New Bishop of Ramsbury announced
THE next Suffragan Bishop of Ramsbury, in Salisbury diocese, is to be the Revd Dr Andrew Rumsey, Team Rector in the Oxted Team Ministry, in Southwark diocese, it was announced on Monday. He is the author of Parish: An Anglican theology of place (Books, 21 July 2017), and was formerly Vicar of Gipsy Hill. Dr Rumsey, who is 50, is married to Rebecca, an executive coach, and they have three children in their teens. He was trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and both he and his wife have been involved in the Greenbelt festival and have attended New Wine. He said that he looked forward to working in Wiltshire: “At a time of rapid change in our society, the enduring strength of the Church of England is its commitment to local communities, in all parts of the country.”
Temporary marriage and polygamy receive backing
AN OPINION poll for the Coalition for Marriage (C4M) has found that 32 per cent of respondents aged 18 to 24 supported polygamy, while 24 per cent were in favour of temporary marriage contracts. Fluid arrangements were supported by 30 per cent. The survey of 2000 people was carried out by ComRes for the study, which was published this week. The chairman of C4M, Colin Hart, said that the results were “deeply worrying” and a “wake-up call”: “It shows that despite all the rhetoric from the Government about the importance of marriage, they are failing to get this message through.”
Scottish Primus sounds Brexit warning
THERE must be a solution to Brexit which was based not on “party-political ideology”, but on the “needs and aspirations of all the people of Scotland”, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Mark Strange, wrote in The Times this week. He was watching the Brexit “debacle” with a “sense of despair and disbelief”, and stated: “When I hear politicians say that any downturn in economic prosperity is worthwhile, I realise that they are not speaking on behalf of many families who are already struggling to provide the basics.”
Hull Minster awarded Lottery grant
HULL MINSTER, a Grade I listed church, has received £97,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund Resilient Grant Fund to help secure its future, it was announced on Wednesday. The money will be used to appoint consultants to examine the 700-year-old building’s conservation needs. The Vicar, Canon Neal Barnes, said: “Our ambition is that the church’s heritage will be well maintained and self-sustainable and that our conservation needs are supported and funded, contributing to the quality and growth of Hull’s visitor economy.” The funding follows the completion of the second phase of a £4.5-million development project, which has involved a reordering of the nave as a space for worship and cultural, artistic, community, and corporate events. The Minster has previously received £228,000 for roof repairs (Features, 20 October 2017).
Let asylum-seekers work, faith groups say
ASYLUM-seekers should be allowed to work six months after they have entered the UK, representatives of a coalition of faith groups have said. In a letter to The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, the faith leaders write: “We must ensure we provide a route out of poverty for those seeking asylum.” The chairman of the C of E’s Mission and Public Affairs Council, Mark Sheard, was one of the signatories. In an article for The Times, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman MP, writes that she is calling on the Government to “allow asylum seekers to contribute to the economy, utilise their many skills, live independent lives and become members of the community by allowing them to work”.
Westminster MPs back Abortion Bill for Northern Ireland
THE Labour backbencher Diana Johnson’s Private Member’s Bill to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland was passed by MPs on its first reading on Tuesday by 208 votes to 123, and is due to have its second reading on 23 November. It is unlikely to complete its passage without government support. Downing Street has expressed the view that the matter is one for the Northern Ireland Executive, to be decided by local representatives. Owing to the power-sharing impasse, the Assembly in Stormont has not met since March last year.