Bishop of Rochester announces retirement
THE Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, announced on Tuesday that he will retire at the end of July 2021. He has served as diocesan bishop for ten years. He chaired the committee which brought forward the legislation that enabled women to be ordained as bishops; has been Bishop to HM Prisons, which the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, will take over. He has spoken in the House of Lords on issues such as homelessness and criminal justice. Bishop Langstaff said on Tuesday: “While there have been immense challenges . . . I have discerned God to be at work here, as churches, through their energy, commitment, and partnerships with others, have made a difference to their communities. If I have been able to play a small part in enabling that to happen, I am grateful.”
Festival benefits from culture-recovery grant
THE Three Choirs Festival has been awarded a share of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund announced by Government this week in support of organisations challenged by the pandemic. The festival, which was held virtually this year (News, 24 July), was one of 1385 cultural and creative organisations in England to benefit from the first round of grants, which is being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds are to be announced in the coming weeks. The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations. . . It will protect these special places, save jobs, and help the culture sector’s recovery.” The chief executive of the festival, Alexis Paterson, said: “We are incredibly grateful to have received this funding. It’s the springboard from which we can start to recover after this year of cancellations.”
Palliative-care doctors oppose assisted dying
MOST palliative-care doctors (70 per cent) believe that the British Medical Association (BMA) should not support a change in the law to permit physician-assisted dying, a new BMA survey published last Thursday suggests. Almost 30,000 BMA members (about 19 per cent) responded to the poll in February. Fewer than half (44 per cent) of geriatricians were opposed to a law change; 27 per cent were in favour. About 40 per cent of GPs were opposed; 34 per cent were in favour. The BMA currently opposes assisted dying in all forms. The chief executive of Care Not Killing, Dr Gordon Macdonald, said: “It is clear that, as in recent similar surveys, we are seeing strongest opposition to changing the law from those medics actually working most closely with terminally ill, elderly, and disabled patients.”
Hull vicar and congregation leave C of E
A “NEW Anglican network” of churches, the Christ Church Network, was formed in August, outside Church of England structures, after the Vicar of St John’s, Newland, the Revd Melvin Tinker, staff members, and many members of the congregation left. In an article on the Anglican Mainstream website on Tuesday, Mr Tinker, who retired last month as Vicar of St John’s, a conservative Evangelical church, said that more than 550 people (including children) had joined three new churches in Hull: Christ Church, Newland; Christ Church, Riverside; and Christ Church, Orchard Park. The churches, which describe themselves as “independent evangelical Anglican”, are overseen by the Newland Christian Trust (NCT) a registered charity and a limited company. Mr Tinker described the C of E as “a corrupt and corrupting” denomination, which was “biblically irreformable”. As he approached retirement, he and the PCC were concerned “that I would not be replaced with someone of the same theological convictions — a consistent evangelical”. Canon Erik Wilson has been appointed Interim Minister of St John’s.
Wycliffe appoints first artist in residence
WYCLIFFE HALL, Oxford, has appointed its first artist in residence, David Clifton, who is a former director of music and worship leader for Holy Trinity, Brompton, and composer of the worship song Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow. Mr Clifton, who works with ceramics, will be producing artwork for the college, as well as teaching and mentoring students, leading worship, and writing new songs. The Principal, Michael Lloyd, said: “I am thrilled at this appointment. I have long wanted to have an Artist in Residence at Wycliffe, because human beings are made in the image of the Creator and are therefore intrinsically creative. . . I know he will help Wycliffe to up its game in the musical expression of worship.”
ACC mission director steps down
THE Director for Mission for the Anglican Consultative Council, Canon John Kafwanka, has announced that he will be stepping down in December to become Vicar of St Augustine of Canterbury, Whitton, in London. He has been in post 11 years. He said: “During this period, many relationships and friendships have been built within the Anglican Communion and ecumenically, which have immensely enriched my life and my faith. I have learnt a lot and I am going away far richer in my faith and personal friendships than when I came.” The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Rt Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said: “We give thanks for his service as a leader and a colleague and wish him and his family God’s richest blessing in the future.”
Colchester church ruins given protected status
THE remains of an ancient church in Colchester which were excavated more than 40 years ago have been given scheduled monument status by Historic England, it was reported this week. Urgent repairs to the foundations, thought to have been built at the end of the Roman occupation, c.320, have already been carried out by the Colchester Archaeological Trust at the request of the High Steward of Colchester, Sir Bob Russell (News, 21 August). Further restoration work commissioned by the Council was completed in August and the ruins dedicated by the Area Bishop of Colchester, the Rt Revd Roger Morris.