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UK news in brief

08 April 2022

Christians Against Poverty

Jayne Hardy (left) received help from Christians Against Poverty after she fell into debt

Jayne Hardy (left) received help from Christians Against Poverty after she fell into debt

CAP launches cost-of-living crisis appeal

THE charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has launched an appeal to provide immediate assistance to people who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. CAP is aiming to raise £50,000 to help those who are in debt “as high energy bills, stagnant wages, and tax rises take a grip”. It says that, since the start of the year, there has been a 47-per-cent increase in calls to its debt helpline. capuk.org/EasterAppeal

Bishop Conalty appointed to safeguarding post

THE Bishop of Birkenhead, the Rt Revd Julie Conalty, has been appointed a deputy lead bishop for safeguarding. She succeeds the Bishop of Southampton, the Rt Revd Debbie Sellin. Bishop Conalty’s brief will focus on engagement with survivors of abuse. She will also be a member of the National Safeguarding Steering Group.

Synod member resigns from Anglo-Russian firm

THE deputy chair of the Archbishops’ Council’s Finance Committee, Carl Hughes, has resigned from the board of En+, a mining company part-owned by Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch, The Guardian reported last week. Mr Hughes, who is a lay General Synod member for Southwark diocese, had been an independent director on EN+’s board since January 2019, the newspaper reported.

Chelmsford parish receives Eco Church Gold Award

THE conservation charity A Rocha UK has awarded its 25th Eco Church Gold Award to St John’s, Moulsham, in Chelmsford diocese, it was announced on Tuesday. It is the first parish church in the diocese, and the 17th C of E parish, to receive a Gold Award. “To achieve a gold award, one of the things St John’s Church has done is develop its churchyard to transform it into a welcoming green space to support wildlife and biodiversity,” a press release from A Rocha UK said.

Three-child families to be worse off, CPAG warns

FAMILIES with three children will be £938 worse off this year, because benefits are not keeping up with the rising cost of living, the Child Poverty Action Group says. The situation for such families is made worse, it says, by the two-child benefit cap, which was introduced five years ago on Wednesday. If the cost of raising children rises in line with inflation, it will cost £23 more every week to raise three children than it did last year; but the benefits that three-child families receive from child benefits will rise by only £5, which will lead to a £938 shortfall for them, the charity says. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, said on Wednesday: “The plight of larger families affected by this policy will only get worse over the coming months as we face inflation at its highest level in a generation and soaring energy bills.”

Vandalism leaves cathedral with £11k repair bill

Keith Larby/Alamy Live NewsOne of the windows of Truro Cathedral which were damaged by vandals last month

TRURO CATHEDRAL is facing a bill for £11,000 after what police are calling a “senseless case of criminal damage”. The Cathedral’s chief operating officer, Sean O’Neill, told ITV News, on Tuesday of last week: “A little over ten days ago, an individual decided, in the middle of the night, to throw missiles at some of our windows. It broke 19 of our windows here and caused significant damage to other windows.” The repairs will need specialist expertise to rectify. “It’s just very sad that somebody chooses to do this for such an important building to a lot of people,” he said.

Gerald Coates dies, aged 78

THE founder of the Pioneer network of churches and March for Jesus, Gerald Coates, has died, aged 78, it was announced last weekend. He was an author and speaker, and well known in Evangelical circles. His books include What On Earth Is This Kingdom?, Divided We Stand, and Non-Religious Christianity.

New guidance on last rites at crime scenes

POLICE in England have produced national guidelines to allow priests to give the last rites to Roman Catholics dying at crime scenes. The change follows the outcry after Fr Jeffrey Woolnough was refused permission to pass a police cordon and administer the sacrament of the anointing of the sick to Sir David Amess, who had been stabbed repeatedly in an attack last year (News, 22 October 2021). The College of Policing published the guidelines online after meetings of a joint group convened by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, and the RC Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, in the aftermath of the murder. The updated guidelines make it clear that police may permit priests to visit crime victims to administer the sacraments.

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