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UK news in brief

27 August 2021


The Rector of St Mary’s, Lymm, the Revd Beverley Jameson, at the church path

The Rector of St Mary’s, Lymm, the Revd Beverley Jameson, at the church path

You gave us stone, says grateful rector

THE Rector of St Mary’s, Lymm, in Chester diocese, the Revd Beverly Jameson, has thanked the community for donating York stone and money after thieves stole paving from the church pathway, for the second time this year, on the evening of Monday 16 August. “The path is now unsafe, and people are directed to the side entrance to access the churchyard. This is extremely distressing to the parishioners and to the general community,” an announcement on the church website said. Ms Jameson, who has received hundreds of messages of support, said this week: “It is just wonderful that the people of Lymm, whether they have a faith or no faith, have supported St Mary’s church and appreciate what we do in the community. . . Lymm truly is a wonderful caring community.”


Funeral and christening after mother dies of Covid

THE funeral of Samantha Willis, a mother of four who died with Covid-19 after giving birth to her fourth child, was held at St Columb’s, Londonderry, on Tuesday. During the service, her daughter, Evie Grace, born two weeks ago, was baptised. Mrs Willis died in intensive care after spending 16 days in hospital with Covid-19. She had not been vaccinated. Her husband, Josh Willis, wrote on Facebook that she was “a wonderful, loving and caring person and she has been our super hero the last few weeks”. He told the BBC this week that he wanted to raise awareness about the vaccination programme: “I just want to put her story out there . . . think if she could help one person, one family, she would be happy.” The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says that vaccination is recommended in pregnancy.


Beach-labyrinth artist seeks church partners

AN ARTIST from Cornwall, Andrew Nicholson, is looking for churches to collaborate with him in bringing beach labyrinths to the area. “Much of my labyrinth work on the beach involves an invitation to reflect on each individual’s journey and issues they may have been facing,” he said this week. “During this past year, I have also broadened this out slightly at different labyrinths to include elements like positive mental health and well-being; environmental concerns, [the significance of] special places, and relating Easter to the experiences of lockdown.”



Former vicar sentenced for 1980s offences

A FORMER vicar of St Botolph’s, Northfleet, in the diocese of Rochester, David Beater, aged 80, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison on Monday for sexual offences against two boys, aged eight and 13, between 1982 and 1985. The BBC reported this week that he had been allowed to work in churches until 2010, despite being convicted in 1985 for abusing a 14-year-old boy in Kent. At that time, he resigned from St Botolph’s, but the next year he served at St George’s, Bickley, before moving on to St Thomas’s, Stanley, in Durham, and St John’s and St Andrew’s, Seaton Hirst, in Newcastle. In 2007, he was granted permission to officiate by Canterbury diocese, allowing him continued contact with parishioners until 2010. It was not renewed in 2010, after an internal review, conducted between 2007 and 2009, found a record of the previous conviction on his church file. In press reports at the time, reported by the BBC, Bishop Michael Turnbull, then Archdeacon of Rochester, said that Mr Beater would be “staying within the care of the Church” and would receive counselling. This week, the Bishop of Tonbridge, the Rt Revd Simon Burton-Jones, said: “The facts of this case raise concerning questions about decisions and actions taken by the Church in relation to David’s ministry. Because of this, the matter has now been referred to the National Safeguarding Team in accordance with the House of Bishops’ guidelines.”

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Deadline approaches for Good News competition

CHURCHES have until 17 September to submit their entries to Ecclesiastical Insurance’s Good News church competition and be in with a chance of winning money prizes. Entrants must write about a good-news story showing how people in their area had “pulled together to make a difference” in the past 18 months. Entries should be written in the style of a news article of no more than 260 words. Five regional winners will receive £1500; the national winner will be awarded £6000.



Quakers in Britain make anti-racist commitment

THE Yearly Meeting of Quakers in Britain made a commitment in session to “becoming an actively anti-racist faith community”, they report this week. The minute noting the decision said: “We are still wrestling with what this means for us.” The online meeting heard from Friends who described experiences of racism, and attempts to respond to it. Trustees and senior management issued a statement: “Tackling racism is a spiritual imperative of our time and this affects our understanding and communication of Quaker history, and how Quakers live now. . . We are committed to grounding our anti-racism work in the Quaker faith: listening to the spirit; recognising each person is unique, precious and a child of God; praying one for another, and helping one another up with a tender hand.” quaker.org.uk


GLOUCESTER CATHEDRALGood turn: a key to Gloucester Cathedral’s crypt has been returned after several decades, writes Madeleine Davies. Stella Good made the presentation after finding the key in a cupboard filled with things left to her by her husband, Nigel, who died in 2006. His father was Donald Arthur Good, a former chapter steward of Gloucester Cathedral during the late 1970s and ’80s. The key had been framed in a box still wrapped in bubble wrap by the framing company. Under the key was a label reading: “The Key to the Crypt of Gloucester Cathedral.” Mrs Good has returned the key to the cur­rent chapter steward, Emily MacKenzie, the cathedral reported this week, thanking Mrs Good for its return. The key does not fit the lock in use today.  

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2 July 2022
Bringing Down the Mighty: Church, Theology and Structural Injustice
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