Bishop of Dover to retire next May
THE Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott (above), has announced his retirement. Bishop Willmott has served in the post since 2010, and took on further responsibilities for the Channel Islands in 2014. He will conclude his public ministry at a service in Canterbury Cathedral on 12 May. “When I do come to say goodbye to the diocese,” he said, “it will be with a heart overflowing with thanksgiving — and that’s due to the people who are in this diocese.” Bishop Willmott was translated from Basingstoke, in Winchester diocese. He was ordained deacon in 1974, and served his title in the diocese of St Albans. He was a chaplain on the Continent, and a military officiating chaplain, from 1979 to 1983, before returning to parish ministry in Northamptonshire, and becoming Archdeacon of Durham in 1997.
Church in Wales told not to tolerate modern slavery
MODERN slavery demands the attention of the Church in Wales and must not be tolerated, the Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, has said. From next week, there will be a display about modern slavery in St Asaph Cathedral, which will also host a film and discussion on the topic next Friday. Bishop Cameron was due to give the closing address at a human-trafficking conference at Prince’s Drive Baptist Church, Colwyn Bay, today. He said this week: “I want to ensure that that no single human being today is put at a disadvantage by the oppression of another, and that slavery really can be consigned to the dustbin of history.” Visit www.havenoflight.co.uk for more information about the events.
Hundreds die on streets, investigation discovers
MORE than 440 homeless people have died on the streets or in temporary accommodation in the UK in the past year, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found. In its latest project, Dying Homeless, it found that there were at least 449 deaths in a year — more than one each day — but that this may not reflect the true number. Causes of death included violence, drug overdose, illnesses, and murder. The average age at death was 49 for men and 53 for women: nearly 40 per cent lower than the average life expectancy of 82 years in the UK. The chief executive of the RC homelessness charity Caritas Anchor House, Amanda Dubarry, said that she was “appalled” by the findings. “We hope these statistics will be a wake-up call to the crisis of homelessness, for both the public and the authorities involved, especially as the colder winter months approach and the danger for these vulnerable people increases.”
More black blood and organ donors wanted
NHS Blood and Transplant is asking black-majority churches to back its campaign for more blood and organ donors this month — Black History Month. There are more than 17,000 active blood donors from black backgrounds compared with fewer than 13,000 five years ago; but 40,000 more from black African, black Caribbean, and mixed-heritage backgrounds are needed, as they are more likely to have the Ro blood type that can help people with sickle-cell conditions. Suggestions include organising an awareness day or event, putting up posters, and sharing the appeal on social media. www.organdonation.nhs.uk/black-history-month; www.blood.co.uk/black-history-month; or use the hashtag #BlackHistoryMonth on social media.
Church Society rallying cry for 2020-25 Synod
THE Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Revd Rod Thomas, has said that any decision by the Church to alter marriage doctrine or liturgy to accommodate same-sex couples would make it “very difficult for [conservative] congregations to continue to witness with integrity”. Writing in the Church Society’s magazine Crossway, he urges conservative Evangelicals to stand for the 2020 General Synod elections. “It is likely to be this Synod which will have the vote in the key areas of liturgy and doctrine,” he writes. “We particularly need lay members of Deanery Synods to stand for election so that, even if we are a minority in the House of Laity, our numbers are sufficient to prevent change in these key areas.”