Category : England / UK

(Telegraph) Tim Stanley–Acts of faith – such as circumcision –are no business of those with none

Mr [Stephen] Evans is chief executive of the National Secular Society, the church militant of atheism. Like all extremist organisations, it’s a coalition of the ignorant and the spiteful. Let me address the ignorant first. I get it: male circumcision sounds weird, even offensive. In the Jewish case, a Mohel removes the foreskin of a baby on the eighth day after his birth, a decision taken by adults that the boy has to carry for the rest of his life whether he believes in the Almighty or not.

It sounds like it contradicts some of the basic tenets of a liberal society: children’s rights, bodily autonomy and choice.

But choice is a complicated thing. As Claire Fox argued on the Maze, parents do stuff to their kids all the time – pierce their ears, feed them McDonald’s –that we don’t ban because we don’t want the state to take on the role of parent. Why?

Because that would subvert another very important kind of choice: the right of mums and dads to raise their children how they wish. Across the world, they make the free choice of male circumcision without controversy. The World Health Organisation estimates that about a third of men aged 15 or over have gone under the knife; it’s probably the vast majority of that demographic in the United States, where it became popular post-war.

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Posted in Children, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Iceland, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Churches must switch off CCTV cameras during services as prayer should be private, C of E court rules

Churches must switch off CCTV cameras during services because prayer is private, a Church of England court has ruled.

The consistory court ruling is believed to be the first made on the ethics of CCTV in church and was made in response to a Canterbury vicar who applied to install two cameras so his church could be left open during the day.

The Reverend Philip Brown, and churchwardens Robin Slowe and Robert Allen, want to install the camera system to deter vandals from damaging the church and to catch the actions of any wrongdoers.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Photos/Photography, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Spirituality/Prayer

(Express) ‘I tried to save lives in Uganda… but Britain’s poor need me more’ says missionary Jenny Green

When the Reverend Jenny Green walks the streets of Bradford’s notorious Faxfleet estate she never fears for her wellbeing.

In an area where crime is rife and vandalism, arson and fly-tipping are part of everyday life, Jenny is greeted with open arms.

Indeed, she can barely walk 100 yards without hearing calls of, “Morning, Jenny”.

The 62-year-old holds a unique position as community chaplain, a role that helps bridge the gap between residents and the local St Matthew’s Church, providing support for families in extreme poverty.

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

(Christian Today) Could Roman Catholic weddings take place in Church of England buildings?

Catholic weddings could take place in Church of England buildings in what would be a radical change to marriage law in the UK.

A bill to be debated in the House of Lords on Friday would allow other denominations to hold their own wedding services in CofE churches, meaning Catholic marriage vows could be heard in parish buildings for the first time since the Reformation.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(Daily Mail) Brexit and a broken Britain: The Archbishop of Canterbury says the inequality and division in the UK is our ‘greatest challenge since WW2’

As a country, we are facing our biggest challenge and shake-up to society since the Second World War.

As we look around, we see divisions and inequalities that are already damaging our way of life. But we also see grounds for hope and the capacity to overcome our problems.

Brexit makes the future more uncertain. We must heal the divisions caused by the vote and accept the dissenting voice as well as the majority. Those who disagree with us are not our enemies.

I’m not Eeyorish about our prospects post-Brexit, but neither am I blandly optimistic that we are destined for the sunlit uplands.

The reality is that over the past few decades – under governments from across the political spectrum, and driven by forces beyond the powers of any one party – the most important building blocks of our nation have been undermined….

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Belfast Telegraph) Archbishop of Canterbury praises Northern Ireland’s peacemakers on Clonard visit

The Archbishop of Canterbury has paid a visit to Clonard Monastery along with more than 60 members of the Church of England clergy.

Archbishop Justin Welby visited the Belfast monastery yesterday as part of a private pilgrimage on peace and reconciliation.

The head of the Church of England, who was installed in the role in 2013 after less than two years as a bishop, was welcomed to Belfast by Fr Noel Kehoe, rector of Clonard.

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Posted in --Ireland, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Ireland, Rural/Town Life

(Church Times) From the archive: Billy Graham in London, 1954

He held up the Bible and spoke about the God of creation. “God is all-knowing. Not one single thing in your life escapes his knowledge. No sin that has ever been committed has escaped the eye of God.

“God is unchanging, holy and pure and righteous, and he is a God of love. We lost contact with God because Adam and Eve sinned. When Adam sinned, the human race sinned with him. There is only one way back, and that is through Jesus Christ. On the Cross, Jesus Christ took your judgment. He will give you joy and peace and happiness. . . There is no way to know God apart from Jesus. . .

“I have seen gangsters receive Christ and become preachers; alcoholics lose their taste for alcohol; I have seen prostitutes changed; men and women in every walk of life . . .”

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture

JI Packer on Billy Graham–When Billy Took Britain By Storm

In March 1952, while still a layman, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a gathering of 750 evangelical leaders, not-quite-leaders, and not-yet-leaders, at Church House in central London. We gathered to hear a 35-year-old American evangelist speak and answer questions about his burgeoning crusade ministry.

