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UK news in brief

23 July 2021

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The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Asghar Khan (second from left), with chaplains whom he appointed last week to reflect the city’s diverse communities: Imam Qari Asim, of Leeds Makkah Mosque; the Revd Darren Percival, Vicar of Cross Green and Richmond Hill; and Imam Omar Sheikh, of Lincoln Green Mosque

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Asghar Khan (second from left), with chaplains whom he appointed last week to reflect the city’s diverse communiti...


Financial payout and apology for Franklin Graham

A PUBLIC apology has been published by Blackpool Borough Council and Blackpool Transport Services Ltd after a judge ruled that it breached the human right to freedom of expression when it removed bus adverts in 2018 for an event featuring the Evangelical preacher Franklin Graham (News, 6 December 2019; 9 April). In addition, financial damages totalling £109,000 have been awarded to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Last week, Mr Graham said that the ruling was “an important moment for religious freedom in the UK. We’re grateful to God for the final outcome of this case, and for what it will mean for churches and Christians across the UK in the years ahead. The good news of Jesus Christ must be proclaimed. My prayer is that this case will encourage Christians to stand firm.”


The Society announces first National Missioner

THE Society under the patronage of St Wilfrid and St Hilda has appointed its first National Missioner. Fr David D’Silva SSC, Priest-in-Charge of St Leonard’s, Scawsby, with St Luke’s, Scawthorpe, will undertake the work part-time alongside his parochial duties. The Society plans to appoint another person to undertake the other half of the Missioner post. The Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, the Society’s lead on mission, said that Fr David’s immediate priority was “to establish and develop a Catholic mission network across the country to take forward the excellent ideas on mission put forward in Fr James Mallon’s book Divine Renovation”. The post has been funded for two years by a strategic capacity funding grant from the Archbishops’ Council.


Widows of Church in Wales clergy thanked

ALL widows of deceased clergy in the Church in Wales have been sent a card thanking them for their contribution to church life to mark the 90th birthday of the Widows, Orphans and Dependants Society (WODS). The charity was set up by the Church in Wales on 16 July 1931, to provide assistance for the families of deceased clergy facing financial hardship. It pays out about £100,000 in grants each year, and also organises pastoral support in each of the Church’s six dioceses. Each diocese has been promised £500 to fund a celebration, once it is safe to hold one. The Archdeacon of Margam, the Ven. Peggy Jackson, who is vice-chair of the charity, described it as “one of the most unsung but valuable areas of work within the Church in Wales”. To donate to WODS or seek assistance, email: louisedavies@churchinwales.org.uk


Free app launched to promote post-lockdown conversation

A NEW free app offering a conversation game has been launched by Sanctuary UK, to help address anxieties about the lifting of lockdown restrictions. The game, “Together Again”, offers a series of questions and conversation-prompts to help users to discuss challenges experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic, anxieties about emerging from lockdown, and hopes for the future. The Sanctuary’s UK director, Corin Pilling, said this week: “All it needs is two people or more who are up for a conversation. You may be surprised at what needs to be heard or said.” The app also contains other information, including organisations offering emergency mental-health support, and links to all of Sanctuary’s mental-health resources for churches and groups. It can be downloaded from all the usual outlets. Listen to an interview with Corin Pilling on the Church Times Podcast


Truro choristers raise enough to vaccinate 10,000

CHORISTERS at Truro Cathedral are celebrating raising £8434 — well above their original £5000 target — to enable UNICEF to provide 10,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses around the world. The effort was part of the Sing2G7 project, in which more than 27,000 children in 31 countries signed up to sing “Gee Seven”, written specially by Sir Tim Rice and Peter Hobbs (News, 14 May). The song was released as a single on all digital platforms, and the choir’s royalties went to UNICEF’s Give the World a Shot VaccinAid campaign (News, 26 March). “I can’t quite believe that by singing a song we have enabled 10,000 people to be vaccinated,” the head chorister, Jacob, aged 13, said.

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