Monday, 28 February 2011

Court backs decision to bar Christian foster couple

A decision to bar a Christian couple from fostering children because of their views on homosexuality has been backed at the High Court.

Eunice and Owen Johns, 62 and 65, of Derby, said the city council did not want them to become foster carers because of their traditional views.

The couple said they were "doomed not to be approved" because of their views.

The Pentecostal Christian couple had applied to Derby City Council to be respite carers.

'Loving home'

The court heard the couple withdrew their application after a social worker expressed concerns when they said they could not tell a child a homosexual lifestyle was acceptable.

Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson ruled that laws protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation "should take precedence" over the right not to be discriminated against on religious grounds. Read more

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Bishop of Chelmsford: Church marriages - cheap, cheerful and not at all tacky

A BISHOP has been selling the true value of the traditional church wedding to couples planning their dream day.

Cheap but certainly not tacky was the message from the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, as the diocese competed for business among bare-chested male models, stretched limousines and magicians at the Heart FM Wedding Fair in the Brentwood Centre on Saturday.

Enticing brides and grooms-to-be with Love Hearts sweets, a friendly smile and leaflets to get hitched in a "proper" traditional setting – the Church of England team explained how cheap and easy it could prove to be at a time when so many have limited budgets.

The Rt Rev Cottrell, who admitted to being a "wedding fair virgin" until two weeks ago, told the Gazette couples could get hitched for as little as £350 in one of their churches and that many non-churchgoers did not realise parish churches were available for their big day. Read more

Friday, 25 February 2011

Diocese of Chichester Press Release on Changing Attitude/LGCM Survey

Diocese of Chichester

Issued on: 25th February 2011

The results of a survey carried out by Changing Attitude Sussex and the Brighton and Hove Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement among the churches in the Deaneries of Brighton and Hove in the Diocese of Chichester have now been published. They show an overwhelming number of churches welcome LGBT*people as members of congrgations.

Archdeacon Douglas McKittrick speaking for the Diocese said, “We are grateful to all those who have carried out this survey and to all those who took an active part. This survey was part of that listening process commended to all in the Anglican Communion by the 1998 Lambeth Conference. These results show that the Church takes its pastoral responsibilities to everyone in their parishes seriously, and expresses how the parishes of Brighton and Hove area respond positively to the high proportion of people in LGBT relationships in the area.

It has been a valuable exercise which will encourage an ongoing process of further listening and engagement in the Church.”

* LGBT – Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender


This press release issued by The Communications Dept, Church House, 211 New Church Road, Hove BN3 4ED
Diocesan Communications Officers:
David Farey Tel: 01273 425691 Fax: 01273 421041 Mob 07899 828787 E-mail or
Lisa Williamson Tel: 01273 425791 Fax: 01273 421041 Mob 0777 5022 461 or E-mail:

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Bishop Stephen podcast for parish AGMs in Chelmsford

(Sent from the Diocesan Offices)

We are all aware that the season of AGMs is nearly upon us. For some parishes this results in frantic searches for candidates for PCC and deanery synod – for other parishes a hurried attempt to collect and print reports. As a result of the amount of work involved, AGMs can sometimes feel more burdensome than inspiring.

The 'Year of the Bible' steering group want to offer you something ‘off the peg’ that will enable your AGM to have a note of inspiration and challenge.

On the diocesan website are two resources for you to download/use at your AGM.

  • A short PowerPoint presentation (including script) that gives a very short/brief overview of some of the initiatives being fostered in this year of the Bible.
  • A podcast from Bishop Stephen that can be downloaded/played at your AGM. In this podcast, Bishop Stephen says that the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible in 2011 is not just an important cultural event. The Bible is vital and central because it is God’s word, not faxed down from heaven, but inspired by the Spirit.
If you require any further help/information about these and/or other Year of the Bible resources please do not hesitate to contact either the Archdeacon of Harlow  or the Rev John Dunnett.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

"‘Gay marriage’ and homosexuality some medical comments" - downloadable

Many people will be aware of the sacking of Dr Hans-Christian Raabe, formerly appointed to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, for contributing to a paper back published in 2005 which linked homosexuality with paedophilia.

As it happens, the paper can be found online here as pdf file, and those who wish to can download it and read it for themselves.

The West is deluding itself over the extent of China's growth

The Middle East could be heading for a game-changing implosion. US bond yields are surging and Western central banks, despite growing tension within their ranks, remain in ostrich mode.

There seems no end to the steady stream of highly significant economic and political developments these days. We live in incredible times.

Yet of all the events I followed last week, of all the data sifted and news wires perused, one story really grabbed me. Although I read it alone, it still elicited an audible "wow!"

