North-east sceptical about plans, says Bishop
THE north-east must not be excluded from the Government’s plans to build a “northern powerhouse”, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, told the House of Lords last week. After drawing peers’ attention to high levels of poverty in the region and cuts to local authorities that left them “stretched to the limit”, he spoke of “scepticism and concern” about the Government’s plans. HS2 should include Newcastle, he said. “We face the ironic possibility that the cradle of the railway industry . . . provides the trains for new infrastructure developments but is excluded from benefiting any further by inadequate investment in railways in the north-east itself.”
Police system ‘leaves missing children at risk’
AT LEAST 10,000 children a year could be at “terrible risk” because they receive no active police response when they go missing, a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, supported by the Children’s Society, has warned this week. In the police recording system, only a child classed as “missing” rather than “absent” receives a response; but the latter category, which means that children “slip under services’ radar”, should be scrapped: it leaves children at risk of sexual exploitation and being groomed by criminal gangs, the groups says.
Diploma in parish-church studies relaunched
A NEW version of the postgraduate diploma in parish-church studies has been launched at the University of York. An online study programme, recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, it is described as “a unique opportunity to gain detailed and practical knowledge of the history, use, care, and conservation of parish churches”. The programme starts in late September/early October.
Welby studies the Good Book on Facebook
THE Archbishop of Canterbury’s first live Bible study on Facebook was watched by thousands of Christians around the world this week. The Archbishop discussed John 1.35-42 with his adviser for evangelism and witness, the Revd Chris Russell, and answered questions from viewers in the UK, the United States, South Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Australia, the Seychelles, and Japan. The Archbishop’s first live Facebook video — an Ash Wednesday service at Lambeth Palace in February — has been seen by almost a million people.
Nottingham church for young people seeks venue
A CHURCH is being established by the diocese of Southwell & Nottingham in the east of the city to encourage young adults to learn more about the Christian faith. The diocese is looking for a “non-traditional church venue” to accommodate meetings and activities. It will be led by Johnny Hughes, a pastor for students and young adults at Holy Trinity, Brompton, in London, and his wife, Amy, and supported by volunteers. The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams, said that the new church was the start of “an exciting time of opportunity and growth” for the city.
Housing Justice to open branch in Wales
THE Christian charity Housing Justice is opening a new branch in Wales to provide housing for people in need. Housing Justice Cymru is to be launched in the autumn, and work closely with the Church in Wales. Its director will be Sharon Lee, who is project co-ordinator of the organisation’s Faith in Affordable Housing scheme. The charity is celebrating its origins 60 years ago this year.
Longer half-term breaks for C of E school
CHIDDINGSTONE C of E Primary School, near Tonbridge, in Kent, is helping parents to plan cheaper off-peak holidays by extending the school day by 20 minutes in return for an extra two weeks’ holiday per school year. The school will now break for two weeks rather than one at the May and October half-terms. The head teacher, Rachel Streatfield, said: “We are conscious that parents will be able to benefit by taking their children on holiday when prices might be more affordable, but we also feel the longer half-term holidays will keep the terms short and therefore allow us to teach the curriculum more efficiently.”
Correction: the “Follow 2016” event at De Montfort Hall, Leicester, referred to in our report on the Readers’ celebration last week, has not yet taken place: it is 16 July.