Bishop of Repton to move to Lichfield
THE Bishop of Repton in the diocese of Derby, the Rt Revd Jan McFarlane, is to become an Honorary Assistant Bishop in the diocese of Lichfield and a Residentiary Canon of Lichfield Cathedral, it was announced this week. Bishop McFarlane will take up the new post in April. “I came to the diocese knowing there would be a vacancy-in-see to cover,” she said. “The completion of that task has coincided with the silver anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood and much reflection, during my recent sabbatical, on the past 26 years since I was ordained at Lichfield Cathedral. In addition, following five years of hospital visits, I have been formally declared in remission from cancer. All of this together has led to a desire to live life at a different pace.” The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Libby Lane, said: “She has offered both care and challenge in a time of transition. . . She will be greatly missed.”
Priest lodges new age-discrimination claim
THE Revd Paul Williamson, who is fighting the requirement that he must resign as Priest-in-Charge of St George’s, Hanworth, having reached the age of 70, has lodged a new claim against the diocese of London on the grounds of age and religious discrimination. A tribunal hearing earlier this month declared his claim a nullity (News, 24 January), but Mr Williamson has obtained leave of the High Court to proceed with a new claim, and this has now been lodged. He is not allowed, at present, to preside at any further services at St George’s. He spoke last week of the strain of taking this action.
Liverpool conference centre cancels Franklin event
A CONFERENCE centre in Liverpool will no longer host an event featuring the American evangelist Franklin Graham, the eldest son of the late Billy Graham, because his recent statements on homosexuality and Islam are “incompatible” with its values, it has said. Mr Graham has described same-sex relationships as sinful, and Islam as “evil” (News, 6 December 2019). The event was originally planned to take place at ACC Liverpool in June as part of an eight-city tour of the UK. A statement on the ACC Liverpool website last Friday read: “Over the past few days we have been made aware of a number of statements which we consider to be incompatible with our values. In light of this we can no longer reconcile the balance between freedom of speech and the divisive impact this event is having in our city. We have informed the organisers of the event that the booking will no longer be fulfilled. We are proud to represent all communities.”
Bill introduced to end bishops’ right to sit in Lords
A BILL proposing that Church of England bishops be no longer entitled to membership of the House of Lords has passed its first reading. The Bill was introduced by Lord Taverne QC, a Lib Dem peer and a humanist. He seeks that “No one shall be a member of the House of Lords by virtue of being a bishop or archbishop of the Church of England.” The Bill, cited as the House of Lords (Removal of Bishops) Act 2020, does not exclude anyone who is, or has been, a bishop or archbishop from “receiving and exercising the entitlements under” a peerage for life, nor does it exclude these persons from entering the Lords “for the purpose only of leading prayers”.
Salvation Army lobbies for homelessness as a priority
THE Salvation Army is calling on its more than 4000 members, officers, employees, and supporters in England to write to their local MP to lobby the Government to prioritise funding to tackle homelessness. Its assistant secretary for homelessness services, Hilarie Watchorn, said: “Unless urgent action is taken, the Government is not going to meet its commitment to end rough-sleeping. . . Local MPs will be
forced to acknowledge the scale of the problem and lobby Government for essential action.”