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UK news in brief

05 June 2020

Networkx3 Drones

Captured: Drone footage of the exterior and interior of the 12th-century St Gregory’s, Bedale, in North Yorkshire, will be part of the PCC’s £200,000 bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a heritage centre. The Grade I listed church is noted for a window that is said to have been transported from Jervaulx Abbey after the dissolution of the monasteries, and for wall-paintings that survived the whitewashing of the Reformation. The drone enables the viewer to get eye to eye with a left-handed medieval St George and his dragon

Captured: Drone footage of the exterior and interior of the 12th-century St Gregory’s, Bedale, in North Yorkshire, will be part of the PCC’s £20...


New Dean of Arches appointed

Francis Taylor Building ChambersMorag Ellis QCTHE Archbishops of Canterbury and York have appointed Morag Ellis QC as the next Dean of the Arches (Province of Canterbury) and Auditor (Province of York). She is due to take over from the Rt Worshipful Charles George QC, who is retiring, on Monday. Ms Ellis was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1984 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2006. She was appointed Commissary General of the diocese of Canterbury in 2011, and Deputy Chancellor of the diocese of Southwark in 2013. In 2015, Ms Ellis was appointed as a panel chair to clergy discipline tribunals and became a member of the General Synod’s Legal Advisory Commission in 2016. She was appointed as the QC Church Commissioner in 2019. She is also a Reader licensed in the diocese of Chelmsford.


Methodists disinvest from BP and Total

THE Central Finance Board (CFB) of the Methodist Church has sold its holdings, worth more than £17 million, in the oil companies BP and Total on climate-change grounds, it was announced on Tuesday. The Board has about £1.2 billion under management; shares worth £15 million in BP and more than £2 million in Total have now been sold. A further ten companies have been excluded from future investment. CBF’s chief investment officer, Stephen Beer, said: “The CFB and Epworth now exclude from investment most of the oil and gas companies in the equity market. . . When the ethical concerns are material and change is too slow or not forthcoming, we will divest.” Epworth, a wholly owned subsidiary of the CFB, launched a Climate Stewardship Fund last week for churches and charities that wish to exclude fossil-fuel companies from their portfolio.


Canon Mandy Ford to be next Dean of Bristol

Diocese of BristolCanon Mandy FordTHE next Dean of Bristol is to be Canon Mandy Ford, Chancellor of Southwark Cathedral, Director of Ministerial Education for Southwark diocese, and lately Interim Director of the Ministry Division, it was announced on Wednesday. She will take over in the autumn from Canon Michael Johnson, Acting Dean since her predecessor, the Very Revd Dr David Hoyle, became Dean of Westminster. Dr Ford said: “It is an enormous privilege to be appointed.” She trained for ordination at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, and has a doctorate in ethics and biblical interpretation. She served her title at the Resurrection, Leicester, from 2000 to 2005, and was Diocesan Church Urban Fund Officer, an incumbent, and an area dean in the diocese of Leicester until 2014. The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, said: “She brings extensive experience of cathedrals and their communities, along with commitment to working alongside those who are vulnerable in our great cities.”


NI rejects abortions for all non-fatal disabilities

THE Northern Ireland Assembly has voted in favour (46 to 40) of a DUP motion to reject the legalisation of abortion up to birth for all non-fatal disabilities, including Down’s syndrome. It is the first time that the Assembly has considered abortion since it was restored in January after a three-year absence. The Westminster Parliament will shortly be debating and voting on The Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations. The chief executive of the Christian charity CARE, Nola Leach, said: “This is a very welcome outcome. . . The UK Government must now withdraw the Regulations.” A spokeswoman for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said: “The UK Government must urgently hand back this devolved matter to the elected representatives of the [NI] Assembly. The UK Government. . . have absolutely no mandate whatsoever to impose these extreme regulations on Northern Ireland.”


Church people defend Dean Percy

SIXTY prominent church people have written to The Daily Telegraph in defence of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Dr Martyn Percy. Their letter, published on Tuesday, responds to news of accusations about him made in a letter to the Charity Commission by 41 members of the college’s Governing Body (News, 29 May). His defenders, including the Rt Revd Lord Carey, three serving bishops, four deans, and several canons emeriti of Christ Church, describe Dr Percy as “a man of consistently good character, an exceptional scholar, a respected public servant, and an outstanding Christian leader”. Attempts to destroy his reputation and break his spirit are the result of “gross injustice and malice”, they write.


Correction: Our story about Dr Percy last week described the Senior Censor, Professor Johnson, as a “complainant”. Although she was one of those who complained about him to the National Safeguarding Team, she was not one of the original complainants whose action against Dr Percy was dismissed by Sir Andrew Smith. We are happy to make this clear, and apologise for the error.

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