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UK news in brief

24 May 2024

Scottish Episcopal Church

The Revd David Railton

The Revd David Railton

New Bishop of Argyll & The Isles elected

THE next Bishop of Argyll & The Isles, in the Scottish Episcopal Church, is to be the Revd David Railton, it was announced on Tuesday. The see has been vacant since the death of the Rt Revd Keith Riglin last September (News, 29 September 2023). Fr Railton has served in the diocese for five years as Rector of Holy Trinity, Dunoon, and St Paul’s, Rothesay. After a career as a hospital and retail pharmacists, he was ordained deacon in 2008, serving his title in the diocese of Derby, before serving as an incumbent and Assistant Chaplain to the Bishop. In 2015, he moved to Blackwell, Darlington, in Durham diocese, where he was also Area Dean.


LGB Christians support proposed RSE guidance

A NEW network, LGB Christians, which describes itself as “defending the rights of same-sex attracted people in the face of confusion” over biological sex and gender identity, has welcomed proposed new guidance from the Department for Education on Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). A statement from LGB Christians on Monday said: “We strongly commend the guidance’s focus on teaching the biological reality of two sexes, and teaching the facts of same-sex attraction, as well as puberty, sexual harassment, and sexual activity, at age-appropriate levels. We applaud the direction to treat gender identity as a contested issue which should not be taught as fact.”


Scots say they are less religious

MORE than half the respondents to the 2022 Scottish Census (51.1 per cent) indicated “no religion” — up from 36.7 per cent in 2011, the National Records of Scotland (NRS) reports. Across Scotland as a whole, 20.4 per cent indicated affiliation to the Church of Scotland, down from 32.4 per cent in 2011. The next largest religious groups were Roman Catholic (13.3 per cent), “Other Christian” (5.1 per cent), and Muslim (2.2 per cent). Data from the England and Wales Census also showed an increase in people marking “No religion” over recent decades, but from a lower starting point.


Former vicar charged with child abuse

A FORMER Anglican priest, Ifor Whittaker (born as Colin Ivor Pritchard), aged 80, has been charged with rape and gross indecency with a boy under 14 years of age. He was Vicar of St John the Baptist, Sedlescombe, in East Sussex, at the time of the alleged offences, Sussex Police reported last week. A police statement said: “The offences are reported to have taken place during the late 1990s when the victim — now a man in his 30s — was a young child. Whittaker has been remanded in custody, to appear at a court to be confirmed on 10 June.”


RC bishops release disarmament document

A NEW document on disarmament and the ethical use of weapons, Called to be Peacemakers, has been released by the International Affairs department of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. It argues that Roman Catholics should work to limit the proliferation of weapons and to advance the cause of global disarmament. The newly elected chair of the department, Bishop Nicholas Hudson, said: “Vast sums of public money are spent on weaponry. One can legitimately argue that these funds could be better used to alleviate hardship and promote the common good of humanity.” The document issues three calls for the Church: for nuclear disarmament; for general and complete disarmament; and “to put emerging technology at the service of humanity . . . until a binding treaty ensuring the human supervision of lethal autonomous weapons systems is negotiated”.

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