Category : England / UK

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Queen Bertha and King Ethelbert

God our ruler and guide, we honor thee for Queen Bertha and King Ethelbert of Kent who, gently persuaded by the truth of thy Gospel, encouraged others by their godly example to follow freely the path of discipleship; and we pray that we, like them, may show the goodness of thy Word not only by our words but in our lives; through Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Posted in Church History, England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer

(JC) Vicar accused of antisemitism faces removal from Church of England at disciplinary hearing

A vicar accused of sharing a platform with a Holocaust denier and promoting antisemitic material online is facing removal from the Church of England.

The Rev Dr Stephen Sizer is facing 11 instances of alleged antisemitism, as outlined yesterday at the opening of a Church disciplinary hearing – the first of its kind to be held in public.

He denies the allegations or the claim that he is any way antisemitic.

The Clergy Disciplinary Measure against Dr Sizer, 68, follows a complaint from the Board of Deputies to the head of his current diocese, the Bishop of Winchester, who referred him to the ecclesiastical professional hearing.

The vicar had been banned by his former diocese from using social media for six months in 2015, but still continued to make “deeply offensive” and “unpleasant” antisemitic pronouncements, the hearing in London heard.

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Posted in England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(CH) Frank James–When God Came to England

In Bede’s view, English church history continued the story of the New Testament. As he did with the Jews of old and the Gentiles of apostolic times, God was redeeming the English people for himself. Like the biblical writers, Bede recounts the history of that redemption in order to remind the English of what God has done. All history is redemptive history.

As the first great historian of the church in England, Bede belongs to a world very different from our own. For him, history was never purely secular, but a temporal manifestation of the divine plan of redemption. Bede also believed that this divine plan worked through Christian kings and the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Some of Bede’s Celtic contemporaries disagreed with these views. Many modern readers, too, find such a pro-establishment bias suspicious or even repressive.

Other critics have judged Bede a “second-rate scholar” because his Ecclesiastical History is largely derived from the works of previous church historians. However, this material has been carefully reshaped by a redemptive historical vision and made theologically coherent so that the sum is greater than its parts. “It takes a kind of genius to do this sort of thing well,” judges one modern medievalist—a kind of genius that Bede undeniably possessed.

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Posted in Books, Church History, England / UK

(FT) Walsingham–The Norfolk Lourdes: England’s lost Holy Land

Somewhere in an English village — amid the cul-de-sacs and pubs, vegetable patches and garden gnomes, the GP’s surgery and the miniature steam railway — lies the spot where the Virgin Mary came down from heaven.

Walsingham, Norfolk, is a sleepy place (though not as sleepy as the neighbouring village of Great Snoring). Nonetheless, it was here in 1061 that the Virgin supposedly appeared to Richeldis de Faverches, a Saxon noblewoman. Mary instructed her to build a replica of the house at Nazareth where archangel Gabriel had brought the news that she was to bear the Son of God.

You might wonder if there were more urgent prophecies to relate to a Saxon in the England of 1061 — but, in any case, the noblewoman set about following her instructions. It is said that one night, while she prayed, the building materials she had provided miraculously assembled themselves into the “Holy House” of Walsingham.

For half a millennium, Walsingham thrived as a centre of pilgrimage, alongside Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago. English kings came to pray here. The Milky Way became known as “The Walsingham Way” because its celestial sweep recalled the movement of pilgrims towards the bright star of its shrine. Walsingham, so the saying went, was “England’s Nazareth”.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Travel

(Scotsman) Church of Scotland General Assembly 2022: Kirk says ministers can conduct same-sex marriages

The General Assembly voted by 274 to 136 to approve a change in church law to allow the move, but ministers who do not want to conduct such weddings will not have to.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Scotland, Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Cathedrals have a mission to show the ‘heart of Jesus’ to a suffering world, Archbishop tells conference

Speaking on the closing day of the National Cathedrals Conference, Archbishop Stephen Cottrell praised the ‘precious and important’ contribution of the cathedrals, emphasising their role of service and teaching to their communities.

