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UK news in brief

30 April 2021

Church in Wales

The Bishop of Bangor, the Rt Revd Andy John, at a church-hall polling station

The Bishop of Bangor, the Rt Revd Andy John, at a church-hall polling station

Welsh Bench urges the young to vote

VOTING is the foundation of living in a democracy, a hard-won right, and a responsibility, the Bishops of the Church in Wales said this week, urging people, particularly 16- and 17-year-olds, to vote in the forthcoming Welsh Senedd and Police and Crime Commissioner elections on 6 May. English council and mayoral elections are being held on the same date, as well as Scottish Parliament elections. The Bench of Bishops, led by the Archbishop, the Most Revd John Davies, write: “If we don’t take our vote seriously, we have no one but ourselves to blame when things go wrong.”


Commons rejects bishops’ amendments

AN AMENDMENT to the Domestic Abuse Bill, proposed by the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, to allow a migrant victim of domestic abuse to apply for temporary leave to remain in the UK, has been rejected by the House of Commons. It was tabled and passed at Report Stage in the House of Lords last month (News, 19 March), but fell in the Commons on Monday night. Bishop Treweek expressed her disappointment on Twitter. On Tuesday, the Commons also voted against an amendment to the Fire Safety Bill, brought by the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, which would have prevented leaseholders’ and tenants’ bearing the cost of replacing unsafe building cladding. Despite a Conservative backbench rebellion of 31 MPs, including the former party leader Iain Duncan Smith, the Commons voted 340 to 225 against. Last week, the House of Lords rejected Lord Greenhalgh’s request not to insist on keeping two amendments on this issue (News, 23 April).


Dr Steen to be suffragan in Norwich diocese

THE next Suffragan Bishop of Lynn in the diocese of Norwich is to be the Ven. Dr Jane Steen, Archdeacon of Southwark since 2013. Dr Steen, whose nomination was announced on Wednesday, will succeed the Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick, who resigned in January. Dr Steen trained for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge, was ordained priest in 1997, and served her title at St John the Baptist, Chipping Barnet, in St Albans diocese. She was personal assistant to the Bishop of Southwark from 1999 to 2005. 


ALAMYAlexander ArmstrongArmstrong, ex-chorister, will champion choristers

THE singer, presenter, and actor Alexander Armstrong has been appointed as an ambassador of the Cathedral Music Trust, it was announced on Friday. Mr Armstrong was a chorister at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh, and a choral scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge, and presents mid-morning radio on Classic FM. He said: “I owe my entire career to my experience as a chorister.” He looked forward to supporting the trust in its work “to ensure that this extraordinary musical heritage evolves and thrives to benefit future generations”.


Booker Prize ceremony to be held in cathedral

THE presentation of the 2021 International Booker Prize is to be live-streamed from Coventry Cathedral on 2 June. Three actors — Ken Nwosu, Lucy Phelps, and Fiona Shaw — have recorded readings from the six books in the shortlist announced last week. The films will form part of a series of one-off events, including interviews with the authors, which will run from 29 April, organised by the Edinburgh International Book Festival.


Awards seek to boost youth employment

THE Cinnamon Network UK and the Mercers’ Company are launching a competition to help adults and young people to find employment. The 2021 Cinnamon Incubator Competition is looking for church-led social-action projects involved in employment, education, or training which can be replicated in other churches. The five finalists will win a place on a training programme, and two projects will be awarded a £25,000 development grant. cinnamonnetwork.co.uk/incubate

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