Religion news 15 January

Image credit: © Jeremy Bolwell CCLicense

Lichfield Cathedral opens doors as vaccination clinic

Lichfield becomes the first cathedral to host Covid-19 vaccination clinics today. The Dean, Adrian Dorber, said the huge space of the Cathedral nave makes it possible to host the programme safely. Full story here

Lockdown could see people abandon habit of worship

The coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns could see increasing numbers of more nominal religious believers abandon their faith. That was the view of experts and faith leaders who took part in a Religion Media Centre panel discussion on the impact of Covid-19 on religious attendance and affiliation in Britain, marking one year since the virus appeared. Although there is not yet any hard data to suggest large numbers of religious people have stopped attending services or even believing in some form of spirituality, the lengthy period separated from regular worship could lead to more “cultural” followers losing the habit. Full story by Tim Wyatt here

Hospital chaplain appeals for prayers for exhausted front line NHS staff

A hospital chaplain has appealed for people to support and pray for front line NHS workers stretched to breaking point in dealing with Covid-19. The Rev Chris van D’Arque, head of chaplaincy and spiritual care at St George’s University Hospitals in London, gave an interview to Premier Christian radio, where he urged people to pray for staff to have resilience and strength.  A study has warned of problem drinking, severe anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder among front line workers coping with the overwhelming scale of the pandemic.Story on Premier Christian News here

Sikh Council warns of sharp drop in gurdwaras’ income

The Sikh Council UK, which represents around a third of the country’s 240 gurdwaras, says that nearly all its members have experienced a sharp drop in income as a result of lockdown. Out of 25 respondents to a recent survey, 94% said their incomes had more than halved in 2020, with 85% saying they did not expect them to recover to pre-pandemic levels in the coming year.

Charismatic minister receives death threats for acknowledging Trump’s defeat

Pastor Jeremiah Johnson, a charismatic minister from north Carolina, who prophesied that Trump would be re-elected as President, has admitted he was wrong. He said God had removed Trump from office because of his pride and arrogance and supporters had kept their eyes on him rather than Jesus Christ. Three days later, he posted: “Over the last 72 hours, I have received multiple death threats and thousands upon thousands of emails from Christians saying the nastiest and most vulgar things I have ever heard toward my family and ministry. I have been labelled a coward, sellout, a traitor to the Holy Spirit, and cussed out at least 500 times.” Full story by Andrew Brown here

Hindu pilgrims gather for the Kumbh Mela festival

Hindu pilgrims are gathering on the banks of the River Ganges in northern India for the start of the Kumbh Mela festival, one  of the world’s largest religious festivals. It lasts a number of weeks and includes ritual washing in the river to absolve sins.