He said cathedrals had a mission to show the ‘heart of Jesus’ in world of “so much hurt and so much confusion and so much uncertainty.” The heart of Christian teaching and mission is to open the heart of Jesus to everyone, he told the conference.

“Our primary vocation is to be the place that serves and teaches… to be the Church which is aligned with that which is basic and obvious to our Christian faith, which is to show the heart of Jesus to others both from our teaching and preaching and evangelising and through the service that we offer,” he said.

In his speech, the Archbishop urged cathedrals to see themselves as a ‘work in progress’ and to continue asking the ‘hard missional questions’ about how to transmit the Christian faith in a changing world.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Marriages in places of worship hit record low

A couple’s wedding day is traditionally considered one of the most important in life, but churches have become increasingly spared from hosting nuptials.

Marriages in places of worship have hit a record low, new figures revealed on Thursday, accounting for less than a fifth of all ceremonies for the first time.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released data on marriages in England and Wales in 2019, analysed by age, sex, previous marital status and civil or religious ceremony.

It found that in 2019, religious ceremonies accounted for less than one in five (18.7 per cent) of opposite-sex marriages, a decrease from 21.1 per cent in 2018 and the lowest percentage on record; for same-sex marriages, 0.7 per cent of marriages were religious ceremonies.

Researchers said that the reason for the decline was down to “couples choosing to live together rather than marry, either as a precursor to marriage or as an alternative”.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Secularism

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Alcuin

Almighty God, who in a rude and barbarous age didst raise up thy deacon Alcuin to rekindle the light of learning: Illumine our minds, we pray thee, that amid the uncertainties and confusions of our own time we may show forth thine eternal truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) Bishops challenge Government on cost-of-living and climate crises

Bishops in the House of Lords continued to challenge the Government’s response to the cost-of-living and climate crises this week, as debates on the Queen’s Speech of last week (News, 13 May) entered a fourth day.

On Monday, debate focused on economic development, energy, and the environment. The Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, the Rt Revd Martin Seeley, said: “The climate crisis is the multiplying factor for all the other crises we face.”

In his maiden speech, Bishop Seeley dedicated much of his time to environmental issues. “Global temperature rises will dramatically increase the global refugee crisis and food shortages, and the geopolitical impact will continue to be magnified,” he said.

“We must pursue the determined course set at COP26, where we take actions —challenging actions — now, for the sake of the long term.”

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, who is the C of E’s lead bishop on the environment, wrote of the agreement at COP26 that “progress was made . . . but not enough” (Comment, 18 November 2021).

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecology, Economy, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Guardian) Social supermarkets offer choice and self-esteem to hard-up workers

In the crypt of a 283-year-old London church, you would not normally expect to see displays of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish next to shelves of tinned food, toilet rolls and nappies, and customers with baskets doing their weekly shop.

But from September, that will be the scene at the City of London’s first social supermarket, which is to open in the vaults of Christ Church Spitalfields, a Nicholas Hawksmoor-designed church close to the financial district. It will replace a food bank set up during the pandemic that has been used by 20 to 70 families a week during the past year.

Small social supermarkets have been springing up across the UK in recent years, some of them having started out as food banks. (At a social supermarket users pay for their groceries, but get a large discount.) They cater for low-income families – in the case of Christ Church these are referred by the local primary school – and pay a membership fee and/or a weekly fee for their shop.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Religion & Culture

The Bishop of Durham calls for end of the Two Child Limit

Bishop of Durham calls for the end of the Two Child Limit with Private Members Bill

Today, a Private Members’ Bill which would abolish the two child limit to Universal Credit was drawn from the ballot, to be introduced in the coming session by the Bishop of Durham. For the last five years, support provided by the child element of Universal Credit has been limited to the first two children. The Universal Credit (Removal of Two Child Limit) Bill would remove the restriction introduced in 2016 and reinstate entitlement of support for all children and qualifying young people.

The Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler said about the bill: “There is a huge amount of evidence that says that the two child limit is pushing larger families into poverty. There were significant concerns about this raised at the time the limit was introduced, and they have proved true five years later.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

C of E national funding to increase 30% to support and develop ministry especially with young people and disadvantaged communities

The Church of England today announced plans for a significant increase in funding for the next three years to support God’s mission and ministry across the country, supporting local parishes and growing many more new worshipping communities to serve the whole nation.

