Religion News 25 June

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London – a religious city

London is a much more religious city than the media supposes and much more devout than the rest of the UK. These surprising results emerge from a report based on extensive polling conducted by Comres earlier this year, commissioned by the think  tank Theos. The largest religious grouping in the capital is Christianity, and the second largest “no religion” – opposite to the rest of the country. Christians in London are very more likely to pray and to attend church services than their counterparts in the rest of the country. Full report by Andrew Brown here

Trainee vicar who faced racism wins top award

Augustine Tanner-Ihm, a black trainee priest in the Church of England, who was rejected for an ordinand’s role because ‘the demographic of the parish is monochrome white working-class, where you might feel uncomfortable’, has won a national competition for a compelling theological presentation.  The Theology Slam Final 2020 was organised by several groups including the Church Times, and allowed three young speakers to make their case in an online competition. Augustine, who is from Chicago and has just completed his studies for ordination at Cranmer Hall in Durham, called on the church to be a place in which black and minority ethnic (BAME) voices are heard. Our report of the final is here.

Methodist conference goes online

The annual conference of the Methodist church of Great Britain will meet online for seven days starting today. Usually, members meet in large halls to hear reports and make major decisions affecting the life of the church. But the coronavirus pandemic has forced the event online. A controversial report on marriage and relationships, including same sex marriage,  which has been extensively discussed locally, was due to come before the conference this year for decision, but has been postponed. Only essential business is on the agenda, including a strategy for growth and a manifesto for young people.

Pope praises health staff in Lombardy

Pope Francis  has once more paid tribute to the doctors, nurses and health workers from Lombardy, which was among the worst affected areas for coronavirus cases in Italy . In an audience at the Vatican,  he said their presence, not only at the side of the sick and dying but also their family members, was “a visible sign of a heart-warming humanity.” He quoted examples of “tenderness” by medical personnel, from holding up the phone to the dying so they could say goodbye to their loved ones to prayers and caresses. He said the world was able to see the good they had done in a time of great challenge.

US Faith based groups join adoption and foster care initiative

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to bolster the federal government’s work with community and faith-based groups in adoption and foster care. It will encourage partnerships between states and faith-based and community organizations, to recruit more families and publicize best practices. The Department for Health and Human services says there are 430,000 children in the foster care system. The coronavirus pandemic posed serious challenges for social services agencies in matching foster children with families.


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