Bishops welcome introduction of online safety laws
GOVERNMENT proposals to tackle online abuse and extremism have been welcomed by bishops. The Online Harms White Paper, published on Monday, will legislate for a new statutory duty of care by social-media firms and the appointment of an independent regulator. The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, said on Monday: “It’s about time that social-media companies are held responsible for their content and are accountable for their actions. No other organisation in the ‘real’ world has that freedom.” The Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, wrote in the Daily Telegraph on Monday: “We need an international treaty-level approach to defining the moral norms and standards for the online world, because like the sea, the waves of the internet wash up on every continent and we have to regard them as deserving of the same attention if we are to harvest their pearls as well as avoid the sharks.” The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, was a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications, which urged for these laws to be introduced.
Church Army CEO moves to the Children’s Society
Mark Russell, the Chief Executive of Church Army since 2006, is to become the new CEO of the Children’s Society, it was announced last week. Mr Russell is a member of the General Synod and the Archbishops’ Council, and an Hon. Lay Canon of Worcester Cathedral. He said: “I am enthusiastic about the Children’s Society’s audacious strategy to disrupt disadvantage, supporting young people to not just survive, but thrive. I am determined to strengthen the charity’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and I look forward to fighting for change to build a country where vulnerable children can have better lives.”
Launch of campaign for equal marriage in the C of E
A NEW campaign calling for same-sex marriage to be allowed in the C of E has been set up. Equal, the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England, was launched today, the fifth anniversary of the marriage of Canon
Jeremy Pemberton and Laurence Cunnington (News, 12 September 2014). In a press release, the campaign said that its aims were: same-sex marriage in the C of E; no discrimination against lay or ordained people in the C of E in same-sex marriages; and that the “consciences of everyone should be protected”.
Education Secretary backs schools in LGBT-lessons row
THE Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has said that parents should not be able to veto LGBT lessons, as they are the school’s responsibility. In a letter to the National Association of Head Teachers, Mr Hind wrote: “We want schools to consult parents, listen to their views, and make reasonable assumptions about how to proceed,” but “what is taught, and how, is ultimately a decision for the school.” His intervention follows parent-led protests at Parkfield Community School, Birmingham, earlier this year, against teaching pupils about LGBT people and their relationships.
Selby Abbey seeks Maundy Money relatives
AS PART of its 950th anniversary celebrations, Selby Abbey is looking for relatives of those people who received Maundy Money from the Queen in 1969. The Abbey is commemorating the 50th anniversary of that event with a service on Palm Sunday at 6.30 p.m. It will replicate the prayers and choral music used for the Royal Maundy 50 years ago. The Vicar of Selby Abbey, Canon John Weetman, said: “We’d love to hear from anyone whose relatives were amongst the 43 women and 43 men who would have received the Maundy Money, and we’ll invite them to experience the same music and worship that were used 50 years ago.”