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UK news in brief

21 April 2023


Hopeful space: St Edmundsbury Cathedral had the official opening of its sustainability and youth project “The Yard” on Saturday — a dedicated place for young people in the cathedral gardens (pictured). The Dean, the Very Revd Joe Hawes, said that the “genuinely inclusive, healing and safe” space was already leading to “a marked improvement in mental health, growing confidence, and engagement with good role models. At a time of real challenge to our young people, The Yard stands for something hopeful, life giving and inclusive”

Hopeful space: St Edmundsbury Cathedral had the official opening of its sustainability and youth project “The Yard” on Saturday — a dedicated place fo...


Church releases funding for anti-racism projects

DIOCESES, parishes, and other church networks are being invited to submit funding applications for projects which will support the recommendations set out in the report From Lament to Action by the Archbishops’ Anti-Racism Task Force (News, 23 April 2021). Tomorrow, 22 April, which is observed as Stephen Lawrence Day, marks the second anniversary of the report’s publication (News, 23 April 2021). Organisations and groups eligible to apply include dioceses, national church institutions, and ethno-cultural networks such as the Anglican Minority-Ethnic Network and the Teahouse, a Chinese-heritage group (News, 20 August 2021). Small grants of up to £5000 will be fast-tracked for deaneries, parishes, and other community groups to fund new anti-racist and racism-awareness projects and encourage diversity in the Church. Comment, page 13


Quaker’s ‘empty chair’ at CTE nears its term

A QUAKER, Hannah Brock Womack, whose same-sex marriage has prevented her taking up one of the presidencies of Churches Together in England for the past four years (News, 22 November 2019), says that Churches Together must evolve to stop a repeat of her experience. The term of Hannah Brock Womack, who married in a Quaker wedding in 2019, finishes later this month. She was nominated by Quakers in Britain in 2019 to represent the Fourth Presidency Group; but, on learning that Hannah Brock Womack had recently been married to a woman, a majority of the member Churches of CTE, through its enabling group, voted to request that the Fourth Presidency Group “refrain from enacting its Presidency, leaving the Fourth Presidency as an ‘empty chair’ for the current term of office”. Hannah Brock Womack said this week: “As long as there are people keen to do this work, as I have been, we should continue to be part of ecumenical groups because otherwise queer people will continue to be silenced, and Quakers will not be represented.”


Man charged after Easter Day stabbing

A MAN has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent, after an attack on a worshipper outside St Stephen’s, Sneinton, in Nottingham, writes Pat Ashworth. The victim, aged 40, a regular member of the congregation, was stabbed in the stomach as the congregation left the church after the 9.30 a.m. eucharist on Easter Day, and was admitted to hospital with non-life-altering injuries. Joseph Easom-Cooper, aged 20, of Dale Street, Sneinton, has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent, possession of a bladed article in a public place, and possession of cannabis. He appeared at Nottingham Magistrates Court on Tuesday of last week, and is due to appear at Nottingham Crown Court on 9 May.


Baptist chapel for sale, with graveyard

COXALL BAPTIST CHURCH, on the Powys-Shropshire border, has been put up for auction by the Welsh Baptist Union, but buyers have been told that the graveyard must remain in use, the BBC reported this week. The Union closed the chapel last May, because the congregation had become too small. With a guide price of £25,000 and a sale date of 28 April, the chapel seats about 100, and has a high pulpit and a baptistery, but no water, electricity, or drainage for lavatories. Conditions state that the owners must allow new graves to be opened up for the few people who have already booked a plot there, and to allow existing graves to be reopened for family members of those buried there. Also included is a requirement to allow funeral services to take place at the time of burial. In November, the BBC reported the sale of the New Row Methodist Chapel in Blackburn and reassurances given by the Methodist Church that it would protect the hundreds of graves in the burial ground, which was not included in the sale.


Save-the-spire appeal launched for Standish

AN URGENT fund-raising appeal has been launched in the diocese of Blackburn to raise £400,000 to restore the 130-foot spire of St Wilfrid’s, Standish. The church is the only Grade I listed building in the borough of Wigan, and has launched a “Save Standish Spire” campaign. The Rector, Canon Andrew Holliday, said that the spire was “a landmark for Standish people, which can be seen for miles around. It is essential we preserve it.” Parish funds would be used, he said, “but the scale of the essential repairs that are needed means we have to reach out across the community for support.” justgiving.com/crowdfunding/save-standish-spire


Cathedral cycling challenge ends in Birmingham

TWO women, Barbara Calvert and Gabrielle Key, have completed a challenge to cycle to all 42 Anglican cathedrals in England, to mark their 70th birthdays, the BBC reported this week. The last ride, undertaken on Monday, took them from Coventry to Birmingham. They began the Cathedrals Cycle Route challenge, set up during Bike Week 2021, in January 2022, after meeting at an event organised by Breeze, a British Cycling campaign aimed at encouraging more women into cycling.

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