Category : * Economics, Politics

(CEN) Foreign Office report ‘could cause threat to evangelicals’

Christian aid agency the Barnabas Fund haslodged a formal complaint against the Foreign Office over concerns that implementation of recommendations in a report may cause a ‘threat’ to evangelical churches.

The report, Opportunities and Challenges: the intersection of faith and human rights of LGBTI+ persons,’ was the result of a meeting convened by Wilton Park, an executive agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in September 2016.

Barnabas Fund has claimed that the report ‘describes evangelical Christians in disparaging terms’.

The report, a result of a roundtable discussion between 64 people from 27 countries including faith communities,sought to focus on practical ways to promote greater understanding of, and tolerance for, sexual minorities in the context of faith and the inter-face between LGBTI rights defenders, religious leaders and LGBTI people of faith.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, England / UK, Evangelicals, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

(WSJ) The Martyrdom of Jacques Hamel; After the murder, his archbishop asked God for help loving his enemies. It worked

Dominique Lebrun, the archbishop of Rouen, France, was attending the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day in Poland last July when the news came. One of his priests, 85-year-old Father Jacques Hamel, had been murdered by Islamic State-inspired terrorists while celebrating morning mass on July 26.

Archbishop Lebrun soon received an urgent request from François Hollande, then the French president. Fearful of civil unrest between the nation’s Christians and Muslims, Mr. Hollande requested the archbishop speak with him before making any public statements. “What will you say?” the president asked the archbishop. “I am going to pray and ask God to help me love my enemies,” he replied.

A few months later, Mr. Hollande admitted the prelate had stunned him: He actually seemed to believe what he was saying, and his tone of forgiveness and reconciliation was crucial after the attack. The following week Muslims throughout the country were encouraged by Islamic leaders to attend Mass as a show of solidarity with their Catholic neighbors.

The killing moved millions of people, including Pope Francis. In September the pope described Hamel as a martyr. He urged Catholics to ask for the intercession of the late priest so that he “gives us the courage to say the truth: to kill in the name of God is satanic….”

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, France, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism, Violence

([London] Times) German girl Linda Wenzel with Isis snipers ‘must face justice in Iraq’

A German teenager found with Islamic State snipers in Mosul must be put on trial, according to a Yazidi MP who is the most prominent spokesperson for her beleaguered people.

Linda Wenzel, 16, must be properly investigated before being allowed to return to Germany, Vian Dakhil said. Ms Dakhil sits in the Iraqi parliament and came to prominence with a tearful appeal for help when Isis was massacring thousands of Yazidis in 2014.

“A sniper #isis was captured in #Mosul, she is ‘German girl’,” Ms Dakhil tweeted. “The mother of the #sniper girl was found in #Germany and she didn’t deny that she is her daughter.”

Ms Dakhil later said that Linda’s mother, Katharina, had confirmed that the girl pulled from a tunnel in the bomb-ravaged Old City area of Mosul was her daughter.

“She is now being investigated by the security forces,” Ms Dakhil told The Times. “We will demand that the government does not hand her over to her country. She came to Iraq and joined a terrorist group and she has to be punished according to Iraqi law here.”

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Posted in Children, Germany, Iraq, Marriage & Family, Teens / Youth, Terrorism

(FT) Netflix looks to become world’s entertainer as it hits milestone, passing 100m subscribers

2007 was a vintage year for technology. While there has been plenty of coverage of the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, the same year also saw Netflix, best known then for renting DVDs by post, launch another novel product: online movie streaming. At the time, some Netflix investors fretted about the expected $40m cost of launching its streaming service during its first year.

A decade later, Netflix’s share price performance has far exceeded even Apple’s 700 per cent increase since 2007, with the internet TV group’s stock skyrocketing by more than 6,000 per cent in the same period. This week added another 15 per cent to those gains, after second-quarter results showed its total subscribers had reached 104m, shooting through Wall Street forecasts.

Netflix described the symbolic milestone of exceeding 100m members as “a good start”. 

