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UK news in brief

by
28 June 2024

Steel City Choristers

Cutting edge: Steel City Choristers, formed after the closure of Sheffield Cathedral Choir in 2020, celebrated their 100th performance this month with a sell-out concert at The Crucible, Sheffield, hosted by the broadcaster Dan Walker (centre) (Feature, 13 January 2023).  The choir sings regularly in churches and other cathedrals, as well as venues such as pubs, a theme park, and an allotment

Cutting edge: Steel City Choristers, formed after the closure of Sheffield Cathedral Choir in 2020, celebrated their 100th performance this month with a sell-out concert at The Crucible, Sheffield, hosted by the broadcaster Dan Walker (centre) (Feature, 13 January 2023).  The choir sings regularly in churches and other cathedrals, as well as venues such as pubs, a theme park, and an allotment

Croft criticises Ofcom’s approach to children

THE Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, is one of eight members of the House of Lords who have written to Ofcom, objecting to the draft Children’s Code, currently under consultation. The letter argues that, while the Online Safety Act reflected a shared commitment to the safety of children, the draft Children’s Code “does not do justice to that intent”. The particular concerns of the authors are that the draft code does not enforce against under-age use, which means that millions of children below the age of 13 will continue to be exposed to harmful content; and it fails to mitigate identified risks. The measures proposed by Ofcom are “overly focused on process rather than outcomes”, and fail to require age-appropriate services, meaning that there is no difference between services offered to a seven-year-old and a 17-year-old. The authors warn that any failure by Ofcom to use its powers in full “will undermine faith in a regulatory solution altogether”.

Dean of Winchester ‘taking some time off’

A SPOKESPERSON for Winchester Cathedral confirmed this week that the Dean, the Very Revd Catherine Ogle, “is taking some time off and fully expects to return shortly”. The Precentor, Canon Andy Trenier, “is on light duties”. Last week, the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, announced a review of the cathedral’s governance after unhappiness in its music department (News, 21 June). On Wednesday, Bishop Mounstephen announced that Patti Russell, an ecclesiastical lawyer at Winckworth Sherwood, would be conducting the review. 

Missing eagle has re-landed

THE brass eagle lectern that was reported stolen from St Augustine’s, Edgbaston, in Birmingham, this month (News, 21 June), has been found, the church has announced. A message posted on social media said that the eagle had been recovered “from a scrap metal dealer in the Black Country, thanks to a public-spirited informant. We have taken additional security measures, including a motion sensor on the eagle, to ensure the crime is not repeated.” 

Pensions Board joins campaign on board standards

THE Church of England Pensions Board is one of the signatories to a campaign by pension funds to prevent the watering down of investor protections, and the lowering of board standards in listed companies, in Britain. Pension schemes, led by Railpen, the £34-billion pension plan for rail workers, have urged the Financial Conduct Authority not to risk London’s reputation by diluting shareholder rights and making other changes to the listing rules. They argue that the proposed changes, which are designed to make London more attractive to entrepreneurs seeking a venue for a flotation, could undermine international investor confidence in UK assets. The reforms have been described as the biggest overhaul of the listing rules in 30 years.

Newcastle to have its first Anglican Communion Canon

THE Revd Dr Kelly Brown Douglas (right), currently Interim President of the Episcopal Divinity School in New York, is to become Newcastle Cathedral’s first Anglican Communion canon. Dr Douglas is known for her work in the field of womanist theology, racial reconciliation, social justice and sexuality, and the Black Church. In an honorary post, she will contribute insight and experience to the cathedral community and the diocese, both remotely from the US and in person during visits to the UK, over the next three years, a statement said.

Cancelled Franklin Graham tour goes ahead

THE Revd Franklin Graham preached in Glasgow last weekend to a crowd of 7560 people, in the second event of the God Loves You Tour UK. More than 320 churches in the region worked with the organisers to bring 115 buses of people from communities across Glasgow and beyond. The Glasgow event followed a similar event that attracted 8300 to the Resorts World Arena, in Birmingham, the previous weekend. The tour was originally scheduled for 2020, but cancelled in the face of opposition (News, 14 February 2020). It has gone ahead this year after the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) brought legal challenges against venues on the grounds of religious discrimination. All the legal disputes “have been resolved in ways BGEA considers favourable”, the association said this week.

Believers less likely to believe in climate change, survey finds

PEOPLE of faith are more sceptical about climate change, a poll by the Institute for the Impact of Faith in Life (IIFL) suggests. It found that 16 per cent of religious British respondents did not believe that climate change was happening, compared with the national average of 13 per cent. The survey of 2064 UK adults suggested that Hindus living in the UK were most concerned about climate change, 80 per cent of them convinced that the climate was changing. While 35 per cent of Christian and 31 per cent of Muslim respondents did believe that climate change was happening, they did not think that it was caused primarily by human activity.

Mission to Seafarers and IKEA form partnership

THE Anglican charity the Mission to Seafarers has entered into a three-year partnership with the Swedish furniture company IKEA, which will work with the Mission to build knowledge and awareness of the part played by seafarers in IKEA’s supply chain, with the goal of enhancing their well-being. The partnership will centre on a training programme for IKEA employees, “All You Need to Know About Seafarers”.

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