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UK news in brief

10 December 2021

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Activists in Glasgow demonstrate against the Cambo field last month

Activists in Glasgow demonstrate against the Cambo field last month

Pensions Board welcomes Shell withdrawal

THE Church of England Pensions Board has welcomed the decision of the oil company Shell to withdraw from the Cambo oilfield off the coast of Scotland. The Board’s chief responsible-investment officer, Adam Matthews, said last Friday: “This is a very welcome decision by Shell and calls into question the viability of the whole project. . . The message is clear to the UK Government, who ultimately decide if the field is exploited, that companies beginning to transition will not allocate the capital to such projects.” Operation Noah also welcomed the announcement.


Dr Cocksworth given education brief

THE Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, is to be the lead bishop for higher and further education, it was announced last Friday. He succeeds Dr Tim Dakin, who resigned during the summer as Bishop of Winchester (News, 23 July).



Brighton church-planter to return to HTB

THE next Vicar of Holy Trinity, Brompton, is to be Canon Archie Coates (above), Vicar of St Peter’s, Brighton, it was announced on Sunday. Canon Coates, who is 51, has been termed “vicar-designate”. He will succeed the Revd Nicky Gumbel, who is to resign in July, after 17 years in the post.

Canon Coates, formerly Associate Vicar of Holy Trinity, took over St Peter’s in 2009, the first HTB plant outside London. He is an Hon. Canon of Chichester Cathedral, and was elected to the General Synod this autumn. Leader comment; press


Conversion-therapy ban opposed and backed

MORE than 900 people have signed an open letter from the Affinities group of churches to the Equalities Minister, Liz Truss, urging the Government to drop its proposals to ban conversion therapy. The letter, which is at ministersconsultationresponse.com will be sent to Ms Truss in response to the Government’s consultation on banning conversion therapy, which was due to end on Friday (News, 14 May). The Government announced on Thursday, however, that the consultation would be extended by eight weeks “to ensure the widest possible views are taken into account, as part of shaping the legislation”. Dr Ian Paul, a member of the General Synod, told the Telegraph that the proposals “seem to be ill considered and ill conceived”. On Wednesday, Quakers in Britain and the Quaker Gender and Sexual Diversity Community (QGSDC), in their joint response to the consultation, expressed strong support for the ban.


Churches see results from knife-amnesty campaign

THE Wiltshire Police’s “Operation Sceptre”, part of a national knife amnesty, last month resulted in the handing in of 450 knives and bladed weapons to police stations, churches, and community centres, the Revd Dr Keith Brindle, Vicar of one of the churches that took part, St James’s, Devizes, has said. Devizes churches had organised a 24-hour prayer vigil in support of the operation.


TRICIA YOURKEVICH/BBCAngel voices: 16-year-old Ruby from Guildford was announced winner of the BBC’s Young Chorister of the Year competition on Sunday. On winning, she performed John Rutter’s Angels’ Carol with Aled Jones and all the semi-finalists. Both she and the runner-up, 14-year-old Mila from Rochdale, receive a trophy and a recording session with the BBC Philharmonic OrchestraChichester Cathedral invites girls to apply for choir

GIRL choristers will be eligible, from next September, to audition for places in the choir of Chichester Cathedral, it was announced on Monday. The Organist and Master of the Choristers, Charles Harrison, said: “Rather than running two choirs, we will continue with one, inviting girls and boys to work side by side on equal terms.”



Suspended sentence for chef after parishioner’s death

A CHEF, John Croucher, aged 40, was sentenced in Reading Crown Court last week to four months in prison, suspended for 12 months, after admitting a charge of contravening food regulations, which resulted in the death of a member of the congregation of Holy Trinity, Hinton-in-the-Hedges, in Northamptonshire. Thirty-two people attended at a harvest supper at the Crewe Arms on 8 October 2018, for which Mr Croucher, who was then head chef, cooked a shepherd’s pie containing mince that was not cooked properly. Elizabeth Neuman, aged 92, died of a gastrointestinal haemorrhage. The pub owner and landlord, Neil Bellingham, and The Bobcat Pub Company were fined in connection with the case.


Correction: The Rt Revd Andrew Rumsey would like to clarify that a faculty application is still with the diocesan chancellor concerning the Gordon memorial tablet in St Peter’s, Dorchester (Features, 3 December), and that no decision has yet been made.

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