Church investors target top pay deals
COMPANIES have been warned that church investors, including the Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board, will no longer tolerate huge pay increases for business executives. In a letter to 350 leading firms, the Church Investors Group — a coalition of investment funds which controls a total of £17 billion of assets — said that its members would vote against excessive remuneration packages. Their other priority for 2017 is greater disclosure on the impact of climate change.
Transgender teenager sues cathedral school
A 16-YEAR-OLD former pupil is suing Hereford Cathedral School for discrimination under the 2010 Equalities Act, writes Margaret Holness. The transgender teenager, who was born a girl but has lived as a boy since his early teens, claims that he was not allowed to wear boys’ uniform, it is understood. Equalities legislation bans discrimination against transgender persons who are taking steps to re-assign their sex. Hereford Cathedral School is disputing allegations of discrimination. A statement says: “The happiness and safety of pupil is our top priority. As legal proceedings are under way it is not appropriate to go into details other than to say we are defending our position.”
Pledge to pray for new Christians, says Archbishop
THE Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a campaign asking Christians around the world to pray for their friends and family to become new followers of Jesus. “Pledge2Pray” is the centrepiece of this year’s Thy Kingdom Come programme, which started last year as a period of prayer for evangelism between Ascension Day and Pentecost (News, 13 May). “It’s not a Church of England thing; it’s not an Anglican thing; it’s a Christian thing,” Archbishop Welby said. Pledges can be made at www.thykingdomcome.global , which shows where in the world other people have signed up.
Gay Guernsey man refuses to pay parish rates
A GUERNSEY gay man, Leo Thomas, has refused to pay the tax that goes towards the upkeep of the islands’ churches, in protest over the Church of England’s stance on same-sex marriage. Mr Thomas said that he would donate the £7.94 that he is required to pay towards his 2016 parish rates to charity instead. The Dean of Guernsey, the Very Revd Tim Barker, declined to comment except to say that he would contact Mr Thomas privately.
Vicar accused of fraud cleared in retrial
THE Vicar of Haverhill with Withersfield, Canon Ian Finn, who was accused of defrauding his church of £13,000 in fees for services, has been found not guilty in a retrial at Ipswich Crown Court. Canon Finn had denied fraud by abuse of position by keeping the money in his own bank account, but the jury in his first trial failed to reach a verdict (News, 1 July). The Bishop of Dunwich, Dr Mike Harrison, said that many would be “deeply saddened” by the saga, and the diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich would now consider its next steps.
Peter Ball released from prison
THE former Bishop of Gloucester, Peter Ball, who was jailed in 2015 for a series of sex offences against boys and young men (News, 7 October 2015), has been released from prison on parole after serving half of his sentence of 32 months. His release has been criticised by some of his victims and their lawyers as an “affront to justice”. One victim, Phil Johnson, stated that Mr Ball had served less than one month in prison for each of the men he had abused. The Vicar of Heybridge, the Revd Peter Low, has been charged with three counts of possessing images of child sexual abuse, and bailed to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court next month. Mr Low has been suspended by Bishop of Chelmsford. A diocesan spokesman said that, after the criminal trial, an investigation under the Clergy Discipline Measure would begin.