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UK news in brief

19 December 2014


Commemorating the Christmas Truce: Portsmouth Cathedral Choir sings at the annual Last Post Service at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, to mark the centenary of the Christmas Truce of 1914. See Features

Commemorating the Christmas Truce: Portsmouth Cathedral Choir sings at the annual Last Post Service at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, to mark the...

Reading curate acquitted on 11 charges 

THE Revd Peter Jarvis, assistant curate of Loddon Reach, Reading, who was charged with 12 sexual offences against two teenage girls and two teenage boys, has been has been found not guilty of 11 of the charges by a jury at Reading Crown Court (News, 31 May, 28 November). He remains suspended by the diocese of Oxford while he waits to see if the prosecution will choose a retrial on the last charge.

Too many churches, Bishop Frith says

THE Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Revd Richard Frith, has said that his diocese has too many churches, and some should be closed. Bishop Frith also said, however, that only parishioners, not diocesan administrators, should choose when to shut the doors on a church for good. The total bill for repairs to churches across the diocese could be as much as £5 million, the Bishop said, but many parishes were struggling to even find the money for their parish share.

Wareham skull proves to be centuries old

A HUMAN skull that was abandoned on the doorstep of a church in Dorset is more than 500 years old, Dorset Police have said. The skull was discovered, wrapped in tissue paper in a bag, by a churchwarden at Lady St Mary's, in Wareham, in the summer (News, 25 July). Tests by the police have shown that it dates to the 15th century. It is still not known who left the skull at the church, but Dorset Police said that they had closed the case.

Campaign on animals is aimed at Christians

THE American animal-rights organisation PETA has launched a new campaign that seeks to persuade Christians to fight against the eating of meat, the wearing of animal products, and animal experimentation. Its "Jesus People for Animals" website and social-media campaign highlights Bible verses that, it says, support their message, and also include educational material for churches to use. PETA's UK director, Mimi Bekhechi, said that, as the Church had fought against slavery and for women's suffrage, so it should join the fight to protect animals too.


Children's Society seeks to amend 1930s law

THE Children's Society has called for a legal loophole that leaves 16 and 17-year-olds more vulnerable to abuse to be closed. Child-cruelty laws, which date from the 1930s, protect only those under the age of 16, while the rest of English law treats anyone aged under 18 as a child. The charity wants MPs debating the Serious Crime Bill in the New Year to close this loophole and make it easier for the police to prosecute negligent or abusive parents or guardians of 16- and 17-year-olds.

New guardian of the Shrine at Walsingham

THE director of a charity dedicated to protecting vulnerable children and the elderly from harm has been elected as a lay guardian of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. She is Amanda McIntyre, director of the Hertfordshire-based Stefanou Foundation. She said that she had been visiting Walsingham since the 1980s, and found that it drew people like no other spiritual site. She worships as St Mark's, Noel Park, in north London, and is a member of the London diocesan synod.

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