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UK news in brief

31 December 2021


New BBC religion editor announced

THE next religion editor for BBC News will be Aleem Maqbool (right), it was announced this month. Mr Maqbool, its North America correspondent, who has been based in Washington, DC, since 2014, will take up the post in the spring, the BBC says. He has worked for the BBC for nearly 20 years; his previous posts include those of Pakistan correspondent and Gaza/West Bank correspondent. He will replace Martin Bashir, who left the BBC in May. The Revd Dr Christopher Landau, a former religious-affairs correspondent for the World Service, wrote on Twitter: “After many months of waiting . . . a trusted, experienced and admired correspondent has been appointed to this vital role.”

University Chancellor seeks meeting over Percy dispute

THE Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Lord Patten of Barnes, has written to the governing body of Christ Church requesting a meeting “to discuss the protracted and ongoing dispute with the Dean and the damage it is doing to the reputation of the collegiate university” (News, 26 November). The letter, sent on 20 December, and also signed by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, reads: “We appreciate that the dispute is a matter for the college but you must appreciate the deleterious impact it is having on the rest of the university.” Mediation between the college and the Dean, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, is currently stalled, awaiting an internal tribunal about a complaint of sexual harassment in the cathedral in October last year (News, 20 November 2020). A church investigation concluded that the incident did not warrant a tribunal under the Clergy Discipline Measure (News, 1 June).

Next Dean of Bradford returns from Dubai

THE next Dean of Bradford will be Canon Andy Bowerman, regional director of the Mission to Seafarers, and a former executive director of the Anglican Alliance, the relief arm of the Anglican Communion. Canon Bowerman will be returning from Dubai to Bradford, where he was ordained priest in 2003, served his title, and was chaplain to Bradford City AFC, from 2004 to 2009 (News, 14 September 2007). He will take up his new appointment in the spring.

Canon resigns over Torrance-review response

THE Chancellor of Moray, Ross & Caithness, Canon Joseph Morrow, has resigned after expressing dismay at the response of the Scottish Episcopal Church to the recommendations of the Torrance report on the situation in the diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney (News, 17 September). On Thursday of last week, The Times quoted a letter from Canon Morrow: “I have been so ashamed of the leadership relating to the matter and, in particular, the approach to Iain Torrance and other casualties that I have returned my commissions and resigned as the Moray chancellor.” The Scottish bishops established a mediation process for Aberdeen & Orkney diocese in October, despite a recommendation by the independent reviewer, Professor Iain Torrance, that the Bishop, the Rt Revd Anne Dyer, step down with immediate effect (News, 8 October).

Marriage helps couples stay together, says foundation

ALMOST half the couples, married for three years, who were polled online said that they would not still be as happy had they not married, a survey commissioned by the Marriage Foundation reports. Of the 2027 UK adults aged 30 and above who were married, or had been previously, and were questioned by ComRes Savanta in July, 45 per cent thought that they would be together, whether or not they had married; the remainder said that they would not be, or did not know. The foundation’s research director, Harry Benson, said: “These figures . . . put a sword to the lie that it [marriage] doesn’t matter, because, as we see, for a sizeable proportion, tying the knot seems to have both a stabilising effect on their relationship and leads to happier couples.”

Co-chair appointed for Inter Faith Network

THE Vicar of Halifax Minster, Canon Hilary Barber, is to co-chair the Inter Faith Network for the UK, alongside the existing co-chair, Narendra Waghela, from tomorrow. Canon Barber succeeds the Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, who has announced his retirement as Bishop of Croydon (News, 10 September).

Russell SachLight into darkness: choristers George and Martha Herniman were acolytes for this year’s Grandisson Carol Service in Exeter Cathedral on Christmas Eve. The service took place at midnight, following the tradition set in 1328 by Bishop John de Grandisson

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