*** DEBUG END ***

UK news in brief

23 February 2018


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.”

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.)