Religion news 1 September

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Downside monks to move location

The monks of Downside Abbey in Somerset are to move location, for only the third time in their 400 year history. The Tablet reports that the move follows a report from the  Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which found issue with the structure and governance of the school and its relationship to the adjacent Abbey. The Abbey and School became independent entities last year. Now the Abbey has issued a statement saying the monks will look for another location for their community life. It says the community looks back in sorrow on failures in the care of children and believes the current monastery buildings are no longer suitable. The Benedictine Community at Downside was founded in 1606 in Douai in the Spanish Netherlands. Following the French Revolution the monks moved to Acton Burnell in Shropshire and then to its current site in 1814.

David Icke’s appearance at anti Covid19 rally concerns Jewish community

The Jewish Times and Jewish Chronicle have reported concerns that the former sports presenter, David Icke, was given a platform to denounce restrictions imposed to limit the spread of coronavirus. In the ‘United for Freedom’ rally at Trafalgar Square this weekend, he urged thousands of people to ‘choose freedom’, and complained that a small elite was imposing restrictions on the world’s population. The organiser of the rally, Jeremy Corbyn’s brother, Piers, was fined £10,000 for arranging the event, breaking coronavirus restriction rules. David Icke has espoused various new age ideas over the years, but in May, Youtube and  Facebook pages were taken down following a campaign from the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, which complained that he was spreading dangerous misinformation including a theory that a secret society with links to the Rothschilds was behind the Covid19 outbreak.  

Pope says respect the world’s resources

Pope Francis has urged Catholics to take care of the planet’s future and condemned the behaviour of multinationals as ‘outrageous’. In his prayer intention for September, he says everyone should respect the planet’s resources, not squeeze them like an orange, but share them in a just and equitable manner. He says: “Countries and businesses from the global north have enriched themselves by exploiting the natural resources of the south, creating an ecological debt. Who is going to pay this debt? In addition, this ecological debt is increased when multinationals do abroad what they would never be allowed to do in their own countries. It’s outrageous. Today, not tomorrow; today, we have to take care of Creation responsibly. Let us pray that the planet’s resources will not be plundered, but shared in a just and respectful manner. No to plundering; yes to sharing.”

Methodists start 15 minute weekly prayer meetings

Today marks the start of the Methodist church holding weekly 15 minute prayer meetings to consider global challenges such as the pandemic and climate change. September marks the start of the Methodist  year, which  is usually observed with a covenant service, heralding a year of commitment ahead.

Drive in cinema style Muharram festival in Manchester

Muslims in Manchester have taken part in a ten day drive in cinema style event to commemorate the festival of Muharram, which happens in the first month of the Islamic new year.  The ‘Muharram Drive-In Mujalis Series’ was organised by the Mohebban Al Mahdi Youth Foundation and accommodated up to 200 cars on each occasion. The Manchester Evening News reports that the event was the first religious festival many families had celebrated together since the lockdown, though everyone had to stay in their cars. During the event, the Qur’an was recited and Imams gave lectures.