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UK news in brief

20 October 2017


Norfolk comes to Suffolk: An outdoor procession at the Walsingham Festival process at Chichester Cathedral last Saturday

Norfolk comes to Suffolk: An outdoor procession at the Walsingham Festival process at Chichester Cathedral last Saturday

Welby launches new network for peacemakers

A NEW network of peacemaking Christians must tell the world that “hate is not necessary, essential, or always conquering,” the Archbishop of Canterbury said last week, at the launch of the Reconciling Leaders Network (RLN), at Lambeth Palace. The network seeks to enable an international group of Christians — ordained and lay — to train their churches, and those they live and work with, in breaking down conflict and reconciling enemies. It will also promote mediation and reconciliation within the Church itself, particularly supporting women who are living through conflict and acting as peace-builders. “Hate is overcome in Christ, and, if we work at this, we can enable many places and many parts of the world to overcome hatred and violence — in families and at every level of human society,” the Archbishop said. The RLN will be chaired by Ken Costa, a former investment banker and churchwarden of Holy Trinity, Brompton, who now who chairs the Lambeth Partnership.


Social action is good for your faith, churchgoers report

THREE-QUARTERS (78 per cent) of more than 1000 churchgoers in the dioceses of Birmingham and Lichfield have told a survey that community engagement activities have helped them to grow as Christians. The study was carried out by the St Peter’s Saltley Trust and the Church Urban Fund, in a sample of 32 churches. The results feature in the report Christians in Practice, published yesterday. More than two-thirds said that they sought to represent Christ through their actions, and 49 per cent said that they looked for opportunities to tell others about their faith.


Printer turns down transgender consultant’s request

A PRINTER in Southampton, Nigel Williams, has refused to produce the business cards of a transgender diversity consultant, Joanne Lockwood, because he did not want to promote a cause that he felt might harm his fellow Christians, The Sunday Times reports. He wrote to her: “The new model of diversity is used (or misused) to margin­alise (or indeed discriminate against) Christians in their workplaces and other parts of society if they do not subscribe to it. Although I’m quite sure you have no intention of marginalising Christians it would weigh heavily upon me if through my own work I was to make pressure worse for fellow Christians.” Ms Lockwood said she would take legal action, but was “making a stand”.


Courts give tougher sentences to hate-crime perpetrators

RECORD numbers of tougher sentences for hate crimes are being passed by the courts after applications made by the CPS, data published this week reveals. Last year, more than half of cases involving hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or transgender identity saw sentences “uplifted”, compared with 2.9 per cent in 2007/08. In the past year, terrorist incidents have been followed by increases in reports of hate crimes. Hate-crime prosecutions fell by six per cent on last year. The overall number of police referrals increased by 0.7 per cent, after a fall of 9.6 per cent the previous year. On Monday, the Home Secretary announced that she had awarded more than £750,000 to projects tackling hate crime.


Court agrees with Ofsted that gender segregation is discriminatory

THE segregation of boys and girls at Al-Hijrah school, a voluntary aided Muslim co-ed school in Birmingham, “caused detriment and less favourable treatment for both male and female pupils respectively by reason of their sex”, and is therefore contrary to the Equality Act 2010, the Court of Appeal found last week. The school, where boys and girls are completely segregated from the age of nine, was rated “inadequate” by Ofsted in 2016. One factor was the “potentially negative impact of this practice [segregation] on pupils’ chances to develop into socially confident individuals with peers from the opposite gender”. The report also noted that the library held a number of books that “included derogatory comments about, and the incitement of violence towards, women”. Lady Justice Gloster, in a dissenting judgment, said that greater harm was caused to girls by the segregation.


Correction. In the press column (8 September), Andrew Brown remarked of the Revd Dr Jules Gomes that, following a CDM ruling, “he no longer has a pulpit of his own”. Dr Gomes writes: “I have been pastor of St Augustine’s Church, Douglas, Isle of Man, since Easter 2016. St Augustine’s Church is an independent Anglican church.” We apologise for the error.

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