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UK news in brief

20 January 2017


Tough call: the Northern Ireland Secretary, James Brokenshire, speaks at Stormont House, on Monday

Tough call: the Northern Ireland Secretary, James Brokenshire, speaks at Stormont House, on Monday

Archbishop Clarke prays for Stormont

THE Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Dr Richard Clarke, has written to the leaders of the main political parties in Northern Ireland “assuring them of his prayers at this politically difficult time”, a Church of Ireland statement said on Monday. “Archbishop Clarke asks all members of the Church of Ireland in this context to pray for God’s guidance, and to seek to say and do only that which is for the common good.” There has been turmoil at Stormont since the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, resigned last week (News, 13 January). The Northern Ireland Secretary, James Brokenshire, was obliged to call a fresh election on Monday after the Irish republican party Sinn Fein failed to elect a successor to Mr McGuiness within seven days. The contents of individual letters has not been disclosed.


Bishop of Leicester seeks prior for new community

THE Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, is looking for a prior to lead a residential new-monastic community, due to be established in the city in September. The Community of the Tree of Life (name to be confirmed) is to accommodate 16 young adults (16 to 35) from Leicester and its partner dioceses in Tanzania, India, and the United States, in premises next to the cathedral. “This new community will bring together a group of young adults committing themselves to a year of learning more about prayer, studying together and working with churches to serve their local communities,” Bishop Snow said. “The Prior will lead on recruiting the young adults and overseeing the community life. I believe this new community will be a great source of spiritual renewal within our city and county.” The last date for applications is 30 January. www.leicester.anglican.org


Methodists dismiss Co-op Bank ex-chairman Paul Flowers

PAUL FLOWERS, a former chairman of the Co-operative Bank, has been dismissed as a Methodist minister, after his conviction in 2014 for possession of cocaine, crystal meth, and ketamine (News, 9 May 2014), and a subsequent Sunday-newspaper exposé (News, 22 November 2014). The Methodist Church issued this statement on Monday: “Following the conclusion of our disciplinary process, Paul Flowers has been removed from the list of ministers of the Methodist church. Mr Flowers admitted a charge of ‘seriously impairing the mission, witness or integrity of the church’. We call on the Methodist people to pray for Mr Flowers and for those whom he served.”


Two clergymen in court

THE Rector of St Mary’s, Hadleigh, and Dean of Bocking, the Very Revd Martin Thrower, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of voyeurism at Norwich Crown Court, the BBC has reported. Dean Thrower is accused of filming young men in public lavatories (News, 22 December). A retired priest in York, the Revd Graham Gregory, has appeared in court charged with indecently assaulting a girl under the age of 13. Mr Gregory is accused of assaulting the girl in 1990 while he worked as a vicar on the Isle of Man, according to the BBC. The diocese of Sodor & Man is co-operating with the police in their inquiries, detectives from the Isle of Man have said.


Quakers publish their pay ratio

THE Quakers have revealed the gap between their highest- and lowest-paid employees with the Pay Compare campaign. The highest-paid member of staff is paid 4.7 times as much as the lowest-paid worker, the Quakers’ submission reveals. “Publishing our pay ratio is an important part of our faith-led commitment to work for a more equal Britain,” Paul Parker, recording clerk for the Quakers in Britain, said.


Iona Community urges Israel boycott

THE Iona Community has backed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), which seeks to pressure Israel into ending the occupation of the West Bank and any discrimination against Palestinians. BDS is an “act of non-violent solidarity”, consistent with the teachings of Jesus to resist evil while loving your enemies, the community’s statement says. “The efforts of international bodies have proved ineffective in resisting Israel’s actions, and further pressure is now needed worldwide from all who are concerned — we believe the time to act is now.”

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