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UK news in brief

21 January 2022


Pupils of Ashling Murphy hold up photos after her funeral on Tuesday

Pupils of Ashling Murphy hold up photos after her funeral on Tuesday

Bishops in Ireland mourn murdered teacher

ANGLICAN and Roman Catholic leaders in Ireland have joined the mourning for Ashling Murphy, a 23-year-old primary-school teacher, in Tullamore, County Offaly, who was murdered while out jogging on Wednesday of last week. A statement from the Bishop of Meath & Kildare, the Most Revd Pat Storey, the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson, and the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd John McDowell, said: “Perhaps we, on the whole of this island, can begin to think of ourselves as truly civilised when we have made genuine efforts, as citizens, as governments and as churches, to create a society where women need feel no fear as they walk in our cities, towns and countryside.” A man in his thirties has been arrested.

Listed Places of Worship scheme extended

THE Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme has been extended for three years until 31 March, it was announced on Wednesday. Through the government scheme, which had been due to end at the end of March (News, 5 March 2021), representatives of listed places of worship can apply for a grant to cover the VAT costs incurred when carrying out urgent building repairs. Since its inception in 2001, it has paid out £317 million, assisting more than 13,000 buildings.

Bishop for new diocese of Tuam, Limerick & Killaloe

THE Bishop of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory, the Rt Revd Michael Burrows, has been elected Bishop of the newly united dioceses of Tuam, Limerick & Killaloe, the Church of Ireland announced on Friday of last week. He will succeed the Rt Revd Patrick Rooke (formerly Bishop of Tuam, Killala & Achonry), and the Rt Revd Dr Kenneth Kearon (formerly Bishop of Limerick & Killaloe), who both retired at the end of October 2021, at which time the two dioceses were united. Bishop Burrows served as Dean of Cork from 2002 to 2006; his previous posts include chaplaincy of Trinity College, Dublin, a minor canonry at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, and an incumbency in Cork, Cloyne & Ross diocese.

CHRISTIAN CLIMATE ACTIONFr Martin Newell and the Revd Sue Parfitt outside court after the verdict, last Friday

Clergy cleared after environmental train protest

A RETIRED Anglican priest, the Revd Sue Parfitt, aged 79, was among three Christians found not guilty of obstructing a DLR train in Shadwell during an Extinction Rebellion climate-change protest in 2019 (News, 25 October 2019). Ms Parfitt, Fr Martin Newell, 54, an RC priest, both of whom stood on top of the train, and Phil Kingston, 85, who glued himself to it, are all members of Christian Climate Action. They were cleared by a Crown Court jury in London last Friday. Speaking afterwards, Ms Parfitt said: “We hope it in some small way inspires others to feel that there may be sacrifices to be made, perhaps particularly by people of faith.” On Monday, the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, said: “I know that Sue has acted in good conscience throughout. I share with her the conviction that the world is facing a climate and ecological crisis, and that we are not yet moving fast enough to tackle it.”

Dean of St Edmundsbury to chair Ozanne Foundation

THE Dean of St Edmundsbury, the Very Revd Joe Hawes, has been elected chair of the Ozanne Foundation, it was announced on Wednesday. He will succeed the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, who is to retire as Bishop of Liverpool next month (News, 9 July 2021). A press release described Dean Hawes, who met his partner of 30 years, Christopher, while training at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, as “the most senior out LGBT+ cleric on General Synod”.

New conservation chair

A NEW chair of the Churches Conservation Trust, Elizabeth Peace, has been appointed, it was announced on Friday of last week. The Queen has also approved as members: Sir Simon Jenkins, a former chairman of the National Trust; Dr Oliver Cox, Heritage Engagement Fellow and co-lead of the Oxford University Heritage Network; and Inayat Omarji, who has led the development of All Souls’, Bolton (News, 11 July 2014). Ms Peace was chief executive of the British Property Federation for 13 years until her retirement in 2014, and was appointed CBE for services to the property industry in 2008.

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