Category : England / UK

Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, reflects on the recent Attacks on Copts in Egypt

We find ourselves once again at a time of pain during which words seem insufficient. I have previously addressed victims of terrorist acts; I have addressed their families; I have even addressed those who may have had an opportunity, even in some small way, to advocate for or support those most vulnerable. This time however, I feel a need to address those who perpetrate these crimes.

You are loved. The violent and deadly crimes you perpetrate are abhorrent and detestable, but YOU are loved.

You are loved by God, your Creator, for He created you in His Image and according to His Likeness, and placed you on this earth for much greater things, according to His plan for all humankind. You are loved by me and millions like me, not because of what you do, but what you are capable of as that wonderful creation of God, Who has created us with a shared humanity. You are loved by me and millions like me because I, and we, believe in transformation.

Transformation is core to the Christian message for throughout history we have seen many transformed from being those who persecuted Christ Himself and Christians, to those who went on to live with grace. We believe in transformation because, on a daily basis, we are personally transformed from a life of human weakness and sinfulness to a life of power and righteousness. We believe in transformation because the whole message of the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is to take humanity from the bonds of sin and death to a liberation in goodness and everlasting life. Our world is certainly suffering from the brokenness of our humanity, but it is our responsibility, personally and collectively, to encourage and inspire ourselves, and all those whom we meet along our path, to a life of virtue and holiness, and the love and forgiveness of all.

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Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, England / UK, Terrorism

(Church Times) We will repair damage done to our city and its people, Bishop tells Manchester

The killing of 22 people in a suicide bombing in Manchester on Monday had provoked “proper anger and rage” that must be directed into a “force for good”, the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, said this week.

In the worst terrorist attack in the UK since the London bombings of July 2005, a lone attacker, Salman Ramadan Abedi, detonated an im­­provised explosive device at Man­chester Arena at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert. Among those killed were children, and parents waiting to collect their children. In addition to the deaths, 59 people were injured. Many are being treated for life-threatening conditions.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister announced that the threat level in the UK had been raised to “critical”, indicating that a further attack might be “imminent”. For the first time since 2003, troops were being de­­ployed to join the police’s armed patrols. “It is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack,” Theresa May said. On Wednesday afternoon, the Manchester police chief, Ian Hopkins, said: “I think it’s very clear that this is a network that we are investigating.” Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Please Join us in praying for Manchester, UK, as they seek to recover from the recent terrorist attack

Posted in England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

(BBC) Manchester attack: Vigil finds city defiant in the face of terror

The silence held for a full five minutes before the Lord Mayor Eddy Newman began to speak.
His was a message of thanks for the emergency services and defiance in the face in the terrorism, words that were met with cheers and loud applause.
He was followed by others with equally unbending speeches.
The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker, spoke of the city’s unerring belief in diversity and unity and said those who would seek to destroy such things were “the very few, but we are the many, we are Manchester”.

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Posted in England / UK, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Premiere) Only half of young people believe Jesus was a real person

One third of Christian teenagers don’t know how to talk about Jesus according to a recent poll.

The ComRes survey of 2000 eleven to 18 year olds in England also found that despite this, 56 per cent of non-Christian teenagers said they’d be comfortable with a friend talking to them about faith.

Jimmy Dale who is the Church of England’s Youth Evangelism Officer told Premier’s News Hour the research leaves a big challenge.

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Posted in England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

PM Theresa May’s Statement this Morning on the Manchester Attack in Full

At terrible moments like these, it is customary for leaders, politicians and others to condemn the perpetrators and declare that the terrorists will not win. But the fact that we have been here before, and the fact that we need to say this again, does not make it any less true. For as so often while we experience the worst of humanity last night, we also saw the best. The cowardice of the attacker met the bravery of the emergency services and the people of Manchester. The attempt to divide us met countless acts of kindness that brought people closer together. And in the days ahead, those must be the things we remember. The images we hold in our minds should not be those of senseless slaughter, but of the ordinary men and women who put concerns about their own safety to one side and rushed to help, of the men and women of the emergency services, who worked tirelessly to bring comfort, to help and to save lives, of the messages of solidarity and hope of all those who opened their homes to the victims, for they are the images that embody the spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain. A spirit that through years of conflict and terrorism has never been broken and will never be broken.

There will be difficult days ahead. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of those affected. We offer our full support to the authorities, the emergency and the security services as they go about their work. And we all, every single one of us, stand with the people of Manchester at this terrible time. And today let us remember those who died, and let us celebrate those who helped, safe in the knowledge that the terrorists will never win and our values, our country and our way of life, will always prevail.

