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UK news in brief

17 May 2024

Mercy Ships

Achievement: Dr Juliette M. Tuakli (right), the UK trustee of the Christian charity Mercy Ships, receives a lifetime achievement award at the fourth Africa Healthcare Awards and Summit in Accra last month, hosted by Zenith Global Health

Achievement: Dr Juliette M. Tuakli (right), the UK trustee of the Christian charity Mercy Ships, receives a lifetime achievement award at the fourth A...


Pensions Board concerned by Anglo American takeover talk

THE Church of England Pensions Board has expressed concern over recent bids to take over the global mining company Anglo American, in which the Board has shares. Anglo American rejected, on Tuesday, a second £34-billion bid from a rival firm, BHP, however, and announced plans to sell or demerge large parts of the business, including its De Beers diamond operation and its platinum division. Anglo American’s share price fell by 2.6 per cent to £26.30 on Tuesday. In a statement on Monday, the Pensions Board had said that a takeover would risk the interests of asset owners. “Losing Anglo as a distinct entity may serve short-term financial interests, but as an asset owner we are not convinced that such consolidation will serve our long-term interests as a pension fund. Our position is not in any way a judgement of any company making a bid for Anglo, but rather a call for greater reflection by institutional investors as to what is at stake and at risk of being lost. Mining has an absolutely vital role to play over the coming decades to provide the critical resources for the low carbon transition and other industrial activity, and we question if losing Anglo is the right market response.” This week, the Pensions Board was among a group of 24 investors worth $1.24 trillion in assets under management to call on Barclays to restrict its financing of fracking companies in North America, where most of its fracking clients are based, as it has committed itself to doing in the UK and Europe.



Churchyard wildlife to be counted in June

COMMUNITIES are being invited to celebrate the wildlife in churchyards and cemeteries in England and Wales during a week-long event in June, organised by Caring for God’s Acre, and supported by the Church of England, the Church in Wales, and the charity A Rocha UK. During Love Your Burial Ground Week and Churches Count on Nature (8 to 16 June), biodiversity “nature counts” are being encouraged in churchyards using the iNaturalist app, as well as tour and record memorials in urban cemeteries. The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, the C of E’s lead bishop for the environment, said: “It is a great way to engage local people with the biodiversity around them, as well as offer a missional invitation to become involved with the life of their local church.” The director of Caring for God’s Acre, Harriet Carty, said that, in three years, 1300 events had taken place, resulting in 37,355 wildlife records being submitted. “Communities have taken decisive action, installing boxes for visiting swifts, placing boxes in hedgerows where dormice have been recorded, and adjusting cutting regimes to allow wild flowers to flourish.”


IIFL polls Christian faith in Britain

YOUNG people in Britain show a deeper and stronger conviction in their religious beliefs than any other age group, a new study commissioned by the Institute for the Impact of Faith in Life (IIFL) suggests. Its survey of 2064 UK adults, carried out by Whitestone on 1 and 2 May, found that, of the 18- to 24-year-olds identified as religious, 69 per cent believed that their faith had a significant impact on their lives, compared with 51 per cent of over-65s. Seventy-two per cent found that faith helped them to find purpose in life, compared with 47 per cent of over-65s. The poll also found, however, that Christians in Britain generally were less confident in speaking about their religious beliefs than most other faith groups: 38 per cent of Christians polled preferred not to tell people about their faith, compared with 29 per cent of Muslim respondents. Just 28 per cent of Christians believed theirs to be the only true religion, compared with 83 per cent of Muslims.


Westcott House to improve accessibility

WESTCOTT HOUSE, Cambridge, has been awarded “a significant grant from a UK-based charitable trust” towards its project to improve accessibility. The theological college has worked with Archangel Architects, Cambridge, on the project. The Vice-Principal and project lead, the Revd Rachel Rosborough, said that the site was “beautiful, but there are significant practical challenges to making it fully accessible. A great deal of work and prayer has gone into bringing us to this point, and I am excited that we have reached this milestone on our journey.” The Principal, the Revd Dr Helen Dawes, said: “It will transform the welcome we are able to offer.”


New president for Anglican Cursillo movement

THE new national president of the British Anglican Cursillo Council is Helen Taubman. She succeeded Beth Roberts at the group’s biennial conference in Derbyshire last week, at which dioceses of the Church of England, Church in Wales, and Scottish Episcopal Church were represented. Cursillo — a Spanish name from its creation in Mallorca in the 1940s — revolves around a residential weekend described as a “discipleship programme”.

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