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UK news in brief

29 April 2022


Cathedrals to open for night-time events

CATHEDRALS across England and Wales are opening their doors free of charge after hours as part of a nationwide campaign “Cathedrals at Night”, co-ordinated by the Association of English Cathedrals. Delayed from 2020 by the pandemic, the project is the first of its kind to bring together cathedrals in England and Wales as well as Westminster Abbey. Lichfield and Wells cathedrals will host an event on 13 May; Bristol, Coventry, Derby, Ely, Exeter, Gloucester, Hereford, Lincoln, St German’s Cathedral Isle of Man, Portsmouth, Salisbury (online only), York Minster, and St Davids (pictured) are due to open after hours on 14 May. Bradford, Chelmsford, Durham, Liverpool, Peterborough, St Edmundsbury, and Worcester Cathedrals will offer events throughout the year. It has been inspired by Les Nuits des Cathédrales, first launched in European cathedrals in 2008.


New liturgy released for Queen’s Jubilee

A SERIES of liturgical resources to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee have been released by the Church of England. The 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession on 6 February is being celebrated over the June bank-holiday weekend and will include church services, the Trooping of the Colour, concerts, the lighting of beacons, and other events (News, 11 February). The C of E resources include specially written prayers, including for tree-planting as part of the Queen’s Canopy project, selected readings and hymns, an outline of a service of thanksgiving, and a grace to be used at Jubilee lunches.


Cleric to seek land for affordable homes

THE Vicar of St John’s, North Woolwich, in the diocese of Chelmsford, Canon Jeremy Fraser, has been seconded to work with the homeless charity Housing Justice to find surplus church-owned land and buildings that could be used for building affordable homes. He is working part-time as a project manager for the charity’s Faith in Affordable Housing project, which aims to address the affordable-housing shortage identified in the report Coming Home: Tackling the housing crisis together from the Archbishops’ Commission on Housing, Church and Community (News, 26 February). “In England, we are aiming to facilitate the building of 300 homes in the next two years,” Canon Fraser said.


DIVERSE CHURCHMembers of Diverse Church attend the Pride festival in LondonDiverse Church receives grant funding

THE LGBT-inclusion charity Diverse Church has received a £40,000 grant, to cover two years, from the Benefact Trust (formerly the Allchurches Trust). This is to help finance a national director and a range of new programmes to support both the well-being of LGBTQ+ Christians and the work of churches and communities in understanding and including LGBTQ+ people.


Smyth report delayed by more evidence

FURTHER allegations of abuse and testimonies against the late John Smyth (News, 21 January) have led the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team to delay its evidence deadline (previously September) and draft their forthcoming report chronologically in phases. An update from the NST on Wednesday states: “The first-phase draft is expected to be with the NST within a month, and it will continue to receive drafts over the summer months. . . There will be further updates when more precise timings are known.”


Faith groups oppose Bill against boycotts

FAITH groups in the UK are opposing the Government’s plans for an “anti-boycott Bill”, which, they say, would dramatically affect their ability to campaign for social and climate justice by boycotting unethical companies. Quakers in Britain, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, and the Muslim Association of Britain have written a joint statement with more than 40 other civil-society groups, calling for the plans to be dropped. It says: “We advocate for the right of public bodies to decide not to purchase or procure from, or invest in companies involved in human-rights abuse, abuse of workers’ rights, destruction of our planet, or any other harmful or illegal acts. We therefore oppose the Government’s proposed law to stop public bodies from taking such actions.”

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