Requiem after two teenagers are murdered
BISHOPS in the diocese of Chelmsford have offered prayers in the wake of the murder of two 16-year-old boys in Brentwood. The boys were found injured early on Sunday morning. The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Guli Francis-Dehqani, described the arrest of eight men on suspicion of murder as “deeply disturbing”. The Bishop of Bradwell, Dr John Perumbalath, offered prayers for the boys’ families and friends with the clergy and congregation at St Thomas’s, Brentwood, where a book of condolence has been opened and a sung requiem was offered on Monday. On Tuesday, it was reported that Frankie Watson, aged 19, of Baker Street, Orsett, was charged with two counts of murder, attempted murder, and possession of an offensive weapon.
Christian Aid CEO moves to UN
THE Chief Executive of Christian Aid, Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, the charity’s first chief executive of African descent, is to step down after almost four years in post, it was announced this week. Since joining in early 2018 (Interview, 7 December 2018), she has overseen an organisation-wide restructuring (News, 10 December 2019), the development of the charity’s new Standing Together strategy, and the launch of a new three-year race and diversity plan of action (News, 16 October 2020). Last month, she won Charity Chief Executive (over £5 million) of the Year at the Third Sector Awards. Ms Mukwashi will leave Christian Aid at the end of this year to take up a new post at the United Nations in early 2022.
Spend IMF windfall on the poor, urge Inge and Arnold
THE Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, has joined the RC Bishop of Salford, the Rt Revd John Arnold, in urging the International Monetary Fund to use its Special Drawing Rights — worth £472 billion — to help the world’s poorest countries. In a letter to The Daily Telegraph this week, the Bishops note that the “vast majority” of the allocation has gone to rich countries. They write: “We are concerned that the Government will use Britain’s allocation not as supplementary funding but as a replacement for part of the current — already shamefully reduced — aid budget. In addition, any money given must be given as grants, not loans, so as not to increase the indebtedness of countries already struggling to service their debt and support their populations.”
Dr Walker expresses solidarity with synagogue
THE Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, has condemned the “vile anti-Semitic hatred” behind the display of swastikas and shouts of racist abuse directed at an online service hosted by Manchester Reform Synagogue on Friday night. Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steen told the BBC: “Halfway through the service, during some prayers, they unmuted, started to shout, and put on the screen a swastika and some other awful racist images. They were kicked out straight away, but it was clear through the service that they were trying to get in.” On Monday, Dr Walker wrote on Twitter: “We stand with Rabbi Robyn and her people, after their online worship was interrupted by vile antisemitic hatred. Robyn, you and your congregation are our beloved neighbours in our city of Manchester. We are one in our defiance of far right extremism and all voices of hatred.”
Jason Bryant In too deep: a car is caught in floods next to St Mary’s, Mudford, in Somerset, last week. The occupants were safe