Different in t’ North

A copy of last month’s issue of New Directions had been left on a table in a carriage of the 22.13 train from York to Leeds. It was 8 February – the day that edition had been received by most subscribers. It had been ripped in two and the job seemed to have been deftly done; among items rent asunder was the face of Graham Leonard. The finder, church journalist Michael Brown, a onetime National Assembly lay delegate, is wondering who this twenty-first century Yorkshire ripper could be…

Democracy in action

The electoral process in the Diocese of Argyll and The Isles has failed to find enough suitable candidates to hold an election for a new Bishop and as a result the entire process of election will have to begin again from scratch. The Canons of the Scottish Episcopal Church lay down that a minimum of three candidates must be presented and if this doesn’t happen, the election has to start again. The Diocese has no less than 11 clerical electors and a whopping 31 lay electors (24 representing each of the 24 congregations and 7 appointed by the General Synod).Heart-warming, isn’t it, to know that – once they get their finger out – these 42 good folk will be able to send a man – or woman, of course – to the 2018 Lambeth Conference (if such an event ever happens!).

Encyclopedic Episcopacy

Many thanks to the 30DAYS reader who had a look online at the Wikipedia entry for Bishop Edwin Barnes. Having found the fact he was after, he idly clicked on the link to Bishop Edwin’s successor – Bishop Keith Newton. The page that loaded provided him with a whole raft of little-known information about the current Bishop of Richborough, which we are delighted to share with all our readers (including Bishop Keith – who may wish to sit down before reading further):

Keith Robert Newton was an English footballer. Newton was born in 1941 in Manchester. He played football for Blackburn Rovers, Everton and Burnley. He signed for Blackburn Rovers in October 1960. Originally a wing-half, he was converted to a full-back, and became one of England’s finest defenders. He played at either right or left-back. Newton signed for Everton in December 1969 for

£80,000, after making over 300 first-team appearances for Blackburn Rovers. He made 58 appearances for Everton scoring only one goal. He played in the latter half of the 1969-70 season in which Everton won the championship. Everton gave him a free transfer to Burnley in 1971. Newton won his first cap for England in February 1966. He played 27 times for England until 1970 including three matches of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Newton retired from playing in May 1978. He died at the age of 56 after a long battle with lung cancer.

Still, he looks well on it, doesn’t he?

Click with a bishop!

The Church of England has launched a campaign to engage with a new audience, using a dedicated website to allow people to submit their personal prayers and thoughts, which will apparently then be ‘offered to God by a bishop’. The initiative was launched on Ash Wednesday, and will run throughout Lent, aiming to draw people to , where users can ‘confidentially share their hopes and concerns’ by typing in a prayer and then pressing the ‘amen’ button – at which point the Bishops of Birmingham, Huntingdon, Leicester, Manchester, Worcester and the Archbishop of York will pray for you. A quick trawl through the prayers so far requested does not yet reveal any petitions to the effect that the General Synod gets its act together and makes proper provision for those unable to receive the innovation of women bishops, but presumably that’s just a matter of time. (On the other hand, perhaps the CofE has no interest in engaging with its old audience!)

Plus ça change…

from The Independent

13 February, 2003

The Church of England claimed yesterday that a multibillion-pound fund which clergy rely on for their pensions had performed ‘magnificently’ despite losing £400m last year. Falling share prices wiped 10% off the value of the £4bn investment portfolio used to support retired vicars and parishes. The loss is one of the largest in the history of the church, which decided to invest more heavily in the stock market after it lost £800m in property speculation in the late 1980s and early 1990s. from The Church Times

6 March, 2009

The Church Commissioners wrote to every diocese last Friday to allay fears over funding levels, after the Church of England suffered an estimated 22% loss.

Andrew Brown, Secretary to the Church Commissioners, confirmed that this loss equated to about £1.2 billion, based on the last valuation of its assets in late 2007, which totalled £5.6 billion. He said that this reduction was not as severe as losses on the FTSE 100 index, which had fallen by an average of 30%. In a letter to every diocesan board of finance, Mr Brown said that the Church Commissioners would be able to maintain planned levels of support for dioceses until the end of 2010, and might be able to continue until 2011-13.

from The Times 16 February, 2010

When the Church of England walked away from a £40 million investment in a Manhattan apartment complex last month, it simply wrote off the entire amount, promising that ‘lessons would be learnt’.