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UK news in brief

22 July 2022


Jonathan Hellewell arrives in Downing Street in April

Jonathan Hellewell arrives in Downing Street in April

PM’s Appointments Secretary announced

THE Prime Minister’s next Appointments Secretary is to be Jonathan Hellewell, Downing Street announced last Friday. Mr Hellewell’s duties will include working with the Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary on episcopal and Crown deanery appointments. He is a former director of the Lambeth Trust, and spent eight years as the Prince of Wales’s Assistant Private Secretary. He succeeds Richard Tilbrook, who retired at the end of June, but who will continue part-time as Clerk to the Privy Council.


‘No pressure’ to communicate as Covid cases rise

THE Church of England’s Covid-19 guidance on holy communion has been cautiously revised to reflect a recent rise in positive cases across the country. While communion should still be offered in both kinds (News, 13 May), the guidance now adds that “it is important that no pressure is placed on members of the congregation to receive the sacrament if they feel unable to do so,” on account of the “ongoing potential risks to health” posed by rising cases. The latest government data suggests that cases have risen from a daily average of under 5000 at the end of May to almost 25,000 at the start of July.


New Clerk to the General Synod

THE next Director of the Central Secretariat for the Archbishops’ Council and Clerk to the General Synod is to be Simon Gallagher, it was announced on Thursday of last week. Mr Gallagher, who is currently the director of planning at the Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities, will start in the autumn. He succeeds both Becky Clark, the Council’s Director for Churches and Cathedrals, who has been Acting Director of the Central Secretariat since the departure of Dr Jacqui Philips earlier this year (Synod digest, 15 July), and Jenny Jacobs, who has been Acting Clerk to the Synod. Mr Gallagher will oversee policy work on the organisation and governance of the C of E, and will be the senior administrator of Synod business under the Secretary-General.


York’s Youth Trust merged into National Society

THE Archbishop of York’s Youth Trust, a charity established by Lord Sentamu when he was Archbishop in 2010, is being dissolved, and its work will be incorporated into that of the National Society, the Church of England’s national education office. Over 12 years, the Trust, funded by the Allchurches Trust, now the Benefact Trust, has worked with more than 1000 schools through its Young Leaders Award, pilgrimages, and leadership groups. The award is being renamed the Archbishops’ Young Leaders Award, which the National Society plans to bring “to many more schools, dioceses and Multi Academy Trusts (MATs)”, a press release issued on Monday said. The C of E’s chief education officer, the Revd Nigel Genders, said that the National Society was delighted “to be able to secure the future” of the Trust. Some members of the current Youth Trust team will join the national team, under the Executive Director of Education, Andy Wolfe. www.abyyt.com


Basingstoke churches to be one resource church

Diocese of WinchesterFrom left: Jess Thompson, operations director; the new Rector, the Revd John Hudson; the Revd Ed Haycock, assistant curate, outside St Michael’s, Basingstoke

THE diocese of Winchester has been awarded £1.59 million from the Strategic Development Fund (SDF) to support a church-growth project to reach “missing generations” in Basingstoke. Apart from investment in building improvements and social engagement, the money will support four churches (in the town centre and on the two urban estates of Brighton Hill and South Ham) to become one resource church, and to bring children, young people, and families into, or back into, church. Funds will also be spent on training young leaders and Christian witness in schools and further-education institutions. The project will be led by the Revd John Hudson, when becomes the new Rector of Basingstoke on 5 September. He said that he was excited to be working with the new team “as the church here steps into this next phase of its ministry in the town”. The Bishop of Basingstoke, the Rt Revd David Williams, described the funding as a blessing.


Focus on quality of housing, says Bishop of Ely

THE UK housing crisis is perpetuated by the incorrect notion that the volume of houses in the country matters more than the quality, the Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, has told the House of Lords. Speaking during the Second Reading of the Healthy Homes Bill last Friday, he said: “One mistake that has been made over and again is to reduce our housing crisis simply to the idea of an excess of demand over supply. The consequence is that we assume that, by building more houses faster, we will somehow sort out the other problems around housing. This excessive focus on the volume of houses to be built has caused us to overlook their quality. In the headlong rush to deliver the numbers, we are compromising on the basic standards for healthy homes. We have lost sight of the purpose.” He continued: “The quality of homes in this country has gone backwards in the last few decades.” He noted that the Bill called for “sustainable, safe, stable, sociable and satisfying” housing, in line with Archbishops’ Coming Home report (News, 26 February 2021).

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