The Church of England today announced plans for a significant increase in funding for the next three years to support God’s mission and ministry across the country, supporting local parishes and growing many more new worshipping communities to serve the whole nation.

The Church Commissioners for England intend to distribute £1.2 billion between 2023 and 2025, up 30% from £930 million in the current three-year period, and plan to maintain this level of funding in the subsequent six years.

In total, this would mean the Church Commissioners plan to distribute £3.6 billion to frontline work of the Church of England between 2023 and 2031, making the Church Commissioners and Archbishops’ Council among the largest grant givers in the country.

The Church Commissioners’ distributions will account for approximately 20% of Church funding, whilst the biggest contribution comes from the faithful and generous giving of churchgoers across the country.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Prospect) Martyn Percy: Why I’m leaving the Church of England

The Church of England badly needs an independent regulatory body to oversee its safeguarding and begin to address the culture of bullying and harassment afflicting many clergy. Some congregations might also be grateful for basic human resources expertise being available to parish churches. The need for an impartial regulator is obvious when one realises that a nervous, declining church, losing its way, quickly collapses into being a members-only club, in which deference to episcopal authority and loyalty to patronage are the only ways to get on.

Such a regulator could firmly bind the CoE to the principles that govern other areas of public life, with authority to call the leadership to account. Good models exist in other professions—the General Medical Council and the Solicitors Regulation Authority, to name but two. The Church must find a way to divorce itself from the political, weaponised, amateur and contorted behaviour that causes people to become ill, self-harm and even commit suicide over these allegations.

Currently, the CoE properly serves few of those with a stake in the safeguarding process. Respondents and claimants alike have been known to cite the conduct of bishops and diocesan safeguarding advisers (DSAs) as further sources of abuse and trauma. Significant numbers of DSAs seem not to know what NST policies consist of (they are, in any case, notoriously fudgy). Core groups, which try to determine the facts of an allegation and the risk that the accused may pose, are also a problem. Most members lack basic legal training or relevant expertise. In fact, they lack adequate training full stop. The minutes of a core group meeting, making life-changing or employment-ending decisions, are sometimes forgotten or entirely mislaid. Where minutes might exist, both respondents and claimants are frequently denied access. If they eventually get to see them, there is no mechanism for challenging or correcting them.

Neither respondent nor claimant has a right to representation at a CoE core group and there is no obvious mechanism for fact checking. Intense and unbounded pastoral gossip sessions ought to have proper checks and balances. There is nothing to stop the train of thought hurtling along, driven by catastrophising and a desire to manage reputational risk. These trains have no braking mechanism, as Father Alan Griffin found to his cost.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

C of E to provide up to £3 million to boost diocesan discretionary funds in face of rising cost of living

Decisions about the distribution of grants will be made at diocesan level but it is expected that people from the following groups will be eligible to apply:

–Stipendiary clergy, including curates
–Self-supporting ministers with a provided house (‘House-for-Duty’)
–Salaried lay workers employed by the diocese or parishes such as youth and children’s workers
–Retired clergy carrying out a specific role in support of Diocesan ministry as agreed by or at the request of a Bishop or Archdeacon

A Church of England report published last year backed targeted support for clergy facing financial challenges such as those with larger families or with no additional household income other than the stipend.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance & Investing, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

After 800 years, Church of England apologizes to Jews for laws that led to expulsion

The Church of England on Sunday apologized for anti-Jewish laws that were passed 800 years ago and eventually led to the expulsion of Jews from the kingdom for hundreds of years.

A special service held at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford was attended by Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and representatives of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to mark the Synod of Oxford, passed in 1222.

The synod forbade social interactions between Jews and Christians, placed a specific tithe on Jews, and required them to wear an identifying badge. They were also banned from some professions and from building new synagogues. The decrees were followed by more anti-Jewish laws, and eventually the mass expulsion of England’s 3,000 Jews of the time in 1290.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Judaism, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Bradford: Wyke 5G phone mast plan refused for listed church

A 5G phone mast will not be allowed to be built on a 176-year-old Grade II-listed church in West Yorkshire due to concerns it could harm its appearance.

