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UK news in brief

17 July 2020


Brother Andrew and his “smuggler’s” VW in Romania, 1955

Brother Andrew and his “smuggler’s” VW in Romania, 1955

Open Doors celebrates 65 years

THE Christian charity Open Doors celebrated its 65th anniversary on Wednesday. It was founded on 15 July 1955 by the Dutch preacher Anne Van Der Bijl (known as Brother Andrew) who crossed the Iron Curtain to minister to churches in Warsaw. He began smuggling Bibles into the country and offering support to persecuted Christians there. Today, the charity does work in more than 60 nations, including advocacy work for religious minorities. Its chief executive, Henrietta Blyth, said: “We may no longer have the Iron Curtain, but persecution of Christians and religious minorities is greater than ever. Around 260 million people currently live in nations where they face serious persecution for practising their faith. While this continues, we are committed to ‘strengthening what remains’.”

Read more from Henrietta Blyth here 



Norwich diocese simplifies online giving

THE diocese of Norwich has added an online-giving button to its website to allow people to donate more easily. Visitors can enter the amount they want to give, and select either a church, parish, or benefice from the options. The donations will be received by the diocesan board of finance. A spokesman explained this week: “We naturally started the thinking around how money could be directly given to each church, but given every PCC is its own legal entity this would be a significant administrative burden to regularly direct donations across 450-plus bank accounts, and gets complex when looking at Gift Aided donations. Donations will therefore be made to the diocesan board of finance, and in turn these are automatically allocated towards each benefice’s parish-share contribution.” The diocese had faced a “significant drop” in parish-share income owing to Covid-19, he said. “Funds are needed to ensure clergy can continue to be paid and a core level of support can be given.” The button will also feature on the Exploring Norfolk Churches website in the next month.



Correction: Methodist Church House has asked for a clarification of our story from the Methodist Conference (News, 10 July). The £22.7-million budget, currently being revised in the light of the pandemic, is for issues arising from God For All, the Church’s evangelism and growth strategy, not the restructuring outlined in Reaffirming Our Calling.

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