Religion news 11 April 2022

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Palm Sunday procession to Gloucester Cathedral. Image credit: @HelloFromMarcus

Pope calls for Easter truce in Ukraine

The Pope has appealed for an Easter truce in the war in Ukraine. Speaking on Sunday in Rome, he addressed the accounts of “heinous massacres and atrocious cruelty committed against defenceless civilians” and said nothing was impossible for God, not even the closure of a war whose end is not yet in sight.

Emergency aid for Ukraine’s Jewish population

A 22 tonne truck full of food and emergency goods for Jewish families in Ukraine has left London for a 1500 mile journey, aiming to arrive in time of Passover at the end of this week.  The collection was organised by the charity Gift, involving donations from more than 50 organisations.

High level resignation from European Jewish Council because of Russia sanctions

Russian oligarch Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor, has resigned from the European Jewish Congress after he was sanctioned by the UK government because of his links with a company said to have vital strategic significance for Russia. The EJC said the sanctions were misguided. He had been its president for 15 years.

Palm Sunday services mark start of Holy Week

Churches celebrated Palm Sunday this weekend, at the start of Holy Week leading to Easter.  Processions with people carrying palm fronds and olive branches, were joined by donkeys in towns across Britain, re-enacting the story of the entry of Jesus to Jerusalem when crowds welcomed him. Yesterday in Jerusalem, worshippers marched from the top of the Mount of Olives to the old city of Jerusalem.

Hillsong mega church “saddened” at public spat with founders

Hillsong, the global mega charismatic church, has issued a statement explaining why it issued a redundancy notice to Bobby Houston, who co-founded the church with her husband Brian. He resigned on 21 March after inappropriate behaviour towards women. Brian Houston blasted the church as “losing its soul” over its treatment of his wife. Hillsong Church Global and Australian Boards explained the process and said it was saddened by Brian Houston’s response, but their intention was to treat the couple with grace, love and honour.

One million limit for the Hajj

Saudi Arabia will allow up to one million people to join the Haj pilgrimage in July, a dramatic increase after Covid restrictions, but still only half the number of visitors  pre pandemic. Reuters reports the rules that pilgrims must be under sixty-five and fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

The Jewish antecedents of the Grand National winning jockey

The Jewish Chronicle reports on the Jewish background of Sam Waley-Cohen who won the Grand National on 50/1 Noble Yeats in his final race before retirement. It says he is the grandson of Sir Bernard Waley-Cohen, who was Lord Mayor of London and a director of the Palestine Corporation, promoting economic development under the British mandate. And his great grandfather, Sir Robert Waley Cohen, was a director of the United Synagogue.


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