The spire at St Mary’s The Virgin in Wyke, Bradford, already has antennae attached and Cellnex UK had applied for permission to upgrade the base station.

But Bradford Council has rejected the application, saying it would “detract from the church’s architectural form”.

The building, dating back to the 1840s, was a “landmark”, the council said.

Although Cellnex’s planning application said 5G coverage in the area was “essential” and that any visual effect caused by a new mast would be outweighed by the benefits of 5G, Bradford Council’s conservation officer Jon Ackroyd disagreed, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(C of E) ‘It gave me back hope and ambition’– Lichfield Cathedral helps young people

More than 30 six-month work placements were made available by Lichfield Cathedral for 16 to 24-year-olds in the region. The roles available were in the Cathedral, churches, and organisations across the Diocese – providing valuable work experience for those impacted by the pandemic.

For some young people, like Gabriella, this opportunity proved to be life changing.

“In 2019, I began the year homeless” she explained.

“All the stress caused me to end up in hospital, which meant I missed my exams.

“Finding work was difficult to say the least.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

(Irish Times) Real Madrid stun Manchester City late to book final date with Liverpool in the Champions League Final

It was not just that Manchester City had led by two goals with 90 minutes on the clock, a place in the Champions League final against Liverpool basically theirs – although that was plainly the greatest, deepest agony.

It was not even that this semi-final should have long since have been over. After the first leg, which City had dominated. Or before Real’s stoppage-time magic, in which the substitute, Rodrygo, cast the spells, scoring two scarcely believable goals to force extra time.

The City substitute, Jack Grealish, had seen a shot miraculously hacked off the line by Ferland Mendy in the 87th minute and then watched Thibaut Courtois stick out a toe to divert a shot from him just past the far post.

It was the way that the footballing gods, with whom Real Madrid appear to have a deal with options, tormented them. Rodrygo had almost completed a stoppage-time hat-trick at the end of normal time, stealing in to extend Ederson, when Phil Foden received a quick free-kick and saw glory beckon. His shot flew high.

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Posted in England / UK, Men, Spain, Sports

([London] Times) Fast track into priesthood for retired city workers, head teachers and police

Retirement is the start of a fresh chapter for many, offering a new lease of life to travel the world, pursue hobbies, hang out with the grandchildren or, for a growing band of people, join the priesthood.

Retired city workers, head teachers and police officers are being fast-tracked into the clergy to bring a “lifetime of work experience” to rural churches and share the load with overstretched vicars.

It is hoped that up to 8,000 Church of England worshippers in their late fifties, sixties or seventies, particularly those with managerial experience from their careers and a track record of serving as church wardens or lay ministers, could be tempted to train as priests to serve in their local parish after retirement.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Long-term strategy needed to tackle rising child poverty, says C of E report

A cross-departmental strategy with formal government structures and the “active commitment of the Prime Minister” is needed to address rising levels of child poverty in the UK, a new report from the Church of England concludes.

The report, published on Thursday, is based on consultations with 14 charitable organisations, which were contacted by the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, and the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, in January 2021. The organisations, which include the Children’s Society and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, were invited to submit their ideas for a child poverty strategy, focused on tackling the underlying or systemic causes of poverty.

The consensus was that child poverty was a serious issue that was already on the rise before the pandemic, but had worsened during it: 4.3 million children were living in poverty in 2019 to 2020 and at least 120,000 more children were drawn into poverty as a result of Covid-19.

The Prime Minister and MPs, the report explains, have quoted from absolute poverty measures, which suggest that child poverty has remained stable since 2010, rising by only 100,000 between 2010 and 2020. This is measured against a substantial fall of 1.2 million (1.8 million before housing costs) over the previous decade (2000 to 2010), when Labour was in Government.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Theology

(The Critic) Sebastian Milbank–Rod Dreher comes home: The conscience of the New World is here in the Old

According to Daniel French there is an increasingly “underground” aspect to conservative Christian life in the UK — believers have woken up to the fact that the culture is against them, and in many cases even traditional religious leaders too.