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Posted in Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Andrew Graystone’s Thought for the Day the day after the Manchester bombing

Thousands of excited young people gathered last night for a concert in the Manchester Arena, just a couple of miles from where I am now. For some, their tickets were a birthday or Christmas present. For others, perhaps a quick break in their revision schedule. Many of those young people saw and heard things they will never forget. For them, and for countless friends and family members of those who were killed or injured, the course of their lives has changed forever

An event like this tears through the ordered fabric of our lives. We can find ourselves overwhelmed by anger, fear or deep sadness at the fallenness of our world, and the sinfulness of human hearts. If, as police are currently assuming, it was some sort of terror attack, then that was the precise intention. Random violence can’t win any followers – but it has the power to destabilise us, even those of us who aren’t affected directly. It can stoke the flames of fear or alienation.

But that response is not inevitable….

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Posted in England / UK, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology

A (well-crafted) Prayer for Manchester from Sam Wells

Posted in England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Statement from the Manchester Police about the Latest–22 Dead, 59 injured

You may find the BBC live feed there.

Posted in England / UK, Music, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Pray for Manchester UK Tonight–as of this time, 19 confirmed dead and 50 injured in ‘terror’ incident at Manchester Arena, police say

Read it all and you can follow the #manchester hashtag on tiwtter as well as multiple liveblogs from the best english newspaper+news sites.

Posted in Children, England / UK, Music, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Spectator) Isabel Hardman–It’s not Tim Farron who is illiberal: it’s society

So why the squeamishness about certain beliefs? If it’s OK to say that Heaven exists, then why not answer a question on abortion or sex outside of heterosexual marriage? The answer is that even if Farron thinks it is perfectly possible to be a conservative Christian and an effective Liberal, he doesn’t believe it is possible to express certain Christian beliefs in today’s society. In other words, he suspects that our public debate isn’t particularly liberal.

And this is what the problem is. It’s not that Tim Farron is illiberal: his voting record suggests otherwise. It’s that he appears to fear that the reaction to his own religious beliefs would be so illiberal as to damage his party, and therefore he must obfuscate on those beliefs when asked. We live in a society of liberal intolerance, where only certain worldviews are deemed acceptable by people who often refuse to accept that they themselves have a worldview that also deserves interrogating. Such intolerance is often born of a sincere desire to make life better for those who have been persecuted in the past, including gay people, women who have abortions and those who divorce. But it becomes a form of persecution in itself, just focused on a newly unpopular group.

An election campaign is not the easiest time for a politician to take a principled stand against this liberal intolerance. But with every prominent figure who locks away the unpalatable parts of their worldview, society becomes a little less liberal. Which should worry many more people than just those who support Tim Farron’s party.

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

(Scotsman) Princess Royal: Scotland’s churches have ‘major role in welcoming strangers’

The Princess Royal has praised the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly as a place for “reasoned debate” in her opening address at the annual event.

Her remarks come ahead of a debate at the assembly later this week which could move the Kirk a step closer to allowing ministers to perform same-sex marriage.

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Scotland, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Theology: Scripture

(Telegraph) A recent survey shows that the decline of Anglicanism in England may be slowing

Academic Stephen Bullivant said that the growth in non-religious people has slowed and Anglicanism has seen a small uptick since 2013.

The professor of theology and the sociology of religion at St Mary’s University in Twickenham said that the church was recovering after losing a lot of believers after the publication of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in 2006.

He also said that a rise in patriotism might be linked to greater pride in Christianity among some groups.

“People see Christianity as an expression of Englishness. There has been more rhetoric around Britain being a Christian nation….”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Economist) Chinks of light When TED talks came to a British prison

Soaring performances of songs from “Cats” and “Les Misérables” are unusual fare for a prison. But on May 3rd an inmate at Leicester prison brought an audience to their feet with his renditions. The recital was part of a TEDx conference, a popular lecture series that had never before been held in a British jail. In the midst of a prisons crisis, with violence against inmates and officers at record levels and crippling staff shortages, the event is an encouraging example of smaller efforts to improve conditions.

On a stage covered in prisoners’ art, inmates thundered the words of Shakespeare. An officer recited his own poetry: “I could tell you tales that would make you laugh…tales that would turn your stomach, tales that would break your heart,” he intoned. Organising the event was a logistical nightmare, says Phil Novis, the governor at HMP Leicester. But the enthusiasm of all involved suggests it was worth it.

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Posted in Art, England / UK, Music, Prison/Prison Ministry, Theatre/Drama/Plays

(Church Times) Jesmond robust in defence of its new curate-bishop

Jesmond Parish Church is at the centre of a row over its assistant curate, the Revd Jonathan Pryke, after he was consecrated bishop by a breakaway South African Church last weekend.

The action was taken without the knowledge of the diocese of Newcastle or its Bishop. But the Vicar, the Revd David Holloway, has dismissed a firm reminder of Bishop Pryke’s legal obligations, issued by a C of E spokesman, and threatened “reciprocal heresy trials” if action is taken against his curate.

Mr Pryke, has served at Jesmond Parish Church, the Clayton Memorial Church, in Newcastle, since 1988. He was consecrated as a “bishop in the Church of God” by the Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) at a service in Newcastle on 2 May, a statement from the church said.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, South Africa