THE Metropolitan Police has launched a training film to raise
awareness of parents' abusing children because they believe that
they are possessed by evil spirits, or involved in witchcraft. The
film was commissioned together with the Churches' Child Protection
Advisory Service, and seeks to teach social workers, teachers, and
other professionals working with children how to spot the signs of
this type of abuse. The Met said that it had received 27
allegations of child abuse linked to beliefs in evil spirits or
witchcraft this year, an increase on previous years.
THE Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, has signed
a petition by the Anglican Alliance calling on the Australian
government, which is hosting the next G20 meeting, to include
climate change on the agenda. Bishop Holtam, the C of E's lead
bishop on environmental issues, said that rich countries, including
the UK, needed to take responsibility for cutting emissions.
Australia's Pacific Ocean island neighbours would be hardest hit by
rising sea levels, Bishop Holtam said, and were also among the
poorest and politically least powerful.
EMBRACE the Middle East, a Christian charity fighting poverty in
the region, has urged the Government to recognise the state of
Palestine formally, in order to begin to make amends for "Britain's
historic failing of the Palestinian people". A backbench motion
next Monday calls on the Government to recognise Palestine, which
Sweden announced last week it would do. Embrace the Middle East's
chief executive, Jeremy Moodey, said that recognising Palestine
would send a message to Israel that the world would not stand by
while it "denied the Palestinians . . . their basic rights".
WONGA's decision to write off £220 million of debt from 330,000
customers has been welcomed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Speaking during his visit to Belfast, Archbishop Welby said that he
was pleased when payday lenders put right mistakes from the past,
such as lending to people who could never afford the debt. Wonga
wrote off the debt after an investigation by the financial
regulator last week. Archbishop Welby said that the challenge now
was to create a financial system that gave the poor access to
credit and savings without ruining their lives with excess debt.
A FORMER trustee of his church, and a magistrate, Patrick
Coppeard, has pleaded guilty to fraud, after admitting that he had
cheated his fellow churchgoers out of £3.2 million. Mr Coppeard
took money from parishioners at St John the Baptist, Buckhurst
Hill, in Essex, saying that he was investing it for them, from 2008
until last year. Any money returned to the investors, however, was
taken from cash put in by others. Mr Coppeard eventually confessed
to the church's Rector, the Revd Dr Ian Farley, and handed himself
in to the police. He will be sentenced later this month.