Bishop of Stafford welcomes football manager’s faith
THE Bishop of Stafford, the Rt Revd Geoff Annas, has said that it is “impressive” that Stoke City’s new manager, Nathan Jones, talks honestly about his faith. Bishop Annas said last week: “It’s so impressive that Nathan is able to talk openly and honestly about his faith, and it’s particularly great that he has found strength from this during times of adversity.” Mr Jones, who regularly attends church, was hired by Stoke from Luton Town, replacing Gary Rowett. Bishop Annas said: “We would certainly pray for promotion should he ask us to.” Stoke are 15th in the Championship. Mr Jones told the Football League Paper in 2006: “Through the hard times I’ve always had the stability of the Lord in my life, and my family background has kept me on the straight and narrow. I believe everything is God’s will.”
MPs call for end to parliamentary prayers
A GROUP of cross-party MPs have backed a motion that calls for an end to prayers in the House of Commons. The Early Day Motion, proposed by the Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, is: “That this House recognises that religious worship should not play any part in the formal business of the House of Commons; believes that parliamentary meetings should be conducted in a manner equally welcoming to all attendees, irrespective of their personal beliefs; further believes that Parliamentary Prayers are not compatible with a society which respects the principle of freedom of and from religion; urges that prayers should not form part of the official business of Parliament; and calls on the Procedure Committee to consider alternative arrangements.” It is backed by Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrat, and independent MPs.
Cashless tourists given another option by Cumbria churches
VISTORS to churches in Cumbria will be able to donate via their mobile phone, in a scheme being piloted by the diocese of Carlisle. At the request of the Church Commissioners, six churches are taking part. They will each be provided with banners including a Quick Response (QR) barcode that visitors can scan for access to a donation page for the church. “Fewer and fewer people are actually paying for things with cash these days, as contactless and electronic payments are made ever easier,” the diocese’s stewardship enabler, Sophie Hodge, said.
Gambling industry accused of ‘targeting’ children
CHILDREN are the next target of a gambling industry which shows “little inclination to take any form of responsibility”, the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, told the Daily Express this week. Under-18s were “inundated with more than three gambling adverts a day”, and 90 per cent of pubs failed to stop children from gambling on fruit machines. In the House of Lords on Tuesday, he reported that 55,000 teenagers were now classified as “problem gamblers”, and asked the Government what it was doing to regulate online advertising.
Churches asked to get botanical
A SURVEY monitoring the health of UK habitats is to launch on 20 March, and churches have been asked to participate. The National Plant Survey is open to all, and results will run until September. The aim is to “provide government scientists with crucial, never-seen-before stats to help them begin to understand just what is going on in our habitats”.
Sing with the Kingdom Choir
THE gospel choir that sang at the wedding of Duke and Duchess of Sussex last year, the Kingdom Choir, is inviting young singers to join them on their 18-date UK tour in April and May. Choirs must send a YouTube link to one of their performances, and complete an application form which is available on the website surveymonkey.co.uk/r/V29PMM2.
Correction. Last week’s legal report “Remains of alleged abuser to be exhumed” (News, 11 January) was incorrectly attributed. It was by our legal correspondent Shiranikha Herbert.