Whitsey review taken down, pending ‘legal issue’
THE independent review into the Church’s handling of allegations concerning a former Bishop of Chester, the late Victor Whitsey, “has been taken down temporarily because a legal issue concerning the report has been raised which needs to be considered carefully”, a statement on the Church of England website on Wednesday of last week said. The report, published last month, found that Whitsey had been able to abuse at least 18 people, children and adults, male and female, without being challenged (News, 22 October).
Bishop: Put children first in fight against crime
THE Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, has urged the Government to protect vulnerable children from “evils such as county lines” and “look after them as children first and foremost rather than assets for fighting organised crime” in intelligence operations. He was speaking during a debate on the Government’s Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill at its Second Reading in the House of Lords, last week. While the Bill was a “necessary step” to protect the public, he said, “I am concerned that safeguards should be properly scrutinised, in particular when they concern the treatment of children. . . They are not to be used and must be protected.” In rare cases when children were being used, “then fixed protections need to be put in place.”
Church-led community initiatives awarded £60,000
A HOUSING advice surgery, Hope4All, in London, and a church-based cleaning company, Radiant Cleaners, in Nottingham, which employ people who have been homeless, have been awarded £30,000 each in this year’s “Project Lab” competition. It is run by the Cinnamon Network charity in partnership with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community, with funding from the Andrews Charitable Trust and Mercers’ Charitable Foundation. All finalists are invited to take part in a two-year mentoring, coaching, and development programme. Hope4All will use the money towards the provision of housing-advice training for churches; Radiant Cleaners plans to replicate its work and increase the number of homeless people it employs.
Restorer dies after fall from Birmingham church
A 64-YEAR-OLD man died last Friday after falling from the steeple of St Nicholas’, Kings Norton, in Birmingham, while he was carrying out restoration work. Emergency crews attended, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering serious injuries. The family of the deceased have been informed. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, and the Bishop of Aston, the Rt Revd Anne Hollinghurst, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of this tragic incident. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family and all affected by this tragedy.”
Sandford St Martin Awards to focus on pandemic
THE 2021 Sandford St Martin Awards have opened for entries and nominations on the theme: “Broadcasting in the Time of Corona”. Two new awards have been added to the annual prize-giving, which were held online this year (News, 12 June). They are the Trustees’ Corona Content Award for broadcast programmes or reports that explored the pandemic or lockdown through a religious lens; and the Community Award for broadcast projects that specifically supported religious communities during the pandemic. The Executive Director of the Sandford St Martin Trust, Anna McNamee, said: “We’re looking to recognise and celebrate broadcasting that reflects how we are living and seeing the world now and how people’s personal beliefs inform and contribute to that experience.” sandfordawards.org.uk/enter-the-2021-awards
RC bishop makes Covid appeal for prisoners
THE Roman Catholic Bishop of Arundel & Brighton, the Rt Revd Richard Moth, who is the lead RC bishop for prisons, has urged the Government to go further in its protection of prisoners and staff during the pandemic. During the first lockdown, he wrote to the Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland QC, calling for vulnerable prisoners who did not pose a threat to the public, including pregnant women and new mothers, to be released (News, 29 May). In a second letter this week, he writes: “As we face a second wave, I hope that you will consider measures to counter the growing number of Covid-19 outbreaks among prisoners and staff by extending the Early Conditional Temporary Release Scheme. Through releasing some prisoners who pose a low risk of harm and who are nearing the end of their sentences, it may be possible to ease pressure on the prison estate.”