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UK news in brief

13 January 2023

Diocese of Lichfield

Bishop Gregory (second from left) next to the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Michael Ipgrave, and the Area team

Bishop Gregory (second from left) next to the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Michael Ipgrave, and the Area team

Area Bishop of Wolverhampton to retire

THE Area Bishop of Wolverhampton, in Lichfield diocese, since 2007, the Rt Revd Clive Gregory, has announced that he is to retire, aged 61, on Easter Day. Bishop Gregory said: “This role is a very demanding one and becoming increasingly so, as the challenges that the Church of England faces become more onerous and complex. I believe that someone with different gifts, new vision, and fresh energy will be best placed to join Bishop Michael and the senior staff team in leading both Area and Diocese onwards.” He was ordained priest in 1989, and served his title at St John the Baptist, in Thanet, Margate. He was a Chaplain of Warwick University for six years, before becoming Team Rector of Coventry East in 1998.


Charges against anti-monarchist protester dropped

THE Christian activist Symon Hill, who was arrested during the Proclamation of the King’s Accession in Oxford, after shouting “Who elected him?”, has had the charges against him dropped. Mr Hill, 45, of Church Hill Road, Oxford, had said at the time that he had not planned to attend the event, but had come across it as he walked home from church (News, 16 September 2022). He was later charged with using threatening or abusive words or disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm, or distress. On Monday, Mr Hill wrote on Twitter that the Crown Prosecution Service had “reversed the police decision to charge me over my objection to Charles Windsor in Oxford”. A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police said that an investigation had been conducted into the incident. “The matter was referred to the CPS for a charging decision. A charge was authorised by the CPS and a court hearing was scheduled for 31 January 2023. As part of its duty to keep cases under review the CPS has now decided to discontinue the matter.” Mr Hill has said that he is now considering legal action against the Thames Valley Police. He is an author, whose books include The Peace Protestors (Books, 23 December).


Sizer ruling offensive, says Jewish Network for Palestine

THE recent ruling of the Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the diocese of Winchester — that the Revd Dr Stephen Sizer had “engaged in anti-Semitic activity” (News, 9 December) — is offensive because it “stereotyped Jews as identifying strongly with Israel”, the Jewish Network for Palestine has said. In a statement last week, the pressure group said that the tribunal decision also “essentialised our ethno-religious group as ‘the Jewish race’, a stereotype which has been historically promoted by antisemites”. The complaint against Dr Sizer was brought by the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, and focused on his conduct between 2005 and 2018. This included his posting an article on Facebook in 2015 that was found by the Tribunal to be “virulently anti-Semitic”.


Cathedral appeals for more households to host Ukrainians

PETERBOROUGH CATHEDRAL has renewed its appeal for households to host Ukrainian refugees this winter. Since April 2022, the cathedral has been working with Citizens UK to establish a Welcoming Network for Ukrainians arriving in the Peterborough area. A part-time co-ordinator has been appointed to take this work forward, and weekly meetings for Ukrainian guests are now held in the precincts. The cathedral’s chief financial officer and administrator, Jan Armitage, said: “For every family we are in touch with, there are dozens more who are desperate to leave the dangerous conditions in Ukraine but cannot do so until hosts have been found.”

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