Archbishop condemns charity dinner
THE Archbishop of Canterbury described the Presidents’ Club charity dinner as “sickening and horrendous sexual harassment”, after the Financial Times reported that hostesses had been groped and sexually harassed at the male-only event. Archbishop Welby said that it was “disgusting” behaviour. “It is about people who are exercising power . . . and exercising it brutally and selfishly. It is the absence of the Kingdom of God.” Great Ormond Street Hospital, a recipient of funds from the event, pledged to return the money received.
Bishop in Europe’s update on British citizens’ rights
THE Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, has published an update on Brexit negotiations, setting out how they affect citizens’ rights for British people in the EU. Dr Innes has laid out key details in the talks, including the part played by the European Court of Justice, after Brexit.
RC bishops urge Government to help child refugees
LEADING English and Scottish Roman Catholic bishops have urged the Government to commit itself to helping refugees in Calais, after the signing of the Sandhurst Treaty between the UK and France last week. The RC Lead Bishop for Asylum and Migration for England and Wales, the Rt Revd Paul McAleenan, and the RC President of Justice and Peace Scotland, Bishop William Nolan, deplored the fact that more unaccompanied child refugees had not been allowed into the UK. They said: “The innate God-given dignity of all human life, especially that of innocent children, must not be ignored.”
Primary school backs down over hijab ban
AFTER fierce criticism, St Stephen’s Primary School, in Newham, east London, has reversed its plan to ban hijabs (News, 10 January) for girls under eight, and to stop children at the school fasting during Ramadan. Last Friday, the chairman of governors at St Stephen’s, Arif Qawi, resigned over the matter. Critics accused the school of having an “Islamophobic agenda”. The Conservative MP Robert Halfon, who chairs the Education Select Committee, told The Sunday Times that it was “wrong” that the school had been attacked. More than 19,000 people had signed a petition against the ban, labelling the school “oppressive”.
Foodbank theft leads to offers of help
PEOPLE from across north-west England are helping to replenish food and clothing worth thousands of pounds, which was stolen from St James’s, Accrington, in Lancashire, last week. Tins of food and clothing were stolen in the raid, and the church’s CD player was broken. The Vicar, the Revd Ian Enticott, said “I’m experiencing a mixture of emotions today: sadness, because of what has happened — a theft of food and clothing destined for the most vulnerable in society — but I’m also thankful for the generosity of friends and strangers who have been calling with offers of help and assistance.”
Priest appears in court on historic abuse charges
THE Revd Derek Spencer, the former Rector of Sullingham and Thakeham, in West Sussex, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of inciting a girl under the age of 16 to commit an act of gross indecency at a school in Essex between July 2001 and July 2002. The offences are alleged to have taken place at a church-supported youth camp that is unconnected to the school, and Mr Spencer was not an ordained priest at the time.