Two Bishopscourts: The Diocese of Sydney has agreed to a further attempt to sell Bishopscourt, the 16-room neo-gothic house built in 1841 that has been the residence of archbishops of Sydney since 1910. The 6,216 square metre estate failed to reach a $A20 million reserve price at auction after a Diocesan Synod vote to sell it in 2012. Across the Tasman Sea, civil authorities agreed earlier this year to the demolition of the Diocese of Christchurch’s former Bishopscourt. Built in 1926, for some years it has formed part of a care-home complex. The building, damaged in the Christchurch earthquake in 2010, is considered unsafe. Its owner, Anglican Care, is unable to fund repairs.

KJV Draft: Seventy pages of notes, much of them almost illegible, found at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, are part of the earliest draft of the King James Bible. Jeffrey Miller, the American scholar who announced the discovery, says it will throw new light on how the KJV, published in 1611, came to be. The notebook belonged to Samuel Ward, one of a team of seven men in Cambridge working on the translation. It includes biblical commentary written by Ward with Greek and Hebrew notes. King James commissioned the KJV to achieve a more “Anglican” Bible than others in circulation at the time, but few realised that the committee producing it relied heavily on the work of William Tyndale (1494-1536), and many of its famous and most colorful phrases were his.

Christmas and Easter Churches: A new report claims that one in four rural Church of England parishes, 2,000 in all, attract less than 10 regular worshipers. Nearly 1,000 rarely surpass 20 worshipers on a Sunday. The church building review group says parishes together spend around £160 million ($US250 million) a year maintaining their buildings. Church buildings constitute about half of all the Grade One-listed buildings in the country. The committee suggests that with dwindling numbers to contribute to upkeep, many churches should be downgraded and used only on special days such as Christmas and Easter. Critics point out that the call for wide church closures cuts across endeavors to stem the tide of decline.

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