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UK news in brief

by
01 September 2023

Diocese of Chester

Cutting it: Sheila Hankinson, a parishioner of St James’s, Latchford, was invited to cut the ribbon at the reopening of Greggs in the Golden Square Shopping Centre, Warrington, last month, in recognition of her daily ministry to shoppers outside the store for nearly two years. On her first venture out after the pandemic, Ms Hankinson went into Greggs, felt that the pillars in the shopping centre reminded her of a church, and thought “God’s with me.” A few weeks later, a bench had been installed outside the shop, and she felt she was called to spend time there to spread the word of God

Cutting it: Sheila Hankinson, a parishioner of St James’s, Latchford, was invited to cut the ribbon at the reopening of Greggs in the Golden Square Shopping Centre, Warrington, last month, in recognition of her daily ministry to shoppers outside the store for nearly two years. On her first venture out after the pandemic, Ms Hankinson went into Greggs, felt that the pillars in the shopping centre reminded her of a church, and thought “God’s with me.” A few weeks later, a bench had been installed outside the shop, and she felt she was called to spend time there to spread the word of God

 

Franklin Graham holds London rally

MORE than 10,000 people gathered in the ExCel, London, on Saturday night to hear Franklin Graham preach. Mr Graham, who is the son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, has been criticised for his views on same-sex marriage and Islam (News, 6 December 2019) — views that led to protests and advice by the Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Pete Wilcox, to parishes not to support an earlier tour. Mr Graham told the audience: “I believe there are people here who have hurting hearts. A lot of people here have been searching and looking and trying to find purpose to what their life is all about.” The tour includes Glasgow in June 2024.

 

Workplace inquiry urged to look at religious freedom

THE Catholic Union, the Christian Institute, and the Evangelical Alliance have urged a parliamentary inquiry to investigate concerns about religious freedom in the workplace. The Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry is holding evidence sessions on human rights at work and is due to report at the end of the year. The groups have written to the chair of the committee, the Labour MP Harriet Harman, calling for religious freedom to a “key part” of the inquiry. While the terms of reference include “freedom of thought, conscience and religion”, their letter expresses concern that this section risks being overlooked. “Too many Christians are unable to bring their whole selves to work, and in some cases face disadvantage or discrimination because of their faith, despite laws that should prevent this from happening,” the letter says.

 

Vicar charged with child-sex offences

THE Vicar of All Saints’, Stoneycroft, in Liverpool diocese, the Revd Andrew James Howard Leatherbarrow, who is 55, has been charged with one count of making an indecent photograph of a child, one count of attempting to cause a child aged 13 to 15 to look at sexual activity, and two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child. He is due to stand trial at Liverpool Crown Court on 20 November. Dr Leatherbarrow, of Saints Close, Old Swan, was ordained priest in 2016, and served his title at St Ann’s, Rainhill, before taking up his current post in 2018. He was suspended after his arrest in February. A diocesan spokesperson said on Tuesday: “The Diocese of Liverpool can confirm that [the] Revd Howard Leatherbarrow has been charged with a number of offences with a trial date set for November. According to the procedures of the Church of England he was suspended from duties when he was arrested in February. As this is an ongoing case we cannot comment any further until the trial process is concluded.”

 

Double murderer dies in prison

STEPHEN FARROW, sentenced to life in 2012 for murdering a pensioner and a Church of England priest, died on 21 August, aged 58, in HM Prison Frankland, Co. Durham. He was serving two whole-life orders after a jury at Bristol Crown Court unanimously found him guilty of the murders of Betty Yates, 77, and the Revd John Suddards, 59 (News, 9 November 2012). Farrow had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Suddards, Vicar of Thornbury, Gloucestershire, who was found dead in his vicarage on 14 February of that year (News, 16 February 2012), on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Farrow’s plea was not accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service. He had denied any involvement in the murder of Mrs Yates, who was found dead in her cottage in Bewdley, Worcestershire, on 4 January 2012. He was linked by DNA evidence to the deaths. Farrow, who had no fixed address, had been diagnosed with a psychopathic personality disorder. The jury decided, however, that he knew what he was doing when he stabbed both victims.

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