Category : England / UK

(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

([London] Times) Muslim same-sex marriage is thriving, says drag queen Asifa Lahore

There have been “countless” same-sex marriages between gay and lesbian Muslims, Britain’s first Muslim drag queen says.

According to Asifa Lahore, 34, the country has a “thriving” Muslim LGBT community.

Ms Lahore was brought up in west London by a devout Muslim family with a Pakistani background. She was born Asif Quraishi and married another gay man of Pakistani heritage in July 2014, months after same-sex marriages were permitted in March that year.

Ms Lahore appeared on Channel 4’s Muslim Drag Queens in 2015, billed as Britain’s first Muslim drag performer. She began the process of gender transition to become a woman this year.

She spoke to The Times about her same-sex wedding after Jahed Choudhury, 24, claimed last week that his wedding to Sean Rogan, 19, at a register office in Walsall last month was the first same-sex marriage in the UK involving a Muslim. “There are countless,” Ms Lahore said. “In the last three years I’ve been to dozens of gay Muslim, same-sex marriages. I attended one last Thursday, of two gay British Bangladeshi guys.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, England / UK, History, Islam, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

(Guardian) Winchester in the spotlight: the city where Jane Austen died 200 years ago

Two hundred years ago on 18 July, one of the world’s most famous authors died in the Hampshire cathedral city of Winchester. Jane Austen was just 41 in 1817 and had been suffering from what is now known as Addison’s disease, a rare disorder of the adrenal glands. Austen had moved to Winchester for medical treatment, leaving her home in Chawton 17 miles away (now an Austen museum), where she wrote novels including Pride and Prejudice.

When she was buried in the north aisle of Winchester Cathedral, the inscription on her tomb made no mention of her novels, perhaps because they were published anonymously. A brass plate was later added which noted rather blandly that she was “known to many by her writings”.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Poetry & Literature, Urban/City Life and Issues

([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

(The Goodbook) Sam Allberry–Same sex relationships: should we just agree to disagree?

Not taking a side on this issue is to take a side. To decide it is a matter of indifference is to risk having Jesus against you. Read the description of him in Revelation 1 and consider if you would ever want to risk that Jesus being against you.

This is a gospel issue. When so-called evangelical leaders argue for affirmation of gay relationships in the church, I’m not saying they’re not my kind of evangelical, I’m saying they are no kind of evangelical. This is not an easy position to hold, for I have friends who hold to different views on this subject. But it is the right position to hold. For the five reasons given above, we must never allow ourselves to think of this as just another issue Christians are free to differ over.

This will inevitably bring faithful Christians into conflict with our culture. When John Stott first published Issues Facing Christians Today, he said:

“I have sought with integrity to submit to the revelation of yesterday within the realities of today. It is not easy to combine loyalty to the past with sensitivity to the present. Yet this is our Christian calling: to live under the Word in the world.”

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Warren Hicks reviews “A Well of Wonder: Essays on C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and the Inklings” by Clyde Kilby

A Well of Wonder introduces the reader to the relationships that Mr. Kilby had with Lewis and Tolkien that led him to pursue the project of gathering their papers and that of other of the Inklings into what would become the Marion F. Wade Center at Wheaton College in Illinois. This repository of primary source material including manuscripts and handwritten and typed correspondence among and by Lewis, Tolkien, Dorothy Sayers, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield and G. K. Chesterton has become the fruit of what Kilby describes as, “nothing less than a movement of the Holy Spirit.”

The collection of essays by Kilby are chiefly focused on his relationship and visits with Lewis, Tolkien and Barfield. These essays in some ways trace the story of the Wade Center and Kilby’s role in its establishment.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Books, Church History, England / UK, Evangelicals

Gilles Mueller upsets Rafael Nadal in a classic 5 set match today at Wimbledon

Posted in England / UK, Men, Sports

(Telegraph) ‘Poisonous’ expectations of congregations are damaging priests’ mental health

Priests’ mental health is being damaged by the “poisonous” expectations of congregations who put them on a pedestal, the Church of England’s general synod has heard.

Introducing a report on clergy wellbeing Canon Simon Butler, one of two chairs of the house of clergy, said parishioners’ expectations “set us on pedestals only to rejoice in knocking us off again, treating us as amateurs in a world of professionals, expecting a perfection in us that hides great hypocrisy in others”.

Mr Butler, who is vicar of St Mary’s church in Battersea, London, also said priests have “insecurities and immaturities too, which we often hide behind the role we inhabit”.

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Posted in England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(CBN) Thousands Attend the Largest UK Evangelism Event Since Billy Graham

The UK’s largest evangelism event since Billy Graham’s crusade decades ago hit the heart of Britain today and thousands responded to the Gospel message, putting their faith in Jesus Christ.

“Literally, thousands of people have just come forward to give their lives to Jesus,” said Peter Wooding, London Bureau Chief of the Global News Alliance.