China is in "advanced talks" with the Colombian government to build an alternative to the Panama canal. The mooted 220km rail link would run from the Pacific to a new port near Cartagena on Colombia's Atlantic coast. Imported Chinese goods would be assembled for re-export through the Americas and beyond, with Colombia-sourced raw materials filling ships making the return journey to Asia. Beijing is now reaching very high, pushing China onwards to the zenith of its modern-day power. Read more

Friday, 18 February 2011

Universities failing to fight extremism, says watchdog

The government's counterterrorism watchdog believes Britain's universities are reluctant to deal with radicalisation on campus and says a report by vice-chancellors that rejects demands to ban controversial speakers is "weak".

Lord Carlile, who is in charge of overseeing the government's counterterrorism strategy, Prevent, urges ministers to develop a "new narrative" for combating extremism, supporting moderate Muslim theologians against al-Qaida. "You have to meet like with like," he says.

He is scathing about the conclusion reached by Universities UK, representing 133 universities – and says their report contains a "glaring omission". He told the Guardian: "[There] is a total failure to deal with how to identify and handle individuals who might be suspected of radicalising or being radicalised whilst within the university." Read more

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Dire Straits banned in Canada for causing offence

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has ruled that "Money for Nothing," a Dire Straits hit from 1985, is too offensive for Canadian airwaves. The song is being singled out for the repeated use of an anti-gay slur — "that little faggot" — in its second verse.

This hasn't stopped some Canadian classic rock radio stations from playing the song. In the days since the ruling, stations in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Edmonton, Alberta have protested the decision by playing an unedited version of the song on repeated for a full hour. Read more

Thursday, 10 February 2011

WALTHAMSTOW: St Luke's appoints new vicar

A NEW vicar has been appointed at Walthamstow 's St Luke's Church.

Former chemical engineering graduate Rev Frances Shoesmith, 46, takes up the role after leaving her previous post as a minister in Liverpool.

Rev Shoesmith will also become one of two 'team vicars' for the parish of Walthamstow, which includes St Gabriel’s in Havant Road, St Mary’s in Church End, St Stephen’s in Copeland Road and St Luke’s, which is in the High Street.

Fellow team rector Simon Heathfield said: “The Bishop of Barking and I are delighted to be able to announce this appointment. Read more

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

‘Suppressing the truth’ - Greg Venables on the Anglican Communion

ARCIC III: isn’t it time to bring this ecumenical farce to an end?

[...] It isn’t just that Catholics and Anglicans believe different doctrines: it’s that there is between them a fundamental difference over their attitude to the entire doctrinal enterprise. I remember very vividly, in my days as an (Anglican) clergy member of the Chelmsford Diocesan Synod, a debate on one of the ARCIC documents followed by a vote on whether to recommend to the General Synod in London that it should be accepted. The document was accepted overwhelmingly. At lunchtime, standing at the bar with a number of clergy, I asked how they had voted; they had all voted affirmatively. I then asked them if they had read the document. None of them had; and most of them, it became clear, had little idea of what it contained. “Well”, I asked, puzzled, “why did you vote for it, then?” “The point is,” one of them replied, “the important thing is unity. The RCs are frightfully keen on doctrine. You have to encourage them: so I voted for their document”. There you have it: what the late Mgr Graham Leonard, when he was still an Anglican bishop, once called “the doctrinal levity of the Church of England”. Read more

Saturday, 5 February 2011

If the Left is to rise again, it must lift the official silence on race and culture

[...] The failure of successive governments to deal with what is euphemistically called "social cohesion" is precisely what leads to extremism. The complete inadequacy of particular kinds of multiculturalism is yet to be properly acknowledged. In education, for instance, many "multicultural" approaches have been entirely top-down and imposed in increasingly inept ways. The EDL can exploit ignorance and fear because in many of the places they find support different communities are still leading "parallel lives".

The EDL slogan of No Surrender, a Loyalist slogan (or just possibly the title of a Bruce Springsteen song) also tells us a lot about their roots and influences. Far-right movements will, of course, thrive during a recession. Certainly, one of the things we need to do is to understand the new right. For the left to rise again in any meaningful way, we have to deal with the concept of Englishness, and stop the official silence around race and culture. The crude stereotyping of the EDL plays into their hands. As with their Dutch counterparts, they are using a language of libertarianism, modernity and fake inclusiveness. They know what they are doing, just as Al-Muhajiroun does. Such groupings may in fact be mirror images of each other. Any anti-fascist movement cannot take on one without the other. That is indeed complicated. But any other way is indeed surrender. Read more


NSUBUGA Enock aka Sydney, the prime suspect in the murder of David Kato Kisuule, a gay activist was arrested yesterday at 1600hours at Nakabago in Mukono District by a team of police officers supported by crime preventers.

Kato, 48, who was a self-employed Ugandan, was attacked on 26 January, 2011 at around 2p.m at his home in Bukusa-Kyetume, Nakisunga - Mukono District.

