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UK news in brief

14 August 2020


Chopsticks at the eucharist: the Priest-in-Charge of St Mary’s, Gainford, and St Andrew’s, Winston, in Durham, the Revd Eileen Harrop, administers the consecrated bread at holy communion using chopsticks as an extra coronavirus precaution. She told the Northern Echo on Monday: “The long chopsticks I use are normally used for the festive occasion Lo Hei, meaning ‘Stir the uplifted breath of life.’ They take on an even greater meaning used in this context.” See gallery for more UK picture stories

Chopsticks at the eucharist: the Priest-in-Charge of St Mary’s, Gainford, and St Andrew’s, Winston, in Durham, the Revd Eileen Harrop, administers the...


Special Synod meeting called for September

THE Archbishops of Canterbury and York have called for a special session of the General Synod on Thursday 24 September to push through a draft Measure that, if passed, will allow the Synod to meet remotely in November and subsequently if necessary. In a letter to members last month, the Archbishops wrote: “Standing Order 2(6)(b), provides that in circumstances of special urgency or importance, the Presidents of the General Synod may summon a special session. We consider that such circumstances exist.” The Synod was required by law to approve the Archbishops’ Council’s budget and the Fees Orders for 2021, it says. “Other business the Synod needs to address without delay includes amending safeguarding legislation to take account of recommendations from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and the giving of final approval to the Cathedrals Measure.” The meeting will be held physically at Church House, Westminster, to comply with existing legislation, but the Archbishops hope to organise a quorum to attend, to comply with social-distancing measures, “although no Synod member can be denied admission”. www.churchofengland.org/more/policy-and-thinking/work-general-synod


Faith leaders: Plight of Uighurs must be investigated

A GROUP of 39 faith leaders, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams, and the Bishops of Truro, Coventry, St Albans, Southwark, Chelmsford, and Rochester, have called for an immediate investigation into “the potential genocide of the Uighurs and other Muslims in China” (News, 31 July, 16 August 2019). In a letter to The Guardian last Saturday, signatories including clergy, rabbis, and imams around the world write: “The clear aim of the Chinese authorities is to eradicate the Uighur identity. . . As faith leaders, we are neither activists nor policymakers. But we have a duty to call our communities to their responsibilities to look after their fellow human beings and act when they are in danger.”


Homelessness will soar, Salvation Army warns

HOMELESSNESS and rough-sleeping will soar if the Government fails to find proper funding for support services in the Autumn Budget, the Salvation Army warns in a report, Future-Proof the Roof, published yesterday. The UK moved into recession for the first time in 11 years, on Wednesday. The report says that the economic consequences of the pandemic will increase rough-sleeping and force families into “expensive and unsuitable” temporary accommodation, as local authorities struggle to manage. Its newly appointed director of homelessness services, Lorrita Johnson, said that it was not too late to prevent the increase, but, “if the Government mirrors the austerity approach it took during the last economic crisis, there will be dire consequences for rough-sleepers, private renters, and the economy as a whole.” The report recommends that the Government improve data collection, maintain the rate of investment, and provide a steady supply of suitable homes.


Bishop stops work for leukaemia treatment

THE Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, has stepped back from his work to undergo treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia. He was diagnosed last month. In a letter to his diocese last week, he said: “I am really grateful to the doctors who I have been seeing and for the speed in which treatment is to be provided.” The Bishop of Taunton, in Bath & Wells diocese, the Rt Revd Ruth Worsley, who began a period of annual leave and sabbatical just two weeks ago, will return at the start of next month. She said: “I realise the news of Bishop Peter’s illness will come as a shock to us all, and we send him, Jane, and the family our love and our commitment to pray for him daily.”


Methodists reproach HSBC over security law

THE Methodist Church has urged HSBC to reconsider its support for new security laws introduced by the Chinese government in Hong Kong (News, 5 June). In a letter to the chief executive of the bank, of which the Church is a longstanding client, the Methodists’ director of finance and resources, Matt Tattersall, and the chief executive of the Central Finance Board, David Palmer, wrote: “It is with grave disappointment that we observe your continued support for the new security laws introduced by the Chinese Government in Hong Kong. . . These laws are contrary to the 1997 handover agreement with the United Kingdom, a threat to democracy, and interfere with human rights of Hong Kong citizens. Your support of them is of deep concern to the Methodist Church, and we urge you to reconsider your support of them as a matter of urgency.”

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