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UK news in brief

15 March 2024


Global gathering: the Queen leaves Westminster Abbey after the annual Commonwealth Day service on Monday. The King sent the congregation a video message

Global gathering: the Queen leaves Westminster Abbey after the annual Commonwealth Day service on Monday. The King sent the congregation a video messa...


Welby calls for release of Nigerian schoolchildren

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has added his voice to international pleas over the weekend for the immediate release of hundreds of schoolchildren in Nigeria, some as young as seven, kidnapped by armed gunmen. More than 280 children were taken from a school in Kuriga, in the north-west of the country, on Thursday of last week — one of the biggest mass abductions in recent times. A further 15 children were taken from a school in Sokoto, on Saturday. Archbishop Welby was “shocked and saddened” by the events, he said. “There are more than 18 million Anglicans living and worshipping in Nigeria, and I stand with my brothers and sisters in that land of amazing abundance, whose lives are currently being destroyed by conflict and kidnappings. It goes without saying that children should be free to live and learn without fear of being taken from school by armed gunmen.”


Churches become ambassadors for voter registration

A COALITION of Christian denominations in the UK are urging millions of “at-risk” voters to participate in the General Election, through a new campaign led by Citizens UK. The C of E, United Reformed Church, Methodist Church, and Churches Together in England are among those to sign up to be ambassadors for the non-partisan Voter Registration Champions Scheme, launched during Voter Registration Week, this week. This involves encouraging congregations to promote voter registration, educating people about the new photo ID requirements, and encouraging turn-out on polling day. Research by the Electoral Commission estimates that eight million eligible voters may miss out in the 2024 General Election because they are not registered to vote in time, while four million people may be turned away because they do not have the correct photo ID. The Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, said: “It is so important to equip people to exercise their democratic rights, and the C of E is especially concerned to make sure those people who are often excluded from democratic participation are able to be included.”


Lockerbie kirk to receive £40,000 for repairs

TUNDERGARTH Parish Church, near Lockerbie, in Dumfries and Galloway, has secured £40,000 for urgent repairs, the BBC reports. Its churchyard houses a memorial to the victims of the 1988 air disaster, in which 270 people died after a terrorist bomb exploded on a Boeing 747; its nose cone was found in a field opposite the church. The grant from the Annandale and Nithsdale community benefit fund and the Pan Am 103 Lockerbie Legacy Foundation was secured by the Tundergarth Kirks Trust. Lori Carnochan, who chairs the Trust, said: “Unfortunately, we did suffer a lot of water intrusion over the winter months, and it has left us with an awful large bill to pay for roof repairs and internal and external repointing. We’re incredibly grateful to both of these funders for their generous donations, which will allow us to keep the doors open.” The Trust said that, during the work, the church would remain open for worship and visitors to the memorial room.


St Albans CathedralChance: the city of St Albans is to have a special edition of the Monopoly board game, after fighting off stiff competition from five other potential Hertfordshire locations in a public vote. The announcement was made at the cathedral last month. The Dean, the Very Revd Jo Kelly-Moore (pictured), said: “We are particularly thrilled that our cathedral, the home of Alban, Britain’s first saint and martyr, is being tipped already to be the Mayfair spot! We can’t wait to play it”

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