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UK news in brief

by
10 February 2023

Lichfield Cathedral

Seed-time: Year 7 pupils from Lichfield Cathedral School last Friday helped to make a wildflower meadow in the Cathedral Close. The cathedral hopes to convert its silver Eco Church award into a gold

Seed-time: Year 7 pupils from Lichfield Cathedral School last Friday helped to make a wildflower meadow in the Cathedral Close. The cathedral hopes to...

 

Dr Brandon Jackson, former Dean of Lincoln, dies

THE Very Revd Dr Brandon Jackson, Dean of Lincoln from 1989 to 1997, has died, aged 88. Dr Jackson’s period in office was characterised by acrimony. It involved a row over finances concerning a tour of the cathedral’s version of the medieval Mappa Mundi. He was then accused of sexual misconduct with a female verger, and tried in a church court in 1995. The Archbishop at the time, Lord Carey, asked publicly for his resignation, describing the situation at the cathedral as “a scandal dishonouring the name of the Lord”. Dr Jackson left in 1997 with a financial settlement, and retired to Yorkshire, where he had been Provost of Bradford (1977-89). Obituary to follow.

 

Shell and BP profits described as ‘sickening’

CHRISTIAN AID has called on Shell and BP to “pay up to repair the damage they have caused to the climate”, after the oil and gas companies reported record annual profits this week. Shell profits were £32.2 billion in 2022: double the 2021 total, and the highest in its 115-year history. BP profits more than doubled to £23 billion in 2022. Energy prices soared last year. The head of campaigns and UK advocacy at Christian Aid, Pete Moorey, said: “It is sickening to see companies like Shell recording record profits yet failing to be held to account for the damage they are causing the planet.” Christian Aid’s senior private-sector-advocacy adviser, Ashley Taylor, said: “Whilst the BP executives clink champagne glasses and count their huge profits, millions of people around the world are suffering from the ravages of the climate crisis.”

 

Church of England invests in Charity Bank

THE Church of England Social Impact Investment Programme has bought a 3.6-per-cent stake in Charity Bank for £1.1 million. The bank lends to UK charities that work in communities, with faith organisations, and for the environment. The investment would create £8.8 million in new loads, a press release says. The programme, managed by the Archbishops’ Council, was established in 2020 to support projects that “share the Church of England’s Christian values and benefit society” — in fields such as housing, social care, and foodbanks. The head of social-impact investment at the Archbishops’ Council, Vanessa Morphet, said: “We are delighted that our equity investment will enable Charity Bank to support more of these organisations across the UK.”

 

RSCM launches ‘Sing for the King’

THE Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) is inviting choirs across the UK, the Commonwealth, and beyond, to celebrate the Coronation on 6 May by singing “The mountains shall bring peace”, a commission from the British singer and composer Joanna Forbes L’Estrange. The piece sets words from the Psalms and is suitable for all choirs, the RSCM says. There are two music versions: SATB with organ or piano, and unison with piano. Groups are invited to join for rehearsals and performances on social media using #singfortheking. The RSCM’s director, Hugh Morris, said this week that, after the success of a piece commissioned for the Platinum Jubilee (News, 27 May/3 June 2022), the hope was for “even more” choirs to celebrate the first Coronation in 70 years.

 

Two London clerics removed from office

TWO clerics in London have been removed from office and prohibited from ministry for two years for conduct unbecoming a clerk in Holy Orders. They are the Revd Jeremy Fletcher, Vicar of St John’s, Hampstead since 2017, whose penalty was imposed on 23 January; and the Revd Jean-Luc Sergent, Assistant Curate of St Barnabas’s, Kensington, since 2017, whose penalty was imposed on 3 February. Both penalties were imposed under consent.

 

Organist honoured for pandemic choral videos

A CHURCH organist, Paul Garrett, who recorded and posted online videos of the choir of St Anne’s, Great Eccleston, in Lancashire, during the pandemic, has been made an honorary member of the Royal School of Church Music in recognition of his work. The videos have now been viewed 40,000 times. The Archdeacon of Lancaster, the Ven. David Picken, said: “Across our diocese, organists like Paul work hard behind the scenes to ensure services each week are accompanied by music that stirs the soul.” The recordings had been “vital in keeping worship going in the days of the pandemic”, he said. Mr Garrett told the BBC: “I feel some sense of duty and calling to the church.”

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