The event should encourage Christians across the United Kingdom to pick up the banner of evangelism and begin sharing the Gospel, one national prayer leader said.

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Posted in England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

Church of England General Synod calls for values-based politics upholding the common good

The Church of England offers a still, small voice of calm in uncertain times following the General Election and tragedies such as the Grenfell Tower fire, the Archbishop of York said today.

Speaking on the first day of General Synod in York, Dr John Sentamu said: “As we now seek to reassess our relationships, in our local communities, in Europe, and internationally, our goal must always be the common good of all.”

His comments came as he moved a special motion on the state of the nation.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(BBC) The sisters who have sung in the same church choir for 80 years

A pair of sisters have been singing in their church choir for more than 80 years.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Beware C of E free-for-all, new Anglican Missionary bishop recently consecrated at the ACNA Assembly to Europe, Andy Lines, warns

After the announcement of Bishop Lines’s preferment, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke against “cross-border interventions and ordinations”. Canon Lines argued that ACNA was not a member of the Anglican Communion “and there­fore it cannot by definition be crossing borders. . . Bishops have always sought to meet needs where other bishops have been heterodox, and that overrides our structures: the gospel need.”

It was the Scottish Episcopal Church that had broken com­mu­nion, he argued. While he did not foresee a change in doctrine in the C of E soon, he was con­cerned about changes in practice: “What is being allowed is kind of a free-for-all.”

A message from two C of E bishops — the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Julian Henderson, and the Suffragan Bishop of Birkenhead, the Rt Revd Keith Sinclair — was read aloud at the consecration: “We pray for you today, especially for Canon Andy Lines, consecrated as a Bishop in the Church of God. It has been good to meet and pray with Andy over recent years and to know his heart for the gospel and the wit­ness of the Church. Please pray for us in the Church of England for faith­fulness and fruitfulness in these days.”

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Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Scottish Episcopal Church, Theology

Bp of Kensington Graham Tomlin–Thoughts on Hope in Grenfell

In our community over the past few days we have been through a range of emotions that we rarely experience so close together. Even now as we meet and pray, there are people here in this church, in the surrounding streets wondering how to make sense of this.

How do you put into words what people here have experienced, the story of the past few days?

First there was Shock. As we woke up on Wednesday morning, there was that numb feeling, incredulity that something like this could happen in our modern, C21st sophisticated city. Looking up at the Tower and imagining what the people in there was going through was almost unbearable and so hard to even imagine how awful that must be.

Then there was Compassion. Alongside the tragedy, one of the remarkable things has been to see the amazing outpouring of compassion in this community over the past couple of days.

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

Archbishop of York John Sentamu–Politics needs to find a place for religion

When Christians engage with politics their consciences are going to be bruised. They will be imbued with a vision of the Kingdom of God and at the same time will have to compromise, daily. It was Bismarck who first said “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best.” To achieve anything worthwhile will often require settling for less than one’s ideals.

Cynics, and I include some media interrogators among them, choose to ignore this painful compromise; they posit only the stark, unrealistic and inhuman alternatives of perfection or hypocrisy. In fact, the word “hypocrite” entered the English language via the New Testament, where it was used by Jesus to excoriate those who laid down the law for others, while pretending personally to be virtuous. They were “play-acting”. That’s what the word means in Greek. It has nothing to do with failure: applied Christianity is for people who recognise their moral inadequacy and daily look for divine help to deal with it.

The pre-election hounding of Tim Farron was not acceptable. In interview after interview we were given the impression that his private views on gay sex were in the forefront of the Lib-Dem campaign. His tormentors should be ashamed of themselves. It is much to be regretted that he has now concluded that a leading role in politics is incompatible with his Christian faith.

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Posted in Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Sohrab Ahmari–(Current Political) Liberalism: Believers Need Not Apply

Soon after he took the party reins in 2015, Mr. Farron was asked whether, as a Christian, he considers homosexuality a sin. The Lib Dem leader gave the quintessential Christian reply: “We’re all sinners.” But it wasn’t enough. The question would resurface amid the election campaign this spring.

During a TV interview on April 18, he was pressed four times, and four times he demurred. Quiescence wasn’t enough.

Pressure mounted, and the next day Mr. Farron relented. No, he clarified in remarks at the House of Commons, homosexuality isn’t a sin. That still wasn’t enough. The latter-day Gletkins and Ivanovs needed to be sure that Mr. Farron believed this in his heart of hearts, not merely as a matter of public confession. If he didn’t think homosexuality a sin, asked a BBC interviewer a few days later, why had it taken him so long to say so? Mr. Farron was reduced to spouting gibberish.

Then the Guardian newspaper unearthed a 2007 interview, in which he had suggested that “abortion is wrong” but also cautioned Christian activists that an immediate outright ban would be impracticable. Confronted with his own words on the campaign trail, Mr. Farron pleaded that he’d never advocated abortion restrictions. It wasn’t enough.

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Posted in England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture