Religion News 9 June

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The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, whose city witnessed violent scenes at the weekend when the statue of the slave trader Edward Colston, was pulled to the ground and dumped in the harbour, has said that the anger, sense of outrage and injustice that led to the incident is not, of itself, a problem. He told Premier Christian radio that he didn’t condone criminal damage but the statue of the slave trader is an affront to him, a man of African heritage, and others.

A school in Bristol has removed a statue of Colston from its entrance lobby, the concert venue Colston Hall is considering a name change and the Dean of Bristol Cathedral is considering the future of a stained glass window which depicts symbols related to Colston’s life.

Two thousand evangelical Christians demonstrated against race injustice in a march to the US Capitol in Washington DC. They were joined by the former Republican presidential candidate and Mitt Romney, who has often spoken of how his faith – he is a Mormon – motivates his politics.

Priests in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington demonstrated outside the White House on Monday as a “prayerful protest” against hatred and institutional discrimination of all kinds. The Catholic News Agency reports that the march organisers prayed for an end to hatred and institutional discrimination of all kinds.

George Floyd, the man whose death at the hands of police sparked global protest, is to be buried after a private funeral in Houston, Texas today (Tuesday). The service marks the end of a series of memorials in three states, when thousands of people paid their respects.

Other news:

Church leaders in England have welcomed the announcement that places of worship can open for private prayer form 15 June. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales, said it will enable further steps towards celebrating the Mass and other sacraments. The Bishop of London Sarah Mullaly said the announcement recognised that buildings are important sacred spaces.

Meanwhile, the senior rabbi to Reform Judaism, Laura Janner-Klausner, told the Guardian that most synagogues would not reopen for private prayer on 15 June as Jews prioritise communal prayer and individual prayer doesn’t have the same theological status.

The Muslim Council of Britain has issued guidance to mosques as they plan to re-open, saying the return to a new normal allows mosques, madrasas and community centres to re-imagine the role that Muslim institutions play in society and local communities. It poses the possibility that they may engage with neighbours, local charities, service providers or local interfaith councils to share ideas, resources and funding opportunities. “Indeed, with every challenge, there are also many opportunities.”


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