Another of his UK allies, Dr James Orr, believes that Rod Dreher is destined to have a significant impact on our conservatism. “His insights are proving more salient with every week that passes, not only for Christians but for all those who are beginning to feel the consequences of rejecting the West’s Christian inheritance.

“As hyper-progressivism continues to colonise the UK public square with neuralgic imports from the US culture wars, I predict that more and more people in the UK will start to take Dreher’s jeremiads seriously and pay attention to his constructive proposals.”

Whether or not James Orr is right, Dreher is interesting not just for who he is, but for what he represents. He stands at a newly emergent nexus of traditional European conservatism, English realism, and American romanticism and religiosity. With an increasingly sterile politics, caught between technocratic centrism and the hollow battles of the culture wars, there’s a desperate need for new ideas, and fresh approaches. This is a man worth listening to.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Books, Children, England / UK, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Orthodox Church, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Atlantic) Eliot A. Cohen–This Is the War’s Decisive Moment:The United States and its allies can tip the balance between a costly success and a calamity.

The relatively brief but bloody war in Ukraine is entering its fourth phase. In the first, Russia tried to depose Volodymyr Zelensky’s government and sweep the country into its embrace in a three-day campaign; in the second, it attempted to conquer Ukraine—or at least its eastern half, including the capital, Kyiv—with armored assaults; in the third, defeated in the north, Russia withdrew its battered forces, massing instead in the southeastern and southern areas for the conquest of those parts of Ukraine. Now the fourth, and possibly decisive, phase is about to begin.

For those of us born after World War II, this is the most consequential war of our lifetime. Upon its outcome rests the future of European stability and prosperity. If Ukraine succeeds in preserving its freedom and territorial integrity, a diminished Russia will be contained; if it fails, the chances of war between NATO and Russia go up, as does the prospect of Russian intervention in other areas on its western and southern peripheries. A Russian win would encourage a China coolly observing and assessing Western mettle and military capacity; a Russian defeat would induce a salutary caution in Beijing. Russia’s sheer brutality and utterly unwarranted aggression, compounded by lies at once sinister and ludicrous, have endangered what remains of the global order and the norms of interstate conduct. If such behavior leads to humiliation on the battlefield and economic chaos at home, those norms may be rebuilt to some degree; if Vladimir Putin’s government gets away with it, restoring them will take a generation or longer….

Upon what the United States and its allies do in the next few weeks hangs more than the American people realize. The evidence suggests that Russia’s armies can, if met by a well-equipped Ukrainian force, be thoroughly wrecked and defeated. While Russia itself will likely remain a paranoid and isolated dictatorship after this war, it can be defanged, even as its own folly reduces it to the ranks of a third-rate power. But war is war, and the future is always uncertain. All that is clear right now is that a failure to adequately support Ukraine will have terrible consequences, and not just for that heroic and suffering nation.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., England / UK, Europe, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine

R S Thomas’ The Coming for Holy Week

And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows: a bright
Serpent, A river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.

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Posted in --Ireland, Holy Week, Language, Poetry & Literature

(Church Times) Church ‘reaching the limit’ on what it can do to alleviate poverty, says Dr Inge

The Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, has criticised the Government’s Spring Statement for not doing enough to alleviate pressures on the poor, and said that the Church was “reaching the limit” as to what it could do to cover the shortfall.

Dr Inge was speaking in a debate on the Spring Statement in the Grand Committee of the House of Lords on Thursday.

“While it is clear that the measures announced in the Spring Statement and previously by the Chancellor on energy prices and other measures will help lower-income families, it is far from clear that they will compensate for price inflation,” he said. “The fact is that they most likely will not. It is also the case that, while the increase in prices is universal, the support offered by these measures is not, and there will be vulnerable groups who will not feel their impact.”

Dr Inge said that the Church had been “very active in seeking to alleviate poverty and everything associated with it since the crash of over ten years ago”, but it needed more support from the Government.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Poverty, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Britain, US and Australia to develop hypersonic weapons and laser defence systems

Britain, the US and Australia will work together on the development of hypersonic weapons and the technology to shoot them down after Russia claimed to have tested the weapons in Ukraine.

