be abolished and replaced by a single, larger "diocese of Leeds" ( News, 5 October, 10 December 2010). The synods will be asked to vote "yes" or "no" to the proposals; a simple majority is required for approval. If all three dioceses vote in favour, a draft scheme is expected to come before the General Synod for final approval in July. If it is approved by the General Synod, the combined diocese could be created as soon as Easter 2014. If one or more dioceses votes against the scheme, the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, could still decide to place the scheme before the General Synod meeting in July for a final decision.

A POLL of 1939 British adults, carried out by YouGov, suggested that most people support the right to wear a cross on a necklace in the workplace. Asked in which professions an employee should be allowed to wear "a chain necklace with a Christian cross", 81 per cent of respondents said that a flight attendant should be allowed to; 70 per cent that a nurse should be allowed to; 77 per cent that a teacher should be allowed to; and 85 per cent that an accountant should be allowed to. In January, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that British courts did not strike a "fair balance" between competing rights when they ruled that British Airways had the right to ban staff from wearing crosses ( News, 11 January).

THE former Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, who has just retired as Lord High Almoner, was appointed KCVO, an honour in the Queen's personal gift, on Wednesday of last week - the first Bishop of Manchester to be honoured in such a way. The convention for clergy who receive a KCVO is that they do not use the title "Sir", but add the initials KCVO after their name.

THE first fortnightly mass for gay people at the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, in Mayfair, London, will be held on Sunday, the Soho Masses Pastoral Council has said. The so-called "Soho Masses" were previously held at Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street, but last month the RC Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, announced that the church was to be given to the Ordinariate, and asked the Council to "focus their effort on the provision of pastoral care" and no longer to organise a regular mass ( News, 4 January). Archbishop Nichols is expected to attend the March meeting (News, 11 January). 

FAITH leaders from Asia and Africa presented statements opposing the illegal wildlife trade to the Duke of Edinburgh on Wednesday of last week. The statements from the leaders, representing Christian, Buddhist, Daoist, Hindu, and Muslim communities, are the result of an initiative by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), of which the Duke is a founder, and the WWF-US.

THE chairman of the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, an anti-poverty charity dedicated to tackling "unfairness in the law, legal and benefits system", stood down on Tuesday after 16 years' service. The retired chairman, the Revd Paul Nicolson, who remains a trustee, says that he needs to dedicate more time to Taxpayers Against Poverty, and to work with people in north London affected by welfare reforms. This will involve "explicit political activity" that might put the trust's charitable status at risk, he says.

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