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Plans for the tomb of Richard III unveiled: The Church of England Newspaper, July 28, 2013 p 6 August 1, 2013

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Architects van Heyningen and Haward design for the tomb of Richard III. Image: Diocese of Leicester

Leicester Cathedral will spend £1 million on the construction of the tomb of the last Plantagenet king, Richard III. On 21 July the diocese announced the cathedral will modify its interior, installing a raised tomb, a new floor, lighting and new stained glass windows.

Last week the firm van Heyningen and Haward architects on behalf of the cathedral shared copies of the proposed plans with representatives from the Richard III Society, the University of Leicester and the City Council. The proposal will next be submitted to the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, and if approved, work could commence as early as November.

The remains of the king, who died in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, were discovered by archaeologists under a city car park last year. The decision to intern Richard in Leicester Cathedral has been challenged by the group called The Plantagenet Alliance, which in March petitioned the government to move the burial to York. They claimed that 15 members of the Alliance were descendants of Richard’s sister and, therefore, under the European Convention on Human Rights should have a say in the burial.

A spokesman for the University of Leicester, which received a licence from the Ministry of Justice to excavate the remains has rejected the Alliance’s call to move the bones to York and has backed the plan to keep the king in Leicester.

The Dean of Leicester, the Very Rev David Monteith, said the plans were influenced by feedback from a variety of sources, including members of the public who had been visiting the Cathedral and commenting in the media. “We are committed to re-inter King Richard with honour and we have listened carefully to the different views that were expressed. We want to create a really wonderful space in the Cathedral for him and the many thousands of people we know will want to come to visit and pay their respects.

The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Rev Tim Stevens stated this had been an “immensely complex project and we are determined to get it right. Inevitably that means considerable expense but we are confident that with the support of the Church and the public, we can honour Richard and his story.”

The dean told the BBC that raising the funds for construction would be a challenge, “but money follows vision and I think we have a great vision for the cathedral and Leicester has a great vision for honouring King Richard.”

“Those two things combined I think will mean people will be generous and want to be part of this,” he explained.

Parliament told no solution at hand for church bat crisis: The Church of England Newspaper, July 28, 2013, p 6. August 1, 2013

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Bats are destroying British churches, the Second Church Estates Commissioner Sir Tony Baldry told Parliament. Speaking in response to a question from the member for Bury North, Mr. David Nuttall (Cons.) on the “ effects of bats in churches”, on 4 July 2013 Sir Tony said the “present situation” of 6400 churches infested with bats was “simply unsustainable.”

“A small number of bats living in a church can be manageable, but parish churches are finding an increasing number of bats taking up residence in large roosts. There are significant costs in financial and human terms to those who worship in these churches, and to the wider community,” he said.

Sir Tony noted “Parish churches have to raise the money for bat litigation at considerable cost to their community, and that can prevent their own mission and ministry,” citing the case of St Hilda’s Ellerburn which had spent “a total of £29,000 so far, which is a significant sum for a small congregation to finance.”

“As yet, there is no resolution in sight,” to the bat problem, he said. However the member for Bristol East, Ms. Kerry McCarthy (Lab.) rose to speak on behalf of bats, asking if the Church Commissioners would foster dialogue between the Bat Conservation Trust and the Church Buildings Council?

Sir Tony responded this was not “an issue that can be managed. Large numbers of churches are being made unusable by large numbers of bats roosting in them. Churches are not field barns; they are places of worship”

He added that he had “a number of letters from clergy up and down the country saying how distressing it was for them, before they could celebrate communion on Sunday, to have to clear bat faeces and bat urine off the altar and the communion table. That is not acceptable.”

He told the House bat infestation was “not a joking matter. This is serious and people have to understand that. I am grateful for the attention paid to this issue by the Under-Secretary. We are making real progress, but we need to ensure that [churches] can continue to be places of worship and are not closed as a consequence of bat faeces and bat urine.”

Stained glass ruling from Guildford Consistory Court: The Church of England Newspaper, August 19, 2012 p 5. August 21, 2012

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Nave of St Nicolas Cranleigh

The alleviation of tedium during a sermon is insufficient grounds for objecting to the installation of stained glass windows in a church, the judge of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Guildford ruled last week.

At a hearing held before Andrew Jordan, Chancellor of the Diocese of Guildford and a judge of the Consistory Court, a petition brought by a parishioner of the Church of St Nicolas in Cranleigh challenged the decision by the parish council to install stained glass windows.

In 1944 a V-1 rocket exploded some seventy yards from the church, destroying the Church Room and Infant School, and doing considerable damage to the Church. Of the fourteen stained-glass windows, only three on the south side were preserved. Clear panes of glass were installed at the east end of the church behind the altar.

The Consistory Court approved a Parochial Church Council decision for Baynard’s Chapel to revert to a stained glass window designed by Rachel Mulligan.

One parishioner objected to the plan saying the clear light from the windows was aesthetically appealing, and provided a view of a cedar tree grown from a sapling brought from the Holy Land by a previous rector.

In his ruling the judge held this was insufficient grounds to object to the installation of stained glass windows.

“Whether the movement of an ancient cedar tree seen through clear glass is an aid to devotion or merely passes the time in one of the duller moments of the rector’s sermon will be a matter of personal taste or private spirituality, but the same may be said of stained glass,” the court held.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Cardboard cathedral planned for Christchurch: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 5, 2011 p 4. August 8, 2011

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A model of the cardboard cathedral, (Anglican Taonga photo)

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Diocese of Christchurch has unveiled plans to build a cardboard cathedral as a temporary replacement for its earthquake damaged Victorian-era central church.  On July 30 the Dean of Christchurch, the Very Rev. Peter Beck unveiled plans for the 700-seat church which will be constructed of cardboard tubing and recycled paper and serve as a temporary home for the congregation while a new permanent cathedral is built.

Designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, the A-frame building will be made of cardboard tubing and polycarbonate and will have shipping containers for a foundation.  Christchurch may get an interim cathedral made of cardboard as soon as February next year.  The dean hopes the temporary structure will be completed in time for the first anniversary of the Feb 22 earthquake.

The £2.15 million structure will be portable and has a life-expectancy of 15 years.   The location for the cardboard cathedral has yet to be chosen, but Dean Beck hopes it will be located within the heavily damaged central business district and be seen as “offering a sign of hope and confidence and a thing of beauty in the midst of all the desolation.”

Mr. Ban told the gathering cardboard was an ideal building material as it was “readily available, recyclable and surprisingly strong.”