Archdeacon to be consecrated for see of Stafford
THE next Area Bishop of Stafford, in the diocese of Lichfield, is to be the Ven. Matthew Parker, Archdeacon of Stoke-upon-Trent, in the same diocese, since 2013, it was announced yesterday. He succeeds the Rt Revd Geoff Annas, who retired last year. Archdeacon Parker, who is 57, trained for ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, after studying at Manchester and Cambridge Universities. After a curacy in Twickenham, London, he served in Stockport, and then as Team Rector and Rural Dean of Leek from 2007. He is married to Sarah, a Research and Development Officer for a national charity, and they have three grown-up children. The consecration service is set for 28 January, followed by the Bishop’s installation in Lichfield Cathedral on 7 February.
County-lines victims unsupported, says Children’s Society
SUPPORT for the rising numbers of children being recruited into county lines during the pandemic is “inconsistent and often insufficient”, the Children’s Society has warned. Figures released by the Government this week show that county-lines referrals to the National Referral Mechanism (the system for identifying victims of modern slavery) more than doubled from 199 to 409 between the first and second quarters of 2020. Of the 409 total referrals, 346 (85 per cent) were for children. The policy manager at the Children’s Society, Iryna Pona, said: “We saw through our frontline services how criminals continued to cynically groom and exploit vulnerable children to traffic drugs during lockdown. . . Even when children are assessed to be victims of child criminal exploitation, the support they receive remains inconsistent and often insufficient.” The Government should introduce into law a national strategy to tackle child criminal exploitation, she said.
Churches to hold third ‘Safeguarding Sunday’
THE safeguarding charity Thirtyone:eight is encouraging churches across the country to hold a Safeguarding Sunday on 11 October, or another Sunday of their choosing. The campaign, now in its third year, is an opportunity for churches to “highlight all they are doing to create safer places and explain what they have in place to safeguard vulnerable people”, its chief executive, Justin Humphreys, said this week. “We often find safeguarding can be seen as a burden, an enforced requirement that must be met, a legal box that must be ticked, but it is so much more than that.” Churches can register at thirtyoneeight.org.