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UK news in brief

by
14 October 2022

Forward in Faith

Jane and Stephen Race

Jane and Stephen Race

Next Bishop of Beverley announced

THE next Bishop of Beverley is to be Canon Stephen Race, Rector of Central Barnsley, in the diocese of Leeds, and Area Dean of Barnsley, it was announced on Wednesday. Canon Race, who has also served as a diocesan director of ordinands, succeeds the Rt Revd Glyn Webster, who retired in January (News, 16 July 2021). Bishop Webster provided sacramental and pastoral ministry to more than 100 parishes across the Northern Province under the House of Bishops’ Declaration. Canon Race was ordained priest in 2003. After curacies in Carlisle and Wakefield, he has exercised more than a decade’s parish ministry in Leeds. Canon Race, who will be consecrated in York Minster on 30 November, said that he had “had positive and nurturing experiences of a wide variety of traditions within the Church”.

 

New working party formed for seal of confession

THE House of Bishops has commissioned further work on the seal of the confessional. The absolute confidentiality of the seal has been questioned during the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) (News, 19 July 2019). A working party set up in 2014 published a report and interim statement in 2018 (News, 8 May 2019), and a new working party of “theologians, Church leaders, and safeguarding professionals” has been set up to continue this work, with “the voices” of survivors. The working party, meeting over the next year, will take account of any relevant findings from IICSA’s final report, which is due to be published next Thursday. This may include recommendations to change canon law on the seal.

 

Bishop Dyer’s lawyer responds to re-suspension

THE Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney, the Rt Revd Anne Dyer, has been “obliged . . . to remain silent” while she is subjected to a “relentless campaign of anonymous and inaccurate media briefings”, her lawyer has said. Bishop Dyer was re-suspended last week after her appeal was rejected by the Episcopal Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church (News, 7 October). Her lawyer, Callum Anderson, of Levy & MacRae, said on Saturday: “An entirely one-sided and self-serving picture has been presented by a handful of people who fundamentally object to same-sex marriage and to Bishop Dyer’s appointment as the Diocese’s first female bishop. . . She is clearly frustrated at being unable to respond publicly to the very personal and gruelling attacks on her.”

 

High Court grants Fr Williamson leave to appeal

THE High Court has granted the Revd Paul Williamson leave to appeal against the latest judgment concerning his age-discrimination claim. In August, the Employment Appeal Tribunal dismissed his appeal (News, 26 August). Fr Williamson was the subject of a Civil Proceedings Order (CPO), made in 1997 after previous unsuccessful litigation. On 1 April 2019, Fr Williamson, without having obtained the permission of the High Court, instituted proceedings against the Bishop of London, the London Diocesan Fund, and the Church Commissioners (“the respondents”), alleging age discrimination in the termination of his tenure as Priest-in-Charge of St George’s, Hanworth, when he reached the age of 70, on 18 November 2018 (News, 10 June).

 

Churchgoer on trial for murder by decapitation

A CHRISTIAN trained in human dissection, Jemma Mitchell, 38, is on trial at the Old Bailey, accused of murdering 67-year-old Mee Kuen Chong — a friend from her church — after falling out over money in 2021, the BBC reports. Ms Chong was reported missing from her home in Wembley, London, on 11 June. Her decapitated body was found more than 200 miles away in woods near Salcombe, Devon, 16 days later. The court was told that Ms Mitchell was captured on CCTV walking from Ms Chong’s house with two suitcases, and that Ms Mitchell had studied osteopathy and that her professional website said that she was “attuned to subjects in neuroanatomy, genetics and dissection of human cadavers”. The case continues.

 

Director of Ministry Development appointed in Wales

THE Vicar of Christ Church, Roath Park, in Cardiff, Canon Trystan Owain Hughes, has been appointed as the first Director of Ministry Development in the Church in Wales, it was announced last week. The new position will support existing and emerging ministries in the Church. Canon Owain Hughes is also Tutor in Applied Theology at St Padarn’s Institute, Cardiff, where he has helped develop the MA in Theology, Ministry, and Mission validated by Durham University. In 2019, he was appointed as Canon Theologian of Llandaff Cathedral. He is the author six books on faith, and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio.

 

Youth department releases climate-justice resources

THE Church of Ireland Youth Department (CIYD) has released a Climate Justice Toolkit: a resource pack adapted from materials produced in association with the Girls’ Friendly Society. Steve Grasham, CIYD’s youth ministry development officer for the southern region, said: “The aim of this toolkit is to build the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of young people as they explore the impact of climate change on our planet, the inequality of its consequences on people, and why this is unjust.”

 

Woman travels 3000 miles to church

A WOMAN from the United States, Andrea Board, who started watching live-streamed services from Avon Valley Churches during the pandemic, has visited the congregation in person this week. Ms Board, from Winchester, Virginia, was introduced to the online content by an ordinand. She told the congregation of St Mary’s, Fordingbridge, on Sunday: “I never thought that something so positive could come out of such a negative situation, and yet here I am.”

 

Online mental-health course at Surbiton ‘hub’

CHRIST CHURCH, Surbiton, is among the churches offering a six-week online mental health course to support adults living with mild to moderate depression and anxiety, and those who care for them. The courses have been run by the charity Hope in Depression since 2013. The Vicar, the Revd John Shepherd, said that participants had spoken “positively of the great freedom of being able to share, and be heard, and to know that they weren’t alone in their tough experiences of depression”. The church has become a Be Well Hub, working with Citizens UK and local NHS Trusts to provide support and resources for the community.

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