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UK news in brief

17 January 2020


Record number: 58 people, the largest group so far, were commissioned as authorised lay ministers, by the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, at a service in Chichester Cathedral on Saturday. See gallery for more picture stories

Record number: 58 people, the largest group so far, were commissioned as authorised lay ministers, by the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner...


No ringing-in of Brexit, says bell-ringers’ council

THE Central Council of Church Bell Ringers has said that it “does not endorse bell ringing for political reasons” in response to a Leave-driven campaign for church bells to be rung on 31 January when Britain exits from the European Union. A spokeswoman said in a statement this week: “There are historical moments for which bells have been rung — end of world wars for example. . . However, the Central Council, as a principle, does not endorse bell ringing for political reasons. Individual towers have discretion to ring for such occasions but is on a case by case basis and typically needs permission from the incumbent.” The Leave-campaign website published a statement last week calling for bells to be rung on “the most momentous morning” since VE Day.


Vicar who kept £60,000 in wedding fees banned from ministry

THE former Vicar of St Jude with St Aidan, Thornton Heath, Nathan Ntege, has been given a lifetime ban from ministry by the Bishops’ Disciplinary Panel for the diocese of Southwark for wrongfully retaining about £60,000 in wedding fees and failing to properly maintain the marriage register. The fees from 475 weddings collected by the incumbent between 2007 and 2011 should have gone to the diocesan board of finance. The complaint was brought by the Archdeacon of Croydon, the Ven. Christopher Skilton, in 2017. Three years previously, Mr Ntege was accused of conducting nearly 500 sham marriages between 2007 and 2011, to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country, but the case against him collapsed. A spokesman for the diocese said on Wednesday: “As the Revd Ntege has sought leave to appeal, the diocese will not be making any comment whilst the process is in train.” The full judgement of the tribunal can be found at www.churchofengland.org/about/leadership-and-governance/legal-services/clergy-discipline/tribunal-decisions. As the Revd Ntege has sought leave to appeal, the diocese will not be making any comment whist the process is in train.


Church science project receives £3.4 million

A PROJECT to encourage ordinands in the Church of England to learn and preach about the latest developments in science has received £3.4 million from the Templeton Religion Trust. Theological colleges and courses will bid for grants through the Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS) project, which is being run by the Universities of Durham and York in partnership with the Church. The Trust money will also fund more conferences for senior church leaders and clergy on areas of scientific interest and help to expand the C of E’s Scientists in Congregations scheme (News, 9 September 2016).


Wakefield foodbank vandalised for third time

A CHURCH-RUN foodbank in Wakefield was forced to close this week after being vandalised for a third time since October. A statement on St Catherine’s Church Centre Facebook page on Monday read: “Due to the damage from this recent mindless act we have had to close today. We are having to turn people away with nothing — people are going hungry today. Hundreds of pounds worth of food will also have to be thrown away as it is contaminated. Staff and volunteers are so upset.” The centre has since reopened, and a fundraising page has been set up.


Do these ten things in 2020, bishop tells Liverpudlians

THE Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, is encouraging people to “do ten things that will make a difference” in the world in 2020, such as supporting a charity, volunteering at a foodbank, donating blood, or supporting people with mental illness. “Do Ten Things is a simple idea,” he said. “It calls us to find things we wouldn’t normally do to make the world a better place. Of course, ‘ten’ does not limit our lives, and no one will be penalised if they do 11. Yet for many of us the initial challenge is being able to think of ten, and if we can’t then we might get discouraged and give up.”

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