Archdeacon to be Dean of Newcastle
THE next Dean of Newcastle is to be the Ven. Geoffrey Miller, Archdeacon of Northumberland, in that diocese. He has been Acting Dean since January, and will be installed as Dean later this year. Archdeacon Miller is a former Diocesan Urban (Development) Officer and Social Responsibility Officer, and Residentiary Canon. After studying at Durham and Newcastle Univesities, and training at St John’s College, Nottingham, he served his title in Jarrow, Durham, in 1983, and was a parish priest in Durham diocese until his move to Newcastle in 1999. The Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, said: “He has played a pivotal role in our diocese for many years, and is deeply committed to serving our communities.”
Foodbanks are sign of the state’s failure, says bishop
THE Area Bishop of Colchester, in Chelmsford diocese, the Rt Revd Roger Morris, has criticised the Government for failing to protect people in poverty in the UK and leaving churches and foodbanks to “pick up the pieces”. Addressing the AGM of the Colchester Foodbank on Wednesday afternoon, he said: “The foodbank, brilliant though it is, is a sign that on the whole we have failed. . . And our failures as Government, as society, as a so-called welfare state, are then mopped up by the third sector. Not-for-profit organisations, volunteers, and good old-fashioned charity are used to try and repair the gaping holes in the fraying safety net of our benefits system. It is ultimately wrong, unjust, inhuman that people should be plunged into such a state of desperation and degradation in the first place.” The Bishop proposed that the Government raise benefits; scrap the two-child limit on tax credit and Universal Credit; pay Universal Credit on time; “stop treating disability claimants as if they do not deserve help”; “stop treating migrants harshly”; and stop “passing the buck” or hiding behind failed systems.
Renters taxed disproportionately, campaigners argue
THE Revd Paul Nicolson, of the campaign group Taxpayers Against Poverty, and Fred Harrison, of the Land Research Trust, have urged the Government and landowners to prioritise UK residents’ well-being. Addressing the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Land Value Capture, in Westminster on Wednesday afternoon, they stated: “It is time for the landowners, landlords, and land speculators to share progressively for the common good the vast unearned increases in the value of their land. The seven million tenants in the UK get none of that. They cannot escape pay-as-you-earn income tax or council tax. Their low incomes carry a disproportionate share of taxation and ever higher rents, which are putting their mental and physical health and well-being daily at risk. A Land Value Tax ought to replace council tax, business rates, stamp duty, and maybe some income tax, and definitely some tax avoidance. Land cannot be parked tax-free in a tax haven.”
Slap ends ministry: Fr Jacques Lacroix, an 89-year-old Roman Catholic priest in Champeaux, Meaux diocese, in France, has been forced to retire from ministry after a video in which he was seen to slap a crying two-year-old boy at a baptism, after telling him to calm down, was viewed widely on social media