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UK news in brief

03 September 2021

Diocese of Blackburn

New crop: the Bishop of Lancaster, Dr Jill Duff, used an abandoned allotment for the first baptisms and confirmations from a newly established church on the large Higher Croft housing estate in Blackburn, last month. The baptism candidates were Paisley, Kyla, and Esmai

New crop: the Bishop of Lancaster, Dr Jill Duff, used an abandoned allotment for the first baptisms and confirmations from a newly established church ...

Aberdeen & Orkney review enters new phase

THE review of disagreements in the diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney (News, 6 March) is to be extended, it has been announced. The Revd Professor Iain Torrance, who was commissioned to carry out the review, has filed his report, but a diocesan statement on Sunday said that it “raises a number of additional issues and questions which require further exploration before the College can consider next steps in the process” — including “the extent of unhappiness” in the diocese, and events during the 16-month vacancy before the Rt Revd Anne Dyer was appointed. The diocese hopes to complete the review by the end of the year, within the original time-frame; but it doubts now that its planned openness will be possible, in the light of Professor Torrance’s remark: “It may be considered impossible to publish any part of this review.” A “group of three individuals with relevant experience” will be invited to manage the next stage, the diocese reports.

Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, resigns

CANON Jeremy Morris has resigned as Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, it was announced last week. Canon Morris “stepped back” from his duties for the past 20 months after questions were raised about the college’s handling of safeguarding complaints about a former don (News, 28 February 2020). The governing body believes that there is a prima facie case for disciplinary action, something that Canon Morris disputes. His seven-year term of office was due to end on 30 September. He writes: “Whilst I am fully confident that any ongoing process by the College following the conclusions of the investigation would determine that I had done nothing wrong, I also recognise that the continuing, protracted nature of the investigation would mean many more months of distress for me and my family, and for others.” In its statement, the college thanks Canon Morris for his seven years as Master and nine years as Dean of Chapel, and wishes him well for the future.

Minister complains about data restrictions

THE Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, has told The Daily Telegraph that he plans to ease General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the UK. Speaking on Wednesday of last week, he cited the C of E’s warning from earlier in the summer that sending information about upcoming jumble sales could be classed as marketing and therefore needed prior consent from recipients. He said: “There’s an awful lot of needless bureaucracy and box-ticking and actually we should be looking at how we can focus on protecting people’s privacy but in as light-a-touch way as possible.”

No end in sight for Percy saga

IN A letter to former students, dated 27 August, the development office of Christ Church, Oxford, reveals that the date for an employment-tribunal hearing in the long-running dispute between the college’s Governing Body and the Dean, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, has been put back to 2023. The case was originally to have been heard this autumn. Dean Percy remains suspended from his duties. A separate internal inquiry is being conducted after an allegation was made last November (News, 19 November 2020). The letter states: “Christ Church remains committed to a full review of its governance structures in due course, but this cannot take place until the employment tribunal has concluded.”

In our coverage of The Teahouse (News, 20 August), the Revd Gemma Birt was wrongly identified as Gemma Lin. Our apologies.


Judith GoodyYounger self: Brian Linnett, now aged 92, last month visited a carving of himself at St Andrew’s, North Weald Bassett, in Essex. The gargoyle dated from 1965, when Mr Linnett was the foreman of the carpenters working on St Andrew’s after a fire in 1964. He was accompanied by Mary Cordeiro, co-founder of the volunteer group set up by the local neighbourhood association 

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