“We connect people with stories,” its recently redrawn mission statement says. “Someday, we hope to entertain everyone.”

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Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Entertainment, Movies & Television

(Telegraph) Prime Minister May: The Church should ‘reflect’ on allowing same-sex couples to marry

The Church of England should “reflect” on allowing same-sex couples to marry in church, the Prime Minister has said.

Theresa May also said her father, the Reverend Hubert Brasier, would have supported church blessings for gay couples.

In an interview for radio station LBC, the Prime Minister said she believed her father “very much valued the importance of relationships of people affirming those relationships and of seeing stability in relationships and people able to be together with people that they love”.

Asked whether she herself would like to see the law “evolve” she said it “had to be a matter for the Church”, adding: “the Church of England has itself come a distance in terms of looking at these issues, and obviously they will want to reflect as attitudes will generally change as society changes.”

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Supportive Housing Coming to Former Delaware Episcopal Church in Union City

A unique adaptive reuse project is currently underway in a Hudson County community.

The St. John’s Episcopal Church was incorporated in 1846 in what is now known as Union City, and operated as a parish for 165 years, before being converted into a mission church in 2011. A few years later, during the 140th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark in 2014, it was decided that St. John’s would be closed altogether, according to the Diocese. This was despite efforts by some community members to save the congregation. Now, the former church, which has stood in the same building for over a century in what was once known as West Hoboken at 1514 and 1516-1518 Palisade Avenue, at the southeast corner of 16th Street, is in the process of being converted into new use.

The Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corporation (GSECDC), of Jersey City, is rehabilitating the church, along with a neighboring vacant two-story building, “to provide supportive housing for homeless families and individuals,” according to the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.

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Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market

(CT) How Immigrants Are Reshaping American Missions

The economic and prayer engine powering Valentin’s ministry is an unmarked storefront where visitors enter through a back door in an industrial alley, the only door with a welcome mat.

Mario’s church, Ministerio a la Luz de la Palabra, is in East Compton, where the paint fades and weeds push unopposed through the sidewalks. The congregation leases, for a steal, a strip-mall theater that had all but burned to the ground before volunteers gutted it in 2008 and remade it into a house of worship.

It’s the sixth location in 20 years for the Assemblies of God church, common for majority-immigrant churches buffeted by Southern California’s atmospheric real estate prices. “We can’t keep one zip code,” Mario said. By his estimate, 90 percent of his 200-member congregation is undocumented, mostly from El Salvador and Mexico. The average household income is $20,000. Four families own homes.

Mario, 44, holds a doctor of ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and likens his church to the church in Antioch, scattered by persecution but serving neighbors near and far. It has fueled the ministries in El Salvador while simultaneously developing local outreach efforts. The church’s food bank draws a line of beneficiaries stretching down the alley every Saturday. “The weird thing is, we don’t have money,” he said. “If we’re here, it’s because the Lord opened the door for us to be here.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Immigration, Missions

(CSM) How Germany forced a rethink of Africa

Just this year alone, an estimated 400,000 African migrants will flee to Germany, escaping either war or poverty, or both. If nothing is done, officials warn, millions more could arrive in coming years. Yet rather than simply seek solutions in Africa to this flood of humanity, Germany decided last year to first tally up its own indifference toward the continent.

Among the 400,000 companies in Germany, fewer than 1,000 invest in Africa, officials found. And Germany’s trade with Africa amounts to only 2 percent of its total foreign trade.

“That has to change!” declared Gerd Müller, Germany’s development minister, in February.

This humble introspection may help explain why German Chancellor Angela Merkel was so successful at the Group of 20 summit on July 7-8 in winning support from most of the world’s wealthiest nations for a major boost in private investment for Africa. Dubbed the “Merkel Plan” (a play on America’s Marshall Plan that revived postwar Germany), the initiative aims to shift global thinking about the business opportunities in Africa. Only then can investment in both entrepreneurs and infrastructure rise, helping to create jobs and discourage migration.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Africa, Foreign Relations, Germany, Politics in General

(BBC) Why are Iraqi Christians facing deportation from US?

