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Foundation plans for castle’s rosy future

30 August 2013

Extended deadline: Rose Castle

Extended deadline: Rose Castle

THE Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, is leading a fund-raising drive to turn Rose Castle, the Bishop's historic residence, into a Christian centre for reconciliation.

In 2010, the Church Commissioners announced that they would sell the castle, after it had been declared unsuitable as the Bishop's residence the year before ( News, 28 May 2010). After a campaign against selling the castle, which called for it to become a heritage site, the Commissioners agreed to delay marketing the property until the autumn of 2013.

Speaking on Wednesday, Bishop Newcome said that he had suggested that Rose Castle instead become a Christian centre for reconciliation, and that the Commissioners had now extended the deadline for selling until June next year.

The Rose Castle Foundation, which he is chairing, hoped to raise "altogether around £5 million" to buy the castle and restore it. He said that the foundation was "actively looking for one or two high net-worth individuals who would be inspired by the vision".

It had also been in talks with a number of universities, the Tutu Foundation, and some organisations in the United States. The Archbishop of Canterbury had agreed to be a patron.

The centre for reconciliation would have "four strands", Bishop Newcome said. It would host "scriptural reasoning" sessions between Christians, Muslims, and Jews; "religious awareness training" for journalists, politicians, and others in public life; "environmental awareness training"; and conflict-resolution discussions.

Bishop Newcome said: "Conversations with people around the world suggest this is the kind of thing people could get interested in."

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