Billy Graham’s address, based on Habakkuk’s prayer that God would revive his work, averred that God was working a modern-day revival through the remarkably fruitful large-scale missions that he had been leading. He was relaxed, humble, God-centered, with a big, clear, warm voice, frequently funny and totally free from the arrogance, dogmatism, and implicit self-promotion that, rightly or wrongly, we Brits had come to expect from American evangelical leaders. He was engaging in his style, displaying the evangelist’s peculiar gift of making everyone feel that he was addressing them personally. He monologued for 90 minutes and answered questions for another hour. Though somewhat prejudiced at that stage of my life against all forms of institutionalized mass evangelism, I ended up admiring the speaker and rejoiced that I had been squeezed into the meeting. In retrospect, it stands in my memory as something of a landmark.

This meeting was held to consider whether to invite Graham to lead a crusade in London. Two days after his star performance, the invitation was issued—the first step on the road to the Harringay crusade, by far the most momentous religious event in 20th-century Britain. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lasting conversions, spinning off into dozens of vocations to evangelical pastoral ministry, led to high morale and significant spiritual advance through the next generation, despite the inroads secularism had made into British life. That Billy Graham left an indelible mark on England is not open to doubt.

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Posted in Church History, England / UK, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture

(Christian Today) Archbishop of Canterbury warns cutting 0.7% aid budget would be ‘tragedy’

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned it would be a ‘tragedy’ if Britain backed off its commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of its spending on overseas aid.

Justin Welby’s remarks came as Oxfam’s chief executive Mark Goldring admitted the scandal around sex abuse committed by the charity’s staff in Haiti had undermined public support for the government’s international development budget.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology

A picture is Worth 100 Words–The Fading Western Dream

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Economy, England / UK, Europe, History, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance

(Church Times) Archbishop of Canterbury reexamines the state of the nation in new book

THE UK is at a political and moral tipping-point, the Archbishop of Canterbury argues in a new book, to be published next month.

His book, Reimagining Britain: Foundations of hope will be published by Bloomsbury on 8 March. Archbishop Welby said last week that he had written to contribute to the debate on the future of the country, particularly after Brexit.

In an interview with the Church Times, the Archbishop said: “I think we’re at one of those moments which happens probably every three or four generations, when we have the opportunity and the necessity to reimagine what our society should look like in this country.”

In his book, Archbishop Welby proposes that Christianity has a vital part to play in the reimagining of society, and could be the driving force behind change. It remains, he says, foundational to ethics and values in the UK.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Books, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

C of E General Synod backs motion to tackle food waste

The Church of England’s General Synod has called upon the Government to tackle food poverty and take steps to minimise waste throughout the supply chain.

Members backed a motion brought by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich outlining ways retailers and Church of England members can attempt to tackle food poverty in Britain.

The motion calls for the Government to consider steps to reduce waste in the food supply chain. It also urges parishes to help lobby retailers on food waste.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Christian Today) Entrenched opposition to women priests blocks Church’s diversity efforts, synod told

Entrenched opposition to women’s ordination is still blocking the Church of England’s attempts to improve diversity among its senior leadership, its ruling general synod was told today.

The Archbishop of York said the CofE was beset with a ‘spiritual problem’ in its failure to appoint more women and black, asian and ethnic minority clergy to high profile roles and insisted the Church must do more.

It came after Caroline Spelman MP, who as second church estates commissioners acts as a liaison between the government and the Church, said she came under regular pressure from the House of Commons, including the speaker John Bercow, to ‘get on with it’ in improving diversity.

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

(Guardian) Sonia Sodha–What goes on in the home is the business of the state. Here’s why

When it comes to family, where does love stop and duty begin? Sometimes that’s easily answered: evolutionary instinct moulds a parent’s love for their children into something fierce and uncomplicated. Broaden out the focus to siblings, adult children, ageing parents, aunts and uncles, and the answer is less straightforward.

Britain’s more individualistic approach to family is often contrasted with family cultures in southern Europe. There, young people tend to leave the parental home later, and it is much more common to find three or even four generations of the same family living under the one roof. But as the UK’s housing crisis has given way to a “boomerang generation” of young people in their 20s still living at home, and as the shrinking amount of state funding for older care leaves more families to fend for themselves, there are signs that we might be starting to embrace a more Mediterranean approach to family life. The question we’re not asking is: at what cost?

Britain’s cultural approach to family has long been reinforced by its economy and its education system. In Victorian Britain, working-class young people left home in their early teens to enter domestic service, at one point the country’s biggest source of jobs. Half a century ago, baby boomers came of age in a world of cheap housing and plentiful jobs, which eased their route to independence. The number of young people going to university, many of them moving away from home, has ballooned from just 2% immediately after the second world war to over 40% today.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, France, Marriage & Family, Young Adults

(Tablet) Anglicans deny obstructing Ofsted

The Church of England insists it is not resisting inspections of out-of- hours school settings to combat extremism and that it supports “targeted interventions.”

[The] Revd [Nigel] Genders said the “blanket regulation” and powers of inspection that Ofsted is calling for are a massive burden, unhelpful and ineffective: “It would be creating a massive haystack and never being able to find the needle.” He argues there is confusion over the issue of tackling extremism because a distinction needed to be made between voluntary church settings and illegal schools. He stressed that the church wanted to work with the government to keep children safe and if they have got concerns about particular settings “they should intervene.” But, he added: “It’s not for the state to tell churches how to behave or to get into state regulation of religion.”

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture