Bishop of Durham clarifies position on George Bell
THE Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, who leads the Church of England’s safeguarding work, has said that the legacy of Bishop George Bell was considered, when the Church decided to pay compensation to a woman who claimed that Bishop Bell had abused her as a child (News, 5 February). In a statement issued on Monday, Bishop Butler said that the decision to make a payout and apology was not taken lightly, but that reputation could not take precedence over “searching out the truth”. He admitted that some people would always be left unsatisfied by the process, but said that conclusions had been drawn on the balance of probabilities — the civil law standard of proof — and not beyond all reasonable doubt.
Charity calls for ‘radicalisation’ of youth to prevent extremism
YOUNG people should be offered a story every bit as “radical” as that offered by Islamist extremists, the Revd Steve Chalke has suggested. Mr Chalke, a Baptist minister and the founder of the charity Oasis, has written a new book, Radical, which accompanies a new “peace-making” programme for schools under the title “Inspire”. He argues that the “evil ideology” of the so-called Islamic State group can be defeated only by a radical counter-narrative. “When I became a Christian . . . I was radicalised, just as Gandhi, Emmeline Pankhurst, and Martin Luther King were all once radicalised,” he says.
Bishop of St Albans counters Sunday-trading moves
THE Government’s plans to liberalise Sunday-trading laws have been criticised by the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith; he said they had no evidence to support them. In a statement on behalf of the Church of England, Dr Smith said that the Government had ignored civil-society groups, and small businesses’ comments during the consultation, and had instead sided with the large companies, which stood to gain from relaxing restrictions on Sunday trading. “Most fundamentally, the consultation response neglects to recognise the social value of a shared day for community and family life,” he said. He hoped that the Government would think again.
Former curate pleads guilty to child sex offences
THE Revd Peter Jarvis, a former Assistant Curate of St Michael and All Angels in Spencers Wood, near Reading, has pleaded guilty to two offences of causing or inciting sexual activity with a girl aged between 13 and 17, and to possessing an indecent image of a child. Mr Jarvis, who will be sentenced in April, had previously been cleared of 11 out of 12 sexual offences at a trial in 2014. The Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud, said that he was “shocked and saddened” at the case. The diocese of Oxford contacted the authorities as soon as it heard of the case, and Mr Jarvis stood down from his position at the same time, the Bishop said.