Area Bishop of Reading to retire
THE Area Bishop of Reading, in the diocese of Oxford, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud, has announced his retirement. He expects to fulfil his last official engagement on Easter Day next year. In a letter to his flock in Berkshire, he wrote: “It has been such a joy to ordain deacons and priests and see them grow and move on, and to have had the privilege of baptising and confirming so many.” Bishop Proud served as Chaplain of St Matthew’s, Addis Ababa, and was consecrated to serve Bishop of Ethiopia & the Horn of Africa in 2007, before his translation to Reading in 2011. A farewell service will be held in Reading Minster on 1 May.
Malmesbury institution goes ahead
THE Revd Oliver Ross has been instituted as Vicar of Malmesbury and Upper Avon, in Bristol diocese, despite the diocese of London’s having “identified serious breaches of employment law” at St Katherine Cree and St Olave, in the City of London, where he served as Priest-in-Charge until leaving to take up the new post (News, 13 July). A London diocesan spokesperson said: “The Home Office was notified and investigations into these breaches are continuing — however, Oliver Ross’s conduct is not the focus. Bristol diocese has been kept informed of these developments and we understand that the Revd Oliver Ross’s rearranged licensing has taken place.” A statement from the Bristol diocese confirmed that “Oliver has now begun his ministry.”
SOUTHWELL MINSTERA group of Maasai Cricket Warriors from Kenya in Southwell Minster, last week. They were in the UK last month on a tour to raise awareness of gender inequality, FGM, and modern slavery, among other issues. The warriors were given a tour of the cathedral, and then put on a lively traditional display, before attending Evensong
Views on God’s gender are surveyed
ONE per cent of Christians in the UK believe that God is female, a new survey by YouGov suggests. The most common perception of the 1219 Christians respondents to the survey was that God had no human gender: 41 per cent held this view. More than one third (36 per cent) said that they believed God to be male; three per cent said that God had a human gender identity that was neither male nor female; and 19 per cent said that they did not know. Christian women were more likely to believe that God was male than Christian men: 41 per cent compared with 30 per cent. A total of 3228 adults took part in the YouGov survey last month.
Former rector convicted of sex abuse dies in prison
CANON Terence Grigg, a former Rector of Cottingham and Prebendary of York Minster, who was found guilty of 14 counts of indecent and serious sexual assault at Hull Crown Court last month and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment, has died (News, 10 August). He was 84. The offences, against five victims, are said to have taken place between 1973 and 1996 in Hull, Devon, and London. The Prison Service said that he had died in hospital on 23 August, but did not disclose details.
Interim Director of Ministry appointed
THE Revd Dr Mandy Ford has been appointed Interim Director of Ministry for the Church of England. She takes the post on secondment from the diocese of Southwark, where she is Director of Ministerial Education and Canon Chancellor of Southwark Cathedral. Canon Ford was brought up in Hong Kong. She moved to London as an art student, and worked as a printmaker and later a primary-school teacher before her ordination in 2000. She has since served parishes in Leicester and London. She succeeds the Ven. Julian Hubbard, Director of Ministry for the past seven years.
Alban Books ceases operations
ALBAN BOOKS ceased operations as of 31 August, it has been announced. It was set up by in 1995 to provide sales, marketing, distribution, and customer services in the UK to five religious publishers in the United States. It had been distributing to the UK and overseas for eight publishers when it closed. A statement from Orbis Books and William B. Eerdmans Publishers, who provided grants to fund the running of Alban Books, said that the operation had become “untenable” during “a turbulent time” for bookselling. “After much analysis and deliberation, we have to advise that Alban Books has ceased operations effective Friday, August 31st, 2018,” it said, “We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of the Alban staff over the years, and especially most recently, as it became clear that this difficult decision had to be made.” The distributor had at least four staff, including the managing director, Jonny Gallant.