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UK news in brief

13 May 2022


The Queen peers at St Paul’s Cathedral from Flamsteed House, part of the old Royal Observatory at Greenwich, in 1960

The Queen peers at St Paul’s Cathedral from Flamsteed House, part of the old Royal Observatory at Greenwich, in 1960

Map shows Queen’s visits to heritage sites

HISTORIC ENGLAND have created an interactive map of the Queen’s visits to heritage sites across the country during her reign, to help children understand the value of local heritage. The map, which went live on its website on Tuesday, features images of these visits and information about the sites, which range from the Humber Bridge in Yorkshire to Maiden Castle in Dorset. The chief executive of Historic England, Duncan Wilson, said: “We hope schools, teachers, parents and the wider public will explore the map, discover more about their local historic sites and follow in the Queen’s footsteps by supporting their local heritage.”


Bishop of Birmingham to step down in October

THE Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, is to retire on 18 October, when he turns 70, after 16 years in post. “I have been privileged to serve such a generous and vibrant city region and am looking forward to making the most of the remaining six months together,” he said. Episcopal oversight will be exercised by the Bishop of Aston, the Rt Revd Anne Hollinghurst, until a new bishop is appointed.


St Paul’s Cathedral to admit girl choristers

A GIRLS choir is to be established at St Paul’s Cathedral for the first time in its history, the Chapter announced on Thursday of last week. Girls will be admitted from 2025, to allow time for the cathedral and St Paul’s Cathedral School to carry out the “practical arrangements”. This includes a new fundraising campaign to enlarge the school’s boarding facilities and scholarship programme for an equal number of boys and girls. The director of music, Andrew Carwood, said: “Tradition is not being broken, it’s being developed.” Salisbury was the first cathedral to admit girl choristers, in 1991.


Bishop James to be UK fertility services regulator

THE former Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, who retired in 2019, has been appointed a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) from 1 May. The HFEA regulates fertility clinics in the UK, and provides impartial information about fertility treatment and sperm, egg, and embryo donation. Bishop James has said that his chairmanship of the inquiry into Ian Paterson — a surgeon accused of malpractice (News, 15 December 2017) — deepened his interest in medical ethics. In 2003, he led a General Synod debate on embryo research.


Video course helps churches to address mental health

SANCTUARY UK has created a free video course to help churches explore mental health from a faith perspective, and to support people experiencing mental ill-health. It was launched on Monday to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who has spoken about living with depression (News, 12 October 2017) and is patron of the charity, welcomed the course. “We must all get better at talking about this.” The director of Sanctuary UK, Corin Pilling, said that the course was designed “to help move the mental health conversation out of the back rooms and into the heart of the church”.


Competition reopens for social-action projects

THE Cinnamon Network, which facilitates social action projects in churches, is inviting applications to its 2022 Project Incubator Competition, which launched last week. Applications are welcome from “church-led projects that are addressing emerging challenges in their communities” and ten will be selected for the Incubator programme, which, over two years, supports the replication of these initiatives across the UK. Five of the projects will be selected to pitch to a group of philanthropists at the Cinnamon Incubator Final; the winner will receive a development grant of £25,000 towards their project growth. The deadline for applications (via the Cinnamon Network website) is 10 June.


Wells Cathedral to open up Vicars’ Close

Church TimesChurch TimesWELLS CATHEDRAL has been awarded £577,562 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to progress its plans to project to open to the public properties within the medieval Vicars’ Close, which is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited street in Europe. Grant applications over £250,000 are assessed in two rounds; a further £2.7 million could be awarded to the project in the second round. In March, an independent report on safeguarding at the cathedral noted a culture of “unhappiness and fear” among staff and volunteers (News, 18 March). The auditors said that many of the issues were compounded by having staff living in close quarters within Vicars’ Close.

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