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UK news in brief

26 November 2021

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The requiem for Sir David Amess MP at Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday

The requiem for Sir David Amess MP at Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday

Police and Cardinal will review access to last rites

THE Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Nichols, and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, are to establish a joint group to review access for Roman Catholic priests to administer the last rites at scenes of traumatic violence. The issue was raised after Sir David Amess MP was killed at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, in October (News, 15 October). Fr Jeffrey Woolnough, of St Peter’s, Eastwood, rushed to administer last rites, but was stopped by police from passing through the cordon. Speaking at the Catholic Police Guild’s annual requiem mass in Westminster Cathedral this month, Cardinal Nichols said: “I am grateful to the Commissioner for this agreement, and I am confident that it will help to establish a helpful way forward in this matter of considerable sensitivity and importance to the Catholic community.”


Trust offers grants for helping Afghan refugees

THE Allchurches Trust has launched a new grants programme to help churches and Christian charities that are responding to the Afghan evacuee crisis (News, 5 November). An estimated 20,000 Afghans have arrived in the UK since August (News, 27 August). Alongside government support and resettlement schemes, faith communities have been providing clothing, bedding, food, and other supplies at their own cost. The head of grants and relationships at Allchurches Trust, the Revd Jeremy Noles, said that churches were already under financial strain owing to the pandemic. “We feel a deep responsibility to support those working tirelessly to help resettle these vulnerable people.”


Welsh Government to end oil and gas exploration

THE Church in Wales has welcomed the decision of the Welsh Government to join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance — a coalition of nations that have pledged to end oil and gas exploration by 2035. The announcement was made during COP26 in Glasgow. The Bishop of St Davids, Dr Joanna Penberthy, who chairs the Church’s climate group, said: “This is a step in the right direction for Wales. . . The pledge is an example of the necessary action needed at every level of society to stop catastrophic climate change.” Earlier this year, the Church’s Governing Body committed it to being net-zero carbon by 2030 (News, 23 April).


Trust launches ‘Netflix for churches’

THE Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) has created CCTdigital.com — an online streaming platform to give the public free access to films about church heritage. Due to be launched on 6 December, it is aimed at encouraging people to support the trust’s work by becoming members (for £3.50 a month), who will have access to exclusive series and episodes filmed in 4K. The trust has worked with the historian the Revd Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch to create the five-part series, Churchcrawls in Solitude. He said: “My hope is that people will love the series we’ve produced together — so much so, in fact, that they’ll want to join CCT and help them protect more churches and watch great films in the process.”


St Bernadette’s relics are coming to Britain

RELICS of St Bernadette — the French girl who, in 1858, when she was 14, reported 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary — are to be taken from Lourdes next year to tour the larger Roman Catholic cathedrals and churches in Britain. Bernadette was beatified in 1925 and canonised by Pope Pius XI in 1933. The general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Canon Christopher Thomas, said: “It was a genuine offer made by the shrine in Lourdes. [It] will remind us of the importance of pilgrimage . . . the place of Lourdes, [and] the centrality of the lives of the saints.”


CEEC creates post for strategy and operations

CEECCanon John DunnettTHE Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) has appointed Canon John Dunnett to its new post of strategy and operations director. He will start in February. Canon Dunnett has been the director of the Church Pastoral Aid Society since 2006. The CEEC was founded in 1960 to be an Evangelical voice in the C of E. It has recently created new posts of national director, communications director, and administration manager. The Bishop of Blackburn and president of the CEEC, the Rt Revd Julian Henderson, said: “For the Church of England, this is a time of both great challenge and opportunity, and it is for this reason that the CEEC believes this appointment will enable it to achieve its aims.”

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