UK news in brief

by
23 February 2018

ANDREW HILL/COMMONS/GEOGRAPH

Lavenham Parish Church, in Suffolk

Lavenham Parish Church, in Suffolk

Village church saved my life, says Andrew Lloyd Webber

THE theatre impresario and composer Lord Lloyd-Webber has revealed that the beauty of Lavenham Parish Church, in Suffolk, helped him decide not to kill himself when he was a depressed 15-year-old. In his memoirs, Unmasked, Lord Lloyd-Webber tells how he bought painkillers and a one-way ticket to Lavenham, intending to end his life. Instead, he was captivated by the architecture of the medieval village, in particular its Grade I listed church of St Peter and St Paul. “All I remember now is sitting inside for what must have been two hours and saying ‘Thank God for Lavenham’,” he writes.

 

SCM calls for radical overhaul of tuition fees

THE Student Christian Movement has said that the Government should go further in its review of higher-education funding, and create a system that allows fair access for all. On Monday, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would look into reforming the tuition-fee system, but ruled out completely scrapping it. She said that she supported the idea that students “who benefit directly from higher education should contribute directly towards the cost of it”. Adam Spiers, a member of SCM, told Premier Christian Radio: “Student debt looms over you. You’re always terrified of what you have and haven’t paid.” He suggested a system where university is “free at the point of need”, but is paid back by graduates later in life. He said: “More than £9000 a year in tuition fees is not good for poor and working-class people.”

 

Archdeacon of West Ham investigates priest story

ALLEGATIONS concerning the Vicar of All Saints’, West Ham, in east London, the Revd Stennett Kirby have appeared in The Sun on Sunday, which reported that it had filmed him taking a Class A drug. On Sunday, the Associate Minister of All Saints’, the Revd Stephen Chandler, told the congregation that the allegations were being investigated by the Archdeacon of West Ham, the Daily Mail reported. He said: “‘I am trying to support Stennett pastorally at this demanding time for him and he is very much in my prayers and Bishop Stephen’s [Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford], as are you all here at All Saints’. The article contains serious allegations with regard to drug-taking and other matters of an ethical nature. These allegations will now be investigated by the Archdeacon.”

 

Parish’s Lent course explores queer theology

ST BRIDE’s, Liverpool is offering a six-week programme to “explore the queerness of the Christian tradition” over Lent. Its course will include reading and discussing the book Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ people know about life and love and how it can revitalize Christianity by the Revd Elizabeth Edman, a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States. The group is being held every Wednesday. The LGBTQIA+ Ministry Facilitator at St Bride’s, Warren Hartley, said that the “Queer Virtue Lent study group is an excellent opportunity for us to do this together in a supportive community.”

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