Did you hear about the vicar who banned “Onward Christian Soldiers”?

Did you hear about the vicar who banned “Onward Christian Soldiers”? The chances are that you have: the story that the Revd Steve Bailey, team rector-designate of St Peter’s Church in Oadby, Leicestershire, has banned the Victorian hymn from this year’s Remembrance Sunday service has been reported widely, including in the Leicester Mercury, Daily Mail, […]

Ephraim Hardcastle and the last British Archbishop of Canterbury

There is a rule in journalism that the answer to any question asked in a headline is always “no”. You would do well to bear this in mind when reading the Ephraim Hardcastle column in today’s Daily Mail, under the headline, “Might Justin Welby be the last British Archbishop of Canterbury?” Well, it is of […]

Cinema Advertising? I’m offended!

I’m not a major cinema-goer these days. But I still go around three or four times a year. It wasn’t always that way. I used to go weekly to a cinema in Bloxwich, north Walsall, for the Saturday Morning Kids Club. Whether this was a proper cinema or a film club in a community hall, […]

The Bishop of Lichfield’s police incident

My old boss, Jonathan Gledhill, yesterday announced that he will retire from his post as the 98th bishop of Lichfield later this year after 40 years in ordained ministry. So I thought it may be an appropriate time to shed some light on a certain police incident! Before I returned to the purer (or darker, […]

The Grammys: Gospel and contemporary Christian music winners

Way way back, many centuries ago (okay, the early 1990s, actually), I cut my journalistic teeth on the UK’s contemporary Christian music magazine Cross Rhythms. In recent years I’ve been privately lamenting the loss of Britain’s Christian music scene. There just doesn’t seem to be the same market, scene or buzz around Christian music. There […]

When Christians lie to abuse the truth

Recently, a couple of websites have been created to cast doubt on last year’s investigation into the shamed evangelist Tony Anthony. I had carried out an extensive investigation into Tony Anthony’s “story”, supported by a group of concerned Christians who had been carrying out their own investigation. A subsequent investigation by an independent panel nominated […]

Ex-gay ad may prove embarrassing to London Mayor Boris Johnson

London Mayor Boris Johnson may yet come to regret getting involved in the decision to pull an advert for the “ex-gay” group the Core Issues Trust after the Court of Appeal today ruled that he should be ordered to give evidence about his role in the decision. The Trust had agreed a contract with Transport […]

Can magistrates do away with the oath?

The Magistrates Association will today debate a motion put forward by Bristol JPs Ian Abrahams and Kate Rowe to replace the oath and affirmation sworn by witnesses before they give evidence with a simple promise. The motion, to be debated this afternoon at the Association’s AGM in Cardiff, states a: This Annual General Meeting believes […]

“Embarrassing security failure” or embarrassing lack of religious literacy

A man was arrested yesterday morning (Sunday) after two people were assaulted at York Minster. You can read about it on most UK news websites (but if you’re particularly discerning you can read my report for the Church Times here). An unusually high number of journalists were inside the Minster when the assaults took place because […]

Comment: What’s your motive?

As a journalist, I’ve been asked many questions over the years as I worked on stories; and it is very rare that a question causes me to stop and think about what I’m doing. But that happened earlier this year as I researched the “Kung-Fu evangelist” Tony Anthony. His published autobiography and the testimony he […]

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