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UK news in brief

21 October 2016


Tireless efforts: Sir Sigmund Sternberg (centre) presents a book to the then US ambassador to the UK, William Farish (left), as Sheikh Dr Zaki Badawi looks on, at a reception for members of the Three Faiths Forum, at the US Embassy in London, in 2002

Tireless efforts: Sir Sigmund Sternberg (centre) presents a book to the then US ambassador to the UK, William Farish (left), as Sheikh Dr Zaki B...

Prominent interfaith philanthropist dies

SIR SIGMUND STERNBERG, a well-known figure in the interfaith world, has died, aged 95. Sir Sigmund, who emigrated from his homeland of Hungary to Britain on the eve of the Second World War, was a self-made business tycoon who turned to philanthropy during the 1960s. He played a vital part in building up the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), established the Sternberg Centre for Judaism, and founded the Three Faiths Forum in 1997. Besides a knighthood from the Queen, Sir Sigmund was also given a papal knighthood by Pope John Paul II, and was awarded the 1997 Templeton Prize. He has been described as a “true giant” of the post-war interfaith movement. The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Michael Ipgrave, who chairs the CCJ, said that Sir Sigmund was an “incomparable champion of interfaith relations” and a “shining light” in bringing people together.


Churches seek funds to deter lead-thieves

THE Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust has launched an appeal to raise money to help rural churches in the county to buy alarms to stop a wave of lead-thefts. More than 20 churches there have had lead stolen from their roofs this year, the Trust said. The Trust has set up a fund to cover at least half the price of buying alarms for churches at risk.


Quaker awarded prize in Week of Prayer for World Peace

THE 2016 Wilson-Hinkes Peace Award, named after two former chairs of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, was due to be presented to Keith Scott, a Quaker who lives in Woking, at Westminster today. He helped to create a series of “working debates” for the community on political issues surrounding justice and war, two years ago. The prize, which recognises the furthering of peace and reconciliation in society, is part of the Week of Prayer for World Peace, an Anglican initiative started in 1974.


Mixed popularity for Bible on desert island

MORE than 50 per cent of adult respondents said that they would not choose to take the Bible with them, should they be stranded on a desert island, in research commissioned by the Church and Media Network before its 40th conference this week. In a poll by ComRes of 2042 people, 31 per cent said that they would take the Bible, while a further 13 per cent were unsure. “Despite the claims we live in a secular country, it’s encouraging to see that a third of Brits still value the Bible as an important work,” the network’s chairman, Steve Cox, said. The celebrity “castaways” on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs are assumed to be provided with a Bible.



Bishop of Shrewsbury to chair Melanesian Mission
THE Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Mark Rylands, has been elected as a new trustee and chairman of the Melanesian Mission, it was announced at the agency’s AGM this week. He succeeds the Bishop at Lambeth, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock, who stepped down in September after seven years at the charity. The Melanesian Mission supports the Church of the Province of Melanesia through prayer, human resources, and grant-funding.

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