Why oh why?! Just spent a few days outside the Diocese but every Catholic church I tried to visit was locked. One even had the utter hypocrisy to display a poster ‘From Maintenance to Mission’! Why is this, when every Anglican Church is welcomely open?
It says churches are actually more likely to be attacked when they are locked, "possibly as criminals feel they are less likely to be disturbed in a closed church than one where anyone could appear at any time".
Ecclesiastical, the largest insurer to the Church of England, also suggests that churches keep their doors open.
Its advice says that "where appropriate that churches are kept open because of the positive effect that has on security", and adds that keeping a church open during the day with proper risk assessment would not increase insurance premiums.
A spokesman for the Catholic bishops in England and Wales said there was no country-wide policy about keeping church doors open, but the decision was down to each individual bishop.
It is not known which diocese the Bishop of Portsmouth was visiting.
In the 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis said: "The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open.
"One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door."
In 2015 he said at a general audience in St Peter's Square that churches should make people feel welcome by keeping doors open.
A spokeswoman for the Catholic National Mutual Limited, the main insurer for Catholic dioceses in the UK, said: “Churches are places of worship and sanctuary, and it is important that they remain open and accessible to all.
"Accordingly, CNM Ltd does not interfere with or influence the opening hours of churches, nor does this have any impact on insurance premiums.”
A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Westminster, another Catholic diocese, said that many of its churches in London had been forced to lock their doors following vandalism.
She added that protecting the sacrament was a particular concern.
Do you have a bright idea for an app, website or social media campaign to bring more people to faith in Jesus Christ, grow and develop disciples, support your local church or the national church?
We’re launching Church of England Digital Labs to gather together the many Christian coders, creatives and techies who have the skills and passion for using technology to aid the church. Whether you have a fully formed plan for an app, website or social media campaign or just a spark of an idea, we want to hear from you.
The Digital Comms team at Church House has been established for about eight months now. We’ve seen the impact that digital and social media campaigns at Christmas and Easter can have in encouraging existing Christians and bringing new people to faith. There is so much more we can do, which is why we’re establishing Digital Labs.
Our first event will be taking place on Saturday 24th February 2018 (10am-9pm) in central London. You’ll get to meet and network with people like you, spend time refining your ideas and taking advantage of the knowledge and skills available all in one room.
Towards the end of the day you’ll get the chance to pitch your idea to a panel of industry experts with the aim of turning the best ideas we hear into one or two solutions that the Church of England will build and make available to our 16,500+ churches.
Digital Labs is part of the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform programme, aimed at helping us become a growing Church for all people and for all places.
Adrian Harris is Head of Digital Communications at the Church of England
Week in Westminster, 8th-12th January 2018
This week in the House of Lords bishops led a debate on the situation of ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq, welcomed a Government Bill to help victims of domestic violence and spoke in debates on social media and housebuilding. They asked questions about homelessness, child refugees, and the probation service. In the House of Commons, the Second Church Estates Commissioner answered a written question about Scrooby parish church.
The Bishop of Gloucester was on duty in the Lords throughout the week, reading prayers at the start of each sitting day.
Bishop of St Albans asks Government about homelessness and empty homes
On January 8th 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received written answers to three questions on homelessness, welfare reform and empty homes:
(i) The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they have taken to assess the impact of welfare reforms since 2012 on homelessness; and if such assessments have been undertaken, what were the conclusions.
Baroness Buscombe: The causes of homelessness are numerous and complex. There is currently no clear evidence of the impact of welfare reform amongst all of the other potential causes of homelessness; homelessness reflects a combination of individual, local and national factors. The Department for Work and Pensions will continue to work with the Department for Communities and Local Government to improve our understanding of local housing markets and welfare reform, helping us evaluate fully the causes of homelessness. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced on 30 November 2017 that his Department, working with Department for Work and Pensions, will be commissioning a feasibility study to determine how we can carry out robust and useful research into the causes of homelessness and rough sleeping.
(ii) The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of increasing tax rates on the 280,000 privately owned long-term empty homes in England on the overall quantity of housing supply.
(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of increasing tax rates on the 280,000 privately owned long-term empty homes in England on tax revenues.
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: The number of homes in England that have been empty for more than six months has reduced from over 300,000 in May 2010 to 206,236 in November 2017. The Government has announced that measures will be introduced to increase, from 50 per cent to 100 per cent, the council tax premium paid on homes empty for more than two years.
Bishop of St Albans asks about help for homeless care leavers and ex-offenders
On 10th January 2018 the Bishop ofSt Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to two questions on rough sleeping in London by care leavers and ex-offenders:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans:
(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the finding of the APPG on Homelessness that, between January and March, 11 per cent of rough sleepers in London were care leavers; and what assessment they have made of the quality of housing support provision for care leavers. HL4372
(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the finding of the APPG on Homelessness that, between January and March, 37 per cent of rough sleepers in London had experience of being in prison; and what assessment they have made of housing support provision for ex-offenders.
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: One person sleeping rough is one too many and this Government is determined to do something about this.
At Autumn Budget 2017, the Government announced £28 million of funding to pilot the Housing First approach for some of the country’s most entrenched rough sleepers. We also announced that we will be providing £20 million of additional funding for schemes that will enable better access to the private rented sector for those who are homeless or sleeping rough or at risk, including specialist groups such as care leavers and ex-offenders. We will be engaging with relevant departments as we develop these proposals.
This action builds on wider action that we have taken to achieve our manifesto commitment of halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it altogether by 2027. This includes:
establishing the Rough Sleeping and Homelessness Reduction Taskforce, to drive forward the implementation of a cross-Government strategy;
allocating over £1 billion to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping through to 2020; and
implementing the most ambitious legislative reform in this area in decades, the Homelessness Reduction Act, which will mean people will receive the help they need sooner.
Bishop of Gloucester asks Government about child refugee policy post-Brexit
On the 8th January 2018 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty’s Government “what new arrangements they propose to introduce to support child refugees following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.” The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester:Can the Minister confirm that any new provision will be at least as generous as under the Dublin III regulations and that there will be even wider scope for child refugees to join not only parents in the UK but also other relatives such as uncles, aunts, grandparents and adult siblings? Will they also be given the support they need to live safely and in decent conditions?
Baroness Williams of Trafford: I said in my first Answer that we will not change our commitment to supporting refugees when we leave the EU, so I fully expect that the UK will remain the generous country it has been for decades. On children joining wider family here, there are already provisions within the Immigration Rules to allow for that, and we expect those to continue.
for more: https://churchinparliament.org/2018/01/12/week-in-westminster-8th-12th-january-2018/#more-15025