Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

A church for all people

Sir: I enjoyed reading Ysenda Maxtone Graham's account of debates in the Church of England in the interval between our parish mass for Advent 3 and our service of nine lessons and carols ('Mission impossible?', 16 December). She asks whether the church is planning 'a back-door "evangelical takeover"'. The simple answer is no. Yes, the Archbishops' Council has helped to fund churches such as St Luke's Gas Street in Birmingham, St Philip's in Salford, and St George's Gateshead -- though it is a bit harsh to dismiss these churches, which are effective in reaching students, young people and families, as 'centres for instant conversion'. But we have also supported churches in outer estates in Blackpool, rural ministry in Salisbury and in Cumbria, parish development across County Durham, and traditional parish work in the diocese of Coventry and in the Bishop of Ebbsfleet's traditional catholic parishes. Our work is about supporting all traditions of the church, to help us become once again a growing church for all people in all places.

William Nye

Secretary General, Archbishops' Council, Church of England, London SW1

Not Brexit's fault

Sir: Your superbly articulate but sadly misguided columnist Matthew Parris is wrong to connect infrastructure procrastination with government time spent negotiating Brexit ('Leave Brexit alone and get on with governing', 16 December). There are many reasons for delays such as planning, funding, changing priorities of incoming governments etc. Take Heathrow's third runway for instance; the Roskill commission was set up in 1968 (before even Brentry, never mind Brexit!) to look into expansion of London's main airport and now, 50 years later, not a sod has been turned, nor will be until 2020 at the earliest, if ever. No, Mr Parris; I share your frustration but please don't blame Brexit -- not this time!

Mike Gross

Braunton, Devon

Leave Cambridge alone

Sir: If Brexit serves to frustrate the mission of Matthew Parris to bury historic Cambridge in steel and glass and to concrete over the surrounding fenlands and much of Bedfordshire, then it has already been amply justified.

Anthony Jennings

London WC1

How internships help

Sir: Your leader in the Christmas issue ('The social network', 16 December) proposed that readers contribute offers of work experience in 2018. I can share with you an example of the value of internships here in South Africa, a country blighted with chronic unemployment, especially among the youth. Until recently I managed a small private enterprise related to the pharmaceutical industry, and was involved with volunteer work at a school in a township near Cape Town, where one of our aims was to provide pupils with insight into career opportunities. The typical profile of a student would be from a single parent background, living in significant poverty, often with HIV/Aids. Classes were frequently of almost 40 and the teachers themselves were barely literate. Prospects for most of these pupils were dim. This is not to say that many were without potential; it's just that their surrounding circumstances were bleak.

But schooling should help prepare pupils for future life, so I asked the teacher of one class to select two pupils who could work at my company on free days. Within a few weeks, one of the two ladies who had been chosen informed me that her brother would not allow her to work in a 'white man's' company.

The other lady continued with the internship. She graduated from school some ten years ago without top marks, but with a sense of determination. She now works for one of South Africa's leading banks, and is studying to qualify as a branch manager. She has a child, and is determined to fund his private schooling. She owns her apartment. This progress may not mean much in the UK, but here in South Africa it is certainly significant, as it indicates the broadening of the middle class through property ownership and, with that, social responsibility. …

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