Muslim family gave appropriate care, says judge
A FIVE-YEAR-OLD girl who was placed with a Muslim foster family against the wishes of her Christian mother — provoking a media storm — was treated with “warm and appropriate care” by the family in question, a Judge has said. Judge Khatun Sapnara had ordered an investigation by Tower Hamlets Council into allegations first printed in The Times that the girl had been unhappy in the foster family (News, 30 August). Referring to its report, she told the court: “The child has expressed a view to wanting to see that foster carer and says that she misses that foster carer.” The girl was placed with her grandmother in August while her mother fought for custody. The Judge said that the report also “suggests, for example, that the maternal grandmother herself is dismissive of these concerns and is upset by them and in fact has a warm relationship with one of the foster carers as does the child”. A full hearing to decide the future of the girl is to be held in December.
CTE lacks vision and clarity, says Theos
A LACK of vision, visibility, young people, and clarity over funding is identified in Churches Together in England by a Theos report. Published on Tuesday, the 61-page report, That They All May Be One: Insights into Churches Together in England and Contemporary Ecumenism, lists concerns over the mission of Churches Together (representing more than 40 denominations) expressed by 63 church leaders who were interviewed. They include the suggestion that there is “no common mind” between liberal Protestant Churches and theologically conservative Churches on ethics; the predominance of Protestant styles of worship and Bible study at CTE meetings; a lack of interfaith work; and a need to clarify the relationship with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.
New church-plant to for north-London estate
IN A COLLABORATION by two urban-ministry charities and a parish, a “fresh expression” is to be planted in a housing estate in north London. Eden East Finchley has been launched by the Message Trust, which sends “urban missionaries” into poorer communities; Hope North London, a local charity; and church@five, which is part of St Barnabas’s, Woodside Park. The team, who have moved on to the estate themselves, said that they hoped to offer pastoral care and support for people “struggling in life”, as well as bring many into the church community.
Bishop Ashenden re-emerges in mission field
WHILE the Revd Dr Gavin Ashenden was a Chaplain to the Queen, he was consecrated bishop in the traditionalist Christian Episcopal Church of Canada and the United States. A press release was put out by the Church’s Archbishop, the Most Revd Theodore Casimes, last week to announce that Dr Ashenden was that Church’s missionary bishop to the UK and Europe. He was consecrated at a public service in Vancouver in 2013, and resigned his Church of England position early this year after protesting publicly about the reading of passages from the Qur’an at an Epiphany service in the Scottish Episcopal St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow. His present denomination split from the Episcopal Church in the United States in the 1980s.
Former vicar cleared of sexual-assault charges
GUY BENNETT, a former Vicar of St Mary’s, Oxted, in Surrey, has been cleared of sexually assaulting young girls while teaching at a school, or on Sunday outings, during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. He denied 24 counts of indecent assault and one count of outraging public decency, and was found not guilty on all charges at Guildford Crown Court on 27 September. His defence barrister, summing up, told the court that, because it was known that Mr Bennett had been jailed in 1999 for indecent assaults on young girls, his “tactile” behaviour was being misremembered as sexually motivated.
FULHAM PALACEGuest becomes patron: the Duchess of Cornwall was made a patron of Fulham Palace, the former residence of Bishops of London, last week. She is seen here (left) listening to the Rt Revd Richard Chartres as he spoke at a dinner in the palace’s Great Hall last year. A three-week Community Archaeology Dig starts at the palace on Monday