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UK news in brief

05 July 2013


THE Comic Relief sketch by Rowan Atkinson (above), in which he posed as a fictional Archbishop of Canterbury and said that praying "doesn't work", did not breach broadcasting codes, Ofcom has ruled (News, 15 March). The regulator said that "the intention of the sketch was to create humour rather than seriously deride Christianity," and noted that the BBC had issued an apology for the tone of the sketch, removed it from BBC iPlayer, and withdrawn a follow-up sketch that had been scheduled for broadcast later in the evening of 15 March, as part of the Comic Relief campaign.

POLICE have arrested a woman on suspicion of criminal damage, after a statue at Westminster Abbey was defaced on Sunday. She is believed to be a campaigner for Stolen Children of the UK. Last month, Tim Haries, a Fathers4Justice protester, was charged with criminal damage after a painting of the Queen was defaced in Westminster Abbey (  News, 21 June). Last week, another campaigner who has been linked to Fathers4Justice, Paul Manning, was charged with criminal damage after allegedly affixing a photo of his son to Constable's The Hay Wain at the National Gallery. The organisation said on Thursday of last week that it was "abandoning its five-year long attempted engagement with the political establishment".

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed the Assistant Curate of St Laurence's, Reading, Canon Chris Russell, as his new Adviser for Evangelism and Witness at Lambeth Palace. Canon Russell will work part-time, while remaining in his post in Reading. He previously served on the staff of Soul Survivor Watford. 

THE Bishop of Dudley, the Rt Revd David Walker, has invited people in the diocese of Worcester to set aside time next Friday to pray for Denise Inge, the wife of the Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge. She is undergoing chemotherapy to treat a large abdominal sarcoma. The crypt at Worcester Cathedral will be open from 7.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. Bishop Inge wrote on Twitter on 15 June that Mrs Inge's sarcoma was "inoperable. There's a 30-per-cent chance that chemo will shrink it. Please pray that it will and that she will receive healing."

THE Bishop of Ripon & Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, has appointed Canon Keith Punshon, the Senior Residentiary Canon of Ripon Cathedral, as the cathedral's Sub-Dean, until a new Dean is appointed to succeed the Very Revd Keith Jukes, who died suddenly in May ( News, 24 May).

Clarification: Anne Lawrence has objected to the headline we attached to a story about her views on safeguarding last week. Although our story correctly conveyed her concern, she did not wish to dismiss the Church's attempts in the way that the headline implied. She writes: "I and many survivors welcome the debate on safeguarding that is before the General Synod this week. However, the proposals made will not fix the problems the Church faces. All safeguarding policies will continue to be ineffective until the Church places at the heart of them the interests and well-being of the most vulnerable and those who have been abused. While the Church insists on privileging the interests of those in positions of clerical and lay power, any changes made will be window-dressing, and the policies and procedures produced will continue to protect those who abuse power." We are happy to clear this up, and apologise to Ms Lawrence.


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