Government has ‘failed’ on rural poverty
THE Government’s rejection of the Lords’ “comprehensive rural strategy” to save the English countryside from neglect is “deeply disappointing”, two Church of England bishops have warned. The Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, who is president of the Rural Coalition, and the Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, were among the nine signatories to a letter published in The Times last week. They write: “The failure to put in place a robust and properly funded rural strategy constitutes a worrying missed opportunity. . . Yet again the government’s attitude towards rural communities has left people feeling frustrated and ignored.”
Bishop of Stafford to retire at 66
THE Area Bishop of Stafford, in Lichfield diocese, the Rt Revd Geoff Annas, has announced his retirement. Bishop Annas, who is 66, said on Wednesday that he would be stepping down at the end of November. He was ordained in 1984, and served in Southwark diocese until 1994, when he moved to the diocese of Winchester. He was consecrated bishop in 2010. Bishop Annas said: “I do not regard myself as ‘retiring’ but simply joining that magnificent band of clergy and lay ministers. . . without whom the Church of England as we know it would collapse.”
Evangelical Alliance announces next CEO
THE next chief executive of the Evangelical Alliance is to be Gavin Calver, it has been announced. Mr Calver, an evangelist, public speaker, and author, has been the director of mission since 2015, and was previously the national director of Youth for Christ. He will succeed the current general director of Evangelical Alliance, Steve Clifford, who is due to step down later this year (News, 18 April).
Birmingham mortuary chapels to be given new roof
TWO Grade II listed mortuary chapels, in Brandwood End cemetery Kings Heath, Birmingham, are being saved from “slow deterioration” after being put on a list of most-neglected heritage buildings by the Victorian Society (News, 14 September 2018). The site is owned by the City Council, which has commissioned the company Acivico to carry out structural repair work of the chapels, including a new roof. The 1899 red-brick chapels had been closed for three decades and suffered from an arson attack in the 1990s. The council promised £76,000 to restore the chapels in 2012, but stringent local-government spending cuts meant that the promise had to be withdrawn.