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UK news in brief

27 January 2023

Diocese of Gloucester

Canon Andrew Zihni

Canon Andrew Zihni

Next Dean of Gloucester announced

THE next Dean of Gloucester is to be Canon Andrew Zihni, who is currently Precentor of Southwark Cathedral, Downing Street announced on Thursday of last week. He succeeds the Very Revd Stephen Lake, who became the Bishop of Salisbury in April 2022 (News, 21 January 2022). Canon Zihni was ordained priest in 2003, and served his title in Sheffield diocese, before becoming a Minor Canon of St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and Chaplain of St George’s Castle, Windsor, from 2006 to 2014. He became assistant director of ordinands in Southwark diocese in 2014, where he went on to become assistant director of vocations until 2021.


Frozen pipes will cost millions, say insurers

THE ongoing cold snap in the UK has caused millions of pounds of damage in burst pipes and water incidents, including in churches, Ecclesiastical Insurance has said. The specialist insurer has received nearly 300 claims in the past month, and has been working with specialist firms to carry out clean-up and drying operations and appoint loss adjusters to work on site. “Water leaks and burst pipes can cause large amounts of damage to properties, especially if they go unnoticed for long periods of time,” Ecclesiastical reports. “Just a small crack in a pipe can release gallons of water, damaging masonry and plaster, carpets and other contents.” It advises customers to keep the heating on low, such as 15°C, when temperatures drop below zero as part of its risk guidance on preventing frozen pipes; to ensure water pipes and cold-water tanks are properly lagged and protected; and to turn the water off at the stopcock and run the taps until dry if the property is empty for long periods.


Archdeacon of Wells to become Acting Dean

THE Archdeacon of Wells, the Ven. Dr Anne Gell, has been appointed Acting Dean of Wells after the immediate retirement of the Very Revd John Davies earlier this month (News, 13 January). The Revd Charlie Peer, who is at present the Head of Mission Support and Ministry Development for the diocese of Bath & Wells, will become Acting Archdeacon of Wells. Archdeacon Gell, who will take up her new post on 1 February, welcomed the opportunity “to reset the Cathedral as a place of welcome, acceptance and hope”. The cathedral was subject to a special visitation last September, consequential on an audit by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) — commissioned by the Chapter in the belief that “Wells Cathedral will benefit from external scrutiny by measuring ourselves against current best practice in this vital area” (News, 25 March 2022).


RC schools in Wales ‘more diverse’

PUPILS of Roman Catholic schools in Wales are three times more diverse than pupils in all other Welsh schools, new figures suggest. These were taken from the annual census of RC schools conducted by the Catholic Education Service, released last week. It found that more than 30 per cent of pupils in the 82 state-funded RC primary and secondary schools in Wales were from an ethnic-minority background, compared with 12.5 per cent in all other Welsh schools. Of the 28,176 pupils in RC schools in Wales, 4.5 per cent were Black or Black British, compared to 1.1 per cent in other Welsh schools. Six per cent were from an Asian or Asian British background, compared with 2.6 per cent in other Welsh schools. Three-quarters (73.4 per cent) of pupils in Welsh RC schools were Christian; half the pupils were Catholic, as were 43 per cent of the 1644 teachers employed by the schools.

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