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UK news in brief

12 April 2024

Diocese of Leeds

Bishop Robinson

Bishop Robinson

Bishop of Wakefield announces retirement

THE Area Bishop of Wakefield, in the diocese of Leeds, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson, has announced that he is to retire in August. He was ordained in 1982, and ministered mostly in the diocese of Leicester until he was consecrated for the suffragan see of Pontefract, in the former diocese of Wakefield, in 2002. After the creation of the diocese of Leeds in 2014, he became the first Area Bishop of Wakefield — which, he said this week, was “worth all the incredible upheaval and adjustment”. Bishop Robinson until lately chaired the Council of Bishops of The Society. The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, said that the diocese would “lose a dedicated pastor, wise counsellor, and exemplary bishop”. Bishop Robinson’s final service will be a eucharist in Wakefield Cathedral, on 6 July.


C of E Pensions Board signals its clean-energy votes

THE Church of England Pensions Board plans to vote for clean-energy shareholder proposals, filed by the Comptroller of the City of New York, at the forthcoming AGMs of the Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, in all of which it holds shares. The proposals call on the banks to disclose their annual Clean Energy Financing Ratio — a metric showing the total financing of the banks through equity and debt underwriting and project finance in low-carbon energy supply, as a proportion of that in fossil-fuel energy supply. The director of climate and environment at the Pensions Board, Laura Hillis, said on Tuesday: “These are reasonable proposals that we are pleased to support. . . Banks are key to the transition to net-zero — and we are concerned they’re simply not transitioning away from fossil-fuel financing quickly enough.”


Historic England gives £400,000 to Ushaw

A FIRE-DAMAGED former Roman Catholic chapel in Co. Durham is to receive a £400,000 grant from Historic England to carry out emergency repairs. Last July, an arson attack caused extensive damage to the Grade II listed Junior House and Grade II* listed St Aloysius Chapel at Ushaw College, which was a seminary in the 19th and 20th centuries until it ceased to train priests in 2011. The grant will prevent further decay to the buildings, which have also been damaged by recent storms. Ushaw Historic House, Chapels, and Gardens, now operates as an arts and heritage venue, welcoming more than 100,000 visitors a year.


Climbers envisaged at former URC in Cambridge

iStock                                                       Emmanuel Church, CambridgePEMBROKE COLLEGE, Cambridge, has submitted a planning application to install 32.8-ft climbing walls in the tower of the former Emmanuel United Reformed Church, the BBC reports. The ground floor of the Grade II listed building has already been converted into an auditorium. In planning documents submitted to Cambridge City Council, the college says: “The proposed climbing wall would reactivate the existing tower space and provide a unique opportunity to repurpose the 1874 James Cubitt tower. Students and fellows will be awarded the rare views from the top of the tower staircase across Cambridge, and the opportunity to experience the lofty height of the existing tower.”


Cottrell to be vice-president of Yorkshire Society

THE Archbishop of York is to be the next vice-president of the Yorkshire Society, it was announced this week. The Yorkshire Society was established in 1980 to counter the abolition of Yorkshire’s then county councils, and to protect the place and culture of Yorkshire in the UK. Archbishop Cottrell said: “I love Yorkshire in all its varied glory, from coastlines to moors and dales, great cities to tiny hamlets — it has it all!” The chief executive of the Yorkshire Society, Philip Bell, said: “Who better to have on board to help us work for the greater good of ‘God’s own country’?”


Cathedral’s ‘tea-and-toast’ project marks 30 years

A PROJECT that started as tea and toast served by the congregation of Sheffield Cathedral, in response to rising poverty and unemployment, has grown into a charity that has helped at least 10,000 people over the past 30 years. The Archer Project began in 1990, offering breakfast to people amid the decline in manufacturing industry in the city and widespread job losses. The project, now an independent charity with purpose-built premises in the precincts, is working with other agencies to support homeless and insecurely housed people. It continues to serve breakfast and lunch, and distributes food parcels, clothing, sleeping bags, and toiletries. It also offers showers, laundry, and access to GP and dental services. The number of people attending has increased from 912 in 2022 to 1085 last year. There was also a rise in the take-up of free meals in that period: from 7525 to 12,296 breakfasts, and from 6082 to 8667 lunches.


Free list for King’s portrait under review

HUGO BERNAND/ROYAL HOUSEHOLD 2024/CABINET OFFICEThe official portrait photo of the King in Naval uniform, which was taken in Windsor Castle last yearCHURCHES are being considered for inclusion in an £8-million government scheme to hand out, free of charge, the new official portrait of the King for display in public buildings, it has been reported. The omission of places of worship from the list of buildings eligible for the scheme is reported to be under review by the Deputy Prime Minister, Oliver Dowden. Councils, courts, schools, police forces, fire and rescue services, and prisons are already on the list.

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