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UK news in brief

29 March 2018


The Archdeacon of Rochester, the Ven. Simon Burton-Jones

The Archdeacon of Rochester, the Ven. Simon Burton-Jones

Simpsons fan to be Bishop of Tonbridge

THE Archdeacon of Rochester, the Ven. Simon Burton-Jones, who is 55, is to be the next Suffragan Bishop of Tonbridge, in the diocese of Rochester. He was born in Fleetwood and ordained in the diocese of Blackburn in 1993, after studying law at Cambridge University and working for the Jubilee Centre, a Christian social-reform organisation. Before his present appointment, he served in parishes in the diocese of Rochester. He has said that he will focus on evangelism and growth, and lead work on education, youth and children, and community engagement. “We are living in an era of extraordinary, almost unprecedented, change,” he said on Tuesday. “What we need to develop as a Church is this sense that God is before us, and we can have trust and confidence in him to face these challenges together.” A press release said that he had “spent far too much of his life watching The Simpsons”.


Council tax hits the poorest hardest, says study

THE poorest people in London pay, as as proportion of income, six times more in council tax than the highest earners, new analysis from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) suggests. The tax constitutes 8.1 per cent of income for those in the lowest decile, and 1.3 per cent for those in the highest. Even if all those eligible took up council-tax support — the research notes “poor take-up” — the burden would still be three times higher. “Council tax is a poor tax. It hits the poorest hardest, it is increasingly not fit for purpose, and is in dire need of reform,” Luke Murphy, an IPPR director, said. “It is increasingly regressive with regard to property value. The only recent reform of any significance — the devolution and cut to council-tax support — has increased the burden on the poorest.”


Church Army officer to lead Blackpool estates mission

A LEAD evangelist for a Church Army Centre of Mission on Grange Park, part of the diocese of Blackburn’s mission to reach deprived urban estates, was appointed this week: Captain Matthew Rowley CA, family and youth worker at Christ Church with All Saints, Blackpool. He will be licensed for his new ministry by the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, on 19 June, and will work with St Mark’s, Layton, and St Luke’s, Staining, to expand work that is already under way. He will also help to set up a network to help parishes support one another in mission and evangelism. The funding will come out of a £1.54-million strategic development grant awarded to the diocese in December (News, 15 December).


Admission fees are a cunning plan, says Robinson

DEANS and Chapters who charge visitors for entry to cathedrals have been defended by the comedian Tony Robinson, whose new Channel 5 television series, Britain’s Great Cathedrals, starts tomorrow. “I think York gets it right,” he told The Yorkshire Post this week. “These places are money pits and without the income they receive from visitors they would begin to crumble. . . We no longer live in the 19th century when wages were so low these great big cathedrals could easily afford to have 100 workers on-site without worrying about how they were going to pay the wage bills.”


RON JEFFRIESDonkey work: the Revd Kate Lovesey, Priest-in-Charge of St Peter’s Aldborough Hatch, Essex, with two donkeys before the church’s Palm Sunday procession last week

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