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UK news in brief

22 September 2023

University of Oxford

Professor Anthony Reddie

Professor Anthony Reddie

Oxford Professor of Black Theology appointed at Oxford

THE University of Oxford has appointed Professor Anthony Reddie, the director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture at Regent’s Park College, as its first Professor of Black Theology in its 900-year history. Professor Reddie, who was awarded the title in the university’s latest Recognition of Distinction exercise, also becomes the first Black professor in the faculty. Professor Reddie, who has been teaching at Oxford since 2020 and is also a Methodist lay preacher, said: “It is a great honour.” The burgeoning interest in Black Theology was “a moment” in history, he said. “Tectonic plates have shifted in a lot of ways. Black Lives Matter put the issue of race on the agenda in the UK. There is great interest now in Black Theology in Britain. It’s made Black Theology more mainstream.” Black Theology was established in the 1960s by the African American theologian James Cone, when segregation in churches was a matter of course. Last year, Professor Reddie started to give a new course on Dr Cone’s work.


Bishop walks 100km for Liwolo diocese

Diocese of BlackburnBishop North (right) and his chaplain, the Revd Sam Cheesman, on the walkTHE Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Philip North, has walked 100km across Lancashire this week to raise funds for the diocesan harvest appeal. The appeal, launched last month, is supporting the people of the South Sudanese diocese of Liwolo, who are currently living in exile in Uganda after years of civil war in their homeland. Bishop North set out from the north of Preston with his chaplain, the Revd Sam Cheesman, last Friday, and arrived at Blackburn Cathedral in time for Sunday evensong. The route included various canals, towns, villages, and cities. Bishop North said of the diocese of Liwolo: “Their people want to return home, but with a struggling state the Church has a lot of responsibility with regards to feeding people, building houses, and establishing clean water sources. It is my hope that all the money raised by us walking 100km will go to making the return home for some of the poorest people in the world a little bit easier.” Donations can be made on the diocesan website.


Civil servant appointed to advise C of E on public policy

Church of EnglandDilys AlamTHE Archbishops’ Council has appointed Dilys Alam as National Public Policy Adviser to the Church of England, within its Public Policy Team, based at Lambeth Palace, it was announced on Wednesday. Ms Alam, who until recently was Director of Work and Health at the Department for Work and Pensions, will focus on issues surrounding justice and social policy. She will start work with the Church next month. Ms Alam has previously worked for the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Cabinet Office, and the Department for Energy and Climate Change.


Coptic diocese opens Sanctuary hub in the City

THE Coptic Orthodox diocese of London has inaugurated its new diocesan hub, the Sanctuary, at St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, in the City of London. The hub is for ministries already serving the diocese, including for children, students, young people, older people, and the homeless. The service on Monday was officiated by the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop Angaelos of London. Messages from the King commending efforts leading to environmental stewardship, and congratulations from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Prime Minister, were read out during the service, which was attended by church leaders, ecumenical and interfaith partners, MPs, and representatives of advocacy and non-governmental organisations and civil society. Archbishop Angaelos said: “It is wonderful for us to focus on renewal, but it is equally important for us to hold on to our heritage as well.”


Durham UniversityThe Revd Dr Nicholas MooreAcademic Dean to be Warden of Cranmer Hall

THE next Warden of Cranmer Hall is to be the Revd Dr Nicholas Moore, the college’s current Academic Dean, it was announced by St John’s College, Durham, on Monday. He succeeds Canon Philip Plyming, who has been appointed Dean of Durham (News, 30 June). Cranmer Hall is one of the two residential theological colleges in the Province of York. Dr Moore, who is 39, was ordained priest in 2015, and served his title at All Saints’, Stranton, in Durham diocese, before becoming a tutor at Cranmer Hall in 2017.


Suffolk Police make arrest over church thefts

A MAN has been arrested by Suffolk Police in connection with a series of church burglaries that took place on Church Road, Saxstead, in June and July. A sound system and a silver chalice were stolen, among other items. The man was arrested on 10 September, and taken to Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre for questioning. He was released on bail, pending further enquiries, until 2 December.

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