Religion news 24 November 2021

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Mount Athos. Image credit: Pixabay

Pope praises Sir David Amess for years of public service

The Pope has paid tribute to Sir David Amess MP, for years of devoted public service guided by his strong Catholic faith and evidenced in his deep concern for the poor and the disadvantaged. The Pope’s message was read out by the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain in a requiem mass at Westminster Cathedral. He said that all who honoured his memory should reject the ways of violence, to combat evil with good, and to help build a society of ever greater justice, fraternity and solidarity.  Sir David, a devout Catholic, was stabbed to death during a constituency surgery in Leigh on Sea and he was laid to rest in a private burial yesterday.

Orthodox monks trust God and science to protect them from Covid

Covid has swept through Mount Athos, one of the Greek Orthodox Church’s most sacred religious sites. The drive is now on to vaccinate the 1,600 monks in the closed community on the Halkidiki peninsula, where nine have died and at least 100 cases recorded in the past month. Father Makarios, a 70-year-old monk who had “approached death” after catching the virus, said: “We have faith in God and God protects us. But science is something in the hands of God, God enlightens the scientists so they can protect humanity.” Reuters report here

‘Too much Christianity’ in schools

A father and daughter from Northern Ireland have begun a legal challenge against the Department for Education, claiming its schools teach too much Christianity. The unnamed pair, who say they are “non-religious”, claim this discriminates against other faiths and is a violation of human rights. The Rev Stephen Terry, who chairs the Accord coalition set up in the province to support open access for children of all faiths and none to attend schools, said: “We live in a multicultural society, with different ideas, different approaches, different faith systems, all equally valid, and all trying to get to some form of understanding of religious truth.” Premier Christian News report here

Sri Lanka Easter bombings: 25 men face 23,000 charges

Twenty-five men accused of masterminding the Easter 2019 bombing of Christian churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka — in which 269 people died — have gone on trial. They face more than 23,000 charges, including conspiracy to murder, aiding and abetting the attacks and collecting arms and ammunition. The Guardian reports that the prosecution in Colombo says the number of charges and “thousands of witnesses” means the trial may take up to 10 years

Student vote supports new bishop

Canon Lusa Nsenga-Ngoy will be the next Bishop of Willesden, Downing Street has announced. The appointment was partially decided by sixth-formers at Twyford School in Acton, west London, who judged sermons from shortlisted candidates to make their selection, Premier Christian News reports. Canon Lusa, who met the students yesterday, said he hoped to live up to their faith in him and he looked forward to experiencing “the wealth of diversity in heritage and culture that make up the communities of west London”. Canon Lusa, the BAME mission and ministry enabler in Leicester, was ordained in 2008. He will be consecrated in January.

Death of evangelical who left the CofE

The Rev Melvin Tinker, a “fiercely intelligent author and theologian” and one of the leading lights of the Evangelical movement within Anglicanism, has died. Mr Tinker was vicar of St John’s Newland Church in Hull, until August last year when he left the Church of England, Christian Today reports. He was the author of more than a dozen books, including That Hideous Strength: How the West Was Lost (2018), an analysis of the effect of social Marxism on the western church.

Let there be light: London Eye to become a menorah

The London Eye, the 400ft ferris wheel in the heart of the capital, will light up for Hannukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, on 5 December. Its 32 pods will be lit to symbolise a menorah as they revolve. The idea was put forward by the Jewish Leadership Council, in partnership with Jewish News.

Creating Connections: sign up in Birmingham and Manchester

The Religion Media Centre has launched a project this autumn to enhance religious literacy and understanding in a landscape often fraught with misconceptions and assumptions on both sides. Creating Connections, where Religion meets the Media features a series of events to improve links between religious groups and journalists in England. They are an opportunity to explore the way religion and worldviews are interwoven into community life and it is hoped that key stories on religion and belief will be brought to life and lasting contacts for the future will be made. Events in Leeds, Plymouth, Nottingham and Birmingham have happened – one more to go. Reserve a place using the links below.

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