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News in brief

08 April 2016


Commissioners to benefit from sale of bank branches

THE Church Commissioners are to receive a windfall of more than £60 million if the Royal Bank of Scotland succeeds in selling a network of more than 300 branches, Sky News reported this week. The Commissioners hold a ten-per-cent stake in a £600-million bond, issued in 2013 to raise funds to aid the separation of Williams & Glyn from HSBC.


Team-ministry dispute is clarified

A LICENCE issued by a bishop to a member of a team ministry can limit, as well as amplify, the scope of that member’s ministry within the team, Sir Philip Mawer confirmed. He is the Independent Reviewer appointed to deal with disputes concerning the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration, which was published with the women bishops legislation, has confirmed. The clarification was published in his annual report. Also included is a note on the legal and canonical status of the Provincial Episcopal Visitors [PEVs]. It confirms that the relevant archbishops are responsible for decisions about appointments, and that the PEVs’ legal authority in a diocese is a matter for the diocesan bishop. Sir Philip did not receive any complaints from PCCs during the year, but dealt with two from other sources (News, 7 August; 14 August).


Muslim converts ‘need a true family’, churches told

A SIX-SESSION course designed to help churches to welcome Muslim converts will be launched on Monday. The course, “Joining the Family”, was instigated by an interfaith officer in Oldham, Canon Phil Rawlings. Also present at the launch will be Dr Tim Green, of Interserve; Reza Jaffari, of Elam Ministries, which supports the Church in Iran; and Christians from a Muslim background. The decision to convert can be costly, a launch video warns, and new believers risk being disowned. The Church must be a “true family”, it says


Bishop Bell vigil takes place outside Chichester Cathedral

A VIGIL protesting against the allegations against the reputation of Bishop George Bell was held at Chichester Cathedral on Sunday. The organiser, Richard Symonds, told The Argus that the process by which the Church had investigated claims that Bishop Bell had abused a young girl appeared to be “seriously flawed, and might prove to be a catastrophic error of judgement” (News, 22 October). He is calling for a reopening of the investigation. Protesters handed out leaflets headed “Justice for George Bell” to churchgoers leaving the service.


Rector makes history with appointment as High Sheriff

A SERVING rector been appointed High Sheriff for Cumbria for the first time in history. The Team Rector of Egremont, the Revd Richard Lee, was due to be installed at Carlisle Crown Court on Wednesday. His duties in the largely ceremonial post include attendance at royal visits to the county, and escorting high-court judges on circuit. Mr Lee, who spent almost 30 years as an RAF chaplain, said that since his arrival in Cumbria in 2009, he had encountered “a formidable sense of strength and resilience from the people I have met in times of joy and overwhelming sadness”.

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