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UK news in brief

19 February 2021

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The Revd Dr Will Adam

The Revd Dr Will Adam

New Deputy Secretary General at ACO named

THE Revd Dr Will Adam, who has been the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Ecumenical Adviser since 2017, has been appointed Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, it was announced last Friday. Dr Adam (above) will continue to work as Director of Unity, Faith, and Order at the Anglican Communion Office, a post that he has held since 2019, alongside his job at Lambeth Palace. Dr Adam will take up the post next month and move to the Anglican Communion Office full-time.


Diocese in Europe gets £25,000 digital boost

THE diocese in Europe is to invest in its digital operations, with the support of a £250,000 grant from the Allchurches Trust, it was announced on Tuesday. The diocese said that a three-year project, “Digital Diocese”, would include the development of a new website; an increase in digital content, such as online articles and videos, and social media; and “the publication of materials for a new Lay Discipleship course and training programme”. A statement on the diocese’s website says: “We are a huge Diocese. Unlike Dioceses in England, we cannot be connected physically on a day-to-day basis. Digital does not replace the power of normal human contact but it can help to enable and expand it and enhance all we do both in community activity and in worship.”


Church investors to use AGMs to press for diversity

THE Church Investors Group (CIG), which represents 60 church bodies, including dioceses, charities, and religious orders, has said that its members will use their votes in the forthcoming AGM season to press companies to increase their boards’ ethnic and gender diversity. The CIG said that its members would no longer vote for the re-election of nominations-committee chairs at FTSE 100 companies at which there was no ethnic-minority representation on the board, and would also vote against the re-election of such chairs at FTSE 350 companies when women formed less than than 40 per cent of the board. Members would also consider voting against the re-election of the entire nomination committee at FTSE 100 companies when women formed less than 30 per cent of the board, and at FTSE 250 companies when women formed less than 20 per cent of the board.


Bishop Treweek becomes Prison Fellowship patron

THE Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, has been appointed a patron of Prison Fellowship England and Wales, it was announced on Tuesday. Bishop Treweek, who is Bishop to Prisons, succeeds the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, who retires at the end of July (News, 16 October 2020).


Welby joins commemoration of Libyan martyrs

THE Church in England should show solidarity with persecuted Christians; “for we are united to them by their blood”, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said. He was speaking at a webinar convened by the Coptic Orthodox Church UK on Contemporary Martyrs Day, which marks the anniversary of the 21 Libyans martyred for their faith by IS on 15 February 2015. Archbishop Welby said: “The reality of the ‘ecumenism of blood’ is felt on this day as we commemorate the modern martyrs. It reminds us . . . that ecumenism and solidarity are with the persecuted, for we are united to them by their blood, it is not just something we feel for the persecuted, or that we stand towards the persecuted; ‘with’ is the key word.” The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mountstephen, also addressed the webinar.


Met Police express interest in Fletcher review

A LESSONS-LEARNT review concerning the Revd Jonathan Fletcher “has been of interest to the Metropolitan Police”, the independent Christian safeguarding charity Thirtyone:eight has said. The charity was commissioned last year to undertake a review of allegations of physical beatings and spiritual abuse by Mr Fletcher, who was Minister of Emmanuel Proprietary Chapel, Ridgway, in Wimbledon, from 1982 to 2012 (News, 3 January 2020). A statement posted on Thirtyone:eight’s website on Tuesday said that the review was in its “closing stages”. Publication was planned for next month, it said, but “We can also confirm that the review has been of interest to the Metropolitan Police, and discussions with them are ongoing in relation to this. Therefore the exact date for publication will to some degree be determined by the outcome of these discussions.”


Former rector sentenced for offences against boys

A FORMER Anglican rector, Stephen Hardwicke, was sentenced at Harrow Crown Court last month to five years in prison for indecent assault against three boys, aged ten to 18, in the 1970s and ’80s. Mr Hardwicke, 63, of Church Road, Uxbridge, committed the offences before his ordination, when he was a youth-group leader at Stanmore Baptist Church, the Metropolitan Police said. “The initial allegation of abuse was reported to police in October 2015. Further enquiries led to police making contact with a further victim in 2017.” Mr Hardwicke was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault in 2018, when he was Rector of St Laurence’s, Uxbridge. He was found guilty after a nine-day trial on 25 November.

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