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UK news in brief

30 January 2015


Commissioned: the Revd Anders Litzell is anointed by the Arch­bishop of Canterbury during his licensing service at Lambeth Palace on Wednesday. Mr Litzell is the Prior of the new monastic Community of St Anselm

Commissioned: the Revd Anders Litzell is anointed by the Arch­bishop of Canterbury during his licensing service at Lambeth Palace on Wednesday. Mr L...

Lichfield to appoint Online Pastor

THE diocese of Lichfield will appoint an Online Pastor to reach out to young people through the internet. The pastor, who could be ordained or lay, will share the gospel in digital-friendly language, respond to online prayer requests, and disseminate links to online resources and communities for Christians. It is thought to be the first time that the Church of England has appointed someone for an exclusively digital ministry.

Priest suspended after indecent-assault allegation

A PRIEST in Hampshire, Canon Simon Sayers, has been suspended while police investigate allegations that he committed an indecent assault in London in the 1990s. Congregations at St James's, Emsworth, and St Thomas à Becket, Warblington, were told before services on Sunday that their Rector, Canon Sayers, had been arrested on suspicion of indecent assault. In a statement, a spokesman for the diocese of Portsmouth said that alternative arrangements for ministry were being made while Canon Sayers was suspended, and that their prayers were with all involved.

Group launches Richard III RC burial campaign

A CAMPAIGN to ensure Richard III is prepared for burial using Roman Catholic rites, or in an RC church or cathedral, has been launched. Academics and archaeologists from the team that discovered his body buried under a Leicester car park in 2012 have backed the demand, and nearly 3000 people have signed a petition. The king's body, currently lying in the University of Leicester, will be buried at Leicester Cathedral in March, and a mass will be said at the nearby Holy Cross Priory near by. A joint statement from the RC diocese of Nottingham and Leicester Cathedral said that the RC Church fully supports the funeral arrangements.

Insurers raise limit on metal-theft cover

THE church insurers Ecclesiastical have raised the limit on their cover offered for metal theft to Anglican churches in the UK. The change follows discussions with the Church Buildings Council, and a related adjustment to the criteria for grants from the Government's £15-million fund for listed churches' roof repairs (News, 16 January).

Red top causes red faces

SEVERAL organisations campaigning for The Sun to drop its Page Three topless model have been left red-faced after celebrating the feature's reported demise, only for it to reappear days later. The Evangelical Alliance was among a number of groups that had welcomed the apparent end of Page Three, and, after it reappeared, the general director of the Alliance, Steve Clifford, accused the newspaper of having a "vacuum of moral leadership". As we went to press, however, a Page Three model had not appeared in any edition since its re-emergence on Thursday of last week.

Christian Aid leads campaign against tax avoidance

CHURCH leaders have lent their names to a Christian Aid campaign to make political parties promise to tackle tax avoidance if they are elected. The campaign demands that a new tax-dodging Bill be passed to prevent multinational companies from avoiding paying their fair share of tax in both the UK and developing countries. It has been supported by the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alistair Redfern, as well as leaders from the Methodist Church, the Quakers, and the Salvation Army. Campaigners estimate that reducing tax avoidance could generate £3.6 billion a year for the Treasury, and billions more for poor countries around the world.

Meet and greet, says Welby: don't tweet

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has urged tweeters to show caution, warning that "Electronic media breaks through locked doors, and pierces people painfully. It is not for all of us to set everyone right on everything. There's a point at which we need to leave it to those who know people to speak to them personally and quietly - in spaces where the tone is subtle and full of love. That is how people can be put back together rather than torn apart and left lying around in electronic media space." The blog, on Wednesday, concludes: "Love often says don't tweet."

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