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UK news in brief

28 March 2024

Paradox Orchestra

String project: a soloist from the Paradox Orchestra, a contemporary string orchestra based in Leeds, performs in Manchester Cathedral. The orchestra has announced that it will be performing four concerts in Sheffield Cathedral this year, including “50 Years of Pink Floyd”, on 16 May, and an “Orchestral Tribute to Fleetwood Mac”, on 12 July. Autumn and Christmas concerts are also being planned. A percentage of the proceeds are to be donated to the Cathedral Archer Project, a charity supporting homeless and vulnerable people

String project: a soloist from the Paradox Orchestra, a contemporary string orchestra based in Leeds, performs in Manchester Cathedral. The orchestra ...


Ecclesiastical conference tackles net-zero goal

THE Church’s target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030 (News, 14 February 2020) was discussed at a two-day Net Zero Connect Conference hosted by Ecclesiastical Insurance at Benefact House, in Gloucester, this month. Sixty church representatives and climate experts from 35 dioceses attended. The church operations director at Ecclesiastical, Helen Richards, also launched its Made Simple guide on how churches can tackle daily climate challenges, including extreme weather, maintaining and heating church buildings efficiently, and providing risk-management advice on alternative heating and energy options. The Benefact Trust recently pledged £1.5 million towards supporting 60 churches over two years to achieve net zero by the end of 2025.


Funding for Farsi-speaking refugee charity

THE charity Taban, founded in 2020 to help Farsi-speaking asylum-seekers and refugees in Manchester, has secured a funding package from the National Lottery and Benefact Trust worth £22,500, matched by private donations, it was announced this week. Taban was initially funded by a grant from Manchester diocese, which was matched by private individuals. The new funding will support its expansion and the recruitment of a second paid worker.


Peers argue over foetal sentience

FIERCE argument were heard during a debate on the proposed Foetal Sentience Committee Bill (Private Members), tabled by Lord Moylan (Conservative), during its Second Reading in the House of Lords, on Friday. He described it as a “modest measure” to establish a government committee “to be a source of evidence-based, scientific expertise on the sentience of the human foetus”. Baroness Kennedy (Labour) said, however, that “the purpose of the Bill is to seek to roll back advances that have been made in relation to abortion, and to try to reduce the time limits we currently have.” Baroness Barker agreed: “This Bill is part of a far wider anti-gender, anti-LGBT attack on human rights.” Baroness Smith described this idea as “disingenuous”. Lord Alton said that the Bill was “sensible and humane”, and that this did not make him a bigot. Responding, Lord Markham said that the Government had “reservations over the Bill as we do not believe that legislation is needed”.


Stewardship awarded Planet Certification

THE charity Stewardship has been awarded Planet Mark Business Certification for its commitment to reducing its environmental impact, it was announced last week. To achieve this sustainability certification, Stewardship — a sponsor of the Church Times Green Church Awards — followed a three-step process: measuring its impact, engaging everyone in the business, and communicating progress. It measured a carbon footprint of 34.3 tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), or 0.4 tCO2e, per employee. Its target reduction is 1.7 tCO2e. stewardship.org.uk


PETER STARKINGSVolunteers: the Archbishop of Canterbury (centre) joins an interfaith iftar at the Eritrean Muslim Community Association on Wandsworth Road, London, at which he called for people of faith in the UK to get involved with the now-annual Big Help Out volunteering drive, due to take place from 7 to 9 June

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