Village gambles to help threatened church
A VILLAGE church in Hampshire has been kept going by thousands of pounds raised through a monthly lottery. In 2014, villagers in Weyhill were told that their parish church, St Michael and All Angels, would close if giving did not increase. In response, the Weyhill 100 Club was set up. Each month, at least 100 £10 tickets are sold, and 55 per cent of the proceeds go to the church. The remainder is distributed in cash prizes to three random ticket-holders. The Priest-in-Charge, the Revd Alex Randle-Bissell, said that the 100 Club had strengthened the bond between village and church, but told the Andover Advertiser that the church had to become more relevant to the community to survive in the long term.
Essex priest admits possessing indecent images
A FORMER Vicar of Heybridge, in the diocese of Chelmsford, the Revd Peter Low, has admitted possessing indecent images of children and has been sentenced to a 36-month community order, including 150 hours of unpaid work. He had called in the police after suspecting that he had been the victim of a break-in while on holiday, Chelmsford Crown Court was told. Police officers had then noticed that handwriting on a to-do list at his home matched the writing on the sex stories about children which had been posted through letterboxes. Investigating, the police later found indecent images on his computer.
Man charged in Lincoln safeguarding inquiry
POLICE officers investigating alleged child sexual abuse in connection with Lincoln Cathedral School, as part of Operation Redstone, which followed a diocesan review of past safeguarding cases, have charged Roy Griffiths, 81, from Sherborne, in Dorset, with six counts of indecent assault on a boy under the age of 14 and two counts of inciting a boy under the age of 14 to commit an act of gross indecency. He will appear before Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on 8 June. Officers also wish to speak to pupils who attended the school between 1963 and 1970. A cathedral spokesman said that the church authorities were working closely with the police inquiry, and promised that anyone who came forward would be listened to and offered support.
RCs in England and Wales urged to review celibacy
THE Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has been urged to set up a commission on tackling the shortage of new priests, and including reconsideration of the celibacy rule. The Movement for Married Clergy, a pressure group, issued the call after Pope Francis appeared to show interest in the idea in certain circumstances in an interview in March. The group’s secretary, Chris McDonnell, told The Guardian that priests were ageing, and fewer were entering seminaries. The situation was just about manageable, but in five years there would be a crisis, he said. “We want to use this window of opportunity to look at what could be done.”