*** DEBUG END ***

This country’s soul

19 May 2017

THE vehement war that has been waged against the UK’s overseas-aid budget is hard to understand, coming as it does from the section of the electorate who wish to see Britain “great again”. As the Prime Minister writes here, problems overseas do not remain overseas, and it is in Britain’s national interest to help tackle them early. And until Britain experiences its promised post-Brexit flowering, its relative generosity is what continues to spread its name globally and enhance its reputation. Those who think of higher things believe that 0.7 per cent of GDP is a small price to pay for this country’s soul: as Jeremy Corbyn states, we have a moral duty to help developing nations to lift people out of poverty.

Naturally there should be scrutiny of how other countries and agencies apply UK aid. When the purpose of funding is to improve and save lives, corruption and inefficiency are, ultimately, murderous. But we should also like to see much stricter monitoring of how the aid budget is used by the next Government, to make sure that cash is not siphoned off for political or trade purposes. Overall, though, it is gratifying to read the commitment of all three party leaders to the aid budget. As Tim Farron writes, love of our neighbours, wherever they may be, demands nothing less.


Out of order


THE dust created by the promotion of Jonathan Pryke from curate to irregular bishop shows no sign of settling. The diocese of Newcastle, understandably, is playing its cards close to its chest. Nor has Bishop Pryke managed to speak to us yet; but his boss ­— or we perhaps should now say, one of his three bosses — the Vicar of Jesmond, the Revd David Holloway, has said that, if a legal challenge is mounted, he is ready with a theological defence. Given the latitude allowed over belief in the Church of England, this is, however, a matter of church order rather than theology. Church order gets a bad press among those who believe that conscience is all. But as soon as one is authorising people to exercise a degree of control over congregations and buildings, church order is what keeps things accountable. We suspect that, in practice, Bishop Pryke is no less accountable to his diocesan bishop than he was before the consecration, but if he plans to spend 20 per cent of his time planting churches and ordaining men (we presume) to minister in them without permission from his diocesan, this is not Church of England business. Thus, like the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, we are puzzled about how this is to “preserve the Church of England’s heritage and mission”, in the words of Mr Holloway. Having read what Bishop Pryke thinks of the C of E, we wonder what keeps him in it, even for 80 per cent of his time.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear below your letter unless requested otherwise.

Forthcoming Events


Church Times/RSCM: 

Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available


Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Church Times/Canterbury Press:

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

Early bird tickets available



The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)