The landmark Aukus security pact will be expanded to include co-operation on the advanced high speed weapons, and the sharing of electronic warfare and cyber capabilities.

Hiding key targets and the development of laser weapons, which could disrupt the missile’s flight path, could form part of the plans for anti-hypersonic weaponry, British officials said.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Australia / NZ, England / UK, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Russia, Science & Technology

Archbishop Welby calls for the Government to work with faith groups to achieve net zero carbon

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Stewardship

Church of England schools will be at the heart of the school system for the future

We have much to learn from the African concept of Ubuntu which outlines how an authentic individual is part of a larger and more significant relational, communal, societal, environmental and spiritual world, writes Revd Canon Nigel Genders

It’s a concept which is at the heart of the Church of England’s approach to education which sets out our commitment to educating for life in all its fullness through a broad and rich curriculum that enables children and young people to truly flourish. Such an education, with its focus on hope and aspiration, is vital in the light of a pandemic which has impacted massively on children’s mental health and wellbeing.

Today’s Government White Paper has stepped up momentum for schools to become academies, with the Government setting a clear aspiration for all schools to join a strong multi academy trust by 2030.

Since the beginning of the Academy programme, I have always spoken of the need for interdependence rather than an approach to the school system which has been driven by individualism and autonomy. Our work on rural and small schools has highlighted the need to work together and for schools to embrace change through formation of structural collaborations and partnerships, so I am delighted to see this emphasis in the White Paper.

Read it all and please follow the link to the full white paper (near the bottom).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Bishop of Coventry wants to retain ties with Volgograd despite twinning pause

The Bishop of Coventry wants the city to retain its link with Volgograd.

Coventry council voted on Tuesday to suspend the city’s 80-year twinning arrangement with the Russian city due to the Ukrainian war, despite an appeal by the Right Reverend Christopher Cocksworth for it to continue.

The bishop said it was important to “draw a distinction between the Putin state and the people of Russia”.

He said he would keep in contact with friends in the Russian city.

The Labour-run council said it was pausing its twinning links “with a heavy heart” until “such a time” they could resume.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Church Times) Jesus Christ forgave Tobias Rustat, judge argues, and so must Jesus College

The consistory court of the diocese of Ely has refused to grant the petition of Jesus College, Cambridge, for a faculty authorising the removal of a memorial dedicated to a benefactor of the college, Tobias Rustat (1608-94), from the west wall of the Grade I listed college chapel.

The petition, which had been supported by both the Dean of Chapel and the Bishop of Ely, was heard by the Deputy Chancellor, the Worshipful David Hodge QC (News, 25 January). It had been advanced on the basis that any harm caused to the significance of the chapel as a building of special architectural and historic interest by the removal of the memorial was substantially outweighed by the resulting public benefits in terms of pastoral well-being and opportunities for mission.

The college contended that, because of Rustat’s known involvement in the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, the continued presence of his memorial in such a prominent position, high up on the west wall, created a serious obstacle to the chapel’s ability to provide a credible Christian ministry and witness to the college community and a safe space for secular college functions and events.

Ranged against the college were 65 parties opponent to the petition, represented in court by Justin Gau. Another party opponent, Professor Lawrence Goldman, appeared in person, and two other parties opponent were neither present nor represented. The parties opponent contended that the court should give no weight to the petition since it was the product of a false narrative that Rustat amassed most of his wealth from the slave trade and used moneys from that source to benefit the college.

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Posted in Education, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized

(BBC) St Cuthbert’s Day: Pilgrimage in honour of ‘saint of the North’

A pilgrimage has taken place in County Durham in honour of a local saint.

The five-mile walk from Finchale Priory to Durham marks the arrival of the remains of St Cuthbert in AD995 at the site of the cathedral.

It was then the culmination of a long journey which began following a Viking raid on Lindisfarne in AD793.

About 120 people took part earlier, including a delegation of local MPs and tourism bosses from Spain, who have been visiting the region.

St Cuthbert was a monk, bishop and hermit who lived in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria and is often called the patron saint of the North of England.

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Posted in Church History, England / UK, Religion & Culture