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Bishop of Porstmouth welcomes women bishops vote

The Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth has welcomed yesterday’s vote which could pave the way for the first women to become Church of England bishops.

The Rt Rev Christopher Foster was one of eight representatives from the Diocese of Portsmouth on the Church of England’s General Synod, which voted overwhelmingly for a package of measures as the next steps to enable women to become bishops.

The General Synod voted by 378 to eight in favour of proposals outlining the Draft Legislation of Women in the Episcopate. The proposals included a simple piece of legislation allowing women to become bishops and archbishops, and a way of resolving any future disputes over the arrangements.

I'm delighted at the overwhelming support that the Church of England’s General Synod gave to proposals that could mean the first women bishops are appointed much sooner than was previously thought.

– Rt Rev Christopher Foster

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Retired Church of England priest's string of child sex offences

Priest
Father Keith Wilkie Denford Credit: PA

A retired West Sussex Church of England priest and a former organist and choirmaster have been found guilty of a string of child sex abuse offences dating back more than 25 years.

A judge said that Father Keith Wilkie Denford and Michael Mytton had committed "a grave and gross breach of trust". Prosecutors said Denford, 78, used the respectability of the cassock to groom and abuse two boys over an 18-month period from when they were aged around 13.

Following Denford and Mytton's convictions, the Bishop of Chichester Dr Warner said: "I note the verdict reached by the court today and we will now move swiftly to implement our own disciplinary procedures following this verdict in the case of Mr Denford.

"The Diocese fully acknowledges the suffering caused both to survivors of abuse and their families.

"We deeply regret the betrayal of trust in the context of public pastoral ministry and we extend our prayers and support to those caught up in the events highlighted by this case".

Priest 'groomed and abused' boys

Denford and Mytton had denied all the charges. Following a two-week trial at Hove Crown Court, Denford, of Broad Reach Mews, Shoreham-by-Sea, was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault against two boys between January 1987 and January 1990 and cleared of one count of the same charge.

Mytton, of South Road, East Chiltington, East Sussex, was cleared of one count of aiding and abetting indecent assault and cleared of two counts of indecent assault.

He was convicted of three counts of indecent assault relating to a third boy when the victim was in his early teens between September 1992 and September 1994.

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Priest and choirmaster committed 'grave breach of trust'

A retired West Sussex Church of England priest and a former organist and choirmaster have been found guilty of a string of child sex abuse offences dating back more than 25 years.

A judge said that Father Keith Wilkie Denford and Michael Mytton had committed "a grave and gross breach of trust". Prosecutors said Denford, 78, used the respectability of the cassock to groom and abuse two boys over an 18-month period from when they were aged around 13.

The Archbishop's last interview

Dr Rowan Williams steps down today after a decade as Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. He will be replaced by Justin Welby, the current Bishop of Durham.

He is the 104th Archbishop and has been in office at a time when the church faces internal problems and society comes to terms with global terrorism and recession. He spoke to Sangeeta Bhabra in his last interview with Meridian before he becomes Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

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