Current rural issues from sustainable farming to care of the environment, GM crops and transport to EU membership were debated this week at Ripon Cathedral which hosted ‘Does the Panel think..?’ featuring a bishop a former MP, an academic and theologian and the leader of a charity working with rural communities.
As part of the prestigious St Wilfrid series of lectures, former MP and MEP, Anne McIntosh (pictured below right), was in debate with the Bishop of Ripon, Rt Revd James Bell, Dr Sheila Hunter former Dean of Education at the University of Cumbria and Leah Swain, Chief Officer of Rural Action Yorkshire.
Chaired by the Dean of Ripon, Very Revd John Dobson, the panel discussed were agreed on several issues including the need for better public transport, faster broadband, farming diversity and encouragement for rural post offices to be kept open, but disagreed on more controversial issues such as GM foods.
The debate comes midway through a series for 2015 focussing on ‘Rural Life and Living: Challenges and Opportunities’. Speakers have included Bishop John Inge and Professor Nigel Curry. On 17 September, the Revd Canon Jeremy Martineau, will be the guest lecturer speaking on ‘Applying Industrial Mission Theology in a remote rural context: lessons from the celtic fringe’ and on October 15 Poul Christensen speaks on ‘ Young Farmers' Clubs fighting back for Rural Communities’.
The St Wilfrid Lectures are jointly organised and sponsored by York St John University, Ripon Cathedral, the Methodist District of York and Hull and the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales – all are free and begin at 7.30pm.
Pictured right from right to left - Leah Swain, Dr Sheila Hunter, Anne McIntosh, Dean John Dobson, Bishop James Bell