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UK news in brief

29 September 2023


Dr Grahame Davies at St Davids Cathedral

Dr Grahame Davies at St Davids Cathedral

Poet appointed to strategic post in Wales

THE Church in Wales announced on Monday the appointment of Dr Grahame Davies, a former newsgathering editor for BBC Wales, as its first Director of Mission and Strategy. Dr Davies spent 12 years in the Royal Household, most recently as a deputy private secretary. He was involved in the selection of music for the Coronation, and led the project to create the Cross of Wales, which led the Coronation procession (News, 21 April). He is the author of 18 books in Welsh and English, and a winner of the Wales Book of the Year Award for his collection of Welsh-language poetry, Cadwyni Rhyddid (Barddas, 2001). A press release said that he would “lead the team of specialist staff who advise the bishops of the Church in Wales and will also be responsible for the supporting the Church’s engagement with institutions and organisations in Wales and beyond”. Dr Davies will take up his post on 1 November and will be based at the National Office in Cardiff.


Bradford Methodist church to become a mosque

A DISUSED Victorian Methodist church, Clayton Heights Methodist Church, in Bradford, is to be converted into a mosque, the BBC reported on Monday. Cllr Hazel Johnson said that the scheme did not need planning permission, as the building would remain a place of worship. The proposals had met with a generally “positive reaction”, she said, although she had been “inundated” with concerns over parking and traffic. The new owners of the building had given assurances that prayers would always have finished before the end of the school day, she said.


Isle of Man RC church gains cathedral status

THE Pope has granted cathedral status to St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Douglas, on the Isle of Man, the BBC reported on Saturday. The RC churches in the Isle of Man are part of the archdiocese of Liverpool; St Mary’s will be “co-cathedral” with the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool. The news comes after Douglas gained city status as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and after a petition by the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Revd Malcolm McMahan. The parish priest, Mgr John Devine, said that there had been “limited appreciation of the unique history and traditions of the Manx Church in the rest of the archdiocese” in the past. “The granting of co-cathedral status to St Mary’s will raise consciousness in Liverpool to the riches of the Manx church.”


Collection thief banned from every church in England

A MAN who stole from churches across three counties has been jailed for three years and four months, and banned from every church in England, the Oxford Mail reported on Sunday. Oxford Crown Court heard last Friday that Christopher Coulthard, 61, of Keenan Drive, Bedworth, was arrested in Radley, Oxfordshire, last month after a member of the public recognised him as the man caught on CCTV stealing from the village church’s collection box, in June. The judge, Ian Pringle KC, imposed a criminal-behaviour order banning the thief from entering any religious establishment except with the written permission of an office-holder, such as a minister or churchwarden. His defence told the court that he had struggled for years with an addiction to the tranquiliser Tramadol.


Knowledge of vaping surveyed at New Wine

MOST of the 181 people who were surveyed at the New Wine festival in early August said that they would like their church to provide more information and support about vaping, the Christian drug-education charity, Hope UK, reports. Its survey, published on Wednesday, found that just 11.5 per cent of respondents to its informal questionnaire said that they had a “good knowledge” of the risks of vaping. Of the respondents, 70 were children up to the age of 16 years, 104 were 18 or older, and only a handful were 17. Most of the parents and carers surveyed said that they felt “ill-equipped” to talk about vaping and its risks with their children. More than 70 per cent of children said that vaping was a problem in their school. Almost all of the people surveyed (97 per cent) said that there should be tighter controls on the marketing and availability of single-use vapes. Hope UK is offering in-person workshops, lessons, and online resources on vaping and other substances in schools.

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