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  • "So on the same day that the Law Lords threw out the food bank debate (well done), this little gem appears....

    The founder of one of the country’s leading food banks declared yesterday that soaring demand for the free handouts has nothing to do with benefit cuts.
    Robin Aitken spoke out the day after 27 Anglican bishops claimed that benefit cuts had led to many going hungry, and that as a result 500,000 people have used food banks since last Easter.
    The bishops and 42 clergymen, supported by Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Justin Welby, said that more than half the people using food banks had been put in that position by welfare cutbacks or failures in the benefits system.
    But Mr Aitken said there was no evidence to back such a claim.
    He said: ‘If you provide a service, people will use it.
    ‘They will go and get good food. Of course they will.’

    And that's coming from the boss."
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New Bishop of Durham challenges church to 'expect growth' at Durham Cathedral enthronement

The Northern Echo: Bishop Paul Butler Bishop Paul Butler

THE new Bishop of Durham challenged the church to leave behind a mindset of decline or maintaining the status quo and expect growth as he was enthroned this morning.

The Right Reverend Paul Butler told a packed Durham Cathedral: “We need to look to God to keep His promises that when the seed of the Kingdom is scattered, it will grow.”

Re-stating his three priorities of tackling poverty, engaging with children and young people and growing the church, he urged his audience not to “underestimate the small”, whether that meant a child, a project or a congregation.

Growth would not always mean more numbers in church, he said, but added: “Although it’s more likely when we engage with communities than when we try to be a holy club.”

Earlier, Bishop Butler had processed to the Cathedral from nearby Durham Castle, before, following tradition, knocking on the north door with a staff to request entry.

In a two-hour service which mixed centuries-old tradition and modern songs, the former Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham made a series of promises, was enthroned in his bishop’s seat and was presented with the Bishop of Durham’s pastoral staff.

Next week, he will hold three prayer days in the Durham Diocese’s three archdeaconries: Durham, Auckland and Sunderland.

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