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UK news in brief

01 April 2021


Canon Paul Hamilton and Astrid Gillespie outside All Saints’, East Horndon

Canon Paul Hamilton and Astrid Gillespie outside All Saints’, East Horndon

Volunteers rewarded for repairing rave church

TWO volunteers who led the campaign to repair the Grade II* All Saints’, East Horndon, near Brentwood, in Essex, after it was used as the venue for an illegal New Year’s Eve party (News, 8 January), have been recognised in the Ecclesiastical Heritage Hero Awards. Astrid Gillespie and Canon Paul Hamilton were presented with the Digital Heritage Hero Award for their fund-raising efforts — enough to carry out repairs and address additional conservation works. Ms Gillespie, who found out about the rave from a Facebook post on New Year’s Day, said: “It means so much to all of us from The Friends of All Saints’ to have been given this award and to have the support of The Heritage Alliance. We have been overwhelmed with the love and support from everyone who has been involved in helping us to raise money for us to repair the damage at the church.”


Trussell Trust: ‘Nation must be hunger-free’

THE Christian foodbank charity the Trussell Trust is encouraging churches to join its campaign for a hunger-free nation, after reporting that its network of foodbanks handed out 1.2 million emergency food parcels between last April and last September. In the first six months of the pandemic, the demand for foodbanks increased by 47 per cent, and 2600 emergency food parcels were provided for children every day on average, it reports. Its chief executive, Emma Revie, said: “It isn’t right that so many people should be forced to turn to charities and churches for food and other basics. . . We need to . . . build a different future — one in which food banks are no longer needed.” The Trust is due to host online events for church leaders in Northern Ireland on 27 April, England on 28 April, Wales on 8 June, and Scotland on 10 June.


Christians urge NatWest to change defence policy

CHRISTIAN organisations are among the 43 signatories of an open letter to the chief executive of the NatWest Group, Alison Rose. The letter calls on the group to end its £1.6 billion in loans to 11 companies involved in producing nuclear weapons. It urges Ms Rose to update its defence-sector policy to reflect the prohibition of nuclear weapons under international treaty (News, 15 January). The letter points to the “far-reaching and irreversible” consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, and their incompatibility with the principled investment approach of the NatWest Group. It is signed by the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, Christian CND, Church of Scotland, and Methodist Peace Fellowship, among others.


Southwark diocesan synod endorses anti-racism charter

THE Southwark diocesan synod has voted unanimously to adopt a diocesan Anti-Racism Charter, proposed by the Archdeacon of Croydon and Diocesan Lead on Anti-Racism, the Ven. Dr Rosemarie Mallett. The charter commits the diocese to “an explicit theological understanding that God’s kingdom is multi-ethnic”; seeks to combat racism and inequality in theological studies, liturgy, teaching, and prayer; and seeks a clear strategy “to ensure representation and participation of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds” at all levels in the diocese. Dr Mallett described it as a “legacy” to the next generation. “This action must be taken at all levels, working in partnership with our parishes, our schools, our young people, our Cathedral, and our Area and Diocesan Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns Committees, to ensure that racism in any form is rooted out and diversity is truly our strength.” The charter is at southwark.anglican.org


Methodist Conference to meet in person

THE Methodist Conference arrangements committee agreed last week to work towards the Conference’s going ahead as planned at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole between 24 June and 1 July. The committee expects numbers to be restricted, and will release plans shortly about how those unable to attend can participate online. No fringe events or exhibitions will be held.


Baptist Union to shun fossil fuels

COUNCIL members of the Baptist Union, meeting on Wednesday of last week, voted by a 98.5-per-cent majority to amend its investment policy to read: “We will therefore avoid investment in companies with significant trading in: the extraction, production and refining of oil, gas, tar sand and coal.” Similar moves have been made by the Church of Ireland, the URC, and the Quakers.

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