More than 100 Iraqi Christians in Michigan are fighting deportation after being arrested in an immigration crackdown ordered by the Trump administration.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Foreign Relations, Iraq, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Reuters) Egypt’s Coptic Christians to halt activities after security threat, sources say

Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christians have been told by church leaders to cancel all events and activities outside churches in July because of a security threat, church and security sources said on Thursday.

The warning followed an attack in May by Islamic State on Copts traveling to a monastery in central Egypt that killed 29 people. A month earlier, 44 people were killed in bomb attacks at a cathedral and another church on Palm Sunday.

Sources said the warning was given to individual church leaders by a representative of the Coptic Orthodox Pope. Copts on trips or youth camps had been told to cut short their activities and return home early.

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Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

([London] Times) Islamist extremism funded by donations from public

Hundreds of thousands of pounds in small donations from within the UK are the main source of income for some Islamist extremist organisations, according to a secret government report.

Extremists are also posing as charities to solicit donations from unwitting British Muslims who give because of the emphasis their faith puts on charity.

The report found that “significant” amounts of money were being channelled from overseas to a few groups and that overseas support has helped to fund preachers with deeply conservative views of Islam who operate in Islamic institutions in the UK.

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Posted in Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Local paper Front Page) Sea Rise Study raises a warning flag for Lowcountry South Carolina

In just 18 years — less than the life of some mortgages — rising seas will cause disruptive flooding in about 170 coastal communities across the United States, including Edisto and Kiawah islands, a new analysis says.

Prepared by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy group, the report is said to be the first nationwide attempt to identify tipping points — times and places where flooding is so frequent that residents abandon their land or pump big bucks into projects to hold back the ocean.

No stranger to high water, Charleston already sees regular “nuisance floods” at seasonal high tides, though the problem has grown worse in recent years. Charleston averaged four days of tidal flooding 50 years ago. Last year, the city had a record 50 flooding days, many when the sun shined.

Even so, the city has yet to reach a “chronic inundation” threshold — when 10 percent or more of its usable, non-wetland area floods at least 26 times per year, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists report.

That will change within a couple of generations.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Energy, Natural Resources

(FT) Investors, including the C of E, shine spotlight on coal groups over climate change risk

The world’s largest coal mining companies need to show how they will reduce their carbon emissions to meet global climate targets under the Paris accord, according to an investor-backed group led by the Church of England.

Only two of the 20 largest listed coal companies — Rio Tinto and Brazil’s Vale — have long-term targets for reducing their emissions, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Transition Pathway Initiative, a coalition of investment funds with £4tn under management.

Three coal companies, DMCI Holdings, Inner Mongolia Yitai Coal, and Shougang Fushan Resources Group, do not even acknowledge climate change, the study said. The report comes after the Paris climate change agreement to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels came into effect last November.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology

(Bloomberg) Working Past 70: Americans Can’t Seem to Retire; us seniors highest employ % in the last 55 yrs

More and more Americans are spending their golden years on the job.

Almost 19 percent of people 65 or older were working at least part-time in the second quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. jobs report released on Friday. The age group’s employment/population ratio hasn’t been higher in 55 years, before American retirees won better health care and Social Security benefits starting in the late 1960s.

And the trend looks likely to continue. Millennials, prepare yourselves. Better yet, consider this and this, so you have a choice in the matter when your time comes.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

C of E General Synod debates cost of applying for citizenship

The cost of applying for citizenship in the UK is too high, unfair, and risks undoing the work of integration, General Synod was told today.

…[Yesterday] morning’s debate highlighted the issues faced by those with indefinite leave to remain in the UK who face a prohibitive cost – currently £1,282 for each adult – to apply for citizenship. Those who do not apply for citizenship but have indefinite leave to remain cannot vote in elections, have more limited travel options and cannot take up their full civic responsibilities, despite paying tax.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Politics in General