*** DEBUG END ***

UK news in brief

19 October 2018


Rollercoaster ride: the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Philip North, with Joanne Hutchinson, Reader at St John’s, Lytham, on top of the “Big One” rollercoaster in Blackpool. The pair made the trip on the ride to raise funds for renovation works at the church, which are expected to cost £100,000 (see gallery for more picture stories from across the UK)

Rollercoaster ride: the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Philip North, with Joanne Hutchinson, Reader at St John’s, Lytham, on top of the “Big One” ro...


HSBC still willing to profit from coal, Christian Aid says

A REPORT from Christian Aid has accused HSBC of “greenwashing”, as it revealed the bank’s refusal to rule out coal financing in Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. The charity’s report, No Exceptions, published on Tuesday, says that, although HSBC’s describes itself as a sustainable leader in fighting climate change, it has not implemented a global ban on financing coal, unlike Standard Chartered. Helen Collinson, campaign lead for Christian Aid, said: “The clean-energy systems of the future are what these countries need, not yet more polluting fossil-fuel infrastructure of the past. If not investing in coal is good enough for the rest of the world, why isn’t it good enough for Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Indonesia?”

Missionary forgives militants for kidnapping

DR DAVID DONOVAN says that he has forgiven the militants who kidnapped him and his wife, Shirley, and killed their friend Ian Squire in Nigeria in 2017. Dr and Mrs Donovan were part of a group of Christian missionaries who were captured by militants. In a talk at St Wendreda’s, March, last week, Dr Donovan said: “Initially [they were] very intimidating, extremely unpredictable due to drugs and alcohol, very adrenaline-fuelled, extremely violent, extremely intimidatory. They were broken men, absolutely broken, and it is not my position to judge them.” He said that he and his wife were thankful for their “second chance”.

New HLF grant seeks to help churches and bats

A £3.8-MILLION lottery grant has been made to a project seeking to “save bats and protect churches for future generations”. The project, Bats in Churches, seeks to enable 102 of the most-affected churches to reduce the impact of bat colonies without harming the bats. Natural England is working on the project with the Church of England, Historic England, the Bat Conservation Trust, and the Churches Conservation Trust. It is the latest stage in the effort to resolve tensions between bat and heritage conservation (News, 24 February 2017).

Wodehouse to have stone in Westminster Abbey

THE author P. G. Wodehouse is set to have a memorial in Westminster Abbey. It is expected that it will be close to Poets’ Corner, but it is still at the very early planning stage. The Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd John Hall, gave his permission last week.

Schools invited to trial new version of Gospels

ACADEMICS are seeking 12,000 students and their teachers across 600 schools to road-test a new version of the New Testament, Underground Story, which has been prepared by the Revd Brian D. Brown, a Methodist minister and a Fellow of St John’s College, Durham, with help from New Testament scholars from Durham, Oxford, and Cambridge. Teachers interested in being sent 20 specially printed copies of one of the four Gospels from the latest draft of Underground Story, free of charge, are urged to contact Mr Brown by email at b.brown2@btinternet.com; or phone 01865 849109.

St John Ambulance allows white poppies, too

ST JOHN AMBULANCE has relaxed its dress code to allow its volunteers to wear white poppies. Previously, only the British Legion’s red fund-raising poppy was deemed acceptable. The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) distributes and benefits from the sale of white poppies, although local outlets may, it says, “choose to donate money raised to a charity or campaign supporting victims of war”. Simone Ramacci, a PPU member and a St John Ambulance volunteer, said: “I hope more organisations will follow St John Ambulance’s lead in becoming more inclusive.”

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Awards Ceremony: 6 September 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available


Inspiration: The Influences That Have Shaped My Life

September - November 2024

St Martin in the Fields Autumn Lecture Series 2024

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


Visit our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)