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Thursday, October 27, 2016
Peacemaking priest moved to Oldham
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 A Manchester parish priest in Moss side, who has spent 25 years working in race and community relations, moves today to another part of the city which saw riots just a few weeks ago. Fr Phil Sumner, 49, who came to St Wilfrid's and St Lawrence's in Hulme, as a curate in 1976, is going to Our Lady of Mt Carmel and St Patrick's in Oldham - on the same street as the Oldham Chronicle which was bombed this summer. When the Moss side riots broke out in 1981, Fr Phil helped set up forums for police to talk to residents concerned about stop-and-search powers. He said: "I promoted a gun-control campaign in Moss side and Hulme the day before Dunblane, which focused attention on handguns. There are problems with guns. It is not the fashion accessory that the media make out. But we do have reactivated sub-machine guns on our streets, that is still a problem." Besides his duties as parish priest, Fr Phil also helped set up Firmstart Manchester, a company which attracts funding to regenerate the area. He said: "I have been here so long, I feel I've been accepted now within the black as well as white community. We employed 350 people from the black community on a church work scheme" . "We have 30 workspace units for self-employed people and are now developing another 30," he said.
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