*** DEBUG END ***

UK news in brief

07 February 2020


Bishop James. See gallery for more UK picture stories

Bishop James. See gallery for more UK picture stories

Bishop: health-care system ‘dysfunctional’

THE more than 11,000 patients who were treated by the rogue surgeon Ian Paterson were let down by a healthcare system “which proved itself dysfunctional at almost every level when it came to keeping patients safe”, a former Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, has said. Bishop James (pictured) chaired the independent inquiry into Mr Paterson, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2017 for wounding with intent, after he was found to have performed breast cancer surgery on women that turned out to be inadequate or unnecessary. The findings were published on Tuesday. Bishop James criticises the NHS and the independent health-care provider for which Mr Patterson worked for “wilful blindness”, “avoidance” and “denial”. “Some could have known, while others should have known, and a few must have known.” Five health professionals have been reported to the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council. One individual is being investigated by the West Midlands Police.


Former choirmaster charged with child sex offences

A FORMER choirmaster, Mark Burgess, 66, of Hillsea, was charged with 58 counts of child sex offences by detectives at Hampshire Constabulary, on Monday. The offences relate to 11 children who were under the age of 16 while Mr Burgess was a choirmaster of All Saints’, Portsmouth, and Westbourne Choir in West Sussex, between 1976 and 2009. The offences include buggery, indecent assault, gross indecency with a child, inciting sexual activity with a child, and sexual touching. Mr Burgess, who was released on bail, is due to appear at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court on 3 March.


URC youth chastise lack of CTE diversity

THE youth assembly of the United Reformed Church has expressed dismay and “outrage” at the lack of diversity in Churches Together in England (CTE) after it blocked the appointment of a Quaker, Hannah Brock Womack, to the fourth presidency because she is in a same-sex marriage (News, 22 November). In a statement read to the annual URC Assembly last month, the youth assembly said: “URCYA 2020 holds a strong stance on inclusivity and is dismayed that a gifted person, such as Hannah Brock Womack, has been denied the opportunity to share their gifts in this ecumenical body, purely on the grounds of her equal (same-sex) marriage. We are also saddened that, as a result, there continues to be no serving female CTE President.” It also criticised the lack of youth representation on the CTE. There are six Presidents of CTE, the Churches’ ecumenical instrument. They include the Archbishop of Canterbury and the RC Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols.


St Hilda’s College to lose Anglican chapel

THE chapel of St Hilda’s College, Oxford, is to be replaced with a multifaith centre, making it the third undergraduate college in Oxford not to have a dedicated Anglican chapel, Oxford’s student newspaper Cherwell reports. The Milham Ford building, which originally housed the chapel, was demolished as part of extensive development plans to the college in preparation for its 125th anniversary. A temporary chapel has been established in an adjacent building. The college’s governing body reportedly voted to create a new space in which people could express their faith. The Chaplain of St Hilda’s, Canon Brian Mountford, said: “The decision was taken by the governing body, of which I am not a member, entirely independently of me. . . Faiths other than Christianity and Islam do not seem to be pressing for dedicated space in college. St Hilda’s could easily provide a prayer space separate from the chapel. Equally, a Christian chapel would welcome people of all faiths and none to pray, meditate, or be mindful in. When it comes to decoration and iconography, a multifaith room inevitably tends to be . . . bland.”

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)