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UK news in brief

13 February 2015


Bristol priest defends yoga ban

A BRISTOL priest has defended his decision not to allow yoga classes to take place in his church. The Priest-in-Charge of St Michael and All Angels, Bishopston, the Revd James Stevenson, said: "We understand yoga is practised as a physical exercise and discipline, but by its own definition it is a spiritual act whose roots are not Christ-centred. We are confident we have acted legally and fairly in handling this matter, but we understand why the students are upset." The yoga teacher, Naomi Hayama, has been using the church hall for nine years. She has been given until the end of the month to find new premises. She told The Daily Telegraph: "My students enjoyed coming to the church, and now they are being told that they are not welcome."

Home Office relents on funeral visas

THE Home Office has granted visas to the relatives of a five-year-old girl who had been barred from entering the UK for her funeral (News, 30 January). Andrea Gada died in December, and her grandparents and aunt, who live in Zimbabwe, had twice been refused visas to visit, prompting an intervention by the Archbishop of York and a petition signed by more than 120,000 people. 

Climate-change campaigners complain

A CLIMATE-change campaign group is complaining that it must now "pay to protest", after being told that it must hire a private firm to oversee a march planned to take place next month. The Guardian reported on Saturday that Campaign Against Climate Change had been told that the police would no longer facilitate the temporary closure of roads along the agreed route. A police spokeswoman said that the climate-change march was expected to be crime-free, so there was little requirement for it to provide policing. 

Lord Williams to be new Church Army president

THE former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams has been appointed president of Church Army, succeeding Archbishop Desmond Tutu, it was announced last Friday. He said: "There can be few organisations that have done as much as the Church Army to support the highest quality of innovative ministry and outreach in our Church, and to encourage lay and clergy alike in their calling to speak and act the good news effectively and imaginatively." 

Corrections. An assertion that the Government intended to abolish chancel-repair liability (News, 23 January) was incorrect. Negotiations about the charge on property owners are ongoing, and no such announcement has been made.

On 9 January, we quoted figures suggesting that the Keswick Convention had no women speakers in 2014. The organisers say this was wrong: they had several, among them Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Rebecca Manley Pippert, Elaine Duncan, and Elizabeth McQuoid. We apologise for these errors.

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