British news in brief


Opening of the cathedrals for night events

CATHEDRALS across England and Wales are opening their doors free of charge after hours as part of a national ‘Cathedrals at Night’ campaign, coordinated by the Association of English Cathedrals. Delayed from 2020 by the pandemic, the project is the first of its kind to bring together cathedrals from England and Wales as well as Westminster Abbey. Lichfield and Wells cathedrals will host an event on May 13; Bristol, Coventry, Derby, Ely, Exeter, Gloucester, Hereford, Lincoln, St German’s Cathedral Isle of Man, Portsmouth, Salisbury (online only), York Minster and St Davids (illustrated) are scheduled to open after hours on May 14. The cathedrals of Bradford, Chelmsford, Durham, Liverpool, Peterborough, St Edmundsbury and Worcester will offer events throughout the year. It is inspired by the Nights of the Cathedrals, launched for the first time in European cathedrals in 2008.

New liturgy published for the Queen’s Jubilee

A SERIES of liturgical resources to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee have been published by the Church of England. The 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession on February 6 is celebrated over the June bank holiday weekend and will include church services, the flag parade, concerts, beacon lighting and other events (News, February 11th). C of E resources include specially written prayers, including for planting trees as part of the Queen’s Canopy project, selected readings and hymns, an outline of a service of thanksgiving, and a grace to use during Jubilee lunches.

Cleric to seek land for affordable homes

THE Vicar of St John’s, North Woolwich, in the Diocese of Chelmsford, Canon Jeremy Fraser, has been seconded to work with homeless charity Housing Justice to find surplus land and buildings belonging to the church that could be used to build affordable housing. He works part-time as a project manager for the charity’s Faith in Affordable Housing project, which aims to address the affordable housing shortage identified in the report. Coming Home: tackling the housing crisis together of the Archbishops Commission on Housing, Church and Community (News, Feb. 26). “In England we are aiming to facilitate the construction of 300 homes over the next two years,” said Canon Fraser.

DIVERSIFIED CHURCHMembers of Diverse Church attend the Pride festival in LondonDiverse Church Receives Grant

LGBT inclusion charity Diverse Church has received a £40,000 grant, covering two years, from the Benefact Trust (formerly Allchurches Trust). This is to help fund a national director and a range of new programs to support both the welfare of LGBTQ+ Christians and the work of churches and communities to understand and include LGBTQ+ people.

Smyth report delayed by more evidence

FURTHER allegations of abuse and testimony against the late John Smyth (News, January 21) have led the Church of England national backup team to delay their evidence deadline (previously September) and to write their upcoming report in chronological steps. An update from the NST on Wednesday read: “The first phase project should be with the NST within a month, and it will continue to receive projects over the summer months. . . There will be further updates when more specific times are known.

Faith groups oppose anti-boycott bill

FAITH groups in the UK oppose government plans for an ‘anti-boycott bill’, which they say would significantly affect their ability to campaign for social and climate justice by boycotting anti-social businesses ‘ethics. Britain’s Quakers, Methodist Church, United Reformed Church and Muslim Association of Britain wrote a joint statement with more than 40 other civil society groups, calling for the plans to be scrapped. He says: “We defend the right of public bodies to decide not to buy or source from companies involved in human rights abuses, labor rights abuses, the destruction of our planet or any other harmful or illegal act. We therefore oppose the government’s proposed legislation to prevent public bodies from taking such actions.”


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