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UK news in brief

30 July 2021


The Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Revd Dr David Ison

The Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Revd Dr David Ison

Dean of St Paul’s to retire next year

THE Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Very Revd Dr David Ison, will retire in September 2022, it was announced this week. He will be 68. Dr Ison was appointed in 2012 after the resignation of the Rt Revd Graeme Knowles in the wake of the Occupy camp’s extended protest (New, 9 March 2012). This week, Dr Ison described serving as Dean as “a stretching and fulfilling experience. . . Through all the cathedral’s opportunities and challenges, we continue to pursue the vision of enabling people to encounter the transforming presence of God in Jesus Christ.” The process for appointing his successor will begin later this year.

Extra Synod meetings considered for 2022-23

THE General Synod might meet more frequently in 2022 and 2023, partly to deal with “the substantive work arising out of the Emerging Church work”, the Clerk to the Synod, Dr Jacqui Phillips, told a meeting of the House of Bishops on Monday. The Emerging Church initiative is looking at issues such as the functions that are carried out nationally and the shape of the C of E’s governance structures. It is understood that recommendations are likely to include legislative as well as non-legislative changes, although none has yet been agreed. The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, also briefed the House of Bishops on the latest Covid-19 guidance (News, 23 July). The Recovery Group, which Bishop Mullally chaired, has now disbanded because of the lifting of lockdown restrictions, but she said that she and her colleagues on the Group would continue to monitor the situation carefully.

Salvation Army welcomes homelessness findings

THE Salvation Army has welcomed the findings of the government-commissioned Kerslake Commission on Rough Sleeping and Homelessness, which recommends that “Everyone In” — the programme in which the Government ordered English councils to find accommodation for every rough-sleeper during the first wave of the pandemic — be continued. The Commission reports that the programme saved at least 226 lives and that, as of November 2020, rough sleeping had been reduced by 37 per cent in one year. This week, Salvation Army Lt.-Colonel Dean Pallant, said that the programme “represents one of the most positive recent developments in tackling homelessness and rough sleeping. We believe that this is an encouraging sign of the Government’s commitment to eradicating rough-sleeping, but they must act now.” He noted that recent data from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network pointed to a 94-per-cent increase in rough sleeping in London in the last decade.

Poem examines Bath Abbey’s slavery links

A POEM, “Dark Shadows”, written in response to the memorials in Bath Abbey and their links to colonialism and slavery was recited this month at the Abbey by the author, Mark De’Lisser. The Abbey has one of the largest collection of memorial stones of any church in the country — 891 ledgerstones and 635 wall tablets — and research has uncovered more than 200 connections with the British Empire, including involvement with the transatlantic slave trade from the 1700s and 1800s.

BATH ABBEYMark De’Lisser

An exhibition exploring this is currently in the Abbey (News, 28 May). Mr De’Lisser, whose poem was commissioned by the Abbey, said: “Rather than continually turning away and ignoring the parts of our past that make us uncomfortable or uneasy, I wanted ‘Dark Shadows’ to instead invite the audience to feel that discomfort, to re-examine our history and in turn begin to heal the deep wounds that still affect us today.” Read the poem here 


Salisbury Cathedral admission fee ‘best value’

SALISBURY CATHEDRAL has been named as the “best-value attraction” in the UK, in analysis by Money.co.uk, which cross-references reviews of attractions with the cost of admission. Adult admission to the cathedral is £9 (on the day), and 99.39 per cent of reviews were positive. The Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection came second.

At the bottom of the list was the Marble Arch Mound, a new temporary installation commissioned by Westminster City Council, affording views down Oxford Street and into Hyde Park.

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