Nsubuga, the suspect confessed to the act of murder and was taken to Mukono Magistrate’s Court for an extra- judicial statement yesterday.
According to the statement of the suspect, Nsubuga on the 25th of February 2011 negotiated with the suspect to be paid money for using him as sexual partner, but the promise was never fulfilled.

The following day which was 26th,February ,2011, Nsubuga confessed that he picked a hammer from the bathroom and hit him on the head which resulted into his death. Nsubuga, further said that he locked the house and took off with some of the items belonging to the deceased. Read more

Court bans man with low IQ from having sex

A man with a low IQ has been banned from having sex by a High Court judge who admitted the case raised questions about “civil liberties and personal autonomy”.

The 41 year-old had been in a relationship with a man whom he lived with and told officials “it would make me feel happy” for it to continue.

But his local council decided his “vigorous sex drive” was inappropriate and that with an IQ of 48 and a “moderate” learning disability, he did not understand what he was doing.

A psychiatrist involved in the case even tried to prevent the man being given sex education, on the grounds that it would leave him “confused”.

Mr Justice Mostyn said the case was “legally, intellectually and morally” complex as sex is “one of the most basic human functions” and the court must “tread especially carefully” when the state tries to curtail it. Read more

David Cameron tells Muslim Britain: stop tolerating extremists

David Cameron will today signal a sea-change in the government fight against home-grown terrorism, saying the state must confront, and not consort with, the non-violent Muslim groups that are ambiguous about British values such as equality between sexes, democracy and integration.

To belong in Britain is to believe in these values, he will say. Claiming the previous government had been the victim of fear and muddled thinking by backing a state-sponsored form of multiculturalism, the prime minister will state that his government "will no longer fund or share platforms with organisations that, while non-violent, are certainly in some cases part of the problem".

In a major speech to a security conference in Munich, he will demand: "We need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism." Read more

Bus teenager stabbed 24 times

A teenager was fatally stabbed 24 times in a frenzied knife attack by a mob of youths who ambushed him at a bus stop, detectives said tonight.

Daniel Graham, 18, died from catastrophic injuries after a 45 second attack near East Dulwich railway station, in south London, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Investigators revealed new details of the horrific attack tonight as they appealed for witnesses to help them catch at least six men responsible for the murder.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Manning, who is leading the inquiry, said officers have been met by a wall of silence among young people who attended a party before the killing.

He said: "This was a completely frenzied attack in full view of dozens of people. The attackers made no attempt to cover their faces. Daniel was stabbed 24 times.

"Witnesses described a gang raining blows on to him. Someone was hitting him with a bottle and others were kicking and punching him. Another man was described as punching him in the side.

"I went to meet his family yesterday. His mother is just deeply traumatised. I think it is almost impossible for her to take anything in." Read more

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Dinner lady dismissed for revealing bullying case gets £49.99 compensation

A school dinner lady who won an appeal for unfair dismissal after revealing a case of bullying will get just £49.99 compensation because she deserved to be sacked.

Carol Hill, 60, has endured a 20-month ordeal since helping seven-year-old Chloe David, who had been tied to a fence and whipped with a skipping rope by four children.

Last month a tribunal last month upheld her complaint of unfair dismissal by Great Tey [CofE] Primary School, near Colchester.

At the remedies hearing yesterday Mrs Hill was awarded a severance package of £351.82, including £400 in back pay and compensation of £49.99.

The tribunal at Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, ruled that although the school failed to carry out a satisfactory investigation before sacking her, Mrs Hill would have been dismissed for going public with the information and was therefore not entitled to compensation from Essex County Council. Read more

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Dublin and the Art of Dishonest Conversation

The Dublin Primates’ meeting marks one more step along the road which is slowly but surely seeing the Anglican Communion evolve into two distinct groupings. As A. S. Haley observes ‘The takeover of the Instruments of Communion by ECUSA, aided and abetted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, is now complete’ . For instance, in sharp contrast to the ultimatum issued by the Primates after their meeting in Dar es Salaam in 2007, no word of censure or rebuke was evident in the ‘statement of purpose’ issued by the Primates on Sunday Despite the fact that just weeks before this meeting, two senior female clergy of the Episcopal Church were ‘married’ in a ceremony at Boston Cathedral.

So if the official Lambeth institutions are no longer worth fighting for, should orthodox Anglicans now simply let history take its course, get on with evangelism where they can and hope for the best? I believe not, because the Dublin meeting makes explicit a theological shift which is even more significant than the predictable institutional changes made to enhance Lambeth’s control, such as the establishment of a Primates’ Standing Committee. The essential common interest of Rowan Williams and ECUSA/TEC becomes clear, whatever their differences over the pace of change, in the closing paragraph of the Dublin Primates’ statement where they affirm that ‘In our common life in Christ we are passionately committed to journeying together in honest conversation’. Read more