GB news – 24th May

C of E begins major study on Church growth; Christian counsellors being ‘closed down’ says struck-off ‘gay cure’ psychotherapist; Dawkins supports King James Bible in schools; Church faces crisis over ‘tainted’ women bishops plan; New plaques commemorate Hudson Taylor; ‘Cursing stone’ found on island  
C of E begins major study on Church growth
ICN – Research teams have been appointed to start work on an 18-month project on growth in the Anglican Church, supported by funding set aside by the Archbishops’ Council and Church Commissioners. The Church Growth Research Programme will focus on a range of growth areas including cathedrals, church plants, different patterns of deploying clergy and the union of parishes. The organisations running the programme were appointed through a competitive tendering process which, the Church says,  attracted a good number of high quality proposals.


British bishop warns about redefining marriage
Vatican Radio – It’s less than a week to the opening of the World Meeting of Families in Milan that will be attended by Pope Benedict for its final three days. Hundreds of thousands of people from more than 140 countries are set to attend the 5-day event. The World Meetings of Families are held every three years and are sponsored by the Vatican Pontifical Council for the Family as a way for families to meet, discuss critical issues and grow in the faith. This year’s theme is: The Family: Work and Celebration.

Among the participants planning to attend the event is Bishop John Hine, head of the Committee for Marriage and Family Life of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. He sees the Milan meeting as a great opportunity “to get together with other people who are similarly concerned for marriage and family life” at a time when “there are huge pressures on the family” and says “we can all learn from each other.”

Asked about the high rates of marital breakdowns in Britain, Bishops Hine says unfortunately there is a tendency nowadays for young people “to slide into marriage” after a series of relationships “rather than making a decision for a life long commitment to each other.” The problem, he says, is that in these situations, it’s just as easy for these young people “to slide out of marriage.”

Christian counsellors being ‘closed down’ says struck-off ‘gay cure’ psychotherapist

Telegraph – A Christian psychotherapist struck off after attempting to convert a homosexual man to heterosexuality said that counsellors with traditional views now face being “closed down”. Lesley Pilkington, 61, spoke as she lost her appeal against her registration with her professional body being cancelled after an undercover journalist posing as a patient recorded her during a therapy session.
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) said that, although Patrick Strudwick had “deliberately misled” Mrs Pilkington, she was guilty of professional malpractice.
Mrs Pilkington, who believes that homosexuality is sinful, practices a controversial counselling technique known as “reparative therapy” involving counselling and prayer.
In 2009, Mr Strudwick, using a false name, arranged two counselling sessions with Mrs Pilkington telling her he was a “believer” after meeting her at a conference.

Dawkins supports King James Bible in schools
Christian Today – Atheist Richard Dawkins says he supports the Department for Educations drive to make sure every public school in the nation has a copy of the King James Bible

Church faces crisis over ‘tainted’ women bishops plan
Telegraph – Historic plans to allow women to become bishops have been plunged into crisis after existing bishops voted through an eleventh-hour concession to traditionalists.
Campaigners for women in the episcopacy in the Church of England are considering whether to vote the plan down themselves, with some privately condemning it as a “compromise too far”.

Others say that the concession would give legal status to the view that women bishops would carry a “taint.

Yet traditionalists also voiced disappointment at the measure, which they said falls far short of the assurances they say they need, and warned the Church is facing a “terminal” crisis.

It comes after the Church’s House of Bishops met behind closed doors in York to give its approval to the long-awaited legislation. 
In theory it clears the way for a landmark vote at the Church’s General Synod in July to ordain women as bishops.

New plaques commemorate Hudson Taylor
Christian Today – Two heritage plaques have been placed at the site of James Hudson Taylors birthplace in Barnsley

‘Cursing stone’ found on island
A stone discovered by chance on the Isle of Canna is Scotland’s first known example of a bullaun “cursing stone”, experts reveal.