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UK news in brief

22 December 2023

Christian Climate Action

Gallery protest: five members of Christian Climate Action mounted a climate-change protest inside the National Gallery, in London, on Friday, in front of Filippino Lippi’s Virgin and Child. They held a poster of the scene as affected by global warming. The original artwork was not touched

Gallery protest: five members of Christian Climate Action mounted a climate-change protest inside the National Gallery, in London, on Friday, in front...

Bishop of Richborough to retire

THE Suffragan Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Revd Norman Banks, will retire next Easter Day, having held the post since 2011. Bishop Banks serves as a Provincial Episcopal Visitor in the Province of Canterbury, pro­viding episcopal ministry to traditionalist Catholic parishes that have passed a resolution under the House of Bishops’ Declaration. Bishop Banks said: “Retirement is taking me back to Norfolk, close to Walsingham, where I for­merly served as Vicar and to the glories of the North Norfolk country­side.”

TV producer to chair Clergy Support Trust

RICHARD FARMBROUGH, an award-winning television producer, has been appointed senior treasurer (chair) of the Clergy Support Trust (CST). Mr Farmbrough’s father, the late the Rt Revd David Farmbrough, a former Bishop of Bedford, chaired the Clergy Orphan Corporation, which now forms part of the CST. The charity said that there was now “unprecedented need from clergy and their families”. Last year, it helped more than 2300 clergy with £4.9 million in grants — a figure likely to be 20 per cent higher this year. It is now helping almost one in five serving C of E clergy. Tributes were paid at the AGM to the work of the outgoing Senior Treasurer, Canon Simon Butler.

Pensions Boards calls for ethnicity pay-gap reporting

THE C of E’s Pensions Board is among the signatories to a letter to the Financial Conduct Authority which urges it to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay-gap reporting for financial institutions. The letter, co-ordinated by Share Action, says that fewer than one in ten management posts in the financial sector are held by Black, Asian, or other minority-ethnic staff. It recommends that companies report on employee ethnicity, broken down into the most appropriate categories and quartile pay bands, as well as the overall pay gap, to explore whether there may be “stark pay differences between ethnicities at each seniority level of the company”.

Action needed to tackle homelessness, says Cottrell

POLICY-MAKERS are not doing enough to tackle homelessness, causing many to be cold, hungry, and lonely this Christmas, the Archbishop of York has written. In an article for The House, the parliamentary magazine, this week, Archbishop Cottrell writes that “we must not shy away from holding decision makers to account, indeed holding ourselves to account. The issue is complex, but it requires us to do better. Because, in fact, there is clear consensus that where there is political will, it is possible to make significant change.” He concludes: “Therefore, might we see that the challenge — and the invitation — of Christmas is to make room for them now? To open doors. To welcome them in. To raise our political aspirations and act.

Westminster Abbey pensions scheme insured

THE Westminster Abbey pension scheme has agreed a £25-million buy-in with Pension Insurance, a specialist insurer of defined-benefit pension funds. The deal means that the benefits for all the scheme’s 230 members are now insured. The chair of trustees, John O’Brien, thanked its advisers, Barnett Waddingham and Pinsent Masons, for their help.

Church Stretton Fire ServiceChurch Stretton Fire Service

Public helps save coffin from hearse fire

A HEARSE caught fire on its way to a funeral on Monday of last week (right). On Facebook, Church Stretton Fire Station in Herefordshire posted: “Staff and the public managed to get the coffin out of the vehicle before that became involved, so well done to everyone there.”

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