Religion news 5 October 2023

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Pope says world is collapsing due to climate change

Pope Francis has called for a new way of making global decisions after the intentions on climate change have proved ineffective. Introducing “Laudato Deum”. a sequel to his encyclical on climate change, “Laudato Si’ ”, he warned that the world is collapsing due to climate change and may be near breaking point, with some damage irreversible. Switching from fossil fuels to green energy was too slow and irresponsible consumer lifestyles in the west meant people produce up to seven times more carbon emissions than people in developing countries. He added that pinning hopes on carbon capture was simply papering over the cracks and was like “pushing a snowball down a hill”.

Synod of bishops opens in Rome as Pope urges participants to listen

Laudato Deum was published on the opening day of a three-week Synod of Bishops in Rome, which will consider climate change alongside the role of women in the church, and its mission and governance in the 21st century. The Pope warned against regarding the synod as a parliament or a place offering pastoral care. The gathering follows years of global consultations with all Catholics contributing, a process Pope Francis described as “very beautiful”. Vatican News pictures synod members sitting around round tables strewn with screens and papers, with the Pope urging them to listen.

Five trustees walk away from Christian Union charity UCCF

Five trustees of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) have resigned in the last three weeks, as the organisation prepared to publish an investigation into alleged breaches of employment law and sexual discrimination. In a statement, UCCF said the report found a “small number of instances” where the termination of contracts had been badly handled and were potentially unlawful. It did not uphold complaints of discrimination against women.  National director Richard Cunningham and field director Tim Rudge, who were suspended when the investigation began, are making a phased return to work. The UCCF trustees and directors apologised unreservedly for the hurt caused and said the board would review its governance structures. UCCF runs evangelical Christian Unions in universities across the country and has an annual income of more than £4million, raised in donations from churches, trusts and individuals. The  trustees who resigned have not issued a statement, but a former employee has spoken to Premier Christian News.

Muslim women’s institute ransacked and burned

The Al-Falah institute, a centre for Muslim women in Hayes, Middlesex, has been set on fire in a suspected arson attack.  The Institute was a centre for prayer, offered education in Islamic studies, Maths and English, and became a venue for community social events.  A Trustee told My London that she called police when neighbours alerted her to a break in and she saw the premises were ransacked. Soon after in the early hours, the fire brigade was called when smoke was seen coming from the building. The damage will cost thousands of pounds to repair.

More than half the CofE church buildings in Wigan at risk of closure

The Church Times reports that 19 of the 31 CofE churches in Wigan are at risk of closure due to falling numbers and lack of money.  Four have been recommended for closure and 15 have been listed for review in a report commissioned by the Joint Council and Parochial Church Councils in Wigan. These organisations were specially created in 2019 as 29 parishes and PCCs were made into seven “hubs” and one super parish in a process which caused anger, did not lead to a rise in membership or income and whose failure was outlined in a report published last week.  At the time, people feared the re-organisation was a move towards closure and now this has come to pass. Detailed Church Times report here

Arrests in Israel for spitting against Christians

Israeli police have arrested several people suspected of spitting in the direction of Christian pilgrims and churches in Jerusalem, as processions of ultra Orthodox Jews weaved through the Old City during the Feast of Tabernacles marking harvest.  Film on social media showed people spitting at the feet of Christian worshippers while in other incidents, five people were arrested for spitting towards churches. The Associated Press reports that the incidents were condemned by the Chief Rabbi and Prime Minister amid concern over rising religious  tension.


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