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UK news in brief

16 June 2023

St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol


Court allows St Mary Redcliffe to replace Colston window

THE consistory court of the diocese of Bristol has granted a faculty for four new panels of stained glass in St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, to replace those that had commemorated the 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston (News, 27 May/3 June). The original Victorian panels had been temporarily replaced with plain glass in 2020 (News, 12 June 2020). The Chancellor, the Revd and Worshipful Justin Gau, agreed that the Colston panels had hindered the church’s mission of “singing the song of faith and justice”. Last year, the church launched a design competition to replace them. This was won by Ealish Swift, a Bristol-based junior doctor, who depicted Jesus calming the seas of the Middle Passage during the transatlantic slave trade; the Bristol Bus Boycott in 1963; a diverse group of “neighbours” with the Suspension Bridge in the background; and Jesus as a child refugee fleeing to Egypt. Chancellor Gau said: “The Church of England and the historical behaviour of this parish Church in excusing the life of Colston have a journey of repentance to make. To excuse or ignore the slave trade is a sin.”

Leader comment


Methodist Church in Ireland apologises for abuse

THE incoming President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Revd David Turtle, has apologised on behalf of the Church for its failures to protect children from abuse. In November 2020, the Methodist Church in Ireland commissioned a Safeguarding Past Cases Review “to acknowledge and honestly reflect on the past so that victims could be heard” and supported. It considered 30 past cases, dating from 1950. Most dated since 1998, and most involved an accusation against a lay volunteer leader. Six cases involved ordained ministers; three involved lay employees. The final report, published at the weekend, sets out nine findings, among them that the Church had not considered the needs of survivors and had treated ministers who had confessed to wrongdoing “with a degree of financial generosity”. The 14 recommendations concerned improvements in record-keeping, pastoral care, training, and theology. The report was presented at the annual Conference of the Irish Methodist Church on Saturday. Mr Turtle said: “The Methodist Church in Ireland apologises without reserve to all those who have been victims of abuse in the life of our Church. We have failed you, failed society, and failed our Saviour.”


German court dismisses VW climate proposal

A REGIONAL court in Germany has dismissed the case brought against Volkswagen by the Church of England Pensions Board and five other shareholders over their right to file a climate-lobbying proposal, Responsible Investor reports. The six European pension funds began legal proceedings against the German car manufacturer after the company repeatedly refused to table their disclosure-focused climate-lobbying proposal. Volkswagen argued that the motion was beyond the competence of the shareholders. The higher regional court of Braunschweig, on 8 May, denied the investors the right to appeal against the decision. “If the executive board is obliged, as in this case, to report on climate-related lobbying activities and to explain how these activities serve to reduce the risks . . . to the fulfilment of the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement . . . it is only superficially an act of transparency,” its judgment stated.



Cathedral Music Trust disburses £450,000

THE Cathedral Music Trust has awarded almost £450,000 in grants this year, it announced on Thursday. The money assisted 26 choral foundations, supporting 50 professional posts, more than 250 weekly choral services, and more than 1000 young choristers. The Trust highlighted grants given to Sheffield Cathedral’s music department (£30,000 over two years), investment in school engagement programmes in Newcastle (£21,500) and Bradford (£15,000), and new lay-clerk positions in Bangor and St Asaph Cathedrals (£15,000 each).


Trussell Trust launches tea-party campaign

THE Christian foodbank charity the Trussell Trust is encouraging its supporters to throw tea parties with family, friends, neighbours, or colleagues to fund-raise for its work. The new campaign, Tea for Trussell, will also “recognise the important role a cup of tea and a chat can play at foodbanks”, its organisers say. The network of more than 1300 foodbanks provided nearly three million emergency food parcels between April 2022 and March 2023 — a record, it says. The events engagement manager at the trust, Kate Merrifield, said: “Sitting down with a cup of tea can be a really powerful moment at foodbanks. It provides the perfect opportunity for volunteers to make people coming through the foodbank door feel comfortable and for people to be listened to.” www.trusselltrust.org

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