Man jailed for 37 thefts from churches
AN AMATEUR antique dealer from Trallong, Brecon, Christopher Cooper, who is 48, has been sentenced to three years and eight months after admitting to 37 thefts from churches in England and Wales, dealing in “tainted cultural objects”, and fraud. Mr Cooper, who has no previous convictions, appeared at Hereford Crown Court on Tuesday. He is thought to have made about £150,000 from the sale of several historical items — including decorative oak panels — which he took from Holy Trinity, Torbryan, in Devon, in 2013. Further stolen items, including statues, paintings, stained glass, and Bibles, were recovered by West Mercia police in January 2015.
Times letter sets target for taking child refugees
“AS WE celebrate the Government’s bold and decent decision to bring vulnerable refugee children in Europe to the UK, we must not forget the urgency of the situation,” a letter signed by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams, and other C of E bishops and religious leaders, has warned. The letter, published in The Times on Tuesday, urges the Prime Minister to “ensure that all the children in Calais with valid legal claims, and the first 300 identified as most at risk in Greece and Italy, are brought to Britain by the start of the next school year.”
New executive director for Allchurches Trust
THE Allchurches Trust has appointed the director of ChurchCare, the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division of the Archbishops’ Council, Janet Gough, to be its first executive director. The trust, which was established in 1972 to promote the Christian faith and contribute funding to charities, is the parent company of Ecclesiastical. Ms Gough, who is to take up her new appointment on 1 September, will be an ambassador for the trust, and manage grant funding.
New Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin
THE Dean of St Columb’s Cathedral, Derry, the Very Revd Dr William Morton, has been elected Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. He was elected by the Chapter of St Patrick’s Cathedral from among its members on Monday, to succeed the Very Revd Victor Stacey, who retired at the end of March. At Derry, Dr Morton has led the diversification of the cathedral’s activities since his appointment there in 1997.
Faculty system to be simplified by online service
AN ONLINE service that simplifies the faculty system was launched on Tuesday at Lambeth Palace. Permission for minor works and maintenance can now be made at the website (https://facultyonline.churchofengland.org). The Church Heritage Record, produced in collaboration with Historic England, contains more than 16,000 entries on church buildings in England and Wales, covering topics such as architectural history, archaeology, and the natural environment. More than half the Church of England’s dioceses have already signed up.
Music in cathedrals receives boost
THE organisation Friends of Cathedral Music announced this week that they were to hand out a record £600,000 to support music in British cathedrals and churches — double the amount distributed last year. It includes a grant of £49,000 to Gloucester Cathedral. The FCM celebrates its diamond anniversary this year.
Bath Abbey receives funding for renovations
BATH ABBEY has secured funding of £10.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is to be used towards its Footprint Project, which includes restoration of the floor, a new eco-friendly heating system, using the city’s hot springs, and the creation of a discovery centre and “song school”. A total of £1.5 million remains to be raised, out of a total of £19.3 million.
Bishop of Sodor & Man votes against same-sex marriage
THE Bishop of Sodor & Man, the Rt Revd Robert Paterson, has voted in the Tynwald against a Bill to enable same-sex couples to marry on the island. But the legislature has approved the Bill, which will come into effect after it receives Royal Assent. Bishop Paterson, a member of the parliament’s upper house, the Legislative Council, described the Bill as a “well-intentioned mistake”, the newspaper IOM Today reports: “The problem we are faced with as legislators is the human body and the nature of sexuality. Wouldn’t it be convenient if with Royal Assent we could abolish all difference and distinction in sexuality? But we can’t, and to pretend otherwise cannot be honest. Talking about equality of status simply confuses things. It’s spin.”